GunsAmerica Giveaway Gun: 1911A1 from Auto-Ordnance

The Auto-Ordnance 1911A1 isn't a hopped up custom gun, but that's the point. This is a WWII era pistol 1911 that stays true to its roots.

The Auto-Ordnance 1911A1 isn’t a hopped up custom gun, but that’s the point. This is a WWII era pistol 1911 that stays true to its roots.

Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=auto%20ordnance%201911

Read more at Auto-Ordnance: http://www.auto-ordnance.com/Thompson_100ANN.asp

Enter the contest to win this set: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/win-a-thompson-and-a-1911-gunsamerica-giveaway/

If you’re an old-school Auto-Ordnance fan, the title of this article probably struck you as odd.  You would be right, the Auto-Ordnance Company that designed and made the original Thompson Submachine Gun never made a 1911. Kahr now owns Auto-Ordnance and they are making an Auto-Ordnance branded 1911A1. But don’t let the anachronism get in your way–there is a historic connection between A-O and the iconic single-actions.

General John Thompson with his personal approach to the .45 ACP.

General John Thompson with his personal approach to the .45 ACP delivery system.

Thompson and the 1911

The 1911 is a John Moses Browning design. But he was not working in a vacuum. Browning was mostly designing what the Army was asking for and one of the Ordnance Department Officers was General John Thompson who would go on to start Auto-Ordnance and build the Thompson.

One part of the testing and trials for what was to become the 1911 was the selection of the caliber. Thompson was part of the team that decided on the .45 ACP. These tests (known as The Thompson–LaGarde Tests) are somewhat infamous, now. Without the benefit of Clear Ballistics, the team chose to shoot live cattle and human cadavers to determine the effectiveness of different calibers. Yep, they shot dead bodies and killed cows. This is probably not something that will happen during the pistol trials that are going on now. Ballistic gel is a lot less messy and it keeps PETA off your back.

So there’s your historical link. Thompson had more than a passing interest in the work of old John Moses Browning. And this gives Auto-Ordnance a fine reason to produce historical 1911s (and a much more compelling reason than most of the companies who have jumped on the single-action band wagon after the 1911’s centennial).

1911A1

Arched mainspring housing and WWII style grips.

Arched mainspring housing and WWII style grips.

And Auto-Ordnance hasn’t built a generic 1911 and slapped their historic name on the slide. AO is building a 1911A1 like the ones that were made during WWII.

The A1 designation comes first set of widely accepted changes that were made to the original 1911 design.  These changes were implemented over the course of a few years but were finalized with the adoption of the 1911A1 designation in 1926.

Most of the changes have carried over into all 1911 style pistols being built today. Almost all of the changes were external and were intended to help the pistol fit shooters with smaller hands. The shortened trigger, cutouts on the frame behind the trigger and a bigger spur on the grip safety are all common place.

There is one major aspect of a true 1911A1–true meaning made to the specs as outline by the US Government– that most 1911s on the market today do not have.  That is an arched mainspring housing. For those who are looking for authenticity, the A-O 1911A1 is a great option.

Fit, Finish and Branding

The limited edition markings.

The limited edition markings.

But maybe not this specific edition–at least not for the living history buffs. This is a commemorative gun. While I wouldn’t suggest this is an all out safe-queen, or a gun that only a lunatic would abuse out on the range, it does have an appeal to collectors.

This 1911A1 is part of a limited set of matching Thompson SMGs and pistols that are being put together to honor the 100th anniversary of Auto-Ordnance and it is marked accordingly in rather large letters on the slide.

With the branded side down you would be hard pressed to not think this was an exceptionally clean WWII era 1911. The grips are correct, all the A1 updates are there, it sports a Parkerized finish–it looks right and the fit and finish is well inline with the originals and actually a bit better than some war time production guns. It is a good looking and shooting American made 1911A1. but flip it over and you’ll see all of the commemorative details.

Shooting

Full magazine from 15 feet.

Full magazine from 15 feet.

Function was flawless from this 1911. It shoots like a 1911 should. We ran a some Winchester White Box, UMC and some Remington FMJs thought the A-O with no failures.  Ejection was good and constantly over the shooters right shoulder. The groups we were able to get out of it were well within the range of what I expect from the small, period correct, sights.

One thing that was a little different was the feel of this gun. I haven’t shot a 1911 with an arched mainspring housing in a long time.  It does change your grip a little in that if really pushes the web of your hand up into the grip safety. Although the housing does make the bottom of the grip bigger and wider, the way it changed the hand placement makes the top part of the grip seem smaller.  I have medium sized hands. A 1911 is no big deal for me to shoot and does not feel too big in my hands. That said, this gun felt a little smaller and that is why the arched mainspring housing was originally adopted.

Thoughts

So Auto-Orndance has made a very true to form WWII era 1911A1. The guns without the commemorative logos on the side would be a great pistol for a WWII reenactor or someone that wants a historical 1911A1. A-O makes a version with checkered wooden grips that has an MSRP of $705. Compared to the price of the originals, that’s a steal.  And you can shoot a piece of history without wear and tear to an original.

But this is part of a special edition set that honors the 100th Anniversary of an iconic American firearms company. Paring a 1911 with a Thompson? Doesn’t get much more ‘merica than that. The matched set has an MSRP of $1,971.

Or you can enter win this one, from this review, and the 1927A1 that goes with it. Click here for all of the details.

Looking to add a bit of history to your collection? Check out the matched set from Auto-Ordnance. 100 years of .45 ACP heritage in one case.

Looking to add a bit of history to your collection? Check out the matched set from Auto-Ordnance. 100 years of .45 ACP heritage in one case.

Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=auto%20ordnance%201911

Read more at Auto-Ordnance: http://www.auto-ordnance.com/Thompson_100ANN.asp

Enter the contest to win this set: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/win-a-thompson-and-a-1911-gunsamerica-giveaway/

Rollmark on the other side.

Rollmark on the other side.

Thumb safety with the slide back.

Thumb safety with the slide back.

Small rear sights like the originals.

Small rear sights like the originals.

Short trigger and frame cuts on this 1911A1.

Short trigger and frame cuts on this 1911A1.

Another group from 25 feet.

Another group from 25 feet.

Throwing brass!

Throwing brass!

 
Numbers from the chronograph.

Numbers from the chronograph for the white-box ball.

Lanyard loop and mag well.

Lanyard loop and mag well.

The Auto Ordnance 1911A1 is true to the original, but you can even get one that's MA compliant, if you must.

The Auto Ordnance 1911A1 is true to the original, but you can even get one that’s MA compliant, if you must.

The same gun, but without the commemorative inscriptions.

The same gun, but without the commemorative inscriptions.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Kimberpross April 21, 2016, 5:51 pm

    John Moses Browning was the greatest gun and cartridge designer ever. His simple effective 1911 design has survived for over 100 yrs and few significant modifications have been made. His functional design have been copied in many other firearms around the world. Lump that iconic design along with the many other designs he fathered, (Browning Hi-Power also) many of which have also been copied in other firearm designs, makes him the greatest designer ever, someone that would be very interesting to talk with over a drink.

  • Joe Tee April 18, 2016, 9:18 pm

    hands down best hand gun ever made!

  • Joe Tee April 18, 2016, 9:16 pm

    hands down best hand gun ever made!

  • James April 18, 2016, 8:55 pm

    Love it!

  • BILL ASBURY April 18, 2016, 5:15 pm

    Love the 1911.

  • David Bryant April 18, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Please enter me to win! Thanks

  • Bob Acker April 18, 2016, 3:54 pm

    nothing better than the 1911

  • Cathy Rantz April 18, 2016, 3:24 pm

    I’d love one!

  • Michael Crosson April 18, 2016, 2:23 pm

    Nice set!

  • owr April 18, 2016, 2:20 pm

    I want one!

  • Wally Bishop April 18, 2016, 10:50 am

    Please enter me in the:

    GunsAmerica Giveaway Gun: 1911A1 from Auto-Ordnance

  • Robert Kaufman April 18, 2016, 8:52 am

    Nice guns. Wish I had these!

  • Harold Greenleaf April 18, 2016, 8:51 am

    So, how do we enter this contest on this site?
    I have two Thompson, a 1927 and an MI military version. Also have a Thompson M1 Carbine. The 1911/Thompson set would be a great addition.

  • j stark April 18, 2016, 5:30 am

    again old info. Kahr is owned by the son of Rev. MOON. One of the old weird-os that had married 1000 folks at once and set a record . Think the Feds shut him down. ? Again old Guns & Ammo.

  • j Stark April 18, 2016, 5:25 am

    thought Guns & Ammo (old) had said it was goats!

  • Billy M Rhodes April 18, 2016, 4:07 am

    Can’t have enough 1911’s

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