I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t use 1911 pistols for self-defense because it’s an “expert’s gun.” This attitude always surprises me. The fact is, any handgun is an expert’s gun. Double-action (DA) revolvers and DA autos may be simple to operate, but that doesn’t make them any less of an expert’s weapon. I have seen shooters with J-frame revolvers who, shooting quickly and under pressure, completely miss man-sized targets 10 yards away. Regardless of your choice of handgun, you have to train with it if you expect to successfully use it.

I came of age as a handgunner in the 1970s. In those days, revolvers ruled the roost. I was working my way through college as a night manager of a large bowling and recreation center, and I carried a five-shot, snub-nose revolver chambered in .38 Special. I felt like I was well armed. That little gun allowed me to convince several would-be robbers to take the night off. But I never needed to fire it with serious intent.

Then one night a friend of mine on the local police force told me some horror stories of guys who were high on PCP absorbing .38 Special bullets like sponges absorbing water. As a result, my cop friend changed his off-duty gun to a .45 ACP 1911, and he convinced me to do the same. I’ve been a 1911 guy ever since…

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