The precision tool steel 1911 vs plastic and stamped

This is a discussion on The precision tool steel 1911 vs plastic and stamped within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by Tangle Hmmm, I keep hearing Kimbers are pricey. I paid $1400 for my TRP and it has no features that my $1089 ...

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  1. #61
    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    Hmmm, I keep hearing Kimbers are pricey. I paid $1400 for my TRP and it has no features that my $1089 Kimber Tactical Pro doesn't have. .
    Your TRP has a stainless steel match grade barrel and features non intrusive firing pin safety (heavy spring/light pin), your Kimber does not. Not nit-picking, but those are a couple of key features for some.

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  3. #62
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    I have always liked Glocks. They work. No magazine disconnect, No IL, Tough finish, Lightweight. I can install night sights myself with the Glockmeister tool.
    They also do well in my hands when using a shot timer to compare 2nd shot times.
    I was consistently quicker and just as accurate with the Glocks over Kahr and XD's; I no longer own Kahrs or XD's.
    My Glock ownership stops with 3rd generation, it seems they are having issues with 4th generation and increasing use of MIM.
    The other gun that dominates the 2nd shot CDW4ME comparison trials? 1911's.
    I can shoot my Colt Lightweight Commander just as quickly (measured with timer) & accurately as a Glock 19.
    As you can see, not a Glock fanboy, I appreciate function; pretty is as pretty does.

    Is a $3,000 1911 better than a $1,000? Yes. I say yes not because I own a $3,000 gun, I don't and never have.
    Consider simply the quality of components, MIM may be good enough, but it's not better.
    Back to the 9mm v. 45 reference. 9mm may be "good enough" but it's not better.
    I've decided to limit my tolerance for "good enough".
    My new Dan Wesson Valor was quite a bit more pricey than a Kimber, but it doesn't contain any "good enough".
    Tool steel small parts, Checkmate magazines, Brown grip safety, doesn't seem to have cost cutting measures.
    You should check out the Dan Wesson Valor. Seems to have quality equivalent to the $2,000-$3,000 pistols.
    It would make for an interesting write up where you take the pistol apart and disect the internals. (You know you want too)
    No internal lock or magazine disconnect on my pistols!

  4. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    Your TRP has a stainless steel match grade barrel and features non intrusive firing pin safety (heavy spring/light pin), your Kimber does not. Not nit-picking, but those are a couple of key features for some.
    My Kimber has a Swartz safety which is considered an asset by some; I don't but it is a feature.

    I consider the carbon steel barrel an asset. One of the major barrel manufacturers, can't remember which one off the top of my head, but they are held in high esteem by the upper eshelon of the gun world and by gun builders, and they use carbon steel rather than stainless.

    And not to nit pick either, but here are some pics of the insides of a premium priced TRP, sadly lacking in premium assembly, remember, this is a $1400 gun and it has the best sand blasted look I've seen in a gun:


    trigger bow side of disconnector by ron.0000, on Flickr


    bow face of disconnector with polish started by ron.0000, on Flickr

    After I finished it:

    polished disconnector - bow side by ron.0000, on Flickr

    The other side of the disconnector:


    spring side of disconnector by ron.0000, on Flickr

    Then the slide of the TRP, lacking the bevel on the edge of the breech face:


    Slide - disconnector run - as found by ron.0000, on Flickr

    For comparison the untouched Kimber slide, and this is the slide from the $719 Pro Carry slide - half the price of the TRP:


    slide - disconnector run by ron.0000, on Flickr

    Another feature the Kimber has the TRP doesn't is workmanship in the fit and finish. My other Kimber pics turned out too blurry to use but I can tell you there is a world of difference in the fit, finish, and precision of the parts. A world of difference anyone can see.
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  5. #64
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    Well I jumped a lot of pages to make a comment so if repetitive I apologize. Not all 1911s need work! I had a SA that was very reliable and now an E Series 1911SC which has been flawless out of the box with all ammo even handloaded JHPs. This is not something I can say about any of the 3 Kimbers I have owned. I feel the biggest difference between $500 1911s and $3000 ones are accuracy and appearance and I am pretty sure the BG will not be 25-50 yards away or checking out my guns appearence.. Extreme closeups of internals may say to the build process but not necessarily the reliability. Even though my S&W has been super reliable I rarely carry it because I do not want a safety on my EDC, just my opinion. EDC, not a Glock but a H&K I need some pride.
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  6. #65
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    My Kimber has a Swartz safety which is considered an asset by some; I don't but it is a feature.
    It's loosely based on Wm. Swartz's design, luckily, it is not nearly as complicated.





    I consider the carbon steel barrel an asset. One of the major barrel manufacturers, can't remember which one off the top of my head, but they are held in high esteem by the upper eshelon of the gun world and by gun builders, and they use carbon steel rather than stainless.
    That would be Fred Kart, and I happen to agree with you on this one.
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  7. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDW4ME View Post
    ...it seems they are having issues with 4th generation and increasing use of MIM.
    I have not read one single report that indicates the gen 4 problems have anything at all to do with MIM.

    What parts in the gen 3s use MIM? What parts in the gen 4s use MIM?

    I have asked repeatedly in threads all over the net what parts are MIM in Glocks - nobody seems to know. The only two parts that could possible be MIM is the locking block and the striker. The rest is sheet metal and plastic.

    Quote Originally Posted by CDW4ME View Post
    ...Is a $3,000 1911 better than a $1,000? Yes. I say yes not because I own a $3,000 gun, I don't and never have.
    Consider simply the quality of components, MIM may be good enough, but it's not better.
    That's totally unsupported. In this entire thread there have been absolutely no data to indicate anything of the sort. In fact, here's a well experience user of MIM, at the time he wrote this:

    One other thing I forgot to address. MIM parts. A company that I will not name gave the MIM parts a bad name because they had a bad batch of MIM parts. This was many years ago. Since then remarkable things have happened.

    MIM parts are extremely dense and very exact. They are much less prone to wear and breakage than a factory Colt, Spfg. etc. part. This is why we use them in our CQB's, etc.

    Although not quite as hard as our tool steel parts, they will last a very long time. This is why we can still guarante our total gun, including the MIM parts, for life.

    The tool steel parts are actually overkill. The MIM parts last for life (I know of one gun that has over 100,000 rounds thru it and the trigger pull feels the same as it did when new) therefore I guess you could say the tool steel parts lasts for a lifetime and .

    We use the tool steel parts in our full custom guns. (These are the ones that cost from $2800.00 up) Our full custom guns, Stealth, Tactical Elite, Super Grade and Tactical Super Grade, are not for everyone because of price. They are intended for someone that can afford the very best we can do.

    They actually won't last any longer, shoot any straighter or be more dependable than our CQB's, Protectors and Classics, but we spend many extra hours in fitting and prepping them for a perfect cosmetic handgun as well as a great shooter. And because of this, we use the tool steel parts that take longer to fit. Again, all of us guys here, including Bill Wilson use the very same MIM parts in our guns. And we shoot a bunch! Once installed and fit, no one can tell the difference in the feel of the trigger pull with either type of parts.Ok, I'm done with my book. Hope this helps too. Just didn't want you all to believe everything you read from self appointed experts.

    Frank Robbins Wilson Combat"
    The statement: "Although not quite as hard [MIM] as our tool steel parts..." hardly supports "good enough". He's comparing MIM hardness to tool steel and says it's close.

    And, I'm sure by now all are sick of hear this, but why would the LA SWAT risk Kimbers with MIM if they were so marginal? The fact is, as Robbins states, good MIM is near tool steel. Poor quality MIM gives all MIM a bad name.
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  8. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    It's loosely based on Wm. Swartz's design, luckily, it is not nearly as complicated.
    Wow those are good pics - how do you come up with such great stuff so often?

    Quote Originally Posted by OD* View Post
    ...That would be Fred Kart, and I happen to agree with you on this one.
    Boy, Kart was the only one on my mind; I just didn't have the confidence in my memory to be specific.

    We agree on a lot more than carbon steel barrels. I respect anyone that chooses tool steel parts, I've chosen them myself. And now that I understand you better, I see that you are not saying 1911s cannot be built to run reliably without tool steel parts, that clears up another difference.

    I think the only thing we see differently is the quality of MIM. I've offered an awful lot of real-world support for MIM; it's kinda hard to deny all of it.

    One of the most damaging reports of MIM is the thing by Yam. I'm sure he found what he said he did, so I'm not questioning his claims. But there are many unknowns about the Kimbers he tested. First, his sample is waaaaay too small to be statistically significant. Moreso, the problems he described are almost exclusive to him, i.e. sights falling off. Also, we have no idea whatsoever of the history of the Kimbers he refers to. It could well be they were messed up by a department smith or else and realizing he was in over his head passed them along to Yam. Still again, Yam's experience and the LA SWATs experience are in total conflict. The tests the Tacoma PD ran are in total conflict with Yam's findings. Again, that's not a reflection on Yam, he found what he found. Conflict casts suspicion on how the Kimbers got in the condition they were in. Quite atypical.

    As for the parts breakage, we know Kimber did have an era of poor quality MIM; that could explain the apparent conflict.
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  9. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCfromNY View Post
    Well I jumped a lot of pages to make a comment so if repetitive I apologize.
    No worry man, I think at this point we've all repeated ourselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCfromNY View Post
    ...Not all 1911s need work!
    True to a point; it really depends on what one wants or expects from a 1911. My three Kimbers needed nothing and are as accurate as can be, but not meaning they are as accurate as a $3000 gun, but I can't say they aren't either.

    There's a difference in "they run flawlessly" and what a user may expect or want. I'm pretty convinced that if I bought a lower end, but quality 1911, I would do a bunch of stuff to it that somebody else might not even know about. E.g. I would for sure do a function enhancement on it. I tried to do that on my three Kimbers, but Kimber beat me to it and there was nothing at all I could do. Well, I did reduce the trigger pull for spite. And one of those Kimbers was the cheapest one they make.

    I would very likely adjust the trigger weight down to 4 lbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCfromNY View Post
    ...I had a SA that was very reliable and now an E Series 1911SC which has been flawless out of the box with all ammo even handloaded JHPs. This is not something I can say about any of the 3 Kimbers I have owned.
    My E series was pathetic, in about 600 rounds it never faltered once. But the trigger pull went from 5.25 lbs to over 6 lbs. When I took it apart to see why, I found a mess of unfinished disconnector that had gouged the stirrup on the trigger bow, the fingers of the flat springs were left 'raw', etc. Just by fixing things the way they should be reduced the trigger pull weight back to under 5 lbs.

    The very same thing was true for my $1400 SA TRP.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCfromNY View Post
    ...I feel the biggest difference between $500 1911s and $3000 ones are accuracy and appearance...
    I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCfromNY View Post
    ...Extreme closeups of internals may say to the build process but not necessarily the reliability.
    No but neither does close ups of sloppy parts and fitting either. And if anyone saw such a mess in his carry gun, I think he would be quite disappointed and probably unsatisfied knowing the true condition of the gun he's carrying.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCfromNY View Post
    ...EDC, not a Glock but a H&K I need some pride.
    LOL - absolutely man! A guy's got to have a little pride. A fine choice too I might add - which one if I may ask? I love my H&K USP - MIM parts and all.
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  10. #69
    OD*
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    Thanks for the kind words, amigo. As for the pictures, 1911s have been a sickness of mine for a long time and I've collected more pictures than I should have I guess.

    You're right I don't think a 1911 has to have custom tool steel parts to be durable or reliable, 2 million plus service 1911/1911A1s have proved that, and any number of the imports. I don't even have problem with good quality MIM parts, Colt has used them for their sears and disconnectors for a number of years, I'm just not a fan of using MIM for extractors, slide stops, firing pin stops, and hammers (and that too is just a personal opinion). I mean, Winchester's post-64 Model 94 receivers were made from a sintered metal process (I don't believe they called it MIM back then), and I've been into Winchesters for a long time too, I've never heard of one of their post-64 receivers letting go.
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  11. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    I agree with a lot of that, but when I look at the internals of my Kimbers, I have to totally disagree with no pride of craftsmanship. There are all kinds of things done that show thoroughness, attention to detail and very nicely finished and fit parts. Kimber does use MIM parts, but the quality of MIM is contraverial, not decided. Kimber seems to be doing well with MIM.
    First I was speaking in general of the currently produced breed of 1911's as a whole. As to Kimber, they're the leader of poor QC when it comes to MIM, further they're notorious for excessively tight chambers and using out of spec slide stops. I'm glad yours have been trouble free, and yes I own Kimbers and Colts and Springfields and plastic pistols.

    So then you do believe that 1911 has to be hand built and semi custom with tool steel parts by people that take pride in their craftsmanship to build a very expensive 1911 that's as reliable as a plastic and stamped metal Glock?
    I never mentioned Glock, not that I haven't seen plenty of the Austrian perfection choke and fail. I was addressing the 1911, and yes building a 1911 correctly is expensive.

    See that's the thing people are either missing or don't want to admit. I think they get so hung up on the genius of JMB that they can't see that a gun has to be built as you described, just to be as reliable as a Glock, is a serious platform design issue.
    Built correctly the 1911 design is as reliable as any of today's plastic pistols, though the 1911 requires a higher degree of maintenance to keep it running properly. The "Perfection" of Glock is over stated, while it is certainly a good choice of service sidearm it isn't without it's own problems. Most Glockophiles like 1911ahiolics just refuse to acknowledge the limits of their favorite pistols.


    I see 1911s go through training classes and fire 1000 rounds without problems. I could give you a name of a guy that rents Kimbers in gunshop and has seen thousands and thousands of rounds go through them and he's sold on them.
    So have I, doesn't however have anything to do with what I posted. And I've fixed a number of Kimber's that wouldn't run a mag without choking, so?

    That wasn't true in four wars the 1911 went through. I do no more to my 1911s than I do to my Glocks. If I had to treat my 1911s they way you claim, I wouldn't have one at any price.
    The 1911 as with any military sidearm is a limited use personal defense weapon that see very little actual use in combat. However the generations that carried the 1911 in those conflicts carried 1911's built correctly to military specs and serviced by qualified armorers.

    It's beginning to sound like they'd be better off with a Glock period if the 1911 is so finicky and tempormental.

    My EDC is a Kimber Tactical Pro
    Most people are better off with a Glock.
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  12. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Yes I am familiar with that finish, and the test. But wasnt that finish an additional expense to an already expensive gun? Were are the small internal parts coated with the finish? I cant remember the specifics of it, but did they do an overall test, or just concentrate on how the spray affected the externals.

    I also wonder if the spray solution was matched to the concentration of sea water. If you know the specifics, I would be interested, as I remember reading something about this some time ago, but the details elude me.
    Every part in my PRO came treated, including the springs.
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  13. #72
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    I must respectfully DISAGREE with your references to WW 2 1911s.

    They were manufactured to EXACTING specifications given the state of manufacturing of the time.
    EACH GUN was inspected in parts and after full assembly.

    During WW 2 dozens of NON FIREARM MFGs. produced 1911 parts and complete guns.
    (BTW prior to WW 2 MOST production firearms REQUIRED some hand fitting. )

    During WW 2 SINGER and Union Switch and Signal produced 1911s.

    Do you think a mfg. of sewing machines or rail equipment could take a blueprint and start making GLOCKS today ?

    If you buy a NIB retail 1911 for $400 -500 today it will almost CERTAINLY require some polishing and fitting to enhance the basic
    operation.

    This is not a defect , just inherent in the original design.

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  14. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Anyone out there want to subject their 1911 to a little abuse to see just how well they really hold up under bad conditions? I realize this has no real bearing in the real world, but I would be curious to see how a 1000 dollar gun holds up to salt compared to my $399.00 G26. I have already ruined a S&W MP that a friend put up to the challenge.

    I just think its interesting to see what we really get for the money. Hey, if its a war gun, it ought to be able to really be put to the test.

    I just read your post, lol. I will gladly put it in the surf. Ive already done it. I am pretty sure all parts are Tennifer treated, not coated. The Tennifer is actually part of the steel composition.

    Now as far as lubes go, just wipe it dry of all lubricants, and dump it in there. Salt eats away most lubes anyway, especially after extended periods of time.

    Why not put it to a little test? Thats the best way to find out what its made of, lol.

    My mag spring is still working fine, although I did have a lot of fine sand and dryed salt in the mag, but, no rust. All for under 430 bucks.
    This post makes you come across in a manner in which I don't think you would truly intended.
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  15. #74
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    No, C Hawk, I didn't mean it that way. As a matter of fact I have spent the day looking at er, eh, 1911s! I am in the market for one. I am just so confused as to what is what and this thread isn't making it easy.

    I saw an Auto Ordinance WW2 annivarsery model that I really liked. Also saw two Colts that are pretty much standard except for the higher sights. There is a 350 dollar difference between the Auto Ord and Colts. Now I am wondering what the difference is.

    In all honesty, I hate myself right now. I swore off 1911s but I'll be damned if here I go again.

    I really don't care about my perception of more reliability and endurance blah blah, I just love the darned things.
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  16. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    No, C Hawk, I didn't mean it that way. As a matter of fact I have spent the day looking at er, eh, 1911s! I am in the market for one. I am just so confused as to what is what and this thread isn't making it easy.

    I saw an Auto Ordinance WW2 annivarsery model that I really liked. Also saw two Colts that are pretty much standard except for the higher sights. There is a 350 dollar difference between the Auto Ord and Colts. Now I am wondering what the difference is.

    In all honesty, I hate myself right now. I swore off 1911s but I'll be damned if here I go again.

    I really don't care about my perception of more reliability and endurance blah blah, I just love the darned things.
    I have really liked my Colt Rail Gun. It's reliable and shoots very well. They are not cheap, but not 3,000 either.

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