New 1911 in my future

This is a discussion on New 1911 in my future within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I know, I know ... some of you will say "don't ruin a perfectly good 1911 by putting anything in it but .45 rounds". However, ...

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Thread: New 1911 in my future

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Ridgeline's Avatar
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    New 1911 in my future

    I know, I know ... some of you will say "don't ruin a perfectly good 1911 by putting anything in it but .45 rounds". However, I am about to spring for a 4" something in .40 S&W. My question today is what? Do any of you carry a 1911 in .40. Who makes the good ones, and what to stay away from. What am I giving up by not go to a full .45 and what do I gain?

    Thanks in advance for your insight.
    "Eternity is Too Long to be Wrong"

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    Member Array Sledzep01's Avatar
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    If the .45 is not enough for you try 10mm

    Sled

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    Member Array jfrey's Avatar
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    The 1911 was designed and built around the .45 ACP round. That being said, I would look at the offerings of Wilson Combat. There are several builders who offer the 1911 in a .40 platform but I would stick with the higher quality sources in this instance. I would also check out Briley, Fusion, Pistol Dynamics, STI, and Les Baer and see what they can do for you.

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    VIP Member Array peckman28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sledzep01 View Post
    If the .45 is not enough for you try 10mm

    Sled
    Agreed. More powerful than the .45 ACP and still fires the .40-caliber bullet the OP wants.

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    Member Array thedogfather's Avatar
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    Oh boy. I was thinking all last year that my next handgun purchase would have a "4" in the caliber. However, my income tax return will be less than half of what I got last year. I know I can save a little here and there for the eventual purchase, but my entire return will just cover the Para .45 GI Expert ... a pretty basic, entry level .45 ACP. I've read a few reviews ... I dunno. Maybe I should just stock up on ammo for what I have right now.

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    GM
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    Why changing something that works in a perfect way? I agree with the other posts, in that case get a 10mm; but be aware of the consequences of that choice.
    "The Second Amendment: America's Original Homeland Security"

  8. #7
    Member Array HiFreq47's Avatar
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    I have a little experience in this arena as I've owned two .40S&W 1911's over the years.

    The first was a Springfield Loaded that my dealer had sitting in the case. Gun was incredible. I'm personally a very big fan of the .40S&W cartridge and my 5" Springer did not disappoint. Because of the weight of the weapon, it was much less snappy than my Glock 23. I put over 1K rounds through my Springfield before the shop I bought it from sold it to another customer as a new weapon (if that sentence makes no sense whatsoever, don't worry, you're not alone, but that's a story for another time). That experience is what ultimately led me to get my custom Fusion Firearms 1911 chambered in .40S&W and that wasn't a very successful endeavor. Tons of feeding and extraction problems. The good news is that I've since learned a ton and let me give you some of the major points:

    When we talk about a gun being "designed around" a particular cartridge, what we're really talking about, most importantly, is that the gun was designed around the overall length (OAL) of that cartridge. OAL ultimately depicts the front-to-back length of the magazine, grip, and the distance the round has to travel from the magazine to the feed-ramp.

    This is why the .45ACP, 38-Super, and 10mm cartridges are inherently reliable in 1911s (generally speaking) ... all 3 of those cartridges have extremely similar OALs. 9mm, 40S&W, and .357Sig all have a shorter OAL and the builder of your 1911 needs to understand how to correctly cut/angle the ramp on your barrel (ALWAYS use a ramped barrel on a 1911 with one of these shorter OAL cartridges). Cut correctly, the ramp extends closer to the magazine/cartridge than a non-ramped barrel and frame cut feed-ramp ever would, this helps to prevent the round from nose diving.

    One of the ways that some builders get around the OAL problem is to use special magazines that have a spacer welded to the back of the magazine. This forces the cartridge to sit farther forward inside the magazine, effectively sitting at or near where a .45ACP round would naturally sit. The problem I have with this is that the experience I had with these magazines (specifically Metalform mags in my case) ... was that they were absolute trash and you couldn't pay me to even allow them into my house again. I subsequently spent two days searching for a higher-end 1911 magazine that had a spacer at the rear to help with the feeding problems on my Fusion, but found none that had one.

    Pick a builder that has ample experience working with ramped barrels (you'd be surprised how many 1911 smiths do not since most 1911 barrels chambered in .45ACP do not). Accurately measuring and cutting the angle of that ramp is not easy and many tend to either do it wrong, or simple don't know the proper angle to cut to get it right. My first recommendation would be Wilson Combat - I've never personally seen anything less than exceptional leave their factory and in all of the stories I've ever heard of guns that do leave the factory with the odd issue, their customer service is literally second to none. That said, for a relatively basic 4" gun expect to drop about $3K.

    Second up I'd got with Les Baer. Les builds some GREAT fighting guns. Every Les Baer runs and I've never seen a more accurate 1911 than a Baer with the 1.5" guarantee. He won't build 10mm's for some reason, but he'll definitely build you a .40S&W. His customer service is sometimes excellent and sometimes not so excellent ... but the general consensus is that he occasionally wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. I've read stories from people who've called up Les to talk about a problem and had Les get almost rude with them and tell them that its their problem ... and then those same people simply called up again a few days or a week later and it was an entirely different, completely painless experience. PMS ... who knows?

    Third up I'd go with someone like Springfield, and I'd do so for two reasons. One is that I know they have some good smiths there and I know that they do chamber quite a few guns in calibers other than .45ACP. Second, if you should experience any problems, I know they have customer service that is second only to Wilson Combat. With Springfield, in recent years they've reduced the number of chamberings they generally offer their guns in, but it is my understanding and experience that you can talk to the Custom Shop and they will build you anything you ask for. I once spec'd out a TRP in 10mm and I think the quote Deb gave me was $1800 or thereabouts - that's Les Baer money, but the Springfield Custom Shop has been known to produce some extremely high-quality guns - so while the price is high, I do believe you get what you pay for.

    I would NOT recommend Kimber. I've personally owned two perfectly functioning firearms from them, but their customer service is severely lacking and I simply do not accept the answer, "Its within specs so we're not going to fix it." ... an answer they are infamous for. If you were looking for a .45 gun, sure - give Kimber a shot, but the reality is that you're dealing with an off-spec cartridge and there's a relatively high probability of having an issue with your gun and good customer service is going to be paramount to getting things resolved timely and at a minimal to no expense out of your pocket.

    Oh yeah, as a side note, the .40S&W and the 10mm have the same case width (which ultimately means that the breech-face is cut identically as is the extractors) so if your gun is built right, you can have a 10mm barrel made up for your gun and all that's needed to switch between the two calibers is the barrel and a beefier recoil spring for the 10mm.

    With my Fusion, I had many issues. They're all worked out now (almost all by me), but some of those issues and some of the customer service problems I ultimately encountered dealing with those issues has left a very sour taste in my mouth and I can't recommend them.

    Let me know if you have any other questions
    Billy
    Fusion Tact-5 in a Pure Kustom Black-Ops Pro
    Glock 23 in a Barber Leatherworks IWB

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    Member Array HiFreq47's Avatar
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    Oh, and to answer some of your other original questions - you are ending up with a round that should have better penetration (smaller diameter, greater velocity, similar bullet weights (with the exception of the 230gr .45ACP) and is cheaper to shoot which will lead to more practicing. You are gaining 1 additional round of capacity (my Wilson ETM magazines hold 9 rounds of .40/10mm or 8 rounds of .45ACP) and personally, I think its good to stray from the norm every once in a while.

    I carry a 5" 1911 chambered in 10mm (the aforementioned Fusion).
    Billy
    Fusion Tact-5 in a Pure Kustom Black-Ops Pro
    Glock 23 in a Barber Leatherworks IWB

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