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Old October 21, 2013, 05:58 PM   #1
hlds54
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If history had been different

What if back in 1911, during the military pistol trials, the browning designed auto pistol, that we all know as the M1911, had not preformed as well as its competitor, the savage model 1907, which consequently let to the latter being adopted? Meaning the military adopted the funny looking savage over ol' slab sides. Would you have guy running around today at IPSC/IDPA matches with highly tuned savages for competition? Would Wilson Combat, Les Baer, Ed Brown, etc, all be in the business of making high end, hand fitted custom savages? Just thought I'd provoke some thoughts from some of you.
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Old October 21, 2013, 06:15 PM   #2
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Maybe the 1907's wouldn't be going for thousands of dollars now.
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Old October 21, 2013, 06:49 PM   #3
Dunecigar
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American citizen living in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Central America:

Interesting thread.

The Savage 1907 did make it as the 2nd finalist for the that military contract. So, one can only assume that it was a very good gun.

Don't know if it would have surpassed the 1911 in fan following or in variation design but I can say this... it would certainly still be in production.

Can't deny Art Deco.

Hope more people throw their two cents into this thread.
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Old October 21, 2013, 08:45 PM   #4
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More interesting on the 9mm vs. 45acp if they would have chosen the luger.
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Old October 21, 2013, 09:20 PM   #5
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It's interesting to me that you refer to the Savage as "funny-looking"...

(Pic is in this document on page 22):

http://www.forgottenweapons.com/wp-c...stoltrials.pdf

...because if it HAD turned in the best performance and won the contract and become the US officers' trusted sidearm during that historic phase, then, I submit, IT would have been as much an "icon" as the Colt 1911 became. It would have been the ubiquitous and prolifically-produced Savage 1911... recognized, known, and loved far and wide.

There would be a famous beer known as Savage 45 Malt Liquor and there would be hordes of Savage 1911 aficionados with the attendant gunsmith specialists and coffee-table books and magazine articles... Fame is fame! It's not so much about aesthetics or mechanical perfection; it's a sociological phenomenon. Icons become "burned in our brains".

Somebody on TFL would have written an entry wondering about that loser nearly-forgotten and "funny-looking" Colt gun.
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Old October 21, 2013, 09:42 PM   #6
James K
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Not to be too picky, but the Savage Model 1907 was never tested by the Army. The pistol called by the company the Model 1907 was the pocket pistol in .32 and .380 calibers.

The .45 test pistols were just called the "Savage Automatic Pistol" or the "Savage Automatic Military Pistol" without any model year designation.

But CWKahrFan is right. Had the Savage (or the Luger, or the White-Merrill, or the Louis) been adopted and served superbly in two large and several small wars, it would be an icon, with legions of followers. It would have been interesting to have both sides in two World Wars using Lugers - one in 9mm, the other in .45.

Jim
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Old October 21, 2013, 09:55 PM   #7
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In hindsight, the idea that Savage could have come up anything that would have matched the genius of John Moses Browning is a joke.
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Old October 22, 2013, 04:58 PM   #8
Double Naught Spy
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Quote:
What if back in 1911, during the military pistol trials, the browning designed auto pistol, that we all know as the M1911, had not preformed as well as its competitor, the savage model 1907, which consequently let to the latter being adopted? Meaning the military adopted the funny looking savage over ol' slab sides. Would you have guy running around today at IPSC/IDPA matches with highly tuned savages for competition? Would Wilson Combat, Les Baer, Ed Brown, etc, all be in the business of making high end, hand fitted custom savages? Just thought I'd provoke some thoughts from some of you.
Quote:
But CWKahrFan is right. Had the Savage (or the Luger, or the White-Merrill, or the Louis) been adopted and served superbly in two large and several small wars, it would be an icon, with legions of followers. It would have been interesting to have both sides in two World Wars using Lugers - one in 9mm, the other in .45.
Obviously, the timing itself isn't a deciding factor of whether a gun will have a longstanding civilian following after using in the military. Similarly, just because the gun was adopted by the military (and lots of guns have been adopted over time, not of which performed that well) does not mean it would have served with the same performance reputation as the 1911. Maybe the Savage would have been adopted...and maybe it would have turned out to have sucked when it got to battle, was summarily dropped and replaced by the Browning 1923 (Browning having long parted company with Colt) in the 1924 field trials after more than a decade of complaints about the Savage.
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Old October 22, 2013, 05:29 PM   #9
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There are more factors to the 1911 still being a popular firearm today than just its service record. It was the right gun at the right time.

M1s and M1903s are popular as collectibles; but no one is currently manufacturing new ones and no one is using them in competition (except only when competing against the same rifles) or using them in training courses.

Colt Government model style handguns are still so popular today because of their inherent accuracy, ease of shooting AND history. Polymer is really the only big technological advance in handguns since the 1911 was created. The design is far from being obsolete.
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Old October 22, 2013, 05:34 PM   #10
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Well, modern handguns have fewer parts dont they? And aren't newer designs significantly easier to manufacture?
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Old November 23, 2013, 10:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
What if back in 1911, during the military pistol trials, the browning designed auto pistol, that we all know as the M1911, had not preformed as well as its competitor, the savage model 1907, which consequently let to the latter being adopted? Meaning the military adopted the funny looking savage over ol' slab sides. Would you have guy running around today at IPSC/IDPA matches with highly tuned savages for competition? Would Wilson Combat, Les Baer, Ed Brown, etc, all be in the business of making high end, hand fitted custom savages? Just thought I'd provoke some thoughts from some of you.
Communist, Nazi and New Dealer variants of collectivism would be stillborn. We would be living in a libertarian paradise, after a century of economic and scientific progress.
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Old November 23, 2013, 10:45 PM   #12
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Would the 1911 have been as big a deal if so many of them hadn't been sold to civilians for a few dollars in the years after WWII? Would the 1903 Springfield and Mauser rifles have become the basis for bolt action sporting rifles if those weren't also dumped on the civilian market for cheap?

And would AR15s be $500 if it wasn't for all the government contractors cranking out parts for them?


As US shooters, we have some very particular views about what is amazing and what is junk. We talk about Lugers like they were terrible military arms, yet they remained in service with some countries almost as long as the 1911 did.

I had a funny conversation once with a high power rifle shooter about why "if HK, FAL, etc are so good, why aren't they used in high power?". Well, they would, if high power rules weren't designed completely around US service rifle peculiarities. And US bullseye rules calling for a service pistol for some courses of fire is the same thing.


As it stands, the 1911 is a pretty great pistol for certain tasks and it holds up to lots of shooting in .45. But we have evolved a whole system around it's availability, caliber and features. If we grew up with Savage .45s all over the place we'd probably have about the same feelings for Colt .45s as Lugers and Beretta 951s.

The Savage, properly refined, would probably have been more accurate.
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Old November 23, 2013, 10:54 PM   #13
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There were a few guns involved in the M9 trials that are more highly thought-of than the Beretta 92, so I suspect that over time the Colt Goverment Model (what would it have been called if the Savage had been chosen?) would still be very popular today even if it had never been the M1911.
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Old November 23, 2013, 11:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
There were a few guns involved in the M9 trials that are more highly thought-of than the Beretta 92, so I suspect that over time the Colt Goverment Model (what would it have been called if the Savage had been chosen?) would still be very popular today even if it had never been the M1911.
If it lost, Colt would have been like Star, and maybe went out of business in the '30s. We could sit around and talk about the Colt 1911 in the context of good guns that didn't make it, like Star M28s and Polish Radoms.
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Old November 23, 2013, 11:43 PM   #15
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Is this a spin off from the thread about looks mattering?...

I just have to say that the 1911 is by far more appealing to the eye. I am just glad the 1911 was successful or we would probably have been stuck on ugly for quite some time. lol

In all seriousness the success of the 1911 was mostly due to the contract and who knows what would have become of it had it not been awarded the contract. But it's longevity in service was not by chance, the length of service can be attributed to decent reliability and effectiveness in combat.
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