100 Years Old and Still Going: Smith & Wesson Remade This Classic Gun
Smith & Wesson manufactures a wide variety of 1911s, starting with the SW1911 E-Series, then moving up to their Performance Series, and finally the Performance Pro series. The company also produces equivalents to the traditional full-sized Government pistol, compact Commander pistol, and subcompact Officer series.
Smith & Wesson’s series of handguns based on the 1911 platform stays true to the gun’s roots while adding in a number of features desirable to modern firearms enthusiasts. The company produces a full line of 1911s, from traditional to contemporary, catering to collectors and duty carriers, in a full range of sizes.
(This first appeared last month.)
The 1911 pistol was invented by prolific small arms designer John Moses Browning in the early twentieth century. Browning paired the pistol with his new .45 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge, a large, heavy subsonic cartridge that delivered upwards of 400 foot-pounds of energy on target. The pairing of a semi-automatic pistol capable of holding eight rounds with the .45 ACP manstopper round was in response to reports that U.S.-issue revolvers in .38 Long Colt often failed to stop Filipino insurgents in close quarters combat.
Although the 1911 missed the Philippine Insurrection, it was well positioned to enter World War I on the side of the U.S. military. The American Expeditionary Force issued the 1911 in large numbers where they fought in the trenches of World War I. Minor changes in the design resulted in the 1911A1 designation during the 1920s. More than a million pistols were produced for U.S. and allied forces during World War II, enough that the armed services kept the 1911 in frontline service well into the 1980s.