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Old March 24, 2013, 06:54 PM   #51
Colorado Redneck
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Opinion

There are confliciting opinions. All are valid, because each of us has the image of "sidearm" in our mind. When I read the first post, it was obvious the OP liked 1911's. But before opening the thread, the Peace Maker instantly came to my mind. I have never owned one, and probably never will. To me, it represents America's Sidearm.
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Old March 24, 2013, 07:06 PM   #52
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I think the key there is that the 1911 was the MAIN sidearm, and went up against the Luger, P38, Berettas, Tokarevs, and other foreign revolvers. It also was against the BHP during WWII.

The S&W M&P was issued in much smaller numbers, and for a shorter period of time.

I'm more of a revolver guy, and a S&W guy, but facts are facts.
I agree. I love my S&W wheel guns, but the 1911 gets my vote:

#1 1911
#2 S&W Hand Ejectors, particularly in .38 special
#3 Colt SAA


Quote:
The 1911 is just a pain in the rear. I have spent too much money on 1911's that did not work properly. I have certainly wasted too much time testing malfunctioning guns that should have worked from the factory. I added up all my receipts a few years back. This was over the course of six guns and nearly 10 years. I could have had a very nice Heirloom Precision gun and several thousand rounds of ammo for that money. I will sell a gun that needs to be tested; the 1911 has burned out that desire. I used to think of it as a challenge, but now it's just an exercise in frustration and pocketbook willpower.

I know everyone likes to praise the design, but it's really not that good. The cartridge has to bounce around too much to get into the chamber. Hilton Yam has written quite a bit about how the gun needs to be modified, tested, and maintained so cartridges continue to flow correctly into the chamber.
Yikes, where to begin. Yes, they can be a pain, but it isn't the design. You say the design isn't that good, but the design itself isn't all that different than today's semi autos. They all operate on basically the same principle. Also, in a properly built 1911 with an internal extractor, it should NOT allow the cartridge to "bounce around" into the chamber uncontrolled; the cartridge should be held by the internal extractor during feeding cycle.

That said, umpteen different companies produce 1911s and their magazines (crap mags afflict the 1911 platform the same way crap mags impact ARs). And each company makes their 1911 a little differently (varyingd specs). If you had 25+ different companies making Glocks, not to the exact same specifications, I'd bet we'd here lots of stories of troubled Glocks too. I do agree that buying a 1911 is not as easy as going in and buying a Glock, XD, Sig, etc for these reasons.

My 1911 runs everything 100%, except for 230 Grain Blazer CCIs. And once I replaced my mainspring with a new one from Wolf that turned out to be defective (only 50% of the required closing strength).

Last edited by jad0110; March 24, 2013 at 07:16 PM.
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Old March 24, 2013, 08:44 PM   #53
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Fortunately, there is simply more than one "America's sidearm".

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I knew that some people would mention the SAA because of its success as a design in its time, and how there are many imitators. However, it had a much shorter service life, and technology wise, it was more on the obsolete side, much sooner than the 1911.
This is part of the key to why the Colt SAA is one of America's handguns. Probably the first one truly thought of as America's handgun both in this country and globally. It's short service life does not discount it because it continues to be made and used today. It's clones and descendants are numerous. Though other guns were used, like the Schofeld or Remington, none others were as influential, as copied, or as emblematic (rightly or wrongly) of America as the Colt SAA. That a lot of this is due to John Wayne and Clint Eastwood only addsto it's place as "America's Gun".

If a fella wants to include the S&W M&P they run into problems. The first being Colt. Colt and S&W were neck and neck for the DA revolver market in the U.S. till the 1960s or so.

From 1900 or so till the 1980s the U.S. was a nation of wheelgunners. They were much more popular than semis. But they used both Colt, S&W and Ruger guns. Not just the M&P.

If the argument is for all American made DA revolvers then you have to explain away the European Webleys and Enfields, etc. The argument can be that more American made DA revolvers were sold than any other. But I'm not sure that cuts it.

If you argue for the snubby revolver, than I agree.

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Old March 24, 2013, 09:45 PM   #54
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"In a way, S&W did as well, but in a different way. Rossi, Taurus and the low quality Spanish copies, copied S&W, notably the M&P."

And no one has ever made a lesser copy of the 1911?

Hint... They have.

As for S&W, the company alone has made better than 4 million Hand Ejectors.


"Ok but what might be a really good reason for that? Maybe a high pct of production going into two separate world wars?"

Colt was producing commercial versions of the 1911, and offering them for sale in the United States, almost from the day that it was adopted into military service.

The predecessors to the 1911, such as the 1900, weren't particularly good sellers in the commercial market, either.

As for price, what has that really got to do with it?

If it were truly such a wondrous piece of equipment and truly deserving of the title of America's Gun, it would stand to reason that people would see through the higher price to its greater benefits and it would be an instant hit upon its introduction.

That didn't really happen.

The difference was that the American public didn't start purchasing them in any substantial quantities until well after World War II, and the "legend" of the 1911 didn't start manifesting itself until the 1950s, when everyone and their brother started writing about how wonderful it was (apparently largely in comparison to all of the inexpensive surplus handguns that were coming int the United States at that time).

Even with all of those millions of American servicemen coming back from war, having experienced the 1911 first hand, it still didn't start outselling the simple revolver until the 1980s.... and then the Wonder 9s blasted right past both the revolver and the 1911.


"The S&W was largely issued to police and agencies because the 1911 was considered over kill IMO AND the M&P was cheaper."

Police sales were a part of it.

But it doesn't take away from the fact that for every revolver Smith & Wesson (or Colt) sold to government service (Federal, State, or Local) they sold 10 to 15 to civilians with no governmental connection at all.

"The M&P was also reliable, in a proven caliber so it worked. It is and was a great design, but was not near as ground breaking as was the 1911."

Hate to disagree with you, but the 1911 wasn't particularly ground breaking at all. It was a solid design, derived by Browning through an iterative process that spanned the better part of two decades and ended up with a lot of the features of the 1911 (swinging link, the barrel bushing are the two biggies) being dropped in Browning's later designs.

It also wasn't even particularly groundbreaking in that it didn't even lead the way for military semi-automatics around the world. The United States at that point was like the 12th or 13th nation to adopt a semi-auto.



" the saa 45 and the 45 cal 1911 in all their forms. they are the most natural feeling of all handguns."

Hate to disagree with you, Dale, but if I wanted to pick a "natural" feeling handgun, the SAA and the 1911 would be among the last handguns I'd pick...

At the top of the list for natural handguns would be the ultimate Browning design, the High Power.


Don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people who claim that the 1911 design is crap. If it were, I wouldn't have a 1911 in my safe.

I don't don't get all misty eyed and start saluting and standing at attention and swearing eternal loyalty to John Browning when someone mentions those four numbers... 1 9 1 1...

But hell, even the freaking Russians took the Browning design and made a LOT of improvements...
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Old March 24, 2013, 10:47 PM   #55
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Hate to disagree with you, Dale, but if I wanted to pick a "natural" feeling handgun, the SAA and the 1911 would be among the last handguns I'd pick...
It's purely subjective but I'd have to agree with Dale, the Colt SAA (1851 Navy/Ruger XR3) is the most natural pointing and handling revolver I've ever used. And I've used nearly every make and model of revolver existent. The 1911 is the most comfortable and natural pointing/handling automatic I've ever used.
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Old March 24, 2013, 11:01 PM   #56
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Definitely the 1911.
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Old March 24, 2013, 11:06 PM   #57
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(saw this somewhere... )

Because Glock fanboys only know how to say and think one thing.

Hey, what steel gun do you suggest?

GFB: Glock!

Hey, what kind of rims work good on this SUV?

GFB: Glock!

Hey, what should be the last topping we choose for the pizza?

GFB: Glock!



(I'm not a hater, by the way.. just hope some of you get a chuckle out of this )
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Old March 24, 2013, 11:24 PM   #58
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Who should be the judge?

Since there is diversity of opinion I think we should choose someone qualified to settle this matter. I vote for George Patton. What would he have carried in his drive across Europe?
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Old March 25, 2013, 02:06 AM   #59
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I vote for George Patton. What would he have carried in his drive across Europe?
A tank.

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Old March 25, 2013, 02:14 AM   #60
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It's not really a debatable point. If it's up for debate then it doesn't qualify. From Kansas City to Liege to Ho Chi Minh City there are two hand guns that folks see and think..."That American Gun". The Colt SAA and the 1911. Above and beyond any others, it's those two.

In this discussion your viewpoint depends on the criteria you choose for what is "America's Gun".

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Last edited by tipoc; March 25, 2013 at 02:25 AM.
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Old March 25, 2013, 05:20 AM   #61
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I think it would be the Smith & Wesson/Colt medium frame 38 Special revolver.

The 1911 is the gun that gun enthusiasts really like.

But I think "everyman" picks the 38.
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Old March 25, 2013, 05:37 AM   #62
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Patron had, and carried, a smith and wesson .357 magnum along with his SAA. There is a photo of him overlooking a battle field in Africa with the 357 on his hip.
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Old March 25, 2013, 06:51 AM   #63
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"the 1911 would not even be close, popularity wise, to the Glock"

We're not talking about popularity, we're talking about the gun that comes to mind when you think of American spirit and will. That is without a doubt not a Glock.
Colt Peacemaker. Ruthless independent spirit in the wilderness. A hard gun for hard men.

1911: guys stuck in holes in WWI and WWII. I'd proffer their American spirit most of the time would have been "get me out of here!"
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Old March 25, 2013, 07:36 AM   #64
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Oh, we're talking about American spirit and will...


Anymore, one of these...

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Old March 25, 2013, 07:49 AM   #65
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I carry a Glock every day but trying to call it the iconic American sidearm is like calling the Toyota Corolla the iconic American car. Just because it sells a ton doesn't make it an "icon" and doesn't make it "America's", as in "ownership".

If it's "America's", we have to "own" it. It has to be what pops to mind when you say two words "American" "handgun".

You don't think "Toyota Corolla" when you say "American car" and you don't say "Glock" when you think "American handgun".

Just the idea that something that's been here for barely 30 of our 237 years could be our nation's icon is almost laughable in it's own right, even if it were "American".
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Old March 25, 2013, 08:30 AM   #66
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No other American weapon has made enemies reconsider their options than the M2. Personally, with a 100 year history that's still going strong, and more enemies knowing the silhouette better than any other weapon, that's my pick for America's 'sidearm'.
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Old March 25, 2013, 08:38 AM   #67
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@mike irwin- That pic brings back memories. I remember making forts and playing capture the flag with the disc guns. Mom yelling because the discs got stuck in the vacuum. You could get them to arc around stuff and get the other guy. Much better than the airsoft stuff they have now.
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Old March 25, 2013, 08:40 AM   #68
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Agreed, but I think we're sticking with pistols. Else I'd mention the Winchester lever action, "fatboy" and "long tom."
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Old March 25, 2013, 09:48 AM   #69
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The 1911 has to be America's handgun but if you only gonna have one it has to be an S&W or Colt .357 revolver. I guess for me it would be the S&W since Colt is out of the picture.
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Old March 25, 2013, 10:52 AM   #70
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It's gotta be "Colt .45"; 1873 or 1911, take your pick.
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Old March 25, 2013, 10:57 AM   #71
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One more vote for the 1911. It's as American as apple pie.
The SAA and the Colt & S&W revolvers come close but are not as recognizable without close inspection. One glance and you know it's a 1911. JMO
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Old March 25, 2013, 11:10 AM   #72
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Even though I'm primarily a single action shooter, I initially agreed with the 1911 crowd. I would've been comfortable with it or the S&W Hand Ejector. However, the more I think about the Colt Single Action Army, the more merit I think it has. While the Model P may have been designed in 1872, the Colt's Revolving Pistol goes back to the 1830's. The Paterson guns were not a commercial success but they were a huge advance in handgun technology, as all previous revolver designs were flintlocks and had to be rotated by hand. Sam Colt didn't invent the revolver but he did modernize it, improve it and make it accessible. Paterson was the first stepping stone to Colt's success. Then came the very successful "Walker" model that was a huge asset to the Texas Rangers that carried them. There ain't nothin' more American than Texas and their Rangers. Then came the subsequent improvements in what we now call the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Model Dragoons. Then the 1849 Pocket model, which was Colt's best seller of the time period. Then came the 1851 Navy .36 and the supreme percussion revolver, the 1860 .44. These guns were relied upon heavily during the Civil War and this ushered in the age of the gunfighter. Son, nothing is more American than Wild Bill Hickok, the cowboy, outlaws and gunfighters. When the Rollin White patent ran out in 1869, everybody scrambled to adapt their sixguns to metallic cartridges, Colt being a leader in this endeavor. Long after old Sam was laid to rest. Colt engineers created their first big bore dedicated cartridge sixgun, the 1871-1872 "Open Top" .44 rimfire model, which borrowed heavily from the 1860. The Army decided they wanted a .45cal and a solid frame. So William Mason went back to the drawing board and in only a matter of months, one of the most famous firearms of all time was born, the Single Action Army .45Colt. Yes, there were a lot of different guns by a lot of different makers but along with the various Winchester models, from John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, no other gun is so readily identified with the period. The Colt single action has endured like no other, with Colt SAA's, its various replicas and replicas of most of their percussion guns being produced to this day, 177yrs later.

I changed my mind, my vote goes to the Colt Single Action Army.
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Old March 25, 2013, 11:57 AM   #73
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I'd go with the Beretta 92. I mean, hear me out:

* It's an immigrant, like well... all of us.
* It's bigger and heavier than it needs to be... a very American quality.
* It's nice to look at... another American quality.
* It's affordable.
* The US military adopted it as their primary sidearm.
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Old March 25, 2013, 12:30 PM   #74
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Until we settle on some criteria it'll just go round and round with assertions.

The gun that most here and globally associate with the U.S.? And that folks think of as an American gun.

or...

The most widely used in the U.S.?

or...

the most widely owned in the U.S.?

What time frame?

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Old March 25, 2013, 12:41 PM   #75
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I will be flamed for this but let me start off by saying I am NOT a glock fan boy.

The 1911 might be the "Iconic" American gun, but if you are just looking at it from a standpoint of what gun you are most likely to see on a day to day basis TODAY it would be the Glock.
If you look at what gun everyone from LEO agencies, to Gov't agents, to your average Joe own and own a lot of it would be the Glock.

For better or worse the Glock is reliable, accurate enough, ergonomic enough and overall INEXPENSIVE. You can find a glock to suit whatever needs you have from 9MM all the way up to 10MM or 357 SIG. The only thing they don't make (in this country) yet are 380 and 22LR Glock's.

Its weird to say but in the era where the American Oil Company was purchased by BRITISH Petroleum and Chrystler owns Daimler/Benz , the Glock has become “Americas Sidearm”

It will be interesting to see what if anything the Military ever replaces the M9 with, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was some sort of Striker Fired "Glock Like" firearm in 40 S&W or 45 ACP.
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