Hickok Gets His (Massive) Hands on the 1911 & 1911A1

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Despite its detractors, the 1911 continues to solider on in the shooting world. Millions have been made in recent years and looking at the introduction of various models and new chamberings, its not likely the platform is going away. Further, its found new life within the competition shooting community. Its single stage trigger is almost impossible to beat in a handgun and now available with double-stack magazines, the platform is synonymous with professional shooters.

That said, its always fun to look at where the 1911 came from. Hickok45 somehow managed to wrangle in a set of the pistols, one in the original as-adopted 1911 form and the 1911A1 that served well through World War II and beyond.

The primary changes between the two are often difficult to spot. The base 1911 was changed only slightly. The trigger was shortened, finger reliefs were added by the trigger, an enlarged mainspring housing, and a slightly extended grip safety were the most obvious. From there, its the wider front sight, changed checkering, and a slightly smaller hammer spur rounded out the changes.

While shooting, the differences are almost unnoticeable, especially for someone with large bear paws like Hickok. However, those with smaller hands appreciate the changes, especially the shorter trigger.

Enjoy Hickok putting rounds through the nostalgic platform and if you are like me, be mesmerized by his history lessons.



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Hraphanidousai

    Hickok45 is a national treasure. Whenever I am researching a firearm, his channel is the first place I go for information.

    • RadicalizedDeplorable

      I enjoy the way he very gently adds critical information. He is not all booster all the time (Gunblast), but he doesn’t trade in negatives.

      A recent video about Colt’s new Lightweight Commanders is typical. He gently mentioned that he doesn’t know how Colt is addressing the matter of alloy frames holding up to hollowpoint loading/gouging against the feed ramp. Enough said.

    • .45

      I’m happy to say I am also a fan. He has the casual shootin’ the bull sort of content I like. I usually describe him as the opposite of FPSRussian. FPSRussian is for the BroDude crowd whose experience with firearms comes straight out of Call of Duty and action movies. Hickok45 is for a more mature audience more interested in facts than fireworks.

  • RSG

    At 6’8″, his hands are indeed massive and the size of dinner plates. Government model 1911’s look like compact models in his hands. What’s amazing is to watch him shoot mouse guns with those hands. In fact, he tested/reviewed/shot the new generation LCP just last week.

    • thedonn007

      6′ 8″ really? I have not watched his videos enough to hear that piece of information. I learned recently that MAC is 6′ 4″, and I thought that was tall.

      • M.M.D.C.

        Yep: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/024c01c08e85c3bbb1521929e9c2f2c81136581ed9372d654c8f4d0aa06722c1.jpg
        That’s his son on the right, who looks like he might be a shade taller.

        • thedonn007

          6′ 10″ apparently.

          • M.M.D.C.

            A lot of us might wish we were a bit taller (richer, smarter, whatever) but it must be pretty inconvenient at that altitude considering that 80 inches is the standard residential door height.

          • mbrd

            i’m a paltry six feet, and hit my head on crap all of the time. at six feet it’s pretty much always “my fault”.

            these poor guys actually have inanimate enemies everywhere they stride… : ]

          • At 6′-2″ I find it nice to be taller than average, but not so tall that I cannot fit into cars with low roofs or rooms with low ceilings, or purchase clothes that fit without spending extra at some big and tall man’s shop.

          • mbrd

            good points. i can still buy clothes off the shelf that mostly fit, even with a 6’6″ wingspan. i can’t imagine where these guys shop.

          • Also, the selection is limited too.

        • Sulaco5

          Naw, it’s Big Foot!!

  • GD Ajax

    Ricer-guns(like Ricer cars) ahoy!

  • charlesrhamilton

    I wish I would have bought one of those Colt WW I 1911 repro’s when they first came out. They’re hard to find, and when you do they’re asking GunBroker prices.

    • mbrd

      eeesh, that sucks… on the other hand, you’ve just saved me the trouble of a fruitless search for what would have been a really cool handgun to own… and which i would definitely have put a beavertail and commander hammer on (stashing the original parts, obviously).

  • Black Dots

    Well you know what they say: big hands means you’re really good at shooting 2 liter bottles of soda.

    • iksnilol

      And that mustache definitely screams “friendly grandpa like character”.

      Which isn’t off from the truth as far as I know.

      • mbrd

        i wish he were my grandpa ; )
        i don’t know how that would work, i’ve got to be two decades older than his son… hmmm…

        • iksnilol

          I don’t want to ponder them thar possibilites, pardner.

          But yeah, can see that one, both my grandpas are dead so I wouldn’t mind having one.

          • mbrd

            grandpas and grandmas gone, dad’s gone, ma don’t shoot guns (in spite of residing in the sovereign republic of texas). i have to buy my own ammo, and my own shootin’ irons, it’s terrible…

            we should start the “need a grandpa shootin’ foundation”!

          • iksnilol

            Oh, you mean like that? Eh, I guess I just miss having an older role model in life… or having family that cares in general.

            But I won a gold pin in a shooting comp so that’s something nice which I got going for me. Have yet to receive it though, it oughta arrive this month tho.

          • mbrd

            i guess i mean it any which way… it’d be great to have a 6’8″, sort of nutty, gun shooting gramps, with a bunch of pop bottles and gongs in the back yard. if he were a role model, that would be awesome… if he were merely a fun loving whackjob – well that would be okay too!

          • mbrd

            we could make hickok45 the world record most prolific adoptive grandfather, and therefore enhance his ammo subsidies and gun loans, and therefore enhance the s**t out of his ability to produce even more awesome (in both scope and quantity) videos!

            oh wait, he’s got to adopt us all first, hasn’t he?

            you listenin’ hickok45?

  • iksnilol

    Oh my, Hickock-senpai-kun, what big hands you have.

    But seriously, the guy is huge, YUUGE! No seriously, y’all ruined Hickock for me, I can’t unsee his hands… It’s what one would call shovel hands in Ex Yu.

  • Bigbigpoopi

    A1 trigger is nice, but the arched housing sucks. I gotta use a flat one.

    Sucks having small hands.

    • mbrd

      both of my kimber ultras have chipmick slim carry grips. my hands aren’t even that small, but apparently are smaller than i think. my sw 1911 feels good with its full thickness scales, but if i could get slim grips for it, i would. that said, i prefer the full thickness grips for shooting single handed. the slim carry grips kind of demand a two handed grip from me. i know that sounds messed up, and i wish there was something in between (chip mccormick middle of the road carry grips?).

      all three of these firearms have flat mainspring housings; when i do the “pick a target, close your eyes, raise the weapon, open your eyes” sight picture exercise, i am on with two hands, and occasionally a hair low (like an inch at ten yards, i am guessing) with one hand. i attribute this discrepancy to physical weakness, not the pistols.

      i know the “kimber/slim carry versus smith/stock scales” thing could be considered apples to oranges, but given the nearly identical grip frame and trigger geometry, it’s really more like macs to fujis.

      anyway, that’s the long way around suggesting that you try out slim carry grips, if you can get them for whatever make and model 1911 type pistol you have. they’ll make your grip a little boxier, but the potential payoff is what part of your finger they put on the trigger.

      the potential penalty is you might get used to a boxy grip feel and go out and buy a few gen4 glocks, like i did… no actual regrets, i just still feel weird about it ; )

  • Nicks87

    +1 for the Bill Hicks shirt his son is wearing.

    • mbrd

      oh hey! good observation… bill hicks was the man – even if he was a quitter ; )

  • Realist

    The 1911A1 began production in 1919…

  • mbrd

    hahahaaaahahahaaaa! awesome!!!…

  • mbrd

    holy smokes! so john’s (his son’s name is john, right?) even taller? good grief!

    had no idea… but man, his videos are my favorites – educational and just good clean fun.

  • Y K

    I CCW my Kimber TLE/RL 5″ .45 acp, which has a flat mainspring housing,
    longer trigger, “beaver tail” grip safety, front grip checkering, and nice,night
    sights. It handles/shoots like a dream, and does 1.5″ groups at 25 feet.

    I have a few period 1911’s, but I keep them as a collection/investment, and
    shooting them would be blasphemy to me, as my Kimber is actually better
    as a carry piece.

    Honestly though, I don’t see why people pay $4000 for a “custom” 1911, when
    there are “production” 1911’s with the same features, accuracy and excellent
    quality, [which are wonderful guns] for around $1000 – and you can always add
    a few “personalizations” to your production 1911 if you like, for a few hundred
    dollars +or-.