Voltage-gated calcium (Cav) channels are miniature membrane transistors that convert membrane electrical signals to intracellular Ca2+ transients that trigger many physiological events. In mammals, there are ten subtypes of Cav channel, among which Cav1.1 is the first Cavα1 to be cloned. Cav1.1 is specified for the excitation–contraction coupling of skeletal muscles, and has been a prototype in the structural investigations of Cav channels. This article summarized the recent advances in the structural elucidation of Cav1.1 and the mechanistic insights derived from the 3.6 Å structure obtained using single-particle, electron cryomicroscopy. The structure of the Cav1.1 complex established the framework for mechanistic understanding of excitation–contraction coupling and provides the template for molecular interpretations of the functions and disease mechanisms of Cav and Nav channels.