The 1911 Sucks

1911

1911

I have said it before and I will end up saying it again: the 1911 an old design that is more trouble than it is worth.  I don’t say it to be confrontational, or to draw attention to myself.  I say it because I see my fellow shooters mindlessly parroting the gun equivalent of Chuck Norris Facts whenever the 1911 comes up in conversation, and I just don’t get it.

I am not surprised that the 1911 is out of place in today’s world, and you shouldn’t be surprised either.  What other 100-year old design is still in daily use?

(click the title for more)

In the comment section of another blog, I summarized my skepticism of the 1911′s attributes thusly:

It’s a 100-year old design. It needs tools to disassemble. It has unreliable magazines. It is finicky about ammo. And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.

In my original complaint, I forgot to mention the issue with slide-stop failures, and the whole internal extractor/external extractor situation.  Either of which would be serious enough to kill any other design’s reputation in the shooting world.

In response to some knee-jerk defenses of the 1911 from fanboys who drank too much John M. Browning Kool-Aid, who told me how all that I needed to do was buy a bunch of aftermarket parts and send the gun to a gunsmith, I added:

Why does a reliable 1911 cost so much, and need so much gunsmithing?

To be fair, I have some of the same complaints with the Walther PPK.  Which is also a very old design, one which has been eclipsed by more modern designs which can do everything it does better.

I mean, is it unreasonable to expect an affordably-priced pistol for defense to reliably feed hollowpoints out of the box?  What Smith&Wesson pistol of recent manufacture won’t feed hollowpoints?  What about Glock?  SiG?  Beretta?  (I know Kahrs need to have some rounds through them before they are reliable, but it says that right in the owners manual).  The shooting public would not accept an unreliable gun of a more modern design.  But for some reason, the 1911 gets a pass for all of its flaws.  “Just use hardball” is not a valid defense of the 1911 design, nor is it a valid strategy for selecting ammunition to defend yourself.

And God help anyone who buys a used 1911.  Everyone and their brother seems to think they are qualified to take a Dremel to their 1911.  Guys who can’t change their own flat tire somehow have no reservations about playing doctor on their 1911.  Who knows what wacky “custom” parts have been put into the gun because someone read about it on the interweb tubes?

It was the best military sidearm of its day, and for a long time afterward.  I do not dispute that.  But its time has long passed.  And a military sidearm is not the same thing as a handgun for personal defense.

Leave aside the lack of reliability with hollowpoints, and the other problems.  The 1911 is too big to conceal.  And the smaller versions are less reliable due to the shorter slide-travel and a tendency to limp-wrist the gun.

Some people protest by saying that the 1911 is the best gun for defense, because the most “realistic” shooting sports are heavily populated with 1911 users.  And everyone knows that you should train like you fight, so that you will fight like you train, right?  Well, that would be a more convincing argument if those “realistic” shooting sports didn’t have intricate rules that somehow disqualify most non-1911 designs.  Purely by coincidence, right?  Sure, they come up with semi-plausible rationales for some of those rules, but there is no way to disguise the overall bias towards the 1911.

I don’t hate 1911 fans.  I merely pity them, because they are victims of marketing hype and groupthink, the lemmings of the gun world.  And if someone sinks thousands of dollars into a 1911 (and isn’t using it to compete for money), well they are just gullible.  Like the kind of people who pay money for tapwater in a bottle.

So what if Jeff Cooper liked the only handgun in use when he was in the military?  It’s not like he had a choice of other handguns to use.  And, on a related note, Jeff Cooper has a reputation that exceeds his accomplishments.  The best information that I can find shows that he spent the battle of Guadalcanal as the training officer on Gen. Vandegrift’s staff.  Not leading a platoon.  Not on the line, pulling a trigger.  And his coy evasions when asked about his real-world experience with gunfighting are revealing, if one cares to view them objectively.  (If you have documentation about Cooper’s real-world experience, please drop me a line.  I am happy to revise my opinion.)  I have no doubt that he was qualified to teach people how to shoot on a range.  Beyond that, a grain of salt is required.  I prefer to get my advice on defense & gunfighting from men who have actually been there & done that; Massad Ayoob, Jim Cirillo, etc.  Am I a qualifications snob?   No, I am an results snob.

Ok, got it out of my system.

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96 Responses to “The 1911 Sucks”

  1. Miguel says:

    As a participant in one of those “realistic” shooting sports (IDPA), I can say that the 1911 is slowly and surely going the way of the Dodo Bird. Bob Vogel may have shoved a spike through the 1911′s heart when he won the 2010 IDPA nationals with a Glock in .45 caliber. In 10 years shooting IDPA almost every month, the only type of weapon I constantly see having some sort of issue is a 1911.
    I do not own a 1911 and I wouldn’t mind owning one like the Springfield GI or a WWII era 1911 but more as historical thing than anything else.

  2. Just so. I wouldn’t carry 11911 for love not money. But a great one is a great pleasure.

    I’d like to publish this at http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com, with a link back (of course).

    Pls. contact me at guntruth@me.com

  3. S. Ruger says:

    Well, something interesting to read about guns! My compliments on speaking out against the religion of the 1911.

    As for me, I’ll stick with a gun even older in concept than the 1911…. my Ruger single-action revolver.

  4. Jim Dietz says:

    I like the article and agree with some of the complaints.

    However, I have owned two 1911s. Both were stock and I NEVER had a problem feeding them hollow points.

    Both were newer 1980s mfg dates and were very dependable.

    I got rid of them because I just don’t like the way they feel.

    You mentioned the single action as being a drawback.

    I disagree.

    I would rather have a single action auto than a DOA and their POOR trigger actions. And as for the Glock lovers, having a sidearm with the only safety being on the trigger is in my opinion, nuts.

    The other objections you raised are correct. Concealing a 1911 is hard. A novice shooter will limp wrist them especially in a moment of duress.

    I shoot IDPA and agree that the most common firearm to “break” is a 1911. As you state, because the shooters will not leave well enough alone.

    As for the Kool-aid comment, My father was a retired Marine. He served in WWII, Korea, and Nam. He was convinced that the 1911 was the only sidearm worth carrying. He actually told me that if you hit a man in the hand with a .45 it would knock him down.

    You gotta love die-hard 1911 fans.

  5. Gunnutmegger says:

    Single-action pistols are great for competition and target shooting.

    My problem with single-action pistols for self-defense is that most people are not trained enough to carry them cocked & locked, which is the way a defensive pistol needs to be carried.

    And, manual safeties are not something that any responsible shooter trusts. Besides, in the heat of the moment when fractions of a second count, there’s a good chance you will forget to switch the safety off. Your attention is best spent on your target and your surroundings, and a proper sight picture.

    But, I am a broken record when it comes to the KISS principle. I also don’t like DA/SA guns for defense, because of the change in trigger feel. DAO and striker-fired guns are my preference for defense. Variables are minimized.

    And, Jim, in your dad’s day, there really wasn’t another viable pistol (rather than revolver) design in common use in the United States. The fact that it was good was an added bonus.

    • Greyshot says:

      First of all, anyone without enough training to disengage the thumb safety on the draw stroke doesn’t have enough training to carry anything safely. Second, I agree that manual safeties should be entirely trusted. However, this is because they’re mechanical systems, and any of them could fail, including DAO striker-fired guns. Third, people won’t have time to flick their thumb, but will have time to get a proper sight picture? Really? Next, the 1911 was specifically designed to be detail stripped without tools. And finally, lever action, bolt action, and pump action long guns, as wells SA and DA revolvers have been around FAR longer than the 1911. Yes, the 1911 is an old, heavy, outdated design. And if like your Glocks (I’m guessing), that’s fine. Neither of those makes the 1911 a poor gun, however.

      • ExurbanKevin says:

        Disclaimer: I have no dog in the Glock v. 1911 fight. I’m a CZ fan, and therefore feel both sides are utterly and completely wrong. :)

        That being said, there’s a fundamental rule in user interface design: “Don’t Make Me Think”. The minute a user has to think about what they’re doing rather than rely on intuition, you have a bad UI. If your defensive firearm requires training to USE (not just master, but use), then I think you need to reconsider your options.

        A person’s ability to learn is limited, and if you say “anyone without enough training to disengage the thumb safety on the draw stroke doesn’t have enough training to carry anything safely” you’re saying “Look, there’s a learning curve on this gun, and the time you spend learning it could be used to train awareness or cover/concealment or malf drills,” things that will probably have a bigger impact on their chances of surviving an incident than whether or not they carry a 1911.

    • dabutt says:

      Ayoob wrote this article in 2003

      http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob83.html

      I don’t really know if your qualified to say he agree’s with your statement buddy :)

      • Gunnutmegger says:

        …and yet he carries a Glock or J-frame most of the time.

        Why the contradiction? Well, he got paid to write the article about the 1911, but he chooses to trust his life to other guns.

        Seems like this is a case of “do as I do, not as I say”.

        And, if you actually read the Ayoob article that you linked, he says there are only 4 1911s to carry: Colt Series80, Kimber II, ParaOrd using the Colt Series80 patent, and post-2001 Springfields.

        My follow-up article documents the Colt, Kimber and Springfield 1911s failing the reliability test in actual testing.

        http://www.yankeegunnuts.com/2010/12/28/quality-1911-glock-taurus/

    • Rob says:

      “My problem with single-action pistols for self-defense is that most people are not trained enough to carry them cocked & locked, which is the way a defensive pistol needs to be carried.”

      No one should carry a weapon for which they aren’t trained. That doesn’t make the weapon itself inherently bad, or flawed. However, I’m having trouble understanding what kind of training is involved with “remove safety before firing”. It’s taught in every hunter’s class, it’s taught to every Boy Scout, it’s taught to every member of the US military, it’s taught at every NRA course…and has been for generations.

      “And, manual safeties are not something that any responsible shooter trusts.”

      As a combat veteran, and one who used (and still uses) manual safeties, I take exception to that statement. Responsible shooters often trust manual safeties to prevent weapons from discharging when caught on clothing or equipment, when dropped or forcefully knocked from the shooter’s control, or when taken away by an untrained opponent. They are not the primary means of preventing a weapon from discharging: the SHOOTER is. That does not mean that they are useless or untrustworthy.

      “Besides, in the heat of the moment when fractions of a second count, there’s a good chance you will forget to switch the safety off. Your attention is best spent on your target and your surroundings, and a proper sight picture.”

      Baloney. I have _never_ forgotten to take the safety off any weapon system I’ve fired, whether the main gun of a tank or my issued 9mm pistol. Due to the rules of engagement at the time we often had to carry our weapons on safe, yet in a year in Iraq I never once witnessed Soldiers failing to return fire because they “forgot to switch the safety off”. The key is training. If you train to take the safety off when you fire, you will do so. If you do not train, you should not be using that tool to accomplish that task. Pick a different tool or a different task.

  6. PackingPadre says:

    For me, the 1911 is fun to shoot and the cartridge is a reliable stopper of bad guys, both two legged and four legged.

    I carry what Armscor, the maker of the Rock Island Armory brand, calls their compact size and other makers call the officer’s model. I have had no problem with ball, nor would I expect to.

    I’ve also had no trouble with shooting Hornady Critical Defense.

    I feel safe carrying it cocked and locked, safer actually than carrying some DAO pistols that have no mechanical safety, just a heavy trigger pull.

    As far as I’m concerned, give me some more of that John Moses Browning Kool-Aid, tastes great.

    • brolin1911a1 says:

      I also carry an RIA 1911CS Compact. I’ve put just under 1,000 rounds through it consisting of FMJ ball, HP, and lead SWC. It shoots them all reliably. Sure, if you tighten up the tolerances on a 1911 to where it barely moves reliability can become a problem but that’s true for any gun. Leave the clearances and tolerances where JMB designed it and it’s very, very reliable.

      I also don’t understand claim about the 1911 being difficult to conceal. The relatively narrow and flat grip and slide conceal very well and easily for me. Of course, I’m a bit on the portly side but I’ve also seen my skinny as a rail son and daughter make both my 3.5″ Rock and my 5″ Brolin Arms 1911 disappear.

      Needs tools?!? Yeah, tools make it easier,especially if it’s got a FLGR, but they’re not necessary. I’ve disassembled and reassembled my RIA and its FLGR without tools. It just takes a bit of practice. And few people realize that the baseplate of the original GI mag serves as a bushing wrench.

      Like the Winchester 94, the Marlin 336, and the Mauser bolt-action design the 1911 pistol stays a century after being designed because it’s ergonomic, reliable, and just plain works.

  7. Sean Ingram says:

    I’m glad someone has finally wrote what a lot of us have been thinking. I’ve never understood the appeal of the 1911; it’s been around for a long time but it’s not the alpha and omega of pistols; it all comes down to one’s personal preference. I like the sleek looking styling of the gun but I also prefer double action with a hammer.

  8. Sean says:

    I shoot better and more accurately with a 1911 than I do any other make/model of handgun. I’ve had 3 of 16 that fed hollowpoints with absolute reliability. I’d use any of the 3 reliable ones for defense if necessary.

    My defense guns of choice consist of Glocks and revolvers. Not every Glock I’ve owned has been perfect. Every revolver I’ve owned has functioned flawlessly when cleaned regularly.

    If you’ve got a 1911 that runs perfectly, great.

    If you prefer to run a more modern desing like an XD, great.

    Just make sure it’s reliable.

  9. east says:

    I’ve got a couple hundred thousand rounds through 1911s, and I’d trust any of mine, period. But as I was saying to someone yesterday, if I had to pick up a stock gun out of a gunstore and go into an gunfight with it, it would be an XD, a Glock or a SIG 220, in that order. If I had on of my 1911s, I’d take that. I do not recommend 1911s to people who are not willing to shoot a bunch. The bottom line is that I like a good 1911 trigger set to break at about 4 1/2 lbs. I like SIGs because they are realiable but I really don’t like any true DA semi because of the required shift in triggers. THe Glock 9s and 40s do well in my hand, but I prefer the .45 ballistics, in part because it’s a low pressure round. The Glock 20/21 is just too wide for my hand, (as is the Paraordinance Double Stack with the DAO trigger. The XD seems to fit. In fact, there’s a XD Compact in .45 about 16 inches to the right of my keyboard loaded with 11 rounds of Federal Hydroshocks. All the 1911s are in the sfe. I guest that answers the question.

  10. mmblah says:

    The 1911 feels great in the hand (apart from the weight) and points beautifully. But if Glock made a single stack (narrow grip) .45, that one distinction / deficinecy / distraction compared to the 1911 would be gone.

  11. Some Dude says:

    “Of course the 1911 is an outdated design. It came from an
    era when weapons were designed to win fights, not to avoid
    product liability lawsuits. It came from an era where it was
    the norm to learn how your weapon operated and to practice
    that operation until it became second nature, not to design
    the piece to the lowest common denominator. It came from an
    era in which our country tried to supply its fighting men
    with the best tools possible, unlike today, when our fighting
    men and women are issued hardware that was adopted because
    of international deal-making or the fact that the factory is
    in some well-connected congressman’s district. Yes, beyond
    any shadow of a doubt, the 1911 IS an outdated design….
    and that’s exactly what I love about it.”
    Rosco S. Benson

  12. Shooter 2.5 says:

    When two people have a widely difference of opinion, you can bet someone has their facts wrong. This is one of those times. The opinion of the writer is based on complete falsehoods. The 1911 doesn’t need tools to disassemble, the age has nothing to do with it, bad magazines can happen with any semiautomatic and 1911′s reliability can be proven by simply chambering empty catridge cases.

    One poster mentioned an IDPA member won this year’s National with a Glock. That’s true but he neglected to mention the odd rules that give Glocks an advantage. Glocks are under the Service Pistol category while 1911’s are forced under the Enhanced Pistol category. It’s strange that a pistol that fought in four major wars and the Browning High Power that fought on both sides of WWII are not in the Service Pistol category.

    It’s also unfortunate the author mentioned his misguided belief that 1911’s are unsafe for 95% of the population. Check out the number of firearm accidents involving re-holstering and chances are it’s the author’s favorite pistol. It just happened again a month ago at a local IDPA match. The competitor shot himself in the leg. I don’t know of any other pistol that had a website devoted to exploded firearms like that pistol. The New York Police department had a recall of their Glocks because of issues with the slides.

    I doubt the author had ever taken a class with Jeff Cooper. It was understood that Cooper was a teacher and he taught very, very well. That was his contribution to the shooting world. He also taught our class that we could, if we wanted to, go into a rough neighborhood and probably get into a gunfight that very night. His teachings of awareness was to STAY OUT OF THOSE SITUATIONS. I would also add that it’s cowardly to even question the Colonel’s devotion to his duty and country.

    I like guns. All guns. If it goes bang, I like it. It could be a Glock, 1911, black power muzzleloader or Matchlock. If someone thinks guns suck, then as a famous movie scriptwriter once wrote, “A man’s got to know his limitations”.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      “The 1911 doesn’t need tools to disassemble,”

      The instruction manuals of the ParaOrd GI Expert and Springfield GI.45 say that it does. Page 29 and page 26, respectively.

      “bad magazines can happen with any semiautomatic”

      What Glock/S&W/XD needs a fancy custom magazine to function right? Based on the commenters to my article (here and at TheTruthAboutGuns.com), many people have problems getting the magazines that came with their 1911 to function properly. Are all of those people lying?

      “1911′s reliability can be proven by simply chambering empty catridge cases.”

      Factually incorrect.

      “Glocks are under the Service Pistol category while 1911’s are forced under the Enhanced Pistol category”

      Because Glocks work right out of the box, without a lot of aftermarket parts and gunsmithing.

      Any, why do you accept rules that favor the 1911 but disagree with rules that do not favor the 1911?

      “Check out the number of firearm accidents involving re-holstering and chances are it’s the author’s favorite pistol”

      I checked. You are incorrect. Where exactly are you reading that the J-frame is the source of accidental discharges?

      “I doubt the author had ever taken a class with Jeff Cooper.”

      Nor have I spent money on a Don LaPre seminar for getting rich quick in real estate. Your point?

      “It was understood that Cooper was a teacher and he taught very, very well.”

      Who teaches at medical schools: practicing doctors, or people who have never touched a patient?

      If I want to look cool at a range, I will take a class with a range ninja. If I want practical instruction from a teacher with relevant experience, I will find a class taught by someone who has not spent their career in the safety of a classroom.

      “I would also add that it’s cowardly to even question the Colonel’s devotion to his duty and country”

      That never happened. I questioned his qualifications to be a self-defense instructor. I have no doubt that he was the bravest staff training officer that Gen. Vandegrift ever had. But that is like being the tallest midget.

      I like guns too. But I do not take leave of my critical-thinking skills when the subject of guns comes up. Too many 1911 fanboys cannot say the same.

      • Shooter 2.5 says:

        Mentioning what kind of tool you need to field strip a 1911 would have been helpful. There’s all kinds of dohickies sold at gunshow next to the beef jerky that’s supposed to make things easier. but NOT necessary.

        Your quote: “If I want to look cool at a range, I will take a class with a range ninja.”
        OOPS! This discussion is over. Have a Merry Christmas.

      • Lawman says:

        Well you are missing something very important to shooting community. There are people out there far knowledgeable and experienced in self defense tactic and weapon system and they don’t disrespect other peoples’ interests and love of their guns. Your dislike of 1911 weapon system blinded you several facts about 1911 handguns. Why is so many police agencies transitioning back to 1911 system from Glock or other plastic guns. Why FBI, DEA and other bigger police agencies transitioned back to 1911 from DA/SA system? Because 1911 is proven system over 100 years old. Newer doesn’t mean better than old.

        I own many different handguns including Beretta, S&W, Glock, H&K, FN, SIG Sauer, several brands of 1911′s. I respect each companies design and that is why I bought guns from above companies. But as a lawenforcement officer, I carry my trusted 1911 for duty and off duty carry. Over 15 years of experience dealing with tactic and shooting instruction, 1911 continously proved itself over and over again. I also don’t need a tool to disassemble my 1911s unless you consider my fingers as a tool.

        So have an open mind and respect other peoples’ choice and let it be. Many soldiers died to protect your free speech. Many of them also used trusted good old browning system.

        Have a merry Xmas and Happy new year.

        • Gunnutmegger says:

          “Why is so many police agencies transitioning back to 1911 system from Glock or other plastic guns. Why FBI, DEA and other bigger police agencies transitioned back to 1911 from DA/SA system?”

          What police departments are issuing the 1911 to their rank&file officers?

          And, the 1911 is not standard issue for rank&file agents of the FBI or DEA, at least according to the wikipedia entry:

          “An FBI Special Agent is issued a Glock Model 22 pistol in .40 S&W caliber upon successful completion of their training at the FBI Academy. The Glock Model 27 in .40 S&W caliber is authorized as a secondary weapon. Special Agents are authorized to purchase and qualify with the Glock Model 21 in .45 ACP caliber for duty carry. Special Agents of the FBI HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) are issued the Springfield Model 1911A1 .45 ACP Pistol”

          • Lawman says:

            This is exactly I meant.. Your knowledge is based on probably all on the internet information.

            I am a field officer who actual train officers and take a part of transition program. My information is based on facts; not on internet commando wikipedia experience.

            So if you want to experience some real actions then man up and join the force. Facts comes from the actuality not just from reading internet acticles.

          • CJGrad says:

            Wikipedia? Really? You do know that anyone can write anything on Wikipedia without having to provide a source, don’t you?

            And even if the source for this Wikipedia entry is correct, why do you think the HRT is issued a Springfield 1911?

      • Iman Azol says:

        The J Frames are revolvers, not pistols.

        Do you actually own a gun? Or just play a lot of Modern Warfare or whatever it’s called?

    • Miguel says:

      “One poster mentioned an IDPA member won this year’s National with a Glock. That’s true but he neglected to mention the odd rules that give Glocks an advantage. Glocks are under the Service Pistol category while 1911’s are forced under the Enhanced Pistol category.”

      Actually 1911′s are not permissible under Enhanced Service unless they are in the 9mm caliber which most of the 1911 Fan Club Members admit is not as reliable as it should be. 1911s go into the CUSTOM Defensive Pistol division that is for pistols in .45 caliber only, a niche for 1911s. All other divisions can be shot with different calibers as allowed by the rules.

  13. Larry says:

    Lowest common denominator reasoning is always tricky:

    “Most people can’t drive a stick shift, and don’t do maintenance every 500 miles, and can’t read real gauges-therefore, Formula 1 cars should have automatic transmissions, idiot lights and sealed crankcases.”

    You’re quite right, MOST people shouldn’t carry in condition 1, shouldn’t work on their guns and should stick to stock Glocks, XD’s and revolvers. Just as most people shouldn’t driver formula 1. But generalizing from what ‘most people’ should do to an overarching principle is bad logic.

    There’s a reason the 1911/2011 platform dominates USPSA and other shooting sports; it’s capable of the best trigger, it can be tuned (fairly easily) to a high degree of accuracy and, correctly set up, is extremely reliable.

    And as far as reliability; you do realize that when you compare a Glock to a 1911 in terms of reliability, you’re comparing a BRAND to a CLASS of weapon, right? It’s about as meaningful as saying that a Ford Focus is more reliable than ‘sedans’, since 1911′s are made by a number of manufacturers, ranging from excellent to awful. If you want to try a correct comparison, say ‘A Glock is more reliable than a Wilson 1911′—but then you’d probably be wrong.

    Larry

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      “There’s a reason the 1911/2011 platform dominates USPSA and other shooting sports”

      …because the rules were written by 1911 fans written to favor the 1911?

      The 1911 does well at target-shooting sports under controlled conditions because it is a good target gun. Single-action with a potentially great trigger, if you spend the $$$. I would be surprised if it DIDN’T do well at shooting games. But games are not the real world.

      “and as far as reliability; you do realize that when you compare a Glock to a 1911 in terms of reliability, you’re comparing a BRAND to a CLASS of weapon, right?”

      Sure I do. But I am not sure that 1911 fans realize that.

      What IS the “right” 1911? Is an external extractor design still a 1911? How much in gunsmithing and aftermarket parts is an acceptable cost to make the gun work right?

      If the design is so great, why does every manufacturer have different versions of it?

      • Shooter 2.5 says:

        If the design is so bad and outdated, why do so many manufactures make one?

        Sorry, guy. If you don’t like them that’s fine. Free Country or it used to be. Just try to use some sort of facts to validate your reasoning.

        By the way. I just returned from the range with my brand new Saiga 12 which as everyone on the internet knows full well is a jam-a-matic piece of over priced garbage. It needs new parts and specific ammunition in order to fire and that’s if you don’t own a “Vodka Special”. It’s even worse if you do. I have already ordered the parts to correct this problem. I would not post that AK-47′s suck because it’s not true. The Saiga has a known defect. That doesn’t mean it can’t be easily corrected.

        On a more serious note, Atlas is Shrugging. The babyboomer craftsmen are disappearing by retiring. I’m finding it harder and harder to find quality parts and service. Even with money in hand, I can’t buy replacement parts. The factories have gone out of business. Everyone better get used to buying pretend products that don’t deliver and learn to change and modify what is available.

      • Greyshot says:

        “What other 100-year old design is still in daily use?”

        Double action revolvers like your J-frame have been around since at least 1877 (Colt Lightning, albeit poorly executed). The (arguably) first truly popular one was the S&W Hand Ejector (AKA Military and Police, and later, the Model 10) was introduced in 1896. I think you’ll find both dates come before 1911.

        “Too many 1911 fanboys cannot say the same.”

        Your loathing of the 1911 is nearly as fanatical as the worship heaped upon it by those fanboys. A truly critical thinker will recognize positive aspects of designs they don’t like. For example, I hate shooting Glocks. Regardless, I recognize that they’re lightweight, inexpensive, easy to use, accurate, reliable, and durable. I still dislike both the too-wide boxy feel and unnatural angle of the grip, as well as the complete lack of useful safeties.

        Incidentally, my earlier guess of a Glock was based on the fact that the biggest condemners of 1911s tend to be Glock fanboys (and vice versa).

        • Gunnutmegger says:

          Everyone assumes that people who don’t worship the 1911 must be Glockheads. I have several but I prefer the guaranteed reliability of a wheelgun. Glocks are blocky, but they function reliably with most ammo right out of the box.

          The design of revolvers has been updated as advances in metallurgy and machining have made that possible. But the basic operation of a revolver hasn’t changed. And it shouldn’t have to, since it works. No reliability issues with function. (Materials-related problems and quality-control issues are different).

          I don’t loathe the 1911. But unlike the 1911 cheerleaders, I clearly see both its strengths and weaknesses. As a centerfire target gun its terrific.

          As a defensive weapon…the weaknesses outweigh the advantages. Too big to conceal, won’t feed hollowpoints reliably, unsafe because it’s a single-action pistol with an exposed hammer, needs too much training to maintain proficiency. And like any gun with a manual safety, the user will forget to remove the safety in the heat of the moment.

          I guess I am just puzzled at the way 1911 fans act like it’s a perfect design. They excuse every failure, spend 3-5 times the cost of a Glock/M&P/XD and then gladly fork over more cash for parts and ‘smithing.

          But, hey, it’s their money.

  14. RobertG says:

    Oh to criticize the 1911 on the eve of IT’s Birthday. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is loved by million-right up there with apple pie and does not cause your teeth to rot ;-)

    But I enjoy gun article of every sort so have at it.

  15. Tam says:

    I prefer to get my advice on defense & gunfighting from men who have actually been there & done that; Massad Ayoob…

    That’s pretty funny right there. :D

  16. thacker8394 says:

    WOW….. this article is ridiculous. The preferred pistol of most SPEC OPS guys and FBI SWAT is the old outdated and suposed unreliable 1911. Now the XD and Glocks are great shooting and reliable weapons of the modern world and that is about all i can say about them as i do not prefer them over the 1911. the 1911 is not for the person that only shoots 100 rounds a year the Glock or XD is. I shoot around 2000 rounds a month through my various .45′s as this is the only caliber pistol i own. to include several 1911′s one Glock and one XD. one of the reasons a 1911 cost more than the other 2 mentions is because its design requires someone with a certain skill level to build as a-posed to simple minded parts assemblers that work at a lower wage.

    I had a friend that thought the same way about the 1911 platform. I took him shooting we expended around 1500 rounds between 2 of my 1911′s and a Glock 21 and a XD45. now for some reason he kept wanting to shoot my 1911′s the springfield armory custom shop TRP that has over 20k rounds through it. the reason he liked this gun so much is because it is a tack driver and smoother than any other style of pistol manufactured to date. Yes you can buy 4 glock 21′s for what i have invested in it. but i would bet my life on the fact that me and my old 1911 will out perform you on any game stage or battle field with your pistol of choice. And yes i have been on real battle fields with 1911′s and many other weapons and i can say the guns that didn’t fail are the older designs like the M16/M4 and 1911. V/R C. R. Thacker USN active duty since 1997.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      No one disputes that a reliable 1911 can be a great target gun.

      It’s finding and making a 1911 that is reliable that is the problem.

      If you have an armorer at your beck and call to keep your 1911 running (like the FBI and SpecOps guys have) well, yeah, you can afford to go with a gun that needs a lot of tinkering to make it run. Most people do not have that luxury.

      • thacker8394 says:

        My question is if it sucks so bad why do these guys use them? Don’t worry i will answer this one for you. High performance operators require high performance weapons that are deadly accurate and don’t fail. and as with all thing high performance the proper maintenance is a must to keep it performing at that high level. Don’t get me wrong the glock’s and xd’s are great weapons but the bigest thing they have to offer to your every day guy is simplicity. which in most cases make them the better choice for your average Joe. But to sit there and say that the 1911 sucks just proves that you are just an every day Joe that is to lazy or just to incompetent to own a well tuned machine.

        And don’t give me that whole capacity BS because i know from experience that a handgun is the proffered weapon for suppressive fire. if you are using a handgun to stop an intruder or assailant you will not need more than 3 shots to make them stop what they are doing or thinking about doing that is if you shoot with some regularity and not just some dip Sh** that shoots twice a year and thinks he is on the same level as some one who trains all year long and shoots 30k rounds of live ammo while doing so.

  17. thacker8394 says:

    im sure that this whole article is just a ploy to get internet traffic to this sight and it has done a great job at it. but the only thing in all of the post that you have made that is the 100% truth are the comments about wheel guns. i think they are the most accurate and reliable handguns on the planet. period no if’s and’s or but’s about that. but i still love my auto loaders and am not afraid to tune a 1911.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Actually, as I linked to at the beginning of the article, it started in the comments section of a post at Tam’s site.

      I just wanted to get the whole point across in one place, instead of scattered around the comments sections of a couple of posts.

  18. Gunnutmegger says:

    Lawman, I asked you some questions, and you didn’t even bother to answer them.

    What police departments issue 1911s to rank&file officers, as you claimed? Tell me, please. If true this would be a drastic change in the way police departments arm themselves.

    And, can you confirm that the FBI now issues 1911s to rank&file agents? If it wasn’t 11:30 on Christmas Eve, I would walk a few streets over and ask the FBI special agent who lives near me what they issue as sidearms.

    I have a funny feeling that it won’t be a 1911.

    • thacker8394 says:

      only the FBI SWAT guys get the 1911 and that would be the Springfield Armory PRO that cost $2500 each. and no PD’s issue them as of today the Glock is the weapon of choice for PD’s due largely to the low investment and lack of training involved. even the military has cut back on the amount of training thy give their (normal ground level guy’s) USMC and Navy are only required to qualify once a year. Now that is a different story for the SpecOps and SWAT guys that use the 1911.

      • Gunnutmegger says:

        Oh, I realize that Thack. But Lawman made some claims about the FBI and police issuing 1911s, and I wanted to give him a chance to back it up before I called bullsh*t.

        • Tam says:

          Tacoma, WA PD issues the Kimber Pro Carry.

          The FBI only issues the Springfield Pro to the HRT and to SWAT-qualified agents.

          1911s are still popular with cops in TX and the Southwest in smaller departments where officers are required or allowed to provide their own sidearms. Blogger MattG carried his Kimber for his entire LE career up until he went to work for a department that issued G31s and made him an FTO; it’s be bad form for the FTO to carry a different sidearm than the guys he trained, plus .357SIG ammo was free.

          The biggest reason for large departments not issuing 1911s to rank-and-file cops is the same reason why big departments don’t issue, say, the Springfield XD: Agencies want, for liability reasons, an established LE support infrastructure and Department Armorer program backing up their issue sidearms. Among handgun manufacturers, there are only four in the US that do that (Beretta, SIG, HK, and Glock, although supposedly FNH has been trying to get one spun up for a couple of years now.)

        • Tam says:

          Whoops. Forgot S&W. Make that five.

          • Gunnutmegger says:

            So we now know of one police agency that issues 1911s to rank&file officers. Just one.

            Something occurred to me as I was tormenting my nieces.

            What .45 pistols were available to American consumers in, say, 1920? Repeat the question for each decade.

            No wonder the 1911 became popular. There weren’t any other guns to fire the .45acp until late in the 20th century.

  19. Tam says:

    I’ve expressed similar sentiments to this post before. I discussed it in this post.

    There’s some truth to what you are saying, combined with a fair amount of misinformation, too, but I just don’t get as into discussing hardware anymore. I’ll be happy to address some of your points in email, though.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Your story is a common one, Tam.

      The underlying issue is that the 1911 design doesn’t really exist anymore. There are many brands selling “1911″ pistols, and they are all different from one another in some way. And there is no guarantee of consistency within those brands, as Kimber proved a few years back.

      You had the advantage of being in the industry and having a lot of access to subject matter experts who were able to navigate a path for you through the 1911 minefield.

      Most consumers do not have that luxury. And they have other, less-expensive, less potentially troublesome designs to choose from.

      • GuardDuck says:

        The underlying issue is that the 1911 design doesn’t really exist anymore. There are many brands selling “1911″ pistols, and they are all different from one another in some way.

        Yup, kinda like the Glock is only one design among many ‘safe actioned polymer framed double stack pistols’ available on the market today with greater or lessor levels of quality manufacture.

  20. Miguel says:

    “If the design is so bad and outdated, why do so many manufactures make one?”

    ’cause people buy it and the gun companies are in it for the money as they should?

    Another example of the above: Taurus Judge.

    And no, I am not comparing the 1911 with the Judge, just annotating that SALES make a big part of why they keep offering it.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Exactly, Miguel.

      Maybe I am just a cheapskate yankee, but I can’t justify spending double or triple the cost of a Glock/M&P/XD/SiG to obtain a reliable .45 pistol for defensive purposes.

      On the other hand, the piles of cash that 1911 fans spend on their pet gun is keeping a lot of gun companies in the black.

  21. Rob says:

    So many fallacies and so much misinformation.

    First, most of the other guns you mention aren’t as “new” as you apparently think they are. Except for the firing mechanism (which contributes nothing to reliability or accuracy) and the plastic frame, the Glock is just a simplified Browning design. And the simplification was to save money, not to improve performance. This is true of virtually all the “modern” guns you mention.

    Second, most of the reliability issues you cite with the 1911 are not due to design flaws (if they were, all those “modern” guns would suffer them as well, since they are based on the same design), they’re almost entirely due to the fact that you have multiple manufacturers (many with low quality control) pumping out parts for the 1911, often to different specs and tolerances, whereas most of the other guns, and all their parts and accessories, are made by just one manufacturer each. Most reputable 1911 manufacturers put out a product that is just as reliable as any other type of gun.

    The reason so many don’t work properly is, as even you note, that people try to mix and match these parts or try to home-smith the thing. Leave it the way it was made, and don’t use cheap crappy after-market stuff (like magazines), and the gun will run great. Do otherwise with any gun, and you risk having a jam-o-matic.

    As for price – hello, Tupperware is cheap; steel costs money. Most other all-steel guns of the same size aren’t cheap either. Look at the MSRP on an all-steel Kahr, which is much, much smaller. For that price you can get a decent 1911 that will work just as well. Also, the design is more expensive, simply because it hasn’t been simplified to reduce machining. But that’s not a bad thing quality-wise.

    As for the reliability of Glocks, etc., it’s worth noting that they achieve this not through any special “modern” design change, but simply by shortening and loosening the chamber, making feeding and extraction easier, but trading off cartridge support. It’s not an improvement, it’s just a trade-off.

    And as for safety, as has been already mentioned, the Glock has had more safety issues than practically any other design out there – from explosions to by far the largest percentage of carriers shooting themselves in the leg/foot of any design.

    The 1911 isn’t necessarily the best design ever made, but to claim that it is somehow significantly inferior to “modern” pistols which are really just cheaper versions of the same operating mechanism is ridiculous.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      “Glock is just a simplified Browning design”

      That’s like saying a Porsche 911 is a tweaked Yugo. You cannot patent a law of physics. And how much of the operation of the 1911 draws on mechanical principles of previous designs? The Tokarev TT33 is a derivation of the Browning 1903/1911 designs, but with the improvements of a better protected hammer and the en bloc hammer/sear/disconnector with cartridge guide rails.

      “As for price – hello, Tupperware is cheap; steel costs money.”

      Sure. But there are other all-steel .45 pistols besides the 1911. How many of those designs are a minefield of build quality & reliability issues?

      “And as for safety, as has been already mentioned, the Glock has had more safety issues than practically any other design out there – from explosions to by far the largest percentage of carriers shooting themselves in the leg/foot of any design.”

      First, I really would like to see the numbers on that.

      Secondly, what about the numbers on 1911s that won’t function reliably with hollowpoints right out of the box, as compared to Glock/M&P/XD/SiG?

      And lastly, “statistics” will “prove” that Golden Retrievers are the most common breed for dog bites. The fact that Golden Retrievers are the most popular breed of dog has a lot to do with that. And the rest of the “dog bite problem” is based on bites that occur while exchanging a ball or other object while playing fetch. Not attacks.

      So while some people might claim that the numbers “prove” that Golden Retrievers are “dangerous”, the actual facts do no such thing.

      Policemen are more likely to be holstering/unholstering their duty weapon than a civilian. That’s the greatest time of risk for an accidental discharge. And the most common police sidearm today is a Glock. The only accidental discharge that the Forest&Field/Shooting Sports range in Norwalk CT ever had in their retail area was a cop attempting to re-holster his pistol (not a Glock).

      So, where are these numbers?

  22. Bubba says:

    Hahaha…Oh man…thank you for the laughs. Does anyone else see the irony here…

    “The 1911 sucks”

    “Massad Ayoob is a GOD among gun experts”

    Anyone care to guess what gun Massad shoots? Anyone? Anyone?

    I’ll give you a hint. It’s not a Glock. It’s a 1911.

    Hahahahaha

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      “Anyone care to guess what gun Massad shoots? Anyone? Anyone?
      I’ll give you a hint. It’s not a Glock. It’s a 1911.”

      When I met Massad Ayoob, he was carrying a Glock. There were over a hundred people at the benefit event in question [An Evening with Massad Ayoob, to benefit the embattled Blue Trail Range], and we all heard him say what gun he carried and we all saw him show us the Glock in its holster.

      And he has written on many occasions that he carries a J-frame.

      So, that’s my direct personal experience and Mr. Ayoob’s own words on what gun he carries. Not the gun he “shoots”, the gun he “carries”.

      What exactly is your proof that he carries a 1911?

      • GuardDuck says:

        Mas is a gunwriter and uses many guns.

        I’ve shot against him shooting a glock, and a j-frame. I’ve also seen him carry several others.

        He also talks up the Ruger p-85. I’ve had a Ruger p-85. Ruger must pay him well….or we just have differing opinions. That is allowed and is not adequate fodder for a P-85′s suck blog.

    • Miguel says:

      IIRC, Mas mentioned recently that he is carrying a S&W M&P and/or a snubbie. He copmptes regularly with Plastic guns or Revolvers.

  23. [...] Over at Yankee Gun Nuts: an old design that is more trouble than it is worth. [...]

  24. [...] Blog Title Home About Me Contact RSS Login << I may draw pretty pictures from time to time | Home Stick. Hornet’s nest Guns. Lots of Guns. Very little assembly required. [...]

  25. I am not surprised that the 1911 is out of place in today’s world, and you shouldn’t be surprised either. What other 100-year old design is still in daily use?

    I’m gonna have to assume that question is very specific. As in, doesn’t include military applications or ammunition itself?

    tweaker

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Oh, there are other 100-year old designs in use.

      Several people have mentioned the M2 .50cal machinegun. Which, incidentally, is prone to jamming when subjected to lateral G-forced (like when it was used as the armament in prop-driven fighters). And it is hard to change the barrel. The army is fielding an easy-change barrel upgrade at this moment, and they also have some bids out to replace the entire M2 system.

      Other people mentioned the double-action revolver, and that’s true. But the revolver works. You don’t need to buy a bunch of aftermarket parts and have the gun worked on by a ‘smith to get it to function reliably.

      • Iman Azol says:

        I guess that depends on the revolver. I’ve seen a great many that have far too high of hammer spring tension for comfortable shooting, and are impossible for some smaller shooters.

        Clearly, double action revolvers are a total failure. And, the design is 130 years old.

        Should I continue?

  26. Ken Rihanek says:

    It’s not the gun, it’s the operator. Some 1911s work out of the box, some don’t. I’ve seen gentlemen show up to shoot IDPA or USPSA and their 1911s don’t run. It’s not always the gun, often it’s the ammo. It’s a fine gun if you take care of it, find out the ammo it needs and shoot enough of it to know it runs. Most shooters are better served with other guns; XD, M&P, Glock,…

    Bob Vogel beat all the 1911 shooters in the division written for 1911s, CDP, shooting a 45ACP Glock. 45ACP is all that’s allowed in CDP. It’s the operator, not the gun.

  27. Fodder4Thought says:

    I haven’t tried this, but there’s this:

    http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/tech/toolbox.htm

  28. Fodder4Thought says:

    Regarding the disassembly – I haven’t tried it, but there’s this:

    http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/tech/toolbox.htm

  29. Aaron says:

    I’ll agree to a lot of what you’ve written here. I don’t recommend 1911s to new shooters for a lot of the same reasons. SA design adds a training point, high variance between brands leads to confusion and a lot of smithing, and they can get spendy a mite on the quick side.

    I do, however, carry one myself because it’s the gun I shoot best. Short straight trigger, low bore axis, points well in my hand, single stack types fit my hand better than any other pistol I’ve used, etc.

    That said:
    1. No tools required for disassembling. Really. Regardless of whatever book/manual you have consulted. I just cleaned mine yesterday. No tools.
    2. Wilson Combat makes reliable magazines for the platform.
    3. I am 5’8″/165 lbs and have a 28″ waist (scrawny white guy), yet I can and do conceal my government-size under as little as a loose t-shirt. (I use a IWB type holster, FTR.) Statistical sample of one, true; but I think “too big to conceal” is a glittering generality that won’t stand up to careful scrutiny.
    4. Massad Ayoob has never been in a gunfight.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      If you can find a reliable 1911, by all means carry it.

      1) I have documented several brands/models of 1911s that do require tools. I don’t consider the need for tools to be a dealbreaker, really, but it is yet more proof of the limitations of the design.

      2) Would you buy a BMW if you have to drive across town to the Mercedes dealership to get quality parts?

      3) Most people will not make the required wardrobe/lifestyle changes to enable them to carry a full-size 1911 daily. And it is not easy to do, even if you make the sacrifices. And if it’s a hassle, people won’t do it.

      4) True, just as Jeff Cooper never fired a shot in anger. And yet, based upon his body of work, Ayoob has direct personal experience with more types of handguns than Jeff Cooper had. And he has carried and drawn those guns in situations where they might very well have been used. When did Cooper draw his gun with the possibility that he might have to shoot someone? It’s hard to take Cooper’s talk of the combat mindset seriously when the most dangerous thing he ever pointed his gun at was an animal or a paper target.

      I just think the shooting public is ill-served by the unjustified worship of the 1911.

      • Aaron says:

        1. There are some, true. But most-no. And since those that do require tools are in the minority, and far from the original, I would argue that as proof that the design shouldn’t be messed with so much rather than pointing to such as a design limitation.
        2. Happily, in my town, one dealership does BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche. Just as 99% of gun shops that sell 1911s will have Wilson Combat mags. Does not create inconvenience.
        2a.Which does not completely invalidate your point! It is annoying that all the major manufacturers seems to be in a contest for who can produce the crappiest factory mags, and that even with a brand-new 1911 I have to buy mags separately.
        3. One could make a similar argument against finding holsters for less popular models of pistol, or for CCW in general.
        4. Oh, I’m not a Cooper-ite, either. I take a third path, if you will: I don’t care if any particular instructor ever shot somebody. I just want their help shooting, and fighting, better. If the Cooperisms work for people (they don’t work for me) then I say let them have their heroes. Heroes inspire us to act better, and it’s not like Cooper told people to go around being jerks or anything. He mostly said a bunch of stuff about being prepared (not bad) and being honest (also not bad.)
        4a. I like Ayoob’s writing. If I had the money for his classes, I would take one (check the IP-I’m in Alaska. Travel is not cheap. And, I’d rather take Aim Fast, Hit Fast anyway.) So I’m not knocking him. I only mentioned it because of your caveat about instructors who had been there, done that.

        I agree on the not worshiping part. I just don’t think the design is bad.

  30. JEEPX says:

    I have been shooting for 30 years. I have tried all types of pistols and revolvers, over the years. I chose the 1911. I shoot it the best, and am 100% comfortable with it. I know the 1911 inside and out, and how the parts work.

    At 5’9″ 175lbs,I carry a Colt Combat Elite in a Milt Sparks Versa Max II everyday. This setup carried at 3:30 disappears under a t-shirt.

    The Combat Elite along with my six other Colts, have all ran 100% with all make of FMJ and JHP. I do use Tripp Research Cobra magazines exclusively.

    My experience has taught me that the 1911, is a highly reliable and accurate pistol.

    Just thought I would give a different perspective on the 1911.

  31. Chris C. says:

    I don’t have a lot of experience, came to shooting late in my life (about 10 years ago, and I’m pushing 60). I have a used Kimber Stainless Custom Target that shoots everything I’ve tried in it, in a variety of magazines, from good to cheap. No malfunctions. I am more than a little finicky about cleaning and maintenance, and that may have something to do with it. Don’t *need* a tool to disassemble, but I’m lazy enough to use the one provided most of the time. Nor have I had any work done on it, as I don’t compete, and it shoots real nice as is.

    Tried a Glock once, but the grip was too wide for my small hands. The XD I have is just fine, though. My favorite is a CZ75, by a hair over that XD (both are in .40 S&W). For home defense, though, I’ll stick with my S&W Model 625 (.45 ACP), despite the limited number of rounds. It’s reliable, very accurate (smooth-as-silk trigger), and heavy enough to keep on target (little recoil).

    But I trained with my late father’s WWII 1911 at Front Site (2003), and it worked just fine, despite needing a new barrel (money issues). No malfs, no tools, no mag problems, in a pistol that had had minimal use for nearly 60 years. (I cannot address most of your other points, as I don’t have the knowledge and/or experience.)

  32. Chris says:

    When I was choosing a .45 I was conflicted between a 1911 and P220. I ended up with a P220 Elite Dark.

    My decision came down to this. everyone I asked said that the 1911 is a great weapon after you get it worked out. The Sig does everything a custom tuned 1911 will do, only the Sig does it right out of the box.

    I like the 1911s low bore axis and trigger. I really don’t know why the trigger hasn’t been adapted into other designed.

    I would carry a Sig with full confidence, and the Elite Dark is still a very sexy gun.

  33. John Veit says:

    Found the 1911 article an interesting read.

    I have nothing personal against the 1911 as it passed its military test with flying colors.

    I have a problem with the slide stop design.

    Here’s a link a to video about that and a link to an article on my site which also addresses that issue.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-WhOCoQfjw

    http://www.pointshooting.com/1911kill.htm

  34. Bobby Hunter says:

    In my CCW classes the majority of malfunctions are with 1911s and the various el cheapo guns (Hi-point, Jimenez, Jennings, Bryco, etc.)

    To me, the 1911 is the Model T Ford of the gun world. It was a great improvement over what was available at the time, but is pretty crude by today’s standards. To choose one over a modern design is to throw out 100 years of inovation.

  35. Iman Azol says:

    “It’s a 100-year old design.”

    Irrelevant.

    “It needs tools to disassemble.”

    I have never used a tool to field strip mine. I’m aware of very few if any guns that don’t require tools for full disassembly. I believe you meant the former. So apparently your use of English is on par with your familiarity with the 1911–second rate.

    If you believe a tool is necessary to remove the bushing, you don’t know as much as you think you do.

    “It has unreliable magazines.”

    All of mine have been more reliable than any other handgun in this department.

    “It is finicky about ammo.”

    I guess you’ve tried to “improve” yours and screwed it up. Mine feeds flawlessly.

    “And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.”

    How do you figure? The retention strap goes between hammer and pin. Easy. Unless you’re a moron. What is the methodology you used to conclude 95%, btw?

    Perhaps, when you run into trouble, you should ask questions of those with more experience, than making pronouncements that point out your ignorance.

    Don’t bother replying. It’s clear you have nothing worthwhile to offer here.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      LOL.

      “It’s a 100-year old design.”
      “Irrelevant.”

      If it still works reliably, it would be irrelevant. But it doesn’t work, so it IS relevant.

      “It needs tools to disassemble.”
      “I have never used a tool to field strip mine. I’m aware of very few if any guns that don’t require tools for full disassembly. I believe you meant the former. So apparently your use of English is on par with your familiarity with the 1911–second rate. If you believe a tool is necessary to remove the bushing, you don’t know as much as you think you do.”

      Tools required:
      ParaOrd GI Expert manual, page 29.
      Springfield GI.45 manual, page 26.

      And those aren’t the only 1911s that need tools, either.

      The tool thing isn’t a problem, as such. It is just a symptom of the 1911 being a 100-year old design.

      “It has unreliable magazines.”
      “All of mine have been more reliable than any other handgun in this department.”

      The 1911 community disagrees with you. I have been told repeatedly that you need to buy the expensive special Wilson mags. The actual reviews I have read confirm this (72 different full-size 1911s reviewed by Gun Tests magazine from 1996 through today).

      “It is finicky about ammo.”
      “I guess you’ve tried to “improve” yours and screwed it up. Mine feeds flawlessly.”

      I don’t buy unreliable junk, or guns that need to be worked on to function. Unfortunately, a lot of people were talked/bullied into buying 1911s and learned that they don’t reliably feed hollowpoints.

      Here are the stats:

      http://www.yankeegunnuts.com/2010/12/28/quality-1911-glock-taurus/

      “And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.”
      “How do you figure? The retention strap goes between hammer and pin. Easy. Unless you’re a moron. What is the methodology you used to conclude 95%, btw?”

      Retention strap? How quaint.

      As to the safety issue, even 1911 fans acknowledge that the safe operation of a cocked&locked 1911 requires a greater level of training and practice.

      “Perhaps, when you run into trouble, you should ask questions of those with more experience, than making pronouncements that point out your ignorance.
      Don’t bother replying. It’s clear you have nothing worthwhile to offer here.”

      Oh darn. I already replied :)

  36. I have autopsied over 1200 people, many of them shooting victims. I don’t see the need for hollowpoints in a .45 caliber pistol. 230 grain FMGs make a big hole. I’ve seen people killed with everything from a .22LR to .44 Mag.

    My primary carry gun is a mil-spec .45. Now, I’m a big guy, and can carry a big gun. If you feel the need to carry a smaller gun, in a .380 or a 9mm–I can see why you would want to buy premium ammunition. But a 158 grain .38 +P round nose or a 230 grain .45 FMJ have put plenty of people on my table, and that is what I bet my life on.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      William, there is a big difference between “stopping” a person and “killing” them. The lowly .22LR has killed a LOT of people, and I do not know of any knowledgeable shooter who would advocate using it for self-defense, because it has little stopping power.

      FMJ bullets traveling at pistol velocity do not efficiently transfer energy to their target. And FMJ bullets overpenetrate.

      The .38 round nose??? It earned the nickname “Police Widowmaker” because it has a horrible track record of stopping violent criminals (thus allowing them to kill the police officer). It’s horrible performance is not surprising. While traveling at the same general speed as a .45acp, it is lighter and of a smaller diameter.

      It has the worst record of any .38 ammo in actual police and defensive shootings. Marshall & Sanow reviewed 456 shootings that used the .38 round nose, and only 51% resulted in a 1-shot stop.

      • Gunnutmegger

        Yeah. I’ve read Marshall’s database. I am NOT impressed. From a forensic perspective, shot placement is much, much more important than any choice of ammunition.

        This might possibly be important for police, but for a non-police, self-defense shooting, if you need more than 5 rounds of .38–you’ve made a terrible mistake, and should have been running.

        For the non-hunter, non-police officer, discussing stopping power looks remarkably like dick-swinging from the perspective of the autopsy table.

        • Gunnutmegger says:

          “Yeah. I’ve read Marshall’s database. I am NOT impressed. From a forensic perspective, shot placement is much, much more important than any choice of ammunition.”

          If you have actually read Marshall/Sanow’s work, you would know that they clearly detail their criteria on page 161 of “Street Stoppers”. Among their criteria: single shots to the torso were all that they tracked. They clearly state that “bullet placement is key”.

          And within those narrow confines, which were the same for every caliber, the round-nose lead slug was the worst .38 ammunition (when fired from a 4″ or longer barrel) at stopping an assailant. When fired from a snub-nose .38 it was even worse, at 49% one-shot stops.

          “This might possibly be important for police, but for a non-police, self-defense shooting, if you need more than 5 rounds of .38–you’ve made a terrible mistake, and should have been running.”

          That is a clever turn of phrase that I have heard before. But the victim rarely has the choice of choosing the circumstances of the crime being committed against them.

          There are plenty of documented cases of criminals being shot repeatedly with .45acp FMJ ammunition and continuing to fight or flee. (.45acp FMJ is the worst .45acp cartridge tracked by Marshall/Sanow at 63-65% one-shot stops).

          “For the non-hunter, non-police officer, discussing stopping power looks remarkably like dick-swinging from the perspective of the autopsy table.”

          Looking at a dead body on a slab might provide some easy-to-observe information such as the amount of blood lost and what tissues/organs are damaged. But it will not provide a clear view of the actual effects of the hydrostatic shock a bullet imparts to a person who gets shot at the time they are shot.

  37. FatandOld says:

    If your not someone who shoots more than 400 rounds a mounth then your not going to enjoy the benafits a 1911 offers. It takes 500 to a 1000 rounds just to brake in a 1911. If you dont shoot much then your not going to brake one in. There is no shame in being a novice the author of this thread obviusly is. I carry my Wilson CQC full frame 1911 as my CCW in a Royal Gaurd IWB holster by Galco for years in the Texas heat. Its not hard at all, you see its the diffrence between a dedicated well trained shooter and the less then dedicated shooter thats perpetrating that the 1911 is too big and heavy to carry. I guess your the same kind of person that cant understand why anyone could ever want a Corvette over a Camery as a daily driver.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      “If your not someone who shoots more than 400 rounds a mounth then your not going to enjoy the benafits a 1911 offers.”

      Sometimes I shoot more than 400 rounds per MONTH and sometimes less, some with handguns, some with long guns. I have been able to reap the BENEFITS of various firearms just fine.

      “It takes 500 to a 1000 rounds just to brake in a 1911. If you dont shoot much then your not going to brake one in.”

      I follow the recommended BREAK-in procedure for everything I buy. And even after a 1911 is broken in, many continue to have reliability problems with hollowpoints.

      “There is no shame in being a novice the author of this thread obviusly is.”

      OBVIOUSLY there is no shame in being spelling-challenged :)

      “Its not hard at all, you see its the diffrence between a dedicated well trained shooter and the less then dedicated shooter thats perpetrating that the 1911 is too big and heavy to carry.”

      Really? I thought it was the DIFFERENCE between getting an affordable gun that functions reliably, and sinking thousands of dollars into a safe-queen just to have bragging rights.

      “I guess your the same kind of person that cant understand why anyone could ever want a Corvette over a Camery as a daily driver.”

      How far do you commute to work? And, how much of it is stop & go traffic?

      Do you pay for your own gas?

      Do you always drive alone, or do you need to bring 2+ people or large items with you?

      Pardon me for saying so, but you sound like the kind of person who never had to rely on a 2-seat sports car as his only mode of transportation.

  38. Rob says:

    1) Reliability. You paint the 1911 with a wide brush as an unreliable design, claiming that it requires significant gunsmithing to overcome its many flaws. I’d like to hear more about why you believe this to be the case. I have not seen one that won’t feed hardball as designed. Your problem seems to be with it not liking your ammunition of choice, but every pistol I have ever owned has liked some rounds better than others.

    2) Disassembly without tools. You cite the Para-Ordnace and Springfield manuals. While the Para-Ord manual illustrates using a bushing wrench, this is not in fact a required tool: the same steps (without the wrench) are laid out in the Springfield manual. The Springfield manual only required tools to remove full length guide rods, a “feature” not present in the design of the M1911 or the M1911A1. If you’re going to quote a manual for 1911 disassembly, a better choice would be any version of the US Army FM 23-35 prior to 1988; they have clear instructions on how to detail strip the pistol using its own parts to push pins and turn screws as needed.

    3) My best friend and I commonly carry 1911s concealed with no issues, and a friend of mine who lives in Dallas uses an arsenal rebuilt Remington UMC originally made in 1919 for her concealed carry pistol (it hasn’t been to an armorer or gunsmith in well over a half-century and still functions just fine, btw). All of us routinely carry concealed, and have no issues with full-sized 1911s. Forget my anecdote: a quick glance at any holster manufacturers IWB holsters will disprove your bogus blanket statement that 1911s can’t be concealed.

    4) “As a single action pistol it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.” Really? According to whom, other than you? Where did you pull that 95% from?

  39. Gunnutmegger says:

    “You paint the 1911 with a wide brush as an unreliable design, claiming that it requires significant gunsmithing to overcome its many flaws. I’d like to hear more about why you believe this to be the case.”

    I am not “claiming” anything. I documented the 1911′s flaws in real-world reviews in my follow-up post:

    http://www.yankeegunnuts.com/2010/12/28/quality-1911-glock-taurus/

    “You cite the Para-Ordnace and Springfield manuals. While the Para-Ord manual illustrates using a bushing wrench, this is not in fact a required tool”

    While some 1911s require tools and some do not, many 1911 fans try to pretend that no 1911 ever requires tools.

    “a quick glance at any holster manufacturers IWB holsters will disprove your bogus blanket statement that 1911s can’t be concealed.”

    Manufacturers and retailers offer products that sell, regardless of the wisdom of using them. To use your example, a quick glance in a gun store’s display case will find some HiPoint pistols.

    ““As a single action pistol it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.” Really? According to whom, other than you? Where did you pull that 95% from?”

    I don’t know what % of 1911 owners you know that are competent and practiced enough to carry a 1911 cocked&locked. I can only go by my personal experiences and observations. Maybe you have never seen a novice talked/bullied/shamed into buying a 1911 as his/her first self-defense handgun.

    The 1911 is a single-action pistol which was equipped with 2 safeties by its designer. It was designed for FMJ ammo. It was designed as a military sidearm to be carried in a military flap holster. And it was not designed to be carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer cocked.

    And, the tool issue is just one symptom, not the true problem. The real problem is that the design is 100 years old and has been altered drastically from the original.

    Ramped barrels are not “original”. Same goes for beavertails. There are many manufacturers making “1911s”, with multiple models per brand. What IS a 1911? And what is not a 1911?

    How many aftermarket parts does a Glock/XD/SiG/Kahr/Beretta need to be “right”? How much gunsmithing do those guns need to be made reliable?

    The consumer is poorly served by the 1911 design and its current iterations (regardless of brand).

  40. Marc says:

    What are Massad Ayoob’s qualifications exactly? All I ever heard was that he is a part-time cop.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Have you ever heard of Google?

      • Marc says:

        Heard of it and used it. The results only show that he’s been acting like an “expert” for an awfully long time, not how he came to be an “expert”.

        • Gunnutmegger says:

          http://www.ayoob.com/AboutMas.html

          There is Ayoob’s resume. Where is Cooper’s?

          And, did Cooper ever actually compete in any of his classes? Or did he just talk about it?

          There’s a big difference between strutting around a range having your boots licked by unquestioning sycophants, and carrying a gun into situations where there is a risk of deliberately-inflicted death or injury.

  41. Gunnutmegger says:

    “You’re mistaking questioning one supposed expert with defending another supposed expert.”

    Reverse that, and then see if the answer satisfies you.

    I am not trying to be contrary. Go ahead and look for yourself.

    What are Cooper’s qualifications? If we are going to compare instructors, it is only fair to examine both men’s records.

    • Marc says:

      I’m not comparing anyone. I just don’t think attending a lot of gun courses qualifies as “actually been there & done that”. Where has Ayoob been and what has he done? Writing tickets in the 2,000-soul town of Grantham, NH?

      • Gunnutmegger says:

        Marc,

        Ayoob has not spent his entire career in Grantham.

        “I just don’t think attending a lot of gun courses qualifies as “actually been there & done that”.”

        I agree with that 100% Marc. Which is why I don’t believe that Cooper was the best guy to teach gunfighting. Nor are many of the “trainers” who simply take classes on being good at gun games from trainers who took their classes from other trainers.

        At some point, there has to be some real-world experience and lessons incorporated into the training. Ayoob does that. Cooper did not.

  42. Bill Carns says:

    I disagree with the author in several areas and agree on only a couple. Being a professional firearms trainer and a nationally-syndicated radio host I’d like to invite the author to an on-air interview. bill@2aradio.com

    Happy New Year to everyone!
    Bill Carns
    http://www.2aradio.com

  43. JB Miller says:

    Most people I know that have 1911s have them at the smith multiple times before they get them tuned they way they like.

    Then you’d never get 50,000 rounds through one without cleaning in.

    I love my 1911. But I’d take a Glock or my XD to a gunfight.

  44. [...] the comments we find this bit of solid wisdom from Yankee Gun Nuts … “… the 1911 an old design that is more trouble than it is worth.  I don’t [...]

  45. John Veit says:

    As to stopping power, read the FBI paper on handgun wounding factors: http://www.pointshooting.com/1afbi1.htm

    Here’s a link to a new video on an Low-tec do-it-yourself aiming aid that provides 4 fast, automatic, and accurate aiming at close quarters.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLrJBYSYsok

    It’s patented, but individuals are welcome to add one to their personal gun/s at their own risk and expense. I have the patent, so I can say that. US 6023874

    John Veit

    To bad the shooting method can’t be used with the 1911 because of the faulty design of the slide stop pin.

  46. Kamboja Tan says:

    AGREE AGREE AGREE!
    Also, the 1911 fanatics just hand-wave the whole fact that Browning went through the trouble of designing the Hi-Power to correct the deficiencies of the 1911; including poor reliability and low ammunition capacity!

    The 1911 fanatics remind me of the people who hate polymer weapons and call them ‘combat tupperware’; despite the fact that anyone with a brain and basic knowledge of material science can tell you that polymers are stronger, lighter and more temp. resistant than any metal that exists; in fact most of the strength of steel comes from the carbon in it.

    The fact is that most of the shooting industry, like the exercise industry, is full of cranks and know-nothings.