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Well - I know that there are both reliable and not so reliable 1911’s, and those descriptions probably can be found with most make / models, but I would really like to hear what y’all think. Price and accouterments are not to be considered, just plain old reliability.

Thanks - kw
I have quite a few 1911s and "1911 style" guns, they all seem to be reliable (I'm not saying every make is reliable, just that I seem to have lucked out). I did have a Taurus 1911 when they first came out - of the 5 guns owned by people I knew, mine was the only one that did not break. Then again I only shot it a little. I traded it off while it was still OK.

The regular contract G.I. guns made during WW-II had the strictest inspection I've ever heard of; The inspector picked a single example out of a large lot and fired it 5,000 rounds - if there was one stoppage the entire lot was rejected. He did have the option of testing one more pistol before rejecting the lot. I've never seen any reliable reference to a lot being rejected, though I think there were some "teething pains" during the first contracts but those were more or less experiments in adjusting the equipment. I do not know of a single arms maker that would submit to that standard these days.

Of modern commercial guns Colt seems to have a good handle on things though in the 70's and early 80's they turned out some poor examples - then again so did other manufacturers of other guns.

Jim
 

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The question came up about defining reliability. I guess it depends on perspective. I used to shoot a lot and I used to keep a log. I have one Colt Series 70 that I've shot since 1980, it had 140,000 rounds through it when I quit keeping the log around 1995 - I probably shot it about 20,000 between 1995 and 2000 - I recorded 4 stoppages but two of them were factory rounds that failed fire, two were handloads with SWCs that failed to feed.

Still, I'd think if a gun went 1000 rounds without a failure I'd consider it reliable, I'd likely accept one failure in 1000 rounds. Even fewer rounds I'd consider it "potentially reliable". I won't carry a firearm for self defense unless it has gone through 200 rounds without a stoppage - at least the last 100 must be the load I carry.

Jim
 

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I believe 4......
Good point. And if you come across a bad mag....is the gun no longer reliable?
A bad mag is easily diagnosable as is bad ammo, so I wouldn’t consider either as a reliability issue. If you pour water in your car’s gas tank making it run crappy, do you consider your car unreliable?!?
As I posted in another thread, I bought a WC ULCC a last week and couldn’t get it to run using ANY ball target ammo (personal defense ammo functions flawlessly), but I also discovered that one of the three mags that came with it won’t lock the slide back after the last round with any ammo. In my opinion, the stoppages with the target ammo is a “problem”, but the mag not locking the slide back is just good to know. Now I will just relegate that mag to back yard plinking.
I ended up figuring out that the gun wasn’t sufficiently broken in, and I’ve now put over 300 round of target ammo through it without a stoppage and am planning a couple hundred more this afternoon.
If there are no stoppages today, I will add the gun to my carry rotation.
 

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I have 5 1911s. Of the 5, the following have bee absolutely dead on reliable.

Gold Cup National Match series 80
Wilson Combat Reverse Two Tone Professional
Dan Wesson Patriot (new to me but, first 100 rounds no hickup)
ParaUSA Expert 9mm - Will eat anything commercial and my reloads.
 

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My Kimber has been reliable since it came out of the box. I think with most manufacturers you will find someone who has had problems, but Kimber actually has a good rep.
Actually no. I can run down a list of people including LE that had a lot of problems with Kimbers. Worst of all was the company's attitude about problems. Couldn't possibly be their fault.
 

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I run Wilson Vickers 8 round mags in .45. I have twenty of them, so that is 160 rounds. When a gun runs through four sets of those twenty mags without any kind of failure I consider it reliable. I do keep track of that process, then trust my equipment after that. I do not own a 1911 that has not been through that and passed. I do keep them clean and lubed, and keep springs up to date.
 

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I have probably put 2500 rounds through my Springfield Armory 1911 and have never had a single stoppage. Of course a large number of these were my handloads but if you use high quality ammunition and not the cheap crap, you will most likely have very degree of reliability. Of course, the magazines you use should also be high quality as they too can cause a stoppage.
 

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My Wilson Professional Elite. Pistol has 10k rounds through it with 4 failures to fire diagnosed as bad ammo. Been through multiple multi day classes and it just runs. Probably the pistol I would trust my life to more than any other.

bad experience with Kimber.
 

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I own five 1911's. A Kimber, a S&W, and three Springfields with 3" to 5" barrels. All have all been reliable since the day I brought them home except for one Springer - that was sent back to the company and it has been incredibly reliable since it was returned to me in 1995.
 

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D & L Sports Professional Model, built on a Colt M1991. Built like a tank, runs like a finely tuned watch, and looks like a prime example of handgun art. Pistol smith Dave Lauck has hit it our of the park with his Professional Model!
 
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