Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Shadow's "Smoking Automatics!"

A description of The Shadow from one of the pulp magazines says, "He battles crime with thrills and chills, and smoking automatics."  In this article we'll take a look at the main weapon The Shadow uses in the pulps and in the 1994 move - his "smoking automatics!" 

Based on all the pictures I've seen of The Shadow's automatics, I have to conclude that they are a M1911 pistol.  The M1911 pistol was used by the U. S. military from 1911 until 1986.  It was a .45 caliber automatic pistol created by John Browning, produced by Colt, and approved for use with the military on March 20, 1911.  The military was in need of a high caliber, self-feeding, semi-automatic pistol and the Colt model passed the rigorous military tests and requirements with flying colors.  These automatics first saw action in World War I when over 68,000 of them were sent to our troops.  It makes sense that The Shadow (Kent Allard) would use this weapon, as he was a WWI veteran and probably used one quite frequently in his war-time activities!

July 1, 1934 Issue of The Shadow

Let me share my personal experience with the M1911 and automatics from my days in the military.  I had to qualify with the M1911 when I went through Basic Armor Training at Fort Knox, KY in the early '80s.  I remember the M1911 had a lot of kick to it but it was a great weapon to fire.  I also spent several years as an Air Force Security Forces member and carried a revolver (.38 caliber) until the Air Force transitioned us to the automatic M9 Beretta.  I have to say that I felt a lot more comfortable carrying an automatic than carrying a revolver!  Reloading a revolver takes more time and the double-action trigger could lead to inaccuracies when shooting.  With an automatic, reloading time is quicker and the single/double action trigger enabled more accurate shooting.  

If I was The Shadow facing a mob of mobsters and their blazing gats, I would much prefer automatic pistols.  They would give me an advantage in accuracy and reload speed, things The Shadow would want in his war on crime!

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