The final scene in Saving Private Ryan can be a bit misleading. As the intrepid Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) bleeds out near a French canal and a German Tiger tank bears down on him, he reaches for the only weapon at his disposal, his trusty M1911 .45-caliber pistol. As he fires at the mechanized behemoth, the handgun looks like a peashooter. Don't be fooled. The slow-moving bullet of a .45 has the power to knock a grown man off his feet. The U.S. Army switched to the .45 as its standard-issue sidearm prior to World War I, favoring it over the impotent .38. The weapon subsequently saw service through all American wars up through Vietnam. And while there are plenty of places in gun-friendly Orange County to purchase the firearm of your choice, you'd be hard-pressed to find a place better than Fowler Gun Room in Orange. As for .45s, they have them in spades. With a friendly staff who won't hesitate to chitchat about the specifics of various firearms new or old, it's no wonder Fowler has been around for 45 years. But as long as we're talking about vintage .45s, we might as well mention that the Fowler collection includes a few 1911s from the World War II era, including Colt and Remington Rands. These weapons are composed of original hardware—as opposed to "Frankensteins" cobbled together from surplus parts. Fowler staff will gladly let you examine these specimens of American ingenuity, with their wood-checkered handgrips and the words "United States Property" stamped onto the slide. As with all things rare and desirable, such a firearm won't come cheap and can cost upward of $2,500. Of course, Fowler offers a 90-day layaway program with a one-third-the-cost deposit. Haven't received your handgun-safety certificate yet? Fowler offers the state-mandated test daily for a fee of $25 cash. And for you those of you aficionados who appreciate a .45 of an earlier vintage, the Stockade (8061 Westminster Ave., Westminster, 714-894-0584), owned by the same folks at Fowler Gun Room, has a nice collection of pristine, older .45-caliber revolvers.

Location Details

358 S. Tustin St.
Orange CA 92866


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