Intimidated to own a 1911? Me too.


September 23, 2004, 04:57 PM
I recently shot a 1911...I loved it. I like the way it looks, feels and even the safety features, but I am intimidated to own one because I am not a tickerer when it comes to autos. I need somthing reliable as the day is long and somthing with good accuracy (think defensive pistol). I hear you have to tweak it here to get accuracy or add somthing there to make it reliable. I heard about the Springfield Mil-Specs and love the stripped simplicity of it, but I guess with all the hot rodding out there, a stock 1911 is just somthing to scoff at?

Is this just a hobby for most folks or is this level of work really needed? For all that effort I might just get a Sig 220 or Glock 21.

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September 23, 2004, 05:17 PM
Hmmm...I have 1911 pistols that are nuts reliable, accurate, and never need tinkered with. I find them anything but intimidating. In fact, I find them rather inviting.

Black Majik
September 23, 2004, 05:19 PM
Colt NRM Government. No Tinkering Required.

Tinkering is only required to guns that dont work out of the box.

Black Majik
September 23, 2004, 05:20 PM
Colt NRM Government. No Tinkering Required.

Tinkering is only required to guns that dont work out of the box.

September 23, 2004, 05:21 PM
None that I know of are immune. There are plenty of reliable 1911s out there. The unfortunate reality is that there are plenty of bad ones too.

The key is to test every gun for reliability before you stake your life on it. Personally, If I had to buy only one gun out of the box to stake my life on it would be a Smith and Wesson revolver. In fact the next 20 or so guns on that list would be a combination of shotguns, AKs and Wheelguns. Then after those I would stake my life on my cz75b. I would also look at glocks, xd, sig, good 1911s etc. I've seen every one of those malf except the xd and I just haven't seen anybody shoot one yet.

BUT if you really really really need realiability. Buy a qualtiy revolver.

Don't pick on the 1911 guys, its been over done.


September 23, 2004, 05:22 PM
Most of the tinkering is because they CAN, not because it is needed. Think of the teenagers today with the Honda Civics with the loud pipes, decals, fins, etc.

September 23, 2004, 05:22 PM
I like the way it looks, feels and even the safety features, but I am intimidated to own one because I am not a tickerer when it comes to autos.
1. You don't need to be a tinkerer to own one. In fact, most of the issues with 1911s are caused by wannabe tinkerers messing with them.
I need somthing reliable as the day is long and somthing with good accuracy (think defensive pistol).
2. I have two of them(Colt & Kimber), each just like they came out of the box, and both have been nearly 100% reliable. Only malfunctions have been due to crappy ammo (can happen with any gun), solution was to stop using that particular ammo.
I hear you have to tweak it here to get accuracy or add somthing there to make it reliable.
3. See #1 above.

Do a search here for Sprinfield and user name 1911Tuner. There is a lot of info in that thread about stock guns.

The great thing about 1911s, is if you want to tinker or modify them to fit you better you can. Or you can keep them totally stock and be happy.

September 23, 2004, 05:35 PM
How funny...

I was in the same boat as you once upon a time. Scared to have to drop another several hundred (ugh or even a thousand+) dollars into a 1911 type pistol to get it to run perfectly. I had heard all the horror stories and believed them.

So I was very nervous after the fact when I bought my Para Ordnance P13 on a whim at a gunshow. I mean all that big bad 1911 mystery voodoo with the supposed funky ParaOrdnance mojo thrown in as well...I started to regret the purchase before I even fired it.

But much to my later surprise, it shot, fed, cycled, grouped perfectly...Not one problem with that gun. It just shot and shot and shot and it was one of the evil alloy framed Para's too...:what: Thta gun made me wonder what the big deal was and why other people had such problems with their 1911's...

To this day, I still regret selling it in a moment of weakness. My biggest lost gun regret... :(

Take the plunge.
You might be pleasantly surprised.

September 23, 2004, 05:47 PM
I need somthing reliable as the day is long and somthing with good accuracy (think defensive pistol).


Sorry, couldn't help it. :rolleyes:

Country Boy
September 23, 2004, 07:38 PM
The problem I had with my 1911 was with my magazines. The factory magazines that came with my Springfield are awful. I bought some Wilson mags and don't have problems. No other tinkering was necessary with my pistol.

September 23, 2004, 08:02 PM
I have owned a number of 1911s over the years. All but two have been bone stock. I never had any problem with them other than wearing out parts. All of the ones that I owned that ran fine out of the box had a pony on the slide. I currently own a Springfield Armory that was a true lemon. I sent it to Clark's and had it fixed. Very poor craftsmanship. Hopefully it was made after a holiday weekend and was an anomoly.
A buddy of mine bought a Springfield and has been having problems with it. I asked him to let me borrow it and put it through it's paces. I shot it today and have about 100 rounds through it. The first problem with it is the factory magazines are terrible. I have probably purchased over 100, 1911 magazines over the years (heck, more than that, I have that many now). I have bought all kinds of no-name magazines, surplus magazines, as well as the Wilsons and Chip McCormick. I have never had a magazine issue in a 1911 before now. The magazines he got with this pistol caused all kinds of problems including the fact that they won't eject from the freaken gun when you hit the mag release. Neither mag locks the slide back after the last round. On the other hand, the gun runs good with Wilson Combat mags. It does need the extractor adjusted, but 99.9% of the problem is those blankety blank magazines.
My current go-to 1911 is a Colt. It probably has ? what ? 50,000 rounds through it ? I bought it on the way to an IPSC match about 10 years ago and shot it right out of the box in a match. I had never had it home, cleaned it, or anything. I have a couple more just like it as back-ups. All exactly like they came out of the box with one exception. I found for some reason that I now need to use a beavertail grip safety. I didn't used to, but now my hand gets chewed up. Maybe it is the fat.

Ky Larry
September 23, 2004, 09:14 PM
I have a Kimber Custom Defender II that I purchased used. I have no idea how many rounds were put thru it before I got it. The several 1000 I have shot it have had zero malfunctions. AFAIK, it is completely stock. I have one Kimber mag and several Chip McCormack Power Mags.

September 23, 2004, 09:37 PM
Don't know about some others, but buy a Kimber or a Colt, and shoot it. With quality mags, you shouldn't have any problems. No mods required, those are only for the strangers among us who just can't be happy with a 'box' gun.:D

September 23, 2004, 09:40 PM
I have owned several 1911's over the years, some I have tinkered with out of necessity and others I have tinkered with just to have something to do. My last 1911 purchase was the S and W 1911. It has everything I need in a good 1911 and has performed without problems so no tinkering will be done with the exception of buying a nice set of wood grips. If it ever does develop a problem the lifetime warranty should take care of it.

September 23, 2004, 10:04 PM
Hop on in alduro! The water's great. The worst problem with 1911's is they're so darned addictive. When attended regularly they multiply.

September 23, 2004, 10:17 PM
You dont have to tinker with them. Thats the tinkering crowd that does that. Don't confuse the two classes and think that you have to.

Tinkering's ok. Nothing wrong with that if you have the inclination. It's not mandatory though. I've put more cost into ammo than in tinkering in my 1911.

September 23, 2004, 10:18 PM

Read this, it will save you time and is great info!

Why buy pistols that don't work? (

No, I still haven't bought a 1911. I keep finding cool handguns in everything but 1911's and of course hi-powers. But, I will someday! ;)

September 23, 2004, 11:17 PM
A lower end Kimber, a Springfield Milspec, or a Colt M1991A1 is essentially stock and hard to screw up. Its' the custom ones that start going bad.

The Wilson 47 and Chip McCormick Power mags are highly recommended.

My brother's no tinkerer, he's not even much of a shooter. The only thing he did to his 1991A1 was add magazines and ammo..... ever. Still runs fine. $500 for the gun. $100 worth of magazines and some ammo.

September 24, 2004, 01:05 AM
The Holy Gospel According to John Moses Browning

I. In the beginning was the 1911, and the 1911 was the pistol, and it was good.

II. John Moses Browning went up into the mountain, even unto the top of the mountain. And he received from the Lord the 1911, yea, and the design thereof, and rendered it into steel.

III. And the Lord saw that the 1911 was good, and blessed it, and said "Let it be made in .45ACP, that you may smite thine enemies a mighty blow, for the .45ACP shall cleave unto the 1911 as man shall cleave unto his wife, and likewise the 1911 shall cleave also unto the .45ACP, for this union is a holy one, from which thou shalt not stray.

IV. So the 1911 in .45ACP came to pass, and it was good, and the righteous therefore smote the minions of evil, as the Lord had intended.

V. And behold the Lord said, thou shalt not muck with my disciple John's design for it is good and it worketh. For John made the 1911, and lo all of his weapons, from the designs which I, the Lord, gave him upon the mountain.

VI. And shouldst thou muck with it and hang all manner of foul implements upon it, and profane its internal parts, thou shalt surely have malfunctions, and in the midst of battle thou shalt surely come to harm.

VII. And as the ages passed men in their ignorance and arrogance didst forget the word of the Lord and began to profane the 1911. The tribe of the gamesman did place recoil spring guides and extended slide releases upon the 1911 and their metal smiths didst tighten the tolerances and alter parts to their liking, their clearness of mind being clouded by lust.

VIII. Their artisans did hang all manner of foul implements upon the 1911 and did so alter it that it became impractical to purchase. For lo, the artisans didst charge a great tax upon the purchasers of the 1911 so that the lowly field worker could not afford one. And the profaning of the internal parts didst render it unworkable when the dust of the land fell upon it.

IX. And lo, they didst install adjustable sights, which are an abomination unto the Lord. For they doth break and loose their zero when thou dost need true aim. And those who have done so will be slain in great numbers by their enemies in the great battle.

X. And it came to pass that the Lord didst see the abomination wrought by man and didst cause, as he had warned, fearful malfunction to come upon the abominations and upon the artisans who thought they could do no wrong.

XI. Seeing the malfunctions and the confusion of men the lord of the underworld did see an opportunity to further ensnare man and didst bring forth pistols made of plastic, whose form was such that they looked and felt like a brick, yet the eyes of man being clouded, they were consumed by the plastic pistol and did buy vast quantities of them.

XII. And being a deceitful spirit the lord of the underworld did make these plastic pistols unamenable to the artisans of earth and they were unable to muck much with the design, and lo these pistols did function.

XIII. And the evil one also brought forth pistols in which the trigger didst both cock and fire them and which require a "dingus" to make them appear safe.

XIV. But man being stupid did not understand these new pistols and did proceed to shoot themselves with the plastic pistol, and with the trigger cocking pistols for lo their manual of arms required great intelligence which man had long since forsaken. Yet man continued to gloat over these new pistols blaming evil forces for the negligent discharges which they themselves had committed.

XV. And when man had been totally ensnared with plastic pistol, the lord of the underworld didst cause a plague of the terrible Ka-BOOM to descend upon man and the plastic pistols delivered their retribution upon men. And there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth in the land.

XVI. Then seeing that the eyes of man were slowly being opened and that man was truly sorrowful for his sinful misdeeds, the Lord did send his messengers in the form of artisans who did hear and obey the teachings of the prophet and who didst restore the profaned 1911s to their proper configuration, and lo, to the amazement of men they didst begin to work as the prophet had intended.

XVII. And the men of the land didst drive out the charlatans and profaners from the land, and there was joy and peace in the land, except for the evil sprits which tried occasionally to prey on the men and women of the land and who were sent to the place of eternal damnation by the followers of John.

September 24, 2004, 01:13 AM
i've wanted to own a 1911 for the longest time now. everytime i go to the store to get one i end up leaving with something else. i love the way they shoot but the single action pull is a little bit too light for me, at least for a defensive gun anyways. i've heard allot of folks say their 1911's work great and all it took was a few trips to the gunsmith. if i get one and i will, it will most likely be a springfield mil spec. i had a 1911 guy tell me once (let me know if he's right guys) that the more money you spend on a 1911 the more problems you will have.

September 24, 2004, 01:30 AM
Damn. Solo is right. It is a religious experience.

(Although a 10mm 1911 wouldn't be a sin!)

READ No. 11 (XI) WhiteKnight!

September 24, 2004, 06:39 AM
Tinkering? My Charles Daly needed a new standard recoil spring. And both my Para Ordnance and Springfield have had no problems. No tinkering needed.

September 24, 2004, 08:41 AM
My Kimber (Target II) is another that has been 100% reliable and has about 1800 rounds through it. It's dependable enough to be my go-to gun for home defense.
Its bone stock and will probably stay that way.

1911's are like Harley Davidsons. Out of the box they will do what most folks ask of them. In order to set yours apart from the millions of others out there you customize.

September 24, 2004, 09:12 AM
I need somthing reliable as the day is long and somthing with good accuracy (think defensive pistol).

Sounds like he's describing a 1911; just keep it clean & lubed, buy good quality magazines, and use good quality factory ammo or reloads you can trust. But FWIW, a Sig 220 or Glock 21 are also two d@mn good pieces.

September 24, 2004, 09:33 AM
It's all I own. Have no fear.

September 24, 2004, 10:10 AM
No problem with my SW1911.

September 24, 2004, 10:48 AM
I was that way too. I purchased a Springfield Armory 1911 in stainless (PX9151L) and it's been more reliable than my Glock 19.

September 24, 2004, 11:09 AM
Here is a reasoned approach.

Buy a basic 1911 style. Say I am going into this for my own knowledge and experience. If I don't like it, I can always sell it. If I sell it I am now done and move on to something else.

1911s should not be feared, but they are absolutely not for everybody.

The experience of having any fine functioning pistol is very satisfying regardless of manufacturer, style, action type, caliber or what not.
If the 1911 does that for you, your search is over. Now you are ready to buy or reload and shoot and shoot until proficiency is reached and then for the fun of it, shoot even more.

Basically shopping for pistols is a losing game!

September 24, 2004, 09:47 PM
Believe me, I am definitely *not* a tinker type; while I find field-stripping and cleaning quite a relaxing experience, the thought of trying to detail strip any of my pistols, let alone my (one and only) 1911, fills me with fear and a full recognition of my own severe tinkering limitations. Maybe someday that kind of activity will interest me; it certainly doesn't today.

Having said that, I've had my new-in-box SW1911 for several months and the only tinkering I've done -- if you can even call it that -- is changing the grips to a wood style. The appeal of the 1911 is that it's fully capable of being tinkered with 'til the proverbial cows come home as some owners choose to do...or, if it's a good, solid example (as the SW1911 is), can simply be left alone and enjoyed.

While I had the same concerns, trust me that a good brand-name 1911 model is no more challenging to maintain than most other pistols...and the performance and accuracy is well worth that very slight bit of exta effort -- there's just nothing quite like it. In fact, you mentioned foregoing a 1911 in favor of a Sig P220...all I can offer to that is that my P220ST has only been out to the range once since the SW1911 joined my pistol family.

So pleased am I with my first 1911, my next purchase will be a commander-size 1911...perhaps a SW1911Sc or Kimber Pro-Carry HD or...? Whatever I end up getting, it won't be tinkered with either.

And if by chance I *do* have problems, it won't be me trying to fix any other pistol, off to the factory it'll go for service. And in that realm, too, nobody does it like S&W. So check out the'll be glad you did.

September 26, 2004, 09:30 AM
I took the dive a few weeks ago, bought a brand new Springfield Mil-Spec .45 in 5" full-size. I have run about 500 rds thru it without a single problem.

Bone stock it is accurate, smooth, and low enough on the recoil that my best friend with a degenerating neck vertebrae injury can fire it for hours and not have it kill his neck.

Its easy to dis-assemble to clean, requiring no tools. And for the near future, its going to stay completely stock because I see no need to mess with it.

Hop in, the waters fine!

September 26, 2004, 04:36 PM
what about the springfield GI Micro? Anygood?

September 26, 2004, 05:36 PM
I'm certainly no expert, but I've repeatedly heard it said that the compact and micro 1911 models can be a lot more finicky than the full-size models (and even the commander-size models). If you're finding ownership of a 1911 intimidating, I don't think I'd suggest a micro model to begin with.

September 27, 2004, 05:24 PM
1911 are incredibly appealing, beautiful, and classic. But, is there another pistol with the same basic action that might be simpler in construction, more modern in design, and at least as reliable? IMHO, yes.

What I like about the 1911 is the SA trigger and thumb safety. So, I compared the 1911 to the other pistol and found that I could enjoy this modern pistol with its so-called improvements more than the 1911.

I get cocked and locked carry (as well as double action restrike), ambidextrous safety, metal magazines, simple field stripping, minimal part count, and a reasonably large group of enthusiasts I can discuss matters with.

Is it better? Who knows. It just made sense to me. To keep this from degrading into a 1911 vs. xxxx hijack, I've refrained from naming the pistol. But, in case you haven't purchased the 1911 yet, you can find something combining its features of most value with modern design and manufacture.

The Real Hawkeye
September 27, 2004, 06:05 PM
To keep this from degrading into a 1911 vs. xxxx hijack, I've refrained from naming the pistol.So, you like your H&K USP .45 better than a 1911? The only thing it has on it is the higher cap magazine. In all other respects, a good 1911 has it beat.

silent one
September 28, 2004, 07:00 PM

Welcome to the forum. :)


I shoot many pistols of various calibers, but my favorite is the venerable
.45. I prefer the full size over the compacts. The compacts are just not accurate for long distance shooting, IMHO. I do most shooting at a distance of 50', to 25 yds, and the full size is perfect for these distances.
I carry a Kimber full size pre series II Custom Classic, and it performs without a hitch. I don't do anything to my weapons, except to keep them clean, and lubed. I do change the recoil springs at approx 5,000 rounds with wolff springs. Even changing the springs is not carved in stone, but I feel it helps with cycling, and reduces the chance of frame battering. As far
as one make being better than the other, I feel they're all good, as long as they go "bang" when I squeeze the trigger. :D I have owned just about every make of .45 over the years, and I can't honestly say I have owned a bad one. I think most problems start, when shooters don't know when to stop playing gunsmith. I live by the old addage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"
Keep them clean, and lubed, shoot quality ammo, and if something should break, send it to a competent gunsmith to repair it. Happy shooting:)


September 28, 2004, 07:10 PM
Amen, silent one!

I've owned my Colt M1991A1 for over ten years and haven't changed a thing. It's the same today as when I first took it out of the box. The only time it's ever let me down was when I used the wrong brand of ammo and experienced two feed jams in the first fifty rounds. After that I went back to my usual brand and since then have had no problems whatsoever. I, too, believe that if it isn't broken don't fix it.

September 28, 2004, 07:28 PM
You know I've never had a problem with a stock Colt... numerous ones with my kit bashed Frankengun... but never with a stock Colt.

Sure some of 'em don't like SWC's but they were made to feed 230 FMJ...

That's still a pretty big pill.

September 28, 2004, 08:34 PM
Thanks guys...I appreciate the replies...I will take all this into consideration.

September 29, 2004, 12:34 AM
Stop wishing and fill your hand with a Colt. Rember the rest are all copies. :D

September 29, 2004, 01:24 AM
I bought a Stainless Colt Officer's .45 from a co-worker because it was priced right. I had no real interest in a .45.

That gun is now my favorite carry gun and the first one everybody wants to borrow when we go to the range.

There is a real mystique and heritage to these fine weapons.

Just do it!!!

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