1911 as a hobby gun

Tam talks about how the modern incarnation of the 1911 is largely a “hobby gun”, i.e. not a serious firearm for self-defense because many of the modern guns don’t hold up well to serious wear and tear.  They’re made for those “hobby” shooters, guys that run 100 rounds through their guns every couple of weeks or so and don’t really take classes or shoot competitively.

And that’s perfectly okay.

I like well made, robust guns.  My personal 1911 is a Colt XSE Rail Gun, which is one of the guns Hilton Yam recommends for duty 1911s.  It’s well built, it will probably stand the test of time, and I can likely shoot several thousand rounds through it without issues.  And that’s all well and good, but one of the things that blogging for the last four years, writing for magazines, and interacting with the shooting community has taught me is that my expectations for handguns are way outside what the normal shooting community expects.

And that’s okay too.

In fact, the readers of Gun Nuts probably skew away from the “average” gun owner demographic, as many of you are competition shooters, trainers, and serious defensive shooters who will put thousands of rounds through your guns, but let’s be honest: most gun owners won’t do that.  So I’m okay with $500-$600 price range 1911s that fall apart after 5,000 rounds, or that are filled with MIM parts.  I’m a capitalist, after all and I like it when people make money.  There’s a market for Taurus and other companies to produce those 1911s, because many people want that traditional 1911 platform and aren’t likely to shoot 10,000 rounds through it.

But now here comes the heresy part – because aside from nostalgia, there is no reason to buy a 1911 for serious social work any more.  With the obvious exception of certain competition divisions such as Single Stack where the 1911 is all that’s allowed.

Again I repeat myself – for a serious fighting or competition pistol, there is absolutely no need to buy a 1911.  A good, functioning 1911 that will be reliable is going to cost about $1,000.  That’s the price of entry.  If you’re in love with the .45 ACP cartridge, for $1,000 you could get TWO M&P45 pistols and a couple of spare mags, or you could get 2 used Glock 19s, a holster, some mag carriers, and a pile of spare mags and even have money left over to take an entry level pistol class.

I love the 1911 platform.  In its heyday, it represented the finest of American craftsmanship and commitment to our soldiers.  It is still a very easy to shoot and straightforward platform to operate, and makes an excellent competition firearm.  But it doesn’t make good sense to lay out a kilobuck for a 1911, when that same money could be used to purchase a pistol which will perform right alongside it in reliability and accuracy and leave lots of money left over for parts and training.

63 comments for “1911 as a hobby gun

  1. Mike
    February 8, 2011 at 11:12

    Is there a reason that none of them come close to it in terms of ergonomics, though? The M&P and Glock just don’t feel anywhere close to as nice in my hand as a classic 1911. Is there some patent or physical engineering reason for this, or do the designers just disagree? It seems like looks and ergonomics are the biggest reasons people love the 1911 for itself, and not for the tradition associated with it. Are there mechanical reasons that is so hard to reproduce in an otherwise modern weapon?

    Maybe it’s just weird preference, I dunno. I’ll willingly admit that I’m not an expert.

    • Mike
      February 8, 2011 at 11:14

      Oh, and I wanted to make clear that this is coming from first impressions as a relatively new shooter with no horse at all in the 1911 vs glock race. I went to a CCW class, picked up and shot an example of most common weapons available, and the 1911 and similar (Hi-Power and CZ 75) just felt so much more “right” in my hand, right away.

      • February 8, 2011 at 12:41

        That’s odd. I too love the “feel” of the 1911 and my main carry piece for 10 years was a CZ-75…yet, unlike your experience, I absolutely ADORE the “feel” of the M&P 45 and just purchased one. The grip angle of the Glock simply does not aim naturally for me although I’m sure I could get used to it.

        BTW, if you want an absolutely atrocious feeling handgun I had the opportunity to handle a few FNX pistols at SHOT and the design team was apparently asked to create an “aggressive” grip texture. In response they seem to have modeled the grips after the side of a box grater I use to grate Parmesan cheese. If shooting more than a VERY few rounds from one I suspect that an ungloved hand would become extremely sore if not bloody…no kidding.

        • Mike
          February 8, 2011 at 13:20

          I may have to give the M&P another look.

    • Jesse
      February 8, 2011 at 11:40

      Probably the fact that it’s single stack and has more of an oval shaped grip than a rectangle with rounded corners like a Glock. I’m surprised you didn’t like the M&P though as it’s one of the most comfortable guns on the market.

      Try the HK45 or HK P30 grip. Between the P30 and Walther P99 you will not find a more comfortable handgun. Try the XD while you’re at it, lots of 1911 guys seem to like the XD. If you want to get ambitious and look for the real oddball find a Steyr M9 (The earlier versions had a very oval shaped grip.)

      That said some people prefer metal alloy framed guns to plastic guns either because of a perceived notion of being sturdier or they simply prefer the heft.

      • Laughingdog
        February 8, 2011 at 12:10

        If the HK45 mag release was shaped the same way as the one on the P30, I’d own one right now. I don’t understand why H&K insists on making that so small on every single one of their guns except for the P30. It almost feels like I’m having to hit a thumb tack with my fingertip to drop a magazine.

      • February 9, 2011 at 10:24

        The Walther P99 really is a very comfortable firearm. I have one of the early ones and I LOVE it. It is by far more accurate than the 1911 that I own. I will admit that my 1911 is one of the cheap ones however, so that is no surprise. The shape of the grip also makes it conseal like a much smaller gun, for me anyway. YMMV.

        s

        • February 9, 2011 at 10:54

          If you like you P99, make sure to check out the Walther PPQ when it hits the streets. Didn’t get to shoot one at SHOT Show but did fondle them extensively…the grip is very, very comfortable and the ergonomics seemed excellent (as far I could check them out without actually shooting.) I’m personally very interested in getting some range time with one of them!

  2. Craig
    February 8, 2011 at 11:13

    I just want a chromed-out 1911 so that I can do double taps and head shots! It would be even cooler if I had a pair of them with silencers just like on the movie Boondock Saints.

  3. Tam 212
    February 8, 2011 at 11:23

    Like.

    imho, every handgun enthusiast or defensive handgunner (which is different from a hobbyist, me thinks) needs to spend some time with at least a “good” if not “great” 1911. If the platform is not for you, there are plenty of great modern combat pistols to choose from.

    Either way, there is just too much uninformed flaming for no valid reason on both pro-1911 and anti-1911 sides of the fence. Slagging a specific weapon or platform without having personal experience is easy to do.

    Whatever happened to “one-mind, any weapon”?

  4. Tam
    February 8, 2011 at 11:45

    $1,000 you could get TWO M&P45 pistols and a couple of spare mags, or you could get 3 Glock 19s, a holster, some mag carriers, and a pile of spare mags and even have money left over to take an entry level pistol class.

    Even assuming a cheap class and Uncle Mike’s holsters and mag carriers, those are gonna be some <$300 G19s. I'll take two, please. :)

    • February 8, 2011 at 11:55

      That was a typo. Meant to type “two” but my brain sequenced to “three” for some reason.

    • Geodkyt
      February 9, 2011 at 13:06

      $1000 =
      1 cop turn in Glock
      1 good kydex holster & mag pouch
      1 decent belt
      1 case of ball ammo for practice
      Money left over for initial CCW training (local, not a week out at Gunsite)

      Numbers work out most favorably for 9x19mm diet, but are acceptable for calibers that start with “four” (although the case quantity is smaller).

  5. February 8, 2011 at 11:45

    I carried a 1911 and used one (and later a 2011) in competition for 20 years. Finally switched to XD and later M&P, and now in my beginner classes I recommend M&P, XD and Glock for the majority of students. Spend $500 on the pistol, $200 on upgraded sights and trigger parts, and end up with a gun that’s “high speed” enough to get most shooters to A class or beyond in IPSC and do everything a self-defense shooter would probably ever need.

    For those with hands too small and trigger fingers too short to handle any double stack gun, the 1911 is still a good choice. I haven’t found anything else better to recommend, although the new batch of single stack 9’s look promising.

    • Tam 212
      February 8, 2011 at 11:49

      Ruger’s SR9/9c/40 has a very narrow grip. Assuming you can deal with the characteristics of the SR-pistols, it seems to fit folks with small hands/short fingers better than just about any modern double stack pistol.

    • February 9, 2011 at 06:19

      I’ve always had issues with double-stack guns because I have small hands. I ended up with a Taurus PT-145, which is still a double-stack .45, but the grip is shaped and sized better than any other double-stack anything I’ve handled, and I can grip it comfortably.

      It’s sensitive to limp-wristing, but I understand that’s pretty common in short slide .45’s. It also doesn’t like Wolf ammo, but after cleaning it after that one range session, I’ll never use that brand again, anyway.

  6. February 8, 2011 at 12:14

    I believe its these elitists that make me and my whole being shiver because I just can’t wrap my mind around where they get all this ‘ I know everything ‘ ‘ or certainly more than someone that only shoots a couple hundred rounds a month ‘ ‘ cause I’ve taken 5,434,679 technical shooting classes ‘
    And they shot the hell out of some paper or steel and ‘ God they are ready for anything ! ‘
    But me and oh say a few hundred thousand others only shoot maybe 500 to a thousand shots a year and we don’t know spit according to the killer of some 5 jillion paper or steel targets because we only
    got 1 week of actual firearms training and then had our butts tossed out in front of live targets and did not exactly get a choice of firearms and we have a fondness for the 1911 seeing as how it kept us alive and we have a real world knowledge as to what it will do as a defensive or offensive weapon on real people not paper or steel .
    I no longer need a 1911 that will shoot 50,000 rds and for self defense neither do you.Neither of us will need it to shoot a whole box of ammo the day we need it,just a clip or two and maybe a weeks worth of training .
    Some people are p o because the 1911 is 100 years old , I think they better get used to that cause theres another pistol out there that may last 100 yrs or more and even though I don’t like them they are a fine pistol and I won’t put a Glock down just because I can’t stand them.
    So stop putting my pistol down O K ?

    • Tam
      February 8, 2011 at 12:26

      Yeah, I hates me some 1911s.

      LAV and Hilton Yam don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to fighting pistols, either.

      • February 8, 2011 at 12:42

        I find it amazing that in a post where I actually typed the words “I love the 1911″ people still think I’m hatin’ on their gun.

        • Tam 212
          February 8, 2011 at 13:02

          Perhaps selective comprehension on this highly charged and polarizing topic. Only thing worse is a caliber discussion.

          It is interesting that both Vickers and Hilton are quick to point out that if you are unable or unwilling to make the effort to run a 1911 the way they need to be run, you’d be better served with a contemporary service pistol.

          I believe the stuck in-limbo Joint Combat Pistol program specifically excluded the 1911. The program requested contemporary .45 Auto designs only.

          • Exodus
            February 9, 2011 at 11:46

            Oh I dunno. We could talk about the best oil for our cars. That’s a classic firestarter.

            Its nice that ol’ Wally likes his 1911. More power to him. I was once a 1911-only shooter myself. But that M&P finally got under my skin and I find that the overall ownership experience is fantastic.

      • Rick P
        February 9, 2011 at 06:18

        You’re absolutely right. It’s easier to echo what ones read on other forums than rely on actual experience.

        • February 9, 2011 at 08:45

          I have to say that I do hate Glocks, not just because of the plastic frame which cannot have squat done to it, that gets brittle and cracks with age, and that if damaged cannot be repaired, but for the fact that there is no real safety on a striker fired handgun, anytime anything gets in the triggerguard and presses on the trigger it goes BANG!

          The only safe way to conceal that type of pistol is with the chamber empty, as that Basketball Star in NYC found out the hard way.

          • February 9, 2011 at 08:58

            I wonder how all those revolver guys got away with it before semi-autos became so popular…?

            The only safe way to conceal carry _any_ handgun is in a proper holster that covers the trigger guard. Then, just follow the 4 rules and keep the finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.

            It’s not that difficult.

          • Montie
            February 13, 2011 at 11:51

            Zermoid,

            Had a Cominolli thumb safety put on my Glock 19 a couple of years ago by Ten Ring Precision, not so much for safer carry but just to try out the concept, since after years of carrying 1911’s it is second nature to deal with one. Incidentally, thousands of cops carry them just fine with the chamber loaded, and I haven’t noticed any tendency of my Glock 30 or 26 to spontaneaously fire off a chambered round while carrying even though they are still stone stock. I do like that it makes the gun more proprietary though.

            You just have to keep your finger off the trigger and pay attention when re-holstering after a draw. The attraction of Glocks to many PD’s is the whole draw gun, pull trigger sequence of fire, like a revolver.

            Personally though, make mine 1911 thank you very much (except for a couple of those <$300 Glock 19's Caleb mentioned, like Tam, I'll take two please).

  7. Laughingdog
    February 8, 2011 at 12:32

    By the way Caleb, you forgot the best part of training with a Taurus or RIA 1911: lots of practice with malfunction drills.

    On a more serious note, if you’re looking to learn to work on a 1911 yourself, they make for a nice spare gun. I don’t have the same expectations from the Taurus I got as I do from my Springfield Operator. But having a second 1911 gives me a spare should I need one (I’d rather have a Taurus as a spare than nothing), and it lets me pull one apart to learn more about it and not worry about needed to have it back together to train more.

    I expect that one of two things will happen with my Taurus. It’s either going to end up going to my step-father, who really wants one and really only needs a hobby one, or it will look like a completely different gun in the next year or so.

  8. February 8, 2011 at 13:34

    Wally needs to take a breath! Caleb is right on the money here and mirrors what I’ve told many of my students. First and foremost, the gun needs to go bang and be reliable – but it also has to fit the user’s hand. Some like the 1911 – some don’t … and that’s “ok”.

  9. February 8, 2011 at 13:46

    BTW – Caleb, we met at last year’s Area 5 match. I was on Ben’s squad and we all had dinner that Sat night. And yes… I was shooting Single Stack. :)

    • February 8, 2011 at 13:47

      Awesome! Yeah, like I said in the post, I really like 1911s. But they’re just not a good “beginner’s” gun in my opinion, since we live in a land of reliable polymer pistols that cost way less than a quality 1911.

  10. Gerry
    February 8, 2011 at 13:49

    I really like my two 1911s. They are good looking pistols, I shoot both reasonably well, One always functioned flawlessly, the other did after some 1st class gunsmithing.

    I carry a Glock 19. I never like carying the 1911’s.

    I’ll expect to visited by the ghosts of JMB, Jeff Cooper and Alvin York on Christmas Eve.

    • Tam 212
      February 8, 2011 at 14:05

      Wishful thinking perhaps but I think JMB would respect the capabilities of a modern service pistol, Cooper might be happy with a Glock 20 and Alvin York would likely have shot his adversaries just as dead had he been armed with a Glock 21….

      • February 8, 2011 at 18:02

        Keep in mind, when Jeff Cooper built a pistol for his brand-new 10mm cartridge, he built it using a CZ as a starting point, a gun that borrows its ergonomics from the Hi-Power.

        I think if you see ghostly apparitions of JMB and Jeff Cooper tonight, it may because of the late-night pepperoni pizza and not because of your comments here. :)

  11. Bob H
    February 8, 2011 at 14:27

    As a fairly new gun owner let me share what my experience has been.
    Before choosing a weapon for purchase I took the 2 basic classes from a NRA instructor. Then I spent 6 weeks shooting a different rental gun each of 5 days a week. 100 – 150 rounds per session.
    Fortunately the shop staff were reasonably knowledgable and willing to help a n00b with problems.
    The only 1911 (of 8) that didn’t suffer multiple problems was the STI Spartan. FTEs, FTFs and two fail-to-fires were otherwise common.
    The only other guns with repeating problems were 3 different Taurus (Tauri?) in .45, .40 and 9mm.
    I ended up with a .40 cal Beretta PX4 Compact DA/SA F-type as a summer carry and the full size of the same type for a house gun.
    I followed up with the staff (and in two cases the gunsmith) on all the problems and most of the problems with the guns were simply cleaning issues… Except for the 1911s.
    For the 1911s it was almost always a part that needed to be replaced. In just two of the 18 problems it was cleaning, and twice it was a magazine problem. The rest were a guide rod, a cracked slide, a hammer, 3 ejectors and loads and loads of springs. These were Colts, Kimbers, Springfields, and a Taurus.
    I had just 14 problems with all the other 20 guns. All but two of those were cleaning issues.
    My conclusion was that 1911s were for either the hobbyist, or for people who could easily qualify as journeymen gunsmiths, at least for the 1911. They just require far more fitting and maintenance than anything else I saw.
    BTW I have also decided that buying and shooting guns is an addiction. An expensive addiction. In 6 months I have gone from none to 6 guns and just installed 2 very heavy gun safes.

  12. David Fiorito
    February 8, 2011 at 14:39

    I want to love the 1911, but everytime I pick one up I get a sharp reminder why I do not own one. I have big hands and the grip on the 1911 just does not fit me. The only 1911s that even come close to fitting me are ones with a bobtail cut. Even those don’t fit to well.

    I guess I will stick with my XD and XDm because they seem to be the only guns that fit.

    I don’t hate the 1911, but it does dissapoint me that it was not made for hands like mine.

  13. CB
    February 8, 2011 at 16:40

    I’m cursed. The pistol I learned to shoot handguns on, excluding M9s in the Army…ick, was a 1911. I’ve owned and extensively shot XDs, Glocks, and various SA/DA guns, and I just can’t stand the triggers. I have a friend who shoots competitively and does quite well, and it bugs him that I pick up his various customized Glocks and out shoot him (accuracy wise, not speed)

    I am spoiled because I started on the autoloading pistol with the best trigger, and to me the trigger is the most important aspect of any gun. I try hard to like the new plastic pistols, I really do, they just make so much more sense on paper. But every time i pick one up and spend some time behind it on the range, it just FEELs so wrong.

    I’ll stick to my 1911s, because the best gun to carry, shoot, and use for self-defense or competition is the one you are most comfortable with.

  14. Harry Sucio
    February 8, 2011 at 17:30

    HKs and Glocks are the best guns, just like Hondas and Toyotas are the best cars. Reliable, dependable, boring.

    My 1911s are fracking magical. There are gunsmiths working today, and some no longer with us, that really can create perfection. The gun that cost me thousands to source and build, and took over a year of waiting, is worth every penny. I probably won’t even let you touch it, let alone shoot it. It was hard to get. It took time and effort. It is a work of art, that I shoot every week. Everything worth having in life is difficult.

    • February 8, 2011 at 18:06

      You may be on to something here. On Top Gear, they say you can’t be a REAL gearhead unless you’ve owned a Lancia, a car known around the world for it’s complete and total lack of reliability, but it’s also a car with passion and soul and rewards a skilled driver with one heck of a ride.

      Sounds like a 1911 to me.

      • Tam
        February 9, 2011 at 04:26

        I took my last 1911 out of the box on Friday afternoon (and this is a tight $2k+ CCA gun that’ll shoot under an inch and a half at 25 yards) and, without any more preparation than a couple drops of CLP, took it to AFHF on Saturday morning, putting 1000 rounds in two days through the gun without any “break in” or any of that BS.

        If your 1911 doesn’t run and doesn’t run right out of the box, it’s busted. Period. All that “temperamental, soul-filled” stuff is so much internet BS.

        • Mike
          February 9, 2011 at 06:19

          I don’t think they’re saying that unreliability is required for soul, but that reliability and passion are orthogonal, and that an enthusiast is one who can appreciate passion even when reliability is lacking. That isn’t to say they wouldn’t prefer both.

          • February 9, 2011 at 09:01

            As a ‘Journeyman Gunsmith’ (love that description) myself I have to say that the single worst problem causing piece of a 1911 is the extractor.

            Get the extractor properly adjusted (it should hold a round slid under the extractor in place and not much more, since this is a precision adjustment not many factory guns come so equipped) and the rest of the gun will function reliably if fed from good mags. If the round does not easily slide under the extractor or falls out from under with a slight taping it needs adjusted.

          • Harry Sucio
            February 9, 2011 at 10:37

            I am not very interested in out of the box 1911s of any price, though I would not turn one down. What I am interested in are 30+ year old Colts, worked over by the finest smiths in the land. These are dead reliable guns, and they are functional works of art. Most of them I never even fired before they got sent to the smith. But once I get them back, I shoot them. I am not letting languish in the safe.

            I cannot afford to live in an architecturally significant home, or drive a $100k+ car (though I’m working on it). One of my hobbies is pistol shooting, and collecting, and what is within my financial reach are amazing custom Colts. They are more beautiful than any plastic gun, I guarantee you. They are near perfection like a Swiss watch is near perfection.

            That’s it. I am not interested in objects that are merely functional. I insist that they have beauty too.

            It’s probably a little mushy for you tactical guys, but I’m a romantic.

  15. Rick P
    February 9, 2011 at 06:16

    I thought Caleb would throw some love to the STI guys with their Spartan1911. The frame may be made overseas to help keep it cheaper but it’s assembled by the guys in TX and is barely above $600.

    I’ve got 4 1911’s (3 – .45, 1 – 9mm) and love them all. I used to carry the factory S&W 1911PD but when the M&P came along, I switched. Not because I didn’t trust the 1911 anymore but because I was able to gain another two rounds of .45 ACP goodness.

  16. February 9, 2011 at 09:05

    Hey, talking 1911’s, anyone here try the 50GI 1911?
    I’ve heard a few mentions but no real reports on it’s effectiveness, ballistics compared to a 45ACP, effective range, etc..

    Anybody got range time with one?

  17. February 9, 2011 at 09:48

    I wish someone would do a modern gun with 1911 ergonomics. Keep the grip and major controls, be very careful to keep the trigger the same. Replace the guts with modern designs–from what little I know, the toggle link and locking lugs specifically make it difficult to combine mass production and reliability.

    • Tam
      February 9, 2011 at 10:17

      –from what little I know, the toggle link and locking lugs specifically make it difficult to combine mass production and reliability.

      Makes you wonder how typewriter, sewing machine, and railroad equipment manufacturers managed to crank out more than a million of the things, don’t it? ;)

      • February 9, 2011 at 10:42

        Makes you wonder how typewriter, sewing machine, and railroad equipment manufacturers managed to crank out more than a million of the things, don’t it?

        OK, make that inexpensive mass production with reliability. I could easily be wrong on the specifics that make the 1911 more difficult to mass produce than more modern designs–but I would be willing to bet that there is no technical impediment to a gun with 1911 ergonomics but closer to Glock pricing and out of the box reliability.

        The real problem is that the 1911 purists would wail about sullying St Browning’s inspired design, even if they had to take it apart to tell the difference.

        • Geodkyt
          February 9, 2011 at 13:38

          Actually, more of it has to do with HOW things are manufactured now, rather than earlier.

          In 1910, even if you subsituted a metal frame for the plastic frame in a Glock, the GLOCK would have been more difficult to produce on that tooling. A lot of hand fitting in awkward places. . . and it would hve been about as “intercchangeable” as people bash on the 1911 about.

          Today, it’s the 1911 design doesn’t lend itself as well to fully automated production, as the design isn’t maximized to take advantage of as few milling operations as possible, run as straight as possible. Things aren’t helped any by the fact that a typical carried 1911 probably has parts from 4 or 5 different companies in it, all expected to play together nicely.

          It’s kind of like bitching about why JMB (PBUH) designed the M1917 .30 MG and the M1921 (and it’s modern descendant, the M2HB) .50 HMG with their variable headspacing barrels. He understood the manufacturing tolerances (in both guns and ammo) he was dealing with at the time. Plus, it was often FASTER to produce it to a slight oversize and have skilled assemblers hand fit for perfection.

          Now days, the way to maximixe the production efficiency is to design it to do the maximum amount of operations in the minimum amount of setups and hand fitting. Time — setup time, tool time, assembly time — are some of the biggest drivers. Every minute you spend tinkering with the production is costing you money — especially in the setup and assembly stages. With the speed of modern CAM tooling, you can spend more time in setup than actually running parts with a less blocky piece, which can cut production by almost half (or double tooling cost, depending how you look at it.) Likewise, compensation packages for skilled assemblers to lovingly hand fit parts.

          The 1911 is NOT the way to go for “cheap, efficient, and reliable”.

          Disclaimer — my normal carry gun is a 1911, because the first factor for me was not “cheap” nor did I care about the efficiency of production (I’m not a Colt stockholder, so price tag, not company profit margin, is the extent of my financial evaluation). I happen to like and trust the 1911, and I KNOW mine is reliable. . . but I paid twice as much as a less esthetic piece of Combat Tupperware would have cost, because I LIKE it. Just like I like my horsehide IWB holster and wood grips for esthetics, even though I could get the same performance for about half the cost from plastics. Just like I like my .45 bullets, even though objectively speaking, ANY service caliber with modern American JHPs is likely going to do just as good a job should I need it.

          If I didn’t care if I owned a 1911, or I was buying a few truckloads for a departmental or service purchase, I’d get a Plastic Fantastic in a heartbeat. . . objectively speaking, it’s more bang for the buck. (I have my eye on a couple of different polymer guns; that doesn’t mean you can expect to pick up a free 1911 and Milt Sparks holster by digging through my trash anytime soon — the 1911 will probably remain my preferred carry gun.)

          • Josh
            February 9, 2011 at 14:51

            This may be the best comment in this little mess here. It’s objective, rational, and to the point.

            Excellent.

          • Tam
            February 9, 2011 at 16:15

            Josh,

            It’s the same thing both Caleb and I said.

            Folks’ll get their panties in a twist about what they want to get their panties in a twist about, I suppose. ;)

            Cost was not a factor in my CCW piece, either. Literally. I mean, I spec’ed out every part, and on no single part did I say “Let’s go with Brand Y instead of Brand X because it’s cheaper…”

          • Geodkyt
            February 10, 2011 at 08:51

            Yeah, but Tam. . . a lot of people missed the point you and Caleb were making.

            While “succinct” may not be my middle name, neither is “subtle”. (Nor is “tact”. {grin})

            If you’ve never run a milling machine nor had to analyze a bunch of production steps and tests to figure out how to shave another 2% off production costs, it’s easy to miss the fact that round bits are generally harder to make than square bits (unless you can do that step exclusively on a lathe, like a TT33 barrel’s locking lugs).

            I’m no machinist, but I got my start in engineering doing QA and efficiency analysis so we could make R&D parts (mostly “bleeding edge of technology” turbine blades and such) made from unobtanium alloys into affordable production pieces. When you’re taking steel alloy parts that cost $45K/kilo (taking onto account scrap rates), and having to figure out how to redesign them for mass production at under $100/kilo TCOP, you rapidly realize that “research” and “production” inhabit different universes.

            What production methods are available to you affect what “designed for efficient production” means — the R&D shop was closer to the production paradigm of the early 20th Century; whereas in line production, we had parts that spent a week in production and could go through 20 or 30 different stations without EVER being touched by hman hands, other than sticking it in a bin to move to the next station. Parts that were comparitively easy to produce in the heavily hands-on world of R&D were often money-sucking monsters in mass production, and vice versa.

      • Montie
        February 13, 2011 at 11:54

        Heh. ;-)

    • Tam 212
      February 9, 2011 at 10:41

      Hmmm… maybe that should be fixed to say “modern” mass production techniques.

      The 1911 was designed during a time when skilled American laborers were less expensive and hand-fitting every model that came off the assembly line was considered normal practice.

      Maybe polymer pistol folks should gripe more about how the street price on something that may only require $150 – $200 to manufacture ends up costing $500 -$600 civilian retail.

      • Tam
        February 10, 2011 at 04:55

        hand-fitting every model that came off the assembly line was considered normal practice.

        Remington Rand did not “hand fit” 1,086,624 guns between 1942 and 1945.

        The M1911A1 was a service pistol, designed to be maintained by draftee armorers with drop-in parts. This “hand-fitting” nonsense is an artifact modern internet myth and Kimber marketing.

        • February 10, 2011 at 06:27

          Tam, I’m not sure where you are going, other than to demonstrate that I don’t know much about the 1911 as you do–a fact that I will cheerfully concede. Are you saying that a NIB Remington Rand is as likely to be a good carry gun as a Glock, and could be made today at a price that could match a Glock–but for some unknown reason, nobody does?

          • Tam
            February 10, 2011 at 06:40

            Sevesteen,

            I was replying to “Tam 212″.

            But to answer your question, no.

        • Gerry
          February 10, 2011 at 11:58

          Remington Rand 1911 is what soured me on 1911’s. The one given me was a good blunderbuss.

          The SGTMAJ words still ring in my ears.

          Keep it loaded and use it as a club!

          • Tam
            February 10, 2011 at 15:45

            Gerry,

            What year was this?

      • Geodkyt
        February 10, 2011 at 10:19

        There’s a difference between “hand fitting” to fall between two QA jigs and handfitting it like a custom build.

        When the 1911 was designed, it was frequently chaper to pay some guy to hand fit the part to ensure it fell between two tolerance jigs, so that it was effectively “almost drop in” in service use.

        However, even then, some USGI parts would have to be lightly fitted by the armorer when installing them due to tolerance stacking — although you could usually find a part in the bin that matched without fitting. Even when fitting, we’re talking about a couple of minutes of tweaking, not hours of intensive craftsmanship.

        Contrast that to a Purdey shotgun, which IS truly hand-fitted, or maintaining the USGI M16s, which really are “drop in”.

  18. casey
    February 9, 2011 at 21:54

    Lots of people claim that that they don’t like a specific gun because of how it “feels.” This mostly comes from the anti-glock crowd, but the 1911 crowd will pan just about everything because it not as ergonomic as their heavily 1911. In my opinion, these people fit into two groups

    1-Shooters that haven’t spent nearly enough time shooting anything to have an opinion, they only have gun x in their safe, never shoot it and that one time the played with a glock at the store they hated it. Any good shooter can and probably will get used to another platform if they practice. Exception is group number 2.
    2-shooters that have put so many rounds down range in every gun imaginable that they are entitled to their opinion on what gun works best for them.

    I am in the middle, I have shot a bunch, but grew up with 1911s and my beloved CZ. Sure, my glock was a little weird when I first got it, but after about 500 rounds it was old hat and not a problem.

    • David Fiorito
      February 10, 2011 at 10:43

      I think that feel is critical. I have owned Glocks and sold them off. I bought them because I was conviced to do so by folks that love them. I had a 21 and a 19 and neither fit me very well. I say that after putting 500 rounds through each of them.

      But I aslo do not like the “feel” of the 1911. I have yet to pick one up and have it fit my hand. Unlike the Glocks I sold for a loss, I can’t afford to be wrong about a 1911 purchase.

      I will stick with the guns that “feel” right when I handle them at my local shop. It’s not an “anti” or “pro” stance. I just want my guns to fit me from the word go.

  19. jamie
    February 10, 2011 at 17:38

    Tam212.

    About 2 years ago in business week gaston glock bragged it costs only $75 to produce a glock.

  20. February 15, 2011 at 06:38

    “Again I repeat myself – for a serious fighting or competition pistol, there is absolutely no need to buy a 1911.”

    Apparently you are unfamiliar with NRA Conventional Pistol (Bullseye), where accurized 1911s are the primary choice for a competition which features a 50 yard slow fire stage. The only other commercial option is a revolver.

    The top gunsmiths can accurize a 1911 to produce 1.5 to 2″ groups at 50 yards, with a 3.5# trigger that breaks like a glass rod.

    That said, the high cost of accurized 1911s is a major barrier to entry and probably a reason why that one-handed discipline is dying.

  21. Bret
    February 27, 2011 at 09:23

    Let me preface this with credentials. Law enforcement officer, firearms instructor, 20 yrs experience and shooter. I love 1911’s, but my springfield black stainless, at $1150.00 had to have a reliability package done before it would shoot hollowpoint. My glock 10 mm and glock 40 shot right out of the box and did not stop. The current gen glocks , hk’s and sig’s shoot out of the box. The 1911 is a piece of good history, but it takes a lot of work to make it work

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