Non-custom 1911's

Non-custom 1911's

This is a discussion on Non-custom 1911's within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have been looking around at 1911's. I suppose I don't see the variations in them much - the standard 1911 appears the same .45 ...

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Thread: Non-custom 1911's

  1. #1
    Member Array gun1's Avatar
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    Non-custom 1911's

    I have been looking around at 1911's. I suppose I don't see the variations in them much - the standard 1911 appears the same .45 caliber with a 5" barrel. What would make one better than another, other than engravings, grips, cut outs on the slide (weight reduction?), etc? Functionally, is there anything to look for?

    My buddy has a Colt version and seems to like it. I've looked at the S&W line quite a bit. The higher end customs are just way out of my price point.
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    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    1911's have so many variants it is hard to keep track. Most of the "modern" 1911's come with skeletonized hammers and triggers ("tactical"), novak style sites, full beaver tail grip safeties, extended controls, etc.

    Since a 5" all steel 1911 can be quite heavy 42-50oz loaded I found the Kimber Pro Carry 2 line perfect for me. Alloy frame, steel slide, and all the "features" you need. Weighs in at 25oz unloaded. But that is MY preference. If weight doesn't bother you, you have lots of options. Some say only a Colt is a true 1911. I have had great success with my Kimber though and the accuracy is amazing. You need to get out to the stores and fondle as many as you can. Don't be in a rush.
    multistage likes this.
    As Benjamin Franklin left the hall in Philadelphia, he was asked, “What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?” He replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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    VIP Member Array matthew03's Avatar
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    This is going to require a gunsmith or engineer to answer fully, (we have serveral of both here), but here is my response. The 1911 design came about before mass manufacturing, early guns were hand fit. Someone, an artist, a master craftsman sat and hand filed parts to fit them to very close tolerances. Over time companies began to machine parts and automation was introduced to the process. This made the process cheaper, but the 1911 wasn't designed with these modern processes in mind.

    The top guns today are still hand built, a child can look at pictures of Chuck Rodger's work, (posts pics here), beside a base Springfield and see something is different. Parts cam be MIM or forged, and then hand fitted to each other, barrels can be match quality, different metallurgy used in parts, then there is the hand blending, different finishes, stocks made from plastic to Mastadon Ivory.

    Check out some custom build lists to examine what amount of work is done, it's pretty incredible.

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    Senior Member Array USM1976's Avatar
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    1911 has to be the most cloned handgun...I have found Rock Island in the commander length at gun shows for $400 -$450...buy on the low end and then as time and money permits customize it with what you desire.

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    Distinguished Member Array Exacto's Avatar
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    My son just traded something for a Citadel 1911/45 5" barrel. He said at the range he put a hundred rounds through it with no problems. At 10 yards he said you could cover the groups with a silver dollar. So, it doesn't have to cost alot, it has to shoot good.
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    Senior Member Array Kutz's Avatar
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    Kimber,Springfield Armory,Colt --- can't go wrong @ $1000 to $1600.

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    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    If you can both find and afford a Colt, that's what I'd do.

    But I couldn't find one, so I got a Kimber.

    Folks hack on Kimbers pretty good. Sounds like they had trouble at some point, maybe some still do. From what I hear tell, older Kimbers were good guns, and the newer ones are so-so. A cousin runs a Smith, and says it's quite a value. I wouldn't be afraid to run a Smith 1911.

    But I'm not a bit afraid to run my Custom II Stainless, either. In a Versa Max, it carries very well, no matter the weight. Hasn't grenaded on me yet. I do keep it clean and oiled. All I've had done to it is a set of Meprolights. Seems like the original Government has fewer problems than the Commander or Officer. Maybe not. I'm certainly no 1911 expert by any standard.

    As for accuracy, well, I can't say. When I'm hitting on all six, it shoots great. But lately I have had a hard time getting to the range, and therefore cannot shoot worth a damn.
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    Senior Member Array Kutz's Avatar
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    But Springfield Armory TRP is GREAT!

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    VIP Member Array Richard58's Avatar
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    RIA IMHO is the best per dollar value in a 1911 at this time.
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    Member Array R040607's Avatar
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    Non-custom 1911's

    Quote Originally Posted by USM1976 View Post
    1911 has to be the most cloned handgun...I have found Rock Island in the commander length at gun shows for $400 -$450...buy on the low end and then as time and money permits customize it with what you desire.
    I don't like this idea at all. Low-end firearms can NEVER become true high-end firearms. While a RIA 1911 may be a fine pistol, it will never be a Wilson, even of Bill himself does the work. Why? Because it will always be a RIA.

    I say the theory stated above is good, but don't start at the low end if you don't have to. Save for a Springfield or better yet a Colt and then do mods as you desire.

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    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by multistage View Post
    If you can both find and afford a Colt, that's what I'd do.

    But I couldn't find one, so I got a Kimber.

    Folks hack on Kimbers pretty good. Sounds like they had trouble at some point, maybe some still do. From what I hear tell, older Kimbers were good guns, and the newer ones are so-so. A cousin runs a Smith, and says it's quite a value. I wouldn't be afraid to run a Smith 1911.

    But I'm not a bit afraid to run my Custom II Stainless, either. In a Versa Max, it carries very well, no matter the weight. Hasn't grenaded on me yet. I do keep it clean and oiled. All I've had done to it is a set of Meprolights. Seems like the original Government has fewer problems than the Commander or Officer. Maybe not. I'm certainly no 1911 expert by any standard.

    As for accuracy, well, I can't say. When I'm hitting on all six, it shoots great. But lately I have had a hard time getting to the range, and therefore cannot shoot worth a damn.
    Can't beat the full 5" 1911 for accuracy and reliability.

    Quote Originally Posted by R040607 View Post
    I don't like this idea at all. Low-end firearms can NEVER become true high-end firearms. While a RIA 1911 may be a fine pistol, it will never be a Wilson, even of Bill himself does the work. Why? Because it will always be a RIA.
    While I understand your point, it will exclude a lot of people. In a perfect world we'd all be able to afford Wilsons. But some will never have the money and even if we did wouldn't spend $3200 on a gun. For $789 my Kimber is all I could want from a 1911. Never had one failure and the accuracy speaks for itself. Pic is 35 rounds off hand at 7 yards.
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    msgt/ret, USM1976 and scgunlover1 like this.
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    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    Heh-heh. Argue with THAT!

    Nice shooting, smolck.

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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Another Springfield fan here! As shooters I've, over the years, decided I like 'em better than Colts & Kimbers. Of course, Colt's rule the 1911 collector market. (or maybe a WWII Singer! )
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    Gun1. As has been stated there are dozens of varieties of 1911's out there you simply have to decide what you are going to use it for, SD, target, plinking, and what your budget is.

    One thing to remember is with 1911's or any gun or item for that matter is that some people have to have the top of the line most expensive no matter what it is however most of them do not have the skill level to reap the benefit from it. You drop $3500 on a Wilson .45 it does not mean you are not mystically transformed into a ninja shooter firing one inch groups at 25 yards. It simply means you had $3500 to spend on a gun capable of that type of accuracy.

    Many years ago when you bought a 1911 you kept it stock, sent it to a gunsmith or did the work yourself to get it to the level of accuracy/reliability you wanted. Nowadays you simply choose the model you want that fits into your budget and buy it over the counter. For many an entry level gun like the RIA will fulfill their needs but as they shoot it more and more they will find, with proper training, their skill level will surpass the guns capability so they either have to modify/upgrade the gun or model of gun. A box stock GI model of most brands will go bang every time and shoot decently but it will only take you so far.

    I personally choose Springfield Armory guns specifically the Operator models. They are not full custom guns but they are far from box stock either. The guns are built twice a year with a very limited run on each model dependent on pre orders. The use SA match parts but each part is fitted and SN'ed to the gun although they are not assembled by the custom shop. Mine will out shoot me on most days but when I have one of those zen days when all the stars align it will match round for round most of the full blown custom guns on the market.

    Colt, SA, Dan Wesson, S&W and many others make quality guns that seem to work very well it all comes down to your skill level, intended use and your checkbook.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

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    Member Array R040607's Avatar
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    Non-custom 1911's

    Quote Originally Posted by smolck View Post
    Can't beat the full 5" 1911 for accuracy and reliability.



    While I understand your point, it will exclude a lot of people. In a perfect world we'd all be able to afford Wilsons. But some will never have the money and even if we did wouldn't spend $3200 on a gun. For $789 my Kimber is all I could want from a 1911. Never had one failure and the accuracy speaks for itself. Pic is 35 rounds off hand at 7 yards.
    I agree with what you as well. Starting with a Kimber is not the same as starting with low-end gun though.
    USM1976 likes this.

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