Quality – 1911, Glock, Taurus

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Wow, looks like the 1911 Sucks post stirred up some strong emotions.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I had a great time debating the issues and I learned a lot.  But there were also some other issues that were raised and not addressed to my satisfaction (being the sort of guy who likes facts and evidence).  For instance: just how reliable are 1911s?  How reliable are Glocks?  And, from the comments, some people took exception to my characterization of Taurus as a brand with hit-or-miss quality, so what is the real deal with Taurus quality?

(click the title for more blasphemy)
How can those questions be answered?  I thought of a way to get some baseline metrics on those issues.  And since I was burning up vacation time from work, why not use it to be productive?

Some background: When products are manufactured and offered for sale to the public, the vast majority of them are not individually tested for function & quality.  A shipment of (for example) DVD players will arrive in containers at a U.S. port, and 2% of those units will be tested.  If those 2% pass the testing, the entire batch will be presumed to be “good” and they will be sent to the warehouses of the retailers who will be selling them.

If more than a certain percentage of those 2% have defects of some sort, the importer will go back and test another 3% of the shipment (for a total of 5%) for defects.  If the 5% sample passes the testing standards, the whole batch is sent on to the retailers.  Any units that fail the testing will be sent to a service center to be repaired to testing standards and then sold as “Factory Serviced” products.  (Since they are marked down, and have been tested individually to ensure function, do not hesitate to take advantage of those deals!)

But if the total 5% sample flunks the test standards, the entire batch is sent back.  Modern quality control methods make that very rare nowadays.

Bottom line: lemons happen, and there is no economical way to prevent that.  But they are rare.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, there is a magazine called Gun Tests that does exactly what their name says.  They test guns (and the occasional scope, holster or reloading setup), usually in groups of 2-4 guns, and with 3-5 comparisons per month it adds up to a huge database of hands-on gun reviews.  They don’t accept any outside advertising and thus cannot be influenced by the threat of lost ad revenue if they spill the beans on a crappy gun (and yes, that happens at the glossy gun magazines).  I don’t work for them, I am simply a long-time subscriber.

Now, when you look at a gun review, there are some things that are Objective Observations (“gun X holds 10 bullets, functioned without misfeeds, and shot 3″ average groups at 50 feet for 3 shooters”) and other things that are Subjective Observations (“gun X felt good in my hand, it was easy to conceal with my carry method”).  Subjective observations need to be taken with a grain of salt since every person has a different outlook, but Gun Tests has been pretty scrupulous about telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  I trust their objective observations. I am sending them a link to this post, in case they want to put their two cents in (they can get the pennies off John Browning’s eyelids).

Who better to use as a reference to gauge the quality of these 3 gun types?  I couldn’t think of another unbiased resource as detailed as Gun Tests, but I welcome any suggestions for additional sources of information.  I want facts, no matter what they reveal.

So I went through my archive of back issues (complete, as far as I know), from the present day back to 1996, and took notes on the reviews they did of every Taurus, every Glock, and every full-size 1911 pistol in that period.

What did I find, you ask?  Well, to set some guidelines, a gun would be judged as “broken” if it stopped working, shed parts, or physically disintegrated in some way.  A gun would be “unreliable” if it had failures to fire, feed, extract or eject that were not attributable to a documented problem with the ammunition.  I decided that an obviously defective part like a single bad magazine would not render a gun “unreliable” if the manufacturer’s regular magazines worked when the bad magazine was replaced like-for-like. Note, many of the reviews of 1911s had to use Wilson mags for the review guns, regardless of brand of gun.  The reliability numbers for 1911s are probably overly-optimistic, in other words.

Well…after going through every issue I have between 1996 and today (again, I am pretty sure I have every one), I compiled the following numbers:

The Numbers

The Numbers

Illuminating, isn’t it?

From the top…I own a Taurus .22 pump-action rifle, and it’s a lot of fun (despite merely fair accuracy).  But I handled a lot of .22 revolvers from Taurus when I was in the market for one, and they all had problems.  Caveat Emptor!  If you find a good Taurus that is reliable and accurate, I am happy for you.  I like the fact that Taurus has a great warranty policy, and that they are willing to take some pretty big risks in developing new interesting guns.  But I don’t know that I would trust my life to a Taurus without a lot of personal testing of the specific gun in question.  And, while it is pretty nifty, the ballistics I have seen on the Judge make me view it as a less-lethal force option.

Glock.  47 reviews, and just one bona fide lemon with a single failure-to-extract hiccup on another gun.  And, a compact 10mm would have been my first guess as the gun that had the major issue, since it is a long case and a fast bullet.  Tricky action timing there.  To be extra fair, I included every problem I found in every Glock review (3 of the 4 occurred in 1998, BTW), just to be sure that we have the whole story.  And the story is pretty clear: Glocks work.

1911.  Well, well.  15 problem guns out of 72 guns reviewed.  (Hey, what’s the difference between a 1911 and Linda Lovelace?  Linda Lovelace never choked!)  And there are some pretty high-falutin names in the unreliable column.  Sure, a low-end off-brand 1911 might be a loser, but a “Wilson CQB” isn’t a low-end gun is it?  What about a “Kimber LTP II”?  Or a “Kimber Custom”?  I honestly don’t know how the 1911 fans can claim that their gun of choice doesn’t have a reliability issue.

Before anyone gets an attack of the vapors, here are my notes pages, with the model of gun and date of review:

 

The Notes

Please, read the reviews for yourself and tell me if I made any errors.  Yes, I know I have crappy penmanship.  Can’t be helped.  Should have been a doctor.  Ask if you need me to clarify anything.  I can’t post the whole reviews because of copyright issues, but excerpts should be acceptable.

No parent wants to face the fact that they have an ugly child.  And I can understand why some 1911 fans would want to downplay the documented shortcomings of their pistol of choice.  But facts are facts.

I eagerly await additional information from any interested commenters.

UPDATE

By popular demand, here are some excerpts from the “unreliable” 1911 reviews:

From the review of the Kimber LTP II (April 2004)
“…Several testers found the LTP II’s grip safety would not depress far enough to disengage and allow the gun to fire when held with a straight-thumbs “IPSC grip,” when held loosely, or with one hand only, either right or left handed…”
“…With Federal Hydra-Shoks the slide stop, under recoil, moved sideways into the gun’s disassembly notch, holding the slide partially to the rear. Members of the Gun Tests staff have seen this malfunction before, though only on old, worn-out GI .45s, never a brand-new gun like the LTP II…”
“…When firing Winchester SXTs from the bench, one of the live rounds came out of the magazine so far above the chamber it actually launched itself out of the gun and the next lower round in the magazine fed itself into the chamber instead…”
“…A combination failure to eject combined with a double feed: empty shell casing caught in the ejection port, live round partially into the chamber, another live round trying to come up out of the magazine behind it. Another bad malfunction, this one requiring the complicated and time consuming “extended malfunction clearance drill” to rectify it…”

From the review of the Wilson CQB (April 2004)
“…While test-firing this gun (freestyle during the break-in period, from the bench, and freestyle during post-cleaning/lubrication testing), we experienced repeated malfunctions. The first of these, with Black Hills lead semi-wadcutters, was what pistolsmiths call a 45-degree nose-up jam, which means the round was partially into the chamber, held there at approximately a 45-degree angle, but the rim won’t slide up and under the extractor. A tap on the magazine floorplate caused the action to snap shut. All other malfunctions were of a different type, the slide stopping a fraction of an inch out of battery…”

From the review of the Colt 1991A1 Series 80 (June 1999)
“…The trigger pull of our test gun was creepy and too heavy, and it, along with the other items just mentioned, will need to be fixed before this gun is fully modern…”
“…Another big problem with the Colt was that the trigger pull mysteriously became very hard, every so often. The nominal pull was about 5 pounds, but occasionally it would require an estimated 8 to 10 pounds to get the gun to go off. This happened to several of our shooters…”
“…The Colt really didn’t like the Blazer ammo, not because of mediocre accuracy but because the blunt-nose 200-grain fodder wouldn’t feed reliably. We had three failures to feed within a dozen rounds with that ammo…”

From the review of the Kimber Gold Match (October 1998)
“…In our opinion, the Kimber Gold Match’s functioning was disappointing. It worked reliably with ball ammunition, but failed to feed 50 percent of the time with Federal match semi-wadcutters. We tried using the semi-wadcutter magazine supplied with the Colt, but that didn’t solve the problem. A few days after testing this pistol, we talked to Kimber’s marketing director on the phone. He readily admitted that this model would not feed semi-wadcutters. So, we concluded the shortcoming was not limited to just our test gun…”

From the review of the Clark Custom 1911 Caspian Arms (April 2000)
“…Right out of the box, this gun had several failures of the hammer to drop when we attempted to evaluate the trigger pull…”
“…We had one failure to feed with the Cor-Bon ammo. The case actually fed, but the slide didn’t go fully forward into battery…The Clark’s failure to fire was eventually traced to the hammer sticking all the way back and not returning to rest against the sear. Although it was a condition that ought not to have existed, it appeared to be a simple matter of stickiness from tight fitting, or of the parts needing to be broken in…”

From the review of the Les Baer Premier II, which was “reliable” (April 2000)
“…Our first impression of the Les Baer Premier II was that it didn’t work. It was impossible to open the gun by hand to peer into the chamber and verify its condition. The fit of the barrel at the back was too tight. Okay, we thought, it’s a tight gun. Perhaps it’ll shoot loose. In our testing, it didn’t. We even disassembled the gun part-way through our test and removed metal from the back of the barrel. Though that helped, it didn’t solve the problem…This over-tight condition does not lead to safe gun handling with a novice shooter. Anyone ought to be able to crack the slide by hand so he can verify an empty chamber. It took virtually all the hand strength of a man with powerful hands to crack open the Baer Premier II. Most men would not have been able to open it, we believe. We spoke with a shooter who had handled another new Baer Premier II and neither he nor the store clerk were able to open that gun either. Baer needs to fix this problem, in our view…”

 

 

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39 Responses to “Quality – 1911, Glock, Taurus”

  1. finster says:

    To be fair not all of the 1911s where the same brand… worth noting. No?

  2. […] Crunching the numbers on failures and reliability. […]

  3. Bob Owens says:

    I love the aesthetics of the 1911, the endless variations, and the stopping power of the .45 ACP cartridge, but the simple fact remains that it is a century-old design.

    I’m not saying that the 1911 is a bad weapon by any stretch, but it is not the end-point of modern handgun design, and it is a bit silly for folks to pretend otherwise, even if they admire the platform and it’s longevity.

  4. foo.c says:

    I own 3 1911’s. Everyone one of them was problematic when I first got it. Maybe I’m unlucky or something, but they all run great now though.

  5. Countertop says:

    Except – the issues with 1911s wasn’t design problems – if it were l, it would be the same or similar issues across all guns, but rather individual problems with individual brands production of the guns.

    Also, it’s worth noting, that the complaints about the Colt aren’t objective but rather very subjective. They don’t like the trigger pull? WTF? It’s pretty disingenuous to label that an inherent reliability design flaw.

    And they don’t like crappy blazer ammo. Well, shit, that does happen. Some guns like some ammo better than others (though it’s worth noting that my Colt 1991A1 has never had a problem feeding crappy ammo (though my Glock 23 did). And why no note of the Glock prohibition on lead or reloaded ammo. If a single Colts issues with a well known brand of crap ammo are worthy of noting, then certainly a design flaw across the entire Glock line should be noted.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Well, the prohibition on unjacketed ammo is common for any handgun with polygon rifling.

      And you might be surprised at how many firearm owners manuals “forbid” handloads to exempt themselves from warranty claims.

  6. Aaron says:

    Again, these issues are manufacturing related. Ultra-tight fittings on a Clark Custom causing the hammer to stick, the Les Baer slide to stick, bag grips applied to a Kimber, an STI with an out of spec chamber-which one of these are featured *in the design*? These are individual manufacturer variances in a highly modular, customizable platform.

    Side note-if I read your notes correctly, you included in your numbers issues with the low end-pieces as well-one High Standard, a Lone Star, three Armscors, the Brolin, a Taurus…there’s seven that I would throw out on the simple premise of those are low-end manufacturers. They are to 1911 what High-Point is to polymer pistols. That would cut your numbers down to what, 8 out of 65? And half of those are, as previously stated, are due to manufacturer errors.

    Back to my main premise: If you want to point out a design flaw, it has to be part of the design, not part of the execution. I could see this as indicative that the 1911 design has issues with standardization, with magazine standardization, and with feeding modern hollow point ammunition. The last has been noted by many people before you-the design is old, predating said ammo, and it is one of the things that has to be worked in a 1911. You have to find what yours wants to eat.

    But by similar arguments, I could say that small frame revolvers suck because if you get a lightweight in .44 SPC, they will lock up as the gun does a passable imitation of a kinetic bullet puller. Happens even with high-end Smith snubbies, right? So then the small frame revolver is an unreliable design… Or, it is just a design that has been twisted to attempt things it was never supposed to do. And people who want to use one in modern times will have to go through a little more trouble to get theirs to work the way they want to.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      “Side note-if I read your notes correctly, you included in your numbers issues with the low end-pieces as well-one High Standard, a Lone Star, three Armscors, the Brolin, a Taurus…there’s seven that I would throw out on the simple premise of those are low-end manufacturers.”

      I included every full-size 1911. The confusing array of 1911 models and features is part of the problem. And the “quality” brands had failures too, not just the low-end junk. 3 Kimbers, a Springfield, a Wilson. If you just look at .45s of a single brand vs. Glock, the 1911 still loses.

      If I included the commander and compact 1911s, the numbers get even worse for the 1911.

      Regarding your comment on the ultralight revolvers: yes, they often have the ammo limitation printed in their manual or even on the gun itself. But you know that going in as a consumer. And the guns will still function with viable defensive (hollowpoint) ammo within the bullet weight range specified by the manufacturer. These guns were originally designed for steel construction, however. The ultralights are deviations from the original design (to use the 1911 fans’ argument).

      The original 1911 specs did not have a ramped barrel, however. Compatibility with hollowpoints was iffy. Which is not surprising since there wasn’t any commercial or military hollowpoint pistol ammo on the market when the gun was designed.

      I don’t hate the 1911. If you spend the time and money they are great target guns.

      • Aaron says:

        The “confusing array” of models and features is why a blanket condemnation of the design is impossible to logically prove with this sort of data.

        My point was that if you removed the low end brands, the 1911 reliability numbers went to 8 out of 65, which isn’t too far off the 4 out of 47 that the Glock did. Assuming my math is okay, that would extrapolate to the Glock having 5.53 failures out of 65. I do not believe that to be proof that the design sucks.

        Leaving in the low end brands would be like attempting to say that polymer frame striker fired guns suck because if you average in High Point with the Glock, you get bad numbers.

        And, by your data, if I look at a single brand for 1911, say, Springfield Armory, I see 1 unreliable pistol out of 18 tested. That would work out to 2.6 out of 47 trials to the Glock’s 4 out of 47. So contrary to your original posit, Springfield Armory, in a brand by brand comparison with your data, would be the more reliable choice. And Smith and Wesson had zero issues, so we should all go buy one of their 1911s right now, right?

        Why is an ammo limitation on small revolvers simply “something you have to know as a consumer”, but on the 1911 it is a design flaw?

        I think the 74 year history of warfighting the 1911 pulled off demonstrates that it has more than just target pistol application.

        • Gunnutmegger says:

          “My point was that if you removed the low end brands, the 1911 reliability numbers went to 8 out of 65, which isn’t too far off the 4 out of 47 that the Glock did.”

          Check the chart again. I compared all full-size 1911s to all Glocks (even ones that were subcompact). 4 Glocks did not fail. Only 2 failed. One was a subcompact 10mm, another gun had a single failure-to-eject.

          Compare that to a documented trend of 1911s being ammo-sensitive and intolerant of hollowpoints.

          If I included the commander and shorty 1911s, the reliability of the 1911 gets much worse. If you restrict the comparison to only full-size pistols, the Glock has a perfect record of reliability.

          If you compare all full-size Springfield 1911s to all .45acp Glocks (of any size), only the Springfields had problems. The same comparison can be done with Wilson, Kimber and Colt, and the results are the same: Glock works and the 1911 doesn’t.

          “Why is an ammo limitation on small revolvers simply “something you have to know as a consumer”, but on the 1911 it is a design flaw?”

          2 reasons. First, the guns can still shoot hollowpoint ammo, you just have to stay within the range of bullet weights that the manual specifies. Secondly, the consumer knows the issue ahead of time and can buy appropriate ammo.

          The fact that so many 1911 brands have these documented problems (when they have proven themselves able to make reliable guns like Springfield’s XD) indicates that it is the design itself which originates the problem. The many different versions of the 1911 exacerbate the problem.

          What IS a 1911? What brand, what model, what features? No 191 fan is willing to address that question.

          • Aaron says:

            If you compare only 5″ size 1911s from SA to only full size Glocks, you will see that you have about the same number of tests, and zero failures from an SA 1911 (the only one was a 6″ slide model). Zero failures from the SW 1911s. One failure from Colt. This is your idea of a documented pattern of unreliability? Harsh.

            On revolvers-so, limits on what weight of bullet you shoot isn’t a design flaw, but a limit on what shape of bullet you shoot is. Hmm. Oh, and if after 100 years of use, people don’t know what they’re getting into with a 1911 then…well, whose fault is that?

            Interesting note-I have an XD 45 as well. Between that and my 1911, guess which one is more finicky about ammo and prone to stoppages? Sure, statistical sample of one and all that.

            The 1911 is not a brand, or specific model, or set of features. At this point, it is a frame shape, more than anything else. That’s why saying “the 1911 sucks” is so…well, difficult to actually prove. Because the idea of what a 1911 is turns out to be very non-specific. Because for every variation you find that doesn’t work, you will find another that works very, very well.

  7. AM says:

    Wow, the 1911 across multiple brands still comes out ahead of Taurus.

    That seems like a win for the design to me.

    Success in the firearms world isn’t when your company can make your firearm well, it’s when multiple companies across the globe can make your firearm well.

    See “AK-47″ or “WWII Jeep”.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      “Wow, the 1911 across multiple brands still comes out ahead of Taurus.
      That seems like a win for the design to me.”

      That is like being the tallest midget. A dubious honor at best.

      “Success in the firearms world isn’t when your company can make your firearm well, it’s when multiple companies across the globe can make your firearm well.
      See “AK-47″ or “WWII Jeep”.”

      Where is the AK-47 that won’t function reliably? Yeah, you don’t get any accuracy out of one, but it goes bang every time.

      The breadth and depth of 1911 unreliability spans all levels of manufacturing quality. So, it must be the design, right?

      • AK says:

        Had a Romanian AK that was put together crooked, looked like someone took a belt sander to the piston just to get it to move. That gun wouldn’t make it through a 30 round magazine without jamming 3-4 times.

        must have been a design problem right?

        It couldn’t be that someone at the factory screwed up could it? and maybe a QC person didn’t notice? Why those higher end companies are sending out untested firearms is beyond me but stuff happens.

        I only wish we could still be around in 100 years to see how the Glock is doing. Maybe people griping about how it wasn’t designed to fire caseless ammo. How it won’t handle the newest powder that propels 300grain bullets to 3000fps in the 9mm platform.

        My point there would be that the 1911 was designed to shoot round nose full metal jacket bullets, and when you ran out of ammo, beat someone to death with the gun, then reload and do it again. The 1911 was a very good design. 100 YEARS AGO. Its been tweaked, trimmed, and fiddled with for a long time. Improved or not is up to you.

        I don’t think moaning about how it won’t shoot semi-wadcutters should be listed as a malfunction of the gun. I think that would be similar to wining you can’t pack your cases full of Unique without your Glock exploding. It wasn’t designed for that, quit bitching when it doesn’t work in ways it wasn’t designed to.

        Personally I don’t like Glocks, I don’t like the way they feel. I own an XD45 I liked the way it felt in my hand, it pointed good for me, and it has never malfunctioned in my hands. A friend did manage to get to hiccup twice, I still haven’t figured out how. It has fired everything I have ever asked it to fire, including things rejected by my 1911s. Glock knockoff or not, I like my XD, and I look forward to the future of gun arguments.

        • Gunnutmegger says:

          That AK sounds like a manufacturing defect, not a design problem. Assuming you bought it new from the factory, and not used with an unknown history.

          “I don’t think moaning about how it won’t shoot semi-wadcutters should be listed as a malfunction of the gun.”

          A gun that won’t shoot hollowpoint ammo is a bad choice for defending yourself. Too many shooters are like battered wives, always making excuses for their sweetheart’s failings.

          The consumer has a lot of choices in guns. Glock, XD, S&W, SiG, Beretta, Kahr. And there are too many good reliable designs to justify the expense and hassle of finding a decent 1911 and getting it to work reliably.

          • AK says:

            Semi-wad cutters are not hollow points.

            My 1911s didn’t have any problems shooting Winchester Rangers or Federal Hydra-Shocks. They did however have issues with Remington’s generic hollow points, not their Golden Saber HPs, but then I don’t blame the gun for ammo problems.

            “The consumer has a lot of choices in guns. Glock, XD, S&W, SiG, Beretta, Kahr. And there are too many good reliable designs to justify the expense and hassle of finding a decent 1911 and getting it to work reliably.”

            Lighter, more capacity, better conceal-ability. All reasons why I carry my XD and not a 1911. Not to mention a more durable finish, and that is all before you start talking price.

            My point would be that I haven’t had troubles with my 1911s shooting RNFMJs. But I will concede your point that there are better options today for your carry/defense dollar.

  8. Karl says:

    I love my Springfield 1911. Out of about 3300 rounds fired have had about 6 failures to eject. My carry gun is a revolver however. I feel revolvers are more reliable than any semi-auto pistol and if I need it I want it to work. Even one problem out of thousands of rounds can cost you your life.

  9. BigCat says:

    I have two Colt 1911s, a series 70 and 80. Had the same problems feeding wadcutters that the author notes on the Kimber and Wilson. Upon seeking the help of a very competent gunsmith, I was told that in order to run wadcutters you need the correct control spring. That bieng said, when I replaced it with the spring he deemed proper, have not had a single problem in, I’m estimating, since I don’t keep track of how many rounds Ive fired, 2000 rounds. I was developing the same opinion as the author and expressed it to the gunsmith and was told the following: Just because you can keep track of how many times your weapon malfuntioned shooting ammo it was not designed to shoot doesn’t mean you can give an educated opinion. He of course said this after I paid him lol. Having been properly chastised, I went home and a few thousand rounds later, decided he was right.

  10. Skip says:

    Personaly, I have never had a problem with my 1911 and they all eat reloaded Hornady XTP, all copper swc, Sierra hollowpoints, and cheap ball.
    At Gunblogger I did have a ftf.
    Worked in a coupla drops of oil and shot two more days.
    Just my good luck I guess.

  11. BatChainPuller says:

    I own over a dozen 1911’s, one Glock (21 fatf@#*er) and one SW J-frame. The JMB genius chunks are apparently like good spouses, because you have to work on them a while before you two are perfectly compatible together. oh well The Glock is pretty much perfect out of the box, but she won’t do WHAT I REALLY WANT, which is to happily swallow lead reloads. That, unfortunately, is what I like to do for fun.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      You can buy a replacement Glock barrel with traditional cut rifling that will shoot lead bullets.

      http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/default.aspx?productNumber=660305

      • BatChainPuller says:

        I agree with you on the Glock/Wilson barrel, but I thought it was the 1911 that was finicky about ammo and required redesigned parts and gunsmithing to be a modern reliable all around pistol.

        • Gunnutmegger says:

          Any gun with polygon rifling will have problems with lead bullets. Glock, Kahr, HK (yeah yeah we suck and they hate us), LaRue, Magnum Research and CZ have used it. Glock, Kahr and HK have all said that lead ammo will foul the barrel faster.

          What unjacketed pistol (as opposed to revolver) ammunition is available today that is suitable for defensive use?

          What military issues unjacketed handgun ammunition?

          Pistol ammunition is usually jacketed. So why would lead ammo be an issue for most shooters?

          And, traditionally-rifled barrels are available from various brand-name companies. If someone wants to shoot lead ammo they have that option.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygonal_rifling

          • BatChainPuller says:

            Not trying to be argumentative but,
            “Pistol ammunition is usually jacketed. So why would lead ammo be an issue for most shooters?”
            It would be an issue for someone who wants to spend 8 cents per round for reloaded ammo versus 25 cents per round of factory made jacketed ammunition. The savings outweigh the cost of the gun after a moderate period of prodigious practice or recreation.
            I’m certainly a 1911 fanboy, but I’m also a fanboy of anything that shoots .45acp; including lever guns and revolvers.

  12. Toaster802 says:

    Well, I have been following this 1911 dust up, so I guess I add my.02 now.

    Got a Smith and Wesson M&P in .40. Nice enough, but it is the wife’s carry piece. That means it is unavailable to me most of the time. I had a 80 series Colt full size 15 years back, and I could not hit the broad side of a barn with it if I had been standing inside one. a Nine inch pie plate was a “group”. Now mind you, I was heavy into pin shooting with a 686 and hunting with a 8 inch Super Blackhawk, so recoil and practice were not an issue. Fast forward to today and I have a Springfield “fully Loaded” I did some horse trading for, cause money is tight. It is nice, goes bang when I want it to, eats what I feed it and I carry it concealed in a DeSantis HRT nice and comfortable, and will hidden, even in a tee shirt. But then again I am not exactly svelte.

    So what the hell I am droning on about?!

    Run what you brung. I do not have the cash to buy something else. Being an old fart, I really like a mechanical safety. I like carrying in single action, because it makes me think about the fact that I have a weapon on me. I makes me more aware of what is going on around me. I am practiced, can hit a target with a decent grouping and comfortable with the 1911 I have. I am sure that if I had it as a duty gun, I might tire of it. But I don’t. Would I like a baby Glock in .45, sure. But I can’t afford it. I had a Sig 220 that if I could get back, I would. Not sure how much better it would be though.

    A weapon for personal carry is a personal choice. Be it a .45 or a blade. Right now my Springfield meets my needs. If it fails to down the line it will be replaced. If the 1911 sucks, it just sucks a lot less for me right here, right now…

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Indeed.

      You got lucky and found a 1911 that works reliably for your defensive needs.

      For most people, their money is best spent on a non-1911 .45 pistol.

      • Toaster802 says:

        For most people, their money is best spent on a non-1911 .45 pistol.

        I will agree with that. With a 1911, you had better be practiced, thoughtful, and have your shit wired tight. Anything less is to invite trouble. A person who treats a SA pistol like a 1911 or a Browning Hi-Power like a hammer instead of a Katana is going to get a nasty lesson in respect. Perhaps a fatal one.

  13. Gunnutmegger says:

    “If you compare only 5″ size 1911s from SA to only full size Glocks, you will see that you have about the same number of tests, and zero failures from an SA 1911 (the only one was a 6″ slide model). Zero failures from the SW 1911s. One failure from Colt. This is your idea of a documented pattern of unreliability? Harsh.”

    Oops, it was a long slide. My bad.

    So does that mean that only Springfield is capable of making a reliable 1911?

    And, Gun Tests only reviewed 2 S&W 1911s. Is that a large enough sample for you to declare it reliable?

    “On revolvers-so, limits on what weight of bullet you shoot isn’t a design flaw, but a limit on what shape of bullet you shoot is. Hmm.”

    The revolver was designed for a steel frame. The ultralight guns are a new development. And, the laws of physics are not a design flaw.

    “Interesting note-I have an XD 45 as well. Between that and my 1911, guess which one is more finicky about ammo and prone to stoppages? Sure, statistical sample of one and all that.”

    Robb Allen swears by his XD. They proved reliable on the multiple occasions when Gun Tests reviewed them.

    “The 1911 is not a brand, or specific model, or set of features. At this point, it is a frame shape, more than anything else.”

    And that is the problem. It is an old, obsolete design that has to have considerable modifications made to it in order to function properly with modern ammunition and be accurate. And the dizzying array of brands & models has a greater % of clunkers in it than competing (more modern) designs.

    It’s like the Duesenberg SJ. A beautiful machine, state of the art when created, and able to occasionally be used in the present day. But as a daily driver, it would be a complicated expensive temperamental mess. Like the 1911.

    • Aaron says:

      I wouldn’t say only Springfield. I would say that I have been buying SA 1911s for a day or two now, and I’ve never had one with issues. In fact, between me and my immediate family, our individual purchases are a larger statistical sample of SA 1911s than the testing data you have here. In fairness, I am the only one still using a 1911 as a daily carry-but it wasn’t because of reliability issues!:-)

      I’ve seen a couple or ten Smith 1911s out in the world. Good reports on them, and the looked nice to me (for whatever that might be worth.) To be honest, little about the data you presented really surprised me-it mirrored my own experiences. In my life, I have noted that Kimber guns were spotty QC (sorry, Kimber fans, that’s what I have seen), the low end 1911s were always a bad idea, the ultra high end items were very finicky, and the middle of the road pieces were generally good guns. I was surprised to see so many problems with STI guns. I’ve heard people say they have issues, but the few I’ve actually seen all ran on time.

      I get that revolvers were designed for a steel frame, and the ultralights are a modern twist. The 1911 was designed for a 5″ barrel, with relatively loose slide tolerances. So if people trying to make a revolver do something it wasn’t designed for is not a condemnation of the design, why is it so with the 1911?

      The high level of variation in “1911” offerings is a problem if you are the type to buy without doing research. Personally, I think that’s a bad idea any way you cut it, but sure-if you don’t want to have to do any comparison shopping or learn about how your gun works, then go buy a Smith J/K/L frame. Go buy a Glock17/19/21 or whatever. They are all damn good guns.

      Getting a 1911 *is* more like getting a sports car. It’s more hassle, having to shift. Auto transmissions are easier. And a Toyota sedan would take less maintenance, and the maintenance would cost less. But the performance won’t be at the same level. Just like Glock and DA/SA revolvers will never have a trigger as nice as the 1911. But a Duesenberg? :-/

      Unlike the Duesenberg, the 1911 is still winning top level competitions. :-) Maybe not with the same degree of domination they had in the 90s and even up to the past five years, but they’re still up with everything else. I don’t think you can call it obsolete when it still runs at the front of the pack.

      • Gunnutmegger says:

        I saw a bunch of comments here and at TheTruthAboutGuns.com talking about how many 1911 break or malf at classes and competitions.

        • Aaron says:

          A gun is a machine that contains and focuses an explosion to rapidly launch a projectile. Because of the whole containing an explosion part, all guns break.

          If you want internet anecdotes offered as proof of…something, here:
          http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=85722
          and:
          http://www.okshooters.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87467

          If your gun hasn’t broke yet, have patience. It’ll get there. I’ve shot out Glocks (frame rail on a 17, guide rod on a 22), Smith K-frames (hammer spring snap), Colt Cobra (firing pin), and essentially every broken thing that can break on a 1911 (because I shoot so very much more 1911 than any other pistol.)

          I’ve broken at least 4 M4 extractor springs, locking lugs on 2, blown out the gas tube on one, snapped a firing pin on one…does this mean that the AR sucks, too? I mean, you can read all over the internet how unreliable the AR is, and hear people talk about all the malfs they’ve had in classes and competitions. It’s an old design, around 53 years IIRC. So does the AR suck, too?

          Guns break. Entropy is not optional.

          • Gunnutmegger says:

            “does this mean that the AR sucks, too? I mean, you can read all over the internet how unreliable the AR is, and hear people talk about all the malfs they’ve had in classes and competitions. It’s an old design, around 53 years IIRC. So does the AR suck, too?”

            The M16/AR15 has documented flaws. Some of those flaws are inherent to the design, others stem from the changes that have been made to the original design.

            The difference, I think, is that I don’t hear people making wild boasts about the AR15 and denying its well-documented weaknesses.

            That is what 1911 fans too often do.

          • Aaron says:

            “The difference, I think, is that I don’t hear people making wild boasts about the AR15 and denying its well-documented weaknesses.

            That is what 1911 fans too often do.”

            Fair enough. I’m not one to appreciate wild claims of perfection in any platform. My 1911 has weaknesses that take a lot of work to overcome. Like I mentioned before, I don’t recommend them to people. But I wouldn’t use anything else-because the thing has some serious strengths (ones that I think no other gun really offers to the same degree) as well.

  14. Gunnutmegger says:

    “Not trying to be argumentative but,
    “Pistol ammunition is usually jacketed. So why would lead ammo be an issue for most shooters?”
    It would be an issue for someone who wants to spend 8 cents per round for reloaded ammo versus 25 cents per round of factory made jacketed ammunition. The savings outweigh the cost of the gun after a moderate period of prodigious practice or recreation.
    I’m certainly a 1911 fanboy, but I’m also a fanboy of anything that shoots .45acp; including lever guns and revolvers.”

    You’re not being argumentative :)

    Shooters who want to shoot lead .45acp ammo through a centerfire pistol (not a revolver) have the choice of many guns that have traditional rifling. Or they can buy a replacement barrel for their polygon-rifled gun.

    Just like .45acp shooters who want a concealable pistol that shoots hollowpoints reliably have plenty of non-1911 choices.

  15. Thomas says:

    I have to agree with you about the quality of many of the Taurus firearms , some are very good (model 85) and some are definately not , Taurus as well as Rossi guns made prior to 1980 the quality had alot to be desired , mis-fires with their .22 revolvers , I owned a Taurus PT-25 .25 automatic that fell apart after the first round ! I have had good luck with the Ruger automatics and I do like their model 97 in .45ACP and never had any problems with the Sig Sauer model P229 .40 S&W !The only S&W automatic I felt was junk was their .22 Escort automatic pistol , mis-fires and jamming .

  16. Mike's Spot says:

    Fun stuff. Thanks again for the comment GunnutM- I’m enjoying our back and forth immensely.

    Did you see Hickok45 (youtube) review the g19 gen 4? pretty impressive- put 1300 or 1400 rounds through it (all fmj) and only had a handful of problems.