It’s Not Just Because Of The 1911
It’s the “all-American pistol caliber,” and the 100th anniversary of the pistol that made it popular is a logical time to discuss the .45 ACP cartridge.
While the 1911 pistol was adopted in the eponymous year and is now by general consensus celebrating its 100th anniversary, the cartridge it made famous is actually older. When the US Army Ordnance Board made it clear that it wanted a .45 caliber semi-automatic service pistol, the .45 Automatic Colt Pistol cartridge began to take shape on the drawing board in 1903. The first .45 ACP cartridges came off the production line in 1904, and Colt’s “.45 automatic” Model of 1905 was on the market by 1906.
The .45 Colt revolver round had struck a responsive chord with Americans way back in 1873, and it was natural that when autoloaders came on line, the .45 caliber would inherit that trust and goodwill. But it didn’t depend on an inheritance from the previous generation: the .45 ACP made its own way. In World War I, the .45 dramatically proved itself in the trenches of Europe. Americans of the time could proudly tell you how Sergeant Alvin York of Tennessee had single-handedly wiped out a German patrol with one shot apiece from his issue .45. The legend only grew after the savagery in the Pacific and in Europe in World War II. Audie Murphy, the Alvin York of the second great conflict, wasn’t the only one who called the 1911 .45 his most trusted friend when he came back to the States.
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