Although the concept of a sized-down 1911 has become quite common today there was a time when it was unheard of. The Detonics MkI was the first sub-compact 1911 to be made, and it was a boon for the company not only because it was the first of its kind but because making a 1911 smaller presents numerous challenges. They were manufactured between 1976 and 1988 by the Detonics Manufacturing Corporation and were, of course, chambered in .45 ACP. The MkI has a fixed front blade sight and adjustable rear notch sights and a 3 1/4″ barrel. Its creation ushered in the era of smaller 1911s we know and love today, making it an important part of 1911 history.
There are many 1911 fans out there but perhaps the biggest of all was the late Jeff Cooper. Cooper was a big fan of the Colt M1911, and although he was instrumental in the creation of the Bren Ten, it was the 1911 he preferred. Cooper came up with the now fairly common readiness terms of carry based on his 1911:
Condition 4: Chamber empty, empty magazine, hammer down.
Condition 3: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
Condition 2: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
Condition 1: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
Condition 0: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.
Cooper carried his 1911 in Condition 1 and taught that method to students at the American Pistol Institute, which is now known as Gunsite. Gunsite is located in Paulden, Arizona and is a fantastic place to hone your firearms skills. Visit Gunsite’s website at www.gunsite.com.
Take a look at the video Ian at Forgotten Weapons made about the Detonics MkI. He does get to play with the best toys!