How do you like your 1911? Plain or a la mode?

This is a discussion on How do you like your 1911? Plain or a la mode? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have half a dozen 1911's. The newest one was purchased 32 years ago. I mention this only because the bells and whistles so prevalent ...

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Thread: How do you like your 1911? Plain or a la mode?

  1. #1
    Member Array Hoot's Avatar
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    How do you like your 1911? Plain or a la mode?

    I have half a dozen 1911's. The newest one was purchased 32 years ago. I mention this only because the bells and whistles so prevalent on today's 1911 were very uncommon back then. I wonder if some of them really serve a worthwhile purpose sufficient to justify the additional cost.

    These are the things I want in my 1911.

    1. Flat checkered mainspring housing.
    2. Checkered front strap
    3. Long trigger
    4. Good sights
    5. Good accuracy (2" group at 25 yards or better)
    6. Good trigger, crisp 3.5 to 4. lbs.
    7. Absolute dependability

    My 1911's have these traits, but that is all they have. What am I missing?

    I don't suffer from hammer bite. Is there any need for that long curved tang that looks like a coat hook? Does it serve any purpose other than preventing hammer bite? Does it spread recoil over a wider area?

    I don't see a need for serrations on the front of the slide. Do they really help?

    The bump on the grip safety seems unnecessary to me. I've never failed to compress it sufficiently with the standard configuration.

    The bob tailed butt is probably useful on a concealed carry gun. I wouldn't mind having that, but I wouldn't pay the asking price to have my guns customized in that fashion.

    My guns have always functioned flawlessly with the standard recoil spring. What does the full length recoil spring guide rod give me?

    I have never found a need for the extended safety lever or slide stop or oversize mag release. Same with the ambi safety levers.

    The beveled mag well could be a very handy thing in a tight situation. Although I have trained myself to get along without it, this mod seems like a good idea.

    Are there other modifications that I don't know about? What are they, and what do they do?

    I'm not knocking any of these touches. And I freely admit that I have no experience with them. I'm just asking, are they real improvements or mostly eye candy?

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  3. #2
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    The simpler the better IMO. I just want two extras; I like a decent beaver tail (I have meaty hands) and I like the front strap to be gritty. The rest I couldn't care less about.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Distinguished Member Array Agave's Avatar
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    I have small hands so I can deal without the beaver tail. I'd like to have a full length guide rod and an extended thumb safety. I also have Pachmayr Gripper grips on my 1911.
    The preceding post may contain sarcasm; it's just better that way. However, it is still intended with construction and with the Love of my L-rd Y'shua.

    NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, Tennessee Certified Instructor

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    stamped by Ed Brown

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    Hoot, I can appreciate your list.

    I particularly don't want my 1911s to have special sauce and three kinds of cheese.

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    Senior Member Array Sarge45's Avatar
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    Plain is the best for me. I don't even like the front cocking serrations. Flat mainspring housing and good nite sights and I'm happy.

  8. #7
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    Make mine my milspec SA 1911 from 1982.

    Arched mainspring housing [ A-1 ], milspec nubby sights, short trigger at 4.5 pounds, standard recoil spring system [ I really dislike the full length guide rods myself and won't own one nor are they necessary ], and some wet/dry car body sandpaper on the front strap [ it wraps around the front strap and is secured on the grip escutcheons under the grips ].

    1. Flat checkered mainspring housing.
    2. Checkered front strap
    3. Long trigger
    4. Good sights
    5. Good accuracy (2" group at 25 yards or better)
    6. Good trigger, crisp 3.5 to 4. lbs.
    7. Absolute dependability


    I prefer the arched mainspring housing
    I have the front strap taken care of
    I like the short trigger
    I don't care for high profile sights on my 1911's
    Combat accuracy which mine has
    Trigger at 4.5 and not less
    Mine's as reliable as I've seen being used since 82 with roughly 30K through her.

    I'd be willing to carry one with a beavertail, bobtailed, low profile fixed night sights, and standard recoil system, and may own something like that one day, but I don't jones over one as my SA milspec with no such options has served just fine for a very long time now.

    Brownie
    The mind is the limiting factor

    Quick Kill Rifle and Pistol Instructor

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    Well, the one great thing about the 1911 is that you can have it any way you want it.

    You have a lot of common sense in your thinking though.

    The guide rod does nothing. It is as useless as a fog horn mounted on a crowbar. The ONLY worthwhile purpose of a FLGR would be the ones made from heavy Tungsten Carbide to add some dead weight out front if a shooter wants more weight to SLIGHTLY dampen recoil.

    The flat mainspring housing is nice. Some people tend to shoot low with a flat mainspring housing and so the arched is better for them.
    I happen to like the flat mainspring housing.

    I think the flared magazine well is a fantastic idea and I love the opened up mag well.
    There once was a guy that would actually Hot Forge out the 1911 frame itself on a specially designed mandrel into an integral opened/flared mag well and I wish that I would have had him do a couple of frames for me way back when. He did beautiful work.

    The Memory Groove on the grip safety is a Take It Or Leave It with me but, it doesn't bother me.
    I DO like the beaver-tail grip safety in combination with a rowel (Commander style) hammer because it is pretty snag proof when the firearm is carried cocked & locked.
    If installed correctly they also permit a very slightly higher grip on the pistol. Not by much though.

    The front slide serrations are fantastic if you lose your kitchen cheese grater. They do a wonderful job of not only shredding Parmesan Cheese but also your expensive leather holster.

    The extended Ejector is a great idea in combination with a slightly opened up ejection port.

    Some of the newer machined from bar-stock heavy duty tool steel extractors are a worthwhile addition.

    The ambidextrous and extended thumb safety I could toss into the trash can without ever looking back and I never personally ever saw a need for an extended slide stop. But, if you're a southpaw the ambi TS will help.
    In fact I think the original 1911 thumb safety configuration is BEST and I Dremel convert my Colt thumb safties back to that.

    The nicely checkered front strap I like...a lot.
    I grip my 1911s Hard and I don't like them to move or shift and the checkered front strap is great also with sweaty hands.

    I always thought the squared off trigger guards were dumb and obviously so did lots of other people because that modification died a good death. The only thing sillier was a squared trigger guard that was checkered on the front face.

    Hummmmm....what else?

    The extra thin grips really help folks with small hands a lot though they do need special grip screw bushings.

    I always change my triggers for short ones...you like the long trigger. I'm cool with that. Personally I think most people could do better with a medium rather than a long trigger.

    Good sights are a plus.

    There have been great improvements in 1911 magazines.

    The sharp checkering on the magazine release button is a nice touch but, not a mandatory one.

    That's all I can think of for now.

  10. #9
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    "The guide rod does nothing. It is as useless as a fog horn mounted on a crowbar."

    My sentiments exactly for this piece of excess baggage.

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    Senior Member Array Herknav's Avatar
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    Hoot,

    Good list, except I'm better off with a short trigger.
    I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth.--Steve McQueen

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    Like everything else in life...keep it simple!

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    I like it relatively simple-
    -beavertail (big paws here) with or without memory pad,
    -serrated front strap,
    -serrated (preferred) or checkered flat MSH,
    -low-profile sights.

    Don't need front cocking serrations, target sights, porting, light rails, et c.
    Vis consili expers mole ruit sua.
    -Horace

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    Some 1911 improvements seem worthwhile to me

    I also have 1911s ranging from 40 years old to modern, with a variety of the features you mention. An advantage of 1911s is that there are so many variations available that everybody can find one that just suits their particular wishes.

    I agree with the original poster that some of the 1911 improvements seem of marginal value, and the original design was pretty sound. There are a few recent improvements that I like, however, including front strap checkering, thin grip panels, aluminum frame, streamlined night sights and a beavertail safety instead of a "tang". I also like a dehorning job on a 1911 for carry, to remove the sharp corners. Here is my version of a perfect 1911 for carry purposes, a Kimber Pro CDP with 4 inch barrel and aluminum frame, set up just like I prefer it:

    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

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    front of slide serrations: depends on how you rack, how u clear jams, how u press check. if u dont touch the front the the slide (most ppl do, i dont), then dont worry about em.

    most of these things depend a lot on whether or not you are carrying it. if it is a just fun or target gun, then most these things dont matter.

    bob tails, melted edges etc: depends on what you are using it for. if carry, i like it, but dont need it

    extended or ambi safety: you might not need it now, but when you have a busted right hand and are covered in blood, you may think otherwise (i dont have one, but id like to)

    beveled mag: again, when you are hurt and fighting to reload quick in the dark under stress... yea you will want it.
    Wo die Notwehr aufhört, fängt der Mord an
    (Murder begins where self-defense ends)
    Georg Büchner

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    Well If you ever need to pry open a shipping crate on a dark foggy night...

    I need the ambi safety cause I'm a southpaw. The rest of the bells and whistles I'm not sure of.
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

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