Need a 1911

Need a 1911

This is a discussion on Need a 1911 within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; After reading the great link in a thread below for buying a used 1911, I just have to ask what sort of things determine what ...

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Thread: Need a 1911

  1. #1
    Member Array kastiron's Avatar
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    Need a 1911

    After reading the great link in a thread below for buying a used 1911, I just have to ask what sort of things determine what NEW model to buy? I have pretty much decided to be in the market for a 1911 of some sort, but honestly get a headache within 5 minutes of starting to shop for one. I have asked a few friends that own them, and they all tell me the same things.

    1. Don't screw around with the cheap ones, you will regret it.
    2. Cheap is anything that you can get for under $1,000.
    3. Get a (here is where it gets funny) Kimber, Springfield, Colt, or whatever they happen to have bought.

    You all seem pretty sensible, what would you say the best course of action in finding my first 1911 should be? I am not after a "best brand" war, but maybe some direction to differences to base a decision on.

    I keep telling myself that maybe I will just go pick one that I like to look at and then start changing things to fit my likes and dislikes. I am hesitant to go down that road however, as I have about a dozen Ruger 10/22's that came from that line of thinking..

    The first question that will probably be asked of me is "What do you intend to use it for?" Not sure really, but I really think I should have one. Adjustable sights are probably a good idea, and I hate crummy triggers. Both of those appear to be changed easily, so not much of a factor probably.


    Another item of interest: Local gun shop has a Mitchell's 1911 in stainless without sights or a magazine that I overheard the manager offer to a favored customer yesterday for $275. I gave it a glance after the 1911 fan decided he would prefer to spend an $200 for the Springfield Mill Spec in the same finish that was brand new instead of risking the money on however the Mitchell acted.

    Did he pass on a good thing, or save me from making a mistake myself?

    Sorry for the rambling, this might be the longest post I have ever made on any board.

    Thanks in advance for the guidance.


  2. #2
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    Thumbs up Great Post

    Just the right length too! We like to read!
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Warrenty is a big issue for me i like lifetime warrenties .

    Reputation has a lot to do with it also

    Now if you want to tinker then go for a cheeper one ..


    The only person you have to please is yourself and only you know what you will like

    Ive had most of the common 1911's and have had few problems

    I reccomend what i own and have had the best luck with ..For me that has been Springfield I have 4-5 of them and not a problem with any of them

    My Colt ive never shot

    Also My Ria has been flawless

    As for how much to sped depends what you have to have on the gun

    I have to have Ambi safety

    But that is only must have

    Mag well i can add full length guide rod i can throw away.

    The Mitchell's seem to have a bad Reputation but i have no first hand experance with them .

    Ya gotta buy what you like thats the main thing

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    I am debating this myself. I want one quality example of a 1911 pistol just for the sake of having it.

    My personal feelings about it are that if you want to try anything, be it old fashioned shaving, Pilates, oil painting, or the 1911 pistol, you shouldn't get the cheapest one but you shouldn't get the most expensive one you can afford either.

    I say that because if you get a low end example of the pistol odds are pretty good you'll get one with some kind of issue and you won't experience how it's actually supposed to function.

    OTOH if you go super expensive relative to your personal budget, you might regret not getting something else once you realize there are features you paid for you don't care for or want to be different.

    Im biding my time on mine, I will get one, it's just that I don't feel very impassioned about it.

    I've thought about it a lot and had multiple threads on it, and I am literally saving change in a jar to get one of these. It's got all the features I want and none I don't or am not sure about. I figure if I want to get another pistol, even if it's just to experience the format, I should get one that I think would actually be useful for something.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array CLASS3NH's Avatar
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    well.........as being in the Business and from a sales point of view.. If you came into the store i'd ask you the following:
    ok........
    1. so you want a 1911 type?
    2, ok now, would you prefer any Mfg in particular? and do you have a general price range you feel comfy with <at this point I DO tell the Customer I make NO commission, so therefore no pressure> 3. Ok.. now, do you wish to carry only? or carry and shoot target, comp, IPSC, IDPA etc?
    4. do you wish night sights? adj sights? no preference?
    5 Stainless? Blue? diff is stainless shows minimal wear, as Blue is a coating that wears.
    6. 3in? 4-4.25 inch or 5 inch or longer?
    I'll let you fondle and manipulate as many as you wiah, and attempt to show you the benifits of the accys that may be on each weapon <adj sights, night sights, ambi safety, extended slide stop beavertail etc etc>
    If you've not decided to purchase, that's ok, cuz I know I have done the best I can to answer all your questions, and also possibly shown you other weapons that may fit your budget or needs.
    That is my greatest asset, is to give you a better understanding of what YOU are looking for in a weapon.
    Hope I helped you out with my logic..
    Why Waltz when you can Rock-N-Roll

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Alright, I'll cut to the chase.

    I am 100% positive that a Les Baer is the best 1911 for the quality and the money available. If I was being conservative and wanting a very nice, quality 1911 this is what I would start looking at and move down from there until one fit into the budget, needs, wants, etc, or I saved enough to buy the one I wanted.

    A few to look at,

    Model Concept I
    LBP8000 MSRP $1,525.00
    Mfg Les Baer Custom Your Price: $1,290.95

    Type Semi-Automatic Pistol Quantity: 0
    Caliber: 45AP Finish Blue

    Additional Specifications
    Action: Single Action
    Stock: Baer Premium Checkered Cocobolo Grips
    Capacity: 8+1
    Receiver: Blue
    Sights: Front: Baer Dovetail Rear: Bomar Hidden Leaf
    # of Mags: 1 Magazine with Slam Pad

    Additional Features 1: Fitted Speed Trigger, Throated Barrel
    Additional Features 2: Baer Deluxe Hammer, Sear


    Model Concept II
    Item # LBP8001 MSRP $1,525.00
    Mfg Les Baer Custom Your Price: $1,290.95

    Type Semi-Automatic Pistol Quantity: 0
    Caliber: 45AP Finish Blue

    Additional Specifications
    Action: Single Action
    Stock: Baer Premium Checkered Cocobolo Grips
    Capacity: 8+1
    Receiver: Blue
    Sights: Front: Baer Dovetail Rear: Baer Fixed Combat Sgt
    # of Mags: 1 Magazine with Slam Pad

    Additional Features 1: Fitted Speed Trigger, Throated Barrel
    Additional Features 2: Baer Deluxe Hammer, Sear

    Model Premier II 5" Model
    LBP2302 MSRP $1,598.00
    Mfg Les Baer Custom Your Price: $1,313.95

    Type Semi-Automatic Pistol Quantity: 0
    Caliber: 45AP Finish Blue

    Additional Specifications
    Action: Single Action
    Stock: Baer Premium Checkered Cocobola Grips
    Capacity: 8+1
    Receiver: Blue
    Sights: Front: Baer Dovetail Rear: Bomar, Hidden Leaf
    Barrel Length: 5"
    Overall Length: 8 1/2"
    Weight: 37 oz
    # of Mags: 1 magazine with slam pad

    Additional Features 1: Guaranteed to Shoot 3" Groups at 50 Yards
    Additional Features 2: Aluminum Speed Trigger, Throated Barrel

    LB Pictures are in order as they appear.

    Next inline and possibly the best for the money is a Dan Wesson/CZ

    Either the,

    Pointman 7 - $850,00 - $860.00
    Razorback - $865.00 - $875.00
    C-BOB - $850.00 - $860.00

    They can be viewed here, http://www.cz-usa.com/01.09.php and can be had in either .45 or 10mm configurations.

    Then the next inline for me would be looking at good Colts. http://www.coltsmfg.com/

    The LB picks are not the best and are from the Davidson website but it is just an example. Of course stainless would be a bit more in the Baers and or Colts.

    Buy quality Buy Once!


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  7. #7
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    What CLASS3NH said.
    +1 Bob

    With one addition, are you an old school traditionalist or more of the "tactical" school.
    "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, don’t give them a tomorrow."

  8. #8
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    I think you need to figure out what the intended role for this gun will be. CCW? Target, competition? Alot will matter in what you chose.
    I own a SA for CCW. I feel many other brands would have worked as well, but liked the lifetime warranty and reviews I found.
    Good luck choosing the right gun for you.

  9. #9
    Administrative Ban Array Bruces45's Avatar
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    Ya get what ya pay for when it comes to 1911's. If you buy a cheap one you get a "cheap" gun, but on the same note you don't have to spend $1,200 + for a good one either.
    Anything from Springfield Armory will be a good 1911 for the money (and lifetime warrentee), Anything that has the prancing pony on the side will be a good 1911 (and you can get a semi-tricked out Colt (XSE) for under a grand NIB)
    The thing to remember is always field strip the gun before purchase, look it over very well for stress cracks, peened over edges, warn springs, loose fitting parts.

  10. #10
    Member Array kastiron's Avatar
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    Good info from all. I gave the matter some realstic thought last night and woudl probably use it most for target and informal scenario type competition such as IPDA. Some CC is an option as well.

    Ideal price range is probably in the $800-$1300 range, depending on fit, finish and function. It is becoming clear that I might not end up with just one, so the possibility of starting at the lower end exists. I do like to tinker, but appreciate something that works well from the box.

    Thanks again, you are getting me off to a good start!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array BlueLion's Avatar
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    Bought my Springfield Milspec 2 years ago and it is awesom and it is under 1,000. Frankly, I can't see paying 1,000 or more for a pistol when you have good companies like Springfield and Ruger that make excellent weapons for under it. Just my 2cents.
    Listen, Think and React.....Nuff Said.....

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array BlueLion's Avatar
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    P.S. to what Bruce, said if they won't let you fully inspect it walk away I don't care who made it. Also, don't take the thing a part unless you know what you are doing. This could be, well, very embarrassing for you.
    Listen, Think and React.....Nuff Said.....

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array Roadrunner's Avatar
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    A Colt or Springfield should serve you well. There's no guarantee it will work perfectly out of the box; likewise, there's no gaurantee that a Wilson, Les Baer, Nighthawk, or Ed Brown will work perfectly out of the box either. Every manufacturer has and will continue to produce lemons, that's a fact of life. Granted, Wilson, Les Baer, Nighthawk, and Ed Brown all produce fewer lemons than Colt or Springfield, but they still slip through from time to time. What I'm leading up to with all of this is an admonition to remember that you are purchasing an individual firearm, not simply a Colt, Wilson, or Les Baer. If you get a Colt that works 100% of the time, as I did, it won't work any less reliably than a Wilson that also works 100% of the time but cost three times as much. The Wilson may be prettier than the Colt, and it may shoot tighter groups, but if both pistols are 100% reliable and can shoot under 3" groups at 25 yards, then they're both equally suitable for defensive purposes. Functionally speaking, it doesn't matter how much money you spent, the only thing that matters is that you have a dead reliable, accurate pistol.

    Now, both Colt and Springfield offer lifetime warranties and have a reputation for standing behind their products. If you get a lemon, at worst you will have to send your pistol back once or twice at $30 each trip to have repairs made in order to get a 100% reliable gun. Honestly that probably happens less than 1% of the time; still too often, but hardly a normal occurance. So don't let anyone tell you that you need to spend an obscene amount of money to get a dead reliable pistol which is suitable for self defense. It's not true. You need to buy a carefully selected pistol that fits your hands and does not have any obvious functional QC issues, then you need to test the hell out of it. Once you have satisfactorily determined through thorough testing that it is 100% reliable and you can hit what you are aiming at with it, you have succeeded in your goal without bankrupting yourself.

    My personal advice is to look hard at Colt and Springfield. I have a Colt which has been 100% reliable through 610 rounds with both factory and Wilson magazines. Colt uses fewer MIM parts than others in their price range. Springfield uses more MIM parts, but still has a reputation for building very good reliable guns. None of the Springers I have examined have had any obvious functional QC issues. Again, remember that you are buying an individual pistol, not the name stamped into it. If you test a Springfield and it proves reliable, then trust it. Just don't forget to test it. S&W and Kimber are both good, but don't appeal to me because of the oddball Schwartz safety system they use and the overabundance of MIM parts. YMMV. Dan Wesson also builds great 1911s from what I have heard, but I've yet to examine one firsthand and they are difficult to find. Besides those manufacturers, I would steer clear. You may get a good example, but the chances of getting a lemon are high and the cost involved to get it up to snuff negates the potential savings. If you want to go the semi-custom or custom route, more power to you, the high-end boys make incredible pistols that will serve you well. Just don't think that you have to spend that kind of money to get a serviceable pistol, because it's not true. Best of luck.
    - Kurt
    “Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.” ~Pericles of Athens
    Primary Carry - Colt Commander .45 in a Brommeland Max-Con V

  14. #14
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    This is not a criticism of your post Kurt, but the man's name was Swartz.

    A bit of trivia,
    The firing pin block safety, was designed by Colt engineer William L. Swartz, the first Government Model built with his firing pin block safety was assembled on 12 Oct. 1937.
    "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, don’t give them a tomorrow."

  15. #15
    Member Array Larry Ashcraft's Avatar
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    I can't help much, but I have two Colts, a Series 70 Gold Cup (bought new in 1983, $395 IIRC), and a Series 80 Govt Model (bought used) that took some work and money to get right. Both are good guns for their purposes.

    The only advice I have is to address this issue:
    Adjustable sights are probably a good idea
    I'd say probably not, unless you're going to shoot bullseye. My Gold Cup is nice to shoot, but hard to carry because of the sights.

    Experiment with the sights you like (my favorites are Heinie Slant-Pro rear with fiber optic front). Then have them regulated to the load you will most likely use. My gunsmith has me bench a load, maybe 25-30 shots, and then machines the rear sight down to get the pistol to shoot to point of aim (or 6:00 if that is what you prefer).

    You can do it yourself with a file, but the smith doesn't charge much and a milling machine does a much better job.

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