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Cryo Chamber

100 Years Later:.45 Pistol Still Popular

One of the most significant developments in firearms occurred about a hundred years ago and next year, gun owners and manufacturers will mark a century in the life of the .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol.
The Model 1911, named for the year it was adopted by the Army as the official sidearm for U.S. forces, has come full circle, back to where it is among the most popular handguns of the day.
The M1911 also has become a collector’s favorite.
“I just like them. They are a beautiful gun,” said Doug Wigger, a Carter area retired farmer who collects the M1911. “They are not target guns. They are made to be able to lay in the mud in the bottom of a trench and then still function and kill a man.”
At almost every Great Falls Gun and Antique Show — spring and fall — Wigger displays eight or 10 weapons out of his collection. His booth usually is near the front of the Four Seasons Arena.
From the early 1900s firearms designers were taking the first steps toward producing semiautomatic handguns — pistols that would fire every time you pulled the trigger.
At the same time, the U.S. Army was fighting against an armed rebellion in the Philippines by the Moro, a group of Muslim rebels.
The Moro warriors appeared hardly phased by the Army’s .30 and .38 caliber weapons and Army commanders wanted a more powerful sidearm.
So the gun, which began life as a .38 caliber, was redesigned as a .45 because the Army wanted more stopping power.

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