How It Works: Jacob O’Neal’s 1911 Animagraphic

How¬†exactly does a 1911 work? To fully answer that question, one used to have to get a set of punches, a hammer, a set of gunsmithing screwdrivers, a parts list, a 1911 of course, and a couple of hours of time. However, animation takes this one step further, and Jacob O’Neal (the artist behind the Silencerco animagraphic) has created one of the most thorough pieces of gun-related informative animation I’ve yet seen.


In fact, it’s ten separate animations, covering the function of the major subsystems both as a whole and individually. The function of feeding, ejection, cycling, locking, and the fire control are covered in their own separate GIFs.

The biggest issue with these GIFs is the ammunition render – it’s a nondescript “cartridge” with a sort of odd extractor groove shape. However, an aide to understanding how the 1911 works, I cannot find anything wrong with them.

H/T, WeaponsMan

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Don Ward

    Animation needs an American Freedom Eagle, bikini models draped around the shooter’s legs and the Ghost of John Moses Browning looking on approvingly. Because that’s what shooting a 1911 is like.

    • James Massman

      HeHeHe! That vision would kill JMB… if he hadn’t already gone to gun heaven.

  • Guest

    HeHeHe! That vision would kill JMB…

  • Nicks87

    A full magazine without a malfunction? Yeah right. How about adding some realism like a stove pipe on the third or fourth round and then have the last round not go fully into battery. It is a 1911 after all.

    • StBernardnot

      My ‘Rock’ has never had one. Ever. Maybe it’s the operator.;)

    • mosinman

      yup never heard that one before

    • Nick you are so full of it! If we hadn’t exchanged views so many times of course I wouldn’t say that but since we play this game all the time:-)
      Oh and my fairly new Remington R1 Carry is right at 1000 rounds without a single malfunction no matter what ammo I used.

      • Nicks87

        You know I cant resist Phil. It’s just too easy to get 1911 fans to vehemently defend their beloved side arm.

  • Mario AK

    If you’re already animating the thing, why not show the full range of motion of the pistol and the hand gripping it. Animating the actual recoil process would be far more informative, especially for a pistol…

  • I have many times and it’s true. You know I have Glocks also and like a lot of guns. There are a bunch of fine guns out there the 1911 one of them.