Handloader|October - November 2021
Brian Pearce

Back in the 1970s, a leading magazine conducted a straw ballot vote as to what was the “AllTime Classic Handgun.” The competition was stiff and included the fine old Colt Single Action Army, Smith & Wesson Model 29, the famous Luger, and others. However, when the results were tallied, the clear winner was Colt’s Model 1911 .45 ACP. In addition to serving as the U.S. military’s official standard-issue sidearm for 74 years (1911-1985), it continues to serve admirably within elite combat units.

It has been used, or is being used, by police/military units in at least 56 countries around the world. However, immediately after its development, it quickly became popular with civilians and has been used extensively in a variety of competitions that include match/target bullseye, various action pistol events and is frequently relied on for personal protection, recreational shooting, hunting, and a host of other applications. Today, there are more companies than I can count that offer quality Model 1911s, and sales remain incredibly strong. It has been nearly 50 years since the above straw ballot, but the timeless Model 1911 is still just as relevant and more popular than at any time in its 110-year history.

A couple of years ago, I was visiting Connecticut Shotgun and its sister company, Standard Manufacturing, located in New Britain, Connecticut. Both produce guns under the same roof and are owned and operated by Antony “Tony” Galaxian. This is an impressive manufacturing facility that features a blend of modern tooling and techniques blended with Old World-style craftsmanship that is executed by the hands of skilled men and women. While they produce a variety of gun models that include revolvers, defense-style shotguns, etc., they are probably best known for remarkable Best Quality double guns. However, under the Standard Manufacturing umbrella, they produce a truly outstanding Model 1911 that is naturally chambered in .45 ACP.

While Standard Manufacturing offers several finishes and options for its Model 1911, including engraving, Damascus steel, case coloring, nickel-plating, etc., I selected the standard full blue version. In spite of it being the base model, it is a stunning pistol, and perhaps it’s even better polished and finished than pre-World War II Colt commercial pistols. It features a deep luster, high polish blue that is essentially perfectly applied and is highlighted with fire-blued accents to the stock screws, safety lock (thumb safety), slide stop, magazine catch, mainspring housing pin, etc. Both the front of the grip frame and the steel (flat) mainspring housing are knurled in a perfectly executed pattern.

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