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Self-loading Pistol

"Colt" M1911


The "Colt Government" Series 80 model Self-loading Pistol

Caliber 11.43 mm
Cartridge  11.43 x 23 mm (.45 ACP)
Dimensions and weight 
Total weight (with loaded magazine)  1 130 g
Total weight (with empty magazine)  1 075 g
Overall length  219 mm 
Barrels length   127 mm 
Fire characteristics
Bullets initial speed  253 m/s
Practical rate of fire 20 - 30 rpm
Magazine capacity  7 rounds
Sighting range 50 m
Range of effective fire 100 m

   The "Colt" M1911 Self-loading Pistol was designed in 1911 by J.M.Browning. It entered service with the US Cavalry and Navy fleet. After improvement in 1926 pistol got indexation M1911A1, and was adopted by US Army. It was the main US Army pistol till the year 1985. Now it is in service with Navy Seals, FBI Anti-Terrorist group and with more than 50 countries of the world.

   It's history began in the beginning of XX century when famous weapon designer John M. Browning began to develop self-loading pistol for "Colt" company. In the 1906 - 1907 US Army announced trials to replace it's service revolvers with new self-loading pistol. Army required the new pistol to have caliber of .45 inch so Browning designed it's own cartridge and a new pistol chambered for it. In 1911 after extensive testing the new pistol and it's cartridge designed by Browning and produced by "Colt" were adopted by US Cavalry as Model 1911.

   In 1985 US Ministry of Defense arranOriginal "Colt" Model 1911A1 Self-loading Pistolged competition to equip US Army with modern 9-mm pistols. Italian company's "Beretta" 92FS Self-loading Pistol chambered for 9 x 19 mm (Para) won this competition. It entered service in US Army as M9 Self-loading Pistol and replaced "Colt". However M1911 stays very popular for it's reliability, good fire accuracy and extremely high penetration effect. It is almost the only hardball bullet pistol, with sufficient penetration and man-stopping effect.

   Improved model of the M1911 - the M1911A1 differs in wider front sight, longer hammer spur, shorter trigger, simplified grip panels, longer grip-safety spur and in some other insufficient details. During the World War II there were produced some millions of Model 1911A1 in USA only.

   "Colt" M1911 automatic works on barrel short recoil principle. Pistol executes only single fire. It is completed with "single-action" hammer mechanism, and opened hammer. It has two safety locks: automatic, built in pistol grip which is turning off when handle is properly held, and manual switch, blocking trigger and lock.

   Pistol has a range of effective fire in 100 m. Even after more than 90 years it is a great result comparing with other modern pistols. "Colt" belongs to the most powerful pistol class with greatest bullet penetration capabilities. There is probably no standard bullet-proof vest or helmet, that would save person from M1911 bullet in a short range. 

   The only disadvantages are great dimensions and weight and rear small mechanism failures. It makes pistol uncomfortable to carry and decrease shooter's maneuverability changing targets. One more disadvantage is that it has a bit low capacity magazine for a modern pistol. Nowadays there is tendency to produce pistols, fitted with 15 or 20 round holding magazines. "Colt Combat Commander" Self-loading Pistol

   J.M.Browning developed one of the most successful pistols which is not outdated even after the whole century. Since 1911 this pistol was involved in almost every military conflict and became really legendary. It's technical design was so successful that it is still produced and is widely used. The "Colt" M1911A1 together with it's compact models "Commander" and "Defender" are one of the most popular among self-loading pistols in USA.

   Pistol has opened fixed sight.

   Colt" M1911A1 is a perfect combat weapon. It's popularity made it as a base for mass copies, repeats and modifications. A number of them differs from the original only in external trim, grip shape, or sight. Some variants are chambered for other caliber or have "double-action" type hammer mechanism.

   Pistol's modification for civilian market is called "Colt Government Model 1911". In 1929 the "Government" model was introduced chambered for a new .38 Super Automatic cartridge. It was completed with a magazine holding 9 rounds. This model chambered for .38 Super Automatic is still produced and is used mostly for target shooting due to it's extreme accuracy.

   During 1970 - 1983 "Colt" produced Series 70 model "Government" pistol that closely resembled original M1911A1. Since 1983 "Colt" manufactured Series 80 model "Government" pistol featuring added firing pin safety.

   Earlier mentioned "CommandeCustomized "Colt Government" Series 80 model Pistolr" and "Defender" models are also commercial versions of the original "Colt" M1911A1 Pistol. Both of them have a compact-size dimensions with shortened barrels and slides. "Colt Commander" is also available in such versions as "Combat Commander", "Lightweight Commander" and other. It features standard size frame and grip with 7 round magazine chambered in .45 ACP, .38 Super Automatic, 9 mm Para. In 1972 US Army adopted the M15 "General Officers" Model Pistol developed by "Rock Island Arsenal" which is very similar to "Combat Commander". It is a self-defense weapon for high level army officers.

   "Colt Defender" is even more compact version of the original M1911A1 Pistol. It features shorter grip and magazine holding 6 rounds of .45 ACP. It an be also chambered for other cartridges. It's very similar model is "Colt Officers" Pistol.


   Good fire accuracy, high penetration and man-stopping effect. Pistol is reliable. 


   Low magazine capacity. Great weight and dimensions. Rear small mechanism failures.

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