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This is going to be my birthday present to myself next year. It will be my first 1911. Just a few questions about these particular types of 1911's. Do they have looser tolerances than other 1911's? Any problems shooting modern jhp ammo through them? Can they be fitted with night sights? The three models I am considering are the SA milspec, a Colt govt model of some kind, and the Auto-Ordnance 1911A1. Any thoughts on any of the aforementioned models? Thank you for your input.
 

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I owned an SA Milspec, not the other two. Based on my experience wiht the SA and what I've read my recommendation is this....

If you can afford it, spend the extra money to get the SA "Loaded". It comes with night sights and some very good features. It'll be several hundred more dollars and it might be a bit harder to find right now but if you like the MilSpec (and you will :image035:) and then decide to upgrade anything, you'll end up at the cost of the SA PLUS either shipping or just greater cost for the add on.s

I would stay away from the true GI SA models. The sights are poor compared to the good 3 dot sights on the Milspec model.

I can't commend on the other two but I personally believe the SA's are every bit as good as current production Colts and maybe a bit better? I would definitely choose the SA first, then the Colt and then the para but again, I'd save and get the SA Loaded. It has the ambi safety, beavertail grig safety, night sights (nice ones too) and it's a good looking gun.

I replaced the arched mainspring housing on my MilSpec myself which was fun learning. I loved it enough that I was going to send it back to SA for upgrades but It would have ended up costing me more than if I'd just gotten the SA Loaded in the first place.

I ended up selling the MilSpec and now own a Colt New Agent but one day I'll get a full size 1911 and it'll most likely be the loaded version.

They're beautiful weapons!!
 

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I was not that impressed with my two Mil Specs as far as accuracy went. Build quality seemed ok but juts not that accurate. Definitely looser than some other makes. I would say definitely no to Auto Ord. Quality is very hit and miss. I've had great luck with all the Colts I've owned.
 

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I have a new Para GI Expert and have put about 400 rounds through it. Seems like an outstanding gun for the money. I was comparing it to an SA Mil Spec because I love my SA XD .40SC but didn't like the mil-spec's sights (and it cost more to boot). I can't complain about the GI Expert at all - it's an incredible value and a solid, smooth shooter - tight and well made. Finish could be thicker but I got for an EDC so I know that finish will suffer (unless you go for stainless or hard chrome). Of course, like any 1911 you can keep it basic or dress it up like you want. Good luck on choosing!
 

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My turn!

I own a 25 year old Springfield Milspec and recently parted with a newer Springfield GI Champion (4 inch GI basically). I'll give you the run-down on these quickly.

Milspec: These are basically a GI and usually 5 inch barrel, but with finish options to "pretty" them up. Everything else is generally the same as the GI. Trigger, hammer, trigger pull, etc. Finish is the main difference. Minor mods to enhance these are usually commander or skeleton hammer, beavertail grip safety, longer trigger, extended safety lever. Keeps the Milspec look as much as possible, but gives a little enhancement.

GI Champion: Bare bones GI, but in the 4 inch with a bull barrel and no muzzle barrel/guide rod bushing. These are an excellent platform for a custom build to YOUR wants/desires/needs.

I built a full stealth-carry pistol out of my GI Champ...completely subdued (came matte blued), milled in night sights, beaver tail grip safety, STI long skeleton trigger, Brazo custom tuned pro-series trigger group (came with skeleton hammer), barrel link change for better lock up, firing pin spring change, stoned ejector and extractor, lowered and flared ejection port. This route is not an option for many as they don't want to spend the $$ on a "to you" custom firearm. For that reason, the factory customs are an option for many.

If you're going to go Milspec, know in advance that their basically a shiny combat pistol with no bells and whistles. Heavy trigger pull, very short trigger (meaning you'll have to put 1/2 a finger in it), black on black combat sights. They are fully capable of hitting an 8 inch circle at 25 yards consistently, so don't let anyone tell you the GI or Milspec is inaccurate. It has a lot to do with the shooter and familiarity with the Milspec. Of course, enhancements make it easier and more comfortable to shoot.

Springfield or Colt should be your first choice for Milspec. Try to avoid the Rock Islands and Auto Ordinance unless cost is an issue. They are good guns, but the customer service at Springfield and Colt are far superior. You might even consider a Caspian. When you look into Colts, you need to know that there is a Series 70 and a Series 80, the difference is the firing pin stop on the 80.

If you look at customs you'll want to look at Springfield custom 1911's (some don't actually like the Loaded model, so look at all different ones and get the goods and bads) then look at the Sig 1911 line. They released their Titanium 1911 this year and I found one locally with every enhancement imaginable for it from the factory and it was less than $1000. Then if you feel comfortable, look at the Kimber.

Those will be your best bets on 1911 customs from the factory. There are several shops that make their own customs. Nighthawk Customs, Wilson Combat, Ed Brown, STI, and a few others. You should expect these to start at the $1500 range and go up.

At all costs and no matter what anyone else tells you...avoid the Taurus products, you'll likely regret it if you don't. They are having a massive quality control issue and still refuse to issue a safety recall or publicly admit the problems. Not sure if the 1911's are affected at this point, but I've been witness to several of the PT line, several of their new revolvers, and some of their 92fs knock-offs having dangerous problems.
 

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This is going to be my birthday present to myself next year. It will be my first 1911. Just a few questions about these particular types of 1911's. Do they have looser tolerances than other 1911's? Any problems shooting modern jhp ammo through them? Can they be fitted with night sights? The three models I am considering are the SA milspec, a Colt govt model of some kind, and the Auto-Ordnance 1911A1. Any thoughts on any of the aforementioned models? Thank you for your input.
If you want plain-jane, the Colt model O1991 is the one I'd go with. And yes, they can be fitted with night sights.
 

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I can't commend on the other two but I personally believe the SA's are every bit as good as current production Colts and maybe a bit better?
What do you base this opinion on? The Colt's have far fewer cast and MIM parts in them, and all Colt Model Os have one piece barrels.
 

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SA Mil Spec

I got one for my birthday back in April and I like it, though I'm not a big fan og the .45 ACP. The Mil Spec has several qualities that the GI lacks. The Mil Spec has much better sights, a beveled mag well, and a larger, smoother flaired ejection port. It shoots well and reliably. I much prefer my SIG 226 .40 but that's an apples to oranges comparison. My overall favorite autoloader is the Browning Hi Power. My overall favorite revolver is the S&W Combat Masterpiece in any caliber its made.

Where SA really shines is customer service. Cheack out the 1911A forum. There you will find sub-forums on most major manufacturers and stickies that show better than I can tell, the differences between a GI Standard and s Mil Spec. You can also see what owners of various brands complain about.
 

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GI Model:
Blued barrel
High wall ejection port
GI sights
Lanyard loop on mainspring housing
Vertical cocking serration's on slide

Mil-Spec:
Stainless barrel and on some models a stainless bushing
Loaded chamber indicator
Lowered and flared ejection port
High profile 3-dot sights
Beveled magazine well
No lanyard loop on mainspring housing
Angled cocking serration's on slide

I'm sure there's more. :wink:
 

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I have an SA Milspec and I love it. It's accurate, it's reliable...eats anything I feed it and has had only one FTF out of the thousands of rounds I've put through it. I highly recommend it.
 

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You want a 1911? Buy a Colt from Colt Firearms.
 

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I've had my colt 1991 for about 20 years with one fte from chep mag. Accurate , reliable out of box. SA GI no bells or whistles but very good gun.
 

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Valuable Comments

There have been some good comments so far. I am new to Springfield 1911's and have been doing a lot of gathering info. I really like the 1911 platform over my 9mm's. I have actually gone to carrying mine more and more. Mine was a gift/inheritance less than a mag or two through it. It is the Lightweight Loaded Full Size. I would definitely recomend it. It is a very accurate pistol and I like the way it feels and points. Since acquiring this one I have begun to look at the GI's and Milspecs as I hope to add more, learning about features, upgrades, etc... the 1911 is definitely its own niche with many, many, many options. I am looking to add carbines to match my pistols and honestly that is what I would buy the GI for, to convert. If I was going to buy one I would go ahead and shop for a Loaded over a milspec. I feel the options are worth 2-300 more bucks. I alos really like the TRP... but that is pushing 1600. Happy shopping, you will learn alot and I would recomend reading up and getting more opinions from the experienced, it is very valuable information. Oh yeah, and start buying ammo now... you'll love shooting whatever you settle on!
 

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My first defensive handgun was a Springfield 1911-A1 which I bought in 1990. Springfield had far fewer models back then, but the racegun guys were all using either Colt or SA as base guns, and I had a friend who worked for Colt at the time who advised me to avoid them due to erratic quality (Colt ownership was changing back then). My decision thus was easy. My SA 1911-A1 was pretty basic but had good 3-dot sights, nice bluing and a matte finish on the top of the slide. It also choked on anything but hardball! It got a trigger job and feedramp polishing, and some Wilson mags, and it's been reliable for nearly 10K rounds since then. Yes, springs have been replaced and the extractor failed at about 8K, but those are normal wearout/replacement items. Of interest is that the gun always shot about 3" low, and aiming high got to be a distraction during action shooting. I contacted SA and explained the problem; they said "lifetime warranty, send it in." I did - and 17 years after buying the gun, they threw on a new stainless barrel, bushing and link, AND new front and rear sights. Cost to me was just 1-way shipping.

This spring I added a Springfield TRP to the collection, based on recommendations from some LEOs I've trained with and the SA Custom Shop reps. Side-by-side with the 1990 model, the old gun locks up every bit as tight as the new one, and that's impressive. The new kid has lots of fancy features, but importantly, it SHOOTS. And unlike my first SA, this one feeds everything I load it with.

Bottom line, you can't go wrong with Springfield Armory.

(PS to cmb - I got my TRP on Gunbroker - NIB - for $1150!)
 

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Mil Spec SA

I just qualified with my Mil Spec SA that is about 20yrs old. Put 60 rounds in one big hole. Great gun. The poor sights dont bother me, I point shot most of the time anyway. For reliability I put a heavy recoil spring in all my 1911's/
 

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I have the SA mil spec. Bought it NIB for about $300.00 many years ago. Great gun, and a good platform to upgrade.

I don't think you can go wrong with Colt or Springfield 1911s IMO
 

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GI Model:
Blued barrel
High wall ejection port
GI sights
Lanyard loop on mainspring housing
Vertical cocking serration's on slide

Mil-Spec:
Stainless barrel and on some models a stainless bushing
Loaded chamber indicator
Lowered and flared ejection port
High profile 3-dot sights
Beveled magazine well
No lanyard loop on mainspring housing
Angled cocking serration's on slide

I'm sure there's more. :wink:

Those differences don't apply across the board between the GI and Milspecs. If one buys a newer model, there will be considerable differences, if one buys an older model, there won't be very many at all outside finish.

By the way, anyone that doesn't think the Springfields compare to the Colts needs a hands-on education on both. Though I own Springfields, I would love to add a Colt to my collection...preferably an older Series 70. OD made a great point about the one-piece barrels on the Colts, however both have advantages and disadvantages.

I'm a firm believer that the only way to get familiar with any of the 1911 types before you buy is to talk to those who have them, handle them, and shoot as many different ones you can before you decide. You might be drawn to one specific brand or you might just be drawn to the fit and feel of what you find available.

Don't shy away from any of the Colts based on prices, but don't get stuck on them either...keep an open mind and shop around. You never know when you'll run across that opportunity that's too good to pass up.
 

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My turn!



...At all costs and no matter what anyone else tells you...avoid the Taurus products, you'll likely regret it if you don't. They are having a massive quality control issue and still refuse to issue a safety recall or publicly admit the problems. Not sure if the 1911's are affected at this point, but I've been witness to several of the PT line, several of their new revolvers, and some of their 92fs knock-offs having dangerous problems.
I have a year 2000 PT145 Millennium. I keep it sparkling clean and while I don't have many rounds through it since I got it from my father, it has been very reliable thus far. When I first got it I had two FTLs but it was really dirty at the time. I have cleaned it up and it is as close to new now as it can be.

That being said, why do you say the above?
 

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By the way, anyone that doesn't think the Springfields compare to the Colts needs a hands-on education on both.
Having owned Springfields and having the ability to handle them everyday, would you consider that a "hands-on education"?
OD made a great point about the one-piece barrels on the Colts, however both have advantages and disadvantages.
What are the advantages of a two piece barrel to the consumer?

I'm a firm believer that the only way to get familiar with any of the 1911 types before you buy is to talk to those who have them, handle them, and shoot as many different ones you can before you decide.
Absolutely right, those people that own, or have owned that particular weapon, their opinions are more qualified than those folks that haven't.
 
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