The .45 on the left, I bought just a few weeks ago. This one was made by Para, a company based in N.C. I'd always wanted a M1911-type 45 auto, but never had a good excuse to buy one until a friend of mine opened a gun store. So I bought it to "help him out," or so my excuse went.
The .45 on the right is a Ruger P-97. I bought it maybe ten years ago. It's a double-action with a decocking lever, meaning it has no actual safety. Rather, the first trigger-pull is long and heavy, just like a revolver's. Subsequent shots are single-action, meaning the hammer gets cocked back by the slide's movement, just like any other automatic. The decocking lever is for when you're done shooting, and you just want to drop the hammer again without the gun firing.
Of the two, the Ruger is a more modern design. Because it has no actual safety, I figure it would be the quicker of the two to get a shot off. However it's based on the century-old design of the M1911, as are most pistols. So, it's not really all that different. Also, the M1911 is a single-action, meaning the hammer starts out already cocked. So, because the trigger doesn't have to do much (just drop the hammer) it has very little play in it. Probably because of that, I thought it was a little easier to be accurate with the M1911 than the Ruger.
Sixteen shots, with the Para M1911. This isn't all that bad, but it was my best group all day. I'm a good shot with revolvers, but I find automatics a real challenge to shoot well. I had to concentrate very hard on properly squeezing the trigger straight back, while keeping the sights on target. It sounds easier than it is: whenever I tried to just shoot instinctively, many of my shots went so far to the low and left they missed the paper entirely. (Helpful hint: if you're shooting and not seeing any holes appearing in the target, bring it really close and shoot a few rounds. Then you'll see what you're doing wrong.)
Anyway, if some dude attacks me, I'll end up blowing off some of the toes on his right foot. That'll show him. :-)