War Is Boring
Forget Glock or Sig Sauer: This 100 Year Old Gun Might Be Better
The response of some weapons designers might have been to develop a fully automatic gun. If one bullet wouldn’t stop the enemy, three might. That would be the argument of a disposable, consumerist culture of overabundance, but we weren’t there yet. The 1911 was frugal with the bullets, but the ones it dished out really did the job.
The 1911 is one of the most notorious handguns in history and easily the most famous in America, having seen action in every U.S. conflict since World War I. One of the most successful product designs ever, the 1911 has achieved something rare in the world of machines: immortality. Over a hundred years old, it remains largely unchanged.
What Apple is to consumer electronics, John Browning was to late 19th and early 20th century firearms. The 1911 is his most famous design. The typical 1911 is 8.25 inches from tip to tail and weighs 2.49 pounds empty — about as much as a trade paperback book. The 1911 is made of steel, steel and more steel, and takes a magazine that holds seven bullets.
The 1911 has seen service in World War I, Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic (twice), Lebanon, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Iran, Grenada, Panama, the Gulf War, the Iraq War and Afghanistan. It has chased bad men from Pancho Villa to Osama Bin Laden.