The Auto-Ordnance 1911PKZSE is pretty darn close to an original World War II-era GI M1911A1 with features like an arched mainspring housing with lanyard loop, a period-correct thumb safety (which is more of a small nub), a checkered spur hammer, a small grip safety, small fixed sights and checkered brown plastic grips. Like the original, it comes with a seven-round magazine. The roll marks on the sides of the slide and frame—“Model 1911A1 U.S. Army”—deviate from original mil-spec specimens, but only a die-hard collector would care. The value in these GI-style pistols, and the 1911PKZSE in particular, is the ability to shoot these pistols a lot and not worry about decreasing the value of an original.
The barrel, slide and frame are constructed of 4140 steel on this classic mil-spec 1911 in .45 ACP. An arched mainspring housing with a lanyard loop is used in conjunction with a short aluminum trigger on the design, while checkered mahogany grips give operators a sure hold during operation. (<a target=blank href=http://www.americantactical.us/939/detail.html>http://www.americantactical.us</a>; 800-290-0065)
Colt was the original manufacturer of the U.S. government’s 1911s and 1911A1s. The Colt Series 70 holds true to the originals with a standard ejection port, a spur hammer, a short steel trigger and a Series 70 mechanism. This Colt .45 ACP offers rosewood grips and a blued finish. (<a target=blank href=http://www.colt.com/Catalog/Pistols/Series70™.aspx>http://www.colt.com</a>; 800-962-2658)
Featuring a black oxide finish and checkered walnut grips, the classically styled 1911 A1 by CZ is the first pistol the company produced in the U.S. This variant builds upon the mil-spec version with updates like an aluminum trigger, larger sights and a 5-inch, stainless steel barrel. (<a target=blank href=http://cz-usa.com/product/cz-1911-a1>http://www.cz-usa.com</a>; 800-955-4486)
The High Standard United States Model 1911A1 is close to a GI 1911A1 except for the straight mainspring housing and wood grips. Original 1911A1s had an arched mainspring housing and checkered plastic grips. This eight-shot .45 ACP sports a Parkerized finish and a Series 70 operating system. (<a target=blank href=http://www.highstandard.com/index.php/weapons-a-products/weapons?id=101>http://www.highstandard.com</a>; 713-462-4200)
The 1911A1 Government from Inland Manufacturing is a clone of the World War II-era military pistols. Of course, this 1911A1 uses modern advancements in metallurgy and internal design, so this Parkerized .45 ACP clone can be run hard and long on the range. (<a target=blank href=http://www.inland-mfg.com/Inland-Handguns/1911-A1-Government.html>http://www.inland-mfg.com</a>; 877-425-4867)
The American Classic, available through Eagle Imports, features a hammer-forged frame and slide made from 4140 steel. The front sight blade uses a ramp instead of the round front sight found on mil-spec 1911s. The grip has been updated to include the Metro Arms logo carved in the center. A Series 70 mechanism is used in the American Classic Model just like the original 1911 designs. (<a target=blank href=https://americanclassic.eagleimportsinc.com>http://www.eagleimportsinc.com</a>; 732-493-0333)
Remington built 1911s for Uncle Sam during World War II, and in 2010 the company started building them for civilians, too. The 1911 R1 is true to its GI heritage, complete with the double-diamond-checkered walnut grips. Remington updated the classic design with three-dot sights along with a lowered and flared ejection port. (<a target=blank href=http://remingtonhandguns.com/1911#overview-r1>http://www.remington.com</a>; 800-243-9700)
Updated three-dot sights that are large and easy to see is just one of the enhancements Springfield Armory made on the company’s 1911 Mil-Spec model. Other upgrades include a stainless steel, match-grade barrel. It also includes Springfield’s ILS system, which allows users to disable the pistol. (<a target=blank href=http://www.springfield-armory.com/products/1911-mil-spec-45-acp/>http://www.springfield-armory.com</a>; 800-680-6866)
Taylor’s 1911 series features a number of different pistol reproduction that are nearly identical to the U.S. Government model 1911 and 1911A1 pistols. The 1911LNYD model is close to the M1911 pistol and features a blued barrel, straight mainspring housing with lanyard ring, a standard trigger and checkered walnut grips. The area of the frame behind the receiver is not relieved of metal, just like original M1911. Different from U.S. mil-spec 1911s, this Taylor’s model uses eight-round magazines. All Taylor’s 1911s use Series 70 mechanisms. (<a target=blank href=http://www.taylorsfirearms.com>http://www.taylorsfirearms.com</a>; 540-722-2017)
Back at the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. Army was in need of a pistol and a cartridge. John Browning had a design and Colt had the manufacturing expertise. After extensive trials, the Army adopted the “Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911.” In 1924, changes were made to the M1911 and the pistol was designated the M1911A1. The pistol went on to be America’s longest-serving sidearm, and the enthusiasm for the 1911-style pistol doesn’t look like it will abate very soon, even after 104 years.
The M1911A1 was made to take abuse as much as give it out in real-world combat, where a pistol had to be immune to dust, sand, mud and even rust from lack of maintenance. The tolerances of the GI-issued M1911A1s were loose for a reason. Today we are spoiled—not that I’m complaining—with accurate, tight-fitting pistols that feature extended beavertail grip safeties, mag wells, Picatinny rails, large sights, Cerakote finishes, lowered and flared ejection ports and a slew of other enhancements that make operating a 1911-style pistol more comfortable and more effective. A number of manufacturers build GI-style M1911- and M1911A1-style pistols, albeit with modern upgrades for today’s shooters.
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