Best 45 Auto? Kimber, S&W, or Sig Sauer?


August 15, 2003, 09:55 PM
I have been saving my money since well before I turned 21, and am still hiding some back every day, in the hopes of one day purchasing an excellent gun.

Throughout my numerious trips to gunsmiths and shops I have found that they all seem to agree that the Sig Sauer P220, Kimber Supermatch and Eclipse, and the S&W 945 are all the best 45's $$$ can buy.

If the Handgun Faerie were to decend from the heavens and give you a choice between these three guns, which would you chose and why?

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Standing Wolf
August 15, 2003, 10:10 PM
I'd choose the Kimber: I already have one, and it's a very reliable, very well made, very accurate pistol.

August 15, 2003, 10:11 PM
Kimber is my "hands down " easy pick. The 1911 platform is the best in my opion, do you see any Sigs or S&W 945's in any compition, or everyday carry? Some perhaps, but not often. Stick with a 1911 or GLOCKs. And practice.:D

Drifting Fate
August 15, 2003, 10:26 PM
First, there is no perfect design - so don't expect one.

Sig makes one of the most, if not the most, reliable pistol on the market. Pluses - superb out of the box reliability and target grade accuracy in a combat tough gun. Negatives - high bore axis and double action trigger system.

I've found Smiths .45 autos to work well, gobble everything, and shot everything to almost the same point of aim. The 945 is an intriging and appears very well made, but they are massive and not combat proven.

The Kimber 1911. Some people hate them, some people love them, and a lot of us feel both ways at the same time. If you want a 1911 (and every shooter should have one), then the Kimber would be an excellant choice. While many people report flawless performance, I wouldn't expect as much reliability from it as the Sig. Flip side, the ergonomics and parts/accessories availability can't be beat.

Now, all you have to do is decide what you want out of a pistol, and a great deal of that is what you are going to use it for.

August 15, 2003, 10:37 PM

August 16, 2003, 12:11 AM
Colt, actually I would take over the others...I did, too, since I have six of them:neener:

Ala Dan
August 16, 2003, 12:35 AM
I would most definitely get the SIG-Sauer P220
first!:D Learn to master its double-action first shot;
and everything else becomes second nature!:uhoh:

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

August 16, 2003, 02:28 AM
The real question is ,,, what do you want it for?

Also, The plain Jane Kimbers are just as good as thier gimick/upper models IMO. I've shot just about every model and most will shoot very well and better than I off hand.

Also you might want to think about a gun that has a 22 conversion kit for cheap practice. Good luck, Bren

August 16, 2003, 03:06 AM
And don't forget to check out the all stainless SIG P220ST. After going through .45's of many types the P220ST is by far my favorite. I still like various 1911's, Glock 21, S&W 4506, and even the USP but nothing fits or shoots like the P220ST for me.

Oh, and the lighterweight SIG P220 Ala Dan mentioned is a good choice too. ;)

But if you prefer a 1911 I'd recommend either the Kimber TLE (beavertail, nightsights, modern look) or Colt NRM M1991A1 (for the classic looks) and spend the rest on ammo so you can actually go out to the range more often. Having a nicer gun you can admire at home is cool too but actually going out and shooting it more often is better. And these are all "nice guns" by the way, they just may not look as pretty as a S&W 945 or fancy Kimber.

August 16, 2003, 06:20 AM
Both the Kimber and the Sig are great guns. If you don't mind the cocked and locked carry I would pick the Kimber. Otherwise it would be the Sig.

August 16, 2003, 08:02 AM
You forgot about Glocks! :cool:

August 16, 2003, 08:16 AM
I absolutely love my Kimber. I bought the custom classic four years ago and had Eabco apply their French Gray finish to it. In fact, the 1911 on their website ( ) advertising this service is actually a picture of my Kimber. She likes to think she's a beauty queen now.

However, as the tlhelmer pointed out, you should also take a look at what Glock has to offer as well. I know a couple folks who own the Glock 21 and couldn't be happier with them. .45acp chambered Glocks certainly shouldn't be overlooked as long as they fit your hand, as they have proven to be accurate and reliable handguns.

Marko Kloos
August 16, 2003, 09:00 AM
The SIG P220 is the best DA/SA .45 Auto on the market, bar none.

My pick would be the SIG, but only because I have a soft spot for them, and I know that I'll never have reliability issues of any kind with a P-series SIG. 1911s can be a little magazine-dependent for flawless operation. It's be a toss-up, and it would depend on the purpose of the gun. If it's a purely defensive tool, the SIG. If it's a range toy that'll see occasional carry duty, the 1911.

Old Fuff
August 16, 2003, 09:27 AM
Since you aren’t quite ready to buy yet I would look at some more possibilities. First, I wouldn’t eliminate Colt without looking at some. Don’t forget that this company has more experience then any other when it comes to Government Model style guns. Far more I might say, then anyone at a local gun shop.

Also a lot of the more expensive models from all makers are big-bucks because they’re loaded with superfluous gadgets and accessories. You would be wise to buy something less “loaded” and spend the difference on things you really need like extra magazines, leather, and practice ammunition. I assume that you’re financial resources are not unlimited.

The SIG/Sauer line of pistols is an excellent one, but some of the features that make it a good choice as a personal weapon/carry gun make it less attractive for general all-around shooting where the double action/single action trigger system with a hammer-drop safety work against you. Accuracy, especially hand-held accuracy is a strong point of the 1911 design that is unmatched by the others.

Last but not least, you might consider some slightly-used second hand guns. Again you can make some material savings. Back in the late 1940’s my first .45 was a war surplus 1911-A1 made by Ithaca. It did everything I wanted and more right out of the box. But three years later when I’d saved more money it was traded for a brand new Colt along with a .22 conversion unit. I traded off the conversion unit because it didn’t work too well, but I still have the gun a half century later.

August 16, 2003, 09:59 AM
Dittos on it depends on what you want.

I had a CC Kimber that was just perfect; I put my saved money toward ammo and training. The P220 is a great TDA pistol. I find the G30 to be really accurate, and softer shooting than I expected.

The good news here is that while we can all raz each other about "the best", we really have more great .45's than we used to.

I think the G30 is too good to pass up. :neener:

August 16, 2003, 10:46 AM
Out of the three listed, I would select the SIG for consistant quality and reliabilty,IMO:D

August 16, 2003, 11:10 AM
The correct answer isn't there. It's the STI ( Trojan.

Plenty of great things said about them at (

August 16, 2003, 11:23 AM
You have received some good advice here, which I actually find surprising since usually everyone will just say whatever gun they happen to like is the "best" and you should buy it too. :rolleyes:

No question that the Sig 220 is an excellent gun. So is the S&W 945. The lower end Kimbers such as the Custom II and the TLE are also good guns for the money, however, none of those are "the best .45 money can buy".

My advice is don't pay too much attention to what gun shop salesmen, gunshop commandos or gunsmiths tell you. Do your own research on the net and handle and rent guns you think you like. There are huge differences between those guns you have listed. First you should decide what you are more comfortable with: double action or single action. Once you decide that, you can narrow down the field some more. Do you want a combat gun or a target gun? Do you want a gun for carry or for home protection? These are necessary questions.

If you decide you like the Sig, you might want to consider the 220ST, which is the stainless version. It is heavier, which makes it more burdensome to carry but reduces felt recoil making it easier to keep on target.

August 16, 2003, 12:08 PM
Easy, SIG 220 in any of it's .45 iterations. I like the heft of the stainless version but they are all good. They are big guns though, and have a high bore axis as stated. They also tend to have pricey magazines but that may have changed with the ACT-Novak magazines which I have yet to try. The trigger on the 220 is one of the best SA/DA ever made......but it will never live up to even a mediocre 1911 single action.

Kimbers are awesome and you gain a thinner gun with about the best single action trigger this side of a good single action army at the cost of more reliability issues in my exp. We have lots of Kimber shooters at my indoor range and they all usually experience a malf. of one kind or another at least once a range session. Usually nothing major and they are all probably magazine or you didn't change your recoil spring in 50K rounds kind of issues but my 220 has NEVER malfunctioned. It works all the time with any magazine I put into it(factory) I don't use aftermarkets.

I don't think you would go wrong with either one but for the money I think the 220 is the better combat/carry/duty/HD gun. I think the Kimber would fill that roll just fine but for me and my piece of mind my 1911 is more of a range gun.

Once again I don't have empirical data showing the reliability of the 1911 vs. the SIG 220 I am just going on personal observations. Both have pros and cons. For me my absolute primary concern in a defensive gun is reliability. SIG has always given that to me in spades along with all the other stuff.

Please don't take this as a bash on 1911s or Kimbers as I own a wonderful Colt 1991A1 that has been wonderful and it has only had like 3 malfunctions in 1000 or 1500 rounds. I love my 1911. I love my buddies Kimbers.....but TO ME they just ain't SIGs.:D

August 16, 2003, 01:02 PM
While i do think that a Kimber is a fine pistol I would have to say that IMHO the best bang for the buck in the .45 market right now is the SW1911. To me it is put together as well as any Kimber i have ever seen and has a nice feature set without breaking the bank.
While I don't think it can compare with say a Valtro or STI I would take my sw1911 over a Kimber any day of the week and twice on Sunday

August 16, 2003, 02:51 PM
As you can see, we all have differing opinions on whats best! Though there are alot of commonality in our choices. You definately have one of the most versatile and effective caliber's chosen(a big step in the right direction!)...Now Sir, to the Launching Platform!!!
What's what is reliable and feels 'right' in your hand! I would suggest going to a range and renting the various guns to shoot.
The S&W 945 will be hard to find, the 4506 and newer 1911 not as hard.
Any gun range has 1911's, because it is an awesome, versatile platform! And where there once was only Colt, now these is many choices,,which actually seems to make the decision harder! The simple Kimber TLE, as chosen by LAPD SWAT, a .22 conversion unit, five Wilson mags and a one time investment in quality leather(belt, IWB, OWB and mag pouch) will give you a lifetime of service.
The SIG P220/245 is excellant handgun, very accurate and reliable- but as mentioned, more for carry use...not competition...mainly because of the trigger. You will find too that it is larger and fatter than the 1911 platform.
The Glocks are also renoun for reliability, simplicity and accuracy. The also have a very effective finish. I have shot many over the years, including two G21's, G30, G36(G17,G19, G26,G22,G27 too!) and owned two different G30's. They are very nice guns for the money. But the .45's are fat, thick and point differently than the 1911 and SIG! But if it 'fits' you, get a lifetime of service.
You mentioned not the HK USP! But it too has a following and history of reliability and accuracy. Supposedely built to feel like a 1911, to does not. And I found the trigger to be alittle finicky. The gun and mags are expensive, but if ya like it, it will do the job too.
AND, you did not really mention what you wanted it for! Casual shooting, competition of some sort, the pride of ownership, a field tool that will take ALOT of abuse, home defense, or concealed carry/street defense....these throw variables into your decision making process.
For instance, if there is the possibility you want to carry it concealed for street defense....unless you are a large guy, or in cold weather alot...the G21, USP, S&W and SIG P220 MAY be too large a pistol to hide well. They will hide in an IWB holster with a good thick belt, but they are harder to hide in the wide variety of climates and situations that concealed carry requires. Then, we have to consider the smaller versions: G30/36, SIG P245, the standard and more compact versions of the 1911
Believe it or not, the good ol 1911 reigns supreme in the thin department. All the others are bigger in some diminsion.
But it all boils down to you and your choice.
Personally I have shot all of the above alot(though my experience with S&W auto's is limited), but I currently only own 1911 variants of the .45 auto and that is where I will probably stay(though I will 'rent' any new .45 caliber pistol and shoot it for the experience). I like the 'feel', the operation, the thinness, I have a loooong history with it(all over the world in the last 27 years), and well, I have so many parts, accessories, mags, holster's, doodads and stuff for it, it seems silly to change! And really, I have found nothing better for me! I can shoot it in competition, casually at the range(with or without a .22 conversion unit), carry it daily(I do! Though normally a compact version), in the field, home defense...well, it serves ALL of my percieved needs!
Unless I somehow ended up back in bigbear country! Or had to spend alot of time in the wild places hunting. Well, then I'd order a .460 rowland conversion kit for one of my government model's... ( and still hope I never ran into an irate bruin! Another doodad, another experiment, another experience! BTW, this adds ANOTHER level of versatility to the aforementioned Kimber(or anyother 1911 Government)...22, .45 ACP and a .45 bullet moving at 44 magnum velocities! It is really hard to beat the versatility, and history of the 1911!! Aside from the Glock, the 1911 is one of the easiest handguns to learn to fieldstrip(detail) and replace vital parts too!! There are excellant videos for this process.
Patrick Sweeny's book, The Gun Digest Book Of The 1911 is an awesome research resource for 1911 buff's!
But it is your hand, perception and wallet you are 'fitting' so you have to make the decision on what is best for you!
'What's best', is what works for you!
Good luck in your Quest For Numero Uno!

February 17, 2007, 09:53 PM
Dead thread revival I know. I am amazed I have not seen anyone mention the Springfield 1911's as an alternative.

Personally I think the Springfield has the best value going for ANY 1911, with alot of standard features you find on "custom" guns. I have three, all reliable with just about anything.

Then again the 1911 is prone to be a bit finicky about ammo as a general rule. The S&W's on the other hand chew anything and keep asking for more. It is becoming very easy to find very good deals on about any of the **06 series pistols. A few bucks and you can spruce them up and not even know it was a used gun. I have bought 4 and done this myself, and only have about $1800 total into them all, wouldn't know they are used guns.

Just more advice.

February 17, 2007, 10:11 PM
the best is the one you craft and make your own.... you will probably never buy a gun that is perfect to you

February 17, 2007, 10:21 PM
I have a Kimber Custom II and a Smith 1911PD. Both are reliable and highly accurate; I like both very much. The gun I keep by my bed is a Glock 30. Read into that what you will.

February 17, 2007, 10:23 PM
In a 1911, I'd go Colt

In the field of 45 acp pistol, my first choice is the HK USP 45

Ala Dan
February 17, 2007, 10:23 PM
Folk's- times are good~!:) I now own not only my previously mentioned
West German .45 ACP SIG-SAUER P220A; but a Kimber 3" Stainless Ultra
Carry II in .45 ACP, as well as a brand new Smith & Wesson 1911 .45ACP
[product code #108282].:uhoh: Even, a NIB Springfield Armory 5" MIL-
SPEC as well. :cool:

I'm here to tell you good people, I have not had a problem from any of
these .45's; nor from my 2x Springfield WW-II G.I. models, or from my
Springfield XD 4" service model .45 ACP. Its just something 'bout these
guns (and caliber) that works for me; and ultimately keeps me coming
back~!;) :D

On a recent range trip in early January of '07, I ran the S&W 1911
against my relatively NIB Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special .45 ACP
1911. Honestly speaking, I was just as easily impressed with the
S&W as I was the Baer firearm. Both are excellent in their own
right; with the Smith costing just a fraction of what the TRS

Just too make sure of this fact, I had my 30 year old daughter
with me and we took turns shooting both weapons. Both of us,
using both weapons were able to shoot ragged three hole groups
dead center of the X-ring in a standard B-27 target from the
15 yard line~! Needless to say, I'm very pleased with both of
these purchases; and commend my friend Mr. Joe Hatley
for the recommendation of the S&W.

Not too be outdone, we threw a Springfield XD 4" service model
.45 ACP into the mix as well. It too performed flawlessly, but
with just a bit more muzzle flip and recoil than the 1911 style

February 17, 2007, 10:28 PM
Kimber and ParaOrdnance LTC for me. :eek:

February 17, 2007, 11:37 PM
I own a PC945, two P220 (one an ST) and an early high-end series 1 Kimber (Custom Shop Gold Combat), the best guns for you depends on what you want to do with it, if it’s for carry I would go with a standard P220, if is for range work I would go with the 945 and if you just want a good 1911 then get the Kimber.

The PC945 is the smoothest shooting and most accurate 45acp I own and it’s just as reliable as it’s well proven sibling the 4506. IMO you would have to spend $3000 or more on a custom 1911 before you would find anything that would exceed or even equal it’s performance and craftsmanship. (I feel the same way about my PC952-2 if we were talking 9mm's)

The P220 like other have stated is one of the best service 45autos you can buy, stone cold reliable and very accurate with a great over all size and weight to allow it to be at the very least acceptable in just about any roll you could a 45 in. the ST is a very soft shooting but also very heavy (even heavier than the 4506 or 945) and while I would rather carry a standard P220 the ST is great for home defense and range use.

My Gold Combat has been extremely accurate and for the most part totally reliable, Kimbers are very good 1911’s but are really just another option in a sea of very good 1911’s. A friend of mine has a series 2 custom stainless and while it been a good gun for the most part it has had a few FTF.

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