thoughts on the 1911

thoughts on the 1911

This is a discussion on thoughts on the 1911 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This post may ramble a bit, just be forewarned... Every time I break down and examine a modern firearm I am still impressed by the ...

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Thread: thoughts on the 1911

  1. #1
    Member Array doubtful's Avatar
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    thoughts on the 1911

    This post may ramble a bit, just be forewarned...

    Every time I break down and examine a modern firearm I am still impressed by the genious of John Browning. I recently purchased a Beretta 96 Centurion. This is a fine pistol, but again, the Browning pistol shines through. The 1911 has a small number of parts and can be stripped down to every single component in a few minutes. The Beretta, on the other hand, breaks down into a whole handful of small parts and tiny springs, and you're left with several parts held in place by roll pins that might well need replacing with new ones should you go that far. And getting that trigger spring back into the Beretta is a chore, unless someone knows a secret I haven't learned yet. And the slide alone on my Beretta is as wide as the grip on my thin-gripped Commander, a very relevant factor for CCW use.

    I inherited my first 1911, manufactured in 1913, from an uncle when I was about 14. That pistol still functions flawlessly after 96 years. I bought a Commander (80 series but a 70 series mechanically) almost 30 years ago, and I have not had one malfunction yet. I do take care to clean it regularly and treat it right, but in any regards that is an impressive record. The only modifications I have made are beveling the magaine well, installing an extended safety, and "bobbing" the mainspring housing (in the interest of CCW, and it helps a lot). Looking at posts concerning more modern pistols, even 1911 clones, I am struck with the number of reports detailing QC problems or design flaws, resulting in returns for repairs. This is not something that should happen with a defensive firearm.

    I used to shoot with LEOs when I lived in Montana, and SIGs were their weapons of choice. Very nice, but just not the same. There were also a couple of guys with worked-on 1911s, but they tended to FTF or some other malfunction-- just too touchy. I trust my largely unmodified Commander and my geriatric 1911 over anything else. Plus, they're 45s... not much I can add to that!

    I've never shot a Glock, but I hear quite a bit about what a great pistol it is. I don't doubt that for a minute. But, (and I'm not at all being facitious here, just an honest question and I'll respect your answers), will a Glock, or any polymer-framed gun, be around and functioning flawlessly in 96 years, with all its original parts intact? In buying pistols now, for my great-grandchildren, I want to make sure they will still protect their families as my Colt 1911s do now. Keep in mind that pistols, and parts for them, might be very, very hard to come by in another 50 or 60 years (or sooner if we're not careful)!

    I've learned a lot reading these forums, thanks for all your past and future input.


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    Member Array RKirk's Avatar
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    1911 Ramble

    I like the way you ramble. I also started with a 1911 and agree that it is a keeper. I would add another John Browning design that that has elements that are apparent in most modern pistols. The Hi-Power 9-mm. Both outstanding pistols with which to trust your life.

    -- Richard
    "A gentleman will seldom, if ever, need a pistol. However, if he does, he needs it very badly!" -- Sir Winston Churchill

  3. #3
    Member Array bullseye's Avatar
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    First I would like to say that the 1911 is my favorite pistol, but my carry gun is a Glock 35. I have mixed feeling's about the 1911. A lot of my friends carry Kimber's,and they do FTF on occasion, for me that is unacceptable for my carry gun. I don't want to get into the Ford verses Chevy debate. To each his own, it's what ever you feel confidant with, and as far as durability Glock has done some pretty intense test's i feel that my great grand children will be shooting my G-35 God willing(or Government )
    LIFES JOURNEY IS NOT TO ARRIVE AT THE "GRAVE" SAFELY ,IN A WELL PRESERVED BODY.BUT RATHER TO SKID IN SIDEWAYS TOTALLY WORN OUT SHOUTING "HOLY S@#$...WHAT A RIDE"

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    I agree. It seems funny to me that when I started carrying a 1911, in the early 80's as an LEO, everyone would buy their new guns and have them immediately "throated and polished" at a minimum, then add ambi safeties, etc... to taste. At least 500 rounds for break-in was expected. Back then, no one would carry anything but Colts. I don't even remember if another brand was on our approved list.

    While I have heard all these stories about problems today. I wonder if they aren't somewhat inflated. I have owned colts, springers and kimbers and have never had problems with any of them, and don't personally know anyone who has. Maybe I'm lucky, maybe it's coincidence, I don't know. Of course, manufacturing methods have changed over the years and in some ways, I feel, not for the better. The older hand-fitted guns just seem hard to beat.
    "Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can't make it without Texas!".... Sam Houston

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    Member Array doubtful's Avatar
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    Fair enough! That's the sort of info and opinion I'm after. Other firearms, other opinions?

    Doubtful

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    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by doubtful View Post
    I bought a Commander (80 series but a 70 series mechanically)
    Can you elaborate on this?
    "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, donít give them a tomorrow."

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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD View Post
    Can you elaborate on this?
    I'm thinking that he got an early "Series 80" before they actually added the firing pin safety.

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    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    I'm thinking that he got an early "Series 80" before they actually added the firing pin safety.
    If they didn't have the firing pin safety, they weren't Series 80s, and they were all marked on the slide MKIV Series 80. If it has the "80" prefix in the serial number, which many mistakenly think signifies it's a Series 80 pistol, it's nothing more than a numerical prefix.
    "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, donít give them a tomorrow."

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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD View Post
    If they didn't have the firing pin safety, they weren't Series 80s, and they were all marked on the slide MKIV Series 80. If it has the "80" prefix in the serial number, which many mistakenly think signifies it's a Series 80 pistol, it's nothing more than a numerical prefix.
    Exactly.

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    ADK
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    I currently own several 1911s and a few BHPs, but the sad reality is that we live in a Glock world. Don't misunderstand me, it's not a ding on JMB. It's just reality. The manufacturing processes that Glock and most modern handgun manufacturers have established have allowed their pistols to have many problems to be corrected by local gunsmiths/armorers prior to small problems becoming major repairs. When you combine this with the public's desire to "have it your way" now, the demand/expectation is being met with the current crop of pistols. Fewer people are willing to wait to have the pistol modified so that it runs correctly out of the box. Larry Vickers has elaborated on this point in the past when discussing the 1911, and how 1911 owners almost need to be their own armorer to do small repairs because the pistol will become too cumbersome to maintain otherwise.

    Compare/contrast modern pistols with the JMB-designed pistols of the 1911 and the BHP: In order to do something such as a trigger job requires a gunsmith with experience re-crafting the hooks on the sear. The same thing can be accomplished by simply grinding a portion of the Glock's trigger bar or swapping a spring on a Beretta.

    Never the less, I recently got rid of all my polymer pistols. Maybe I'm starting to get to that age where nostalgia is guiding my firearms choices. I think that the newer polymer pistols will be around in 96 years, but not necessarily in original form ... they'll be on their third or fourth or twentieth set of springs or striker or other small parts.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OD View Post
    Can you elaborate on this?
    Maybe the firing pin safety was removed? So, it's a 80 series pistol by design, but functions as the 70 series??

    Jonathan

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    Distinguished Member Array T Bone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    Maybe the firing pin safety was removed? So, it's a 80 series pistol by design, but functions as the 70 series??

    Jonathan
    While that's possible, that would make it about 25 or 26 years old, max. OP states he bought it "almost 30 years ago". By my research (and memory), the Series 80 debuted in 1983. I think OD covered the most likely explanation.

    I bought my (long gone ) 70 series Combat Commander new in around 1980 (possibly as late as 1982 but no later).
    Regards, T Bone.


    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". Benjamin Franklin

  13. #13
    Member Array doubtful's Avatar
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    To clarify a point in initial post, mine is a Combat Commander with an "80" prefix to the serial number, but no firing pin block. As I recall I bought it new in about 1981 or 1982. It is my CCW of choice, although I'll sometimes carry the Beretta if I happen to be wearing something very bulky.

    Out of curiosity, how do Glocks, SIGs, and other very good quality pistols compare in width to a 1911? I'm thinking single-stacks here.

    Doubtful

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    My only beef with most 1911s is the so-called "break-in period". My $290 NIB Ruger P97DC "1980s Russian Tractor" (now with plastic!) has never, ever given me anything but exactly what I told it to. Period.

    Now, there are a great many 1911s that work full-tilt boogie from the box with nary a hiccup, but the fact that this 500 rounds to "warm 'er up" in this day of CNC machines, computer-driven machining systems, and 9000-series production capabilities is the established standard even with $2000+ 1911s is a complete farce and a direct slap in the face of the savvy consumer base for these weapons. If the product I help make failed after 500 minutes of use or 500 start-ups, I'd be out of a job, fer chrisakes.

    I have to give you 1911 people kudos, though. If I spent the money that a great deal of y'all have spent and my pistol didn't work 100% like my Glock and Ruger, I'd be in prison for trying to burn the factory down.

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    Fantastic pistol. Great design.

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