An Ode to Old Slabsides

The 1911

No gun safe is complete without a 1911.  I've had five of them over the years, still have one, and regret getting rid of three of the other four.

My granddad's 1911A1 that he brought home from WWII in an indigenous-made shoulder holster from India with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist.  His plane crashed at Wright-Patterson in Ohio and no one ever asked for it back after he got out of the hospital.  I still have that and will never get rid of it.  I've replaced all the original springs with Wolff springs and use it in a match every couple years.  I still have the original springs and the shoulder holster, too.

A standard Kimber, four digit serial number - I bought one of the first Kimber's in the area, and carried it as a cop for a number of years.  At some point I swapped it for a Bushmaster AR15.  It was a good trade at the time, but I wish I had kept it.

Another Kimber, I don't recall the model designation, but it was the Commander size with a 4.5 inch barrel and standard grip length.  It was a sweet piece, but I sold it one time when I needed some green.

A Colt Series 70/80 transitional Commander - this was probably my favorite one I ever had.  I bought it the day after I turned 21.  The slide had Series 70 markings, but Series 80 internals.  It shot, fed and handled like a dream.  I don't recall why I got rid of it, but I could kick myself for doing it.

The last one was the one I really didn't care about.  It was, I believe, a Springfield, from back when there were only a couple 1911 manufacturers, and Springfield was one of the lower end brands.  This one had been "tricked out" in the style of a late 70s bowling pin gun.  That essentially meant that the original owner had bought a bunch of parts from the Pachmeyer catalog, and stuck them on the gun, without regard to fit or function.  I got a good price buying it from a friend in the late 80s, and sold it a year or two later to another friend for about what I paid for it if I recall correctly.

When I was a kid, my granddad taught me how to field strip is 1911, and I spent many a visit with my eyes closed, taking it apart and putting it back together.  When I was in high school, he gave it to me and I carried it on camping and hiking trips, and kept it in my bedside table for home protection.  In boot camp, still at the age of 17, we fam-fired (shot for familiarization) the 1911.  The drill instructor asked if anyone know how to field strip it, and I boldly (some might say stupidly) announced that I could do it blindfolded.  I had to put up or face the consequences.  Thankfully my youthful training had not left me and I was able to do it just fine.

Today, there are dozens and dozens of 1911 manufacturers, some giants like Ruger and S&W, others are small, custom shops like Les Baer.  There is just something about the way it feels in your hand, and the 100+ years of history.  The US military has had the 1911 in constant use since it was adopted (although since the mid 80s, only a few select units have kept it) and the Marine Corps has just orders several thousand new versions from Colt.

Self Reliance Expo

Less than two weeks away from the next Self Reliance Expo in Mesa, AZ.  If you are anywhere in the desert southwest, you owe it to yourself to go.  Great speakers, great vendors, and a chance to meet up with other preppers from your area.

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