Ever since the Model 1911 appeared 100 years ago, stories about how difficult it is to shoot accurately have abounded almost as much as stories about its great stopping power. There is truth and falseness in both legends. For a person with nil handgun shooting experience, the .45 ACP Model 1911’s noise and recoil would make it a very difficult first handgun to master. The 1911 and A1 are also famous for “hammer-bite.” If a shooter has the least bit of extra flesh on his hand in his web the hammer’s spur will take a piece out of it with every shot. That does nothing to help shoot-ability.

The .45 ACP, with its 230 grain bullet, does have stopping power, but it should not be considered magical. That big .45 bullet still needed to be placed on target with care for it to be effective. Consider the matter this way; in a combat situation a dead center hit with a 115 grain 9mm bullet would be better than a fringe hit with a 230 grain .45 caliber bullet. Troops’ dismal shooting performance with .45 ACP handguns was the rationale US ordnance officers gave for developing the M1 Carbine. It was intended to replace pistols entirely, something it never came close to doing.