I was not the first to get to fire the GSG-1911. I took it out on a Saturday to introduce a father and his two teenage sons to the world of shooting, and the GSG-1911 seemed a great place to start. Again, let’s see, great sights (easy to explain), lightweight trigger in the four-pound range, and the excellent 1911 safety system, and, oh yeah, zero recoil, little noise and no blast. Definitely a recipe for success. Ammo was Federal’s bulk pack 36-grain high-speed copper plated hollowpoints — the main .22 load I had in stock.
Of course, it worked out exactly as I planned. The boys and their dad took to the gun like ducks to water. They handled it with aplomb and enjoyed the experience.
Using the GSG-1911 allowed them to easily transition to a Glock 17 and Wilson Combat ULC .45. But it was the GSG-1911 that taught them sight alignment, grip, and trigger management.
Ok, most of us agree that the 1911 is an excellent, if not the very best combat pistol extant. Part of the reason for that belief is due to the .45 caliber round it was designed for. The other reason is because of all the ergonomic qualities I have been pointing to throughout this article. But the problem with a true 1911 pistol is that not everyone can handle the recoil of the .45 ACP.
Yes, I know the 1911 is available in the milder recoiling 9mm, too, but I would submit if you can’t handle a .45, then a 9mm could be a problem as well. Maybe cost is a factor. There ain’t nothing cheaper to shoot than the .22LR, right? And yes, yes, I know, the lowly .22 LR is not considered to be any sort of proper self-defense caliber, but, 10 rounds of .22LR HV HP out of a five-inch barrel sure beats a clenched fist or mean words — particularly if that fist is restricted by strength issues! Besides, the .22LR has probably accounted for more non-military/police civilian deaths than any other caliber.
Add to this the fact that the person who is standing on the business end of a determined civilian pointing a GSG-1911 at them isn’t likely to notice that the bore is “only” of .22” diameter. They will likely think something along the lines of “crap-that #@$%&+ is about to shoot me with a .45!” Let me tell you, when I get to the age where I physically have problems handling “full power” cartridges for home defense I feel that the GSG-1911 would be perfect for me. If you are to use it as a self-defense tool, pick out the hottest loads the GSG will cycle with 100 percent reliability. You might want to consider high velocity solid loads like the Remington Viper 33-grain truncated cone round for deeper penetration on human or larger animal targets.
Another area that the GSG-1911 shines is as a trail companion, at least in areas where a .22 would suffice. I have taken to carrying it in a Gould and Goodrich belt holster with thumbreak when walking the dogs in my woods, a task formerly relegated to my former duty revolver, a Model 67 Combat Masterpiece .38. I’m not likely to encounter anything larger than a dog in my area (or a coyote) and a 10-shot .22 should suffice in most any situation I would encounter. Even if I was going camping or hiking for example, in a place where a larger gun was needed for animal defense, the GSG would be nice to have along as a camp gun. Great for potting small animals or plinking with, and of course additionally available for defense.
As you can see, the GSG-1911 really does it for me. I hope I have given you some ideas for its use that you may not have thought of. I can tell you, I will be sending a check, rather than the gun, back to ATI.
For more information, visit americantactical.us or call 800-290-0065.
This article appeared in the August 15, 2011 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine. Click here to learn more and to subscribe.
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About the Author: Scott Wagner is a 32-year law enforcement veteran. Currently a police sergeant in Baltimore, Ohio, he spent 20 years with the Union County Ohio Sheriff's Office as a Reserve Deputy where he worked patrol, training and SWAT, and was the assistant SWAT team leader and a team sniper. Wagner has been a state-certified police firearms, fitness and defensive tactics instructor for 26 years, and has been a criminal justice professor and police academy commander for 20 years at a community college in the Midwest.He is the author of the Gun Digest books, "Tactical Shotguns,", "Own the Night—A Guide to Tactical Lights and Laser Sights," and Survival Guns.
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