Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A love affair with .45 ACP that started more than 50 years ago

Back in the summer of 2007, I had four carry pistols and decided that was enough, Steyr MA1 .357 Sig compact 4" barrel, Glock 29 10mm subcompact 3.6" barrel, S&W 669 9mm subcompact 3.5" barrel and Kel-Tec P11 9mm 3" barrel.

So I kicked off the search for the Baddest Tactical Pistol I Can Afford. That led to the purchase of my Llama IX-C wideframe, a full-size 5" barrel 1911 .45 ACP. I busied myself collecting mags for a while, starting with the 13-rd. factory mags then discovering I could hack Para Ord P-14 mags and even larger ones, like an aftermarket 20-rd. mag.

I bought some other full-size handguns during that kick, but most of them are gone now as I zagged the other way back toward carry pistols, mainly due to starting a new job a year ago in a gun store.

Which led to my next .45, a Para P12-45 with 3.5" barrel. A retired Navy chief sold it to us and it was love at first sight for me. He was a lefty like me and had installed ambi safeties as well as several other custom features done by the famed Cylinder & Slide custom shop.

And the retired chief also sold the gun shop a full-size Para P14-45, which was customized even further by C&S, also ambi safeties and an even longer list of custom features, including a flowerpot mag well.

So what could I do? When I got the P12 paid off, I put the P14 in the layaway safe until I could buy it too. If a compact .45 is good, a full-size .45 is more good. Both are great shooters.

And that's where things stayed for a bit, but along the way I had picked up a Sig P220 Rimfire Classic. That's Sig's name for their .22LR versions of their classic P229, P226 and P220 models.

I got a chance to pick up the gently used P220 single-action-only .22LR, which has ambi safeties, voila another lefty-friendly shooter. So eventually I had to get the .45 ACP slide conversion kit for the P220.

I finally did last week and it blows me away. I can shoot this P220 .45 better than either of the other three, and they all shoot very well. Don't get much better than that, four .45s that all shoot very well to excellent.

It's been a circuitous route, but I've come back full circle to my first love, the 1911 .45 ACP my dad first let me shoot when I was a lad of 10 or so. And the 1911 .45 ACP that I shot while I was in Uncle Sam's Navy during the Vietnam War.

I've got four 9mm pistols, four .357 Sigs, one 10mm, four .22LRs, three .44s, two .357 Magnums, one .38 and one .327 Magnum, but I gotta say of all of them, I still love .45s the best.

No comments: