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  1. #1
    imported_js Guest

    1911 question...

    Out of all the gun manufacturers that put out the 1911 model/style... Who's the best/worst and why...?

  2. #2
    Shipwreck's Avatar
    Shipwreck is online now HGF Forum Moderator
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    It's late and I am headed off to bed... This will be a long post for me, I think - haha. I'll post a message w/ my thoughts on the matter tomorrow...

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    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    Ok, I said I would get back to this. I'll spread it out over a few messages so it doesn't get too long...

    There are several "mainstream" 1911 manufacturers that make guns at a reasonable price - Colt, Springfield, Smith and Wesson, Kimber, Para Ordinance and now Sig.

    Springfield - I have had several Springfield 1911s over the years. Great guns. THey have entry level guns, all the way to custom guns. I would LOVE to have their custom Springfield Professional, but that is about $2100-$2300, depending on where ya get it at.

    Springfield also has great entry level guns such as their GI models and their Mil Spec models. The Mil Spec is a better deal, as it has a few upgrades that most consider necessary. The Mil Spec is probably the cheapest 1911 I would buy and not have to worry about the thing not working. The only neg I will say is that the current Mil Specs don't have as good of a trigger as the ones made in the 1990s. I have looked at a few recently, and it seemed that many might need a trigger job. Then again, you are looking at 1911s at $450 - $500 or less. If you want an extended thumb saftey, novak sights, skeletonized hammer and trigger, and a guide rod, the Springfield Loaded models are worth the extra $. Buying all of these items seperately and having them installed by a gunsmith will cost you more.

    Para Ordinance - I don't have any direct experience w/ this brand, but I have read a lot of complaints about them. I gues sthat can be taken w/ a grain of salt, but I don't think I would ever buy 1 of their guns. The other brands that interest me grab my attention before Para Ordinance does. The only cool thing they have going for them is that they make double stack 1911. So, you can have high capacity in the 1911 form (of course, the gun is thicker), and they also make a Double Action 1911 design. This new design is unique to them, and supposedly the trigger pull is still around 5lbs or so on every shot. If you want a .45 in the 1911 design, and your police department does not allow single action guns, this might be the way to go.

    Kimber - They do make great guns, but even their base models cost a bit more than a mid level Springfield. They made quite a name for themselves over the years, but have had a lot of issues lately when they switched to external extractors. Now, for 2006, they FINALLY switched back to internal extractors. I may buy a KImber later this year because of that.

    I will say that when you read online reviews, you tend to see the most complaints about Keltecs and Kimbers. Granted, it is true that people tend to complain more than they praise, but Kimber complains do seem more widespread than complainst about other manufacturers. With the external extractors, it seemed that you literally were gambling w/ the chances that you would get a trouble free gun or not. I think the complaints will go down now with the part switch. I have read many complaints about their customer service, though. Apparently they aren't the nicest people on the phone.

    I have bought 1 Kimber before - in early 2005. I spent $908 on it + tax. So, almost $1000. It was an aluminum framed model, but I would never buy another aluminum 1911 again. It was a Kimber Tactical II full size 1911 - Since I had a Beretta 92 w/ an aluminum frame and have no problems w/ that, I figured "why not" - Gun looked awesome. Shot well too.

    After having it 2 weeks, I dicovered a long thread on a 1911 forum - I saw the dreaded "gouge" - using a magazine w/ a metal follower will damage the inside of the aluminum frame. Over time, it can get pretty excessive. Why would Kimber sell a mag with their own gun that will damage it right before your very eyes as you shoot it?

    I then checked my gun out - in that spot inside of the frame, I saw the very beginning of the mark - This was after just 200 rounds. Also, I did not think about the fact that while my Beretta has an aluminum frame, the steel barrel acts as the feed ramp - the 1911 uses the frame as part of the feed ramp. After 400 rounds, I already had some visual wear in the metal where the bullet rubs the frame when it is loaded into the barrel. Also, that gouge inside the frame got a little bigger.

    I tried Wilson mags w/ a plastic follower, but the gun would only work with the stock mags and metal follower. I then sold the $908 + tax gun for about $150 less, because that was all I could get for it. I am kinda angry that I spend about $1k on a gun that actually wore before my very eyes. If I had that after 400 rounds, I could imagine how it would be after 2000.

    Kimber really should use plastic followers in their aluminum guns, and they should also put a ramped barrel in them.

    I personally will never buy another aluminum 1911 again. And, I have been a bit angry at Kimber ever since...

  4. #4
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    Colt - there are Colt fanatics, and to some, a 1911 isn't a 1911 if it isn't a Colt. I was struck w/ the urge to buy an entry level Colt a few weeks ago, and I checked one out. $636 is what it took to buy an entry level Colt here locally. I looked at the gun, and was very disappointed. The sinish was messed up around the sights, the trigger was horrible, and there were a few other minor issues. I do not think itw as worth the $. Mainly, you are paying a premium for the Colt name, in my opinion. Although, Colt fanatics will deny it.

    The 1911 that got me hooked in the early 1990s was a Colt - it belonged to the family of my 1st wife. It was a good gun. I do not believe current Colt quality is the same, and I have read that comment numerous times. For the same amount of $, you get more gun for your money from a Springfield or Kimber. It is true that a Colt will have a better resale value % wise compared to other 1911 manufacturers, but what have you really gained. You paid too much for the gun to begin with. And, guns really are not a wise investment (if that is your only purpose for buying it) unless you are dealing with antiques.

    Smith & Wesson - They are new comers into the 1911 market, but I have read almost no complaints about their 1911s. And, if there is an issue, they seem to bend over backwards to fix it. They have good prices too. They have external extractors, but apparently they know what they are doing, unlike the external extractors Kimber tries to use. Until I fell into a deal for my Springfield TRP around Christmas, I had settled on buying a specific model of S&W 1911. I think for a newcomer into this market, either S&W or Springfield is the way to go.

    Sig - They tried to get into the 1911 market recently, and it didn't go well. Their GSR model had a lot of problems, and its my understanding that they either bought guns back from many people or replaced them with new guns. Now, they just came back into the 1911 market w/ the Revolution - They have a railed and non-railed model. On paper, this gun looked great, and I thought I wanted one. The gun looks cool, but it doesn't have quite the traditional 1911 look to it. Sig changed a few external features.

    I do not care for their grip safety design on the Revolution. It has a strange ridge down the middle of it. I have never seen a design like this before, and it did not seem comfortable for me. Their 1911s are almost $1k ($899-$980), and it seems that you need to look at the model U buy before you get it. I wouldn't recommend ordering 1 on the net. It seems that Sig still has some issues with quality, and many of the guns have hammers that lean to 1 side or the other. This is taken from the various complains and comments I have read about them recently.

  5. #5
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    I also forgot to mention Dan Wesson - The company was recently purchased by CZ, but they are genreally considered to be a good brand to buy. You get a lot for your money, and they have mid priced models. Many places don't carry this brand, for whatever reason, however. So, they can be hard to find.

    There are a few low end 1911 manufacturers - Rock Island Armory, Charles Daily and Armscore to name a few. It is my understanding that these guns are made in the Phillipines all by the same manufacturer. Visially, some of them look like quite a deal for the money - they seem to float around the $300 price range, give or take a few $.

    I would avoid these, personally, although some claim that the Charles Daily and RIA guns are an awesome find. I have no direct experience w/ these guns. But, I have read comments stating that many of them are made so out of spec that after market parts won't work. And, if you do have a problem, this out of spec issue makes is so hard for a smith to fix the gun. I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for. There are many owners who are happy with these guns, but I REALLY think you are gambling w/ your money if you buy 1 of these. I wouldn't want 1 if you gave me 1. Others may disagree w/ me, but this is my 2 cents....

    Now, there are also some high $ 1911 manufacturers. [b]Les Baers, Wilson, Nighthawk, STI, Ed Brown[/b and Rock River Arms (not to be confused with the above mentioned Rock Island Armory) are just a few names that come to mind. Springfield, Kimber and Smith and Wesson also make some high dollar models that compare to these values. But, many people like to have an "exotic" brand name when they pay this much money - Having a super expensive Springfield doesn't stand out as much as it does when you tell people you have a Wilson or a Nighthawk.

    Nighthawk is rumored to have started as an offshoot of Wilson employees. They are a fairly new company, but at the moment, they are my Holy Grail of 1911 manufacturers. But, I don't have the $2,200 or more to buy one of these guns right now. So, for now, My $1200 Springfield TRP will have to suffice (I got it for $1,000 new, but have another $200+ or so in a new finish and grips).

  6. #6
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    Also, there are different sizes of 1911s... They make 5 inch 1911s (Government models, the standard size), 4" ones, and even 3.5" and 3" barreled 1911s. And, I suppose you could count the long barrel versions - 6 inches or longer. These long barreled models are not seen too often, though.

    I personally love the full size models. The design was not originally made to work in these super small sizes, however. So, your chance of problems climbs exponentially as you get into the smaller sizes. So, you take a risk of a problem gun when you get to the small 1911s. I personally love the 1911 as a range gun and also for home defense, so I don't mind the size. A 1911 isn't something I would personally CCW, because I like the lower maintance of a Glock or Walther - a gun I don't have to oil the exterior every day in the summer time in order to prevent rust. That being said, reliability wise, I have no problems counting on the 1911s I have owned. If any gun is not reliable, I get rid of it quick, no matter what brand it is.

    Finally, you can buy 1911s in other calibers besides .45. I'd be interested in maybe getting a 9mm one day, in order to save on ammo costs. But, non .45 cal models seem to cost most. I guess they are more of a niche inside the 1911 area, so they feel they can charge more.

  7. #7
    imported_js Guest

  8. #8
    imported_js Guest
    I think I'll rent one the next time a go to the range... I believe they have a springfield 1911 there for rental. If I remember correctly, I believe it's pretty beat up.

    I need to also give my mother a call tomorrow, when my grandfather died his gun collection was distributed out between his daughters...My mother recieved a colt. She ask me if I wanted it, but I declined. I'm wondering now if it's a 1911. She said it wasn't a revolver when we had talked briefly about it, now it has me interested.

  9. #9
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    Remember, that a rental gun isn't treated very well - so if it doesn't work well, don't be surprised. A 1911 must be cared for pretty well.

  10. #10
    imported_js Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck
    Remember, that a rental gun isn't treated very well - so if it doesn't work well, don't be surprised. A 1911 must be cared for pretty well.
    I'll keep that in mind today when I go to the range today. I'll let you know how it shoots.

  11. #11
    michael t is offline Member
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    Having only bought 4 guns this mo I decided to take a break for a while . Well I couldn't I put a Springfield SS Compact 3 1/2" V-10 1911 on lay a way. One of these keep in safe type. Ive never had a comp pistol so It will be a new experiance. Guess I'll have to wait a while before I can buy again my SS check needs to pay bills and buy gro not guns.

  12. #12
    2400's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck
    A 1911 must be cared for pretty well.
    Why do you say this? My 1911 carry gun went 2700 rounds with out ANY problems. It was filthy but never missed a beat. My 96 went over 1500 rounds before I broke down and cleaned it.

  13. #13
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2400
    Quote Originally Posted by Shipwreck
    A 1911 must be cared for pretty well.
    Why do you say this? My 1911 carry gun went 2700 rounds with out ANY problems. It was filthy but never missed a beat. My 96 went over 1500 rounds before I broke down and cleaned it.
    I say this because it is generally true.

    There were some Glock idiots (I say this because they were very rude and insultive towards 1911s) on the Glocktalk sight who have periodic 1000 round shootouts between Glocks and 1911s. Many 1911s cannot go thru 1000 round w/o cleaning - although I say this proves nothing because who generally shoots 1000 rounds at a setting.

    But, generally, a 1911 needs more lube/more often than many other guns. This is a fact. I usually disassemble a 1911 and re-oil the rails and a couple of ther parts about 1x a month - that way I know it is reliable.

    I don't keep a gun if it isn't reliable, so I have usually had good luck w/ 1911s functioning right. But, this style of gun is usually built to much tighter specs, in order to get the smaller group sizes. Consequently, they are more apt to problems if not cared for in great detail.

  14. #14
    Blackhawk is offline Junior Member
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    IMO Colt Gold Cup is the best 1911 out of the box. But I wouldnt have any reservations in recommending Springfield Armory Loaded, or Smith & Wesson 1911 PD.

  15. #15
    Splitter is offline Junior Member
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    I have a Sig GSR Revolution and let me tell you, it is perfect. It is every bit as nice to shoot as the high end 1911's that you read about. Nice gun. And if you are lucky like I was, you can get a used one in exceptional condition for less than $800.

    I also have a Kimber Pro Carry II. I was shocked that it has less recoil than my GSR. That means it is on target faster and more accurate. This gun is a commander sized 1911, and conceals very nicely.

    My next purchase will be a compact 1911 like a Colt Defender, or PA Warthawg.

    After having revolvers and semi's, I'm hooked on 1911's.

  16. #16
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    Two Colts and one Kimber. All three were fine firearms. I carried the Kimber stainless for several months and was happy with it. I then switched to the Colt Officers because it had the aluminum frame and was substantially lighter to carry... The Kimber because of it being a series one, had a vastly superior trigger pull over the Colt... I was very happy with them but have transitioned into a more modern DA/SA striker fired pistol now... Although it makes more sense for me to carry the more modern weapon, it lacks the romance of the 1911...

  17. #17
    trio is offline Junior Member
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    i will throw my 2 cents in here because, well, I have owned many of the brands previously mentioned....


    First off...I have never had the following:

    Charles Daly, Armscor, Para Ordnance, Ed Brown, Wilson, Nighthawk, and Rock River Arms...out of all the other 1911s mentioned above (great post by the way) I have had at least one...I will go through


    Smith and Wesson: I had a 1911SC commander with the scadium frame....it shot great, although I did have some problems with locking back on the last round...I sold it because I wasnt as big of a fan in the lightweight platform, commander sized...honestly, there are times when I wish I still had this gun

    Dan Wesson: I have had 3 Dan Wesson PT-CBOBs in .45...two pre-CZ, one post....I should have never sold my first one (again, not as big a fan of the commander size)...i bought another one, and it had some sear issues that made it full auto at times, and (since it is a series 70 gun) would go boom when you didnt want it to...sold it to a guy who knew more about the guns and could fix it...when CZ took over I figured I would try them out...i found their quality control lacking...the sites blew off in my first range session, and the gun needed a good throat polishing...i fixed it and sold it...I likely would not buy another..

    Rock Island: I am a Rock Island believer...i originally bought one because i wanted a cheap platform to try gunsmithing on...the gun was fantastic...only reason I sold it was to move on to more expensive things...another i wish i had kept and i may buy another

    Sig: I had one of the original GSRs...the ones with the frames made out of house by Caspian, and mine had the infamous hammer lean/frame issues that spelled the end of the line....I generally love Sig but was very unhappy to spend 1000+ on a gun and have the beavertail and hammer be crooked...i sent the gun back to them, and all they did was shave the hammer so it didnt rub the frame anymore...needless to say this pissed me off too...long story short, i sold that one too...they say they fixed some of these issues by moving production in house, but they bought the damned machines that caspian used to make the GSRs...i have seen at least 2 revolutions with hammer lean issues...not to mention they have an issue with the extractor retaining pin dropping out of the slide and marring the frame...having said all that, i know there are people who love these guns because, when made correctly, they are a match grade gun and barrel on a solid platform...personally i would avoid...ill stick to the p228

    Kimber: I have OWNED three kimbers, and will never own another....2 of them had external extractors, one of them had the new internal...i had the commander sized version of the aluminum gun the above author references...it was like all my other kimbers...they were arguably the MOST accurate 1911s i had...they were, WITHOUT A DOUBT, the most finicky...im talking 10 FTFs/FTEs in 100 rounds with Wilson, McCormick, Kimber, Baer, you name it magazines, and straight 230 grain ball ammo...i will not accept a 10% failure rate on a gun, and so no more kimber for me...again, though, if you get a good one, you have a GREAT gun...i just have gotten 3 bad ones, and now im gun shy (hardy har har)

    Colt: I have had more Colts than I can count...my first handgun, that i owned myself, was a series 70 nickel...i sold it because my wife was scared of guns...ive been married to her almost 10 years now, and im still pissed about that....i currently have a custom colt that i love (it is the Punisher's gun from the movie)...some people hate the series 80 because of the extra safety...i dont mind it as much because if you ever get hammer follow the gun wont go boom when you dont want it to....i have had series 70s, a series 80 lightweight commander, the new XSEs, old rollmark 1991s, new rollmark 1991s and I have never had a bad colt...the only reason I have ever sold them is because i have limited gun funds and i get the fever to get something new...if i had unlimited cash i would likely still own them all...now that they are making the series 70 again, this may go on my must have list...the new XSE guns are as good as you can get IMO...of the more common guns, Colt is my second favorite...

    Springfield: when anyone asks me what 1911 to buy as their first, this is my answer...get a springfield...again, limited money, but I own 3 1911s...one is a colt, one is a springfield, and the last will be revealed soon! i have had the TRP, TRP Operator, Champion, Micro Compact, Loaded, Mil Spec...they were all great...my current one is a few years older, the combat tactical model that preceeded the TRPs...great guns, great value, lifetime waranty...honest to God, if you have 800 bucks to spend on a 1911, and you want a good gun, buy a mil spec for 500, buy 4 wilson magazines, and spend the rest on ammo...if you need some of the bells and whistles, spend 650 on a loaded, then get the magazines, and the difference in ammo...some people swear by Kimber, I swear at them...i know no one that swears at springfield, and i swear by them...

    Les Baer: the only reason I no longer own my springfield TRPs is because i finally broke down and went full custom gun...my baer is a 5" TRS with Heine Night Sights, rear slide sight serations, hard chromed by tripp, with a bobtail installed by les himself...remember that gun fund i referred to? Well this baby depleted it....what to say? Its a hand made, custom fitted gun...you get, in this instance, what you pay for...i love it...its unique, and its mine...i am sure you would be equally as happy with any of the other guns in this class like nighthawk or wilson...again, with unlimited funds, i would own at least one of each...

    what you really need to ask yourself is what kind of 1911 you want...what makes this gun so great is how customizable the platform is...

    5, 4, or 3 inch barrel? maybe 6? (my punisher gun has a 6 inch compensated barrel)

    Beavertail? Traditional grip safety? Single or ambi thumb safety? Series 70 or 80? The list goes on and on...and each person will like different things...

    I personally need a beavertail because i have big hands and get hammer bit (although i like the traditional look better)...i dont like ambi safeties...i prefer 5" barrel...i think the bobtails look sweet...but thats me...either way...good luck!!!

  18. #18
    tony pasley's Avatar
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    2 to stay away from is the firestorm and the argentine both have very bad extractor problems in design.

  19. #19
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    I have had good luck with my Springfield. It shoots great! i have put quite a few rounds through it without cleaning it and it still worked properly. All depends on the gun.

  20. #20
    Porterfield is offline Junior Member
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    I have several 1911's and the best by FAR is my Les Baer 5"TRS. Have never had a malfunction and is much more accurate than any pistol I have ever owned. Well worth the money I spent.

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