OPTIMIZING OLD IRON-SIDES
Recoil|September - October 2021
We Combine Our Experience, and Those of the Experts, to Build Out a Template for an Ideal Duty-Use 1911
Tom Marshall
Not too long ago, we had the opportunity to take a pistol class from a group called Blue-Green Alliance. BGA is run by a pair of active-duty Force Reconnaissance Marines who have brought their training and operational experience to the LE and armed citizen communities. Part of that unique experience is that, even as you read this, the 1911 continues to ride in their duty holsters on deployments all around the world. While Browning’s legacy currently lives in Force Recon armories in the form of the Colt M45, it got us thinking about leveraging the Marine Corps’ recent, if not niche, experience running single stacks on duty and revamping our own slab-sided safe queen. While the setup you see here is by no means the only right answer, we hope to provide you some food for thought on optimizing the single-stack .45 for carry or bedside use.

We started with the author’s personal Kimber Warrior. This model is Kimber’s commercial offering which nearly mirrors the guns they built for the very first Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MCSOCOM) unit — known as MCSOCOM Detachment 1, or “Det 1” for short. The original guns were known as the ICQBP (Intermediate Close Quarters Battle Pistol). The ICQBPs were custom built by Kimber for Det 1 to Marine Corps specifications. They utilized Kimber’s “Series 1” safety system, equivalent to the Colt Series 70 safety system. MCSOCOM chose to forego the Series 2 or Swartz Safety, which includes an additional firing pin block slaved to the grip safety. A Dawson Precision rail was attached to the frame to mount a light.

The Warrior benefits from the advent of integral Picatinny rail frames. It also includes Kimber’s low-profile, three-dot tritium sights, reminiscent of the Novak version on the original ICQB pistols, and a Series 1 safety system. (It is, to our knowledge, the only Kimber 1911 still in production that doesn’t include their Series 2 safety system.) Out of the box, the Kimber Warrior makes a strong bid to ride in your duty holster. But, as with most stock guns, the aftermarket offers room for improvement in some key areas.

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