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Shooting Industry December 2010 - Page 34
Lethal Lethal force Show The Customer Why The 1911 Is Special Massad Ayoob 011 will mark the centennial anniver- in a museum. They can understand the Ordnance board by running several thousary of the classic 1911 pistol. The sense of nostalgia, but can’t imagine why sand rounds straight in torture testing — 1911 will be on customers’ minds. anyone but an antique collector would buy without a single stoppage or other failure. Some of them will come into your shop a 1911 to actually use. From 1911 to 1985 (when it was replaced pre-sold. They may know the by the Beretta M9), it was the exact model variation that’s primary standard handgun their heart’s desire, and all for the entire U.S. Armed you’ll have to do is hand them Forces. This pistol was used a Form 4473. to “go over the top” in WWI, Some of them will just to fight across Africa, Europe have decided they want to and the Pacific in WWII, and buy their first 1911, and now in the frigid wastelands of you’ll have to shepherd them Korea and the steaming junthrough the various sizes, calgles of Vietnam. ibers and price ranges. Given Currently, the 1911 is the the plethora from which to weapon of the Army’s Delta choose, that won’t be a snapForce and the USMC’s MEUof-the-fingers job. SOC (Marine ExpeditionAnd some will simply ary Unit/Special Operations ask, “What’s this whole 1911 Kimber has built a solid reputation for quality 1911 pistols, including the Command). The 1911 .45 thing about, anyway?” Ultra CDP II (Custom Defense Package). Visit www.shootingindustry. is the issue pistol for LAPD SWAT (Kimber), and the com/kimber.html. What Makes A Classic? FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team A whole new young breed of gun enBut — if you can show them, you (Springfield Armory). thusiasts exists. They’ve grown up on can sell them. There are reasons for this. Delta Force, modern handguns with polymer frames, Remind the customer that the pistol MEU-SOC, LAPD SWAT and FBI HRT and black rifles. Some of them see the John M. Browning finalized for Colt’s do not buy weapons for their most elite 1911 as a quaint anachronism that belongs Manufacturing in 1911 stunned the Army personnel based on tradition. 2 Shootability Factor I n a time long before the word “ergonomics” entered common parlance, John Moses Browning was clear on the concept. With a 1911, the axis of the bore sits lower to the hand than many of the more modern guns it competes with. Remind the customer this gives the shooter more leverage over the gun. It limits muzzle rise in rapid fire, allowing the shooter to get back on target faster for multiple shots. Long ago, the 1911 .45 had a reputation for “arm-wrenching recoil.” This perception began with the short tang on the original 1911’s grip safety. The web of the shooter’s hand could be pinched painfully between that short tang and the broad spur of the original 1911’s hammer. The tang was lengthened in hopes of alleviating that in the 1920s, with the coming of the 1911A1, but the edge of the tang could still “dig” into the web, and the short, stubby tang of the lightweight Colt Commander introduced in 1950 gouged shooters’ hands even more viciously. Today, most 1911s in the mid-range price-point and higher will have beavertail grip safeties, shielding the shooter’s hand from that bite. The old 1911A1 style remains on many of the lower-priced “Mil-Spec” guns of this type, and the dealer is cautioned to warn the shooter about that potential “hammer bite.” One exception is the Taurus PT1911, which starts at a low price- point, but still incorporates the desirable beavertail. While a .45 will certainly kick more than a 9mm, don’t neglect the sales potential of the 9mm 1911. It is one of the softestshooting centerfire pistols. A jewel in the crown of this type of gun is the Springfield Armory EMP (Enhanced Micro Pistol). Because the 9x19/9mm Luger cartridge is shorter overall than the .45 ACP round that the 1911 was designed for, feed reliability has long been an issue in full-size 9mm 1911s. The EMP was scaled down in design from the beginning, making it “right” for the size of the cartridge, and has proven to be extraordinarily reliable in both 9mm Luger and .40 S&W. With smaller grip girth, it makes a male shooter feel as if he has turned into John Wayne, and it fits small female hands exquisitely. Springfield’s GI .45 celebrates the original John Browning design, upgraded with modern materials and manufacturing. Visit www. shootingindustry.com/springfieldarmory.html. www.shootingindustry.com • NEW BUSINESS YEAR SUPER ISSUE 2011 34 Read SI DIGITAL