Why the 1911 Doesn’t Suck

The M1911, picked up for use in the year 1911, is coming up on its 100-year anniversary. The M1911 has been through two World Wars, the Korean War, Vietnam and thousands of successful military missions. It’s still holstered by some of the world’s most elite special ops teams. Marine Force Recon, FBI Hostage Rescue, LAPD SWAT, Delta Force, and many other organizations all issue 1911’s to those who desire to carry them. I’m a fan. So allow me to go through the original post and point out the common misconception expressed by Yankee Gun Nut in his controversial post The 1911 Sucks . . .

I am not surprised that the 1911 is out of place in today’s world, and you shouldn’t be surprised either.

Out of place? I’m not sure where or how Gunnutmegger came to this conclusion. After taking a trip to my local gun shop (needed new .223 phos-bronze brushes), I can say that Gunnutmegger is a bit out of touch with on-the-ground reality. There was a wide selection of pistols: Glock’s, Springfield’s, S&W’s, SIG’s and more. That more included a nice selection of over two dozen M1911 pistols. That’s a lot of inventory and capital investment for a pistol that is “out of place”.

It needs tools to disassemble. It has unreliable magazines. It is finicky about ammo. And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.

Any long-time 1911 owner will tell you that a classic 1911 does not need any tools to disassemble for field-stripping. Some manufacturers have added full-length guide rods in order to increase reliability and accuracy. It was once assumed that the guide spring of a 1911 snakes and spirals around under the dust cover during recoil. Thanks to some pretty cool X-ray work, we know that this isn’t the case. For those who have never torn-apart a 1911, here’s my YouTube video from TTAG’s Wilson XTAC Review.

Others assumed that full-length guide rods helped keep the recoiling barrel/slide moving “straighter,” which ultimately increased accuracy. The truth of the matter: most full-length guide rods actually impair accuracy. Of all the studies that I’ve seen, even the most accurate shooter isn’t accurate enough to notice the increase in group size.

Magazines for the 1911 are no more or less reliable than those for other manufacturers and models. While there are no stats in the subject, and I’ve seen 1911 magazines have issues right out of the box, I’ve also seen brand new Glock, M&P, SIG, and Walther magazines with issues. I’ve also encountered brand new revolvers that were out of time straight from the factory. Bottom line: no manufacturer is perfect.

Gunnutmegger brought up a valid concern for some 1911 owners: which magazine to use. The original 1911 pistol uses a controlled-feed magazine and follower. Over the years, manufacturers and magazine producers have tried to increase the 1911’s reliability (a relative term) by using JHP ammunition. Modern 1911 manufactures have pretty much solved any issues feeding JHP rounds by using tapered barrel feed-ramps to better facilitate loading. This is no different than guns that have been designed in the past two decades. Look at any Glock, XD, CZ, M&P, etc and you will find a nicely angled feed-ramp (polished on some models) designed to decrease feed angle and increase feed relability.

Gunnutmegger claims that the 1911 is finicky about ammo. Many modern guns are finicky about ammo. I have a SIG P220 that didn’t like Remington UMC ammo. Is the SIG P220 also a poor gun design? The truth of the matter: ammo made at the extreme ranges of its stated specification, or even out of range (RF has had issues with this) may not work in pistols and firearms made to modern, exacting tolerances. My Springfield Trophy Match feeds anything and everything: FMJ or JHP, steel or brass-cased.

I agree (as does Rabbi) with Gunnutmegger that the 1911 isn’t the best option for new or novice shooters. The light trigger and the pistol’s single action design can be a problem for new shooters. Does this make it a poor pistol? Well, look at it this way. The Nissan GT-R is a world-class track car, giving the Porsche GT3 (a car that costs almost three times as much) a royal smack-down on many tracks around the world. Is the GT-R the better car for a 16-year-old driver? No. Perhaps a teenager shouldn’t be driving a supercar in the first place . . .

The same applies to the 1911. New shooters often find the ergonomics of the 1911 pleasurable (especially novice shooters who have only been “Glocked”). Many first-time 1911 shooters will notice how much more accurate they are with the single-action trigger. But running the gun successfully requires careful attention and lots of practice (especially in terms of drawing from a holster and manipulating the safety). This is not a “fault.” It’s an opportunity to excel.

Speaking of safety, I have a problem with Gunnutmegger’s  characterization of the 1911 as an inherently unsafe weapon. Safety is not gun related. Safety, whether gun related or in the workshop, happens between one’s ears – not on the back or side of any firearm or tool.

Why does a reliable 1911 cost so much, and need so much gunsmithing?

Gunnutmegger gives no evidence—either statistical or anecdotal—to support this claim and goes on to say that 1911’s are too expensive. Personally, I own two Springfield 1911’s. They’ve performed flawlessly out of the box. My Trophy Match was my single-stack competition gun for a while. In our journey together, we have pushed well over 3,000 trouble-free .45” diameter slugs downrange.

I paid less than $600 for my pre-loved Springfield Loaded in .45ACP. Considering the Springfield Armory XDm-45 costs about $700 new, price points of a modern 1911 and a modern polymer gun are comparable. A new SIG P220 Elite runs over $1000. One can argue that reliable 1911’s are actual more affordable than some other modern pistols.

What Smith & Wesson pistol of recent manufacture won’t feed hollowpoints? What about Glock? SiG? Beretta?

Hundreds of them! RF has had troubles with his new Ruger, my neighbor has a brand-new S&W that jams every other round, and I have had two issues this year alone with brand-new, well-known and popular firearms. As I said earlier, manufacturing is manufacturing. Nothing man or machine-made will be 100% perfect – even a Glock.

Quality control is what separates one manufacturer from another—from parts sourcing to finished product. Is the Wilson XTAC worth $2600? Well, if you had to buy one gun and know that it is going to work all the time, every time – then yes. Worth, or value, is a personal decision. I know many people who make six-figure incomes who drive “cheaper” cars. Not because they have to, or even want to. Because they can’t justify the “value” of purchasing a pricier car.

The shooting public would not accept an unreliable gun of a more modern design.

And they certainly wouldn’t accept an unreliable gun of a 100-year-old design. That’s why, after a century, 1911’s are one of the most sought after pistols on the market.

And God help anyone who buys a used 1911

Again, I’ve purchased two used 1911’s over the past two years and both guns have functioned flawlessly. Of course, the same applies to other used guns that I have purchased over the years: revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. But then I know what to look for in terms of wear and function. It may be easier to find an abused 1911 than an abused Glock, but it’s just as easy to find a good example of each—if you do your research of consult an expert.

The 1911 is too big to conceal.

Quite the contrary: many people can easily conceal a full-size 1911. The single-stack design rarely prints and I never find myself with a grip or hammer digging into my sides.

As shown above, it is all about the holster!

Well, that would be a more convincing argument if those “realistic” shooting sports didn’t have intricate rules that somehow disqualify most non-1911 designs. Purely by coincidence, right? Sure, they come up with semi-plausible rationales for some of those rules, but there is no way to disguise the overall bias towards the 1911.

Both IDPA and IPSC have many classes of pistol competitions. In reality, the traditional single-stack 1911 is only competitive in one class: single-stack. Open and limited classes favor high-capacity firearms (some of which are based off of a double-stack 1911, but that trend is changing). Production class was introduced for modern polymer-pistol shooters.

So what if Jeff Cooper liked the only handgun in use when he was in the military?

Actually, Jeff Cooper liked many other types of pistols. Col. Cooper ranted and raved over the CZ75 pistol, declaring it one of the best DA semi-automatic pistols available. Jeff Cooper also said pistols are merely a last-resort firearm; something that should be used to allow a person to get back to his rifle.

Regardless of his “fighting career,” one does not need to be dragged to hell and back to understand advantages of one type of firearm over another. The same applies to historians: one does not need to be Egyptian to understand hieroglyphics. Besides, I doubt anyone gets to be a Marine Lieutenant Colonel through combat training missions alone.

Am I a qualifications snob? No, I am an results snob.

I’m both; qualifications typically yield the most productive results. You don’t send a janitor to the drawing board to design the best rocket. As a scientist and researcher, numbers mean everything to me. I’ll need a lot more data before I dump, or dump on, a gun that has served me so faithfully over so many years.

To our faithful TTAG readers, please take anything and everything you read on any firearms-related website, TTAG included, with a grain of salt. Opinions expressed by writers are just that – opinions. I respect the Yankee Gun Nuts right to express his opinion on the 1911, as I hope respect my right to consider it hopelessly ill-informed. Meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed writing for TTAG this year and look forward to an even more involved role in 2011.

comments

  1. avatar RB211 says:

    Ok, I made my comments in the other post. When I saw that you had linked the video, I thought the video would support our argument that the 1911 can be completely dissembled without tools.

    What I saw in the vid was field stripping only, and you used tools. Maybe I’m missing something. I posted a link to a site that shows how to completely disassemble a 1911, including removal of the firing pin and extractor, and the hammer, sear, trigger, and disconnector. If they don’t like that one, you tube has a few also.

    Once more with feeling..A stock 1911, can be completely disassembled without ANY tools. I don’t know why this is bothering me so much. Maybe its the fact that this has been possible for 100 years and people have somehow forgotten?

    1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

      RB,

      Which currently-available models meet the criteria you laid out in your comment?

      I have documented a basic model from Springfield and one from ParaOrd that DO require tools. Are they not 1911s?

      1. avatar Patrick Carrube says:

        Many Springfield 1911’s use a full-length guide rod. Not something I would normally prefer on a 1911, and it can easily be replaced with a traditional guide rod if you are going to find yourself field stripping a 1911 out in the field much. My Trophy Match mentioned above has a full-length guide rod, my Loaded has a standard guide rod.

      2. avatar RB211 says:

        Mine is a Colt 80 series, and it is possible. My buddies gun is a 70 series Gold Cup, and its possible. Maybe its just the Colts? Maybe they can all be done this way but the gun makers don’t want people breaking parts trying? Maybe they don’t want people taking the guns apart to that degree anyway?

        If you are looking for a simple explanation, I cant give it. If you are asking me to provide a list of guns that need don’t need tools, I cant give you that either. All I can tell you, is that the original design requires no tools.

        This may sound like BS, but maybe that is one possible definition of a “true” 1911? If you need tools, its a 1911 “variant”? There are so many subtle differences between manufacturers, but one question remains. Is it an “improved” design that forces you to use tools? Not much of an improvement to me.

        There are so many after market parts and mods available, that it is difficult to find a totally stock gun. Another friend put new grips on his otherwise stock 1911. Then he put allen screws on the grips because it looked cool. Guess what, now he needs tools (allen wrench) to disassemble his gun.

        The 1911 remains the only handgun in my inventory that can be completely disassembled without tools. I think that’s pretty cool, as Im sure they did back in 1911.

        1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

          “If you are looking for a simple explanation, I cant give it. If you are asking me to provide a list of guns that need don’t need tools, I cant give you that either. All I can tell you, is that the original design requires no tools.”

          Thus RB encapsulates 2 of the problems with the 1911:

          1) There are dozens of factory variations on the 1911 design, and they all perform differently. And no one has solid data on what each of them will or won’t do.

          2) The original design didn’t include a ramped barrel….making it unreliable with hollowpoints.

          So the shooting world has to deal with the side-effects of these two facts. Net result: you have to spend double or triple the cost of a Glock/M&P/XD to get any degree out-of-the-box reliability from a 1911 using hollowpoints. And it still isn’t guaranteed.

          The world is tormented by many inexplicable questions. What ghastly blackmail pictures of studio executives does Nicolas Cage have locked away, enabling him to keep getting acting roles? Which Kardashian is dumbest? Where is Barack Obama’s birth certificate?

          The devotion of some shooters to the 1911 is just going to have to be another of those unanswerable questions 🙂

        2. avatar RB211 says:

          Then I guess you have to make a choice. Does every gun in your safe have to be the absolute most modern, most effective, most accurate gun made anywhere regardless of price? If thats the case, you should not own any revolvers or bolt or lever action rifles because there are more modern designs available.

          To own something that is representative of a class of firearms is desirable to many people. The 1911 was one of the first successful automatic pistols made. People still enjoy shooting black powder guns. Why? They are not state of the art and were designed long before the 1911. Maybe they are just black powder “fan boys”?

          I just don’t like the thought that people will be insulted because they choose to own a “popular” gun. I guess I’m a mindless robot too because I happen to love my 1911 and I really don’t care what anybody thinks.

      3. avatar Tam says:

        I have documented a basic model from Springfield and one from ParaOrd that DO require tools. Are they not 1911s?

        Bullshit.

        You have copypasta’ed boilerplate from Springer and Painted Ordnance’s instruction manuals. Mostly what you have succeeded in doing is displaying your own ignorance (which, unlike stupidity is correctable, should one have a desire to correct it…) I was a little saddened by this, because you did bring up some valid points before you went charging off down tangents that were obviously false to anybody with a little bit of experience in the matter at hand.

        I have field-stripped literally I-have-no-idea-how-many dozens of Springfield Mil Specs with no tools required. If you would like to know what tools are needed to field-strip the M1911A1, I would recommend FM 23-35. (Hint: The US military didn’t issue a “bushing wrench” to troops equipped with the M1911…)

        1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

          You caught me.

          I sneaked into the corporate offices of Springfield and ParaOrd and inserted this bogus information into their owner’s manuals.

          And the other commenters who have said that some 1911s require bushing wrenches? Clearly I must have bribed them to say it.

          Gosh, I am just so ashamed right now. I don’t know why I thought I could put one over on you Tam. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me and let me be part of the varsity 1911 cheerleading squad.

    2. avatar Patrick Carrube says:

      I used what is commonly known as a “bushing wrench”. It isn’t necessary to field strip the XTAC, but Wilson supplied it with the gun so I thought it would be appropriate to show how to use it. For the majority of gun owners, this is as far as a breakdown as they should go. In 2 years of competition, I have only fully disassembled my Trophy Match once for cleaning.

  2. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

    “To our faithful TTAG readers, please take anything and everything you read on any firearms-related website, TTAG included, with a grain of salt. Opinions expressed by writers are just that – opinions. I respect the Yankee Gun Nuts right to express his opinion on the 1911, as I hope respect my right to consider it hopelessly ill-informed. Meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed writing for TTAG this year and look forward to an even more involved role in 2011.”

    Words to live by.

    But Patrick, like many like-minded people, made some pretty basic errors in leaping to the defense of the 1911.

    “After taking a trip to my local gun shop (needed new .223 phos-bronze brushes), I can say that Gunnutmegger is a bit out of touch with on-the-ground reality. There was a wide selection of pistols: Glock’s, Springfield’s, S&W’s, SIG’s and more. That more included a nice selection of over two dozen M1911 pistols. That’s a lot of inventory and capital investment for a pistol that is “out of place”.”

    and

    “That’s why, after a century, 1911’s are one of the most sought after pistols on the market.”

    This is a common error. Why is it an error? Because correlation does not equal causation. For example: one thing that you can almost always find at a crime scene is a policeman. Does that mean policemen cause the crimes? No.

    Gun stores are a business. Like the car business. Ask a car dealer where he makes his money, and he will tell you: on the options, on used cars, and on parts & service. There is a lot of profit in 1911s. There are multiple tiers of 1911s in most manufacturer’s offerings, and opportunities for upselling. And people end up spending a lot of money after the sale for parts and gunsmithing.

    So, yes, it is common to find 1911s in a gun store’s display cases. But the reason for that is not the awesomeness of the 1911. It is money.

    “Any long-time 1911 owner will tell you that a classic 1911 does not need any tools to disassemble for field-stripping. ”

    As I have pointed out multiple times: Page 29 of the instruction manual of the ParaOrd GI Expert says it does need tools. Page 26 of the instruction manual for the Springfield GI.45 says it does need tools. And there are plenty of other 1911s which have a similar requirement.

    So what is a neutral reader to interpret from this? Are those 1911s not really 1911s? Or are 1911 fans in denial over the limitations of this 100-year old design?

    I can see a screwdriver or something common being needed. But a special bushing wrench? Metallurgy and machining techniques have come a long way in 100 years.

    “Magazines for the 1911 are no more or less reliable than those for other manufacturers and models.”

    The commenters on my article say otherwise. If you have some proof for this claim, I would sure like to see it.

    “I’ve also seen brand new Glock, M&P, SIG, and Walther magazines with issues. I’ve also encountered brand new revolvers that were out of time straight from the factory. Bottom line: no manufacturer is perfect.”

    Hey now, don’t go lumping in Taurus products with real guns.

    “Modern 1911 manufactures have pretty much solved any issues feeding JHP rounds by using tapered barrel feed-ramps to better facilitate loading. This is no different than guns that have been designed in the past two decades. Look at any Glock, XD, CZ, M&P, etc and you will find a nicely angled feed-ramp (polished on some models) designed to decrease feed angle and increase feed relability.”

    The difference is that the newer guns were designed from the start to have a feed-ramp. The 1911 wasn’t. And it has the lack of consistency & reliability to prove it.

    “Gunnutmegger claims that the 1911 is finicky about ammo. Many modern guns are finicky about ammo. ”

    A lot of people have problems getting 1911s to feed hollowpoints. Not just me. And it isn’t an issue with the brand of gun. It’s the design itself.

    Where are the widespread problems with Glock/M&P/XD guns not being reliable with hollowpoints? I have been looking for proof of it, and I haven’t found it. If someone has the documentation, please show me. That’s not a dare. I really want to know.

    “Speaking of safety, I have a problem with Gunnutmegger’s characterization of the 1911 as an inherently unsafe weapon.”

    It’s a single-action pistol with an exposed hammer and 2 safeties. It seems that John Browning felt it was unsafe, if he put 2 safeties on it.

    “Personally, I own two Springfield 1911’s. They’ve performed flawlessly out of the box. My Trophy Match was my single-stack competition gun for a while. In our journey together, we have pushed well over 3,000 trouble-free .45” diameter slugs downrange.”

    Which models are they? Do you use Springfield magazines? Any gunsmithing done to them? How many of the rounds you put through them were hollowpoints? I am not trying to be difficult. I just want to make sure we are not comparing factory guns to ‘smithed guns.

    “I paid less than $600 for my pre-loved Springfield Loaded in .45ACP. Considering the Springfield Armory XDm-45 costs about $700 new, price points of a modern 1911 and a modern polymer gun are comparable. A new SIG P220 Elite runs over $1000.”

    Sounds like you are cherrypicking some models, and comparing apples and oranges.

    Look at the .45 carry guns in the Glock, M&P, XD and SiG line. Then look at the wide variety of 1911s and pick some carry models that will be reliable with hollowpoints. How do the prices compare?

    “Is the Wilson XTAC worth $2600? Well, if you had to buy one gun and know that it is going to work all the time, every time – then yes.”

    Which gun will work reliably with more brands/styles of ammunition, a Glock .45 or your XTAC?

    “many people can easily conceal a full-size 1911. The single-stack design rarely prints and I never find myself with a grip or hammer digging into my sides.”

    Most people feel otherwise. Still pictures can be misleading. As a long-time concealed carrier, I know (as you do) that keeping a gun concealed while moving and changing posture is much more difficult than concealing a gun while standing still.

    How often do you carry concealed? And is your standard daily carry gun a full-size 1911? A lot of 1911 fans can’t conceal theirs.

    “Actually, Jeff Cooper liked many other types of pistols. Col. Cooper ranted and raved over the CZ75 pistol, declaring it one of the best DA semi-automatic pistols available. ”

    I am not sure that helps his credibility 🙂

    “Besides, I doubt anyone gets to be a Marine Lieutenant Colonel through combat training missions alone.”

    Look at it from a different perspective: how many Marine officers spend their whole career in the Corps and retire from service but only attain the rank of Lt. Col. ? What decorations did he receive? What campaign ribbons was he authorized to wear?

    “As a scientist and researcher, numbers mean everything to me. I’ll need a lot more data before I dump, or dump on, a gun that has served me so faithfully over so many years.”

    I would sure like to see the numbers that led you to the conclusions you espoused here 🙂

    1. avatar RB211 says:

      Now we are going to knock Taurus too? I give up..

      1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

        LOL. Maybe I am just unlucky, and fate keeps sending defective guns my way.

        But, if you looked up all of the Taurus reviews in Gun Tests database, you would see a very high rate of breakages and defects (I don’t take everything they conclude to be gospel, but if they say a gun broke, I believe them). And when I was shopping for a .22 revolver, I handled at least half a dozen Taurus .22s at several different stores, some new, some used. More than half of them had problems with the action (usually the trigger would freeze up halfway while being pulled slowly for 1 or 2 chambers).

        1. avatar Greg says:

          It’s a full time job correcting everything nutmegger doesn’t know about the 11911.first of all it doesn’t require tools to field strip and can in fact be completely disassembled with things laying around most peoples homes( a small punch or similiar)it’s the only gun i own that I can replace everything by myself .i can’t do that with a Glock or HK.1911s tend to like rounded ammo including jhp and round nose hollow points.its not a huge inconvenience to choose ammo that meets this criteria.good magazines like the Wilson’s or Chip McCormacks solve 99 percent of all problematic 1911s.how easy is that?in regards to ” all ” the safeties needed for this dangerous weapon .only one,the grip safety,is needed to shoot the 1911.the thumb safety is optional for carrying cocked and locked.another bonus is quality.my 1971 Colt Government model has all forged steel parts with exception of three low impact parts.nutmeggers Glock is of course constructed of plastic and mim parts .capacity isn’t a problem.10 rounds of 45 acp should be more than adequate for any shooter with decent skills.odds are you’ll use one or two of them unless you rely on the old spray and pray method.Its worked for better men than you nutmegger for over 100 years including Chris Kyle who carried his Springfield TPR most of his four tours.if I have to choose between the Chris Kyle or the Nutmegger s of the world I’m going with the American Sniper every time.

    2. avatar gary says:

      far above was a comment about police causing crime…

      “more laws, more thieves and murderers” (Tao)

      without laws, most thieves would have much shorter carreers. they would be dead instead of cycling in and out of jails.

      on 1911’s, a hundred year old design still going strong. just happened by accident? hardly.

      plastic guns? wouldn’t own one.

      nothing to leave the grandkids in my opinion. just a temporary cheap gun addiction fix…

  3. avatar Roy Hill says:

    Gunnutmegger wrote:

    “It’s a single-action pistol with an exposed hammer and 2 safeties. It seems that John Browning felt it was unsafe, if he put 2 safeties on it.”

    Is that the same reason why Springfield XDs typically have two safeties, including a Glock-style safety on the trigger, and a 1911-style grip safety? Because the more modern XD design is also inherently unsafe?

    Or how about the models of the XD that also toss a third manual safety, a thumb lever, into the mix?

    Three safeties on an XD? Wow. How unsafe must that design be?

    1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

      “Is that the same reason why Springfield XDs typically have two safeties, including a Glock-style safety on the trigger, and a 1911-style grip safety? Because the more modern XD design is also inherently unsafe?”

      Maybe the did that so 1911 fans wouldn’t be afraid to switch up to an XD 🙂

      “Or how about the models of the XD that also toss a third manual safety, a thumb lever, into the mix?”

      For the same reason that some guns have a magazine disconnect so they won’t shoot with the magazine removed. Lawyers, and the MA/CA state markets.

      Or maybe the 1911 fans begged for the manual safety too 🙂

  4. avatar Patrick Carrube says:

    Where do I start…
    “Because correlation does not equal causation”. In a retail setting (gun stores are merely retail stores with Federal forms), correlation is ALWAYS causation. Especially in times like these, no gun shop owner is using cash or credit reserves to stock the counters with pistols that are not selling. Think I’m wrong? Feel free to call any gun shop and ask them how much they make per gun, and be model specific. Most owners will tell you pound sand, but if you’re a “regular”, they may be more inclined to tell you. I’m sure you’ll be surprised (particularly with how little money per Glock sale they make). From my dealings with a great gun shop here in AZ, I know that my local guy makes $75-100 per sale of a pistol (taking overhead into account of course), and just a little bit more for rifles. The original price or MSRP have no affect on profit margin. This of course does not apply to high-end firearm sellers.
    Apparently field-stripping is a big problem for you. I think we have beaten the dead-horse enough on this, so I’ll just let TTAG readers figure it out for themselves. If they are interested in a 1911 and want one that is “5 second strippable”, then get a model without a full-length guide rod. An FYI – a bushing wrench is a convenience tool, not a requirement. This is much similar to those plastic things that make loading magazines easier.
    “If you have some proof for this claim, I would sure like to see it.” Funny, I asked the same of you. I have used many 1911’s that feed JHP with no problems whatsoever. That is my proof. Where is yours?
    “The difference is that the newer guns were designed from the start to have a feed-ramp. The 1911 wasn’t” So you’re saying that nothing should evolve? Dammit, I guess I’m going to crawl back into the primordial soup. Funny, we’re already on the 4th generation of Glock pistols. Perhaps he should have stopped a long time ago as well.
    “A lot of people have problems getting 1911s to feed hollowpoints.” It’s not just 1911’s that have issues with JHP loads. The .45ACP round is large and fat. Putting jagged edges, crimps, and inconsistencies with loadings make .45ACP rounds a challenge, no matter what pistol is selected. My P220 Elite has issues with about half of the boxes of Remington 230-gr JHP loads, where as my 1911’s have no issues. A single box of Speer Gold Dot’s were too short to loaded effectively in ANY .45ACP gun I had at the time.
    “seems that John Browning felt it was unsafe, if he put 2 safeties on it” Again, knowing only what you read about in blogs or forums only makes you ignorant, not wise. The history of 1911 development is well covered, both on the internet and in books. Please read some before discussing further on this topic. Also, I will reiterate, “safety” is not something on a gun.
    My Springfield’s are newer 1911 models, a Trophy Match 5” and a Loaded 5”. Both are stainless with wood grips, in case you were interested. The trophy match has had the front sight replaced with a fiber-optic one. When I was using this gun for single-stack matches, it sported a Dawson ICE Mag-well. It also sported an aftermarket mag-release button (oversized). All parts dropped in and worked flawlessly. The Trophy Match has since been converted back to stock (sans the front sight), where she performs flawlessly still.
    The Loaded is a similar gun that I bought because the Trophy Match was being used for competitions. I carry the Loaded model all the time. Over 3000 rounds pushed through the Trophy Match, I would say 300-400 have been various brands of JHP. This was my carry piece for a while, so I thoroughly tested her with every JHP I could find. The Loaded has had the same about of JHP ammo through her, but not as many overall rounds fired through.
    Neither gun has had any gunsmithing (with the exception of some new sights), and all use the factory magazines just fine. When I started competing, I used Wilson 47D magazines (8 round vs factory 7 round) and have been using them for CCW as well. Like I said earlier, these mags work great and work all the time!
    “Sounds like you are cherrypicking some models, and comparing apples and oranges” Cherry picking? Let’s see –the SIG P220 and Loaded 1911 both: 1) hold 8 rounds 2) have an exposed hammer 3) are chambered for the .45ACP and 4) are within $150 of each other. Seems comparable to me…
    “Which gun will work reliably with more brands/styles of ammunition, a Glock .45 or your XTAC?” Even though Gaston won’t admit to some problems with his .40S&W and .45ACP pistols, I’m sure a Gen2 and newer Glock will work flawlessly. I’m equally as positive that the XTAC will work just as well, the difference being the XTAC holding a 1” grouping at 25-yards.
    “How often do you carry concealed? And is your standard daily carry gun a full-size 1911? A lot of 1911 fans can’t conceal theirs” All the time. I carry 2 different guns, depending on what I’m doing, but I carry a full-size 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time (living here in Phoenix, AZ), it is hotter than 100 degrees outside, so a S&W J-frame 2” is carried in a pocket holster. A lot of people “think” they can’t carry a 5” all the time, but with a quality holster (e.g. CrossBreed Super Tuck), it can be easy and comfortable.
    “I would sure like to see the numbers that led you to the conclusions you espoused here” I think I’ve presented enough data now to make an argument that the 1911 is a very capable and impressive gun. Is it the best gun in the world for everyone? Of course not, I never said that it was. The 1911, particularly modern ones built by reputable manufacturers are great CCW pistols. Even modern deviations, such as 1911’s with bull-barrels, 9mm chambering, full-length guide rods, etc are great for everyday carry. Besides, the likelihood of needing to field-strip a pistol in battle, on top of the likelihood of having enough time during a defensive situation to actually field strip even a “5 second pistol” is unlikely… unless of course you’re Chuck Norris 🙂

    1. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

      ““Because correlation does not equal causation”. In a retail setting (gun stores are merely retail stores with Federal forms), correlation is ALWAYS causation. Especially in times like these, no gun shop owner is using cash or credit reserves to stock the counters with pistols that are not selling.”

      “Selling” is not the subject at hand. Yes, the 1911s are in the case because they sell (just like I said), but not because they are a great design. The store would stock buffalo chips if that is what was selling. The quality of the design and its execution are not a direct cause of the gun’s presence in the display case.

      Several dealers I profiled for my blog responded to my mentioning the HiPoint pistols in their display cases by laughing and saying “yeah it’s crap, and it sells out fast too.”

      “Think I’m wrong? Feel free to call any gun shop and ask them how much they make per gun, and be model specific. Most owners will tell you pound sand, but if you’re a “regular”, they may be more inclined to tell you. I’m sure you’ll be surprised (particularly with how little money per Glock sale they make).”

      No, I wouldn’t be surprised. I was a buyer for a national catalog/internet retailer for 11 years, and outdoor products was one of my categories. 10% over distributor cost is a good rule of thumb for dealers that discount. Oily operators like Hansen & Hansen will have a lot more margin built into their prices.

      “I have used many 1911’s that feed JHP with no problems whatsoever. That is my proof. Where is yours?”

      Did you read any of the other comments on Robert’s reposting of my article here? It’s not just me. A lot of people said they couldn’t get their 1911 to feed hollowpoints. One guy said he found 3 reliable guns out of 16 tried.

      We can’t all be lying. And we can’t all be Glock employees 🙂

      “So you’re saying that nothing should evolve? ”

      Quite the contrary, evolving is required. But, there is not much that can be done with a 100-year old design that has documented flaws. Let’s not forget that the 1911 had some drawbacks when it was first introduced, and required the 1911A1 to be created to fix them. How much re-engineering can be done to a 1911 car design, and how much practical improvement can be achieved, without tossing out the old design and starting from scratch?

      “Again, knowing only what you read about in blogs or forums only makes you ignorant, not wise. The history of 1911 development is well covered, both on the internet and in books. Please read some before discussing further on this topic.”

      That’s a non sequitur.

      “Also, I will reiterate, “safety” is not something on a gun.”

      I agree.

      “My Springfield’s are newer 1911 models, a Trophy Match 5” and a Loaded 5”.”

      Ok, so we are talking unmodified 1911s with MSRPs of $1600 and $1050, roughly. Double the cost of competing .45 designs from Glock/M&P/XD. And I don’t doubt that the XTAC is sweet. But other designs don’t need so much customization to attain reliability and accuracy. Hey, it’s your money, just like the rest of the shooting public can decide where to spend theirs.

      “Let’s see –the SIG P220 and Loaded 1911 both: 1) hold 8 rounds 2) have an exposed hammer 3) are chambered for the .45ACP and 4) are within $150 of each other. Seems comparable to me…”

      Except that the base p220 isn’t a single-action gun. And, how many people besides you have had problems with their p220 not feeding hollowpoints? I mean, is your experience with the 1911 and p220 typical of the shooting public’s experiences?

      At what point do we look at the personal experiences of everyone who has used a 1911 and decide that the design has issues? Just read the comments on the other article. Multiple people have experienced problems with the 1911. How do we balance their experiences against our own?

      “I think I’ve presented enough data now to make an argument that the 1911 is a very capable and impressive gun.”

      I don’t dispute that an expensive 1911 can be a terrific shooter, and is more likely to be reliable with hollowpoints than a less expensive 1911. They are very rewarding to shoot. And I don’t doubt the veracity of your personal experiences with your guns.

      But buying a 1911 is a minefield of peril for the consumer. Multiple brands, with numerous models within each brand. And the design has some documented shortcomings, which add cost to address. Now that there are other platforms to launch the .45acp, more reliably and for less money, consumers need to know the whole truth about all of their options. Caveat emptor.

  5. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    Col. Cooper was a GREAT AMERICAN HERO. Finally we have someone who fully understands the 1911 [which I luv above ALL other weapons, even my S&W 500’s] and how it has changed firearms history. I can’t add anything to this wonderful opinion.

  6. avatar Dave Y says:

    When I was in the Army the 92F had been “officially adopted” for a few years but the 1911 persisted where there were serviceable pistols and ammo available. I had limited exposure to them in service, and the limited exposure I had to them was less than stellar. I was able to shoot some historically significant 1911 models. Looking back, they were serviceable but were certainly well worn. I never got to the point of trying hollow points in a 1911 because I never got past reliability with FMJ. Now, to be fair, the magazines were mostly at fault for these 1911’s. I bought a 92FS the day I turned 21. In around 20,000 rounds it never failed to feed a single round, or otherwise malfunctioned.

    Fast forward to post discharge. Eventually I took up instructing. I’ve seen some pretty bad 1911 experiences in classes I’ve taught. Inevitably someone with a romanticized view the power and prestige of the 1911 is let down by the guns’s inability to reliably complete the relatively short course of fire for NRA classes much less something more stressful. NOT all of them, but my colleagues and I numerous times sat down after class to discuss the “malfunctioning 1911”. There was at least one in every 2nd or 3rd class. NEW 1911’s, some of them were obscenely expensive. One of my colleagues, an IDPA addict quipped “I could’ve bought a Glock for every day of the week for what that guy spent on his ——– 1911, had no reliability problems and they would all be just as accurate”. I’m no Glock fan personally but he was that accurate, and his guns were reliable when I observed them.

    The comparison of the GT-R or 911 not appropriate for the 1911, rather a comparison to a Harley Davidson is more appropriate. They’re from the same era, are evolutionarily unchanged since inception. However, where the HD is never going to win a race with a modern motorcycle, a 1911 -can- and often does shoot as accurately or better than modern pistols. The top shooters employing 1911’s seem to get through their matches fine. I’m not ready to pronounce that “every mfgr. makes a lemon or 3” as an explanation, so I believe that as with vehicles, you spend enough money and you can make the 1911 perform as you want.

    There is clearly a robust market for 1911’s, both new and used. I’m at a loss to explain the ‘new’ market but used market for 1911’s is full of guns that didn’t meet expectations, couldn’t work out the bugs, or a variety of other reasons. Not that other guns are immune, but 1911’s have a high representation in the used gun market.

    It would be safe to say that I don’t “get” the 1911 obsession, but I don’t deny the gun’s unparalleled impact on personal defense and the handgun market. All of the guns using the ‘modified’ Browning operating system are descendants of the 1911. They are less expensive, less prone to problems statistically, shoot just as well.

  7. avatar Aaron says:

    My only problem with it is that, comparing my 1911 (kimber crimson custom II) to my XD, they have roughly the same maximum dimensions, but the XD holds five more rounds. I love the trigger on the 1911, but I think that it is more suited to range fun than serious carry.

    1. avatar Patrick says:

      ^^^^^^
      This.

      They’re fun range toys but come on… The design is literally over 100 years old now. Let’s move on. Nobody drives a Model T anymore. Cars have come a long way in the past 100 years and so have guns. Carry your Sig, H&K, Glock, M&P, XD or whatever modern pistol you have. Leave the 1911 in the safe.

  8. avatar pman5kmo says:

    The 1911 can be more further disassembles without tools (in GI config… the only way I would have one) than any wonderglock or other modern pistol. I can take mine apart down to the bare minimal assemblies without a single tool, not even a pin punch… sure if you tamper with reliability in the chase for competition grade accuracy you will need tools, but in the most basic most reliable GI setup you can completely tear it down (including the trigger) without any tools… this was one of the features JMB had in mind when designing it. The only thing you really need a tool to disassemble is the mainspring housing.

    Try disassembling any modern design that far without tools…. oh wait you can’t. I’m by far not a 1911 fanboy… I just use it for HD. I bought mine used for $325. I also polished the fees ramp and have fitted a threaded barrel and installed an extra long trigger and a different recoil spring (for use with a can).

    It functions 10x more reliably with a can on than any glock, Sig, Beretta or SA XD I have fired with a can.

    Sub par magazines are laden with problems… but I have bought many $12 8 round Springfield magazines that functioned perfectly fine. My 1911 is a ‘lower end’ brand but holds its own compared to many that cost 5x as much… plus no FL guide rod means ibdont have to worry about suppressor clearance as I have witnessed a guy destroy a brand new lumber with FL Guide and an osprey can…

  9. avatar Caligula says:

    I don’t understand the current popularity of the 1911, especially as a self defense pistol option. A 1911 is to a Glock as an M1 Garand is to a AR 15. The M1 Garand was an incredible weapon in its day as was the 1911. However, other than a target pistol or collectors item, there are better, less expensive modern fighting pistols available. But, to each his own.

  10. avatar Charles says:

    FLAME DELETED

    And no, I don’t own or have any desire to own a 1911. Nor have I ever. I like more modern style guns. But you still sound like an idiot. Your rants are never going to add up to the reputation the 1911 has earned, or subtract anything from it.

    Regards,
    Chuck

  11. avatar Allan says:

    Sorry for the late reply.

    I’ve owned 2 1911’s. One a single stack in .45 (gone now) and one in .40 in A2 variant (still with me). Both do not require tools to field strip. I don’t do more than that and just go to a gunsmith if I need something checked or done. But my uncle owns one by Bul. An Isreali company that I think is closed now. His require an allen wrench to disasemble the full-length guide rod.

    I don’t carry my 1911 as I find it bulky. But, I would love to if I could. I find them more accurate and reliable than other designs.

    Just my two cents.

    Also, I’m set on buying a Glock 23 in about 6 months and carry that.

  12. avatar Kent says:

    All I can say is I put 50 rounds of cheap ammo, all “ball” type, through a buddies mil spec Springfield without any warning signs. Maybe I naturally have a solid risk, but I am very inexperienced with pistols and cannot attribute the lack of jamming to proper technique. I am inclined to believe that over a hundred years of research and development have provided a design that will ultimately shine above modern firearms, similar to how modern ar15s are on at least a level playing field in reliability with modern ACRs and such. In 2k rounds I only had one jam in my mil spec star15, and I believe modern 1911s have even more development to support reliability. Regardless, I’d rather pay and extra hundred or two for all metal , at least it’ll survive a little sun and abuse. Can’t say the same for a plastic gun.

  13. avatar Kent says:

    *wrist, not risk, go autocorrect

  14. avatar james says:

    I own an old kimber classic stainless target in .45 5″ ive added a wilson bullet proof exstractor, ejector ,firing pin,hammer ,sear ,disconnector,full length guid rod kit with buffers ,tactical trigger,and skeletonized hammer added a very good shine too my feed ramps and out of 1000 rounds of all jhp ive honestly noted 5 jams do to a couple worn out 7 rounds mags i had i carry her everyday i trust her with my life and my newborns aswell it more than likly didnt need all those parts but i cant afford a wilson combat so i put as much wilson stuff into it as possible and she.is flawless i hate too hear people put down the 1911 platform its really only downfall is round capacity but if u put rounds were u need em the.first time.u dont need 17 rounds of 9mm in your.92 and as far as glocks m@ps xDs go i just cant.do the polymer frame crap just makes me very uncomfortable and.dont get me.wrong ive tried i owned a glock 22 and a sig p250 in 357sig and a XD 40 but all got sold eventually to fund for all steel guns just a ocd thing i guess they all.worked just didnt trust them.even tho i know they are safe guess im.just stuck in 1911 haha

  15. avatar james says:

    Oh i also got the stainless mainspring.housing. pin kit.spring kit and 10 round high cap mag gotta love w/c. They make.great products

  16. avatar Ompunga says:

    Funny this thread is still not dead. Must be something to it. I’m a middle age guy and had no prior experience with pistols whatsoever before what I describe below.

    I became curious about guns and decided to try it to see what the hoopla was all about, in part because it is also so easy and accessible in the US in my view (I’m an immigrant). It’s fun and kinda addictive, I must admit. My first experience was with a Glock 21 (brand new, through an outdoor equipment store), which I chose because the brand is so popular with law enforcement.

    I did some reading, practiced dry firing, could keep a penny balanced on the far sight through multiple trigger press, positioned my feet right, shoulders etc. At the range, however, I seemed to really suck. First shot would usually be very close to center, the following ones, all over the place. The trend was low and left, so I thought trigger control, obviously. Worked on that some more, a little improvement but still highly unpredictable placement. Lots of care and concentration into every shot, for rather mediocre results. Strangely, I seemed to get better placement at 25 meters than at 15.

    Then one day, I tried a Kimber Custom II stainless, a rental at the range. I could not believe the difference. First, the ergonomics, from the grip, to the balance, to the weight (I believe some is better for a 45); then how much easier it was control the light trigger, and how little effort I had to make to place my shots in much smaller groups than the Glock. Then how much easier it was to get back on target after firing. Pretty much every aspect of shooting. That day some law enforcement officers were practicing on standard silhouettes in preparation for a test. The less proficient ones were struggling with their Glocks, with groups extending low and to the left. They left targets behind and I started to use the parts they don’t shoot at because it gives them no point. I could empty an entire magazine at 15 meters inside a 8 inch circle and I was hardly even trying. I mean I was being kinda sloppy, and it still happened. I know that for you experienced guys that may not seem much of a performance but it had never been that easy before. I did not have any malfunction throughout the session (100 rounds+ FMJ).

    I do believe that there was something wrong with that Glock (got rid of it). The Glock trigger is horrible out of the box anyway but that’s a given. I would often get cases ejected in my face and one fell inside my shirt after grazing the back of my neck on one occasion. The gun seemed to become very inconsistent after 2-3 shots and improved if allowed to cool down. This could be verified even using a bench rest. Placement at 15 meters was very unpredictable and very inconsistent, more so than at 25 meters. I realized that, despite the fact that it never had a FTF, FTE, FTRB for 1200 rounds plus, this gun was, in fact, dysfunctioning most of the time.

    I don’t carry and would not consider it, except for going in the wilderness on horseback, where I could have to put down a badly injured, suffering animal. I get my kicks of firing nice groups at the range and I don’t need much more than that. My next gun will be a 1911 and I certainly wouldn’t consider a Glock again. Even if another one is likely to work properly, I don’t see any reason to bother with the awful trigger and poor ergonomics when so many good 1911s come out of the box much more satisfying to operate and will work fine with FMJs.

    From everything I gathered, the reliability issues are related to mass producing. 1911s have tight tolerances and must have surfaces shaped right. With modern manufacturing methods, this can be accomplished but occasionally there will be glitches, or problems falling through the cracks: unfinished surface, wrong angle, rough edge, whatever. In a 1911, it translates into malfunction. In the Glock I had, it translated into dysfunction. The Glocks are more reliable only because they are more “loose” in every aspect. It allows them to always fire even when not actually working properly. I’m sure if I get a good 1911 it will be much more fun and satisfying than a good Glock. I’m ready to pay an extra 200 bills for it.

    My 2 cents (that I can balance on the far sight pretty well)…

  17. avatar scott says:

    I cant stand half the know it alls at the gun stores and ranges.Sometimes I do not take a gun out of my bag because I do not want to hear from these types. When they are around I get the sw model 17 out and plink til they are gone.Then out comes the g 17 or colt .I love all guns but not all gun people.That is all.

  18. avatar Constance Underfoot says:

    Gunnutmegger is apparently unaware that humans, like guns, are different. I hate the Glock. I bought a 27 and gave it to my sister. It doesn’t fit right in my hands, adjustments made no difference, it’s not natural to shoot, and the natural point of aim in my hand is wholly inconsistant. The S&W M&P compact is far better than the Glock for that size gun. But I’m way more accurate with both the Sig & Para .45s compared to any Glock.

    But Gunnutmegger’s biggest affront was to assail the CZ75, a gun I’d take over the Glock any day of the week. It’s more accurate than the Glock, has a better trigger, and mine has never failed a round of some of the worse ammo on the planet. The reason companies keep coming out advertising “better” striker fired triggers is because they’re worse than the 100 year old SA of the 1911, or the decades old DA/SA of the CZ75.

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