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Why Is the 1911 So Popular for Gun Owners?

Dakota Potts | Updated February 26, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
Two 1911 pistols on a table with a basket of bullets

The iconic 1911 has secured its place in the firearm world as one of the most famous and oldest weapons. After more than 100 years, this gun design is still reliable and accessible. 

But after all this time, why is this weapon still popular among gun owners? Here is everything you should know.

For similar reading see our article on the best 1911 guns.

What Makes the 1911 So Popular?

In the last 100 years, firearms have undergone massive change. We now have better weapons that are easy to use. Therefore, when you hear a firearm is over 100 years old yet still popular among gun owners, there must be something about it.

So, what’s special about 1911? Here are some notable traits that make this semi-automatic pistol still popular:

  • A short and light trigger-pull that makes it easier for a person to discharge the weapon swiftly without the risk of self-injury.
  • A simple design that makes it easier to repair and maintain than other handguns.
  • Relatively affordable, therefore, more accessible.
  • Both the recoil spring and barrel spring are firmly positioned inside the frame to help tame recoil and reduce the risk of injuring yourself.
  • Durable and reliable

Why Is the 1911 Better Than Many Pistols?

Two different colored 1911 pistols

Most people consider the 1911 a better pistol than those on the market, and here are some of the reasons why:

Frame Design

Modern handguns come with polymer framers, making these weapons easy to carry. Unfortunately, the lightweight design gives these firearms greater muzzle flip, which can annoy most professional shooters.

An attractive feature of the 1911 is the steel frame. The steel material makes it slightly heavy, leading to very little muzzle flip. This can come in handy if you have to fire multiple rounds quickly and lack the time to correct the muzzle.


Another great asset of this weapon is the short trigger pull, which moves straight back when you fire the weapon. This ensures the sight remains in line when shooting, facilitating accuracy.

Now, we aren’t saying you can’t find some fine triggers in the world today. However, the 1911 trigger features outperform a lot of weapons out there.

Safety Features

The 1911 has some great safety features, such as grip safety, which prevents accidental discharges if the gun isn’t held appropriately. 

That means if you accidentally drop the weapon, you don’t need to fear that you’ll shoot yourself or someone else. This feature is particularly helpful for newbies still learning to handle firearms.


The 1911 is not that costly. For less than $100, you can get one. But if you feel like spending more money, some variations are more expensive. 

For instance, a 1911 with a fancy wood stock and a laser sight may be slightly costlier. But if you’re just looking for something simple and affordable, this weapon will do.

Features of the 1911

Grey and black 1911 pistol

The 1911 is one of the most recognizable weapons in the world. Here are the features that make up the 1911:

  • Receivers: Technically, the receiver is the weapon. This is the part of the gun containing the firing mechanism. Like in any weapon, there is an upper and lower receiver.
  • Sights: There are two sights. The front sight (located above the barrel) and the rear sight (at the back of the barrel). They allow you to line up your target before shooting.
  • Grip: This is where your hand rests when you hold the weapon.
  • Magazine: The bullets are stored in the magazine.
  • Safety: This is a little lever located on the side of the gun. When safety is on, it prevents the gun from being fired when the trigger is pulled.
  • Hammer: A metal piece that hits the firing pin and allows the gun to fire a bullet.
  • Chamber: The space inside the barrel.

When Was the M1911 Invented?

This pistol was officially invented in 1911, hence the name. However, its prehistory dates back to the 1890s when the military was searching for an ideal semi-automatic or self-loading pistol to replace the revolvers that were around at that time. (Reference: Why is the 1911 so popular)

The coming decade was characterized by an intense search which led to various manufacturers submitting different designs. Eventually, Colt’s design was picked in 1910, and by 1911, we had the M1911.

Who Made the 1911 in WW2?

Several companies were involved in the production of 1911 during WW2, including Colt, Remington Rand, Ithaca Gun Company, Singer, and Union Switch & Signal.

The reason multiple companies were involved in the production is that the war led to great demand for weapons that couldn’t be met by only one company.

However, the original 45-caliber Colt M1911 pistol, the standard military-issued weapon during this period, was manufactured by Colt Manufacturing Company. This pistol’s barrel was five inches with an ergonomic grip handle that has been replicated in other firearms.

It’s worth noting that the Colt 1911 government-issued pistol can also refer to the M1911A, an updated version of the M1911. This one featured a longer grip safety spur, a different hammer shape, and a shorter trigger. Many companies we have mentioned were involved in the production of the M1911A.

First 1911 Pistol Ever Made

The first 1911 pistol to be made was the Colt 1911. It was produced by Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, specifically by John Browning.

Over the years, this gun has undergone modern changes, although some features from the original gun still remain. For instance, the modern Browning 1911-380 pistols, introduced more than a century later, are based on John M. Browning Colt 1911 and have proven to be more reliable and accurate than the original pistol.

Other pistols, such as the Kimber 1911, are also wonderfully accurate, although this model requires target-grade ammunition to bring the best performance out of this gun.

When Was the Colt 1911 Made?

The Colt 1911 was made in 1911. The original Colt 1911 was a .45 automatic rifle designed during a time when the military wanted something modern aside from the .45 caliber revolvers. John Moses Browning submitted his design to the army, and his model was adopted in 1911.

Black and white image of U.S. military 1911 pistol

1911 Brands to Avoid

Ultimately, the 1911 is definitely a good weapon to have. It has a comfortable weight and is accurate because of a short and light trigger. In addition, the short barrel reduces muzzle flip, making it easier to shoot accurately.

But while these features make it a worthy buy, there are certain brands we suggest you avoid.


This is a Chinese company popular for producing military products.


  • Affordable
  • Reliable


  • Cheap build
  • Roughness on the finish
  • Hard to get spare parts


This is an American company popular for producing cool-looking 1911s.


  • Flashy design
  • A variety of models are available


  • High price range
  • Unreliable loading
  • Build quality is below average

Rock Island Armory

The company is government-owned and has been manufacturing military equipment since the 1880s.


  • Affordable
  • Variety of models


  • Issues with reliability
  • Not all-American made
  • The fit and finish are below average

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do people like the 1911 so much?

People like the 1911 so much because it’s a reliable and durable weapon thanks to its simple design and robust construction. It also has strong ergonomics and excellent safety features, contributing to a good shooting experience.

Why is the 1911 still relevant?

The 1911 is still relevant today because it retains features that shooters are looking for in a weapon – accuracy, safety, and reliability.

When did the 1911 become popular?

The 1911 became popular during WW1 when the US military adopted it as the handgun of choice. It gained even more popularity in subsequent wars after soldiers witnessed just how reliable it was in combat.


  1. Erek Sanchez, Browning’s M1911: Facts, Myths, and Legends, Retrieved From: https://sofrep.com/gear/1911-fact-myth-and-legend/

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