Just want to pick the brains of the 1911 fans...

This is a discussion on Just want to pick the brains of the 1911 fans... within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have never owned a 1911 pistol and would like some advice from the 1911 fans on this forum. There are so many brands out ...

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Thread: Just want to pick the brains of the 1911 fans...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Barbary's Avatar
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    Just want to pick the brains of the 1911 fans...

    I have never owned a 1911 pistol and would like some advice from the 1911 fans on this forum. There are so many brands out there, which ones are worth looking at? I would consider it as a ccw option, if this helps in your advice. I have been considering Para, Spring field Armory, or Dan Wesson. Any additional information you can offer would be appreciated.

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    Distinguished Member Array Der Alte's Avatar
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    Barbary, I was in the same quandry as you. After reading all I could and trying a number of rentals at the local range, I settled on the S&W 1911 and couldn't be happier. I got it two weeks ago and this past Saturday the wife and I took it to the range - both of us liked its accuracy and the way it handled. The Para was about the lowest on my list and the Springer was being considered but the S&W just felt better, plus I have several other S&Ws that have always worked the way they should - the oldest, I bought in 1953.

    PS: It cost me $869 and is SS.
    Its a shame that youth is wasted on the young.

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    OD*
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    What is your price range?
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

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    Senior Member Array Barbary's Avatar
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    OD,
    I am not wanting to pay for a high end custom job, just something that is quality and not over 1,000.

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    VIP Member Array Kerbouchard's Avatar
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    I like my Kimbers, but a Springfield Loaded is another good choice. I wouldn't go with the Springfield Milspec or GI version. The Loaded has a good mixture of most of the features you could want and any Kimber comes stock with all the added goodies.
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  7. #6
    JD
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    Here's my .02 over the last year or so...

    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    Dan Wesson CBOB, the bobtail really is a nice option, and you get it right out of the box with no waiting on smith work.

    Springfield Loaded Champ 4", you can't go wrong with a good Springer, and some like the 4" better for carry.

    Springfield Loaded 5", yeah it's a little bit longer, but the 5" 1911 is still my most preferred carry gun, if I had $900 it would really be a toss up on the Dan Wesson CBOB, or trying to find a used Springfield TRP.
    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    I think the TRP is a good gun for the money, you get alot of nice features, had I not found my Les Baer TRS at the price I did, I was going to go the TRP route.

    If you don't want the checkering or magwell, which adds to the TRP's price, I'd suggest the 5" loaded model from Springfield, it has some of the more necessary (pending on opinions) features that make a user friendly 1911, it has better sights, it has a beaver tail, and has an ambi safety (I could care less about the ambi) but do prefer an elongated thumb safety.

    My first "real" 1911 was an older 5" loaded model, and the thing just flat out shoots and is smoother than glass on glass.

    If you can afford the average price of $1200-$1400 for a TRP, get the TRP, if cost is an issue, go with the Loaded.
    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    The Springfield Ultra Compact also fits that bill nicely. Personally, I'd go with the above mentioned Champ, but that's just me.
    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    Personally, if were looking at the lower cost guns, there are only two I would buy.

    A Springfield MilSpec. or a RIA Tactical.

    But just for giggles what does everyone mean by "entry level"?

    For me I would describe it as getting a functional 1911 without having to spend over $600.00

    The Taurus is out for my listing due to the following:
    1: The blued finish isn't lasting for nothing
    2: The machined checkering looks like death warmed over. If it's going to be checkered, it should be done right.

    The RIA tactical the two no BS requirements, a good beaver tail and good sights. The trigger quality may vary, but that can be easily remedied, and it's not that much more than a standard model RIA.

    The Springfield MilSpec has "usable" sights while I prefer Novaks, XS sights, and Heinies, the MilSpec sights are perfectly good, and better than that of the Springfield GI series.

    Pending on the budget, I would put a Springfield Loaded at the top of the list of "starter" 1911s they go for an average price of $750 if you shop around.

    As asked above by OD, What is your price range? That is going to be the biggest factor on what everyone is going to suggest.
    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    Factory bobtails are pretty much limited to Dan Wesson, Wilson, Ed Brown, and NHC.

    We went with the Wilson because it's what Lima wanted. In all honesty, we never even looked at Dan Wesson. Not for any faults they may or may not have.

    We went about it the other way, Lima wasn't looking for a bobtailed 1911, we were looking for a Wilson or Nighthawk and I found her Wilson, which just happened to have a bobtail. What she really wanted was a Commander sized upper with an officers frame, but we found her bobtailed Professional at a price we couldn't pass up.

    The Dan Wessons are fine guns, as long as you want a gun that's finished in bare stainless. I have heard few if any complaints on the Dan Wessons.

    Now if you want something other than a bare SS 1911. I'd look at the Browns and the Wilsons. I have no first hand experience with Ed Browns other than fondling them at shops every chance I get. They appear very well built, but I don't personally care for the "scaling" of the cocking serrations.

    The NHC guns are truly works of art, but they are probably the highest priced of the makers I've listed, and I really don't think you're getting anything more for your money.

    If I were to buy another factory bobtailed 1911, I would probably go with the Dan Wesson CBOB and have it refinished later down the road.

    If I were to buy another 1911 without a bobtail, it would probably be another Les Baer.
    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and actually try to ANSWER some of the OPs questions instead of just stating what I carry and like....


    ...how do you separate treasure from trash?
    This one isn't too hard, choose a reputable manufacturer that carries a lifetime warranty, if you're new to the 1911, buy new, not used, it gets hard to tell what is original and what is not on many used 1911s, and you just might not know what a home gunsmith can or can't do.

    I know that there are 1911 pistols with 3 inch, 4 inch , and 5 inch barrels available. Which length is the best choice for a balance of reliability, accuracy, proper ballistics performance, and concealment?
    Looking at the factors you have listed:
    • Reliability
    • Accuracy
    • Ballistics performance
    • Concealment


    A 5" gun will have the most accuracy and ballistic performance, but the least amount of concealment.

    A 4" will have better accuracy and performance than a 3" gun, and is moderately easier to conceal.

    A 3" Has the least amount of accuracy and terminal performance of the sizes, but generally is the easiest of the 3 to conceal.

    Now looking at my statements, please understand that concealing a 5" gun is not a hard thing to do, as you can see above, a great number of members here (myself included) do it every day, as a matter of fact I'm doing it right now.

    So to answer your question, a new in the box, 4"-4.25" 1911 will most likely be the balance of what you desire without being currently familiar with the 1911.

    The Commander sized guns are the happy man in the middle so to speak, they are not as long as the 5" so they will clear the holster more quickly, and still offer more recoil absorbing mass, while still maintaining a longer barrel and sight radius.

    So here's where it gets tricky, the hardest thing to conceal on any gun, is the grip area of the firearm.

    While the smaller Officers size gun have a shorter grip to ease concealment, you're cutting your slide mass, sight radius, and barrel length.

    While some have no problem concealing the grip (see my bit on the 5" guns) some do.

    So if you want the benefits of a Commander sized gun (4"-4.25"), but also want the benefits of an Officer's size gun (3") you need to get a gun with the Commander length slide and barrel, but has the officers size frame like the Colt CCO, and the Kimber Compact. There are other makers of this style 1911, but I'm not going to list them all for you.









    Oh yeah.

    I carry a Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special in a Milt Sparks Versa Max II.
    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    A Springfield GI or Milspec

    Used Springfield Loaded Model

    Possibly a Rock Island Armory (not my cup of tea, but it's a good price)

    Personally I'd find a good used Springfiled Loaded model...oh wait, that is what I did I paid $450 for it and it's been a champ.
    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    There's a ton of good options as the above posts indicate, in the price range you're look at it's hard to go wrong.

    Any one of the following would get my vote:

    Colt Special Combat
    Colt Gunsite
    Any Les Baer
    Springfield Loaded
    Springfield TRP

    I haven't been overly thrilled with Kimbers lately, or with some of the examples of S&W 1911's that I've come across. With Kimbers I've been hit and miss with the quality control of the series IIs.

    Of all the manufacturers out there, I like think Springfield has the most impressive line up without going full custom like a Les Baer, Wilson or Nighthawk.

    Kimber really turned me off with the introduction of the "Tacti-cool, Covert" lineup, the desert camo Crimson Trace grips are laughable at best. It appears that they are going to gimmicks more than good guns, and that upsets me, used to be hard to beat a good Kimber, now, I'm not so sure. If your buying new, not used, go ahead and give Kimber a whirl, their customer service is pretty good if you do end up needing it, but stick with a 5" model in .45ACP for starters.

    When it comes to Colt, I don't like the factory options on most of their line up unless you go with the Gunsite or Special Combat, and I find them to be a little overpriced, with a Series 70 reproduction with no enhancements around the same price of a Springfield Loaded model. And as for finish options on the Colts, you've pretty much got stainless, blued, and nickel. Unless you go with a hard chrome model.

    I still like Para Ordnance, but as I've stated in previous posts the baked on finish of theirs just doesn't hold up that well.

    With the S&W Models, I don't have any first hand shooting experience with them, but I really don't see the justification of the higher price tag on them. I was looking at getting one of the S&W Gunstite Commanders, but there's not really much to it for the 1K price tag.

    I bought my Les Baer used for $1300 and it's by far the best 1911 I've ever owned, and I've owned quite a few, and I love it, if they weren't so darn expensive I'd love to have another one.

    I've had four or five Para's that I would have kept, but I got bit by the Kimber bug, mainly because of the fact that the Kimbers do look awesome (As long as they don't have digi camo CT grips, my days of fighting in the sandbox are over...)

    I still have my first Springfield, and while I was willing to sell my Kimbers my Springfield Loaded is still in the safe, as is my 5" Colt XSE.

    The one thing about 1911's is that most factory mags are garbage, so once you decide to buy one, plan on spending about $100 on 4 or 5 good Wilson Combat magazines.

    Others may disagree, but these are my opinions on it for what it's worth.

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    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    ?

    How about the folks JMB trusted to build the 1911?

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    Member Array SwampRat's Avatar
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    I'll take a Dan Wesson anyday..Pointman, Razorback, CBOB etc..any of 'em are custom firearms at production prices. Of course you can tell I'm not biased.

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    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbary View Post
    OD,
    I am not wanting to pay for a high end custom job, just something that is quality and not over 1,000.
    You will be able to get a nice pistol for that amount. If you're looking for one that is a little "duded up", I would look at the Colt XSE, the S&W 1911 or the Springer "Loaded." A Dan Wesson would also make a very good choice, if you can bump your figure up to the $1400 range or so, Les Baer would be my first choice. If you're more into the "classic" lines, I'd recommend the Colt Series 70 reproduction or the O1991 Government Model. Good luck in your quest.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

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    Another vote for the COLT XSE in stainless.

    I have 4 1911's and the XSE is the only one that I have never had to fiddle with, being perfect right out of the box.

    It my opinion, the Combat Commander platform is the perfect length for concealed carry. Its easy to shoot, accurate and is well balanced in the hand.
    It is the "enhanced" version, with everything that needs to be done to a 1911 being done at the factory. Its totally reliable points well, and it as easy to conceal as any gun out there.
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    Senior Member Array rdoggsilva's Avatar
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    I have a Taurus pt1911 and really enjoy it. There well build and a dependable firearm.
    John Steinbeck: Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you.

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    Member Array 1911packer's Avatar
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    I carry, and am completely happy, with a Springfield GI that I replaced the sights and removed the lanyard loop. Oh, and I put on nicer grips just to personalize it.

    Do you want a race gun, target gun, or combat gun?

    All else being equal, Springfield has a well-deserved reputation of standing behind their product.

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    Senior Member Array ICTsnub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Another vote for the COLT XSE in stainless.

    I have 4 1911's and the XSE is the only one that I have never had to fiddle with, being perfect right out of the box.

    It my opinion, the Combat Commander platform is the perfect length for concealed carry. Its easy to shoot, accurate and is well balanced in the hand.
    It is the "enhanced" version, with everything that needs to be done to a 1911 being done at the factory. Its totally reliable points well, and it as easy to conceal as any gun out there.

    Last January I bought a Lightweight Commander XSE. Perfect out of the box, all it needed was a nice piece of leather.

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    Member Array mike benedict's Avatar
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    I have a large pile of 1911's and have shot them for many years so here are my thoughts
    Stay away from any series 80 type or Swartz disconnector system
    get a plain 1911 style
    So that leaves out Kimbers, S&W, current Colts

    Stay with a 5" gun The odds of a short 1911 being reliable is against you.
    So my choices are Springfield (throw away the stupid mainspring safety thing)
    Colt Series 70 repo (really probably the best Colt ever made)
    Kimber Series one ( the old ones were quite nice)

    Mike

  16. #15
    OD*
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    Colt's O1918 doesn't incorporate the Swartz safety either.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

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