Which 1911 for a newbie....


January 2, 2003, 07:49 PM
I'm relatively new to guns.....just over a year and a half. I read alot...want more than I will ever be able to afford. My first gun was a Sig Sauer P225. I'm very pleased with it and intend to buy a P220ST but I am interested in something different as my next purchase. Which manufacturer's 1911 would you recommend for a first time 1911 owner. I am looking at some of the kimbers and I really like them but I would be interested in what experienced gun people have to say. I would really like to make an educated purchase. I hope I'm not sounding too ignorant here :confused: . Thanks in advance!

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January 2, 2003, 08:00 PM
I don't have a 1911 (yet) but am considering a Springfield Armory "Mil Spec" as my first. The price is right, you can find them as low as $400 depending on where you live. It's also a "no frills" model, which I like.

January 2, 2003, 08:41 PM

That's my story and I'm stickin to it!!!!

Signed: Hopeless Colt Addict

January 2, 2003, 08:50 PM
Steer clear of the newer Kimbers, with the Series II/Schwartz type safety.
Go over to 1911forum.com, and do a search on Kimber and Schwartz. There have been failures to fire with the newer Kimbers.

Original Kimbers, or Springfields are good though, just as JMB designed them.

January 2, 2003, 09:49 PM
Go to:


see what they are saying in the Dan Wesson forum. I have looked over these guns at my local shop and they are VERY nice for the money. The Pointman Minor is the entry level gun and the Pointman Major is mid level, the new Patriot is their high end gun. All are less expensive and than the comparable Kimber and finished nicer in my opinion.

I have also heard good things about the Rock Island Armory guns at the low end. They are made in the Phillipines. Get a copy of Shotgun News and check out the ad for The Dealer Warehouse. Guns are $350 plus transfer plus $15 shipping.

Depends on what you want to spend.

Al Thompson
January 2, 2003, 09:59 PM
There are a couple of things you need to figure out first. One, what are you going to do with it? Two, can you comfortably shoot a no frills 1911? I can't, the lack of a wide grip safety eats me alive.

I'd also check the 1911 forum for reports and make your decision.

January 2, 2003, 11:10 PM
Well I have big hands so I was thinking that a wider grip of a double stack mag would be better for me. I'm still reading and looking around so I don't know as much as I would like about the gun or its operation. I like to be able to hold something and take it apart and put it back together but I will definitely start looking at the forum that has been recommended. I was mostly looking for input to lead me some of the more revered manufacturers so I don't waste too much time on something I won't be happy with or that won't hold up to alot of use . Thanks for the input so far. It gives me alot to consider. When the time comes I don't want to spend more than 800 dollars at the most but would be much more interested in a quality firearm that I can get for less but then isn't everyone. I'm still a couple months from making the purchase. I want to look over all the options. When I make expensive purchases its for something I am going to want to keep for a long time. Thanks again!

January 2, 2003, 11:23 PM
I'm in the market for a first 1911 myself. Kimber, Springfield, Colt, I can't decide. Had one of each laid out in front of me at the shop the other day, they all felt good.
Found a magazine on the rack the other day with lots of good 1911 info, "The Complete Book of the Combat 1911".
Just read the label on the front cover, it says "Display until 02/26/02" ?? Surely it hasn't been in the rack for a year now.

January 3, 2003, 12:02 AM
Best “bang for your buck” would be a Springfield milspec. Around here (at least last time I looked) they could be had for a about a penny under 400 bucks. Second choice (and the one I went with when I was in your shoes) is a Colt. Quality is by and large outstanding. Every line will have its lemons and people that get a Colt lemon love to talk about it, but my personal experience is nothing but incredibly positive. Buying a Colt is like buying a Harley, its a piece of Americana. If you just want the cheapest yet quality 1911, go Springfield. Not a thing wrong with them.

Kahr carrier
January 3, 2003, 04:54 AM
Springfield loaded-they have all the bells and whistles,Basic 1911-Milspec. :evil:

January 3, 2003, 05:11 AM
I got a Kimber Stainless II three months ago and I love it
I have a Colt Ser 80 and I love it
the Wife has a Colt 1991 Commander and I love it
Never Shot a Springfield but if you buy a pistol from the Big three
you will do well
you may well want to get a basic model and then once you get the bug you can customize as to YOUR wishes not the companies

January 3, 2003, 05:26 AM
Try to shoot a variety. Some feel better to my hand than others.
Like the series I Kimber
been shooting an old Colt Mil-Spec a lot of late
Like the feel of the new Colt (search- pic recently)

What are you gonna use it for? Me I keep going back to MiL-Spec.
No bell and whistles, just a good 4 # trigger, have done everything from hunt, IDPA, teach...general stuff.

January 3, 2003, 05:33 PM
well, I would primarily use it as a range gun but once I get comfortable with it I may consider using it as a carry gun but that depends on how well I shoot with it and how comfortable I am with the safety.

January 3, 2003, 06:43 PM
As a new shooter you might want to learn to shoot with a plain old, fixed sight Mil Spec and move on to something alittle fancier over time.

But then again you might tuen out like me and keep coming back to that plain vanilla Mil Spec 45 for just plain fun, reliability and downright "comfort in your hand late at night security".

If you teach yourself to hit COM with a Mil Spec it gets easy with Novak's or other low light sight choices that you can add later.

Besides the difference in price buys a lot of .45 ammo and practice time on the range.

Don P.

Peter M. Eick
January 3, 2003, 06:46 PM
I will suggest the same tactic I took. My first 1911 was a Les Baer Premier II in 45 acp. I bought it because of the fit, finish and the quality. Also if I did not like it, it had resale value just because it was a Baer.

Basically, I started with the best (IMHO) and have never regretted it. I think I would have been very disappointed if I had started with a cheaper gun like a colt or a kimber.

January 3, 2003, 06:50 PM
If you want a doublestack in the $800 range then I can only think of Para Ordinance and Springfield.
I don't own either gun so I can't really comment, but I will say that double stacked 45's in the 1911 format, in general, are not "The poster child" for ultimate reliability. There are exceptions of course.
If you can, I would stick to a 5" singlestack 45 for your first experience with 1911's.
I might recommend a Springfield Loaded model and you will have money left over to buy several high quality mags. If not, look at the Kimber, Wesson or the Colt if you like the mil-spec look!

Good luck

January 3, 2003, 06:55 PM
You can start with a milspec or other model and leave it stock, but most guys will use this as a base to customize, which will cost major bucks.

My vote: start with a premium, semi-custom gun such as a Wilson, Baer or... my recommendation: The Valtro.

$1300 may seem a lot, but consider those after-market mods, and then... have you looked at the price of .45 ammo? You should shoot many times more the price of your 1911 before it expires... that said, step up and make an investment you will not regret.


Check out this thread here on THR (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22) showing a two-tone Valtro. Slick. Plus, Jardine is an amazing guy who will bend over backward to satisfy each of his customers.

Official Valtro Website (http://www.ValtroUSA.com)

January 3, 2003, 07:21 PM
Choice 1:

Colt Colt Colt...high quality, made in the good old USA...

Choice 2: Kimber, pre series 2...

Sean Smith
January 3, 2003, 09:09 PM
Colt. The new guns are fantastic. At least mine is. :D

January 3, 2003, 09:26 PM
The Springfield Mil-Spec is easily the best value at the entry level. You should also look at the Loaded models if you can afford to. There is a lot to said for Springfield's lifetime willingness to promptly stand behind their products. For customer service, Colt is a black hole right now, IMO, and Kimber isn't much better. Good luck with any of the Filipino models should something go wrong.

The latest iteration of Dan Wilson had me looking, but the last time I was in the market, they weren't making anything I wanted to buy. That has changed somewhat, but I haven't seen any of the new models "in the flesh," and scarcity hardly makes for interesting shopping around for price.

January 3, 2003, 10:25 PM
You want something different in a 1911 format?

Check out the Bul M5 Carry Ultra-X. Double stack sub-compact polymer framed 45

Overall length: 145mm Sights: fixed sights
Overall height 125mm Safeties: thumb safety
Weight: 740gr grip safety
barrel length: 80mm Trigger pull: 3.5-4.0 lb
Sight radius: 123mm
capacity: 9mm/12rd, .45/10rd

Now that's different :D

January 4, 2003, 12:56 AM
i've been shooting alot of compact polymer frames here lately and i wanted to experience a 1911 as well...

i picked up all the current gunrags and ended up buying a para ord 745lda last night.... don't let the DA scare you because it's trigger pull is comparable to SA in all my other pistols, minus the m29..... so if you can't stand to see that hammer cocked all the time run away...

the grip safety is idiot proof it's wide enough for big hands by far... the grips are perfect for large hands too....

i was very suprised at the lack of recoil, after shooting a beretta 9000s in 40s&w the lda feels like a .32....

one thing i don't like about it is reassembly after cleaning.... granted i've only done it 3 times now but it's more work than anything else i own...

personally i don't understand why a 1911 has to be "customized"... it has to be the only pistol that you pay 700 bux for and it still isn't good enough.... if i wanted to shoot 1" groups i'd buy a rifle....

January 4, 2003, 01:23 AM
Colt is a black hole right now, IMO

What does that mean?

January 4, 2003, 01:34 AM
Get a new rollmarked Colt 1911. It's the real thing.

Anyone that knocks current Colts has not seen and/or handled one.

January 4, 2003, 01:56 AM
Another vote for the SA Mil Spec

January 4, 2003, 02:04 AM
The new Colt's are spectacular. A local shop (Hoffman's Gun Center In Newington, Ct) has one of each model :) all are very nice guns.

My brother has recently purchased 2 Dan Wessons (5" Pointman & 4 5/8" Guardian Deuce) Very nice guns for the money, $600ish.

I like my Kimber's, though, wouldn't trade 'em for anything. IMHO, stay away from the top-end Kimbers. All show, no go (I'm putting on my flame retardent suit now :uhoh: ) They aren't much better than the base models, only prettier.

If you can afford it, go for a high end semi-custom. Ed Brown Kobra, Wilson, Rock River, Les Baer. You sure won't regret it.

January 4, 2003, 02:10 AM
Colt is a black hole right now, IMO

What does that mean?

Go to the Colt forum at 1911forum.com and see some of the wait times their aficianados are facing for routine warranty and custom work. Colt's website hasn't been updated, as far as I can tell, in a dog's age. They have yet to put out a catalog in this century.

I love Colt pistols. I have one. But right now, they're not where I am placing my money when shopping for a 1911. Compared to others in their market segment, Colts are overpriced, have fewer features, a lesser warranty, and they are obviously charging more for having the "name" because they do no advertising, competitions, or anything of the like that costs beaucoup bucks to support relative to other manufacturers.

January 5, 2003, 03:59 AM
Yeah, the Springfield Armory pistols are nice. Mattafact, my first pistol ever was a 1911A1 Springfield Armory that was 1911A1 except for slightly nicer high profile sights and a ring hammer.

Didn't do much too it except replace the thumb safety when it wore down to an ambi safety (old lady is a southpaw) and cleaned up the trigger.

Newer guns seem to love that beavertail and long trigger thing, but if I had to do it all over again, I would pick up a real GI 1911 or 1911A1 gun. Those are pretty pricey now if looking for USGI, but I snapped up a couple of the Sistemas for $250 each when CDNN had them around. They clean up real nice and the sights are pretty accurate if a little slow.

One has a date with a smith to clean up the trigger just a smidgen and it may go with me to my next pistol class.

Good luck on your purchase. You can't go wrong with a 1911 (should I go so far as to say it should have been your FIRST pistol?). Just make sure it is 5", all steel and has internal extractor, just like God (I mean, JMB) meant for it to be. ;)

January 5, 2003, 05:48 AM
I've been very pleased with my Charles Daly 1911 and so have many other owners. See the 1911forum.com for opinions. Most detractors never owned one, though they don't have the same QC standards as some of the more expensive companies (though at $400 or less in most areas, $450 here, you wouldn't expect $700 Kimber standards). Most people do need to replace the factory mags. With Chip McCormick mags mine is nearly 100%, it is more accurate than I am and it really does look and feel great- it is one of the best bargains in my "collection".

The current best value out there is probably the Springfield Armory Mil-Spec. Around here it is $550 (most areas it sounds like it runs in the $400s) and is made to SA standards. You don't get any "bells and whistles" though as it is pretty much the basic military spec 1911.

Rock Island Armory is good. It is basically a Charles Daly in military trim and for a little less money.

If you are looking at more middle to high end prices a Kimber Custom or Custom Target with the real blueing or in stainless or a Springfield Armory "Loaded" are nice guns with some nice features. Out of the two I prefer the SA. A buddy recently bought the Kimber Custom Target and it is a really nice gun. Dan Wesson also seems to be an interesting alternative- a little less but the quality is there and fewer people have them so it has a little more novelty to it I think.

If you are willing to spend $1000+ I'd go with a Valtro. Great internet buzz, from the reports the quality, fit and finish are up there with guns costing several hundred more.

For a first 1911 I'd go with a single stack. It is the classic design, there are more options and they tend to be more reliable than the double stack designs. Try one and I bet it will fit you fine.

Admiral Thrawn
January 5, 2003, 07:04 AM
I love the Springfield Armory 1911-A1 Professional Model...

gotta buy myself one of those. :D

Shame it's US $2400, but i'll make the effort... :rolleyes:

January 5, 2003, 10:15 AM
You can't go wrong with a 1911 (should I go so far as to say it should have been your FIRST pistol?).

I chose a Sig as my first gun because I wanted a gun for home defense(got a Keltec Sub2K for that use too) and as a CCW gun. Being new to guns I felt safer with a Sig in my pants with one in the pipe but that another topic entirely......

I like to tinker with guns and I definitely want a 1911 with a 5" barrell and due to the recommendations here a single stack magazine. I want reliability. At this point I'm leaning towards a Colt or a Springfield. I just can't afford to pay $1300 for a high-end gun right now. I wish I could...That valtro is a sweet gun but out of my current price range. I like to tinker so I will get alot of enjoyment doing my own add-ons a little at a time. Another aspect of the 1911 that attracted my attention was the availability of parts and customizations. Thanks for the input and suggestions everyone. The more I hear and the more I read on the varoius 1911 websites and boards the more excited I am to own at least one of these guns. :D

January 5, 2003, 10:37 AM
I would look for one of the Dan Wesson's. They should have something in various price ranges which would be hard to duplicate with the other brands. Customer service is also second to none. Check out their website. Second choice would be one of the new roll-marked Colts. For a little more than $800 you might consider the new 70 Series from Colt.

John Galt
January 5, 2003, 01:04 PM
There are sooo many choices. That's good. You need to look at the other guns you own and decide what price point will make you happy. Any of them, from a good manufacturer should work fine. I'm no expert, but:

There are crap models, no more need be said.

There are good ones from colt and others for around $400-500. They are fine.

In the $600-$1200 range, people like Springfield & Kimber.

There are several companies making the best from $1600-$4000.

The first level gets you maybe 90%. The next from 92-98%. It's diminishing return for your dollar.

In the past, people bought one for around $600 and many spent years and very much $$$ having them customized. Kimber makes over a dozen models in every color and with every choice in parts and prices and size. No need to ever visit a gunsmith. They sell these almost custom guns at very good prices. That is why they sell so many! Choices, quality & price. Amazing business model. duhhh.

STI makes a polimer frame double stack of high quality and you can either go custom or take one of their ready made customs. Very expensive....

I've put 1000 rds through my Kimber Gold Match Stainless II and never a problem. Mine went for over $1300 and I got it for $1000 over the internet from E.Texas. There were also two retailers in LA who were cheap. Figure out what you want, find the lowest price at gunbroker.com or gunsamerica.com. See if your friendliest local guy will come within $50 of that.

January 5, 2003, 01:42 PM
I'm looking into my first 1911 also. It'll be either a:

1. Colt 'new rollmark' series 80 blued (Stock #01991)


2. Springfield Loaded PX9109L (parkerized, fixed sights)

While the Sprinfield has more stuff (beavertail, etc.), I dislike the front slide serrations so much it may make the decision for me (the Springfield has the serrations, the Colt doesn't). Plus the Colt is, well, a Colt. :)

- Gabe

January 5, 2003, 09:24 PM
Colt, Springfield and Dan Wesson are now under consideration. I take customer service into account when dealing with anyone. I was leary of buying a Keltec but their customer service was/is outstanding even if they don't produce the quality of firearm that Cold/Springfield/Kimber or many others do.....I have more respect for a company that backs up their product instead of treating you like you're privledged to buy their product. The Dan Wesson Patriots are pretty nice and closer to my price range. The more I read ...the more I can't decide....Now I know why 1911 enthusiasts buy more than one. :uhoh:

January 7, 2003, 05:18 AM
SSA Milespec for $420 -- $450
Wilson KZ45 -- $1000 -- double stack mag
Valtro -- $1300
I'd start with the Valtro if cost is no object. If you are on a budget go with the SA Milspec
Good Luck

January 7, 2003, 09:31 AM
Try to stay away from the three inch ultra compacts. A compact/commander four inch is also a workable solution.

You want reliability first, then accuracy. Or even both. The three inch was a mistake on my part. It cost me some money to get out of it. I went to the five inch Dan Wesson Patriot Marksman in carbon blue steel and external extractor. Beautiful pistol. Priced well.

Sean Smith
January 7, 2003, 07:41 PM
They sell these almost custom guns at very good prices.

Um, you are mistaken. Kimbers aren't anywhere near the quality of a custom gun. In fact, Kimber cuts alot of corners making their guns... arguably more than Colt or even Springfield Armory does. Nice product, but saying a Kimber is an "almost custom" gun just shows you don't know what you are talking about in that regard.

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