Say What?

From this blog comes the following piece of idiocy from the NRA’s Carry Guard program:

*NOTE: NRA Carry Guard Level One is designed for training with a semi-automatic handgun (Glock 19/17, Sig P226/P228 or equivalent). We will not allow revolvers or 1911s as your primary firearm in this class. [my emphasis]

Guess I won’t bother taking that class, then. Or maybe I will — only I’ll bring a Browning High Power as my primary, and my 1911 as a backup.

For those who are unaware of the irony (and there may be one or two), I should point out that both the Colt Government 1911A1 (1911) and the Browning High Power (BHP) were designed by the same man, John Moses Browning, and are functionally identical but for chambering (.45 ACP vs. 9mm Para respectively), magazine capacity (7-10 for the 1911, 12-15 for the BHP) and disassembly routine (which is irrelevant in this case). Other than that, both are single-action semi-automatic handguns, and I love both of them almost equally (because BHP = 9mm, a marginal self-defense cartridge).


I have no idea what the NRA was thinking (or if they were thinking at all), but the 1911 is one of America’s favorite carry pieces and to exclude this wonderful gun from a “carry” class is doing a huge disservice to a large number of gun owners.

On second thoughts, I won’t be taking the stupid class at all, because no doubt the NRA weasels would take issue with the way I carry my 1911 anyway.

But that’s a topic for another time, when I discuss handgun carry. Watch this space.



  1. Well, at the risk of getting flamed I fell out of love with the .45 years ago and sold my M1911. Not that I didn’t like it but for self defense I’m satisfied with the current crop of 9mm rounds out there. I’ve noticed that many of the local police departments who switched to .40 during the 90’s are quietly going back to 9mm as well.

    The plethora of cheap 9mm ammo for practice has also made 9mm more attractive to me. During the dark days of the post-Newtown ammo crisis there were times when 9mm was cheaper to shoot than .22lr.

    Now as to the Hi Power, I’m right there with you. I’ve been intrigued by this gun for quite a while and so a few years ago when I had a little disposable cash I acquired the poor man’s version: The FEG-35, A/K/A the Hungarian Hi Power (FEG is or was the Hungarian national arms company.) Functionally identical to the Hi Power, I got it for less than $300 on Gunbroker and after I replaced the crappy magazine, it shoots like a dream and fits my hand like it was made for it (which is funny because I actually like the grip angle of Glocks – my G17 fits my hand just fine, too.)

    My one and only “complaint” about the FEG/HP is the small safety but I know that can be fixed by the aftermarket. One nice thing about a “cheap” gun like the FEG is that I don’t have any qualms about modifying it – given that the finish is at maybe 25% and moderately pitted, I’m thinking a CeraKote finish will be in my future.

    The Hi Power/P-35 was, of course, John Moses Browning (PBUH) ‘s last design and IMO one of his best. He dispensed with the removable barrel bushing and the swinging toggle of the M1911 and of course the grip safety (which IIRC was only put there because the US Army demanded it) was also left off.

    1. “I fell out of love with the .45 years ago and sold my M1911.”

      Staff, you need help.

      Good thing you don’t live in Texas; I think that selling your 1911 is only allowed by law if you’re trading it in for another.

      1. A few years ago when I wrote for TTAG I compared the M1911 to the Harley Davidson and I still think it’s an apt comparison.

        Both are obsolete machines that are beloved by millions of people, more for sentimental and emotional reasons rather than practical ones.

        And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, BTW. People make and use all sorts of technology for purely or mostly sentimental and emotional reasons all the time (like hipsters spinning vinyl records or riding fixed-gear bicycles.)

        But just as a modern motorcycle racer would not consider an HD to enter into the MotoGP, neither would a serious military force consider the M1911 as a service weapon.

        1. I wonder what the Carry Guard would make of someone that showed up with a new Wilson EDC X9. It’s not a 1911, and more like a HiPower.

        2. Obsolete?
          Sure, it doesn’t like hollow-points, but that hardly makes it obsolete.
          It goes bang just as quickly and reliably as any other autofeed pistol.

          The only thing that can readily be called obsolete about it is with respect to the manufacturing process. The inefficiencies of that significantly driving up the price point past pistols of more modern design.

          You also have a much higher opinion of military procurement than I do. You’re right that you won’t see many militaries fielding them, but that’s solely because they’re more expensive to produce and more expensive to fire. Also, NATO doesn’t like non-metric ammunition.

          1. Yes, obsolete. Like carbureted engines. Nothing against carbs but they’re obsolete, that’s why hardly anybody uses them anymore. Maybe on a few gas powered lawnmowers or really cheap dirt bikes, but everyone else has switched to EFI for a good reason.

            I think you’re assuming that I’m using the term pejoratively, but I’m not. Obsolete isn’t bad, it’s just…obsolete. 😉

    2. Well, the popularity of the .40 was an artifact of assault weapons ban. When you can only have 10 rounds to a magazine, the tweener round makes a lot of sense.

      But that’s a longer a consideration, and manufacturers have since gotten .45s to hold 10 while still being usable by people with small to normal sized hands.

      .40s now have all the trade-offs, without their previous benefits.


      It goes without saying that the rule is ridiculous and pretty damned indefensible.

      1. I’ll admit to buying into the .40 hype, though I got to it very late (2005.) Bought a Glock 23 to accompany my brand new Colorado CCW permit.

        My desire for the .40 lasted about as long as it took me to fire one round and to feel that punishing sting of a recoil. The first time I fired my .40 at the range was also the first time that I recall ever leaving a pistol range with ammo still in the box. I think I put 2 mags through and said “that’s it, I’m done.” The nerves in the palm of my hand felt like they’d been hit by a stun gun.

        And no, I’m not a recoil wuss – I’ll fire full power .357 Mag rounds all day. But there was something particularly nasty and sharp about the recoil of that .40 that made it supremely unpleasant to shoot (.45ACP was a pussycat by comparison.)

        Having talked to other shooters who made the .40 mistake, I know I’m not the only one who didn’t like it.

        As soon as I got home from the range I ordered a Storm Lake 9mm barrel and a couple of G19 magazines and never fired so much as a single round of .40 S&W again (in fact, I think I may have half a box or so of .40 in my ammo stash.)

        1. I regret all the time and money I wasted on the .40S&W platform. One of the dumbest things I ever did was selling a Sig 229 9mm to buy a Glock 27 pain machine. I tried to buy it back, and no, they didn’t want to sell it.

    3. If it’s any comfort, I agree with you. The 1911 I can take or leave, the Browning stands much higher in my affections. My #1 Browning I bought secondhand…but it’s a Cylinder & Slide tuned gun. Excellent trigger.

  2. Ah, the perpetual 45 ACP versus 9mm Luger debate. I have fired the 45 ACP in friends’ guns multiple times. Yes I can hit with it, yes I did qualify with the 45 ACP (and 45 Colt) for my CCW, but my ability to double tap or rapid fire just wasn’t there. I suppose that would come with practice. A married couple I know at work do carry 45’s concealed, but they’re big people, and my physique tends more toward “skinny runner”. To each their own.

    I’m with Staff — the Browning High Power just fits the hand. A long time ago a friend let me put a few magazines through his, and sweet it was. My first 9mm, a S&W Model 39, I bought when just a 21 year old whelp, and I’m on my third 9mm now, a S&W M&P Shield 9mm. Double tap, rapid fire, easy peasy. The thing I like about 9mm is that it’s pleasant to practice with which gets me and my son out to the range more often. I still have that M39; like the High Power, it fits the hand well but is a little too large to carry concealed. When I introduced my son to the 9mm, it was in that M39. Better to have confidence with a pea shooter is my philosophy, and I can get a reasonable number of rounds in a concealable yet shootable pistol like the Shield.

    As to the NRA Carry Guard, let’s see if the outcry eventually causes them to come up with a special class for the 1911 aficionados. What I don’t understand is allowing the 1911 as a backup but not the primary weapon. Seems that you’d want the 1911 as the primary and a 380 Auto or 38 Spcl as the backup. My complaint is about not allowing revolvers because my other carry gun is a S&W M60. Oh, well, I can understand that. Wheel guns are in the distinct minority nowadays.

  3. My current version of a 1911 is the Colt Defender, a bit worked over and it is my main carry gun. I can shoot all right with the nice smooth trigger on that gun. Perhaps my favorite is a fairly new production Hi-Power and when I took the CHL here in Texas I scored 247 out of 250 which is not real hard but good for me. I am old and I like the feel of guns made out of steel and either gun 7 rounds .45 or 13 or 9 mm are probably enough with back up magazines. Several years ago on a whim I did buy two 20 round Hi-Power magazines and they are kind of fun but I don’t think, or at least I hope I won’t, ever know that many bad guys at one time.

  4. I’ve noticed a trend for older guys with wrist & arm problems moving to the 1911 in 9mm. You get a very, very accurate gun with very low recoil. Plus, there’s less of a chance of an inadvertent leg shot with a properly locked 1911 over an unmodded Glock.

    As for me, the perfect 1911 would be a blued Colt Series 70 in .38 Super. But I’m still pretty happy with my Berettas.

  5. As for hollow points, the right ammo with the right magazines, polished feed ramp on either a decent 1911 or Hi-Power, no problem. You do need to run a couple hundred solid rounds through a new gun to make all the parts happy and polish and slick a few parts up. Then shoot a bit with good modern hollowpoint ammo so you are sure your gun will never fail when you actually need for it to work. But what the heck, this is America and you can use anything you want to use as long as you don’t live in New Jersey where hollow points are illegal or have to many rounds in the magazine in a few other dim states.

    1. My Kimber has handled every HP ammo I’ve tried in it except the Aguila IQ (alloy bullet). CCI flying ashtrays and all the other types ‘just worked’. Ditto the Delta Elite. Any factory 10mm ammo except for the lead bullet American Eagle stuff has worked flawlessly. Neither pistol has been worked over (beyond breaking them in with target hardball and buying quality magazines).

      I know the original Colt and other military builds had issues without some gunsmith TLC but I think the issue is overblown now, just living on in institutional memory.

  6. Somebody in NRAland got all covered up with stupid.

    Bullet folks’ R&D has made the 9mm Para into a good defensive cartridge. So? That doesn’t make GI Hardball totally ineffective, as if by magic. Since I never had trouble in pre-gamy IPSC in the early 1980s with feeding semi-wad-cutters, nor later with “flying trash-cans”, I tend to raise an eyebrow at some negative comments about the 1911. Back in my years of gunshow tables, I bought any old junky GI 1911 I could find. So incredibly easy to rejuvenate into a very accurate and reliable shooter! Lotsa bang for not many bucks. 🙂

    A Browning HiPower’s trigger is much better if you get rid of that stupid mag disconnect gizmo. 🙂

    I still own two 1911s. A much-worked-over LW Commander and a como se llama Heinz 57 full-size. My gunsmith buddy keeps the LW close at hand and keeps shooting 2″ and 3″ groups at 25 yards with the full size. Arthritis in my shoulder has me now with an FN 5.7 because of the lack of recoil; all the raghead’s COM hits at Fort Hood were fatal.

  7. ( late breaking: The NRA reversed itself, and is now allowing 1911s in the class.)

    Kim, it’s a private armed guard class.

    They expect their students to bring generic cop pistols.

    Yea, I like the M1911 … but I carry either a stubby revolver for deep concealment, or a full sized Smith M&P. It’s been years since I have seriously carried a 1911.

  8. I’m not defending them, but … if I were teaching a class where the main emphasis was strategy, mindset, shoot/don’t shoot or some area that was not strictly centered on guns, then I’d probably want all my students to carry roughly the same type of gun. That way I wouldn’t have to stop every 5 minutes to discuss some gun specific question or issue. I wouldn’t have to modify the shooting part to include different firearms for every other shooter.

    I don’t know what the training class was for, so maybe that’s not relevant. But the shooting portion of my LTC class took twice as long due to the different types of guns everyone brought. That’s ok for basic LTC class, but maybe not for other training.

    1. Yep, I concur – similar systems makes for more consistent training.

      A few years back when my stepson started at the police academy, he was required to buy a G17. He was told that once he got onto the force he could carry whatever he wanted (from a list of approved pistols) but for training purposes they needed to have everybody on the same page, so to speak, so everyone had the same weapon.

      The G17 seems to be to modern cops what the K-frame S&W .38 revolver was to the cops of the 60’s – 80’s, i.e. the “universal standard” against which others are compared.

  9. One problem with the 1911 platform is that everyone and their brother is making “1911’s”, and not all items called 1911 are made equal. The title covers everything from classic WWI era Colts to custom built Wilson Combats, all the way down to indifferently assembled slag metal guns that were Dremmeled into unreliable unsafeness by ham-handed clods.

    There’s also been a trend by famed 1911 builders like Vickers & Yam to have moved into plastic 9mms for their own personal carry.

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