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.