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After 30 years, the Marines are returning to the Colt .45 pistol
Stars and Stripes ^ | August 18, 2012 | By MATTHEW STURDEVANT

Posted on 08/18/2012 2:50:53 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar

HARTFORD, Conn. — The newest Colt .45-caliber pistol is touted for its durability and design.

It is tested to make sure it can be dropped in water, covered in mud, immersed in sand or ice, or left in a dust storm — and still be able to blast off a round when you pull the trigger.

"Virtually, it's indestructible," said Casimir Pawlowski, who works in international sales and technical sevices for Colt Defense LLC. "You can drive over these things with a Humvee and they're still gonna work. It's like a brick that shoots bullets."

An order last month of new M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistols for the Marines is the first purchase of any Colt handgun in almost three decades by any branch of the U.S. military, though .45-caliber Colts were a trusty sidearm of the Army and Marines for most of the 20th century.

Pawlowski started working at Colt Defense several years ago after a 30-year career as a Navy Corpsman. In 1977, he joined the medical corps serving the Navy and U.S. Marines who carried an earlier version of the Colt as their official sidearm — the Model 1911 .45-caliber automatic.

"We saw the .45s out there, and that's what the guys wanted," Pawlowski said.

Connecticut's historic gun manufacturer first sold its semi-automatic Model 1911, designed by John Moses Browning, to the U.S. military in 1911. At the turn of the 19th century, the military was looking for a stronger handgun than the .38-caliber revolvers used in close combat during the Phillipine-American War. The .45-caliber promised knock-down power — more likely to kill than injure — compared with the .38-caliber.

Browning's design was an impressive development from 19th century single-action Army revolvers that held six, individually loaded bullets. The Model 1911 was designed to have a spring-loaded magazine of bullets fit vertically inside the pistol grip. The Model 1911 features a sliding top which ejects a bullet casing, or shell, immediately after a bullet is fired while slipping another round into position for the next shot.

"It's been a brilliant design," Pawlowski said. "Browning was kind of like the Jimi Hendrix of the gun world at the time."

The Model 1911 Colt has been called the "most respected handgun" and was carried, mostly by U.S. military officers, during both World Wars, in Korea and Vietnam.

But in 1985, the federal government, switched to Italian-owned Beretta to provide 9-millimeter pistols as the new official sidearm for the military. The switch was controversial in the 1980s.

The argument in favor of changing to 9-millimeter cartridges was mostly to standardize the U.S. military with other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO. The U.S. General Accounting Office, however, said in 1982, leading up to the change, that substituting an existing inventory with 9-mm pistols would be costly. It wasn't clear if there was any advantage to a 9-mm round versus existing sidearms, the GAO report said.

In recent years, the Marine Corps has been building its own .45-caliber pistols at a facility in Quantico, Va., using parts from existing inventory of Model 1911 pistols and other commercial parts, said Barbara Hamby, spokeswoman for Marine Corps System Command, which orders guns for the Marines. The government, however, hadn't bought new handguns from Colt for decades. That changed this month with the first order of up to 12,000 Colt pistols, starting with 4,036 right away.

"The Colt pistol met or exceeded all requirements put forth in the solicitation and offered the best value to the government," Hamby said. "Colt Defense LLC successfully competed under a best value competitive source selection utilizing a performance specification. Any historical significance inferred from the selection of Colt's offered weapon is coincidental."

The West Hartford Colt manufacturing plant where the pistols are made, along with many other guns, is a spectacle of curiosities.

A computerized lathe about the size of an MRI machine sculpts gun barrels to the 1/10,000th of an inch.

In one room, a team of highly skilled engravers chisel designs on custom-made revolvers, making art on the firearm. They tap tiny, 24-karat-gold-wire strands into inlaid designs, including one pistol with a scrimshaw-scratched portrait of Samuel Colt on one side of the ivory handle.

Engraver Jan Gwinnell says he has been carving designs for Colt for 33 years. Master engraver George Spring said he's been with the company since 1975, though he started engraving earlier than that.

Colt even has a special sauce.

Deep inside the big-box factory is a square vat of chemicals that looks like a doughnut grease fryer, labeled "Activated Black Magic." Beside it are similar vats full of water. This is where polished, carbon steel pistols can be stained as azure as the deep ocean in Belize.

"That'll give you your royal blue finish on carbine steel," said Phil Hinkley, vice president of quality at Colt Defense LLC, said of the oxidizing chemical. "After they pull it out of here, they'll dip it into a cold water tank."

The color can be contrasted with inlaid gold, for example, for an exotic look to the expensive, custom-designed guns that are sold to collectors by the other Colt — the company under the same roof that makes consumer guns sold at WalMart, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops and gun stores.

Colt gives a pair of customized guns to each standing president, though Bill Clinton was the only one not to accept the offer, Hinkley said.

In the back of the factory, the accuracy of guns is tested in an indoor shooting range. In addition to paper targets, a series of microphones use acoustics to track the bullets.

"They pick up the acoustics of the round going by, and they'll chart what the group size is," Hinkley said. The microphones also measure the number of rounds fired per minute and the gun's muzzle velocity.

Two companies share the 310,000-square-foot facility on New Park Avenue in a commercial and industrial strip next to BJ's Wholesale Club.

Colt Defense LLC was spun off from its parent company Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC in 2002 to protect the military-contract business from lawsuits against gun makers. Colt Defense sells to U.S. and allied militaries in 90 nations around the world as well as to law enforcement agencies. Colt's Manufacturing makes guns for regular customers, such as collectors, hunters and target shooters.

While the military hasn't bought Colt handguns in 27 years, the federal government has purchased other Colt firearms all along. Since the M4 carbine was introduced in 1993, the U.S. Army has been a major customer, buying 19,000 the next year for the Army and Special Forces. Colt sells machine guns to the military, too.

Throughout the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the military bought a steady supply of the M4 — a short, lightweight rifle, which is a successor to the M-16 that the government bought from the Vietnam era until 1988.

The drawdown of troops a few years ago contributed to a financial slump at Colt Defense as net sales dropped from $270 million to $175 million between 2009 and 2010. Last year, sales were up to $208 million. The company also recovered from an $11.3 million net loss in 2010 to report net income of $5.2 million last year.

The Marines' contract to buy up to 12,000 pistols for $22.5 million over five years means it accounts for about 2 percent of Colt Defense's annual sales. That's not enough to drive the success of the company. But the historic return to Colt sidearms is significant and it's a morale boost within the company.

"I call it in the category of 'cool,'" said Gerry Dinkel, CEO and president of Colt Defense.

"It just has a lot of ring to it when you have something that's this long lived," Dinkel said of the Model 1911.

The return to West Hartford-made Colts from Italian-owned Beretta also carries some patriotic pride.

Dinkel said, "A lot of people have said it's great to go back to an American supplier."


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: 1911; bang; banglist; colt; usmc
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1 posted on 08/18/2012 2:50:57 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
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To: Jet Jaguar

Yankee Fist BUMP


2 posted on 08/18/2012 2:53:33 PM PDT by gundog (Help us, Nairobi-Wan Kenobi...you're our only hope.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

A most wide choice.


3 posted on 08/18/2012 2:57:05 PM PDT by TheRhinelander
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To: Jet Jaguar

John Browning’s birthday should be a national holiday!


4 posted on 08/18/2012 2:57:46 PM PDT by Erik Latranyi (When religions have to beg the gov't for a waiver, we are already under socialism.)
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To: Jet Jaguar
Outstanding!



Genuflectimus non ad principem sed ad Principem Pacis!

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

5 posted on 08/18/2012 2:58:38 PM PDT by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: Jet Jaguar

The only thing that could make it better would be if it was DA/SA instead of SAO.


6 posted on 08/18/2012 2:59:17 PM PDT by SailormanCGA72
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To: SailormanCGA72

What, so the trigger position would change between the first round and subsequent ones?

DA/SA sucks.


7 posted on 08/18/2012 3:04:04 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Jet Jaguar
Hallelujah! It was a dark day when I turned my last M1911 into the armory for the final time and the armored handed me that lousy Beretta. I Never really got over it. Great to see the Corps returned to what works best!

Good article, with excellent history of the the "new" pistol's M1911 roots. One criticism for the author: it was the Spanish-American War, not the "Philippine-American War."

8 posted on 08/18/2012 3:05:55 PM PDT by Always A Marine
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To: Jet Jaguar

As much as I like the 1911, it probably been better to go with a Glock in 45 ACP or 10mm.


9 posted on 08/18/2012 3:11:51 PM PDT by MCF
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To: Jet Jaguar; mylife; Clint N. Suhks; lightman; smokingfrog

“Colt gives a pair of customized guns to each standing president, though Bill Clinton was the only one not to accept the offer, Hinkley said.”

The lying, treasonous, POS Kenyan-In-Chief should have gotten 2 plastic squirtguns.

Glad to see Colt coming back as supplier.


10 posted on 08/18/2012 3:12:12 PM PDT by carriage_hill (Harry Reid [PERVERT-NV] has Vickie-the-goat in lingerie & stiletto heels, tied-up in his office.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

11 posted on 08/18/2012 3:12:31 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Love my Bull Barrel Commander.


12 posted on 08/18/2012 3:12:48 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Always A Marine

I have always heard it called the Philippines Insurrection.

It was not the Spanish American war tho it did evolve from our getting the Philippines in that war.


13 posted on 08/18/2012 3:12:58 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: Jet Jaguar

Stars and Stripes didn’t say, so I’ll ask: Who was the person who approved the switch to the 9mm back in 1985?


14 posted on 08/18/2012 3:13:25 PM PDT by Carl Vehse
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To: Jet Jaguar

Uh, youse knows of course dat da most wonderful pistol ever made ‘cuz it’s made by da cousins rite here in New Joisey is da Beretta. Hey, youse gotta problem wid’ da 9mm??

What dese Marines are doin’, well, Vito & Dominic & da boys ain’t gonna be happy about this. Just thought youse’d like to know.....


15 posted on 08/18/2012 3:13:35 PM PDT by elcid1970 (Nuke Mecca now. Death to Islam means freedom for all mankind. Deus vult!)
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To: Jet Jaguar

I always liked the 45 better than the pop gun 9mm. The Army should not have dropped the 45 either.


16 posted on 08/18/2012 3:14:07 PM PDT by RetiredArmy (The Signs of the Times are clear. The days grow short. Your only way to avoid is BELIEVE in Him!)
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To: carriage_hill

Clintoon is a Moron.


17 posted on 08/18/2012 3:14:26 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Jet Jaguar

OH HELL YES.


18 posted on 08/18/2012 3:14:26 PM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

People that bitch about “the Mormonizing of America” would do well to recognize JMB’s contributions to the winning of the 20th century’s wars.


19 posted on 08/18/2012 3:15:33 PM PDT by gundog (Help us, Nairobi-Wan Kenobi...you're our only hope.)
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To: MCF

Yeah, there are more modern handguns out there in .45. But I guess that after the disaster that was the Joint Combat Pistol program, they decided it would be easier to just buy more stocks of something that was already in service.


20 posted on 08/18/2012 3:16:17 PM PDT by JerseyanExile
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To: MCF

I agree with you.

The M1911 is my favorite pistol but I too think the Glock would be the better choice. It is just as reliable, holds a whole lot more rounds and fits the hands of more people than the Beretta which I also like.


21 posted on 08/18/2012 3:16:51 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: Spktyr
"What, so the trigger position would change between the first round and subsequent ones? DA/SA sucks."

Until you get a faulty, contaminated or waterlogged primer. 99 times out of 100 a second hammer strike is all that's needed to touch it off, and that's a lot quicker with a DA than an SA trigger.

Personally, I'm quite fond of my CZ75B, which has a double action trigger, but was designed to be carried cocked and locked, just like a 1911.

22 posted on 08/18/2012 3:17:39 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Good move.


23 posted on 08/18/2012 3:18:06 PM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: Always A Marine
One criticism for the author: it was the Spanish-American War, not the "Philippine-American War."

Actually it was the "Phillipine Insurection". The Spanish American war was already over, and Spain had ceded the Phillipines to us. We were fighting Moro (Muslim) rebels.

24 posted on 08/18/2012 3:18:17 PM PDT by Hugin ("Most times a man'll tell you his bad intentions, if you listen and let yourself hear."---Open Range)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Best gun ever made. My first gun from kidhood, before even the 22 :).

Hardly any sights and atrocious trigger. Still best.


25 posted on 08/18/2012 3:18:35 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (I will fear no muslim))
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To: Joe 6-pack

As Browning and other experts then and now have noted, if you manage to get any of those conditions in military spec ammo, chances are that a restrike won’t fix the problem. Better to just discard the dud round and move on.

Note that most WW2 and later rifles have no restrike capability, either. And neither does a revolver unless you want to pull the trigger enough times to rotate the dud round into position again.


26 posted on 08/18/2012 3:21:39 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

The CZ75B is a great pistol. 40S&W
Excellent.


27 posted on 08/18/2012 3:22:02 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: yarddog

The M1911 has a flawless pedigree. It was developed specifically to kill muslim fanatics who would survive .38s and go on to kill the shooter.


28 posted on 08/18/2012 3:23:01 PM PDT by null and void (Day 1307 of our ObamaVacation from reality - Obama, a queer and present danger)
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To: MCF

Due to EPA regulations, Glocks cannot be fully assembled in the US. The Tenifer finish is banned from being applied here.


29 posted on 08/18/2012 3:23:38 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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" Better to fight for something than live for nothing."

~George S. Patton




please click the pic
Thank you for your support!

30 posted on 08/18/2012 3:24:45 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Spktyr
"DA/SA sucks."

Yes it do!

31 posted on 08/18/2012 3:25:21 PM PDT by Free in Texas (Member of the Bitter Clingers Association.)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Also, you are aware that CZ offers a single action only trigger option and swap-in retrofit for older weapons on the 75, right? It’s so the weapon could compete with single actions in shooting contests where DA is a distinct disadvantage.


32 posted on 08/18/2012 3:25:45 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: MCF

I think my Glock21SF is technologically better than this 1911 in every way 13 shots & looks correct with a flashlight on it. This is a nostalgia choice 100%.


33 posted on 08/18/2012 3:25:56 PM PDT by omega4179 ( el 0bama comio un perro)
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To: Jet Jaguar

So what makes it any better than the 1911? (Other than the $1875 price tag?)


34 posted on 08/18/2012 3:29:03 PM PDT by Slump Tester (What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh -Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: null and void

There is no doubt that the .45 is far superior to the old .38 Army round. The fact is the 9mm is also far superior to it.

That old .38 round was extremely weak with only 150 ft. lbs. of energy. The 9mm and .45 in military loadings are both in the 350 ft. lbs. range.


35 posted on 08/18/2012 3:29:44 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: Spktyr

My CZ75 is DA/SA and both triggers are nice.


36 posted on 08/18/2012 3:31:14 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: omega4179

I’ve shot glocks. Lots of em. I don’t like them.

Even the nines aren’t such a pussycat to shoot as the 1911 45, or such a natural pointer.


37 posted on 08/18/2012 3:31:53 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (I will fear no muslim))
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To: Erik Latranyi
When I was in AIT we had to qualify with the .45. One of the Troops asked the DI how effective it would be in VN?

The DI, a Korean War Vet, said “Fire off all of the Mag then throw it at them and run.”

I noticed shortly afterward that RTOs, Blooper Operators, and M60 Gunners who normally would have a .45 as a secondary weapon took the Sergeants advice.

38 posted on 08/18/2012 3:32:22 PM PDT by Little Bill
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To: Spktyr

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CZ_75


39 posted on 08/18/2012 3:33:35 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Spktyr
"As Browning and other experts then and now have noted, if you manage to get any of those conditions in military spec ammo, chances are that a restrike won’t fix the problem. Better to just discard the dud round and move on... Note that most WW2 and later rifles have no restrike capability, either. And neither does a revolver unless you want to pull the trigger enough times to rotate the dud round into position again."

In as much as a pistol is primarily a short range, defensive weapon, just discarding the dud round is a (relatively) time consuming option, and even those well practiced in misfire drills are going to have their sight/target picture impeded by the drill. Me personally? I'd be more comfortable just pulling the trigger again. I've had three primer malfunctions in my life (one w/ handloads, two with factory). In every case, a second hammer strike has remedied the situation.

In traditional engagement ranges with rifles there is more time to clear the weapon, and while you would have to recycle a revolver to re-strike the dud round, all you have to do to fire the next round is pull the trigger again (presuming the dud wasn't the last round in the cylinder).

I'm not opposed to SA only pistols...indeed I've spent most of my morning replacing the shok-buff and doing some other minor maintenance on a Delta Elite, but when it come to my nightstand guardian, the CZ is my choice.

40 posted on 08/18/2012 3:34:20 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: omega4179
I'd put my H&K up against any .45 made in accuracy, reliability and the looks department; any day.

But I don't know if it would stand up to a Humvee driving over it. Knowing a marine or two, they trust but verify!

41 posted on 08/18/2012 3:35:48 PM PDT by Errant
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To: SailormanCGA72

There are a couple design flaws in the 1911 that were corrected in Browning’s next pistol, the Hi-Power. FN completed the Hi-Power design after John Browning passed away.

All modern pistols have the feed ramp integral with the barrel instead of using the frame.

Also, new pistols use a small coil spring on the extractor which tilts upon a pin. This is has more long term durability that the 1911’s leaf spring type extractor.

Finally, the double stack magazine is an improvement over the single stack type. This is evident in the name “Hi-Power”, because the result is more firepower capacity in the double stack mags.

I’ll get flamed for this, but the 1911 in its original form is obsolete. However, there are new versions of the 1911 which incorporate these features.

The 1911’s grip safety is pure engineering genius. John Browning intended it to be carried cocked and unlocked with this feature.

My idea of the ultimate combat handgun would be a 1911 with all three of these design upgrades chambered in .400 Cor-Bon to have 10mm ballistic effectiveness.

This caliber can use .45 magazines and only require a different barrel and recoil springs.

I have owned a Colt Delta Elite and compact EAA Witness in 10mm. The dual recoil springs in those worked quite well.


42 posted on 08/18/2012 3:35:52 PM PDT by MikeSteelBe (Austrian Hitler was, as the Halfrican Hitler does.)
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To: elcid1970

I just bought my first 1911 yesterday. That thing is sweet. I like it a lot more than the 9mm. And I love that pistol.


43 posted on 08/18/2012 3:36:56 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (I am NOT from Vermont. I am from MA. And I don't support Romney. Please read before "assuming.")
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To: Spktyr
"Also, you are aware that CZ offers a single action only trigger option and swap-in retrofit for older weapons on the 75, right? It’s so the weapon could compete with single actions in shooting contests where DA is a distinct disadvantage prohibited by the rules."

Fixed it for ya.

44 posted on 08/18/2012 3:40:07 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Jet Jaguar
"Newest Colt .45-caliber pistol touted for its durability and design"

"Tested to make sure it can be dropped in water, covered in mud, immersed in sand or ice, or left in a dust storm — and still be able to blast off a round when you pull the trigger."

"Virtually, it's indestructible"

"You can drive over these things with a Humvee and they're still gonna work."

"It's like a brick that shoots bullets."

WELL.........DUH.........The old 1911 has done all that for the last 100 years !! What's the big deal? Where's the changes? Only change I can see are a couple of minor exterior changes, plus a new color.

To do all the above things, there's obviously been no operational changes.

45 posted on 08/18/2012 3:44:39 PM PDT by jmax (Full mag inserted, round in chamber, hammer is back...safety is OFF.)
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To: omega4179
Hallelujah, the “ Old Slab Sides” is back. It should have never been replaced by that “Pooch Pistol” 9MM.
46 posted on 08/18/2012 3:44:57 PM PDT by BooBoo1000 ("The plans I have for you are plans to prosper you.,not to harm you, Plans to give you hope)
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To: Joe 6-pack

Nope, there are plenty of classes and competitions where DA is permitted, and they usually end up losing.


47 posted on 08/18/2012 3:51:59 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: BooBoo1000

If they were going to replace the 1911 with a Beretta they should have gone with the 40 call Beretta 96F.
Personally I think the 40 cal CZ75B is an even better choice.


48 posted on 08/18/2012 3:52:03 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Jet Jaguar

As a Navy FMF Corpsman, I carried a Colt .45 on both tours. Also had a .38 stub nose as a backup (passed on from another Corpsman when he rotated home) but never used it. Had to get ammo from the civilians (RMK/BRJ Construction guys). I too passed it on when I left from my first tour.


49 posted on 08/18/2012 3:53:03 PM PDT by harpu ( "...it's better to be hated for who you are than loved for someone you're not!")
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To: RetiredArmy

>>pop gun 9mm<<

This is absurd. If you NEED more than a 9+P, you NEED a rifle of some sort. I see statements like this and they are usually made by those who know very little about what they’re talking about. Shot placement is key, and when shot placement isn’t good enough, a traditional compact or full size handgun isn’t going to be good enough.

I love 1911’s. I borrowed a friend’s for a number of years (I cried when he wanted it back) and would often carry it in the “wild” (no, not South Dallas) on a Tac vest as a backup. I’d switch between that and a revolver. My 13 shot 9mm H&K stayed at my side all the time, with or without the “backup.”

If you WANT a .40, .45, .357mag/sig, 44 mag, whatever, get one. They’re all great guns, but a 9 is NOT a pop gun. In fact, a 9 should be the “default” choice — the one to get unless you specifically desire another caliber. Cheaper ammo and a little easier to shoot than most, so you’ll practice more and be more proficient. I would not recommend the .45 for purchase unless one has shot it a bunch or just wants to have it around.


50 posted on 08/18/2012 3:56:18 PM PDT by 1L
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