Selecting a 1911

Discussion in 'Beginner's Corner' started by 50GI-Jess, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. 50GI-Jess

    50GI-Jess Member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Been involved with 1911 for over 30 yrs. This by manufacturing, custom building, selling, top level competition shooting, and of course for CCW use. So in other words, the 1911 has become my life these days.

    In order to select a 1911 for your special needs, first one has to understand a few basics !

    A 1911 pistol is nothing more than a mechanical device. It's made by man out of steel. Nothing man made is 100 % reliable. However, selecting the right base parts, and being built by highly trained pistolsmit's, one can get very close to those 100 %.

    In my experience, 9 out of 10 times, 1911 users experience some kind of problems, it's related to either feed jams or failure to eject. Which often times gets the owner very frustrated. "but the guy who sold it to me...said it was a custom build 1911'" etc. etc.

    In one way it's very simple ! There's factory assembly line "custom" 1911's, and then there is true custom build 1911's by highly trained individuals, who builds it from A to Z.

    When Joe gunowner walk into the gunstore shopping for a 1911, and look at the showcase with 100's of 1911's lying back to back, all looking the same to him, but with different price tags on them, it's easy to get confused. Many looks the same on the outside, and if being on a budget, they usually end up with something in the $800 to $ 1000 range.

    These 1911's may or may not work fine, all depending on the quality of the mag/ammo and user experience. Also, if not being into competition shooting or just plain regular practice, they may never know if the gun works OK or not.
    On the other hand, if the new owner finds out it has mechanical problems and warrenty sucks, he'll most likely either sell it or contact a pistolsmith.

    Many of these factory made "custom" guns sadly need some more custom work. Usually a complete reliability package. Consisting of perfecting the feed ramp. Re-throating the barrel, chamber depth, de-burring the firing pin hole, breech face specs, extractor location, profile and tension. Ejector, springs, barrel fit, safeties etc. is also double checked for function and fit, since it's also related to the guns reliability and performance. And a good quality magazine/ammo also helps of course.

    It's sometimes sad to see, that competition 1911's are better build, than most other 1911's would be for selfdefense. Think about it ! In a shooting competition, you only loose some ego, in selfdefense situations it could be your life.....

    Like most things in'll get exactly what you pay for. A lot of folks have found this out the hard way.

    Many would be better off with a 4" S&W mod.10 on the bedside table...they just don't realize it! :grin:

    Later guys.
  2. knedrgr

    knedrgr Low capacity, low tech...

    Aug 15, 2011
    Nice post Jess.

  3. polizei1

    polizei1 It WAS Quack

    Aug 18, 2011
    Yea great post. That's why I tell people to just go custom from the beginning. :laugh:
  4. drcfirearms

    drcfirearms Forum Sponsor

    Aug 16, 2011
    Going the Semi-Custom/Custom route from the beginning is not always an option for many, especially in this economic climate. I agree, if possible, most will end up saving a few bucks in the long run as opposed to buying an $800 base gun and having it worked/tweaked to make it as reliable as it should be. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a nice, tuned, reliable, solid working class 1911 that comes out of a competent shop. There are several 1911 smiths/shops that are very, very talented and can make this happen....unfortunately, there are also many that claim to posses these skills, but don't. That is what is so good about forums like this.....the ability to talk to folks who have had successes as well as failures with different shops/smiths. I will say this about my trip up to Guncrafter Industries last summer to visit Alex, Jess and David......these guys live and breathe 1911's. Not only are they build my favorite 1911, they shoot the **** out of them, as well. You wanna get humbled? Go shoot with Jess and Alex for about 15 minutes.........:biggrin1:
  5. 50GI-Jess

    50GI-Jess Member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Thanks for the nice words.

    Well, being into shooting like IPSC/IDPA/ICORE, NRA Action, gives a good insight into working guns, and that doesn't hurt when buildning them too. It completes the circle understanding the 1911, but of course not really a must for building guns. I know several talented pistolsmiths, who basically never shoot what they build, exept when testing and sighting them in.

    Saying that, ask youself a question! Would you take your truck to a mechanic for repair, knowing he never had a drivers license in his life ?

    Often times, we have new customers calling our shop, not knowing we only build custom guns from the ground up. Not being able to afford a full custom gun, they usually ask what we would do, if we were in their shoes.
    I usually tell them, it's better to have one good gun, instead of 3-4 junk guns, especially if intended for selfdefense. Also I give them this advice ! Wait it out and save up the money and buy what you really wan't, and you'll never regret it.
    Plan B would be buying a suitable base 1911 in the 700 to $1000 range, and simple have a "reliability" package performed on it. In most cases, a pistolsmith can work with the existing parts in the gun, saving the customer a bunch of money.
    It's usually not that the existing parts are out of poor quality, it's more that they are fitted wrong. However, on some of the inexpensive imports from Asia, a few parts should be expected to be exchanged for better ones.
    Look at the facts. Prestine accuracy is really not needed in carry guns. So there's a lot of $ saved by not having a match grade barrel installed, and the average Joe couldn't care less, as long as the gun keeps on trucking hitting targets 5 to 10 yds. downrange.
    And like said so often before, no gun is any better than the worst mag/ammo. It would be like fueling that new Porche with 64% octane gas.
  6. Quack

    Quack it's mmm, mmm good... Staff Member Admin

    Aug 15, 2011
    Great post!!!

    That's the same advise that i gave to Hokie and recently to TSiWRX. While it sucks waiting for it, and is more expensive, it' will actually be less expensive in the long run.

    I myself have moved away from Production guns.
  7. TSiWRX

    TSiWRX Member

    Aug 21, 2011
    I'm learning a lot here, thanks, everyone. :smile:

    It's a steep learning curve, being new to something that's had as much of a history as the 1911. But posts like these - and all you nice people - really do help a lot. They're a road-map, and that's much appreciated by a noob like me.
  8. Quack

    Quack it's mmm, mmm good... Staff Member Admin

    Aug 15, 2011
    next time we go out shooting, you should try Lawdogs Guncrafter "No Name" since you liked my Springfield Professional.
  9. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Schütze

    Aug 17, 2011
    I suppose I've been fortunate, but I've had very good performance from production 1911's except for one example. My first modern 1911 was a Kimber Ultra that ran on anything except Speer Gold Dot. I ran about 1000 rounds through it before trading it for a Kimber Ultra Covert. The Covert ran great for about 1600 rounds, before breaking a leg on the ejector. Several other Kimbers ran without failure as well.

    Later I moved to the Springfield platform with a Loaded Stainless (P19132LP) and ran it for about 1500 rounds with no failures, before sending it out for a make over. It's still running as good as ever as are my other Springfields.

    I later bought a Baer Stinger for carry and it's ran fine for over a 1000 rounds. It did break an ejector leg about 750 rounds. My Baer TRS has had no failures or any kind for 1500 rounds or so.

    Not a lot of rounds for some people, but plenty enough to be considered reliable for self defense. The ejector failures where not fatal as the pistols still ran..

    The one fatal failure was from a brand famous for their reliability SIG. My 1911 Blackwater sheared the thumb safety, spun it over backwards jamming the slide open and piercing the web of my hand. SIG fixed it and I traded it off.. Ron
  10. carguy2244

    carguy2244 Active Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    I owned 2 Colts that were neither reliable nor accurate. They convinced me to switch to Glock. That was more than 15 years ago.
    Now I'm evolving back to 1911's, but am focusing proven reliability, durability, and accuracy. Costs more than Colts, but well worth it,
  11. limbkiller

    limbkiller Pulling my hair. Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    No not at all. I don't that is for sure. Rather own 10 $600 guns as 2 $ 3000 guns. If they are safe to shoot and go bang everytime, I love shooting them. Snobs be damned!!!!
  12. Hokie

    Hokie Active Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    Yup. I went with quality vs quantity. I don't have much money, and decided to save and get what I really wanted. Took 8 months to pay off. It's the only gun I own (for now)...until I add a railed 5" for my nightstand gun.

  13. 50GI-Jess

    50GI-Jess Member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Absolutely beautiful !
    Looks a lot like the GI 4" NN:eyebrows:
    How does it shoot ?
  14. Hokie

    Hokie Active Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    Thank you sir. It shoots better that I do. :biggrin1:

    That said, I just recently got to shoot a buddy's NN. Had I been able to shoot a NN before I had bought my Brown (I shot Quack's KC several times)...a bob'd NN commander would be riding my hip right now instead of my KC. You fellas make a hell of a nice gun.
  15. Sir Guy

    Sir Guy Sharpening Ockham's Razor Supporting Addict

    Aug 20, 2011
    Good posts, Jess. I appreciate your thoughts on such things.

    I really enjoy my Guncrafter "No Name" so far. There's a lot of attention to detail one usually doesn't see on other guns, even in this same price range.

  16. Glock2740

    Glock2740 1911 addict Staff Member Moderator

    Aug 16, 2011
    Good stuff guys. Keep up the great work Jess. I love both of my Guncrafter No Names. :thumb:
  17. 50GI-Jess

    50GI-Jess Member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Well thanks Andy
    Please remember to tell all your frinds about that hmm.:thumb:
  18. Sir Guy

    Sir Guy Sharpening Ockham's Razor Supporting Addict

    Aug 20, 2011
    I showed it to a friend for half an hour. He was planning to get an Ed Brown.

    He decided to get a Guncrafter Industries 1911 instead. He'll be ordering it before too long. :thumb:

  19. Jbeck1911

    Jbeck1911 Member

    Aug 31, 2011
    my personal opinion. while there are alot of expensive nice wonderful 1911's out there. if your price range is below $1000 go with taurus PT1911, Springfield Mil-Spec or GI, Ruger( cant ever go wrong with a ruger) LOL. Some foriegn countries make ok ones for cheap but be careful they are all not good. personally i avoid Kimbers over priced for what they are and people only buy them for Name and Name alone. Hell my springfield GI never jams with FMJs and keeps right up with over $1000 kimbers! Yes you pay for what you get in this world but there are economy lines that are darn near just as good for us Normal people. and remember this is just my personal opinion Kimber fans please do not flip out! LOL Ill give more opinions on that ruger once i get one
  20. Hokie

    Hokie Active Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    For me, anything under $1k.....Taurus wouldn't even be a consideration. There are WAY too many quality 1911s (yes, including Kimber) that I would choose instead. To each his own.

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