If you’re looking for an attractive and instantly recognisable replica handgun, then the M1911 has to be on the menu. This month Steph Brooks take a close look at this classic weapon in a buyer’s guide.
The Colt M1911 is one of the enduring pistol designs and is instantly recognisable to anyone who knows about guns, and even to some who don’t, thanks to its prevalence in movies, TV shows and video games. The reason for this love affair with the M1911 is simple. To many Americans it is the pistol that won the Second World War, so its role throughout Hollywood as the hero’s weapon of choice was sealed.
Even in real world applications, the 1911 remains incredibly popular. The Colt M1911 was meant to be replaced with the Beretta M9 in 1986, but due to its popularity it has never been phased out completely, and modern variants of this classic pistol are still used by section of the US navy and Marines.
So, where does that leave us? Well, here in the UK we take quite a different approach to firearms, especially pistols and trying to get your hands on a real 1911 is either going to be very hard or very, very illegal but for those looking to capture some of the feel of holding one of this iconic pistols in air pistol form, there are several options available, particularly in 12g CO2. Let’s have a look at the options below…
3rd Place: Umarex Legends 1911
By far the most affordable 1911 pistol on the site, this German made 1911 feels very sturdy and well made. The slide on the top of the pistol is metal and the whole pistol is moulded around a metal frame, giving great strength and a realistic weight. In fact, picking this pistol up, I was surprised at how good it feels especially compared to other pistols of a similar price. The only downside to the feel was the trigger, which did have some lateral movement straight out of the box.
The pistol also features an under mounted weaver rail, which is a nice touch, and allows for use of a laser or torch to be easily attached to the gun. The pistol also looks great, finished in black. There is not too much writing down the side of the pistol, unlike some other models.
Considering the price, I can’t complain about this too much, but it would have been nice to see more metal involved in the pistol’s construction. More and more guns these days are from polymer or plastic, but the 1911 represents a time when metal was the only viable option, and it would have been nice to see that reflected here.
The 1911 is also a non-blowback semi automatic action. What this means the air pistol will fire as fast as you can pull the trigger but only the hammer will move, not the whole slide. This increases accuracy as well as CO2 efficiency, allowing you to get more shots per refill but I have to say, the Legends is not going to win any target shooting competitions, as it is smooth bore. A blowback action would have been quite nice to give a bit more realism.
+ Low price
+ Overall good build quality
+ High shot count
+ Weaver rail
– Main body is plastic
– Non Blowback
– Smoothbore barrel
2nd Place: Remington P-1911 RAC
Remington are a well known and well respected brand that have been manufacturing high quality airguns for many years and their take on the world famous pistol is one of the best on the market. Straight out of the box the care an attention to detail is obvious. Full metal, big plus from me there, and the finish is excellent. It’s almost like a power coat over the top of the metal giving it a suitably dull, gun metal colour. It just looks great… except for one thing.
For some reason plastered down side of the slide is a big warning saying you must read the manual, don’t point it at your face blah blah blah. It seems so insulting to be to put that on there, like the automatic assumption is the person shooting the gun is going to be either a criminal or a child. If you are old enough to buy the gun you are old enough to know better, so next time Remington, just put it in the manual instead please, it’s ugly.
The gun is smooth bore and fires 4.5mm BBs, with a realistic semi automatic blowback action, kicking the slide back and making the pistol feel powerful. If you are looking for a fun and capable pistol, the Remington M-1911 is great choice although the smoothbore barrel and 4.5mm BB ammunition limit its use for much else. The pistol is also pretty limited in terms of offering accessories, as it has no rail to speak of which is a shame.
The Remington is also quite Co2 hungry thanks to its blowback action getting you around 40-45 shots on a good day, and less if its cold, meaning you will be having to change CO2 capsule after every 2 magazines, if you are planning on using the pistol a lot that may be something to bear in mind when shooting.
+ Full metal
+ Powerful blowback action
+18 round magazine
– Gas hungry
– No accessory rail
1st Place: Umarex Colt 1911 A1 Government
Made by Umarex and licensed by Colt, this pistol looks about as close to the real thing as any of us are likely to see with the all black version in particular looking absolutely fantastic. This version of the 1911 is pellet firing and fully rifled and so is suitable for target shooting, unlike the others mentioned. It is also non blowback and while I would normally say this is a downside in BB firing models, when it comes to the A1 with its fully rifled barrel, accuracy is one of the main selling points of the pistol. Minimal recoil is the name of the game.
Adding to this accuracy is the power of the pistol, shooting at around 2.5 ft/lbs it is around double the power of other 1911’s you can buy leading to flatter trajectories and better range. Pellets have better aerodynamics than BBs anyway and are far less likely to ricochet, meaning that you are more likely to be able to be allowed to shoot them down your local airgun club.
The build quality of this pistol is again fantastic and the overall weight and feel is spot on, finding a balance between not feeling too “toy like” and being too heavy to aim properly. The trigger in particular on this model is great, solid and robust without being clunky or imprecise.
The trigger is double action although the hammer can be cocked by hand for a single action shot making the trigger lighter. I found this to be the best way of shooting the pistol and was happily putting pellet after pellet thought the gun with no problems. The grouping was quite good at ranges of around 10m and with my tin of ProShot Practice pellets I was having great fun.
The Colt 1911 A1 features standard Umarex 8 round rotary magazine that is seated inside the main slide which is maybe not as many shots as other pistols, these type of rotary magazines have been around for many years and are unlikely to go wrong.
+ Accurate shooting
+ Pellet firing
+ Great build quality
– Only 8 shot magazine
– More expensive than others
– No accessory rail
There you have it, the 3 best 1911 air pistols available on the market today. Hopefully with this guide you can pick which one is for you. For all the latest news and product reviews keep checking our blog here at Pellpax.