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GUNS Magazine Digital April 2011 - Page 12

• M A S S A d A y O O b • Why WE APPRECIAtE .45s It’s not just because of the 1911. t’s the “all-American pistol caliber,” and the 100th I anniversary of the pistol that made it popular is a logical time to discuss the .45 ACP cartridge. While the 1911 pistol was adopted in the eponymous year and is now by general consensus celebrating its 100th anniversary, the cartridge it made famous is actually older. When the US Army Ordnance Board made it clear that it wanted a .45 caliber semi-automatic service pistol, the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge began to take shape on the drawing board in 1903. The first .45 ACP cartridges came off the production line in 1904, and Colt’s “.45 automatic” Model of 1905 was on the market by 1906. The .45 Colt revolver round had struck a responsive chord with Americans way back in 1873, and it was natural that when autoloaders came on line, the .45 caliber would inherit that trust and goodwill. But it With full-power 230-grain hardball, the .45 Acp is controllable. mas has two spent casings in the air (arrows), but springfield Armory range officer is still on target. The .45 Acp makes for narrow girth of pistol (springfield 1911 shown here), but broad choice of ammo in both bullet weight and style. didn’t depend on an inheritance from the previous generation: the .45 ACP made its own way. In World War I, the .45 dramatically proved itself in the trenches of Europe. Americans of the time could proudly tell you how Sergeant Alvin York of Tennessee had single-handedly wiped out a German patrol with one shot apiece from his issue .45. The legend only grew after the savagery in the Pacific and in Europe in World War II. Audie Murphy, the Alvin York of the second great conflict, wasn’t the only one who called the 1911 .45 his most trusted friend when he came back to the States. Controllable Power Being a low-pressure cartridge, the .45 ACP generates recoil that is very controllable with modern shooting stances and techniques. When my little girls were 8 years old, they each learned to handle a 1911 .45 with full-power hardball and manage it effectively. One of my proudest moments on a shooting range was when my daughter Justine, then 13, and I won the National Junior Handgun Championship Parent/ Child Team at the Second Chance Shoot in Michigan in 1998. Justine was shooting a comped Springfield Armory 1911-A1 with 185-grain +P .45 handloads. Last year, the Florida Highway Patrol became the fifth agency to adopt the Glock 37 in .45 GAP (Glock Auto Pistol), a shorter version of the .45 ACP that duplicates the latter’s standard pressure ballistics in a higher-pressure cartridge. FHP staff told me their female troopers in particular found the .45’s recoil easier to manage than that of the .40 S&W Berettas the new guns replaced. Police are relying on .45s more than ever these days. The .45 ACP is WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • APRIL 2011 The cartridge started life in 1903 and was first chambered in the colt m1905, the design of which ultimately evolved into the m1911. 12

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