March 25, 2020
We don’t want to minimize the relief that the hundreds of billions of dollars in rebate checks that the government is warming up to spend on our friends and neighbors who are hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it got the editors at Guns & Ammo thinking: What guns or ammo would we purchase with $1,200 if we could spend it on whatever we wanted?
Personally, what I really want but can’t otherwise afford is the new-for-2020 Dan Wesson DWX. With an MSRP of $1,799, it would require me to pitch in to Uncle Sam’s stimulus plan, so my other dream gun is a Smith & Wesson Model 1917 revolver with 4 inch barrel — you know, just like the one carried by Harrison Ford’s character “Indiana Jones” in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981). For the movie, armorers actually provided two: one in .455 Webley and another in .45 ACP. For $1,200, I’d buy an original in the .45 ACP chambering because I’m not enough of a gun nerd to want to load my own .455 cartridges. On www.gunbroker.com, there are a few Model 1917s with 5½-inch barrels in .45 ACP available for less than $1,200. Sadly, one that’s in near mint condition commands near $3,000, which exceeds my editorial-imposed $1,200.00 limit. So let’s be sure to consider all of our options.
I reviewed Springfield Armory’s new Ronin Operator for the May issue of Guns & Ammo. It’s a Model 1911 with old-school flair that harkens back to the glory days of late 1970s and ’80s custom-built .45s that we remember from the likes of Jim Hogue, Kings, Packmayr and Armand Swenson, to name a few. G&A’s sample was a full-size, 5-inch gun with a forged, stainless-steel frame and blued slide. Of course, it was chambered in Col. Jeff Cooper’s chosen caliber, the .45 Auto, but it is also offered in the popular 9mm.
The Ronin’s sights are a more modern ledge-type rear with a hook for racking the slide one handed, and a fiber optic up front. The fiber optic and ledge rear sight are decidedly modern touches, but there’s enough going on with this two-tone blaster that it scratches my retro itch for a full-size 1911. The fact that it had a 3-pound, 4-ounce trigger and consistently rewarded me with sub 2-inch groups from 25 yards was icing on the cake. After shooting dozens of modern 9mm pistols for Guns & Ammo magazine, shooting the .45 ACP in Springfield’s full-sized Ronin was like switching daily drivers from an electric vehicle to a 1968 GTO. While an electric might offer superior acceleration, braking, comfort, handling, economy and safety, the fossil-fuel-burning GTO just feels like the right choice.
The 1911 Ronin Operator is not the perfect working gun for everyone, but the $849 suggested retail prices there would be enough left over from my stimulus to install my favorite 10-8 Performance grip screws and slide stop lever (www.10-8performance.com). That would put me at around $930, so I’d spend the remainder on quality magazines and some ammo. Magazines are often a tricky part when coaxing reliability from 1911, so I’d test Wilson 47D’s (www.shopwilsoncombat.com) and Tripp Cobra mags (www.trippresearchinc.com) and go from there.
I already have bins of old holsters and belts for the old slabside, so I’d carry it in something suitably retro, possibly a Yaqui Slide, so that everyone could see just how awesome my new Ronin looks.
There’s also the possibility that I’d shave my beard and keep a glorious Magnum PI-style mustache modeled after Tom Selleck. If I’m going to make my better half angry, I might as well go all in.
If you could spend $1,200 on guns, how would you spend it? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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