Ruger’s SR1911 Target Pistol by Paul Scarlata

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Ruger’s SR1911 Target Pistol by Paul Scarlata: Perfect for paper-punching − and other things too!

While it dominates the various action pistol ­disciplines today, at one time the only thing the 1911 pistol was used for, other than military and police service, was serious bullseye target shooting – a sport better known as ‘paper punching’.

Competitors stand in the classic pose and fire ‘accurised’ 1911 pistols at bullseye targets at measured distances. These matches required the shooter to one-handedly fire his or her pistol and to get off a set number of rounds in a specified time. While those of us who are used to ‘run, gun and have fun’ matches might find this a bit boring, it requires the utmost in training, concentration, discipline and skill, and bullseye shooting produces some truly amazing groups.

From 1933, Colt offered a National Match pistol that was little more than a slightly tuned 1911A1 with an adjustable rear sight. In 1957, the introduction of the Gold Cup National Match pistol gave ­target shooters a 1911 with all the bells and whistles needed for the sport in an off-the-shelf, out-of-the-box factory pistol.

The very first custom 1911 pistols were, in fact, built solely for paper punching. Skilled gunsmiths, such as Jim Clark, Bob Chow and Al Dinan, ­specialised in making ‘Old Slabsides’ more accurate and reliable with better slide-to-frame fitting and trigger work, and installing adjustable sights.

While the majority of 1911s built by custom gunsmiths today are intended for action pistol competitions, there is still a devoted cadre of shooters who demand a traditionally-styled 1911 designed for the sole purpose of punching tight groups of holes in paper ­bullseye targets.

Read the full article in the May 2017 issue of Magnum.

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