Combat Handguns Jan/Feb 2024: 45 Years in Print

Editor’s Note: If you’re a .45 ACP fan, then the Jan/Feb 2024 issue of Combat Handguns is packed with .45-centric content from the leading experts in the shooting world. As an added bonus, 2024 marks Combat Handguns’ 45th year in print. For this issue’s guest editorial, we leaned on long-time writer Mike Detty to set the tone. He tells his story about his first true love…his second .45 ACP handgun.

Celebrating the .45 and 45 Years in Print in the Jan/Feb 2024 Issue of Combat Handguns

Forty-five years of Combat Handguns—that is truly impressive! I was a CH reader long before I became a contributor 30 years ago. Over the years, I have owned many 1911s. Some have been sold or traded through the years, but it was my second 1911 that’s most notable.

Back in 1981, while most of my classmates were catching rays in Mexico, I spent my spring break at Gunsite taking the basic #250 class. The course was an early graduation gift from an old WWII Marine who had reservations about his youngest son going into the Corps after college.

I had traded an S&W M15 Combat Masterpiece and some cash for a brand-new AMT Hardballer. It was one of the first all-stainless steel 1911s. It looked like a silver version of Colt’s Gold Cup, and I was very proud of it. Before our first range session, Jeff Cooper and his chief range master, Clint Smith, inspected our guns.

Cooper picked up my Hardballer, turned to Smith, and said, “We haven’t had one of these AMTs make it through a class yet, have we?”

Smith shook his head and, noticing my obvious despair, said, “Don’t worry. We’ll do our best to get you through the course.”

It was a tough week, and we fired a lot of rounds. It didn’t take long for that pistol to become an extension of me. I fired the old Mozambique drill, and the El Presidente exercise well. And I could perform a speed or tactical reload as second nature.

I made it through the Shoot House without being killed, and ditto for the Donga field course. Fortunately, my Hardballer held up, yet Cooper’s earlier comments were always in the back of my mind.

An Unexpected Gift

A month later, I was at an indoor range in Tucson practicing my new skills when the Hardballer’s 2-piece barrel separated just ahead of the chamber. My face was peppered with unburned powder and pieces of brass, and I was a bloody mess.

Fortunately, it was all superficial, and I was wearing protective glasses. I sent the gun back to the factory, and it was returned just before I left for Officer Candidate School.

Seven months later, I qualified as Expert with both pistol and rifle before taking Christmas leave to visit my family. Waiting for me under the tree was a brand-new Colt 1911 Series 70—a gift from the same leatherneck that paid my way to Gunsite. —Mike Detty

CH Staff Firsts

  • Linas Cernauskas: Wilson Combat’s Tactical Elite .45 ACP was my first gun. And believe me, living in NYC at that time, the purchase was no easy task. Some 15,000 rounds later, it’s still my favorite .45.
  • Chad Adams: I’ve owned several, but the one .45 that haunts me is the one I didn’t buy. Fresh out of the USMC, I found it at a gun show, an original Colt that saw service at Marine Barracks Washington, my old unit. An early production, it somehow avoided the armory Parkerizing and A1-style retrofits—it remained deeply blued and magnificent. It was 2003, and I couldn’t bring myself to spend $1K on it, and I regret it to this day.
  • Joshua Swanagon: I have only owned one .45, a Kimber 1911, that I got from a friend because he needed some cash. But I sold it almost immediately to buy a 10mm Springfield 1911. I have shot the shit out of the 10mm, so I feel pretty good about the decision.
  • Nino Bosaz: My first and only .45 is Springfield’s TRP Operator. It’s discontinued now, so no plans on it ever leaving my NY CC permit.

Listen to Your Favorite Gun Mags

Here’s a special note about digital subscriptions. If you’re one of those people who like to buy and listen to audio versions of books, then you’re in luck. All digital copies of Athlon Outdoors publications, including BallisticCombat HandgunsTactical LifePersonal Defense World Concealed Carry Handguns, and Guns Of The Old West, sport the “mobile view” function.

This allows you to listen to each issue from any device… your smartphone, tablet, or work/personal computer. That’ll keep your hands and eyes free to take on other tasks like driving to work or the shooting range. Enjoy the new feature!

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up your copy today!

In This Issue


  • Nighthawk gives a Colt Government 1911 a makeover to create one beautiful beast
Nighthawk Colt 1911 in the Jan/Feb 2024 Issue of Combat Handguns.


  • Taurus runs with the .45 ACP big dogs with its new TH45 hammer-fired pistol


  • A Turkish gem that pays tribute to the Colt MARSOC pistol at a sub-$800 price tag
Tisas 1911.



  • Let this eight-way cartridge battle help you decide what to feed your wheelgun
.38 Special shootout in the Jan/Feb 2024 Issue of Combat Handguns.

1776 2011

  • Phoenix Trinity does a full, double-stack, 9/.40/10 metaMORPHosis


  • Capacity plus red-dot- and suppressor-readiness equals CZ-USA’s new sub-$500 beast


  • The Rossi RM66 double-action .357 and a case of mistaken identity

Read all this and more in the Jan/Feb 2024 issue of Combat Handguns. Get your copy today at OutdoorGroupStore.com.

Celebrating the .45 and 45 Years in Print in the Jan/Feb 2024 Issue of Combat Handguns.

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