Hat tip to Vanderleun.
.45 ACP, Babyface Nelson, Colt .45, Guns, History, Hyman S. Lehman, John Dillinger, National Firearms Act, Pretty Boy Floyd, Roger Touhy
In the 1920â€™s and 30â€™s Hyman S. (Hymie) Lehman was a small time Jewish gunsmith who worked out of a leather and saddlery shop in San Antonio, Texas. At the height of his career he invented a new type of firearm based on similar concepts used in World War I; the machine pistol. Essentially Lehman took a Colt 1911, chambered for either .45 ACP or .38 Super, and converted it to fully automatic. At full auto the 7 round magazine of a 1911 would be instantly drained, so he combined his new weapon with a custom 20 or 30 round magazine. In addition, for more control when firing the weapon he attached the foregrip from a Thompson Submachine Gun, and installed a compensator on the muzzle. The result was a very small weapon that could pour out a ton of firepower.
Obviously an ingenious design, surely the military or police would be interested in such a weapon. In fact Lehman probably could have become rich if he was awarded a government contract. However, Lehmanâ€™s clientele was made up of some very seedy characters. Infamous names such as John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Roger â€œThe Terribleâ€ Touhy all purchased one of Lehmanâ€™s baby machine guns. Indeed, Lehmanâ€™s machine pistols became a part of the violence that was the gangster era. Baby Face Nelson even used his to kill Federal Agent W. Carter Baum and wound two others during a shootout at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Wisconsin. When questioned about the sales, Lehman simply maintained that he had no idea that the men he sold them to were dangerous criminals.
In 1934 the National Firearms Act was passed into law, outlawing the manufacture or possession of fully automatic firearms without a special government tax stamp. Early Texas had passed a similar state law. In 1935 Lehman was arrested for violating that law. Despite two trials he was never convicted. He died due to complications caused by Alzheimerâ€™s Disease in 1990.
Via Ratak Monodosico.
Military Times: Coltâ€™s prototypes for the Corps have a desert-color Cercoat finish, eliminating glare on the weapon and making it less identifiable at a distance…. [T]his model has a section of 1913 Picatinny rail under the barrel to mount accessories such as a light or laser aiming device. They also have more stainless steel internal components to reduce corrosion. Theyâ€™re equipped with a tritium night sight made by Novak of Parkersburg, W.Va.
30 years after the US Armed Forces went to a 9mm Parabellum Beretta, the United States Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) has re-adopted John Moses Browning’s original single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated Model 1911 pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge as its issue sidearm, to be produced (in what amounts to a typically-customized contemporary version) by the original manufacturer: Colt Manufacturing LLC of Hartford, Connecticut.
Stars and Stripes story
As “Col. Colt” puts it on the 1911 Forum:
Everything you need, nothing you don’t. The Colt 1911 has been stopping fights and saving it’s owners lives for 100 years now. And during most of that time it did it just fine dead, issue, box stock with 230gr. roundnosed jacketed Ball ammo! It built it’s “street rep” on it’s as issued form – think about that for a minute.
The American Soldier, Sailor or Airman never had any doubts that his issue handgun would work – or that it woud put his adversary on his back immediately if he did his part. It made it’s reputation from doing, not talk. From chasing Pancho Villa in the nineteen “teens, to the deadly trenches of WWI, to shooting down the Japanese Banzai charge in the dark on Edson’s Ridge on Guadalcanal, the American Fighting Man could count on his 1911 – and we still can. Korea, Vietnam, all the way up to the present day, nobody ever felt undergunned in the handgun department who carried the 1911.
Steve the skeptic discusses the politics behind the choice:
The news that the USMC had adopted the Colt 1911 Rail Gun as the new M45 pistol generated a lot of controversy. People could not understand why the Marines would adopt a very generic 1911 pistol when more modern, lighter and higher capacity pistols were readily available. Fuel was added to the fire when Solider Systems broke the news that in military tests the Colt 1911 Rail Gun exhibited cracking after 12,000 rounds.