A .45 Capturing The Essence Of America
By Will Dabbs MD
Photos By Rob Jones
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Outside of Holy Scripture these are the most inspired words ever put to paper. Out of a sordid milieu of dictatorships, oppressive monarchies, suffocating feudal states, racist oligarchies and general pervasive wretchedness, our extraordinary experiment in democracy still leads the planet in every category worth mentioning. While modern Leftists seem obsessed with our infrequent warts rather than our many manifest achievements, these United States, warts and all, still ably serve as a beacon of hope and freedom to an otherwise dark and fallen world.
Ours is a broken species and anything desirable must therefore be defended. As regards the treasurable attributes of liberty, the deplorable human qualities of envy, graft, greed, or some unholy combination conspire to make the rest of the world at times mightily hostile towards our Great American Experiment. Fortunately, in each generation there have been rare citizens willing and able to take up arms in the defense of liberty. These are the true 1 percent, the warrior caste representing the very best our great nation has to offer.
A Holy Oath
“I, Willis N. Dabbs, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States … do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion … So help me God.”
When I wore the uniform we were not necessarily the smartest kids on the block, but we had heart. Our holy oath swore allegiance not to the government, the country, or even the people. Our oath was to support and defend this document, the US Constitution within which is embodied the rare and precious ideal that each individual is created equal.
This description of where our warriors’ allegiance really lies wasn’t my original idea. A friend of mine from Minnesota named Roy explained this to me as we two sat huddled in the dark in a fighting position at 3 o’clock in the morning. We were so terribly young, kids really, and whiled away the lonely night whispering of family, politics, God and service. Roy exuded a pure and palpable passion. America was the reason he drew breath, and he believed serving as a soldier was indeed a holy privilege.
My friend Roy gave his life for his country soon thereafter. He was young, passionate, and so full of hope, the very model of a genuine American patriot. At the time of his death he had been married for nine months. Make no mistake, there isn’t a single attribute of freedom that is free. Freedom is rather a treasure beyond price.
Watering The Tree
Thomas Jefferson once wisely opined the tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. The tools we use to keep this tree vibrant endlessly fascinate us. Among the dozens if not hundreds of weapons US soldiers have used to defend our great nation, none is so deeply woven into the fabric of our American military ethos as is John Moses Browning’s timeless 1911.
The 1911 equipped generations of our fighting men. From frozen Aleutian wastes to verdant European plains and fetid jungles of variegated flavors, American soldiers ably defended freedom with this tire iron of a combat pistol. One of those countless young warriors was Sergeant Thomas Baker of Troy, New York. As drawn from his Medal of Honor citation, here’s what this young man did with his 1911…
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at Saipan, Mariana Islands, 19 June to 7 July 1944… The perimeter of which Sgt. Baker was a part was attacked from three sides by from 3,000 to 5,000 Japanese… Sgt. Baker was seriously wounded but he insisted on remaining in the line and … refused evacuation, insisting he be left alone and be given a soldier’s pistol with its remaining 8 rounds of ammunition. When last seen alive, Sgt. Baker was propped against a tree, pistol in hand, calmly facing the foe. Later Sgt. Baker’s body was found in the same position, gun empty, with 8 Japanese lying dead before him. His deeds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the US Army.”
When cerebrating on the exploits of heroes like my friend Roy and Sergeant Thomas Baker I am wont to ponder — how in heaven do we make such men as these?
In the past several decades SIG has come to dominate the American gun scene. Their secret is to strive tirelessly to give American shooters what they want — guns, ammunition, optics and accessories as cutting edge as tomorrow’s headlines. In addition to selling untold thousands of quality firearms to law-abiding American shooters, SIG recently also became only the third company in American history to land a contract for a new military service pistol. This feat firmly establishes SIG as the apex predator among modern American gun manufacturers.
SIG is the archetypal naturalized American citizen. Arising from foreign shores, SIG came to appreciate the spark of American liberty and emigrated to become an integral part of our remarkable melting pot of cultures. In so doing they have earned respect and success the old fashioned way, through hard work and quality products.
SIG SAUER first began as a three-man company producing wagons in 1853 above the Rhine Falls in Switzerland. From these humble beginnings SIG went on to build the Prelaz-Burnand muzzleloading military rifle in 1864. They subsequently landed the contract to equip the Swiss military of the day with firearms. SIG was on its way 30,000 rifles later.
In 1985 SIG invaded America as SIGARMS, arming countless law enforcement officers as well as security-minded citizens in the process. Its P226 equipped a generation of Navy SEAL’s. Today the company is known as SIG SAUER. With world-beating rifle and pistol designs in its stable, it was all but inevitable SIG would branch into John Browning’s classic 1911.
SIG’s 1911’s are classic Browning with a twist. Their take on this legendary pistol is available with dust cover rails, bilateral controls, lowered and flared ejection ports, state-of-the-art combat sights, various barrel lengths, and top-end everything. Variegated finishes, sundry accessories and several different geometries define the SIG 1911 genre. No matter your intended application, SIG has a suitable 1911.
The most radical departure from John Moses’ original rests in the extractor. Please forgive my heresy but if the original 1911 has a serious weak spot it is in the extractor. Formed from spring steel and relatively difficult to produce, a 1911 extractor is a bit more complicated than need be. The SIG version is a more conventional spring-loaded lever. An astute observer can tell the difference between the two designs at a glance. On SIG’s guns the extractor is visible on the right side of the slide. On the originals it is not.
We The People…
SIG’s newest limited-edition We the People 1911 is combat tool, fashion statement and patriotic declaration all in comparable measure. This smoking hot smoke pole looks like freedom incarnate and runs as well as it looks. Even if you have a gun room full of 1911 pistols, you don’t have anything quite like this.
For starters, the custom-aged finish is a durable and robust distressed steel. At a glance the gun looks like it has already been around the block a time or three. This powerful SIG pistol looks shopworn but thoroughly hardcore, just like the nation that birthed it. Despite its weathered appearance, everything about SIG’s 1911 is practical, effective and tough.
The grips are cast aluminum bearing burnished stars drawn straight from Betsy Ross’s inimitably beautiful banner. The front strap and flat mainspring housing are sharply checkered for proper purchase when rushed, sweaty or terrified. The nuclear no-snag night sights glow brightly both front and rear. The thumb safety is perfectly replicated on both sides of the gun.
The grip safety sports a memory bump, and the 5″ full-length slide and barrel keep the gun shooting straight even out to modest ranges. Deep cocking grooves at the rear of the slide offer plenty of grabbing space. An elongated beaver tail on the grip safety keeps your sensitive anatomy away from the scary bits, while the hammer and trigger are appropriately skeletonized. The gun comes with two seven-round magazines. The left side of the slide sports “1776” in stylized script. The right aspect proclaims “We the People.”
The SIG We the People 1911 is a full-sized, steel-frame 1911 combat pistol. This means it is boat anchor heavy, just like every other steel-framed 1911 in the world. I toted mine concealed for a couple weeks, but it was markedly more cumbersome than might be your typical modern plastic pistol. However, our forefathers packed guns like these all the way across Europe and the Pacific making the world safe for democracy. Of course, these guys also survived the Great Depression. Men of this generation were better and harder than we are today.
For all its portly weight, however, the SIG We the People 1911 excises all the nasty out of those big fat .45 ACP flying ashtrays. The gun fits your hand like an old friend and rocks along through magazine after magazine without unduly stressing your soft pink anatomy. Unlike most 1911 pistols this one ran flawlessly right out of the box.
Despite its high-mileage exterior, the SIG We the People 1911 runs like any other brand new high-end 1911 combat pistol. The controls are perfect, and the mechanics superlative. This limited edition SIG runs as well as it looks, and it looks incredibly cool.
Firearms And Freedom
We live in the world’s most rarefied consumer culture, and capitalism conspires to offer us the stuff we want just the way we want it. An estimated 14.5 million Americans have concealed handgun permits, a number rising 215 percent since 2007. That’s one concealed carry holder for every 21 Americans. In the truly free states like mine roughly 10 percent of the adult population packs heat. Into this well-resourced market gun companies contrive clever angles to ply their wares. In SIG’s case, they touch upon the very essence of what it means to be an American. I am myself a fairly skeptical lad, and I bought into it completely. The SIG We the People 1911 got my blood pumping enough for me to fork over my hard-earned cash to make one mine.
John Adams once wrote, “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy… in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
Our freedom is indeed valuable beyond price. Some fear it, most covet it, and yet others wake up every day striving to rid the world of it. As regards those who wish us ill I would simply point to my friend Roy and to Sergeant Thomas Baker. Scheme your dark schemes if you must, but know Americans of such grit stand this very day in the vanguard. We are the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth for a reason. When facing a common foe We the People stand ever strong, united, and unbreakable. And SIG has made a 1911 for us that captures this spirit.