How to make your 1911 100% reliable

The Colt 1911 pistol fascinates us. It captivates the mind, evoking images of our great-great grandfathers fighting the Huns in World War II, or the Greatest Generation taking the fight to the Axis Powers during World War II. In modern times, it is the weapon de rigueur of the elite internet operator, who eschews modern polymer pistols in favor of a “more elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” Yet millions of pixels suddenly cry out in terror and are suddenly silenced each year online in search of the most reliable 1911. Luckily, we’re able to drawn on the advice of some of the foremost experts in the 1911 field to create this step by step guide on to make your 1911 100% reliable in any situation.

Colt 1911 CCG

How to make your 1911 100% reliable

  1. Detail strip your 1911
  2. Carefully inspect every small part
  3. Thoroughly clean and lubricate all moving parts
  4. Check to make sure your extractor is properly tensioned
  5. Carefully reassemble your 1911
  6. Function test the grip safety, thumb safety, and firing pin
  7. Fully lubricate all wear surfaces on your 1911
  8. Wipe down the exterior of your pistol with a corrosion resistant lubricant

Once all that is done, take your 1911 and put it in your gunsafe, wrapped in an oily cloth to prevent rust. Your 1911 is now 100% reliable, and will never malfunction or experience a parts breakage as long as it sits unmolested in the back of your gun safe. Now go buy a modern polymer pistol in whichever service caliber kicks over your personal giggle box and use that.

Problem solved, problem staying solved.


  1. As snark it’s a good answer, but it’s not what caused me to click on the link when I saw it in my feed. How about some really useful tips rather than snark, such as “always use hardball, which is what the pistol was designed to feed,” or “use only 7-round magazines, which is what the pistol originally came with when JMB furnished it to the Army.” Between those two tips you’ll probably eliminate a majority of the malfunctions that the pistol experiences.

    1. Here are my actual tips on how to have a reliable 1911:

      1. Don’t buy a Kimber.
      2. Buy a Colt or a Springfield.
      3. Use quality mags from Wilson Combat or Chip McCormick
      4. Don’t use weird bullet shapes like SWC or JHP.
      5. Lubricate regularly, change springs and small parts at regular intervals

      If I do all of that, it will probably be perfectly reliable, but hot damn that is a lot of work when you can just buy a Glock 19 and not mess with it.

  2. So how much public shaming is appropriate for the blatantly SEO’d title? 😉

    1. Not to put too fine a point on it, Caleb should have included a video of Rick Astley singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.” 😉

  3. Sorry guys but I disagree!! Have owned and carried a number of polymer and all steel semis and have built a few 1911’s over the years! Not a trained gunsmith! Just like tinkering with them!!
    I would put any of my
    1911’s up against a Block Glock or Sig anyway for comfort and reliability!! As far as fingers too short? Takes less than 30 minutes to put in a short trigger and tune it!!! Just my opinion tho!!!

      1. Naw, you’re better off with a revolver because they never jam. But make sure it’s a .357 Magnum, because .38 doesn’t have enough stopping power for a reliable 1-shot stop.

        I just threw up typing that.

        1. Yeah I had a guy at work who types on forums all the time tell me that his revolvers had never jammed in 42 years of shooting. The problem with that statement is that I have been to the range with him 3 times and at least one of his revolvers has jammed at least once every time.When I brought that up to him he said “Oh yeah, I forgot about those.” People who say revolvers never fail ever are deluded, forgetful, or just flat out liars. Now excuse me while I go incinerate the Earth with some “full power” 10mm.

  4. Agreed with your 5 points in comments; it does take some effort to keep the 1911 running right. I think of my pistols the same way I think of motorcycles. I ride a Kawasaki Concours because all I have to do is keep the battery charged and keep oil in it (I don’t really have to change the oil but I do.) My brother rides a Ducati and loves to tweak the carbs, the brakes, the suspension for optimal performance. A 1911 is a Ducati, a Glock is a Kawasaki (so naturally I shoot the 1911 and my brother shoots the Glock, which goes to show nobody is entirely rational.)

  5. @Tam: personally I think so!! But have carried one for almost 32 yrs on and off between civilian and military time!!! 1981 till today!!!

    @caleb: not necessarily true!! I have what I consider one of the best built wheel guns around. A S&W Model 67 Stainless Steel built in 1974, chambered in .38Special. Shooting 135 gr hand loaded Hornady JHP’s in it!! Like I told a friend!! Run out there in front of me about 20 or 25 yards and catch these .38’s and the tell me not enuff stopping power!!

    1. What brand of 1911 would you recommend I try? Do you have a holster recommendation for CCW?

      1. Incidentally, Caleb, based on previous evidence, if you didn’t allow backlinking from comments, he’d never show up.

  6. Your last part is the part that needs work.
    9. Pack the horrible 1911 up in a box and ship it to me. It will never malfunction on you again.

  7. Especially operators with the four knuckled square grip that so neatly fits so many HK pistols. . . 😉

    Sadly, not being a Teutonic Ubermensch Operator, I stick to pistols that fit normal humans. . . like 1911s, GP35, and yes, Glocks on occasion. LOL

  8. Now if you use a Glock as the TARGET, the 1911 will function perfectly.
    Out of Rage and Hate.

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