Shooting a Classic – WWII Era Remington Rand 1911


Okay, does anyone truly dislike the 1911? It is as American as apple pie and baseball. I mean really, it is hard to find someone who has spent some time behind the trigger of one who does not enjoy shooting it. It is such a popular gun, that now, more than 100 years since it was introduced, it is not only being manufactured by nearly 100 companies, but it is still in service with various tactical units across the country, is making its way back into the hands of US Marines and is one of the dominant guns in competition shooting. While it is not my choice for a carry gun or a combat handgun, it is still an excellent handgun and a design that has influenced nearly all modern auto loaders.
In my recent article about the S&W Victory Model, I mentioned some of the reasons I find enjoyment in handling guns from the WWII era, namely how they remind me of what this country accomplished back then, how we came together as a nation to accomplish a valiant goal, how both individuals and entire companies made huge changes to support our nation as we set about defending freedom and fighting tyranny. This particular 1911 is a result of just that, companies making huge changes to support the war effort.In previous articles, I have mentioned my fondness for WWII weapons, especially those carried by US troops. Well, I cannot think of a handgun that epitomizes the US soldier more than the John Browning designed Colt M1911, and the later M1911A1. I have also previously mentioned my preference to own a shooter over an immaculate collector piece, but in the case of the 1911, I’ll make an exception. Finding a 1911 to have as a shooter is a simple affair, and to that end you can even buy a WWII spec model brand new from various manufacturers. When it comes to the good old 1911 and having a collectible WWII era gun, I got very lucky, with much gratitude going to my father who gave me this gun.
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My Remington Rand bears the inspection initials FJA, for Frank J. Atwood, just below the slide release on the left side of the frame and the P just below the mag release. The P is again visible on the top of the slide just forward of the rear sight. On the right side, it has the UNITED STATES PROPERTY mark, the M1911 A1 U.S. ARMY mark and near the rear of the frame, the crossed cannons cartouche that is found on most 1911’s made after mid-1942. The Parkerizing on the frame and slide are slightly different shades, which is something I have seen on many guns of this era, and the grip panels are made from brown colored hard rubber.During the war, the 1911 and many other weapons were made by a large number of companies, but not all of them were gun manufacturers. In the case of the 1911, two noteworthy non-gun companies took to building guns; Remington Rand, a typewriter and business machine company, and the Union Switch & Signal Company (US&S) who previously made railroad signage and signaling equipment. This particular 1911 was built by none other than the Remington Rand typewriter company. More information on all the WWII era makers can be found here on the Coolgunsite.com 1911 Collectors Guide.
As I said above, shooting this particular gun was not a priority to me as I do not want to devalue it. The finish on this gun is excellent with only some minor wear at the corners. Even the barrel shows very little wear from the barrel bushing, so this is not going to be my weekend range gun. That said, I shot it on just one occasion prior to my taking ownership, and I can say this, at least the loud bang would have scared the Axis soldiers…
Even though I likely will never shoot this gun again, I often find myself pulling it out of the safe to handle. Like my other guns from this era, especially those of American lineage, this Remington Rand reminds me of all the things that America did during WWII that made this country great.Maybe it is just my Remington Rand, as I have not shot others to compare, but this particular gun cannot hit the broad side of a barn. It has nothing to do with the era-common minimalistic sights, as I have similar sights on another 1911 and have no issues with that gun. This gun functioned fine with both era GI magazines and with modern eight round mags and there were no malfunctions to speak of. The trigger pull is typical 1911, short and predictable, and this one breaks consistently at 5lbs, although on this gun, the trigger itself is made from stamped steel instead of machined like most retail market guns, so it feels slightly different. This gun, aside from the accuracy issue, shoots just like any other full size 1911, which is to say it is quite enjoyable.

 

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