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Thread: Pros and Cons

  1. #1
    Delta DCCCVIII is offline Junior Member
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    Pros and Cons

    I've read the buyer's guide for purchasing a 1911, more than once.
    And I've filed my list down to four companies:
    Kimber
    Colt
    Smith & Wesson
    Springfield

    I'll be purchasing my first firearm from one of these four companies and would like to know the pros and cons of each.

  2. #2
    Freedom1911's Avatar
    Freedom1911 is offline Member
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    Keep in mind that the 1911 is only the platform and that the 1911 comes in more than 45acp.
    Para makes a nice 1911 in 9mm called the Para18-9.
    Holds 18 rounds of 9mm and is a decked out 1911. Some day I will have one because I like 1911s and 9mm. If 45acp were as cheap as 9mm I'd shoot it instead. But where I'm at I can get 2.5 boxes of 9 for the cost of 1 45.
    Para18-9 gives me the best of both worlds.

  3. #3
    Delta DCCCVIII is offline Junior Member
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    Sorry, didn't make myself clear on the type of 1911 I was aiming for:
    .45 ACP
    GI 5" barrel

  4. #4
    ScottChapin's Avatar
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    Have you read VAMARINE's sticky? Great stuff. My list was narrowed down to your four, except I was looking at SIG instead of Kimber.

    Ultimately they are all good, but I have short listed mine to Colt or SA. Partly for the wrong reason in that both companies are steeped in US military tradition and have built excellent reputations. I like that character in a gun I would own.

    The SA MC Operator gets rave reviews and was chosen by the USMC. Do you need a better recommendation? It is 4 oz heavier than most, but maybe that will help minimize muzzle flip? I lean strongly towards this gun. Now for a talk with the exchequer of the currency (wife)...LOL.

  5. #5
    VAMarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottChapin View Post
    Have you read VAMARINE's sticky? Great stuff. My list was narrowed down to your four, except I was looking at SIG instead of Kimber.

    Ultimately they are all good, but I have short listed mine to Colt or SA. Partly for the wrong reason in that both companies are steeped in US military tradition and have built excellent reputations. I like that character in a gun I would own.

    The SA MC Operator gets rave reviews and was chosen by the USMC. Do you need a better recommendation? It is 4 oz heavier than most, but maybe that will help minimize muzzle flip? I lean strongly towards this gun. Now for a talk with the exchequer of the currency (wife)...LOL.
    To clarify, the MC Operator is a lesser costing gun than what MEUSOC purchased as IIRC their guns came from the Springfield Custom shop, also don't forget that USMC Det-1 (Force Recon unit under Special Operations Command) chose the Kimber Warrior to be their sidearm.

    The pros and cons of each are kind of blurry.

    To the OP, when you say you want a GI 5", do you mean you want a GI style gun, or just that you want a 5" barrel? Kimber and Smith don't market a "GI" gun.
    Also, what is your price range?

    With Colt you have great resale value, but are not as well equipped as some Kimbers or even some Springfields pending on what model you want.

    Springfield does not incorporate a mechanical firing pin safety, some like this some don't. What they use is a lighter firing pin and a heavier firing pin spring to act as a firing pin safety.

    Colt, Kimber, and S&W* all use a firing pin safety. Colt's is actuated by the trigger, Kimber and Smith use a mechanism actuated by the grip safety. Smith&Wesson uses a more robust design than Kimber in their firing pin safety.

    Smith uses an external extractor while the others currently* use an internal extractor, it's a matter of personal preference on that.

    Price varies from all makers depending most on models, and while the makers themselves have pros and cons, that list will change pending on which models from the different makers you are comparing.

    Kimber reportedly uses the most MIM parts, Colt uses some...pretty much everyone uses some MIM with the exception of Ed Brown, Wilson, and Dan Wesson. Even Nighthawk Custom will use Kimber parts IF you request an ambi safety and don't specify which ambi you want.

    Smith is a little more limited in their models, as they don't offer either a straight aluminum frame, just the scandium unless that's changed in the last few months, nor do they offer a steel frame Commander sized gun.

    Colt's starting to catch up to the others and I'm happy to see theam experimenting with
    newer finishes and adding a "proper" beavertail to some of their guns.

    Kimber, Colt, and Smith are all US made, Springfield is US assembled on forgings from Brazil, this bothers some, to me it's not that important.

    Overall, you get the widest range of options from Kimber so it will be easier to get a gun with the options you want out of the box from them. As far as factory standard mags, the Smiths come with the better mags, but that's not a big selling point in my opinion.



    *1: S&W does have a model with a titanium firing pin instead of the mechanical mechanism
    *2: Early series II Kimbers had external extractors but with a mix of customer demand and a higher failure rate they changed back to the internal extractor.

    Regarding customer service, Kimber is probably the looser in that category. Colt, Smith, and Springfield all have an outstanding reputation for taking care of the customer. Springfield and Smith both offer limited lifetime warranties, Kimber does not. I'd have I to look up Colt's again, but I'm pretty sure it's limited lifetime as well.


    All four makers are good makers, as much crap as I give Kimber their guns aren't that bad, but for the price you think they could put a stainless steel barrel and metal mainspring housing in all their guns. Delta, it seems as if you're doing your research, keep doing it and make a list of all that you want on the gun and pick the maker(s) that offer most or all of it and start shopping around. You may focus on one maker more than the others and might miss a good deal. I'd suggest picking a specific model from each and start doing some comparison shopping and see what pans out best for you.

  6. #6
    ScottChapin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VAMarine View Post
    To clarify, the MC Operator is a lesser costing gun than what MEUSOC purchased as IIRC their guns came from the Springfield Custom shop,
    Yes, I did pick up on that in a review I read. I guess I'm figuring that the basic gun, in my price range, has be quite good for the USMC to start with it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by VAMarine View Post
    To clarify, the MC Operator is a lesser costing gun than what MEUSOC purchased as IIRC their guns came from the Springfield Custom shop, also don't forget that USMC Det-1 (Force Recon unit under Special Operations Command) chose the Kimber Warrior to be their sidearm.

    The pros and cons of each are kind of blurry.

    To the OP, when you say you want a GI 5", do you mean you want a GI style gun, or just that you want a 5" barrel? Kimber and Smith don't market a "GI" gun.
    Also, what is your price range?

    With Colt you have great resale value, but are not as well equipped as some Kimbers or even some Springfields pending on what model you want.

    Springfield does not incorporate a mechanical firing pin safety, some like this some don't. What they use is a lighter firing pin and a heavier firing pin spring to act as a firing pin safety.

    Colt, Kimber, and S&W* all use a firing pin safety. Colt's is actuated by the trigger, Kimber and Smith use a mechanism actuated by the grip safety. Smith&Wesson uses a more robust design than Kimber in their firing pin safety.

    Smith uses an external extractor while the others currently* use an internal extractor, it's a matter of personal preference on that.

    Price varies from all makers depending most on models, and while the makers themselves have pros and cons, that list will change pending on which models from the different makers you are comparing.

    Kimber reportedly uses the most MIM parts, Colt uses some...pretty much everyone uses some MIM with the exception of Ed Brown, Wilson, and Dan Wesson. Even Nighthawk Custom will use Kimber parts IF you request an ambi safety and don't specify which ambi you want.

    Smith is a little more limited in their models, as they don't offer either a straight aluminum frame, just the scandium unless that's changed in the last few months, nor do they offer a steel frame Commander sized gun.

    Colt's starting to catch up to the others and I'm happy to see theam experimenting with
    newer finishes and adding a "proper" beavertail to some of their guns.

    Kimber, Colt, and Smith are all US made, Springfield is US assembled on forgings from Brazil, this bothers some, to me it's not that important.

    Overall, you get the widest range of options from Kimber so it will be easier to get a gun with the options you want out of the box from them. As far as factory standard mags, the Smiths come with the better mags, but that's not a big selling point in my opinion.



    *1: S&W does have a model with a titanium firing pin instead of the mechanical mechanism
    *2: Early series II Kimbers had external extractors but with a mix of customer demand and a higher failure rate they changed back to the internal extractor.

    Regarding customer service, Kimber is probably the looser in that category. Colt, Smith, and Springfield all have an outstanding reputation for taking care of the customer. Springfield and Smith both offer limited lifetime warranties, Kimber does not. I'd have I to look up Colt's again, but I'm pretty sure it's limited lifetime as well.


    All four makers are good makers, as much crap as I give Kimber their guns aren't that bad, but for the price you think they could put a stainless steel barrel and metal mainspring housing in all their guns. Delta, it seems as if you're doing your research, keep doing it and make a list of all that you want on the gun and pick the maker(s) that offer most or all of it and start shopping around. You may focus on one maker more than the others and might miss a good deal. I'd suggest picking a specific model from each and start doing some comparison shopping and see what pans out best for you.
    +1 for a great read.

  8. #8
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Sig Sauer reads like a viable alternative to the Kimber and they seem to be selling for about $500.00 less. Sig makes good weapons. I've not fired one of their 1911s.

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    jessemachone is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by VAMarine View Post
    Kimber, Colt, and Smith are all US made, Springfield is US assembled on forgings from Brazil, this bothers some, to me it's not that important.
    How sure ar you about SA and Brazilian forgings? I was aware that they used Brazilian frames for their GI replica but my TRP operator says "Geneseo IL. USA" on it. right on the frame here is a link to a a pic of the same piece that I have.

    http://sgcusa.com/images/large/SA_19...PC9105LP_A.jpg

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    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessemachone View Post
    How sure ar you about SA and Brazilian forgings? I was aware that they used Brazilian frames for their GI replica but my TRP operator says "Geneseo IL. USA" on it. right on the frame here is a link to a a pic of the same piece that I have.

    http://sgcusa.com/images/large/SA_19...PC9105LP_A.jpg
    The rough forging might be made anywhere; the final product (machined and finished) was produced in IL.

    Our company uses wire of Canadian origin. But the wire itself is made from rod that was made offshore. We, on the otherhand state that all our products are made in the USA.

    Germany has the greatest flexibility on the phrase "made in Germany". If the final assembly is done on German soil then it can say "made in Germany". My old PPKS was built entirely in Portugal, but the two grip halves were screwed in on German soil so it carried a "Made in Germany" stamp.

    Forgings are dirty work and require lots of heat. If you want to avoid the cost of EPA compliance you go to 3rd world countries for the forgings. Some are good; some are not so good. Hard to tell by looking at the parts. Indeed it is impossible to tell if a gun frame is from billet, a casting, or a forging just by looking at the frame.

  11. #11
    VAMarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jessemachone View Post
    How sure ar you about SA and Brazilian forgings? I was aware that they used Brazilian frames for their GI replica but my TRP operator says "Geneseo IL. USA" on it. right on the frame here is a link to a a pic of the same piece that I have.

    http://sgcusa.com/images/large/SA_19...PC9105LP_A.jpg
    Very sure. More later.

  12. #12
    VAMarine's Avatar
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    Well rather than rehash all this again, I'll just post a link to a thread which covers all this.

    N and NM Serial Number Prefix and Where the Pistol is Made

    In summary, all the slides and frames are made by Imbel in Brazil, those are parts, not the entire gun. Ford may have parts from Mexico, Japan, China, etc. but they are "American made."

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    jessemachone is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by VAMarine View Post
    Well rather than rehash all this again, I'll just post a link to a thread which covers all this.

    N and NM Serial Number Prefix and Where the Pistol is Made

    In summary, all the slides and frames are made by Imbel in Brazil, those are parts, not the entire gun. Ford may have parts from Mexico, Japan, China, etc. but they are "American made."
    Thanks for shedding some light. Nice to know.

  14. #14
    mixwell is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delta DCCCVIII View Post
    I've read the buyer's guide for purchasing a 1911, more than once.
    And I've filed my list down to four companies:
    Kimber
    Colt
    Smith & Wesson
    Springfield

    I'll be purchasing my first firearm from one of these four companies and would like to know the pros and cons of each.
    I don't think you can go wrong either any of those choices. I don't really know of any cons as most 1911's made today are pretty much on par with each other with the exception of some other special details. You also have different models and some are GI based, some are loaded etc.

    Even some of the lower end 1911's like Taurus and Rock Island Armory get good reviews and I hear nothing but good things about them. The only negative 1911 manufacturer I've seen was Firestorm made by Llama in Spain before but other than that I think you should be good.

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    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    I had a Colt Stainless Steel Gold Cup. It was very accurate and 100% reliable. Priced competitively for what they offer.

    On more than one occasion I made 1 hole groups about the size of a quarter at 50 feet. For me, it was an easy gun to shoot well. It was rare that I had a flier and I thought it was a handsome weapon.

    It did require a bushing wrench and that seemed to be a nuisance.

  16. #16
    Pimpovic is offline Junior Member
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    A con to each of those companies guns are that they aren't a Dan Wesson

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