How many rounds through a 1911, before you trust it?

This is a discussion on How many rounds through a 1911, before you trust it? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm all about the reliability of a CCW, before trusting it with my life. I keep hearing from others and reading about the "break-in" period ...

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Thread: How many rounds through a 1911, before you trust it?

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    Member Array Bowhunter57's Avatar
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    How many rounds through a 1911, before you trust it?

    I'm all about the reliability of a CCW, before trusting it with my life. I keep hearing from others and reading about the "break-in" period of a 1911 pistol...a "break-in" period of 500 to 1000 rds. Semi-autos are certainly more reliable than they were 20 years ago, but this seems an excessive amount of rounds for a pistol that could cost upwards of $1000.

    I've shot several 1911s, from Rock Island to Kimber, etc.

    * How many rounds do you run through a 1911, before trusting it?
    * Are shorter barreled 1911s as reliable as the standard size?
    * Does anyone carry a 1911 as a CCW? Full size or Compact?

    Your opinions and experiences are appreciated.
    Thank you, Bowhunter57
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    Member Array Seraph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowhunter57 View Post
    I'm all about the reliability of a CCW, before trusting it with my life. I keep hearing from others and reading about the "break-in" period of a 1911 pistol...a "break-in" period of 500 to 1000 rds. Semi-autos are certainly more reliable than they were 20 years ago, but this seems an excessive amount of rounds for a pistol that could cost upwards of $1000.

    I've shot several 1911s, from Rock Island to Kimber, etc.

    * How many rounds do you run through a 1911, before trusting it?
    * Are shorter barreled 1911s as reliable as the standard size?
    * Does anyone carry a 1911 as a CCW? Full size or Compact?

    Your opinions and experiences are appreciated.
    Thank you, Bowhunter57
    I carry a 5" steel 1911, in a Brommeland Max Con V IWB holster. This gun conceals as well as, or better than, anything else, so I don't really see the need for looking at compact versions (sometimes, I carry a Glock 19, but it's not because it's more concealable than the 1911. The 1911 actually conceals better, and rides more comfortably, for me.). I used to insist on 1000 trouble free rounds through a pistol - any pistol - before I would commit to carrying it. After having worked on pistols in a shop, and gaining a better apprehension of what makes them tick, I'm comfortable after a couple hundred trouble free rounds. In my opinion, "break-in periods" are BS. If a pistol exhibits a problem, in its proving period, that can't be attributed to ammunition or a magazine, the pistol needs to be examined and worked on. Bench time is cheaper than ammo, nowadays. Ammo is cheaper than blood.
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    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    When I get my Colt defender back from the gunsmith I will put 200 rounds through it with fmj's then I will put another 100 mixing my S.D ammo with my target ammo. That's the same that I do for any CCW. If it feeds them all no jams its good to go!!
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    Member Array ckfarris's Avatar
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    I always like to put at least 200-300 rounds through any of my guns before I will carry them.
    ‘‘The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose.’’ — James Earl Jones, Actor

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    Senior Member Array WC145's Avatar
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    At least a couple of hundred rounds of mixed ammo, using all of the mags I intend to carry.

    I carry a S&W 1911 9mm Pro Series on and off duty, although right now it's on it's way to the factory to fix an ambi-safety issue so I'm carrying a Springfield Loaded .45.

    I don't own any compact 1911's.

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    I think this may change with the type of 1911 that you own. For example my Kimber is very tight in regards to the frame fitting. When I was a kid, I shot my grandfathers 1911 and the slide was lose and heck even rattled a bit. I picked up a Springfield the other day which it was one of those half made in the USA and Brazil jobs. That gun definitely did not have as tight of a fit as my kimber. So my point is I think it depends on the gun. If you shoot 250 rounds trouble free, I think you should be pretty safe. Most issues should pop up at or before that round count.
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    Unless the maker specifies otherwise, I shoot 50 rounds. If it feeds that brand, bullet, etc. reliably, I'm good to go. But that's coming from a guy carrying a Glock.

    You can pretty much "break-in" any gun without firing a shot by cycling and dry-firing it, as far as smoothing the action. Most FTF, FTE issues come from different brand/bullet types. If it will feed 50 rounds, why wouldn't feed the next fifty of the same thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Unless the maker specifies otherwise, I shoot 50 rounds. If it feeds that brand, bullet, etc. reliably, I'm good to go. But that's coming from a guy carrying a Glock.

    You can pretty much "break-in" any gun without firing a shot by cycling and dry-firing it, as far as smoothing the action. Most FTF, FTE issues come from different brand/bullet types. If it will feed 50 rounds, why wouldn't feed the next fifty of the same thing.
    Yeah it's pretty obvious that you are talking about Glock's and I agree that they are darn near ready to go out of the box. There is a big difference from Glock's to 1911's, like match barrels, triggers and generally overall tighter tolerances. Tighter groups too!
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    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraph View Post
    ........... In my opinion, "break-in periods" are BS. If a pistol exhibits a problem, in its proving period, that can't be attributed to ammunition or a magazine, the pistol needs to be examined and worked on........

    Yeah, this is my opinion as well. However, I will typically do a light "fluff and buff" on a new pistol, which seems to reduce and/or eliminate a lot of issues.


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    Quote Originally Posted by C hawk Glock View Post
    Yeah it's pretty obvious that you are talking about Glock's and I agree that they are darn near ready to go out of the box. There is a big difference from Glock's to 1911's, like match barrels, triggers and generally overall tighter tolerances. Tighter groups too!
    Oh yeah? Well I can make just as big a group with a 1911 as I can with a Glock! So there!
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    Distinguished Member Array Arko's Avatar
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    If I HAVE to break in a gun, as opposed to just giving it a trial run with the ammo(s) I intend to use, I won't carry it. It's a machine. I expect it run like one. I carry an inexpensive American Classic 1911. The fit is tighter than you would expect, accuracy is better than I need, and it's been flawless at every range session.
    If I pay 1000+ dollars for a high end gun THEN have to run a thousand dollars of ammo through or HAVE to have smiting done..not interested. Give me something that works out of the box, be it a 1911, a glock or revolver.
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    I like to run 3-4 boxes of ammo through my new guns and then another box of SD ammo. Whether the gun is perfect out of the box or not, I want to know HOW the gun runs before I would ever depend upon it in a situation.
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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    My Kimber called for 500 rounds and my Sig ask for 200 I think. I'd say if you can run a couple hundred FMJs and 50 to a hundred of your chosen defense rounds without any failures you should be good to go. YMMV

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    How many rounds through a 1911, before you trust it?
    However many it takes for the gun to be nearly 100% reliable with my selected range/carry rounds.

    Generally speaking, I want to know how a gun behaves, so I send numerous types of ammo through it and explore how it behaves with various rounds, when dirty, etc. Once I understand the gun's behavior and preferences, then I can select the particular ammo for the gun. A few pistols that I've shot have been exceptional from day one. Notably, the H&K P2000SK 9mm v2/LEM is like this. While I generally won't feel comfortable with a gun until between 500-1000 rounds have gone through successfully, the P2000SK has been nearly perfect since acquiring it. It went into the carry rotation much earlier than 1000 rds.

    My STI Shadow .45ACP, on the other hand, is still quite finicky after several hundred rounds and a trip to STI for some gunsmithing and parts changes. If I cannot get it running correctly in the next few hundred rounds, it's outta here. Have hunted for defensive carry guns in this manner for a couple decades now, and it seems to work well for finding reliable guns. Takes time, sure, but by the end of my extended break-in period I really know the gun's behavior and have a very good sense of how it'll perform in various conditions. For me, it's important to be this rigorous, since the performance of these life-saving, defensive tools are something that we're staking our lives on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    However many it takes for the gun to be nearly 100% reliable with my selected range/carry rounds.

    Generally speaking, I want to know how a gun behaves, so I send numerous types of ammo through it and explore how it behaves with various rounds, when dirty, etc. Once I understand the gun's behavior and preferences, then I can select the particular ammo for the gun. A few pistols that I've shot have been exceptional from day one. Notably, the H&K P2000SK 9mm v2/LEM is like this. While I generally won't feel comfortable with a gun until between 500-1000 rounds have gone through successfully, the P2000SK has been nearly perfect since acquiring it. It went into the carry rotation much earlier than 1000 rds.

    My STI Shadow .45ACP, on the other hand, is still quite finicky after several hundred rounds and a trip to STI for some gunsmithing and parts changes. If I cannot get it running correctly in the next few hundred rounds, it's outta here. Have hunted for defensive carry guns in this manner for a couple decades now, and it seems to work well for finding reliable guns. Takes time, sure, but by the end of my extended break-in period I really know the gun's behavior and have a very good sense of how it'll perform in various conditions. For me, it's important to be this rigorous, since the performance of these life-saving, defensive tools are something that we're staking our lives on.
    Sorry to hear that about your STI, I hear they make fantastic 1911's.

    As Far as my Kimber, I think I have about 400 rounds down the pipe and I think I could trust it on my belt or in my night stand.
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