I’m a gunslinger by background, or at least I fancy myself the sort. I still wear my pistols low these days, just not quite as low as in the day. l live, nonetheless, today as I have always lived—by the sword. And you know what living by the sword means. That’s right, it means being unable to sleep at night because of the loud, late parties the sword is always throwing.

Why I like the 1911 for taking care of business

Now, in the day, we often jokingly referred to any 9mm pistol as a ‘sub-caliber device’, we pompous barbarians, the gunslingers of Delta Force. Our primary choice for a secondary (backup) firearm was the M-1911 .45 caliber blazer, legacy of the venerable John Moses Browning.

Never in modern history of U.S. ordnance have weapons remained in DOD arsenals for so many consecutive years without major modification or attempt to compromise the weapon’s intended ballistic capabilities as those introduced by John M. Browning.

I am put in mind of world-renowned small-arms expert Larry Allen Vickers of Vicker’s Tactical as he admonished a class he was giving on the operation and maintenance of the revered M2HB heavy machine gun:

Men, if John Moses Browning were to walk through this door right now…well, first of all we’d shit ourselves because Browning has been dead for over a hundred years…but then he’d say ‘do you men have and clue at all what you are doing?’”

There was no option to train with another caliber of pistol in the Delta training course for new operators; this was standard issue and would be mastered to successfully pass the five-month course. Mind you, the 1911s in the unit are not issued as they are unpacked from depot; they are meticulously modified by The Unit’s armorers to recognized match-grade standards:

  • Sights of choice, typically Low-Light BoMar or comparable class
  • Trigger pull eased to two pounds
  • Flared magazine well for faster magazine changes
  • Ambidextrous thumb safety, slide lock, mag release
  • Extended slide lock and mag release to aid in speed of reloads as felt through combat contact gloves
  • Aggressive checkering in key locations to enhance purchase
  • Pistol grips of choice to enhance purchase
  • Modified buffer
  • Modified feed ramp

Yes, the M-1911 is the pistol of choice in Delta, where there is never any guilt of pretense for its killing/stopping power. Yea though it be a beast to control, the pay-forward of the gat is rewarding.

The effects of the .45 jacketed metal slug can be likened to one of two basic classes of explosives, that is a low explosive versus a high explosive (takes a deep breath as he attempts to explain it without losing his audience):