1911 for a Newbie

This is a discussion on 1911 for a Newbie within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm toying (toying) with selling some stuff and maybe buying a 1911. They have always fascinated me. Got to use one last summer at the ...

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Thread: 1911 for a Newbie

  1. #1
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    1911 for a Newbie

    I'm toying (toying) with selling some stuff and maybe buying a 1911. They have always fascinated me. Got to use one last summer at the range and was very impressed with groupings, etc. NOW, the scary part. There are so many, many brands out there. Many are way out of my range. I will almost assuredly buy a used one. I'm thinking $500-$600 used. Question: is there a 4 or 4.5" compact in a 1911? I'm not terribly interested in pretty. I am very much interested in tried and true. Opinions, please. Oh, and please, no offense, no interested in Kimber. Not to mention who gets a used Kimber for five hundred bucks?
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Eccl. 10:2

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  3. #2
    Member Array Tigers's Avatar
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    Got a brand new Kimber Carry out the door for 750. You could find a used Kimber for 5.

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=213220651

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    I am a big fan of Springfield Armory for production 1911's

    You could buy a no frills GI model for about $500, a new Mil-spec model with a few nicer features can probably be found in your price range too. Their new Range Officer looks like a good snag at around $700, so if used ones pop up it might be in your price range, but it just came out, so I don't think you will find any used.

    A lot of people have good things to say about RIA 1911's, they are made in the Phillipines, and almost all of their models can be had new for under $600.

    I would stay away from the Auto-Ordinance 1911's, I have one of the GI models I bought used cheap, it does not have the fit, finish, or reliability of my Springfield GI.

    You can also get a new Taurus 1911 for under $600 I believe, if you wanna mess with the bull.

    Personally I like the full sized models, the way it was designed to be made. Springfield has a 3" and 4" GI that can be had new in your price range too.
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    There are three basic variations on the 1911: full-size with 5-inch barrel; "Commander" size, with 4-inch barrel (give or take a quarter inch), and "Officers Model" (OM) size with 3-inch (+/-) barrel. On top of that, you can get them with a steel frame or an alloy frame, but the lightweight guns are mostly Commander size and smaller. The OM has a shorter grip so it carries one less round than the larger 1911s (and I'm only discussing the .45 ACP models here).

    There are hybrid models with a full-length barrel and slide on an OM frame, "longslides" with 6-inch barrels, and more... but let's stick with the basics.

    These days it seems just about anybody is putting out a 1911. Sig, S+W and now even Taurus is in the game, and there are the old reliables, Colt and Springfield Armory. I'll skip over the kilobuck-plus guns.

    For your budget of $500, I would look for a used Springfield Armory or a Colt model. I am personally wary of Colts manufactured between the late 70s and the early 90s, due to serious quality lapses brought about by old tooling and a union workforce on strike for years. Unless you know what you're looking at (or can have a competent pistolsmith look over the gun before you buy), I would shy away from an alloy frame for your first 1911. My specific recommendation is to find a steel full-size or Commander model. Blued, Parkerized or stainless - your choice, depending on what you can find.

    In the unlikely event you trip over a bargain-priced S+W, Sig or STI model, go for it if the gun doesn't look like it was used to pound nails. There are a lot of people on this forum who are attracted to the low price on Rock Island Armory 1911s (not to be confused with the high-quality, pricey Rock River Arms guns - don't think the RIA name was an accident) and the Taurus models as well, but I'm not one of 'em (and I own 3 other Taurus handguns). The edge goes to Springfield Armory for superior customer service should your gun ever need to go back to the factory, as well.

    Hope this helps. Don't be bashful about posting more questions.
    Smitty
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    Actually, RIA's name has more to do with the actual Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois than Rock River Arms. I wish RRA was still making their 1911s, I always wanted one.

    Shop for a new Springer Milspec or used Loaded. If you do your due diligence you can always find what you're looking for in a reasonable price range for the product.

    You can find great deals on used Kimbers, Colts, Smiths, etc if you're willing to do the leg work and find them. BE WILLING TO DO THE LEG WORK!

    Start with reading THIS, figure out what you want and spend some serious time looking for it, preferably when you have the $$$ to pounce on the deal that suits your needs.


    There was also a recent article from 10-8 regarding just this topic.

    Choosing Your First 1911, Some Thoughts For the Beginner

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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyeLCPL View Post
    I am a big fan of Springfield Armory for production 1911's

    You could buy a no frills GI model for about $500, a new Mil-spec model with a few nicer features can probably be found in your price range too. Their new Range Officer looks like a good snag at around $700, so if used ones pop up it might be in your price range, but it just came out, so I don't think you will find any used.

    A lot of people have good things to say about RIA 1911's, they are made in the Phillipines, and almost all of their models can be had new for under $600.

    I would stay away from the Auto-Ordinance 1911's, I have one of the GI models I bought used cheap, it does not have the fit, finish, or reliability of my Springfield GI.

    You can also get a new Taurus 1911 for under $600 I believe, if you wanna mess with the bull.

    Personally I like the full sized models, the way it was designed to be made. Springfield has a 3" and 4" GI that can be had new in your price range too.
    My LGS has a new RIA 4" Commander size 1911 for $399 and by all accounts they are very nice for the price. I myself went with a full size Springfield Mil-Spec ($599) and I love it; you can't go wrong with Springfield Armory, and even if you get a problem piece Springfield has one of the best CS out there and WILL correct any problem with your gun in a timely manner. Not to mention that later on, if you want to, you can send in your Springfield 1911 to be completely retrofitted by the custom shop and they will customize anything to your needs for a reasonable sum. (Go to this address and click on the 1911-A1 Custom Worksheet to see all the available options as well as pricing.)

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    I've got a Taurus 1911. I didn't plan on it, it just kinda happened that way.

    I've got about 1500 flawless rounds through it, and it's exceptionally accurate.
    I've got the railed version, and would advise against that because it's so difficult finding holsters for it.

    I found some negative reports about Taurus 1911, as they first were released. The most common was the ambidextrous safety breaking. But the good reports out-weighed the bad.

    The reason that Taurus has a bad reputation isn't because of their guns, but because of their customer service. If you do have a problem, then you deal with the horns.

    If I was to do it all over again, I'd probably opt for a RIA.
    I really like the Springfield line-up, but then your going to spend more than $600
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

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    Find a Colt Combat Commander. You'll thank me later! Its the Original and would serve you well. Don't fall for the fancy sights, beavertail, or marketing hype. Its all business, and if you want to add features later, you can.



    Also keep in mind while a RIA 1911 is a great entry level price its foreign made of cast parts where the COLT would be forged and 100% made in the USA. The RIA pistols will also have many more tooling marks inside and won't fit nearly as nice. While they often WORK the parts aren't exactly always a standard fit and a RIA is not a base gun you will want if you ever plan to do any custom work to it. The Colt would last a lifetime (and then some).

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    My Dad has a RIA 4" he did have trouble with FTF, yet I will say RIA customer service was 100% the took the gun back, shipped to las Vegas fixed in one day and shipped back overnight the next day.... Great company by my account...

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    I bought a used RIA 5" GI model from a forum member here for $300 with 6 magazines and a serpa blackhawk holster and a hogue wraparound grip. I LOVE it. I carry it A LOT IWB. The previous owner put about 1,000 rounds through it and I've put a couple hundred and it has been flawless. I wanted a basic GI model with no frills and I do not plan on doing anything to it. If I were interested in all the fancy stuff, I'd buy one that was already done. I really like the Springfield's too, I just happened to find this one here first and I couldn't be happier.

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    As a fellow 1911 newb (actually more of a 'born again'), I started with a loaded Springer full-size based on advice from folks here and have no regrets - it did the job straight out of the box. I also took a chance on an ATI FX45 3" (New Philipino model for 2010), and although it took some break-in, I'm happy and have carried it all winter. The next one will likely be another Springfield Armory.
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    Sorry for the delay. Out of town and NO internet. Mucho thanks for the excellent advice. I am leaning toward a used Springer. I also want steel. It seems to me that alloy "jumps" quite a bit on a .45 from my limited experience. And "doing your homework" is a must. Though I like the Colt Smitty's comments are taken seriously. Lastly, I lean toward the 4.5" because all my EDC's have been compact. NOT subcompact. I had one subcompact 3.5" .45. Never again. I am not completely opposed to a full size but it just seems like you're strapping an artillery piece on your hip, JMO. Again, no need to be pretty, just work, shoot straight, and a decent set of grips.
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Eccl. 10:2

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    Senior Member Array Rigrat's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with a RIA, I've got 2 and they are just fine. Have had a couple jams with the full size the officer size one has been 100%. The Full size was 100% until I refinished it with gun-kote and got it to thick.


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    Smith & Wesson or Springfield Armory.
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

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    Great thread, i was about to ask some of the same questions as the OP. Good luck with your decision. What are you leaning towards? Bunker

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