January 23 was John Moses Browning’s birthday. All of us at Browning are proud to celebrate — along with gun enthusiasts everywhere — the birth of the person known as “the greatest firearms inventor the world has ever known.”
Whenever I begin shooting my 1911, I always like to first intone,
“God Bless John Moses Browning!”
In a previous post, we discussed my growing up left-handed, raised by right-handed folks, and surviving through adaptation, as with most folks.
What about guns? (The Randall mirror-image 1911, aside). In this treatise single-action revolvers are not addressed, as after the first five rounds, reloading is slow and difficult. Nor are Webley style revolvers.
Most standard, modern, double-action revolvers operate in a similar fashion. Cylinders swinging out to the port side, cylinder releases also port (except some new snubbies with ambi-releases, and a Charter Arms lefty revolver).
I taught myself the two reloading techniques, one keeping the revolver in the weak hand, the other the strong.
And most modern semi-automatics’ controls are on the port side, as well, usually operational with the left index finger. And many are now designed as Safe-Action (Glock), double-single or DAO, meaning they may be carried hammer down into battle.
The exception (at least in my limited experience) is the Browning 1911. The standard thumb safety is just too short and too far rearward to be operated with the left hand index finger. This means not carrying Condition One (as JMB intended) or carrying Condition Two (hammer down on a loaded chamber). Action is facilitated by either thumb-cocking with the left hand upon presentation (a decidedly uncertain and unsafe action) OR actuating the hammer rearward using the side of the right hand, again while presenting.
Both can be problematic.
I personally don’t see Condition Three (hammer down, chamber empty) as viable if the pistol is carried as a defensive tool.
Fortunately Armand Swenson devised an ambidextrous pistol safety for the 1911. There are now numerous copies and variants.
So as a left-handed shooter in beginning of the Twenty First Century, we have many choices. One hundred years ago, not as many.
Of course, I have met old Marines who were taught right-handed, regardless. I suppose that is another option.
If you are left handed and shoot left handed, find what works for you and hone that skill with that firearm.
Don’t concern yourself with whatever anyone else thinks.
was gracious enough to remind all of us that today is the 85th anniversary of the passing of the genius that
was IS John Moses Browning. (PBUH)
“It would not be an exaggeration to divide the world of metallic cartridge firearms to the periods “Before Browning” and “After Browning”. This is the guy who invented the slide on the automatic pistol.”
Thanks for the reminder, Tam.
Go read her at the link.
Once I became a 1911 junkie, it seemed the search was always on for a lightweight, more-compact, more concealable 1911 pistol.
Why didn’t John Moses Browning (PBUH) develop titanium first? *sigh*
A guy I used to know actually won a Colt Officer’s Model in a competition. An all-steel one. If I remember correctly, it was a Series 80, and constantly had functioning problems.
(I’ve never been a fan of Series 80 lawyer-induced modifications to the genius’s design And this pistol seemed to prove it out.)
However, when you spend free time, hanging out with gunnies, going to gun shows, working part-time in a gun store, shooting guns and reading about guns, sometimes someone offers you a gun.
One of my gunnie friends called me with a LW Officer’s Model, Series 80, he was selling privately. I jumped at it, and dropped her at the smithy to have an ambi safety installed. After a couple days, the smithy called me and advised he couldn’t work on the gun, until the Series 80 mechanism had been replaced (
for safety’s sake, okay, lawyer’s sake). He said he could reinstall new replacement parts and then add the ambidextrous safety (for an additional fee, of course). The previous owner had disabled/removed the lawyer-created parts.
I said yes, and eventually the work was done. I also added some nice rosewood stocks, as well, and tritium night sights as I remember.
A thing of beauty – and I got her for a bargain price, even with the extra work!
She shot okay, better than the stainless Commander, but with the Series 80 works reinstalled. the trigger was lawyeriffic. I pictured tiny guys in grey flannel suits inside keeping the trigger from operating smoothly or lightly. Consequently, I didn’t shoot or carry her much. I don’t even remember if I consulted with the previous owner about re-cannibalizing the safety mechanism, or not.
She became a safe queen.
And, when I carried a 1911, it was the full-sized custom National Match gun that was my first 1911. The one I still own.
And now, the firearms industry seems intent on making Officer’s Model-sized 9mms and .380s.
Why, I’ll never understand.
We all know .45 ACP is God’s Caliber!
The Browning High Power is one of my favorite guns.
Not just because it was largely designed by John Moses Browning (PBUH), but because it’s not just a firearm, it’s a mechanical work-of-art.
I acquired my first 1911 in 1983, but had always lusted after a BHP, ever since I read about them in gun magazines, long before 1983.
I remember going to a gun store in East Phoenix in 1974-75(?). It was going out of business, and there were deals to be had! Unfortunately, these deals required cash, which I did NOT have!
I remember stock 1911s going for $225.00, and BHPs for 275.00!
So, I went on with unrequited gun lust. *sigh*
Years later, in 1995, I saw one for private sale at a gun show. With 6 spare factory 13 round magazines. And (of particular importance to me) an ambidextrous safety! For once, I had money, and she went home with me, magazines and all, for $625.00!
Beautiful blue, almost perfect (a slight, 1/4″ u-shaped scratch on top of the slide, rear of the ejection port) and Pachmayr rubber stocks. No offense to Mr. Pachmayr, but I prefer wood stocks, so I bought some factory ones and fitted then to take the ambi-safety. Viola’!
And, to shoot her! Mechanical precision of all elements working together, smoothly, putting the bullets where the sights aligned. Exactly as it’s supposed to. Something many other firearms I owned only did marginally, she did with aplomb!
Sadly, as with many others, she disappeared into the night, with the gun safe.
My solace is none of them (or any or the credit cards or personal documents) have ever turned up. I suspect the safe remains unopened, contents unmolested.
And the BHP has never been used by malicious hands.
That would be sacrelige.