Moses Browning's iconic 1911 pistol design has been with us for
well over a century, for one very simple reason: it WORKS. The
function, ruggedness, utility, balance, and beauty of the 1911
design has kept the old warhorse among the world's most popular
pistols throughout this time. While fashions and fads have come
and gone, the 1911 pistol has soldiered on, remaining as
relevant today as at any time in its long and storied history,
and is currently being offered by more large-scale factories and
small-scale custom shops than I care to count.
the most prolific and most respected makers of 1911 pistols
today is Springfield Armory. Located in Geneseo, IL, Springfield
Armory has positioned itself over almost five decades at the
forefront of modern firearms design and manufacture, as well as
a premier maker of time-proven designs such as their M1A® rifle
series and their various 1911 pistol offerings. Springfield
Armory's 1911 series spans a large gulf; from their dandy little
EMP® 9mm compact pistol, to Mil-Spec 1911 models, to their
custom Professional series models, Springfield Armory offers a
1911 pistol perfectly suited to any desire or any budget.
order to offer a budget-friendly, all-forged-steel 1911 that
offers upgraded features desired by today's 1911 aficionado, Springfield
Armory introduced their 1911 Garrison 45 ACP pistol in November
of 2021. Occupying a position just above the Mil-Spec series
in price, the Garrison represents an even better bargain than
the Mil-Spec, as it features significant upgrades in several
areas, all for a nominal cost increase over the basic Mil-Spec
as a companion to the 1911 Garrison 45, Springfield Armory has
expanded the 1911 Garrison line to include a 9mm version. The
1911 Garrison 9mm includes the same features as the 45 version,
and sells for the same price as the 45 version. Also, like the
1911 Garrison 45, the 1911 Garrison 9mm is available in either
blued-finished forged carbon steel, or in corrosion-resistant
forged stainless steel. My sample of the 1911 Garrison 45 was
the stainless version, while my sample of the 1911 Garrison 9mm
is the blued-steel version.
Garrison features, as noted, a forged carbon steel slide and
frame, with a very nice hot salt blued finish, which is an
upgrade to the Mil-Spec model's parkerized finish. The flats of
the slide and frame are polished, while the rounded areas of the
slide (top and bottom) and frame (front and back) are
matte-finished; this yields a very pleasing appearance, but more
importantly, having the top of the slide matte-finished means
that reflected glare is all but eliminated. This allows a
greatly-improved sight picture, especially in bright lighting
for the sights themselves, again Springfield Armory has upgraded
the Mil-Spec model. Consisting of a steel single-dot
squared-post front sight and a steel drift-adjustable two-dot
rear sight, the sights on the Mil-Spec model are already an
improvement over the plain rounded front sight blade and tiny
plain rear sight found on GI 1911 pistols. The Garrison improves
on the Mil-Spec's sight system even further, with a steel
serrated post single-dot front sight that is dovetail-adjustable
for windage, and a steel two-dot Novak-style slanted rear sight
that is dovetail-adjustable for windage and equipped with a set
screw. The resulting "three-dot" sight picture is
rightly the most popular among today's shooters, as it offers a
quick, easy, precise, and repeatable sight picture.
Garrison's barrel is match grade, 5 inches in length, made from
forged stainless steel, and features a fully-supported ramp. The
barrel's fit to the slide is superb, allowing no slop or play
either fore or aft when the pistol is in battery. Coupled with
the excellent sighting system, the quality of the barrel and the
precision of the barrel's fitting combine to create a pistol
capable of excellent accuracy.
the Mil-Spec model, the Garrison uses the tried-and-true
GI-style recoil system, consisting of a recoil spring and plug
underneath the barrel. Full-length guide rod recoil systems have
been quite popular for decades, but there is nothing wrong with
the spring-and-plug system as originally designed. I own many
pistols with full-length guide rods, but I do have a preference
for the original system's design. If it was good enough for John
Browning, who am I to argue?
Garrison's hammer is rounded and skeletonized, which allows for
faster lock time, thus further aiding practical accuracy. The
hammer perfectly nestles into the extended upswept beavertail
grip safety, effectively eliminating hammer "bite"
while properly positioning the hand high on the grip for a low
bore axis. The grip safety also features a prominent
"memory bump" to aid in its deactivation; this is a
very useful feature for many shooters who, like myself,
sometimes have trouble consistently deactivating the grip safety
when maintaining a proper high grip and
keeping the right thumb on the thumb safety.
Garrison's thumb safety is right-hand only, grooved, and
extended just the right amount for easy operation without
getting in the way. The safety is perfectly fit, and it clicks
on and off easily and positively.
aiding in a proper and comfortable grip is the mainspring
housing, which is steel, flat, and checkered, as is favored by
many shooters, including myself.
grips are both attractive and effective; I greatly prefer
thin-profile grip panels, and the thickness of the Garrison's
grip panels are perfect. The grip panels are made from nicely
colored and figured rosewood, and are checkered in the classic
"double-diamond" pattern with an etched Springfield
Armory "crossed-cannons" logo.
trigger on the Garrison is a long, skeletonized aluminum unit,
with three holes to further reduce weight. The face of the
trigger is vertically grooved, and an overtravel adjustment
screw is included, which did not need to be adjusted on my
Garrison. The trigger's action is very nice: after
1/10" of takeup, the trigger releases at an average pull
weight of 3 pounds, 2.4 ounces as measured on my Lyman
Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge.
Armory® "Garrison" 1911 Semi-Auto Pistol
(Blue - AS TESTED) / PX9419S (Stainless)
(Parabellum, Luger, 9x19mm)
||Forged Carbon Steel, Blued
||Forged Carbon Steel, Blued
||5" Forged Stainless Steel, Match Grade, Fully Supported Ramp, 1:16 Twist
||Thinline Wood, Double-Diamond Checkered
||Low Profile Combat 3-Dot, Drift Adjustable for Windage
||Lightweight Aluminum Skeletonized, with Overtravel Adjustment
||3 Pounds, 2.4 Ounces
||Upswept Beavertail with Memory Bump
||Extended, Right-Hand Only
||Flat Checkered Steel
|MSRP as of
(Blued) / $899.00 (Stainless)
A holster design I have long admired is Bill
Grover's "Texas High Ride" revolver holster. For those
who are not familiar with Bill Grover, he was the founding
genius behind Texas
Longhorn Arms, which was a small but respected revolver
manufacturer back in the the late 1980s through the late 1990s.
Grover was a thinker, an inventor, and a Shootist.
I had always wanted to meet him, as I had long admired his work
through the writings of my friend (and founder of the Shootists)
the great gun writer John Taffin, but alas, I was not fated to
meet Bill Grover on this side of the River. As it happened,
Grover was too sick to attend the annual Shootist Holiday by the
time I was invited to join the Shootists, and he passed away in
Bill Grover's "Texas High Ride"
revolver holster was an ingenious two-piece configuration
consisting of a belt slide and holster body. The design was both
beautiful and functional, allowing the sixgun to be worn either
strong-side or cross-draw, in either right-handed or left-handed
configuration. The original holsters are even more rare than the
Texas Longhorn Arms sixguns, but those who know, KNOW.
Back in 2010, Galco
Holsters started making their version of the Grover design
for medium/large-frame revolvers (the "Wheelgunner"
and later the improved "Wheelgunner
2.0") and later followed-up with a semi-auto version
making some significant improvements on Bill Grover's original
design. The Ironhide pistol holster is available to fit a wide
variety of pistols, and carries the pistol in a high position
and close to the body, making it easy to conceal. While Grover's
original revolver-holster design used a simple hammer-thong
retention strap (a feature which is shared by Galco's
Wheelgunner), the Ironhide and Wheelgunner 2.0 use a reversible
snap-closure retention strap with a polymer tab that makes the
snap easy to use with gloved hands. As with Grover's original
design, both versions of the Wheelgunner and the Ironhide are
quickly and easily reversible for left-hand use, and can be worn
either strong-side or cross-draw in either hand, making it one
of the most versatile holster designs in existence. The
Ironhide's retention strap is also configured so that the pistol
may be carried in Condition One ("Cocked and Locked",
with the hammer cocked, thumb safety on, and a round in the
chamber), Condition Two (hammer down on a loaded chamber) or
Condition Three (hammer down on an empty chamber). The 1911
pistol is designed to be carried in Condition One, but some
less-experienced shooters are uncomfortable with the idea of
carrying a pistol with a visibly-cocked hammer; the Ironhide's
retention strap can be positioned either behind or over the
hammer, as the shooter prefers. Another neat feature of the
Ironhide / Wheelgunner holster is that the holster body and
pistol may be easily unsnapped from the belt slide, if the
wearer wishes to temporarily disarm without removing the belt.
The Galco Ironhide holster is made from premium Steer Hide, is
available in tan, fits 1-3/4" belts, and sells for $84.00.
The 1911 Garrison 45 and 9mm pistols currently occupy a
middle-ground in Springfield Armory's 1911 pistol line: a
Mil-Spec 1911 pistol with upgraded sights, trigger, and
controls, offering many features that the 1911 shooter wants, at
a price that is not much higher than the basic Mil-Spec model.
The 1911 Garrison 9mm's purchase price includes one nine-round
magazine (additional magazines are available from the Springfield
Armory Store, as well as many other sources), box, zippered
nylon gun rug with Springfield Armory logo, manual, and Allen
wrench sized to fit the rear sight set screw. Nicely made from
forged steel and quality components, and proudly made in the
USA, the 1911 Garrison pistols from Springfield Armory represent
a great value on today's market.
Check out Springfield Armory's extensive line of quality firearms at:
To Find a Springfield Armory Dealer Near You, Click on the DEALER FINDER at Lipsey's:
To Order Springfield Armory Products Online, Click on the GUN GENIE at Davidson's Gallery of Guns:
Galco's "Ironhide" Holster: www.galcogunleather.com.
Order Ammo Online at Lucky Gunner: www.luckygunner.com.
CCI Ammo: www.cci-ammunition.com.
Super Vel Ammo: www.supervelammunition.com.
Buffalo Bore Ammo: www.buffalobore.com.
Lyman Products: www.lymanproducts.com.
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