What's a "real 1911"?


White Horseradish
September 23, 2004, 12:04 PM
I was talking to a friend and he said he's got this thing about the 1911 and he wants one. He said he wants to get a "real one".

Now, I don't know a whole lot about them. I know that there are and have been a number of companies making the pistol over the years. What exacly would a constitute a "real 1911"? Is it one that is faithful to the original design? Is it one from one of the original manufacturers? Is there a hard definition at all? Or did I just open a huge can of worms?

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September 23, 2004, 12:12 PM
My opinion is that only the US Government Issue Models 1911 and A1 would be "real 1911s" along with the Colt Commercial Government Models and Gold Cups. The rest are 1911 pattern, made as clones of the originals. HTH

September 23, 2004, 12:52 PM
I think BigG's definition would work for most people as a general guideline.

I would make it more restrictive, however, if the person saying "real 1911" is a hoplophile. In that case, I would consider only original 1911, not A1's.

September 23, 2004, 01:44 PM
if the person saying "real 1911" is a hoplophile. In that case, I would consider only original 1911, not A1's.

I agree with this, Chipperman, except where we hoplophiles are having a bull session and 1911 becomes an agreed upon shorthand for the US Pistols and Colts 5".

September 23, 2004, 01:58 PM
I would have to know the person making the statement.
To me, a real 1911 means just that. A Model of 1911. Flat mainspring housing etc. The Model of 1911 that came out prior to the 1911 A1.

However, I don't think this is the commonly used definition of the term. Just as a guess, I would say he means a pretty much plain jane 1911 type pistol without any bells and whistles. And I would further guess that he is talking about one with a full sized frame and slide (5" barrel).

September 23, 2004, 02:53 PM
444: You'd be surprised. No you wouldn't. :neener: I've seen Brand X 3" bbl jobs, Llamas, Ballester Molinas, and stuff I couldn't even identify called 1911s.

The people that use the nomenclature correctly (like us) are in the minority.

Also a "1911" is an archaic model that hardly anybody except a real Hoplophile has. The vast majority are 1911A1 type frames with various bells and whistles added.

September 23, 2004, 03:09 PM
I consider my self a 1911 nut though I also greatly enjoy other designs.

My general definition is pretty loose. I consider 5" govt models and Commander length guns to be 1911s. I even consider my NRM Colt 1991A1 to be a 1911.

I start to draw the line at raceguns and SIGs with tac rails but as long as they are comfortable, relaible and are fun to shoot, I'm still game.

I'll admit that I rarely picture a pre-A1 pistol when someone (other than maybe DSK) says '1911'.

September 23, 2004, 03:31 PM
I agree that there is only one true 1911 and that is the original.

Even the 1911A1 is a deviation.

My opinion is that if all that was available were faithful copies of the 1911
and 1911A1 there would not be as many enthusiasts.

Present day enthusiasts are caught up with looks, modifications, etc to improve on the 1911, 1911A1 designs. A true shooter with good eyesight can still shoot the good copies amazingly accurately with no add ons of any kind.

However, the meaning of 1911 pattern guns have been greatly expanded and all for now could be deemed real 1911s.

The new real 1911 patterns pander to hot rodders. Take this off, add this on, customize, etc. All of this is good for people who sell 1911 parts, guns,
and accessories.

September 23, 2004, 03:41 PM
I agree that if someone says to me something about a 1911, I ask, which one ? I consider the term to mean anything that basically follows the pattern of a 1911. However, if someone said to me, I have a REAL 1911, I would assume they were talking about a pre-1911A1 pistol.
I have even used that term myself. A guy I worked with told me that his uncle died and he was given his "old Army 45". He said he didn't know anything about it and wondered if he could show it to me and have me explain how it worked etc. When he brought it in and showed it to me, I exclaimed, "That is a REAL 1911". Then I explaned to him that it was in fact an original 1911 and not a 1911A1.
I then made the mistake of telling him that if it was mine, I would tear it down to the frame and clean it, lubricate it, and change out all the springs in it. Of course he then asked me if I would do that FOR HIM. So, I took it home and realized the safety didn't work. I think someone at some point had tried to do a trigger job on it and made it unsafe. So, after I replaced the springs, the hammer, and the trigger, I found that it shot great. :uhoh: It wasn't loose and didn't rattle at all. I got a little taste of what a 1911 was like when it was first issued brand new and not the gun I was issued in the early 80s that had seen better days.

September 23, 2004, 05:52 PM
I know I'll catch a ton of sh*t for saying this but...

My opinion is that a real 1911 is either a Colt or whatever overpriced, overhyped wunderpistol uber 1911 is hot right now... example: Kimber...:neener:

September 23, 2004, 06:06 PM
There is the M1911, agreed?
There is also the M1191A1, agreed?

The SHORTHAND term '1911' saw usage before Colt's patents
expired, and a bazillion other firearm manufacturers started producing
"1911-type" (or "1911 pattern") pistols.

Strictly speaking, the SHORTHAND term 1911 might apply
only to the various GI pistols, both M1911 and M1911A1. However,
language is a dynamic thing: look at the meaning of "gay", neh?

Even when considering GI pistols, there were many manufacturers,
like Colt's, Remington Rand, Union Switch & Signal, Singer...
We are, after all, talking about a pistol design, not a brand.
We don't even refer by the term to 'vintage', since collectors further
specify actual year of manufacture.

Again language is dynamic, and I think usage has shifted recently.
A "1911" now refers to any 1911-type pistol, and there are many.
A "real 1911" thus means a 1911 that is completely mil-spec,
no matter who made it.

Of course, it just so happens that nowadays NOBODY is making mil-spec,
"real 1911" pistols. Not even Colt's. So much so that, the only
"real 1911" pistols around are the GI's and some old civilian Colt's.


Dave Sample
September 23, 2004, 06:31 PM
If it's not imaginary...................................it's real. People define things differently so what is real to one person, is not "Real" to another. I like "Real Nice 1911's." Like the ones I used to build.

Dave Sample
September 24, 2004, 10:12 PM
Hey! A Triple Tap! Wow is I! Sorry about that.

Stephen A. Camp
September 24, 2004, 10:44 PM
Hello. Fixed it.


September 25, 2004, 02:49 AM
This is:
(although it currently has an A1 grip safety... )

Black Majik
September 25, 2004, 05:11 AM
Horge said:
There is the M1911, agreed?
There is also the M1191A1, agreed?

Hmm... what's a 1191A1? :p

The Real Hawkeye
September 25, 2004, 08:17 PM
Well, if a gun savvy person said he wanted a "real 1911" I would assume he meant an M1911, i.e., one made prior to the A1 modifications. As for someone who is new to these handguns, there is no telling what he could have meant by a "real 1911." Without the inclusion of the word "real," however, I always assume that the speaker is referring to any of the countless handguns out there that will interchange parts with a military M1911 or M1911A1. The chopped down 1911s, however, should be referred to as just that, chopped down 1911s. A Commander should be referred to as a Commander, even if it's almost identical to the M1911A1, except for slide, barrel and part of the frame.

September 25, 2004, 09:29 PM
Even the 1911A1 is a deviation. Are you kidding me?? The A1 has a longer and richer history in American warfare and sports shooting than the original M1911. To say that it's not a "real 1911" is hogwash!

You better give that A1 the respect it's EARNED!

September 25, 2004, 10:10 PM
That's a 1911 (or a pre-a1 Government Model)


Dave Sample
September 26, 2004, 12:33 AM
Well! Just let me say this about that! ...................................Thanks for fixing that post, Sarge.

September 26, 2004, 06:33 AM
The 1911-A1 isn't a 1911 in the purest sense...it's a variant...
but there are true 1911s that are "Improved"...and would technically fit into the variant category...so the point is pretty pointless. "1911" is a
generic term used to describe all variants of the design, and it works pretty well for the most part, except for the extremely nit-picky among us.

Commanders and Defenders/Officer's Models aren't 1911s OR 1911-A1s.
They're variants too. Some prefer to think of them as deviants...and a few others would call them abortions...but I digress. They're based on the 1911, and share many common parts. I like'em all.:cool:

The Real Hawkeye
September 26, 2004, 12:01 PM
Actually, I believe that the weapon we refer to as a 1911 was designated as the Colt Government Model by its first exclusive manufacturor. It was only the US Military that attached the designation "1911" to it. Maybe we should refer to them all as Government Models, Commanders and Officers Models. I agree that this is much more awkward than just calling them all 1911 variants, which has some historical legitimacy to it.

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