OK, it’s not really a hassle, especially if you’re the kind of person who appreciates an honest-to-God piece of working machinery. But we live in a plug-n-play world, where you can buy a combat-style .45 pistol that can go several thousands of rounds without any major cleaning (a few drops of lube and you’re good to stow). A gun whose complete disassembly doesn’t require a fourteen minute video. I know you don’t have to completely tear down your .45, but the point remains. What is the point?

18 Responses to Question of the Day: 1911. Worth the Hassle?

  1. You guys know that I love my 1911. I wouldn’t get rid of it for the world. But, to be completely honest, if I’m going to be doing some shooting a large volume or out in the woods for an extended period of time I’m going to have to go with a more modern design that doesn’t require as much to keep it running. There’s something very comforting about a polymer gun that you can shoot 10’s of thousands of rounds through without cleaning or lubing and knowing it will always fire. That is where JMB’s design sadly falls short IMHO.

  2. Sort of like asking if a collector car or vintage wristwatch is worth it. No, it’s not worth it, except it is. Personally, I’ve always thought the 1911 was overrated — as in even in its time — but I understand the mystique.

  3. The fact that the 1911 requires such a high level of attention to maintenance during its ownership is one of the aspects that makes it appealing. I enjoy taking care of my 1911’s as much as I do shooting them.

    My conceal carry gun may be made in the Czech Republic but the first gun I reach for whenever I head to the range is a 1911. In that type of environment the additional trouble of cleaning, assembly or dis-assembly doesn’t matter to me.

  4. The 1911 is a piece of history and wonderful range toy. So is a black powder rifle. I wouldn’t choose to hunt or defend myself with either because there are better options, although none of them enjoy the same mystique.

  5. I love my 1911. It feels good in my hand. It was my first handgun. But I’m not such a 1911 fanboy that I don’t acknowledge that other designs have their advantages, just like the 1911 has some over them. In a perfect world, I’d own one of just about everything, then pick and choose what to carry for the situation at hand. Since I don’t live in a perfect world, a 1911, for me, is worth any additional hassle, in exchange for the way it works/feels for me.

    If the question was, however, “what do you think the best handgun is for most people, given that the 1911 has limited capacity and is harder to disassemble/reassemble?” I’d vote for the Springfield XD line.

  6. Ferraris look great and are great fun, but a Toyota is far more practical.

    While I don’t personally care for them much, it’s hard to argue with the simplicity and reliability of a Glock. Not like there aren’t other similar choices though, of course.

  7. There is something sexy about a good .45. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the old warhorse that was still issued when I started in the Marines. I personally feel that nothing is faster than a good single action 1911/1911A1, save a Hi Power. That’s all I gotta say about it…

  8. You know, the damn things don’t require that much more attention. Just wipe the gunk off and add a few drops of oil. They run many thousands of rounds that way. Takes 2 minutes. Just not 10s of thousand rounds like a Glock, XD, or M&P. Or my CZ’s. Which are actually more reliable than any plastic thing.

    That said, I actually like spending time completely stripping my 1911’s and cleaning. I like the process. I find it relaxing and a good mental exercise.

    • Amen, Sean. I remember having to field strip them and put them back together blindfolded. Thank you, Robert, for a fond memory!

      • ha, I actually took that challenge once. My step-father(Army Ranger in Vietnam) said that he was once challenged to do it. So we bet. I won. I field stripped, and cleaned, blindfolded. And got it back together. Only launched the plug into the air once. I cheated and had another in my pocket.

        • Sounds like a character! I served with the Green Berets after being a Marine and a Sailor. I never was very smart!

  9. Colt ar-15 hard keep runing clean than 1911 is. Once learn take part 1911 field strip it really not hard . One few guns I know that once learn how take all part do not need any special tools really put back together. Try take part any sig 226 to 220 or beretta 92fs part beyond field striping you better owen load special factor tools put back together have spent time lot money in there factor learn how put them back together. Buger king said best when they said make your food your way well 1911 one few guns you can have your way there more after market parts for them any handgun made today. One few guns that guy who is gun smith can repair fix really easy break extractor pull out back your gun put new one in. Any part on 1911 easy replace find parts for. Break rebound spring in glock buy over oil your gun gone have wait many weeks before glock send one to gun store than makes have glock armorer put in becuase they void glock warranty if any body but glock armorer replace it in there guns. I had spent 10 year working at two indoor gun rangs cleaning all kind handguns that got shot ever day for those ten years 1911 kept going shooting longer dirty abuse than all most any the newer guns out there. Little secret glock need be kept really clean got keep larg amount gun oil out of them becuase cause gun jam break if not oil right. If rebound spring in glock is not kept really clean oil free over time it break than gun stops fireing. If limp rest glock can cause it to jam. Just like 1911 how ever if know take care of your gun right than well take care of you when time comes use it.

  10. You know my toilet can take 10,000 “rounds” without doing any maintenance or cleaning but I’m certainly not going to let it go that far. Even if I did have a hi-tek polymer gun I’d end up cleaning it on the same schedule anyhow just because that’s the way I am. Maybe the 1911s are more sensitive to being run very dirty but with maintenance, I’d bet you could get more total rounds through it. So the maintenance issue is a non-issue for me.

    For actually shooting, having a heavy gun with a single-action trigger is very nice. That makes the 1911 very appealing.

    Furthermore, a nice 1911 is more of an heirloom that I will hand down to my kid someday. Are you going to give him/her your dirty as heck 40 year old glock?

    Jason

  11. I’ll be a bit contrarian here. I own two .45s (so far), a Glock 21 and an XD 45 and its for precisely the reasons Robert mentioned.

    I do love the way the 1911 feels in my hand. It has great ergonomics (for me), but the field strip is excessively complicated compared to the XD or Glock. If someone were to made a version of the 1911 that was as easy to field strip as a Glock, I’d buy it.

    And, this wasn’t mentioned in the article, but I really like having 13+1 available in a comfortable form factor.

  12. My issue with gun to easy take part is people forget about safty. I have seen to many people that owen glocks forget not check see if they have round in chamber start taking part there gun which have pull tiger so slide comes off gun there not make sure not live round in it cause gun fire live round chamber if one is in it. I watch guy with glock on gun rang where I worked shoot him self with his owen glock when slide did lock open on last shot did drop magzine or pull slide back see what happen instead clueless person start taking part glock had go off soon pulled tiger in other hand which had front pointing in his other hand take part with. Reason he thought it was ok field strip gun like this he only put ten round in gun count them before he shot he was sure was out ammo befor he try field strip owen gun like this. Rang band clueless guy from gun rang forever. I am not say has been clueless guys that have not shot them self with there owen 1911 buy accident. I like about most 1911 people who use respect them know gun how handle them safely. I well admit there still fools out there that story can happen to with any semi auto pistol made.

  13. I like 1911’s. They shoot well, and are enjoyable to shoot. The problem is, there are better things out there nowadays. A Glock is a lot simpler, more reliable, and a lot easier to take apart. Don’t hang on to tradition just because. I think if JMB were alive today, he would carry a Glock or XD. No need for hero worship. Look at the practicality of a weapons system. I would rather have something simple, with less parts, that is very durable, than overcomplicated. I watched my roommate take apart his 1911 and clean it, and the whole time I couldn’t help but think, that was a lot of parts.

    As for Richard’s comments about Glocks, most of them are wrong. If you ever actually managed to break the recoil guide rod, you go to the store and buy a new one, same with any other gun part. As for idiots shooting themselves with them, a safety isn’t going to make it better. In fact, with no external safety, it makes you less careless, as you won’t think, “Oh well, the safety is on, it’s ok”.

    A Glock is not going to break because it is “not oiled right”. They can be ran thousands of rounds with no oil, or too much, doesn’t matter. I personally prefer 9mm anyways, it is what I shoot the best. The 9mm “weakness” is myth. Nobody I used it on in Iraq complained that it was a weak round.

    For the “heirloom” comment, I want my kids to have memories of me, not a bunch of material possessions that I used to own. Things mean nothing.

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