Owen J. Baggett was a second lieutenant in the 7th Bomb Group based at Pandaveswar, India, during World War II. Baggett enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and graduated from pilot training on July 26, 1942.
On March 31, 1943, Baggett’s squadron, part of the 7th Bombardment Group, was ordered to destroy a bridge at Pyinmana, Burma. Before reaching their target, the group of B-24s were intercepted by 13 Japanese planes.
During the encounter, Baggett’s plane was severely damaged and was set on fire by several hits to the fuel tanks. The entire crew was forced to bail out, escaping the B-24 before it exploded.
The Japanese pilots then began attacking the U.S. airmen as they parachuted to the ground. Baggett, who had been wounded, played dead in hopes the enemy pilots would ignore him.
Still, one of the Japanese fighter planes flew close to Baggett and slowed to make sure he was dead. However, Baggett noticed the pilot open his canopy, so he drew his M1911 pistol and fired four shots at the pilot. Then, he watched as the plane stalled and plunged toward the ground.
Amazingly, the pilot had not only been hit, but he was killed. An American on the ground confirmed that the Japanese pilot was already dead when his plane crashed, however Japanese records do not record this kill, and they claim no pilots were lost during the battle.
The fact is, pretty much everyone who owns a gun has heard of the 1911. The 1911 was in continual service and production for over 100 years and it is the longest serving handgun in U.S. military history.
The M1911 is a .45 caliber handgun with a barrel length of five inches, but you can buy ones that are six in inches long. Long slide handguns are traditionally considered competition firearms for IPSC, IDPA and 3-gun contests, as their additional length offers many shooting advantages.
However, there are also a number of non-competitive shooters buying long slide guns for target shooting and home defense.
With that being said, here are a few pros and cons to take into account if you are considering a long slide pistol.
Less recoil. The additional distance for the bullet to travel inside the barrel reduces the muzzle flash as well as the recoil. A short-barreled gun bucks in your hand more, along with a more intense muzzle flash that can be distracting.
According to the FBI, it took 1,200–1,500 rounds for an agent to be reasonably effective over short distances with their 2″ barreled .38 Special revolvers. A 4–6″ barreled pistol takes around 400 rounds for the same competency.
Increased velocity. The increased amount of time for the burning gasses to accumulate in the longer barrel add as much as 20% more velocity to the bullet, which is a significant improvement for bullets in distance. In addition, this affects how much the bullet drops over distance and how hard the bullet impacts its target.
Longer sight radius. It’s easier to aim a long slide pistol, just like a rifle is, because the rear and front sights are further apart. So, you’ll (hopefully) hit a lot more of what you’re aiming for and at longer distances.
More weight. There is no question a long slide pistol is heavier than smaller barrel length guns. Depending on the specific long slide gun, you may feel like you are carrying around a brick. In other words, if you are going to wear a long slide on your belt, you will want to make sure you’re wearing a quality gun belt and holster that can hold the added weight.
Difficult to hold. Anyone who has ever attended a police academy knows that one of the most critical drills you do is staying on target with your gun for an extended amount of time. With a heavier gun, such as a long slide pistol, this will be more difficult to do.
What I mean is, if you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to keep your gun on the threat for an extended amount of time, it would be a challenge to do so.
Personally, a long slide pistol isn’t a gun I would want to carry everyday, but there is no doubt it would be a good home defense option.