Back in my original post about 1911 quality, I examined the reliability of full-size 1911s in .45 ACP. TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia posed questions about Commander and Officer-size 1911s, as well as 1911 performance in other calibers. You want stats? We got stats . . .
Same guidelines as per last time . . .
I went through every issue of Gun Tests from 1996 to the present, and tracked every 1911 they ever tested. A firearm was considered “broken” if it stopped working, shed parts, or physically disintegrated in some way. A gun was labeled “unreliable” if it had failures to fire, feed, extract or eject cartridges/bullets—whose non-performance was not attributable to a documented problem with the ammunition.
I decided that an obviously defective part like a single bad magazine would not render a gun “unreliable” if the manufacturer’s regular magazines worked when the bad magazine was replaced like-for-like.
[Note: many of the reviews of 1911s had to use Wilson/McCormick mags for the review guns, regardless of brand of gun. The reliability numbers for 1911s are overly-optimistic, in other words.]
First, let’s look at full-size/longslide/compensated 1911s and compact 1911s in .45 ACP:
Now let’s look at the other calibers of 1911:
Alrighty. And now we will tie up the loose ends and summarize:
1) All sizes of 1911s have documented reliability issues, with the shorter models being even less reliable.
2) Deviating from the original .45 ACP chambering increased the percentage of unreliability. But staying with .45 ACP did not guarantee reliability.
3) Problems were not confined to low-end or off-brand guns.
While not specifically tracked, I did find repeated examples of the requirement of tools to disassemble the 1911s that were being tested. I would be happy to provide the specific models if anyone wants to keep pretending that no 1911 requires tools to take down.
The 1911 design is a hundred years old—and it has the performance that goes along with that age. Some of them work well, others not so well. If you have a reliable 1911, I am happy to hear that. But there are more affordable, more reliable designs available to the shooting consumer. A prospective customer should be look at all of their options and carefully assess their needs before buying.