The GunDigest Shooter’s Guide to the 1911 by Robert Campbell is a biased, one-sided, total fanboi-ish, and ridiculously positive review of the 1911 pistol platform.
And that’s exactly what makes this book such a joy to read.
If I choose to read a book about the 1911, I sure hope it’s written by a true and unabashed fanatic – and Mr. Campbell is bursting at the ‘rails’ with passion and knowledge about 1911 pistols. I loved the enthusiasm evident in each of the 26 chapters. If I wanted a neutral overview of 1911 pistols compared to other designs, I would have purchased a book titled something like “The Milque Toast Review Of The 1911, But We Don’t Mean To Degrade Other Designs That Are Less Fortunate.”
The book covers history of not only the 1911 platform, but the .45 ACP cartridge which made it sing. Early combat actions are covered as are fears of ‘cocked and locked’ carry from some in law enforcement administration.
Campbell dedicates six entire chapters to examining different classes of 1911’s, such as GI, aluminum framed, top end, target grade, and Commanders, Officers Models and Defender models.
Other topics include ammunition types and coverage of dozens of specific makes including accuracy and combat drill performance.
Things I did not know about the 1911 before reading this book:
- In World War II, the pilot of an Allied Piper Cub observation plane downed a German Storch observation plane with a 1911 pistol.
- Colonel John T. Thompson (yes, THAT Thompson) was instrumental in adoption of the .45 ACP cartridge as it allowed an auto-loading pistol to approximate performance of the .45 Colt in a revolver.
- One 1911 frame in the MEU/SOC rebuild program was found to have over 500,000 rounds through it. Some might refer to that as reliability.
Things I already knew, but are always fun to read about again:
- The Army accepted the 1911 as its standard sidearm after a 6,000 round torture test with no failures. When the test gun got hot, it was dunked in a bucket of water.
- The automatic pistol submitted by Savage for the same trials looks surprisingly like Buck Rogers’ ray gun.
- In World War II, 2nd Lt. Owen Baggett, parachuting to safety after his plane was destroyed, shot down a Japanese Zero trying to strafe him by hitting its pilot with a 1911 shot.
The GunDigest Shooters Guide to the 1911 is a gun geek’s delight and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.