January 24th, 2008 08:56 AM
Considering a 1911 For Carry
After seeing all the 1911's at the tactical training course I recently took, including the nationally known instructor offering the opinion that it is the best gun around, and reading the posts on this Forum, I have become interested in pursuing the idea of buying a 1911. Can't have too many guns, I guess.
So, for you 1911 fans, could you please give me a recommendation. I would want one that is easy to carry concealed(I assume that means a three inch barrel), but is also reliable. I have been on a number of other 1911 forums and my sense is that many people seem to have problems with them. Is this correct?
I understand that they tend to be expensive, so would not want to buy the most expensive 1911 available. Somewhere in the $600 to $800 range would work.
Also, any other feedback on the advisability of my buying a 1911 will be much appreciated.
"It does not do to leave a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."
J. R. R. Tolkien
January 24th, 2008 09:14 AM
The hardest part of any gun to conceal is the grip, while a 3" bbl is nice and small, there are some draw backs.
As this is going to be your first 1911, you're going to need to shoot the heck out of it. 3" 1911s while OK to shoot for most, are not long range trip friendly.
I would recommend a 4" - 4.25" Commander sized gun. Either all steel or alloy framed, I prefer steel, but to each his own.
I generally recommend Springfield 1911s as first 1911s, you spend enough to get a good gun, but not too much if you end up not liking it. Currently IMHO Springfield has the widest factory options and a better warranty than Kimber.
I've heard a lot of good things about S&W 1911s, but haven't gotten to wring any out yet.
I've had Kimbers, Colts, Paras, and Springers and more.
Of the mid tier 1911's I'll go with Springfield.
When it comes to "problems" with the 1911 there are two kinds:
1: Actual problems with the gun.
2: People that don't know a thing about 1911s.
I've encountered more #2's than #1's.
Some guns require a "break in" Kimber for example requires (it's in the manual) a 500 round break in period, others do not.
Of all the quality 1911s I've had, I've only had problems with two, and they were chambered in .40 which kind of made them a pair of odd ducks.
As I stated above, due to the fact that this is your first 1911, you will want to shoot the heck out it and give it a nice round count to PROVE reliability.
Given the vast number of 1911s in the field, and the vast number of different manufacturers out there, I'm not surprised that some cases of problem type #1 exist, I've had two guns that just needed more work. There are problem children from every type and model of gun out there.
Because there are occasionally problem guns, look at the warranty service of each manufacturer, you may not need it, but you just might.
There's more, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton of it, but that's ok, there are plenty of members here that know more about the 1911 than I do.
Oh, one more thing, get a 1911 without the firing pin safety, it makes full disassembly soooo much easier.
January 24th, 2008 09:16 AM
i know a LOT of people that carry the ol' steel framed 5" 1911s.
its more than possible, but i sure wouldnt do it.
i also know a lot of people with the 3" Al framed ones (kimber ultra, springer V10)
i personally have the kimber ultra aegis (9mm). I think its a wonderful gun. I dont have any problems wit it. i dont know of anyone that has ever had any problems with any 3" 1911. i wouldnt worry about it.
If you are worried about these 3"1911=crap rumors, then get a four incher, but there really isnt any need.
one more note. on the 3" .45 Al framed modles, you may or may not get them ported. i have shot both. the ported ones shoot exactly like my 9mm one, the nonported have quite a bit of kick (well, i can still hadnle it fine, but it does slow down follow up shots a little). most people dont prefer them due to the flame shooting out of it blinding you at night. i have shot them in the dark and although it was more annoying than not having it, it in no way slowed me down or made it so that i couldnt see what i was shooting at (if u get the right ammo). so its up to you.
its a 1911. you will be happy with just about anything you get
Wo die Notwehr aufhört, fängt der Mord an
(Murder begins where self-defense ends)
January 24th, 2008 09:37 AM
If you are new to 1911s, I'd buy a basic 1991 Colt Government Model. If you like the 1911 and want the bells and whistles you have a good base gun to start with, if you don't, you have Colt's higher resale value.
"The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper
"Terrorists: They hated you yesterday, they hate you today, and they will hate you tomorrow. End the cycle of hatred, don’t give them a tomorrow."
January 24th, 2008 10:07 AM
At the top of your price range is a Dan Wesson Classic Bobtail Commander 9around $875). This is my EDC and its a dream to carry....highly recommended.
January 24th, 2008 10:13 AM
First of all, your range of $600 to $800 for a carry 1911 will limit your choices somewhat. You'd have more latitude if you could raise the range slightly, perhaps $800 to $1000.
For a carry 1911 I personally like a barrel shorter than 5 inches, an aluminum frame to keep the weight down, and thin grip panels to keep the thickness down. If you can conceal it, a "Commander" type is good, with barrel length of 4.0 to 4.25 inches and regular length grip. These guns usually weigh about 28 ounces empty and hold 8+1 rounds with the right magazine. There are lots of good brands on the market, including Colt, Kimber, Springfield, S&W, Sig and others. These guns are thin enough (0.90 inches in the slide) that they can easily be carried inside the waistband.
If you want the smallest, most concealable 1911 you should go with a 3 or 3.5 inch barrel and "officer's" length grip. The most popular versions of the 3 inch gun are the Colt Defender, Kimber Ultra and Springfield Micro. They all give up some shootability for concealability, I think.
Here are the two 1911s I use for carry, and I would recommend either one - a Kimber Pro CDP and a Colt Defender:
Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington
January 24th, 2008 10:14 AM
My Kimber Pro Carry 4" was $829 shipped off of gunbroker. Excellent gun. First mag was rough as it had only been proof tested. Been running fine ever since. Over 5K rounds in it.
Springfield makes excellent guns for the money. Kimber is great too.
The used market is also good. Colts can be had for pretty fairly cheap. If you see a Series 70, get it.
January 24th, 2008 10:18 AM
I have been carrying my Pro Carry Kimber for the ast year and its not hard to conceal under a shirt . I have over 4K thru it and not had a problem with it yet. Just remember to mantain it and change out the springs every 700 to 1K Rds. and it will work for over 20K Rds.
January 24th, 2008 10:30 AM
Good for you. It's my choice for an automatic pistol for concealed carry. I like the single action trigger and the safety arrangement and believe in "condition 1" carry. I like the .45 ACP. You might consider staying away from the ones that advertise that they're "accurized" or have the reputation for being "tight". Too much emphasis is placed on having a tight 1911 in my view. "Tight" is for the bulleseye shooters. A proper 1911 should follow the purpose and intent of the .45's that armed our troops for 70 years. Needs to be a little "loosy-goosy" and that doesn't have to mean sloppy either. I have a WWI Colt and a WWII Remington Rand that will perform like show ponies on target if I do my part. The Colt is worn but only gives up a little accuracy to a nice Colt Gold Cup that I have. The Gold Cup is only marginally better than that 1911A1 Remington Rand. Both military pistols feed and function with anything and never have mechanical failures. I was given 400 rounds of dirty ol' steel cased Wolf ammo summer before last. The Gold Cup choked on it before 200 rounds and refused to run right. The 1918 Colt ate up the rest of it with no problems. The Gold Cup has the odd hiccup with my handloads using 200 grain cast lead SWC's. It's infrequent but the gun can unexpectedly hang up on a round. The two military guns shoot the loads fine. I've owned other US military .45 autos and been around a bunch more and I've never seen one that wasn't usefully accurate. The bad reputation that some have tried to pin on the old US service pistol is false.
The Gold Cup was marketed for competition and tolerances are closer than the military pistols. I love its wonderful trigger, sights, and accuracy at the range but wouldn't consider carrying it. I have toted that old Colt 1911 off and on for 30 years now in 2008.
I've not had any experience with the newer renditions of the 1911 but seems that the basic Springfield Armory models are popular and have a good local reputation for reliability. My son just bought a new Rock Island for $365 at the last Dallas Market Hall gun show. A friend also purchased a Rock Island last year. These look like a "real deal" for use as a general purpose shootin' and totin' 1911 to me. I wouldn't denigrate the Rock Island by calling it an "entry level" gun either. It's nice as is. Upgrade sights if one so chooses and perhaps add a beavertail grip safety if the issue of "hammer bite" rears it's head and be happy.
I prefer the full sized 1911 to any of the shorter versions for myself and don't find concealment is a problem because of the length. A good IWB holster or hi-rise holster works wonders with the full sized gun. I have to qualify that by saying that I'm fairly tall so could have fewer complaints than some. I like the weight myself. I also wore business suits for most of the years I've toted the .45. One can hide anything he desires to carry beneath a suit coat. The shorter 1911's used to be reputed to be functionally less reliable than the standard model but that's probably a dead issue at this point as many manufacturers apparently have got it down pat on how to make them.
I've been threatening to purchase a good used Colt Series 70 Government Model for myself so as to give my old 1911 a place of honered retirement. I'll get one that's dead stock and unfooled with. I'll leave it as it came from the factory and shoot the hooey out of it. The Series 70 Gov't Models are out there for $600 to $800 if one looks around.
January 24th, 2008 10:45 AM
+! on the Springfield. I own a full-sized 5" Gov't Rock Island with mil-spec sights and it's a shooter. I replaced the recoil springs with a heavier one. I bobbed the hammer because hammer bite was an issue and I polished the ramp. That's it. Another one with lots of bells & whistles without the price is the new Taurus 1911. Advertised with over $1800 of stuff for less than $600. Springfield's customer service is first rate! If I had the $$ then, that's what I would have bought.
I started practicing A LOT with mil-spec sights and got really good with them. Look at it this way. In a dark room are you really going to be able to see a three-dot sight? I now shoot better with the mil-spec sights on my 1911 than I do with the 3-dot sights on my .40. Just point & shoot. Go figure..........
BE PREPARED - Noah didn't build the Ark when it was raining!
Si vis pacem, para bellum
NRA Life Member
January 24th, 2008 10:52 AM
Prior to jumping on the 1911 wagon, I'd do a bunch of research on them, and than decide. I than probably spent 2 to 3 months deciding by calling reccommended gunsmiths all over the U.S., calling manufacturers, and talking to anyone I could locate. My first 1911 purchase was a Baer SuperTac with the 1 1/2 inch tuning. It's been beyond great.
Les Baer 45
N.R.A. Patron Life Member
January 24th, 2008 10:52 AM
The 1911 has been called the best fighting handgun ever made. I tend to agree with that.
I carry one of 3 commander size guns. LB C7, and 2 Colt Commanders. All are steel framed guns and a little heavier than the alloy or polymer framed guns. But they're absolutely reliable and I trust my life to them.
A good first choice I believe would be Colt's XSE Combat Commander.
This is a picture of an older XSE - the new ones have Novak style rear sights.
January 24th, 2008 11:54 AM
There are more than a "couple" 1911's in my stable. They run right or they dont stay ! Stick with well known manufacturers and you shouldnt have too many problems. Colt,Kimber,Springfield are probably the best around,unless you get into the custom jobs.
While 5" guns MAY be more reliable(notice the MAY) my 3" micro from SA has not had a malfunction in over 2,500 rounds and is my daily carry pistol. 24oz of pure pleasure, accurate enough for defensive purposes and light enough to carry for extended periods.
Personally, I would stay away from the external extractors. Some have had good luck with them,but I kinda cast a doubting eye in that direction.
January 24th, 2008 12:40 PM
I love the 1911 myself and own four of them. The first is the Colt Officers ACP, second is the Kimber Compact II, third is the Kimber ProCarry II and the last on the right is the Springfield Armory 5" loaded. All of these guns are carry worthy because they have proven themselves reliable on the range. I start them out by a thorough cleaning and light lube then running 200 rounds of ball ammo through them to settle them in. Another 200 won't hurt before saying they are good.
I love the 1911 and will always have one as a carry, home defense gun.
January 24th, 2008 12:57 PM
It took me a year of research and fingering various 1911s before I decided on a Dan Wesson CBOB. In my opinion you get a lot more 1911 than you pay for with DWs. The more I played with guns with the bobtail mainspring housing, the more I liked them. Take your time though, and decide exactly what you want. You may want to get a plain jane Springer Mil Spec to tinker with and shoot before you decide what the best carry gun is for you.
The keys to winning a gunfight are first to bring a gun and secondly to take your time, quickly.
Always remember that if your opponent is within range, so are you.
POWER TO THE MEPEOPLE!!!
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