September 21st, 2020

Historic Handgun — Colt M1911 Survived 2060-mile WWII Escape

Corregidor Pistol NRA

What a tale this rusty Colt could tell — this M1911 pistol is more than a vintage military side-arm. It is a symbol of courage, determination, and triumph over adversity. This pistol was carried on a 2,060-mile open-boat ocean crossing from the Philippines to Australia. In May of 1942, the skipper and 17 crewmen of the Minesweeper U.S.S. Quail courageously decided to sail from Manilla to Darwin, Australia rather than surrender to the Japanese. Lt. J.H. Morrill and his crew made that long ocean journey in a 36-foot launch, braving enemy air and sea forces and dangerous ocean conditions.

This pistol is part of the NRA Museum Collection in Fairfax, Virginia. This historic Colt M1911 was a featured “Gun of the Day” on the NRA Museum Facebook Page where you’ll find hundreds of other interesting firearms. We believe the remarkable story of this pistol deserved to be told here…

Colt M1911 Pistol — Escape from Corregidor
The minesweeper U.S.S. Quail was the last operational American naval vessel in the Philippines when Japan began its occupation of the country in May 1942. After his vessel was disabled at the strategically-important island of Corregidor near the entrance to Manilla Bay, Lt. Commander J. H. Morrill scuttled the ship and gave his crew a choice: either surrender to the Japanese or attempt to escape, by sea, to Allied territory thousands of miles away. Rather than surrender, 17 crew members elected to join Morrill on a dangerous passage in a 36-foot open launch/lifeboat. Gear was scavenged including this M1911 recovered from a dead serviceman. With few charts or navigational aids, Morrill and his men successfully completed an epic 58-day 2,060-mile journey to Australia and safety.

The Japanese bomb Corregidor in 1942:
Corregidor Pistol NRA

Corregidor Pistol NRA

Corregidor Island today, with War Memorial:
Corregidor Pistol NRA

Credit NRA Museum, Corregidor.org, and U.S. Government photo from Wikipedia.

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May 12th, 2018

How to Buy a U.S. Military Surplus CMP 1911 Pistol

CMP 1911 Pistol lottery Service Grade Field Rack application procedure

You probably know by now that the CMP has been authorized to distribute U.S. Army surplus 1911 pistols. These were the actual .45 ACP handguns issued to American troops for most of the 20th Century. The first 8,000 pistols have been released from the U.S. Army to the CMP. The very best examples will be auctioned, while the rest will sold in three classes: Service Grade ($1050); Field Grade ($950); and Rack Grade ($850). Interest has been high in these historic 1911 service pistols, with demand expected to exceed supply. Now the CMP has set up the purchase procedure and pricing.

NOTE: The CMP 1911 Order Form Packet can be downloaded from TheCMP.org starting June 4, 2018. Only ONE CMP 1911 Order Form Packet per customer may be submitted.

IMPORTANT: To purchase one of these pistols, you must submit a “hard copy” application, and pass two NICS background tests. Potential purchasers must provide the CMP with a set of documents including: 1) proof of U.S. Citizenship; 2) proof of membership in a CMP-affiliated club; 3) proof of participation in a marksmanship activity; 4) a completed 1911 order form, including a notarized form 2A; 5) a signed copy of the 01, or 02, or 07 Federal Firearms License to which the 1911 will be transferred. All qualifying documents must be included in your order packet.

Designed by J.M. Browning, the M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It served as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1986. It was widely used in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

CMP 1911 Pistol lottery Service Grade Field Rack application procedure

CMP 1911 Pistol Purchasing Procedure

While the National Defense Authorization Act granted transfer of a maximum of 10,000 1911s per year to the CMP, the Secretary of the Army allowed only 8,000 1911s to be transferred to the CMP for sale and distribution this fiscal year. Some of those are anticipated to be unusual and worthy of being auctioned. The remaining number will be sold based on a computerized Random Number Generator.

Order Packet Availability: CMP 1911 Order Form Packet will be posted on the CMP website on June 4, 2018. Only ONE CMP 1911 order form packet per customer may be submitted. Hand delivered, emailed, and faxed orders will not be accepted. CMP 1911 order form packet must be mailed to the following address: CMP 1911, 1800 Roberts Drive, Anniston, AL 36207.

One-Month Order Window: Orders must be postmarked NOT PRIOR TO 4 September 2018 and NOT AFTER 4 October 2018. Any orders received postmarked prior to September 4 will not be accepted. Hand delivered, emailed, and faxed orders will not be accepted.

CMP 1911 Pistol Pricing

CMP has priced the 1911 type pistols at fair market value in accordance with CMP’s enabling legislation. The shipping cost is included in the price.

Service Grade $1050. Pistol may exhibit minor pitting and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.

Field Grade $950. Pistol may exhibit minor rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.

Rack Grade $850. Pistol will exhibit rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips may be incomplete and exhibit cracks. Pistol requires minor work to return to issuable condition.

Auction Grade. The condition of the auction pistol will be described when posted for auction. Note: If you have already purchased a 1911 from CMP you will NOT be allowed to purchase an auction 1911. If you purchase an auction 1911, your name will be pulled from the sequenced list. No repeat purchasers are allowed until all orders received have been filled.

(more…)

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December 19th, 2017

New Law Mandates Civilian Sales of Historic M1911 Pistols

CMP NRA-ILA 1911 surplus military pistols
Photo courtesy NRA-ILA.org

Report by NRA-ILA
Last week, President Trump signed into law H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA). Included in the law is a provision long sought by collectors of vintage firearms and militaria that would require military surplus M1911/M1911A1 pistols (1911s) to be made available for sale to the American public. The military currently has some 100,000 excess 1911s sitting in storage at taxpayer expense.

A previous version of the NDAA signed into law by then-President Obama in 2015 authorized, but did not require, the Secretary of Defense to transfer up to 10,000 surplus 1911s per year to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) for sale to the public. Unsurprisingly, no such transfers were ever made while Obama remained in the White House.

The language in the 2018 NDAA effectively establishes a mandatory pilot program under which at least 8,000 (and as many as 10,000) 1911s would be transferred to the CMP for public sale in 2018. The Secretary of Defense must then report to Congress on the outcome of the program. Thereafter, the Secretary would be authorized to continue transferring up to 10,000 [more] surplus 1911s a year to the CMP for further public sales. READ More about CMP Sales of Vintage 1911 Pistols on NRA-ILA.org.

CMP NRA-ILA 1911 surplus military pistols

The Process to Acquire a Military 1911 Pistol
Sales of the surplus 1911 handguns will be handled a bit differently than most other CMP firearms transfers for M1 Garands, M1 Carbines and other vintage rifles. All transfers must go through a local FFL in a face-to-face transaction. In addition, there will be two background checks of the purchaser before the gun can be transfered. The first check is done by the CMP prior to shipping the pistol, while a second check is done by the FFL before releasing the pistol to the customer at the FFL’s place of business. Customers will be limited to one 1911 pistol per calendar year.

Additional CMP Requirements
The CMP has a number of “threshhold” requirements for purchase of a surplus 1911. To acquire one of the CMP 1911s, you must be a U.S. citizens, eligible to receive firearms under federal law, and the laws of your city/state. In addition you must belong to a CMP-affiliated club, and able to provide proof of participation in a marksmanship activity.

CMP NRA-ILA 1911 surplus military pistols

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December 11th, 2017

.45 ACP Quick Guide — Reloading and 1911 Field Stripping

Do you shoot a .45 ACP? We love this short, fat cartridge because it is inherently accurate, it makes big, easy-to-see holes in paper, and because it it works so well in the classic 1911 series of pistols. It is hard to beat a good, tuned model 1911 when it comes to trigger pull/reset and natural pointing ability.

Once you get the hang of it, 1911-type pistols are also easy to field strip for cleaning. Here is a video showing how to disassemble and reassemble your model 1911:

Model 1911 Field Stripping and Reassembly

.45 ACP Ammunition Loading Guide

If you “roll your own” .45 ACP cartridges, there are many good powder choices. Our favorites are Vihtavuori N320, AA No. 5, and Hodgdon TiteGroup, but there are many other good choices. You’ll find these three recommended powders (plus seven others) in this .45 ACP Reloading Guide from Nosler:

Nosler .45 ACP 45 reloading guide 185 grain bullet

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November 29th, 2015

Army Authorized to Transfer M1911 & M1911A1 Pistols to CMP

m1911 m1911a1 Pistol Army CMP Civilian Marksmanship Program

It’s official — the U.S. Army is now authorized to transfer surplus M1911 and M1911A1 .45 ACP pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) for later sale to the public. This development was the result of language in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed by President Obama on November 25, 2015.

Section 1087 of the 2016 NDAA authorizes the CMP to sell surplus M1911/M1911A1 pistols and related parts/accessories to the public. This is a boon to gun collectors and should help the Army save money on storage for the 100,000 or so M1911 pistols it now stores at the Anniston (AL) Army Depot, near the the CMP’s regional warehouse and store.

Don’t expect an immediate flood of .45 ACP pistols on the market. The Army is not allowed to transfer more than 10,000 pistols per year, and the CMP says it will take a year or more to inspect/grade the pistols and ready them for sale. With roughly 100,000 pistols in Army hands currently, these guns could be available from the CMP for a decade or more. NOTE: This change in Federal law does NOT apply to surplus handguns held by the U.S. Navy, USAF, USMC, or federal law enforcement agencies. In addition, the NDAA does not compel the Army (at the behest of the Secretary of Defense) to commence pistol transfers. That must still be ordered by the Secretary.

Relevant Language from the 2016 NDAA:

‘‘(h) AUTHORIZED TRANSFERS.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may transfer to the corporation, in accordance with the procedure prescribed in this subchapter, surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols and spare parts and related accessories for those pistols that, on the date of the enactment of this subsection, are under the control of the Secretary and are surplus to the requirements of the Department of the Army, and such material as may be recovered by the Secretary pursuant to section 40728A(a) of this title. The Secretary shall determine a reasonable schedule for the transfer of such surplus pistols. ‘‘(2) The Secretary may not transfer more than 10,000 surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols to the corporation during any year and may only transfer such pistols as long as pistols described in paragraph (1) remain available for transfer.’’.

Writing for Ammoland.com, gun expert Dean Weingarten expressed a wish that the language in the NDAA was more open-ended: “I would have thought that the wording could simply have been changed to include surplus ‘pistols’ not just 1911 and 1911A1s. Then surplus .22 caliber trainers, 9mm pistols, and .38 caliber revolvers would also have been available. Perhaps this is the best that the NRA felt [it] could get from this President.”

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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May 8th, 2013

Bianchi Cup Preview and Jessie’s New 9mm 1911

Jessie Duff 9mm pistolThe 35th Annual Bianchi Cup is happening soon. The 2013 MidwayUSA/NRA Bianchi Cup Championship will take place in Columbia, MO, May 22-25. This major event draws shooters from all over the world. Along with the USA, competitors have come from Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Switzerland. Firearm categories include: Open Division, Metallic Sights, Service Pistol, and Revolver. In addition there be awards for the top shooters in specific classes: Law enforcement, Women, Junior, International, Newcomer, Senior, Grand Senior.

One of the favorites this year is Jessie Duff, shown below competing with one of her Bianchi Cup custom rigs. Jessie’s pistol sports special brackets to help align and steady the gun during the barricade shots.

CLICK for 2013 NRA Bianchi Cup Info Guide

Jessie Duff 9mm pistol

Jessie Duff 9mm pistol

Slick Modified 9mm Model 1911 for Jessie
If you’re curious about the hardware used by top shooters in other action pistol events, here is Jessie Duff’s new Taurus PT1911 9mm single-stack, set up for Open Division. Note the extended, tri-port compensator attached up-front, and the large cut-out on top of the forward part of the slide. That cut-out is for weight reduction and improved balance. Interestingly, the rear of the slide is milled flat where the rear sight would be on a conventional model 1911. Jessie relies on her Leupold DeltaPoint red dot sight to get on target, so the pistol doesn’t need front or rear iron sights.

Jessie Duff 9mm pistol

Jessie Duff 9mm pistol

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October 22nd, 2012

Try Vihtavuori N320 in your .45 ACP Pistol

VV N320 for .45 ACP

VV N320 for .45 ACPMan does not live by long-guns alone. We know that many of our readers own .45 ACP handguns and load for this extremely accurate “classic” cartridge. When selecting a powder for the .45 ACP, there are many good options. All the major powder manufacturers make propellants with appropriate density and burn rate characteristics for the .45 ACP. Popular choices include: AA #5 (Accurate Powder); Bullseye (Alliant); Clays, HP-38, and Titegroup (Hodgdon); VV N310 and N320 (Vihtavuori); and WW 231 and WST (Winchester). We’ve tried all those powders in a variety of .45 ACP handguns. When we consider all the factors that make for a good pistol powder, we think N320 is one of the best available propellants for the .45 ACP. Vihtavuori N320 is very accurate, it meters well, and it burns clean, with minimal smoke and flash. If you haven’t tried VV N320 yet, you should.

Pros and Cons of Different Powders for the .45 ACP
This Editor has personally tried out eight or more different powders for the .45 ACP. Bullseye works but it is very dirty (both smoke out the barrel and sooty powder fouling on case). Though it otherwise burns clean, Titegroup leaves a singular (and nasty) high-temp flame streak on your brass that is hard to remove. AA #5 is a good choice for progressive press newbies as you use more powder so a double charge will (usually) be obvious. I like AA #5 but N320 was more accurate. Clays burns clean but some powder measures struggle with flake powders like this. WW 231 offered excellent accuracy and metered well, but it kicked out sparks with little pieces of debris that would hit me in the face. Who wants that?

I personally tried all the powders listed above with lead, plated, and jacketed bullets. After testing for accuracy, consistency, and ease of metering, I selected VV N320 as the best overall performer.

Vihtavuori N320

  • No powder tested was more accurate (WW 231 was equally accurate).
  • Meters very well in all kinds of powder measures.
  • Produces very little smoke from muzzle.
  • Does not put nasty burn streak on brass like Tite-Group does.
  • Low Flash — you don’t get particles and sparks flying out like WW 231.
  • Cases come out from gun very clean — so you can tumble less often.

Forum member and gunsmith Michael Ezell agrees that N320 is a good choice for the .45 ACP. Mike has also found that WW 231, while accurate, produces sparks and a large flash. Mike writes: “I first started using N320 after my first night shoot, while shooting IDPA/IPSC matches. It was astonishing how much of a fireball the WW 231 created. I was literally blinded by the flash while trying to shoot a match. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out very well. I went from WW 231 to N320 and never looked back…and the flash from it was a fraction of what a kid’s sparkler would give off. I have nothing but good things to say about [N320] after using both. Night shoots are a real eye-opener! When it comes to a personal protection… there is, statistically, a very high chance that if you ever have to use a gun to protect yourself or your family, it’ll be in the darkness[.] Being blinded by muzzle flash (and deafened by the noise) are things that should be considered, IMO.”

This Editor owns a full-size, all-stainless S&W 1911. After trying numerous powders, I found VV N320 delivered the best combination of accuracy, easy metering, consistency, clean burning qualities, and low muzzle flash. My gun has proven exceptionally accurate using N320 with bullets from 180 grains to 230 grains — it will shoot as accurately as some expensive customs I’ve tried. At right is 5-round group I shot offhand at 10 yards with my 5″ S&W 1911. The bullet hole edges are sharp because I was using semi-wad-cutters. Rounds were loaded with Vihtavuori N320 and 200-grain SWCs from Precision Bullets in Texas.

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June 1st, 2011

1911 Centennial Catalog from Brownells

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of J.M. Browning’s 1911 pistol, and the classic semi-auto is more popular than ever. If you are looking for the source of “all things 1911″, check out Brownells Centennial (7th Ed.) 1911 Catalog. This richly-illustrated catalog features over 3,000 1911 products, including some 350 new items added just for this special edition.

Brownells 1911 catalog

Both Print and PDF Catalogs are FREE
You can order a hard-copy, printed catalog at no charge from Brownells website. If you don’t want to wait for the U.S. Mail to arrive, you can also download the catalog. CLICK HERE to access FREE, 72-page PDF 1911 Catalog.

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