According to ATF statistics, 1, 219, 664 semi automatic pistols were manufactured in America in 2007, which is over 3x more than the number of revolvers for the same year. Over 25% of US manufactured pistols were made by American owned companies. Smith & Wesson alone made 302 633 pistols, which is more than Sig Sauer, Beretta USA, Glock, FNH USA and CZ USA put together, and the second largest US pistol manufacturer in 2007 was Strum, Ruger & Co. But neither of these American companies produce competitive semi automatic pistols. Smith & Wesson’s idea of innovation was to bring out a substandard and unlicensed version of the Glock in 1994 — 12 years after the original came out in Austria — and to add insult to injury they called it a Sig! SIGma — a stroke of genius!
The S&W M&P series would have been cutting edge thirty odd years ago, but in 2005 they’re just another Glock wannabe, as is their new SD range they brought out for the civilian market this year. Ruger are even worse. The SR9 they brought out in 2007 can be best summed up as a piece of crap and the 2008 Ruger LCP is a 6+1 round capacity 9mm Corto, which is one round less than the Beretta 3032 Tomcat, but that came out 14-years ago! Whereas the Beretta Px4 Storm subcompact has a 13+1 round capacity in 9mm and shoots as accurately as a full sized pistol and with barely any recoil. There’s just no comparison.
And the only pistols that Colt, America’s most famous handgun manufacturer, are currently making are more variations of their famous 1911.Their Colt 2000, which came out in 1992 and was supposed to be their pistol for the new millennium wasn’t even still in production in 2000. In fact, the Colt 1911 was the last truly competitive American semi automatic pistol. That’s part of the problem because nearly every American pistol manufacturer makes a version of the Colt 1911. If they were only being made for nostalgia or sport that would be fair enough, I own a couple myself, but the problem is that is still being made and sold as defensive pistol.
I know a lot of Americans thinks that the Colt 1911 is the best semi automatic pistol ever made, and to be fair, when it was first commissioned as a service pistol by the US army in 1911, it was an innovative, greatly admired and often imitated pistol. But now, just shy of a century later: a heavy, overbuilt, single action, 7×1 round capacity full sized pistol is an antique. To be honest it was really starting to show its age before WWII. Even in 1911, it wasn’t the most accurate firearm on the market: the Luger P08, Glisenti Model 1910, and Bergmann Bayard M1910 Mars were all more accurate, even if they were less durable.
The Colt 1911A1, which came out in 1924, and was designated the M1911A1 by the US military was a barely improved 1911. The only differences were a shorter trigger, indents in the frame behind the trigger, no “Double Diamond” on the grip, arched mainspring housing, longer grip safety spur, wider front sight and a shorter spur on the hammer. The working parts of the weapon were unchanged. The Pistola Campo-Giro de 9mm Modelo 1913-16, Astra 1921, Astra Model 900 (1927), Walther PP and PPK (1929), Tokarev TT-33, Beretta M1934, FN 9mm Hi-Power 1935 and Walther P38, which were all better pistols than the M1911A1 were in production before the outbreak of WWII.
The reason that the M1911A1 was in service from 1924 until it was replaced on the 14 January 1985, by the Beretta 92FS had nothing to do with combat performance; it was because it was over-procured. During WWII the US military procured 1.9 million M1911A1 and didn’t purchase any after 1945 because they had more pistols than men. Although the US military adopted the Beretta 92FS in 1985, the Italian army adopted it in 1980 as a replacement for the Beretta M1951. The Beretta 92FS is was one of the original wonder nines and came out back in 1972 and its proved itself to be far more accurate and reliable.
The US military are looking Now they are looking to replace the Beretta 92FS but after 65-years in the wilderness, manufacturing revolvers, I can’t see Colt getting the contract with a double stacked 1911. If the rumours are right, the US Army want a .45 ACP calibre polymer pistol. So Smith & Wesson better start looking at ripping off the Beretta Px4 Storm SD.