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Modifying the 1911 wasn't commonly done in the 1920s and 30s except for minor accurizing for service pistol matches. Colt's National Match was an out-of-the-box competition ready handgun meant for this exact purpose. But it wasn't until the post-war period that accurizing pistols hit full swing, with gunsmiths offering up pistols with hard-fit barrels and bushings, tightly-lapped slides and frames, tuned triggers, and large sights. It needs to be understood that none of these modifications were meant for combat, the pistols were built for Bullseye matches and that was it. If you wanted to go fight with your 1911 you used a box-stock or USGI pistol. It wasn't until the mid 1960's when Armand Swenson began offering work where pistols combined accuracy-enhancing modifications with practical combat-oriented features such as ambidextrous safeties. But things didn't really take off until a decade later when IPSC was founded, and the custom combat .45 craze that resulted from guys wanting something they could win IPSC matches with became a huge business.

Here's a good article to read, BTW: http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/evolution-of-the-custom-combat-45
 

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I used to have a huge stack of old 1960's issues of American Rifleman and others that belonged to my father. In them were plenty of articles on hunting, reloading, and wilderness survival, and there was the occasional article on modifying handguns for match shooting. I distinctly remember there were almost no articles that had anything to do with self defense, CCW or SHTF-type survival. Times really have changed. You pick up a gun rag nowadays and 80% of the articles are about combat or concealed carry. I think that's part of the reason why the older generations like my dad supported the ownership of hunting rifles and shotguns but thought that "nobody needs an assault weapon".
 
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