Author: Tom G.
From the first time I shot my grandfathers old Colt 1911A1 I have had an on again, off again love affair with this classic war horse. It would take more than the space allotted for this column to even begin to cover the history of this iconic American pistol that has not really functionally changed since it was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1911. That is correct, I am talking about a pistol was first produced over a century ago and is still considered the finest fighting handgun ever produced my many shooters.
While the gun is functionally identical to those first pistols that were shipped to the military, it is not as if there have not been some major improvements along the way. As decades passed, improvements were made to the sights, grip safety, hammer and thumb safety. Most modern variations of this pistol will not bite your hand and have sights that even my old eyes can see unlike the original military guns.
Throughout my 19 year law enforcement career, I was fortunate to work for agencies that allowed me to carry just about any type of handgun I preferred and much of the time that was a 1911. At various times I carried examples from Colt, Kimber, Para-Ordnance, Springfield Armory and Wilson Combat.
All of those guns were bet your life on it reliable and more accurate that I will ever be. There is just something magical about a 1911 trigger that makes me feel like a great shooter. The light, crisp trigger break and short trigger reset are unmatched in the world of semi automatic handguns.
Following my retirement from active law enforcement service, my handgun shooting interests turned squarely away from semi auto pistols and toward revolvers. I became enamored with Cowboy Action Shooting and single action revolvers. I also spent a fair amount of time shooting big bore double action revolvers as I searched for the perfect general duty woods/hunting handgun but when this summer rolled around I found myself hankering for a good old 1911.
Last month I was able to acquire a used Kimber Custom II Classic two tone. To my eyes the blued slide mated to a stainless steel frame makes a great looking 1911. The gun is of course chambered for the traditional 45 ACP and is a full sized government model. It currently wears a set of handsome, checkered walnut grips. It is equipped with modern, hi visibility sights, a beavertail grip safety and an extended thumb safety, all features that tend to make the gun much more shootable than the original military configuration of the design.
On my first venture to the range the Kimber proved to be 100% reliable with both factory ammunition and my carefully assembled handloads. After spending most of the past few years shooting big bore revolvers, I was surprised at how mild recoil was and how fast I could get back on target. The gun just felt like an extension of my hand.
As folks who have previously read this column know, I usually try to shoot a nice group so I can show off how well I (or Cori) was shooting with whatever gun I am reviewing, it was incredibly hot on this range session and we spent all of our time banging away at steel targets from 25 yards which allowed us to take advantage of the shade provided by the covered shooting area on the pistol range. Maybe next time I will try to put some rounds on paper and get an idea of how accurate this gun is.
Before wrapping this up, I wanted to take a moment and give some recognition to a local holster maker that more folks need to know about. I took a chance and ordered an Askins style belt holster from Gary C. up in Libby. When the holster arrived I was shocked at the quality of both the leather used and the craftsmanship of this holster. Gary’s holsters are top notch and reasonably priced to boot. Next time you need gun leather, please look him up and give him a shot.
Till next time, enjoy the range and be safe! We will be out hunting before you know it!