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Colt Model 1911 Semi Automatic Pistol (1)
Accurized by master pistolsmith James Clark, this .45 Colt pistol was used extensively in interservice competition.
NRA conventional pistol competition includes events for .22 cal., center fire and .45 cal. pistols and revolvers. Before 1960, this generally meant a .22 semi-automatic pistol (.22 revolvers were represented, but as a definite minority), a .38 Special cal. revolver and a 1911 or 1911A1 type .45 cal. pistol (.45 revolvers were present, but very rare). About this time, several factors combined to push the .38 cal. revolver into virtual eclipse. By 1959, several custom gunsmiths were converting .38 Super Government Models to handle .38 Special midrange wadcutter(target) ammunition with accuracy comparable to that of the revolver. In 1961, Smith & Wesson began producing their very accurate Model 52 pistol to fire .38 Special wadcutter.
By 1960, custom gunsmiths and military team armorers had discovered how to modify the 1911-style pistol to shoot light-recoiling semi-wadcutter ammunition with accuracy equal to that of the revolver. The .45 pistol, of course, meets the rule book definition of center fire:"Center fire pistols or revolvers of .32 caliber or larger...", and, since scoring is done from the outer edge of the bullet hole, its ammunition has a scoring advantage. While some traditionalists stayed with the revolver and a greater number chose to shoot some version of a semi-automatic pistol in .38 Special, by far the greatest number elected to simplify their competition outfits by shooting the .45 in all center fire and .45 cal. events.