Cheaper than 1911...


January 20, 2006, 04:23 AM
Since I cannot afford a 1911 with a good reliability history (Other than the Springfield GI which is missing alot of things I want in a 1911), I have been looking at other autoloaders, even *gasp* polymer pistols. Now I love the feel of the 1911 and I like the grip saftey. So far a cheap alternative seems to be the Springfield XD ( I may even get it in 9mm I'm so poor... hehe). Can anyone suggest something else that feels like a 1911 and is reasonably priced?

Note: Not a GLOCK fan, nothing against Herr Gaston, just no mi gusta the ergonomics. Love the SIGs I've shot but they're bloody expensive for a college student. In a 1911 I like beavertails, bull barrels, and ramped barrels, but the beavertail more than the other two. Anything I'm missing?

Note 2: Would I be better off to get a GI lightweight 4" and then Mod it as I go?
Also, will the GI fire JHP's reliably?~Nathan

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January 20, 2006, 06:06 AM
Why not look for a new or used Rock Island Armory. Either should be around, especially a new one. They can be found for as little as 300.00 I believe. That's a start. Or maybe a Hi Power. I really suggest waiting for what you can afford. I played the cheap gun game a long time and it's satisfying having something, but it's better having what you want plus it sucks trading four so-so guns for one good one. More experienced board members can help better but I say hold out for a 1911. They are they way, the light, the glory...
I had a RIA and it was a good shooter and that's a good place to start with mods.

PS. My RIA ate anything I fed it, including JHPs.

January 20, 2006, 09:10 AM
Howdy neighbors! I've got kinfolks in Tennessee, hurrakane. Where ya'll hail from?

January 20, 2006, 12:06 PM
I am in Cleveland, TN. I have family in Western NC~Nathan

January 20, 2006, 12:49 PM
I'm with MisterG, hold out for what you really want. I'd be careful buying a used 1911, though, unless you know what's been done to it. A friend of mine bought one and wasn't sure of what was done to it and has had some problems with it feeding due to the previous owner piddling with it. Of course this also depends on where you buy it. I think he bought his gun from a friend who knew a guy...or something like that. Anyways, good luck.

January 20, 2006, 01:29 PM
Good advice from Siggunner.

All these folks from Tennessee! I never seen the like. I got kinfolks over in
Kingsport and a bud in the third leg of the tri-cities.

Not sure where Cleveland is, Hurrikane. :confused:

January 20, 2006, 01:52 PM
I'm from Knoxville and one of my friends has relatives in Kingsport. Nice to see some Tennesseans in here. By the way, the three best places to buy from (around where I live, and in no particular order) is Farnsworth Firearms in Vonore, TN, Benton Shooters Supply in Benton, TN, and Coal Creek Armory in Knoxville.

January 20, 2006, 02:06 PM
I've got a first cousin who lives in Knoxville...or at least he used to. Haven't heard a peep out of him in years. He's a CPA...or was at last sighting. He'd be about 60 now. He grew up in Kingsport.

Oh yeah! Gun topic! He was also a shooter once upon a time. Hope that hasn't changed.

Black Majik
January 20, 2006, 02:40 PM
so, how much ya got to spend? I'm guessing around $500, the goin' price for a SA GI.

Usually, for around that price range I'd suggest a CPO SIG 226/220. They're in excellent condition most of the time, factory refurbished.

Check out a SIG if you haven't, they're awesome pistols.

January 20, 2006, 02:40 PM
Since you are considering 9mm and you like the 1911 format, why not try out one of the surplus Star's that are out there. Can be had pretty cheaply and are pretty decent shooting little hunks of metal.

Steve C
January 20, 2006, 03:36 PM
Look around and if you can find a Norinco 1911 for under $300 grab it. They’re a decent shooting pistol as is but a much better platform for customizing than most anything out there short of a Colt. I found one that ran me $275 OTD last October. Had a gunsmith install a beavertail grip safety, new hammer, new springs, a Springfield take out barrel, new trigger and a 3-1/2lb trigger job. Its one fine shooter for right at $500 total investment.

You can add and modify as desired, no need to put a lot of bucks into it right away.

As purchased used:

After the minor modifications:

Black Majik
January 20, 2006, 03:40 PM
You can add and modify as desired, no need to put a lot of bucks into it right away.

Actually steve, you bring up a great point. If this is your first 1911, buy a bone stock one, shoot it for a while, and them make the decision what you'd like to change on it.

Shooting a bone stock 1911 is a great way to learn the platform. Most of us can do without all the doo dads, but can also appreciate the bells and whistles on the gun.

For me, I got a stock Colt as my first 1911, and I'm glad I did. It really made me realize what features I would require on a 1911, and which features (to me) are just fluff and buff...

YMMV, but maybe a SA GI wouldn't be such a bad option. :)

January 20, 2006, 03:52 PM
Cleveland is east of Chattanooga, right on I75 as you head up the road towards Knoxville.

I would recommend the Rock Island or a Norinco as a good starter, if you're committed to the 1911 Style. I guess there's nothing wrong with the 1911, but there are so many better pistols out there.

Of course, they would all cost you much more than a bare bones 1911 clone. PS - Don't buy a Colt! Had some of them jamomatics until I learned to buy reliable pistols.

January 20, 2006, 04:34 PM
Allmons...Gotcha! I know where it is now.

If the GI Springfield doesn't have the features you like, take a look at the Standard Mil-Spec. Better sights and a lowered ejection port...if that really matters. Price isn't too far off the mark, and most of'em are good shooters. Any reliability issues that come up are usually extractor or magazine related,
which means easy to fix without a lotta cash outlay. The trouble is mainly in findin' a smith who knows the little insider tweaks that make a delinquent 1911 boringly reliable.

Norincos are generally good, but the last few I've seen make me wonder if they dropped their candy on the barrel specs about once a month. A little more involved to correct if one does have a bad barrel fit, but once done, the guns approach indestructible...and they generally go for thousands of rounds
between malfunctions...and usually only if they're canked up from neglect.
The price difference between a decent used Nork and a new Springfield would pay for a new, fitted barrel and most of the smith's fees.

January 20, 2006, 04:40 PM
Economy reliable pistols, Ruger P Series, Springfield XD...

January 20, 2006, 04:47 PM
If you want a fun toy that shoots like an old military 1911, get a Star Model B.

Here's one for sale. I picked up one in excellent condition but with oil-soaked grips for $200, so see if you can look around and do better than the price here.

For self defense, an inexpensive but excellent pistol is a German surplus Walther P1. Parkerized 9mm, currently available in Excellent condition for well under $300 with a couple magazines. New mags available from Cabela's for $19. Mine ($259 with 2 mags, quaint old cleaning kit and holster, built 1978 and never used much, since it was taken out of service in 1980) feeds Winchester Silvertips just perfectly, as long as they're well seated in the magazine. 400 ft-lb and a nasty expanding bullet ought to be effective enough. Very reliable as long as you clean and oil it every once in a while.

Also, you can now get plastic-tip JHP rounds that feed fine in guns that don't like regular JHP's.

Rugers are reliable, but they do live up to their nickname "bricks with triggers." Ergonomics are not for me.

Just some thoughts...

January 20, 2006, 05:35 PM
(Other than the Springfield GI which is missing alot of things I want in a 1911)

What are the 'extras' that you're looking for? How about buying the 1911 you can afford and 'upgrading' it as the extra dough rolls in? You may find that you like the stock configuration (I generally do.).

I guess I'm basically saying that if you've set your heart on some kind of 1911, don't settle for less... there really is nothing quite like a 1911.

All the best to you! It's the finest pistol ever made. ;)


January 20, 2006, 05:46 PM
since money is an issue, just sit down and do the math for a second, .45s are expensive to shoot. I suggest a Ruger 22/45, this is a great plinking rimfire that has the feel of a 1911. You'll be able to shoot as much as you want without it stressing your wallet, you'll be able to save up for the 1911 that you really want instead of compromising and your skills will transfer easily.

I guess I'm basically saying that if you've set your heart on some kind of 1911, don't settle for less... there really is nothing quite like a 1911.I agree, what I'm suggesting is buying your "trainer .22" now that will complement the 1911 you get when you have the funds. Similarly in college I bought a Bersa .22LR that had similar controls to the Beretta I eventually bought later (and in the meantime I had money to buy a good used car too boot, thanks in part to the trainer .22).

article on the Ruger 22/45

January 20, 2006, 06:52 PM
T'were I in your shoes, I would go with the XD and not look back. When prosperity arrives in your old age, go for the 1911 you always wanted. I really do like the XD, and (God willing and wife allowing) I will have one someday. Maybe even within a couple years.

January 22, 2006, 04:15 PM
Check out the IAI 5000 or 6000 series guns. You can find these for around the three hundred mark. They come with a lot of the whistles we like to add...extended beavertail, ambi safties, checkered frontstrap, checkered and squared triggerguards, white dot sights......I don't think these can be beat for the price of a new gun.

Gripscrews are the only problem I've encountered with them so far.


January 22, 2006, 05:22 PM
Another vote for just getting the Springfield GI you were looking at and being done with it. Since you've mentioned Coal Creek, I've seen some GIs there on and off at serious good prices.. especially if you don't mind (hardly) used. If you insist on a beavertail, you can either have one installed or just buy a $30-odd drop-in piece, and do the finer work on it when you have the cash.


January 22, 2006, 06:21 PM
I recently picked up a new Springfield GI, specifically because I wanted to see just how important some of the modern improvements (cough, cough, mumble, whatever) on my Kimber really are.

I learned that finding that tiny little nubbin of a front sight is next to impossible, unless the light is *just* right. For the better sights alone, I'd recommend spending a little more for the MilSpec, especially if this were to be used for any sort of serious purpose. Sure, you can upgrade the sights later, but you'll end up spending more money, and in the meantime you're packing around with sights you can't see.

When you take into account the nasty blister I got from the grip safety tang, the short trigger and arched MSH that I'll eventually replace (personal preference, I know), just spending another $80 for a used [ Kimber | Springfield Loaded | Para | etc. ] starts to look like a really great bargain.

Just my opinion.

January 22, 2006, 06:27 PM
Shop around some. I found my Springfield Loaded 9mm for $519 at a local shop. Runs like a champ and I have not had jam in 950 rounds so far.

January 22, 2006, 06:32 PM
"Note 2: Would I be better off to get a GI lightweight 4" and then Mod it as I go?
Also, will the GI fire JHP's reliably?~Nathan"

1911s are money pits. If you want one, you are better off getting one with all the features on it than trying to mod it. You will spend much more modding it than if you just paid up front.

1911s are not as reliable as many of the newer pistols that is why the military said see ya! In military tests, the Beretta 92fs was something like 8-9 TIMES more reliable. The days of the 1911 being considered reliable are over now that much more reliable designs are here like the Beretta.

I also get so tired of people saying that a Norinco is a good deal if you can get one for less than $300. When was the last time ANYONE saw a Norinco for less than $300? It just doesn't happen so don't hold your breath. You are going to spend at least $400 on any Norinco and at that price, you can get a SA 1911 so what is the point?

January 22, 2006, 06:34 PM
Back to the original question, the XD is a fine option -- if you like shooting it. IMO the XD40 4" is the best value for a working pistol available today. If I were starting over, that's probably the route I would go.

As it is, the trigger is different enough from a 1911 that going back and forth gives me problems with both, so it's one or the other for me. And I'm already happily invested in the 1911.

January 22, 2006, 06:35 PM
My nod for the best value today is the Springfield Mil-Spec line. GI if you can use the sights...Standard Mil-Spec if you need bigger ones. They seem to have recurring extractor problems from time to time...which is cheap and easy to correct if the need arises...but for the most part they're very good.
Do a search for "Springfield Torture test" to see what kinda hell I put a GI
through about two years ago. Not for the squeamish...:cool: The pistol now rides on my hip as part of my 5 gun carry rotation. As anal as I am over reliability...that says a lot.

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