When They Went to War, They Carried A Powerful Handgun

The 1911A1, in combat, was a prized weapon to carry

Seth set in his firing position staring west into the darkness. He had been on this stinking Island, not counting this morning, for 21 days. It is early morning 7 July 1944, and he was wondering what was a boy from Kansas doing in the jungles of Saipan. Saipan was 1,463 miles from Tokyo and 6,941 miles back to Newton, Kansas. After he graduated “Boot” and “SOI” Seth was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. He qualified with the Springfield bolt action and a Singer 1911A1. He loved his Singer 1911A1. He would carry this very same Singer 1911A1 into Guadalcanal where he experienced baptism under fire. He chuckled to himself about how he managed, with some shadiness, to bring this 1911A1 along with him.

He has been in the 2nd Marines for more than two years. His section of the defensive line was called Harakiri Gulch. The 2nd Marines were nearly nose to nose with the Japs, maybe 600 yards apart at the most. At 04:30 hrs., he began to hear sporadic gun fire up and down the line. He was a little alarmed so he slapped the legs of the sleeping Marines on either side of him. Their job was to protect the flanks of two separate machinegun nests. There were 30 Marines in this gap.

Chills went up the spine of Seth as he began to hear what sounded like thousands of people screaming. As the sound came closer, they could hear the word “Banzai”! He readied himself with ammo and grenades placed within easy reach. He fixed the bayonet to his new M1 Grand. Just then a human wave burst out of the darkness. Marine Star-shells burst over their heads which illuminated the crazed Japs. He could see the gleam of the Japanese officer’s swords swirling over their heads. Seth opened up and shot two Jap officers from the get-go. Within a split second the two machinegun nests opened up with continuous fire. There were no five to eight round standard bursts. There were hundreds of Japs and they were falling like hay before the cycle.

Ruger Firearms

As Jap bodies piled up in front of him, they kept on coming straight at the line stomping on their fallen comrades. The stink of powder, sweat, blood and burning flesh permeated his very beaning. The machinegun barrels and mortar tubes became so hot from panicky constant use they ceased to work. When the Japs reached within 15 yards, he was out of 30-06 ammo so he pulled his beloved Singer and started shooting the closest ones. The Winchester 230-grain ball was hard hitting knocking the recipients backwards or spinning them around. Seth was prepared for this by having many more magazines of .45 ball than he was allotted. He took deliberate aim and shot another officer. Seth felt confident with this 1911A1. Six more Japs running right at him….pop…pop…pop….pop…. The battle would go on for a total of 15 hours.

Auto Ordnance 1911A1

No one can dispute the popularity and durability of the 1911A1. This pistol was invented by John Browning and placed into production in 1911. One hundred and eight years later, this pistol is still being used by civilians, law enforcement and by some specialized military units. This weapon is prized all over the world.

There are many manufactures of the present day 1911 .45 caliber pistol. However, I know of only one, I may be wrong, 1911A1 WW II replica which is made in the USA. Auto Ordnance makes two of the 1911A1 pistols. One Commander version and one standard model with five various finishes and grips. All models of these pistols are retailed under $750.00. Auto Ordnance also makes four of this same model with specialized finishes and depictions for WWII aviation, and one case hardened model. These examples start at over $1,200.00.

Auto Ordnance also offers 18 models of the 1927 Thompson in the .45 acp and a 9mm. They also offer five models of the M1 Carbine in 30 cal. Two of these models are the Paratrooper. These long guns range in price from a little over $1,000.00 to just under $2,200.00. All Auto Ordnance firearms are made in the USA.

Auto Ordnance sent me a sample of their 1911A1 for testing. As I inspected this firearm, I found it to be just like my WWII 1911 with the exception of the grips and front blade sight. On the left side is stamped Model 1911A1 U.S. Army. My sample had a matte black finish. The workmanship is that of what you would expect in a band new 1911A1 issued to you in 1942. In checking this test sample over I found it to function as one would expect. The trigger pull had some travel and was harder than I would have expected. But keep in mind, my duty/off duty weapon is a $1,400.00 1911 with a custom trigger job. In my video we estimated the Auto Ordnance trigger pull to be around 10 pounds. This estimate was way off. I checked the trigger pull on my digital device and found the average to be 6.3 pounds, which is still stiff but very serviceable.

I took the sample Auto Ordnance 1911A1 out to the Oklahoma City Gun Club for testing. I had with me Winchester .45 Caliber Ball M1911. I also had Winchester USA Ready Select Grade in .45 acp 230 gr flat-nose ball. Both Winchester ammos are some good solid products. You can’t buy better ammo. I have been shooting Winchester ammo since I was 10 years old. My Grand Father, Father, Uncles all shot Winchester ammo including shotgun shells. Professionally I can say Winchester products are excellent with a long history. Check out Winchester’s link below.

Range Testing the Auto Ordnance 1911A1

At the range at 08:30 hrs., we put out my target frame and stapled up a Champion Law Enforcement NRA B27 green target. The Champion targets are quality and well made. I like the B27 target as I shot similar targets for twenty years of competition. Champion makes many different targets including metal reactive targets. You will see us shooting the Champion Metal Pop-up target in the video. You can check out the Champion line of targets and range equipment at the link below.

Between Gridley, Billy the Kid and myself, we fired well over 100 rounds of Winchester ammo at the paper targets. We fired around 40 rounds at the Champion Metal Pop-up target. We learned quickly to stay about 15 yards back from the metal target. Safety glasses came in handy. The .45 acp ball ammo would shatter upon impact causing fragments to fly back. I have shot other .45 acp with no problem. But it seems the ball ammo, of any brand, tends to stays together upon impact on a harden target. We were seeing fragments of lead which were ejected out of the projectile. The Champion Pop-up target showed no sign of damage. All I do is spray flat black paint over the face to refresh the service.

In shooting the Auto Ordnance 1911A1 I found it to feel just great in my hand. I love the 1911 models so no surprise here. While shooting this pistol, I could see how it was very handy in the jungles of the South Pacific. In trained capable hands, this 1911A1 could take down a bad-guy at 50 yards. The accuracy of my test model was very good. I could have gone to the pistol bench range and done much better. Shots fired at the Champion B27 target were made at the 15-yard line. In the included pictures, you can see I had no problem grouping the rounds. I could have tightened the group with much more practice to get use to the stout trigger pull. I had one round, second one fired, strike very low in the eight-ring, but this was shooter error in getting use to this pistol. After about 50 rounds, I tighten up my group which is depicted in the second picture.

Auto Ordnance 1911A1 Review Conclusion

Auto Ordnance 1911 BKOANN

The Auto Ordnance 1911A1 test sample did as good as any 1911 I have ever shot. A trigger job by a professional would make a great difference. The rear and front sights did well till the sun rose up higher to my back side. The black sights just melted into one black visual. At about this time we moved to the Champion Pop-up target. Shooting at a black target with blacked out sights was a trick and caused some misses with bantering between us all. I love shooting this metal target.

Winchester 45 ACPWith the ammo provided by Winchester we had no problems with the 1911 ball. With the USA Ready Select Grade, we had one round which had a problem feeding but popped right in with a slight manipulation of the slide. I have had no such experience with my WWII 1911. A little more break-in time and a minute dab of graphite grease on the feed ramp, will cure this minor problem. The second target shown wherein I had a better grouping, was due a grip adjustment and the USA Ready Select Grade flat nose ammo. I like this ammo a great deal in the .45 acp and the 9mm. Always shoot your carry ammo in a new pistol to see if it likes what you are feeding it. This will vary from one pistol to the next of the same brand and model.

You know I was torn to send this test model back to Auto Ordnance. Even though I have several 1911 models, I would have loved to add just one more. This is the problem I have with testing and writing about 1911 pistols. Auto Ordnance makes a great 1911A1. For a made in the USA 1911A1 WWII replica at less than $727.00, I say this is a deal for sure. Do not miss out. Check this pistol out as it is a great shooter and a good solid CCW as well.

Auto Ordnance 1911A1 Specs

  • GI Specs, U.S. Logo
  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Barrel Length: 5 inches
  • Overall Length: 8.5 inches
  • Weight: 39 ounces
  • Finish: Matte Black Finish
  • Safeties: Thumb safety, grip safety, firing pin block
  • Sight: Blade front, rear drift adjustable for windage
  • Grips: Checkered Wood Grips with U.S. Logo
  • Magazine: One 7 Round Blue Steel Magazine
  • Warranty: 1 year

MSRP: $727.00


Auto Ordnance 1911A1 U.S. Logo on Grip

Winchester Ammo

Winchester .45 acp USA Ready Flat Nose

Winchester WWII Victory .45 acp Ball Ammo

Champion Range and Targets

Champion Pop-up Target (Metal)

Ruger Firearms