The 1911 and Me - An Apostate of the Cult of JMB Bares All

The 1911 and Me - An Apostate of the Cult of JMB Bares All

This is a discussion on The 1911 and Me - An Apostate of the Cult of JMB Bares All within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Or – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love (sort of) the Colt As any of you who have read my posts with any ...

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Thread: The 1911 and Me - An Apostate of the Cult of JMB Bares All

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    The 1911 and Me - An Apostate of the Cult of JMB Bares All

    Or – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love (sort of) the Colt

    As any of you who have read my posts with any regularity already know, I have certain opinions on the 1911 that are, shall we say, not shared by the Cult of JMB. My complaints are pretty standard – low capacity, complex design, difficult take down, a tendency towards being finicky, sometimes needing a “break in” or fluff and buff to be reliable (and then, maybe), and so on. I also have a personal dislike for manual safeties, so the 1911 has always been way down my list as a choice for a duty or “combat” weapon.

    Keep in mind that my opinions are based on my perceived need – I am a former Ranger and infantry NCO, current Infantry Officer in the reserve component, and a federal agent who does a LOT of protective detail work; domestically, in “normal” overseas situations, and in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. In large part, if I need my weapon, it is because there has been an attack on my principle or my facility, and these things often call for a lot of rounds down range, quickly, to provide cover while the principle is moved away from the attack. Obviously, I want a high capacity weapon that is quick and simple to put into operation, that I can fire multiple rounds from quickly and accurately. Our issue weapon in the Sig P228/229 in 9mm (though I’ve carried a Glock 19 on certain missions); suitable weapons for our perceived threats. (Note – since we operate overseas so much, 9mm is a VERY reasonable choice – we can always get 9mm ammo anywhere in the world – not so easy with .40S&W, .357SIG, or even .45ACP.

    Also, my experience with the 1911 has been relatively limited, compared to my experience with other platforms. I have a hard time remembering the safety, and I’ve run into some questionable weapons over the years. All in all, I was simply convinced that the 1911 was past its prime – a relic that is revered much more for its mystique and history then for its actual suitability. And don’t get me started on the utterly ridiculous claims and myths surrounding the .45ACP round itself…

    Well, today, I got to put a friend’s brand new Kimber Tactical Custom II (full sized 1911, pictured here: http://www.kimberamerica.com/pistols...icalcustom.php) through a pretty good work out. Paper and steel, stationary and moving, presenting from the holster, transitioning to it from a long gun, and so on and so on. Ranges from 3 yards to 40. I put about 200 rounds through the thing today, and really started to get the “feel” for this particular 1911. So, a mini range report/slight shifting of my opinions on the Kimber Custom II and the 1911 in general (all mags were Wilson Combat 8 rounders, all ammo was Remington 230gr FMJ):

    1) It was accurate, and easy to shoot accurately. The trigger was not magnificent, but it was MUCH cleaner, crisper, and shorter then the Sigs, Glocks, and Berettas that I am used to (even on single action). I have come to understand that “it’s the trigger, stupid,” for most 1911 aficionados (other then the pure kool-aid drinkers, of course), and I’m starting to see why. Ragged holes at 7m, and excellent groups out to 25m. At 40m, I could keep all the rounds in an FBI “Q” target almost without trying.

    2) It was reliable. The only problem the gun had was operator induced. My friend, the owner (a capable federal agent from another agency, a former SWAT cop, Marine infantryman, and uber gun nut) got a .40S&W round into one of his mags. The round failed to feed properly, and then failed to extract properly. My friend unloaded it, then put it back on the top of the magazine (not realizing that it was the wrong caliber). Well, this time it chambered, and fired. It failed to extract, however, and the casing was lodged in the chamber pretty well. We took it apart and pulled the casing out. It was ruptured in three places – linear “tears” in the brass – and the lower 60% or so had been “fire-formed” to .45 caliber. A detailed inspection of the weapon showed no signs of damage. The weapon continued to fire all day long after that with no problems. Unfortunately, we only had 230gr hardball ammo, so there was no way to see if it had any of the oft reported difficulties with hollow points, but with this ammo it was flawless. Kudos.

    3) It was controllable. Keeping in mind that this is a full-sized pistol firing “tame” practice ammo, it was easy to keep on target for rapid fire strings. Maybe not quite as fast as my P228, but not appreciably slower.

    If it sounds like I like the pistol, you’re right. However:

    It still holds much fewer rounds then comparably-sized pistols of other designs.

    It’s BIG, when you are used to a compact pistol (and I suspect that many of the benefits I experienced – accuracy, fast follow ups, etc) would be lessened by a smaller, lighter pistol.

    It still has two external safeties. I’m sure that, with practice, I could be 100% sure that I would disengage the thumb safety – on the range. Under real world stress, I don’t want to have to worry about it.

    It’s still complicated (and requires a tool) to disassemble, and has more moving parts then other, more modern, designs.

    It hasn’t been tested with HP ammo. It hasn’t been pushed beyond normal “range” conditions. And so on….

    Conclusions. I really, really liked this pistol. But I wouldn’t carry one, nor would I recommend the platform for people in my sort of job. For a CCW piece, where capacity, ammo availability, and so on are less important, it certainly has its place (though it’s too large for some folks/situations, of course). As a combat weapon, where you are operating in a team and have rifles as primary weapons, and are limited to FMJ, I can see the allure – though I would still want more ammo on board and I would REALLY want a much better pistol training program then 99% of the military gets.

    Bottom line – I still won’t use one, but I’m starting to see why so many others do (at least a little bit – I still think it’s more “hype” than “bite,” but that’s just a personal perception).
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Gunnutty's Avatar
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    Be careful OPFOR it's contagious!! As a 1911 fan who carries for personal protection, I like the way the 1911 fits my hand and as you said, the trigger pull as well. I've never had the need for a large number of rounds but in your situation can see where that would definitely make a difference. As forthe manual safety it is something I've gotten so used to that it is second nature.
    We will be much better off when we learn to deal with things as they really are, instead of how we wish them to be!

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    A nice honest opinion.
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    Different Missions

    In the poster's work as a protector of other people who may be subject to attack, I can certainly see the merits of a high capacity handgun. He may have to deal with multiple threats that are determined to do harm to the people he is protecting. I'm sure he often uses a larger high capacity rifle or subgun in addition to his handgun.

    For most civilians in the US who carry a handgun for personal protection, the mission is quite different. The civilian CCW person is mainly concerned with threats against himself, rather than others. And the threat is more often connected with an attempt at robbery by one attacker rather than personal assassination by a group of attackers. The lone attacker may not be as motivated to persist in the attack, once he knows his target is prepared to defend himself with a gun. So a different type of gun may be suitable - one with lower capacity that delivers a powerful, accurate first shot to stop the threat.

    For this CCW application the 1911 in .45 is not a bad choice, if the carrier is willing to practice and master the use of the gun. As the poster mentioned, the excellent single action trigger of the 1911 can deliver a very accurate first shot, and the caliber has a good reputation for stopping an attack with one good hit.

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    Thumbs up

    That was a nice honest opinion and politely presented also.

    I admit that I do tend to drink the Colt 1911 Kool-Aid but, it is because I have carried/used one for a long time now and it's a firearm genre that I am totally accustomed to.
    Everything about the 1911 is ingrained and second nature to me.
    It is not an ideal handgun for everybody though. I sure will admit that.
    I tend to favor the Commander length as being pretty much ideal as far as balance and point-ability is concerned.
    The trigger can be made as crisp as an icicle snap.
    Concerning disassembly and needing "tools" - if one dumps the totally unnecessary Full Length Guide Rod and finds a barrel bushing that fits the slide snugly but, can still be turned by hand - then no tools are needed for a complete disassembly down to the last part...save for the grips which do need a standard screwdriver.

    Capacity...that is a legitimate issue but, not so much for civilian carry. Of course you could always snatch up a couple of Tripp Cobra-Mag 10 round magazines and carry them as spares and they could possibly come in real handy. They are ultra high quality magazines.

    Heck...I'm just glad that you gave the pistol a truthful review w/ you being an admitted SIG aficionado.

    Just watch what you say about JMB because the SIG you're using is a JBM pistol design...which started out as the SIG/Browning BDA (AKA ~ BDA - Browning Double Action)
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  6. #6
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    Great thread and topic starter! It's nice to read from someone who is not "tainted" by the 1911 as I am. I'd not have guessed that a .40 S&W could have fired in a .45 ACP chamber. That was enlightening.

    My question to you is: why is a manual safety an issue?

    "I...have a personal dislike for manual safeties..."

    "It still has two external safeties. I’m sure that, with practice, I could be 100% sure that I would disengage the thumb safety – on the range. Under real world stress, I don’t want to have to worry about it."

    I can't think of many modern small arms other than some handguns that have no manual safety provided. Manual safeties are acceptable on long arms, even desireable yet not acceptable on one's handgun? I don't follow. I'm not in the protection business for pay but will say that a safety on a long arm doesn't hinder me. It seems just as natural on the pistol as well.

    Now the most stress I ever encounter occures in competition or in a bursting covey of quail or a pheasant. That's not a direct comparison to the stress of a firefight but if the safety entangles a person then he won't achieve the desired results in either illustration whether he makes use of a long arm or handgun.

    Much as I appreciate the 1911 I think I'm less pro-1911 than I am anti-double-action semi-auto. I love safeties because I love nice triggers.

    Yeah, I'm an anachronism. If push came to shove and I had to use my DA revolver I'd employ it in single action mode if at all possible, viewing thumb-cocking the revolver in the same light as sweeping off the safety on the 1911. I suppose I took the instruction manuals included with the new S&W revolvers of the 1970's at their word: "...the double action feature is for use at close range in an emergency or when the revolver is used with great speed..." or words to that effect.

    Perhaps I ought to dust off the Single Action Army, huh?

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Good post , and welcome to the dark side ( liking a 1911 is the start of the fall lol ) Picking your post apart i could only find one fallicy and that is that i
    It’s still complicated (and requires a tool) to disassemble, and has more moving parts then other, more modern, designs.
    Actually the 1911 was one of the first that required no tools for a down to springs and pins disassembly , you just have to know and understand the manual of arms . In fact you dont even need a " glock tool " LOL . Anyway i love the 1911 , and carry one sometimes , but with your mission statement i agree that 9mm is it , and so is double stack mags . I do carry a 9 day to day but its not high cap , i dont need it as a ccw , and dont choose to conceal more than i have to .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    well as we all know there are some double stack 1911 out there as well as some LDA type tiggers. i would have to look but i could swear i saw a 1911 out there that didnt have the "thumb" safety. i could be wrong and am lots of times....lol. glad to see you were objective and honest and really gave it a chance. once you use it more you will be sucked in. trust me!

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    well as we all know there are some double stack 1911 out there as well as some LDA type tiggers. i would have to look but i could swear i saw a 1911 out there that didnt have the "thumb" safety.
    Blasphemy in the church of John Moses . If it dont have a single action trigger , as well as a thumb safety it is not a 1911 ( i will give ground on a pinned or non existant grip safety al la detonics small pistols lol )
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    I'd not have guessed that a .40 S&W could have fired in a .45 ACP chamber. That was enlightening.
    I wouldn't have thought so, either. It did take two tries... After that, a mag full of .40s found its way into the mag well...the rounds dribbled out the end when the operator attempted the chamber them.

    My question to you is: why is a manual safety an issue?
    Because I can forget to take it off, or miss it while drawing in a hurry, under stress. Rifles are different - if I am carrying a rifle, I expect trouble. I will have the weapon in my hands, my thumb on the selector lever. Yes, I still may forget or miss, but I have less of a chance then when I am surprised and reactive, reaching for a handgun, and attempting to draw, take the safety off, aim as much as the situation allows, and manipulate the trigger effectively. Plus, a rifle has an exposed trigger when it is being carried as intended - pistols do not. And, of course, a duty rifle gets banged around a lot more than a pistol....

    Also, I read one of Ayoob's case files a while back where a man was convicted of something (can't remember if it was manslaughter or what) primarily because he thumbed the hammer back on his DA revolver before shooting a BG. The prosecutor was able to convince the jury that he fired accidentally/negligently, because he had given the revolver a "hair trigger." This despite the shooters contention that he meant to shoot the BG. Is this a likely scenario? Of course not, but it happened to one person at least...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Because I can forget to take it off, or miss it while drawing in a hurry, under stress. Rifles are different - if I am carrying a rifle, I expect trouble. I will have the weapon in my hands, my thumb on the selector lever.
    IMHO it boils down to a lack of training on a formfactor that has a safety . I will neither say this is right , nor wrong , i will just note that i am a lot older than op , and broke into defensive arms in a different way , and if i am forced to carry a kahr , or a glock , or a ( insert any non safety pistol here ) my standard of draw is to stick my thumb foreward positivly as i draw , and once hands meet i wipe it down to disengage any safety on any pistol . My p7 hk still buggers me once in a while in the sense i forget to squeez hard enough .. thus it is not yet a real carry pistol .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

    Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.

  12. #12
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    There may be hope for you yet, OPFOR!


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Repairs View Post
    IMHO it boils down to a lack of training on a formfactor that has a safety . I will neither say this is right , nor wrong , i will just note that i am a lot older than op , and broke into defensive arms in a different way , and if i am forced to carry a kahr , or a glock , or a ( insert any non safety pistol here ) my standard of draw is to stick my thumb foreward positivly as i draw , and once hands meet i wipe it down to disengage any safety on any pistol . My p7 hk still buggers me once in a while in the sense i forget to squeez hard enough .. thus it is not yet a real carry pistol .
    Like I said, I could train myself to be 100% under normal circumstances...but I could still screw up when the chips are down. Of course, I could flub the draw, not get a good grip, or any number of other things that I've trained for but can never be absolutely certain that something won't go wrong... The safety is just one more thing that could screw me up, and one that isn't necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Crunch View Post
    There may be hope for you yet, OPFOR!
    Nah, not likely! I won't be carrying a 1911 any time soon (and I'll still throw the BS flag on folks who worship it as the only viable handgun in the world), but I may be picking one up as a "fun" gun in the not too distant future.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    VIP Member Array rodc13's Avatar
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    Nice report, Op. It's a good thing to give a weapon a real chance and put preconceived notions behind. I've certainly gotten a few pleasant surprises over the years by doing so.

    Just a couple of notes, based solely on my personal experience and preference.

    1) Compact 1911s do not take appreciably longer for follow-up shots, nor is controllability an issue. I have no troubles with a lightweight 3" barrel Kimber Ultra CDP II. Again, this is my experience and I know others have different opinions.

    2) With practice, the thumb safety is a total non-issue. I found this to be the case with government-issue weapons back in the day and have never had reason to change this opinion. It's simply what you're used to. As accomplished as you are, I simply cannot believe the handling of any weapon would be much of an issue for you. It's simply a matter of what you make up your mind to do. Any weapon to which you made a commitment would become second nature in very little time.

    3) For me, the accurate first shot is a big consideration. Single-action only, safely carried cocked and locked, means I'm on target quickly.

    4) No 1911 requires a tool for take down, full length guide rod or not. It's just a matter of procedure.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. It helps give an insight into the way a true professional makes an evaluation. Your contributions, and especially your continued service, are very much appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Rod
    "We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    I have owned and carried three 1911s. They were a lot of fun to shoot. Earlier this year I had two 1911s and two Sigs. I figured for the ease of training the family I should standardize on one platform. Being left handed neither design is overly friendly out of the box. The big issue for me was the ambidexterous safeties I had to install on the 1911s. I have yet to find a design that is positive and reliable enough for my tastes. The only issue I have with the Sig is the decocking lever, and I figure when it is time for that the excitement is pretty much over. If I were right handed I might have gone the other way, but for me the 1911 just isn't my first choice.
    Infowars- Proving David Hannum right on a daily basis

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