Folow Up To my Last two Threads On the 1911

Folow Up To my Last two Threads On the 1911

This is a discussion on Folow Up To my Last two Threads On the 1911 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Here is my last question about my interest in getting a 1911, bearing in mind that it will be primarily for carry purposes. I have ...

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  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Ron's Avatar
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    Folow Up To my Last two Threads On the 1911

    Here is my last question about my interest in getting a 1911, bearing in mind that it will be primarily for carry purposes. I have noticed that almost all of the 4 inch models within a reasonable price range are all quite heavy. Much heavier then the average compact semi-automatic, such as the Glocks, my Walther, XDs, etc.

    I am short, 5'6'' and weigh about 140. I carry a compact P99c with ease, but wonder about carrying a 4 inch 1911 all day with any kind of reasonable comfort, even with proper holster and good gun belt, which I have.

    Because of this, I have begun to consider the Kimber Ultra 3 inch models, including the ultra Aegis in 9mm. My question for you folks who own and regularly shoot the ultra models in .45 is how bad is the recoil? If I am going to buy a 1911, it seems to me that I should go with the .45. Can you practice on a regular basis without fearing going to the range because of the recoil. I would not want to buy a gun for carry that is painful to practice with. This is particularly true for a 1911 that will be my first 1911, so that I would need to put in quite a bit of range time to get comfortable with the gun.

    If I do get a 1911, it will be my first .45. My other guns are a snub nose S&W, which is not fun to shoot, but great for concealed carry and a compact Walther in 9mm.

    Thanks.

    Ron
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  2. #2
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    I don't have one, and haven't shot one, but generally the smaller/lighter a gun is the more recoil it will have for a given energy & bullet mass - that's a matter of physics.

    But felt recoil is subjective to a degree. I thought my lightweight Sig 220 (.45ACP) would have a lot of recoil, esp. since I was acclimated to 9mm. I was pleasantly surprised when I re-discovered the 220 didn't have as much felt recoil as I had anticipated.

    It will be interesting to read what the guys that have shot these guns have to say. But just keep in mind, recoil 'talk' is both subjective and relative.
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    Senior Member Array flagflyfish's Avatar
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    I am5'9" and I carry a full size 1911, in the right holster, with a good belt. I know it's there, but it's not uncomfortable. Some of the higher end 1911's have an alloy frame which makes them lighter, both my Colt new agent and my springfield EMP have them and they do make the pistol lighter. Recoil is very managable for both, but as with all handguns being accurate on a double tap or running a zipper, means Practice, Practice, Practice!!
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    JD
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    Ron, make sure you're comparing alloy frames to alloy frames, Kimber shows the weight difference for an alloy framed Pro as being 3 ounces heavier than an Ultra...

    While Lima is rather small in size, she fired 300 rounds over 3 days with her Ultra, and managed to pull tendons in her hand. When she fired 600 rounds in two days with her all steel 4" gun she was fine.

    The felt recoil of a 3" alloy framed 1911 makes it not enjoyable for me to shoot a whole lot. And as this is you're first 1911, you're going to want to shoot the heck out of it to get familiar with it. Not something you want to do with a 3" alloy .45. It's a carry gun, not a range gun.

    Get a good holster and belt, the 3oz. difference won't matter. I regularly carry a 5" all steel 1911 that weighs close to 47oz. loaded and with the right setup, I can't fell it.

    28 ounces won't hurt you.

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    Distinguished Member Array sniper58's Avatar
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    +1 with JD. Get the heavier one, shoot until you have to go buy more ammo and then go back to the range and shoot some more! There's plenty of time after you get fully hooked on the 1911 to buy a smaller, lighter framed gun. I carry a 5" Gov't series 12 hours a day and have no problems (as a civilian). I experienced more discomfort when I was LEO carrying a 4" 1911.
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    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    I know that I will probably get flamed for this, but what the heck.

    I carry and regularly shoot a 3" SA Micro Compact 1911 that tips the scales at 23 oz. The wife carries/shoots a S&W 638 that weighs somewhat less and bites my hand a BUNCH more than my 1911. +P loads in her revolver are almost unmanageable for me. Lightweight, grip size, and shape are most likely to blame. She loves that little gun--I just plain dont like it at all. Besides, it is ugly!!!!!

    I ran 10 of Speers +p 125gr loadings through that thing last Sunday and my hand felt like I had gone 10 rounds with a much younger Mike Tyson. Had to shoot 200 through my carry gun to get things back to normal.

    Nothing really WRONG with small frame-lightweight revolvers, if you like them. I suppose that if that was all they made I would carry one.

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    Gun weight, ammo momentum, shooter strength/experience

    The question of how much recoil is felt and tolerable in a handgun is an interesting one. I think that the answer will depend on several things - gun weight, ammo momentum and shooter strength/experience.

    In general, the factor driving recoil in the first place is the mass and velocity of the bullet leaving the muzzle. Mass times velocity is momentum, and heavier bullets or greater velocity will produce more momentum. Because the momentum of the bullet forward roughly equals the momentum of the gun backwards, the recoil you feel is the gun moving backwards in your hand as the bullet exits the gun.

    Since the momentum of the gun backwards is also gun mass times gun velocity, a heavier gun will come back at you with lower velocity, and vice versa. So a lightweight gun feels like more recoil than a heavy gun (firing the same ammo) because its velocity backwards is greater. And you have to absorb that velocity with your hand, arm and body, bringing the gun to a stop in its backwards movement.

    Clearly a shooter with large, strong hands and arms will be better able to stop the moving gun and absorb the recoil than a smaller, weaker shooter. And shooting experience is also important, since it increases your mental tolerance of recoil and allows you to handle it better.

    The bottom line is you have to decide on your own individual level of tolerable recoil and pick your ammo and your gun to fit that. I think trial and error, shooting different guns and ammo, is the only way to do that.

    With regard to your question about 1911s, I have three different sizes of 1911s. The 38 ounce, all steel full size guns are easiest to shoot, and quite comfortable for me shooting many rounds of .45 ammo. The medium size "Commander" 1911s with aluminum frame and 28 ounce weight are also okay, but more tiring to shoot because they definitely recoil more. And the most tiring of all are the 25 ounce "Officer's" grip 1911s - 50 rounds of .45 ammo at a time are plenty for me.

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    I think my LW Springfield Champion (4 inch) in 45 ACP is a very comfortable gun to shoot and to carry. The grip prints for me because of my body shape and "attire" but a change in wardrobe would solve that problem.

    I like the ramped, steel barrel in the Champion as opposed to 1911s with aluminum ramps and it's hard to beat Springfield's warranty.

    You really should shoot what you're interested in. Different "styles" of handguns fit people differently. What's comfortable to me might be a pain for you to shoot. For instance, in my case, I'd much rather shoot the Champion .45 or my M&P 9mm than my XD40SC.

    Cloudpeak

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    Distinguished Member Array Ron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    Ron, make sure you're comparing alloy frames to alloy frames, Kimber shows the weight difference for an alloy framed Pro as being 3 ounces heavier than an Ultra...

    While Lima is rather small in size, she fired 300 rounds over 3 days with her Ultra, and managed to pull tendons in her hand. When she fired 600 rounds in two days with her all steel 4" gun she was fine.

    The felt recoil of a 3" alloy framed 1911 makes it not enjoyable for me to shoot a whole lot. And as this is you're first 1911, you're going to want to shoot the heck out of it to get familiar with it. Not something you want to do with a 3" alloy .45. It's a carry gun, not a range gun.

    Get a good holster and belt, the 3oz. difference won't matter. I regularly carry a 5" all steel 1911 that weighs close to 47oz. loaded and with the right setup, I can't fell it.

    28 ounces won't hurt you.
    Thanks, JD. Very helpful. You "talked" me out of the untra. As for the Alloy frame Pro Carry II, which is shown at 28 ounces, and is in my price range, I notice that it has the standard size grip,as compared to the Compact stainless II, which has the smaller gip, but weighs more. Is it your experience that the larger grip on the Pro Carry will make it more difficult to conceal, for someone with my build? I know that these kinds of issues are subjective, but the opinions of those who have experienced and have had to deal with the same problems is always helpful.

    I noticed from the Kimber web site that the Compact CDP II is in the same weight range as the Pro Carry II, but much more expensive and I would be paying for things I don't really want, such as night sights.


    Thanks.

    Ron
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  10. #10
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron View Post
    Is it your experience that the larger grip on the Pro Carry will make it more difficult to conceal, for someone with my build?...I noticed from the Kimber web site that the Compact CDP II is in the same weight range as the Pro Carry II, but much more expensive and I would be paying for things I don't really want, such as night sights.
    The regular length grip on a Pro Carry, as opposed to the shorter "Officer's" grip on a Kimber Ultra is harder to conceal, as it is about 1/2 inch longer. This is one of the reasons some folks put a "bobtail" grip treatment on their 1911s, to remove the sharp corner of the grip that is most likely to print on the cover garment.

    A lot depends on your holster and belt. You can conceal a regular length 1911 grip more easily if the gun is "canted" forward by the holster, so the grip is in a more vertical position. It also helps if the gun is pressed very tightly into your side and positioned in the sweet spot just behind your hip - about 3:30 or 4:00 on a right handed person. And of course a full cut, dark colored cover garment of heavy cloth also helps.

    As for the Kimber CDP series vs. the standard Kimber Pro - the CDP has more bells and whistles, like night sights, checkered front strap, melted slide and ambi safety - and costs a few hundred dollars more. But you don't really need these things to have a perfectly functional gun, and the standard Kimber Pro seems like a good value to me in a 1911 for CCW.
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    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
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    some guns recoil more than others and then theres perceived recoil. My Kahr TP45 weighs in at 22 ounces without the ammo. Loaded up, its not that much more and the guns weight feels full and evenly distributed. It's recoil to me is like a 9mm.
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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron View Post
    ...I notice that it has the standard size grip,as compared to the Compact stainless II, which has the smaller gip, but weighs more. Is it your experience that the larger grip on the Pro Carry will make it more difficult to conceal, for someone with my build? I know that these kinds of issues are subjective, but the opinions of those who have experienced and have had to deal with the same problems is always helpful.
    As Pogo mentioned, it all depends on multiple variables, I have no problem concealing a standard length (gov't) un-bobtailed grip under a t-shirt carrying at 3 'o clock., that varies on what exact shirt I'm wearing, so your mileage may vary, when I carry behind the point of the hip (4-4:30) I generally need a cover garment, as when the gun goes further back, I don't want my t-shirt covering the grip. This doesn't bother me, because by default I wear a button up or a polo anyway, always have always will.

    Pending on your type of dress, the full grip could go either way, I'm not going to say 100% that you can conceal it, because I just don't know.

    I noticed from the Kimber web site that the Compact CDP II is in the same weight range as the Pro Carry II, but much more expensive and I would be paying for things I don't really want, such as night sights.

    Again, as Pogo points out, you don't "need" the bells and whistles, I like the checkering and the night sights, and while I don't require an ambi, I wouldn't count it as a disqualifying factor, but it's all about what you want. If you don't want to pay for those things, then don't.

    In the other threads, you've heard a lot about the bobtail, I'm really starting to warm up to it, and if I had the budget for the change, I'd probably have to done to at least one of my 5" guns, but that's not a standard option from Kimber, and it's something that you'll have to pay for, ship the gun out for, and you'll have no idea if you'll like it until the gun comes back from the smith, and by then if you don't like it, it's too late.

    So for arguments sake, we'll leave that option off the table.

    So you've come to this point.

    • You want a 4" Kimber 1911
    • You don't want the CDP Compact due to cost and unwanted features.
    • You're "iffy" or against the Compact Stainless due to the weight.
    • You do want the Pro Carry because it has no unwanted features and fits your budget, but are concerned about the ability to conceal it.


    So here comes the crux of your situation:

    Do you buy the lighter gun that you may not be able to conceal pending on unknown widely ranging variables?

    Or do you buy the heavier gun that you will have better chances of concealing?

    Given your build, I don't think that you've have a problem concealing a Pro, but given a good belt and rig which I'm sure you wouldn't skimp on, I think you'd have better results and more flexibility with the heavier Compact Stainless.

    Ultimately, you're going to have to decide which factor is more important, the weight, or the ease of concealment based on your choices of attire.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogo2 View Post
    The question of how much recoil is felt and tolerable in a handgun is an interesting one. I think that the answer will depend on several things - gun weight, ammo momentum and shooter strength/experience.

    In general, the factor driving recoil in the first place is the mass and velocity of the bullet leaving the muzzle. Mass times velocity is momentum, and heavier bullets or greater velocity will produce more momentum. Because the momentum of the bullet forward roughly equals the momentum of the gun backwards, the recoil you feel is the gun moving backwards in your hand as the bullet exits the gun.

    Since the momentum of the gun backwards is also gun mass times gun velocity, a heavier gun will come back at you with lower velocity, and vice versa. So a lightweight gun feels like more recoil than a heavy gun (firing the same ammo) because its velocity backwards is greater. And you have to absorb that velocity with your hand, arm and body, bringing the gun to a stop in its backwards movement.

    Clearly a shooter with large, strong hands and arms will be better able to stop the moving gun and absorb the recoil than a smaller, weaker shooter. And shooting experience is also important, since it increases your mental tolerance of recoil and allows you to handle it better.
    Well stated Pogo2. For what's worth I concur with your analysis.

    A while back, I asked a physics guru to derive a formula to calculate the recoil of a handgun based on bullet energy, bullet weight, and handgun weight. What he didn't know was that I also worked out a solution as I saw it. We worked the problem from two different approaches and came up with the exact same answers.

    The following does not account for slide recoil, and would be more accurate for revolvers, but generally the actual recoil energy produced by a handgun can be calculated from:

    Recoil energy = Bullet energy x bullet weight / gun weight

    A 1911 weighs 38 oz, firing a 230 gn bullet at 900 f/s will produce a handgun recoil of:

    recoil = 413 ft-lbs x (230/7000) / (38/16) = 5.71 ft-lbs of energy
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    Distinguished Member Array Ron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    As Pogo mentioned, it all depends on multiple variables, I have no problem concealing a standard length (gov't) un-bobtailed grip under a t-shirt carrying at 3 'o clock., that varies on what exact shirt I'm wearing, so your mileage may vary, when I carry behind the point of the hip (4-4:30) I generally need a cover garment, as when the gun goes further back, I don't want my t-shirt covering the grip. This doesn't bother me, because by default I wear a button up or a polo anyway, always have always will.

    Pending on your type of dress, the full grip could go either way, I'm not going to say 100% that you can conceal it, because I just don't know.




    Again, as Pogo points out, you don't "need" the bells and whistles, I like the checkering and the night sights, and while I don't require an ambi, I wouldn't count it as a disqualifying factor, but it's all about what you want. If you don't want to pay for those things, then don't.

    In the other threads, you've heard a lot about the bobtail, I'm really starting to warm up to it, and if I had the budget for the change, I'd probably have to done to at least one of my 5" guns, but that's not a standard option from Kimber, and it's something that you'll have to pay for, ship the gun out for, and you'll have no idea if you'll like it until the gun comes back from the smith, and by then if you don't like it, it's too late.

    So for arguments sake, we'll leave that option off the table.

    So you've come to this point.

    • You want a 4" Kimber 1911
    • You don't want the CDP Compact due to cost and unwanted features.
    • You're "iffy" or against the Compact Stainless due to the weight.
    • You do want the Pro Carry because it has no unwanted features and fits your budget, but are concerned about the ability to conceal it.


    So here comes the crux of your situation:

    Do you buy the lighter gun that you may not be able to conceal pending on unknown widely ranging variables?

    Or do you buy the heavier gun that you will have better chances of concealing?

    Given your build, I don't think that you've have a problem concealing a Pro, but given a good belt and rig which I'm sure you wouldn't skimp on, I think you'd have better results and more flexibility with the heavier Compact Stainless.

    Ultimately, you're going to have to decide which factor is more important, the weight, or the ease of concealment based on your choices of attire.
    JD, you hit it right on. And, of course, I am the only one who can make that decision. What I need to do is find a store or range that has both and see what 34 ounces of gun feels like on my hip. I have my doubts since my current carry gun is only 19 ounces without the magazine, but I will just have to see what the difference actually feels like. Based on my prior experience carrying, I think that I will likely have a problem concealing the Pro Carry, given my everyday mode of dress, shorts and a T shirt here in Florida, even with a good rig and belt, which I do own. But, I won't know until I give it a try, before I buy.

    I suppose that if I decide I really like and want a 1911 badly enough, and further decide that I can't readily conceal the Pro Carry and the Stainless Compact is too heavy, I can throw caution to the wind, spend the extra money, and buy the CDP Compact. Although I will be paying for features I don't feel I really need at this point, it might be worth it to get the size and weight gun I really want.

    Thanks, again, everyone for all of your great input and advice.

    Ron
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    J. R. R. Tolkien

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    Ron,
    Here's from maybe the other side of the coin. I have 2 Ultras, both in 45, while the wife has an Aegis in 9. All work well, she even shoots the Aegis lefthanded, though she's normally right handed. I will state that the Aegis is probably better to carry regularly, lighter weight and slightly less recoil. Neither is a bad piece and you can't really go wrong with either. Your holster, belt and lifestyle will probably control more what you carry than anything else. They all have to fit together, otherwise it just looks good in the safe.

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