1911: Still a top choice for CCW/defensive carry in 2013?

This is a discussion on 1911: Still a top choice for CCW/defensive carry in 2013? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm hesitant to even broach the subject as it's one of the top done-to-death topics on gun forums. So be forewarned- anyone that Simply Cannot ...

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Thread: 1911: Still a top choice for CCW/defensive carry in 2013?

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    VIP Member Array Phaedrus's Avatar
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    1911: Still a top choice for CCW/defensive carry in 2013?

    I'm hesitant to even broach the subject as it's one of the top done-to-death topics on gun forums. So be forewarned- anyone that Simply Cannot Deal with another 1911 thread, now is the time to move along. Nothing to see here!

    To the three nOObs that are still here, here goes! Does anyone think that, circa 2013, the 1911 is still a top choice for defensive carry? This is something I've been thinking about quite a bit lately, and I've been looking (on and off) for an STI Ranger II or similar sidearm with the idea that it could be added to the CCW rotation. Now I'm not sure.

    First off, obviously the 1911 works in this role. It's served with distinction for over a century and in every war the US has fought. There are doubtless many members of DC that pack a 1911 at least some of the time. Heck, in the past I have. So the question isn't really if it's viable, but is it really the best choice for anyone? And more specifically, if you're not already a 1911 guy is there any reason to add it to your list of defensive sidearms?

    For the first 20 years that I had my CCW permit, my primary sidearm was a Browning Hi-Power carried Condition One. Occasionally if I added a new firearm to the stable I might carry it from time to time. Now and then I carried a Colt Commander in .38 Super, a Star PD and even a Star BM. But I generally came back to the BHP. After a short period where I kind of got complacent and rarely carried, the events in the headlines woke up me up and got me back into carrying a gun.

    But a lot has changed since I first strapped on the Hi-Power back in 1990! HK created the first polymer guns, and Glock took up the idea and created the first universally popular plastic framed pistol. In the intervening years, there have been a lot of developments in firearms, from poly frames to striker fired guns to integral rails (and even integral lasers).

    What is the role of a 1911 alongside these new guns?

    The standard 1911 produced nowadays has an 8 round mag for a total capacity of 9 rounds and weighs in around 40 oz. Not for the same size and less weight there are a number of other sidearms also chambered in .45 ACP is that's the round you wish to carry. For those who want a 9mm or .40, a smaller gun can be had with a capacity of 17 or more rounds.

    Of course, one is no longer faced with the choice between SA and SA/DA (or "crunchenticker" as it was infamously called by Col. Cooper). Now you have the Glock and its "Safe Action" as well as striker fired guns sans safety from Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Springfield, FNH and a host of others. Not to mention hybrid/other triggers like the H&K LEM and the Sig DAK.

    If you want a sidearm you can carry cocked and locked, there are also other, more modern choices. I have a couple of HK USPs that I converted to V9, cocked & locked w/o decocker function just like a 1911. And even the USP is somewhat long in tooth; their P30S retains the best features of the USP with improved ergonomics and can also be carried in Condition One. There are a number of the guns like the FNH FNX line and CZ-75 clones that also allow the weapon to be so carried.

    So what can the 1911 still do better (or at least as well as) any other gun that lacks the disadvantage in weight and bulk of the 1911? The 1911 is accurate (or can be) but an HK45C is also accurate, as are many Glocks and Sigs. It packs a .45 cal wallop, but many guns are chambered in .45 ACP. It would be hard to say with a straight face that the 1911 is more reliable than a USP!

    I love the 1911 and always have. I've owned a few of them over the years and fired dozes more. But while I'll probably own another one down the road I'm not sure I'll ever think of the 1911 as a CCW or defensive carry gun. Speaking strictly for myself, I think that ship has sailed. My Beretta Nano weighs half as much and can be concealed in a pants pocket. My USP is built like a tank and carried 16 rounds in the gun (and I trust 16 rounds of 147 gr Federal HST to get the job done). I think the HK P30S is tied with the Browning Hi-Power for best ergonomics of any handgun out there and will probably also work itself into my CCW stable. And down the road, I hope to add an HK45C, same capacity as a 1911, same caliber but almost a pound lighter.

    Please don't get me wrong, the 1911 is a classic! And a well tuned 1911 is an amazing gunfighting pistol. But is it still without peer as a fighting sidearm?

    What do you folks say?
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Buckman60's Avatar
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    I carry my full size 1911 quite often. I use the Crossbreed Super Tuck , carries very nicely . I shoot that one the most accurately.
    I switch off between my Ruger SR40C , also in a Crossbreed. Can't even i'm wearing it. That one might be my first choice now .... But there's always my LCP for deep concealment. .
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    It's personal preference. Period. I have carried a 1911 for over 40 years, because I used it in the military, and I'm proficient with it. I've used it a couple of times, effectively, in defensive situations. It really doesn't matter to me how much sand or mud a Glock can endure and still function. I spend zero time wallowing in sand and/or mud. I choose my carry guns to get me out of a situation that I'm likely to find myself in. At my age, with my mental prep and physical condition, I'll not find myself in abusive physical situations. I learned a long time ago that it's easier to learn to avoid getting into those situations, than it is to have to shoot your way out of 'em.

    I know, IF this, or IF that.... well, each of us can choose what we prefer. I shoot Glocks and HK's well, but I"m not a fan of their ergonomics. Thus, I carry 1911's or my Sig P220 SAO. If there were only one "best" gun for personal protection, that's the one we'd all have. That's not the case.... never has been, and never will be. You choose what you prefer, I'll choose what I prefer, and we can still enjoy the range without all the posturing, and "mine is better than yours".

    Remember the old adage that goes something like, "beware the man who has but one gun, he's likely very proficient with it..." well, notice it didn't say which gun. That gent chose the gun he preferred.... as should we all.
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    My EDC is a Ruger sr40c in a Crossbreed Super tuck, and I really like it. Easy carry, great shooter. I just bought a Kimber Pro Carry II 4" and I really like it as well. I am now looking for a good IWB holster for it as well then I will rotate.

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    Senior Member Array Rotorblade's Avatar
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    Ask yourself this:
    If you were in a situation where you had to pick a gun off the table quickly with the high probably of actually using it and they weren't your guns, which would you grab?
    All full size 45s:
    Springfield 1911
    H&K
    Glock

    I love 1911s, but every time I've bought one I've always said a little prayer before I put the first magazine through it. I haven't been as lucky as some here but there is just something about the 1911 that keeps me going back.
    BTW I would grab the Glock.

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    I don't think the 1911 does any ONE thing particularly better than the 21st century offerings we have now. The reason it is so popular and still widely carried is partly one of nostalgia. Of course it also has very good ergonomics, they ARE very reliable, and they've been proven for so long that people inherently trust them..

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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    I carry a 1911 and have for over 25 yrs. The current carry works for work as well as civilian carry. Sure, the brands have changed over the years but not because of any problems with either of them but rather improvement of the financial situation of my pocketbook in being able to afford improved models. Nor do I get rid of the former carry guns. They just go into a safe for use in other areas of life.

    Youth of today have not yet fully understood the 1911 and it's abilities. No other gun has had the success or the love that a 1911 has over the years. Few really know the 1911 or it's features. Even teh initial 1911 was designed to contain every tool needed to totally disassemble it in the field. No other gun has seen as much action as the 1911. My father's military issue 1911 is just as good today as it was when issued to him in 1943 and never had a problem.
    A 9mm might expand but a .45acp never shrinks.

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    Member Array nathanjns's Avatar
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    The 1911 will work for CCW. Some folks carry full size pistols of other brands. A person armed with a 1911 that they can use well is as well armed as anyone else, sometimes better. I agree with the comment about nostalgia, but that doesn't mean it is not effective. As for grabbing a gun off a table to defend myself with, I would grab the one closest to me.

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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rotorblade View Post
    Ask yourself this:
    If you were in a situation where you had to pick a gun off the table quickly with the high probably of actually using it and they weren't your guns, which would you grab?
    Pretty much that
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rotorblade View Post
    Ask yourself this:
    If you were in a situation where you had to pick a gun off the table quickly with the high probably of actually using it and they weren't your guns, which would you grab?
    All due respect, but.... See? There's that "IF" again. Who would risk voluntarily putting themselves in a situation that IF defensive use of a handgun were a possibility, they wouldn't have their handgun of choice already on their person?

    IF you were forced to be walking on the wrong side of the tracks, and IF you left your carry gun of choice at home, and IF you came across a gun shop, and IF that gun shop only had these three guns that they would loan you ......

    IF the rabbit hadn't stopped to pee, the turtle wouldn't have won the race
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    As I see, the role of the defensive sidearm is driven largely by the masses of new shooters attending schools who teach a curriculum that requires large amounts of shooting to satisfy the shooter into the idea that they are actually doing something. If you fire 500 rounds and pepper a paper target in two days, you must be learning to be a gunfighter, right?

    So this type of training requires, or at least, suggest that the best arm is one of lightweight, hi capacity, and mediocre power that appeals to, and is easily handled by a broad base of shooters. And that would be the Glocks, and all their clones.

    Pistolcraft has evolved, much as this country has. More is better for the vast majority. But there are still a few who demand more. And for those, the 1911 is neither wanting or lacking respectively.
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    Member Array usmcj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    As I see, the role of the defensive sidearm is driven largely by the masses of new shooters attending schools who teach a curriculum that requires large amounts of shooting to satisfy the shooter into the idea that they are actually doing something. If you fire 500 rounds and pepper a paper target in two days, you must be learning to be a gunfighter, right?

    So this type of training requires, or at least, suggest that the best arm is one of lightweight, hi capacity, and mediocre power that appeals to, and is easily handled by a broad base of shooters. And that would be the Glocks, and all their clones.

    Pistolcraft has evolved, much as this country has. More is better for the vast majority. But there are still a few who demand more. And for those, the 1911 is neither wanting or lacking respectively.
    Very well said, sir. With your permission, I'd like to post your observation elsewhere.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmcj View Post
    Very well said, sir. With your permission, I'd like to post your observation elsewhere.
    You can do as you wish.
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmcj View Post
    IF the rabbit hadn't stopped to pee, the turtle wouldn't have won the race
    The rabbit stopped to take a nap, but otherwise, I'll use whatever firearm works, be it a Glock, S&W or 1911. My preference tends to lean toward caliber rather than brand name. Gotta get myself a 1911 one day.
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    I'd go for the 1911 on the table. I could own any more modern pistol that I desired. I'm willing to own and use 1911s rather than any of the more modern designs. The 1911 is one of the few alternatives to revolvers that I'm willing to carry carry.

    Despite reading how superior various modern designs are here on the Forum and elsewhere I'm not willing to say that of them are distinctly superior after shooting them. They're not superior for my purposes. I don't consider plastic and aluminum alloy to be proper materials for fabricating pistols and I particularly dislike light weight so do not see "lighter" as any positive attribute for a handgun. The 1911 is a medium weight handgun. The Desert Eagle is a large handgun. We've just collectively become used to stunted handguns.

    Despite the accolade given, the 1911 is not an "amazing gunfighting pistol" to you if you also consider that the 1911's "ship has sailed." We're not getting you wrong at all. We understand exactly how you feel. And, that's ok...for you.
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