Alliant Powder


I have owned more firearms than I could ever possibly count. I buy, sell, and buy some more. My first firearm was a Remington 870 12 gauge which I hunted pheasant, ducks, geese and deer with growing up as a teenager. When I became old enough to legally own handguns, I started with revolvers – because Dirty Harry was a revolver sort of guy. ? But it wasn’t long before I started buying semi-automatic pistols because they were easier to load than a six gun.

Naturally, this fascination with pistols took me directly down the path of 1911s. The 1911 has been around, well, since 1911. Based on the poor stopping power of the Colt M1892 revolver, the U.S. Army decided they needed a self-loading pistol in a caliber not less than .45. Enter John Browning. He would design the M1911 Colt pistol chambered in .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP). Browning’s design would beat out prototypes from Savage and DWM. His pistol design would be manufactured by many different companies to supply the U.S. Army’s needs during World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. And while the U.S. Military would adopt the Beretta M9 in the mid-1980s, the 1911 is being used by Special Forces units through present day.

I have owned 1911s made by Colt, Smith & Wesson, Dan Wesson, Kimber and SIG Sauer. While I have had excellent experiences with the Kimber pistols, I prefer a stainless steel frame – not an alloy frame. I have owned several SIG Sauer 1911s and have always been very impressed with them. My most recent 1911 purchase, a couple of years ago, was the 1911 We The People. I was immediately attracted to the gun – from a cosmetic standpoint – but also because it hearkens back to an earlier time before light rails started appearing on 1911s. It is traditional.

We The People 1911

SIG Sauer – 1911 We The People

The first thing people notice about this pistol is the grips. They are made of aluminum and have raised stars to enhance your purchase on the pistol when shooting. “1776” is engraved on one side of the slide, with “We The People” engraved on the ejection port side. Lastly there are 13 stars engraved just forward of the rear sight – representing our original 13 colonies. SIG got all the cosmetic details right on this pistol – including adding a distressed finish to the slide and frame.

But don’t be fooled. This pistol is all business. It is a full sized 1911 with a 5 inch barrel. And unlike newer 1911 designs the barrel is fully supported by a heavy bushing. With its finely checkered front and rear straps it is easy to shoot with the overall pistols weight – 41.6 ounces – making follow up shots more accurate. Unlike its older cousins, SIG’s We The People sports SIGLITE tritium sights, making it something you could use for personal defense in low light conditions.

Shooting the We The People

The SIG Sauer We The People 1911 is very accurate

I normally do not wait two years to write a review of pistols I use. But I must admit, I do not want everyone else to buy one of these. It is a conversation starter among friends and strangers when they see this gun. Since I bought this 1911 I have shot roughly 1,500 rounds through it. My normal break in procedure, for a new pistol, is go to the range with lots of my reloads. I will mix things up in the magazines as I load them – rotating between powder types and bullet weights. On my first outing, I shot roughly 300 rounds through the WTP of hard ball full metal jacket reloads. Of all of these rounds, I had one failure to feed – and it wasn’t the pistol’s fault. Upon examination, I found the brass was not to my normal standards and it should have never made it through my inspection before going in the ammo box.

After the 300 rounds of FMJ, I mixed some jacketed hollow points in with the FMJ reloads. I have been able to make many pistols – not just 1911s – hiccup when doing this. I experienced no problems. Not one. My last exercise with the WTP was to shoot multiple brands of JHP factory ammo through it to make sure it didn’t get indigestion from any certain hollow point. This pistol ate everything I put through it that day – with no problems.

Is the WTP accurate? First, let me offer this caveat. I am not interested in trying to see how many bullets I can put through the 10-ring on a paper target. I am interested in keeping all of my rounds in center mass- being able to have quick follow up shots and fast magazine changes. The SIG Sauer 1911 We The People overachieved – as my target above, demonstrates.

Final Thoughts

SIG Sauer – 1911 We The People (.45 ACP)

After my initial range testing with the We The People pistol, I spent a lot of time working up a good recipe for my personal protection ammo. After many chronograph sessions and lots of range time, I have settled on Starline +P brass, with 7.1 grains of Alliant Power Pistol, the WLP Winchester primer and a 230 grain Speer Gold Dot bullet (NOTE: never trust anyone else’s reload data. Work your own up. This is provided for informational purposes only). This pistol is very accurate with this dope and produces a very consistent mean velocity of around 950 feet per second.

This time of year, when I am wearing heavy clothing, I will often carry this pistol in either a Galco shoulder rig or an Alessi outside the waistband (OWB) custom holster. Both of these rigs offer plenty of support to make wearing a full sized stainless steel 1911 comfortable.

If you are in the market, for a new 1911 platform pistol, I would highly recommend SIG Sauer’s We The People. In today’s firearms market, almost any gun is hard to find. The We The People 1911 is not an exception. If you can find it, expect to pay close to $1,300 for this piece. But even at that price point, it’s a value. Please check out the photo gallery below. ?

The Grey Beard Biker™️
@Biker4Life on Gab

The We The People sports a stainless steel frame
Stainless Steel Slide – with the long SIG ejector
5 inch carbon steel barrel
The We The People is a very traditional 1911
Tear down and assembly of the We The People is like any standard 1911
The We The People sports a 5″ barrel with a solid bushing for accuracy
This pistol is all business with nice touches like the 13 stars on top of the slide
The We The People in my Galco shoulder rig – with two extra magazines for 22 rounds of power
The We The People in my Alessi holster

Good afternoon fellow riders and Second Amendment aficionados. As I write this article, it is nearing the winter solstice. The days are very short, the mornings are cold, and your ever-lovable Grey Beard Biker is a bit grumpier. I really am not a fan of it being dark at 16:45 in the afternoon. I prefer the warm sun at my back in the evening, while blasting along a backroad. But I guess we should look at things from a positive standpoint. After December 21, the days will start getting longer and it will be a downhill slide to spring. Right?

This is the second installment on the basics of reloading. The first article dealt mainly with the costs of the basic equipment you will need to reload your own ammunition. Summarizing my first article, unless you only planning to reload rifle ammunition, you will need to purchase the following items to reload: progressive reloading press, shell plates, reloading dies, powder scale (recommended even if you are using a shell activated powder drop), brass sonic cleaner (or tumbler), reloading manual and a dial caliper. This is in addition to your powder and primers.

This is a three part series:
Part 1: Reloading Basics – Part 1
Part 2: Reloading Basics – Part 2 – Brass, Primers & Powder
Part 3: Reloading Basics – Part 3 – Loading Ammunition


If you brass doesn’t look new – it’s not good enough!

Most people that have considered reloading their own ammunition have been a bit of a junkyard dog at the range, picking up as much spent brass as they can find. I did this before I started reloading, nearly a decade ago. I would gladly go around and sweep up everyone’s spent brass, knowing at some point I would resurrect this byproduct of shooting and make superb ammunition from it. But this is the easiest part.

If you are serious about the quality of your reloads, you have to sort it by caliber, de-cap it (run it through your press to remove the spent primers) and properly clean it. This is a rather tedious process. After I have sorted and de-capped the spent brass, I run it through a tumbler with cleaning solution and stainless-steel media. My tumbler is made by Frankford Arsenal. It is essential that you clean your brass with calibers of the same size projectiles. For example, I tumble .357 SIG and 9 mm brass at the same time. They take the same diameter bullet. If you tumble 9 mm with .40 auto or .45 ACP brass, the smaller brass will end up inside the the larger brass and none will be properly cleaned. I am a stickler for perfection, so after I have cleaned the brass, and used my magnet to remove the stainless-steel media, I stand up all the brass on a cookie sheet and dry it in the oven, at 275 degrees, for about 45 minutes. If you do not do this, your brass will be quite spotted – and the old Grey Beard Biker doesn’t like water spots!


The Grey Beard Biker uses lots of different powders!

Powder is the building block for your ammunition. I have several dozen different powders which I use for reloading. They are all unique and have very different burn characteristics. For example, if I am reloading .357 SIG, I may use Alliant Power Pistol, Accurate No. 9 or Hodgden CFE Pistol. Each of these powders have different burn rates. I reload my .357 SIG target ammo with CFE Pistol. It’s a great powder, but the velocities are a bit slower than the other two powders. For my personal protection ammunition I use 125-grain Speer Gold Dot bullets over 8.1 grains of Power Pistol. This provides velocities north of 1,400 FPS with the only downside being a fairly significant muzzle blast – but I will accept this trade off because the stopping power is superior. For .45 ACP I use any number of powders including IMR 800X, Hodgden Longshot, Alliant BE-86 or Power Pistol. These, along with many others, work great for plinking at the range. But for my personal defense ammunition, I use 6.8 grains of Longshot powder with a 230-grain Gold Dot bullet. This produces a velocity of 900 FPS, which is plenty sufficient with a .45-inch bullet weighing 230 grains.

Your most important consideration when loading handgun ammunition is the burn-rate of the powder. It is especially critical when reloading smaller calibers, such as .380 auto or 9 mm. I use a lot of Accurate No. 2 powder for these smaller calibers. But because No. 2 is a very fast burning powder, the case pressures ramp up extremely quickly. For example, with a 124-grain bullet, the recipe for No. 2 is 3.6 – 4.2 grains of powder. Because this powder burns so rapidly, if you exceed the 4.2 grains your case pressures increase exponentially. At just a few tenths of a grain over the maximum charge you risk a catastrophic case failure which can self-destruct your gun, in the best case, or seriously injure you. This is why it is very important to follow your reloading manual. When I am loading these smaller caliber cartridges, I use a digital powder scale so I can load them hot – but safely.

Rifle powder is even more temperamental. When you shoot long range, like I do, it is even more tricky to work with. This will be covered in a separate article.


Primers are definitely not all the same. They do act differently, based on what you are rolling. I like Winchester primers in my larger caliber pistols, Federal in my .380, 9 mm and .40 pistol and Remington in my magnum rifles. The most important thing to remember, when it comes to primers, is to follow the recipes in your reloading manuals. Magnum primers burn much hotter and faster than a standard primer. Incorrectly using these over a very fast burning powder, you will definitely risk exceeding the recommended maximum case pressures on your brass.

If you follow your manuals, use the correct primers and load towards the middle range of the powder recipes – you will have consistent usable ammunition.

The Grey Beard Biker™️
@Biker4Life on Gab