~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association History Project ~
720th MP
Battalion Weapons History
This Page Last Updated
  19 February 2012
M1911 .45 Caliber Pistol
"There was never any doubt that at close range it would drop the enemy in his tracts."
   WANTED: If you have any unusual photographs or can provide any interesting personal stories related to your use of this weapon, please take the time to contact the History Project Manager via this Email Link Your contributions to the Battalion history are always appreciated and welcomed.

   The M1911A1 pistol was the standard personal defense weapon issued to all services from 1911 through 1989. It has a rich military heritage, was very reliable, and the weapon of choice for use in close quarters.

   The .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol M1911A1 is a recoil-operated hand weapon. It is a magazine-fed semiautomatic weapon, which fires one round each time the trigger is squeezed once the hammer is cocked by prior action of the slide or thumb. This design is referred to as "single action only."

   The thumb safety may only be activated once the pistol is cocked. The hammer remains in the fully cocked position once the safety is activated. (Note: More modern pistol designs of the "double action" type will allow the hammer to move forward to an uncocked position when the thumb safety is activated.)

     It was widely respected for its reliability and lethality. However, its single action/cocked and locked design required the user to be very familiar and well-trained to allow carrying the pistol in the "ready-to-fire" mode. Consequently, M1911A1s were often prescribed to be carried without a round in the chamber. Even with this restriction on the user, numerous unintentional discharges were documented yearly.
Primary function: Semiautomatic pistol
Length: 8.625 inches (21.91 centimeters)
Length of barrel: 5.03 inches (12.78 centimeters)
Magazine empty: 2.5 pounds (1.14 kg)
Magazine loaded: 3.0 pounds (1.36 kg)
Bore diameter: .45 caliber
Maximum effective range: 82.02 feet (25 meters)
Muzzle velocity: 830 feet (253 meters) per second
Magazine capacity: 7 rounds
In August 1989 the Battalion switched over to the new 9mm.
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