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1911 Stops Sniper Bullet March 10, 2011

Posted by Retired Geezer in Ballistics, Man Laws, Religion.

For those of you who don’t know, the 1911 is a semi-automatic pistol in .45 caliber. It was invented around 1911 by John Moses Browning specifically to stop the enemy from rushing the American soldiers. The .38 caliber revolver just didn’t have the stopping power. The pistol is a marvel of engineering simplicity. It can be disassembled and reassembled in less than a minute. The tolerances between metal parts were loose enough that the pistol would be less likely to jam if you dropped it in the sand, say for instance on Iwo Jima. The 1911 is probably still the most popular .45 caliber pistol and is the forerunner of the Kimber, which quite a few IB’ers own.

Here’s an email and some amazing pictures I got from a friend.

One of the older technicians at work was telling me a story today about a pistol that was in his in-laws family. He tells me that his wife’s late father, who was a Marine in the battle of Iwo Jima, had brought back his pistol from the war. I’m thinking, ok must be a nice old 1911 model, one that has probably seen more than a few soldier’s hands. Then comes the rest of the story.

Turns out that the guy’s father-in-law, had a camera with him and had taken some pictures¬† when they raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi. He submitted his photo but it was not chosen as the one that is now famous. The family still has the picture hanging in their living room.
A few days after the flag raising, the Japanese attacked the marines, and another fight broke out. As they were in the middle of the fight, a Japanese sniper took a shot at him. The bullet went through his right wrist and hit his gun in his holster, hanging from his belt. The round, after completely disabling his right hand, penetrated his leather holster, and embedded itself into the slide of his 1911. Fragments from the round penetrated through the other side of the holster and into his leg, injuring him further. The Marine was able to get to the medic, where he was then evacuated to care for his injuries.
The technician asked me if I would like to see the pistol. After telling him the obvious, he called his wife’s brother and asked him to bring it up to the shop.
Here are the pictures I took after listening to the same story again from the Marine’s son. (it was a good story, I had no problem listening twice.)

You can click the pictures to enlarge them.

(I edited the story a bit for brevity.)

Glocks are fine guns but I don’t think they would have stopped that sniper bullet.


1. Mitchell - March 10, 2011

Cool story! I love my 1911 pistols. Now that the weather is warming up I need to head out to the range.

2. Sobek - March 12, 2011

That guy needs to learn a thing or two about cleaning and oiling his guns.

Seriously though, cool story.

3. daveintexas - March 30, 2011

Wow… how did I miss this?

Cool. And it’s the 100th anniversary of the US adopting the 1911 into the Army.

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