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salvo en materia de reír; |
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miércoles, 26 de enero de 2011

Pistol cal. .45 -Model of 1911

1911: The classic homeland security pistol
By Massad Ayoob
If you’ve read American firearms history at all, you know the lore of the .45 automatic. How during the Philippine insurrection, the newly issued .38 revolver failed miserably against psyched-up Moro warriors, and ancient .45 revolvers were dragged out of mothballs and re-issued to embattled American troops in the Pacific. How this led to the Thompson/LaGarde study of handgun ammunition effectiveness in 1907 that indicated nothing of less than .45 caliber should be issued as a sidearm to US troops. And how John Browning’s brilliant design of a semiautomatic pistol in that caliber, as manufactured by Colt, was subsequently adopted as “Pistol, US, calibre .45, Model of 1911.”
In the trenches of WWI, for the first and the last time in American military history, it was determined that every single one of America’s troops needed to carry a .45 caliber handgun at the front. Though the “.45 automatic” was the first choice, the industry couldn’t make enough of them and both Colt and Smith & Wesson pressed their revolver lines into production for the classic Model 1917 double action revolvers. These used ingenious half-moon clips developed by S&W to hold three of the “rimless” .45 auto cartridges together for fast reloading of these “revolvers using autoloader ammo.” Not until the last quarter of the 20th century would shooters figure out that a full moon clip could hold six such cartridges at once. This allowed the fastest possible revolver reload…right about the time all the cops decided they wanted semiautomatic pistols, which were faster still to reload.
Time marched on. In the early 1920s, a US military board convened to determine what had been learned in the Great War that could improve the design of the nation’s military small arms. It was determined that about half the soldiers thought the 1911 pistol had too long a trigger, too short a grip tang safety, and sights that were just about useless. Before 1930, this advice coalesced into the improved Model 1911A1. Its trigger was much shorter and easier to reach, and this was aided by new scalloping around the trigger guard area of the frame. Bigger sights that were easier to see were added. The hammer was reconfigured and the grip safety’s tang lengthened in hopes of preventing the pinch at the web of the hand that many doughboys had reported when the gun was cycling. The 1911A1 would remain the classic shape of this classic pistol for the remainder of the century.
“Legendary Manstopper”The bolt-action 1903 Springfield and 1917 Enfield .30/06 battle rifles had proven themselves splendidly rugged and accurate when sniping at enemy soldiers across the battlefield. But, when the enemy was right there in the trenches with you, ready to spear you with the blood-stained bayonet of his Mauser, these long, heavy rifles that needed a four-step process to hand-cycle another cartridge into the firing chamber were not the optimum defensive tools. The 1911 pistol, on the other hand, proved to be in its element there. Eight quick flicks of the index finger unleashed eight heavy 230-grain bullets, almost half an inch in diameter and traveling some 830 feet per second. At close range, when a single .45 slug struck the enemy in the wishbone, he tended to be immediately rendered hors de combat. To hell with bayoneted rifles, said the doughboys; this Colt .45 automatic was the ticket to getting out of the trenches alive once the enemy hordes had flowed into those trenches with you. 
Countless tales of up close and personal pistol fighting emerged from WWI. The bottom line was that when Americans shot Germans with Colt .45 automatics, the Germans tended to fall down and die. When Germans shot Americans with their 9mm Luger pistols, the Americans tended to become indignant and kill the German who shot them, and then walk to an aid station to either die a lingering death or recover completely. Thus was born the reputation of the .45 automatic as a “legendary manstopper,” and the long-standing American conviction that the 9mm automatic was an impotent wimp thing that would make your wife a widow if you trusted your life to it.
Then came WWII. The .45 automatic was the standard military weapon then as well. Used heavily in both theaters of the war, it was particularly valued in the Pacific, where Japanese sappers tended to infiltrate through the wires and be on top of the Yank soldier with knife in hand when the American woke up to deal with it. And the legend of the .45 as the “one shot, one kill” weapon was reinforced. It did not hurt that reputation that the average target in the Pacific was a rice-fed, half-starved biped who weighed about 130 pounds.
Then came Korea, and then Vietnam. Nothing happened to change the image of the .45 automatic as a deadly manstopper. In the mid-1980s, several trends converged upon the one firearm that had served the American military the longest. NATO was pushing the USA for complete compatibility in small arms ammo, and every other nation carried 9mm pistols. Except for target pistols for the pistol teams, the US government had not purchased new 1911s since before the Korean War, and the old guns were getting pretty clapped out. Finally, it is said, the Pentagon wanted cruise missiles in Italy and Italy wanted a lucrative US military contract in return. In any case, it was at that time that the United States armed services adopted the Italian Beretta Model 92F, caliber 9mm, as the official US service handgun that would be designated the M9 and would replace the 1911.
Fast forward to the present. When the War Against Terrorism went into the caves of Afghanistan, pistols became the weapons of choice for soldiers working on point in very close quarters. It became apparent that the 9mm with full metal jacket Geneva Convention ammo was as impotent as it was in WWI, with Al-Queda fanatics soaking up several rounds before they gave up the ghost. Those Yanks fortunate enough to have .45s—Army Delta Force, who purchase their own 1911s out of a stipend provided, and all the Special Operations Command elite who have access to the HK SOCOM pistol in that caliber—found that one or two full metal jacket .45 hardball rounds were all it took to drop a terrorist in his tracks. The call went out again: “We need .45s.”
For those who don’t like cocked and locked, ParaOrdnance offers their LDA series in double action only. This is one of their concealed-carry models.
For those who don’t like cocked and locked, ParaOrdnance offers their LDA series in double action only. This is one of their concealed-carry models.
What goes around comes around. Santayana was right. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

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