picking out a 1911...


February 4, 2010, 06:28 PM
I looked around at 1911s today. Once I get the money, I'm gonna get one.

I was looking for opinions and reviews on some brands though.

I looked at Kimber Custom II and a classic, two Para Ord. (GI expert and the P14-45 double-stack), and a Springfield loaded.

For uses, it would possibly be for carry, range, possible HD, and for getting me into a customizable handgun platform (I have an AR that I love too much, so I might as well get a handgunning platform to do the same to;)).

I'd prefer to keep it full-sized, have a nice/decent trigger (if it beats a Glock trigger, then I'll be happy), a spur hammer, beavertail grip, and eat everything I can feed it.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I'm trying to keep my budget at less than or around $800 at the worst. I'd also like to hear why some people aren't particularly sold on Kimber or why people suggest that people avoid Para like it's the plague.

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February 4, 2010, 06:46 PM
This is how my woes started.

I bought a 30 year old colt combat commander. (pretty gun to brag)

I bought a RIA for truck gun. (range toy, but it sees carry duty)

I am getting a DW bobtail. (because I can)

When does it end?

February 4, 2010, 06:50 PM
sounds like me with milsurps. One Mosin turned into two mosins, a Garand, an M1 carbine, an SKS, and a wishlist of fourteen other guns.

But out of what you had, how do they work and feel? What were their costs? Any issues with certain mags or ammo?

February 4, 2010, 06:54 PM
I'd skip the double stack models. I had one once, it was horribly unreliable. It was a Para, and I'll never own another Para again. Left a very bad taste in my mouth

I'd recommend looking at a Rock Island as a first 1911. It may not have a safe queen finish like a $1,500 1911 will, but it'll shoot all day and will be more accurate than the average shooter, and can be had for $400. Maybe get a base GI model, that way on your next one (because you can't stop at one..you'll see!) you will have an idea of what upgrades you would want. Or be like me and end up upgrading your GI model, and wanting one of those "safe queen" 1911s as well

February 4, 2010, 07:00 PM
But out of what you had, how do they work and feel? What were their costs? Any issues with certain mags or ammo?

I know you asked him, but I'll chime in too

My first was/is a GI model Rock Island. The only "upgrade" it had was a flared ejection port. It has been 100% reliable, and very accurate. The only issue I've had with it was running out of ammo! I've run ACT-Mags and Chip McCormicks through it. I put some rosewood grips on it, and will probably buy a new trigger/beavertail safety/hammer for it. I actually like the GI sights for the range

Second was a Para Warthog, sub compact double stack. Would have at least one failure per magazine, usually 2 or 3 (failure to feed/extract/fire, stovepipe, etc). I took care of it the same as I do any gun, clean it very well when new and after any shooting with it. I did not trust it, so I got rid of it. Felt decent in hand, but was chunky and small, which wasn't really for me. I wish I never bought it, but I only lost about $50 on it after selling it

February 4, 2010, 07:03 PM
The only one of those three that I'd buy is the Springer. I'd steer clear of Para & Kimber. If you want my opinion. Get a Dan Wesson. Even if you have to buy a like new used one you'd be much happier and have better 1911.

February 4, 2010, 07:08 PM
why steer away from Kimber? I can understand the para since many have reported reliability issues (last post reaffirmed what I've read previously). But what has been up with Kimbers?

February 4, 2010, 07:15 PM
I haven't really heard anything BAD about Kimber, but for how much they cost, I think there are better options/values. Our biggest local gun store feels the same way, and has stopped carrying Kimbers

Whenever I get around to buying a nicer, more expensive (~$1k range) 1911, it will be a SIG, Springfield, or Colt

February 4, 2010, 07:19 PM
I think that for the price of them you can do much better. Besides, if you're paying over a grand for a Kimber why would you have to put up with MIM parts and a plastic MSH?

February 4, 2010, 07:20 PM
of the 3 you listed, i'd say Springfield.
other options are the RIA or the STI Spartan.

February 4, 2010, 07:21 PM
Yeah butt ... the compact 9mm 1911 my bud bought packs almost as small as my bersa

February 4, 2010, 07:25 PM
I see Kimber custom IIs going for $700 off gunbroker. Am I missing something? Are these discontinued runs or something?

February 4, 2010, 07:25 PM
You may want to consider a Colt or Dan Wesson(although DW is about to price themselves out for alot of folks). I really laugh at some of the negative folks spew about Kimber though. They are a solid firearm that takes alot of heat from some folks because they are the big dog on the block as far as 1911 goes. I defintely would not rule out a Kimber because of what a few folks on a couple message boards have said(I understand that they have had some problems at times as almost all manufacturers have had at some point). There are hundreds of thousands of happy Kimber owners out there.

February 4, 2010, 08:07 PM
If your going to spend $700???? Get a Springfield Loaded. If you want a great gun for under $500 that will do everything u want get a Rock Island Tactical. I'm thinking like the other members if your going to spend $1000 save a little bit more and get a used Les Baer.

February 4, 2010, 08:21 PM
i do like my old Springfield Standard (similar to GI model). I like it better than the Kimbers Ive rented.

February 4, 2010, 08:54 PM
I love my Rock Islands. I just picked up a Colt New Agent. It's my very first expensive (>$500) 1911.

February 4, 2010, 09:06 PM
+1 on the Rock Islands as a first 1911. Got a two-tone for a smudge over 500 and its been wonderful. shoots well and the fit is pretty tight.

But if you want something much nicer, budsgunshop has a used STI Trojan for 840 (they usually run for 1100 or so). I've heard nothing but good things about them and they're built in the US.

February 4, 2010, 10:05 PM
I'd definitely look at the Para Ordnance GI Expert. I own one and after the 500 round break in, it is 100% reliable (actually has been reliable since round 350). They come in stainless steel for 2010 too. I own the non-stainless model.

February 4, 2010, 10:11 PM
Springfield loaded. The sights glow crazy bright even in the dark. I can get on it and shoot with decent accuracy on the fly if I need to with it, and I attribute most of that to the sights.

Only problem that I've had with it is that the slide will not always catch on the last round with magtech ammo. Its worked fine with anything else that I've fed it.

Its also my carry piece, for carry I would advice something smaller if you plan to keep it on you at all times. I feel that I have to put in decent effort to conceal this large of a pistol, ie large coat, very long shirts, etc... But tis nice to have in the truck, and to open carry while bow hunting.

Bass Ackwardz
February 4, 2010, 10:34 PM
I own a Kimber Eclipse Pro II, and a Springfield Loaded model, both are excellent firearms and have run trouble free since day one. I would trust either with my life as well. I like the Kimber for carry because its a bit smaller. There are several brand and models out there that will serve you well and not break the bank. Just rent a couple different one and see which you like better, forget what every one else thinks...


February 5, 2010, 12:32 AM
a spur hammer, beavertail grip,
They usually don't fit together. When you go to a beavertail grip safety you usually need to add the Commander style hammer.

FYI, 1911 parts interchangeability is not like the AR platform. Most 1911 parts don't just "drop in". If you are adding a beavertail to a GI type platform you will most likely need to do some frame grinding.

February 5, 2010, 01:33 AM
I bought a springfield 1911 Operator 2 years ago. I love it. It's a great gun with a great warranty attached - i keep sending it in for upgrades (some i get on the house if i find something not to my liking). Now I have close to a custom gun for a grand total of $800.

When you buy a gun you're buying the company too and i've found that Springfield is one of the best out there.

My 2Cents

February 5, 2010, 03:26 AM
They usually don't fit together

yea I was thinking of something else for a second. Oopsies :uhoh:

an that's good to know about the interchangeability. I figured that as much when I checked them out today.

February 5, 2010, 03:42 AM
At that price point, look at a new Colt O1991 ($750 new, but hard to find - in high demand). For under $900, the new Colt Combat Elite is getting rave reviews. I have some of the old models (they just reintroduced them) and love them.

February 5, 2010, 06:38 AM
Notice that I said currently, I assume that they will continue to congregate at my house.;) Anyway, I own 2 Taurus Duo-tones, a Kimber and a modified Springfield Mil-Spec that has been made into a loaded pretty much.
Here are my observations on each.

Taurus: I have two because the first one was just so darned reliable and accurate. Really can't say anything bad about them. I have close to three thousand throught the first one without a single gun related failure. I have had 3 ammo related FTFs. The second gun is pretty new to me but I have about 300 through it. It is a real shooter. The safety is a little lighter than I like so I will look into that.

Kimber: Bought a Tac Pro II very lightly used. It did not feed even ball ammo when I got it. A trip to the gunsmith fixed that and it is now my every day carry piece. It is not overly accurate but it is now reliable. It is a crap shoot with Kimbers. Go to M1911.com or 1911.org and look at the Kimber section. It is very common for them to come from the factory with ejectors that are not tuned properly. That was the problem with my gun.

Springfield: This is my second Springer in as many weeks. I traded a GI toward this one because it had a lot of features that I was gonna add to the GI at a fraction of the cost. The GI was reliable though I only had about 200 rounds through it. I have only fired about 30 rounds through this gun but enough to know that it is not very accurate but then again neither was the GI.

Rock I sland: Don't own one but I want one. Very well made gun for the money.

Colt: Owned two many years ago. They were the reason I hadn't owned one in over 15 years. Not looking to buy another soon.

February 5, 2010, 04:33 PM
^I just started looking at the PT1911. The stainless steel model seems to be a good way to go. I'm definitely leaning towards that right now, as well as looking more into the RIA and Spartans. Gunbroker seems to have them hovering around $600, which is within the budget.

The only bad thing I've heard about the PT1911 is that the non-stainless apparently has a horrid, weak finish that comes off easily. That and the usual "it ain't made in America grrr" attitude towards certain brands.

How tight is the fit on your PT1911s though?

(p.s. - thanks everyone for the help so far. It's directed me towards a lot of info)

February 6, 2010, 07:37 AM
gets carried daily, very reliable. will shoot any ammo it's fed with no problems. decent 1911's for the $$.


February 6, 2010, 01:58 PM
to the OP, nice choice on a first 1911 format. Lots of suggestions here.

If you are going with the beavertail, then you'll end up with a "Commander style" or "ring" hammer. That is how most are formatted. Any of the major brands will get you a decent pistol. There are negative examples of each, but usually you'll get a good one. I could go over my likes and dislikes, but that is my assessment of features.

If you are spending a $1K or under, you can't go wrong with a nice condition SA Trophy Match. That is a good gun for the money.

February 6, 2010, 02:14 PM
Just keep saving and buy all the ones you mentioned !!
All pretty good choices

February 6, 2010, 05:54 PM
My three Kimbers required parts replacement, in order to just work, period. All three were too finicky about magazines. My Colt Government Models, and Springfield, worked just fine. My Les Baer TRS has been 100% reliable, from round one.

If someone offered me $2000, with the restriction it be used to buy a 1911, locally, within one day, I would go shopping for a Colt or Baer.

February 6, 2010, 06:13 PM
+1 more for a ''I recommend looking at a Rock Island as a first 1911...''
I love mine,and wish they'd make a BHP.

February 6, 2010, 06:15 PM
I would stay away from Para. My newest Para has serious problems. I called the customer service and they said that it would be 5 weeks to get anything done, which means they are having serious qc problems. IN addition, I have been in 3 large gun shops around my area. All of them, after explaining my problem, told me that they have stopped stocking Para guns because they have so many problems.

Howver, my PT1911 is a good shooter. I have two Springerfield Loaded models, one in 9mm and the other in .45. Both are great shooters, very good slide-to-frame fit, nice triggers, accurate. My STI Sparatn needed some work to feed hollow points reliably, but shot ball ammo just fine. It was not as accurate as the SA Loaded that I have. I had a Kimber that was uncommonly reliable for that brand, but the finish sucked. I also had a Colt Commanded 1991 that had a crappy finish but was otherwise a decent gun.

I almost forgot, I have another Springfield, a GI 1911 Hi-Cap. The first 100 rounds it hasnt missed a beat, the GI sights make it hard for me to get tight groups with. I ordered a set of Wilson Combat sights that will fit in the government cuts and I will install them when they come in.

Also I had a Rock Island Compact that was also a good gun. I had to sell it to fund another project but if you wanted a carry gun, the Rock Island tactical compact would be the way to go.

February 7, 2010, 08:03 PM
I've shot colt gold cups, commanders, 1991s and so forth. In my opinion they are nice but not always worth the price. My kimber custom target has 25,000ish rounds through it and is still tight. That said I took a look at the springfield loaded model and it's a very nice gun for the price.

February 7, 2010, 08:11 PM
Colt is a good place to start

My para was a 1 shot clear jam pistol. Kimber was little better but still problems
Dan Wesson was great but they have dropped the bobtail
American Classic good entry level 1911 for around 500 Mine is accurate and reliable as my DW or Colts

ol' scratch
February 7, 2010, 09:33 PM
I think that for the price of them you can do much better. Besides, if you're paying over a grand for a Kimber why would you have to put up with MIM parts and a plastic MSH?
Why is it everyone thinks a Kimber is going to set you back a grand? I paid $750 after tax for mine last year. It is a Custom II and has worked great.

February 7, 2010, 11:24 PM
Dan Wesson is the best bang for the buck. Based on my limited experience I'd pick one of those over more expensive 1911's. All forged steel parts, no MIM. Get one Melonited and you have a very high end 1911.

Fusion, Colt, and Wilson have fine 1911's as well.

February 9, 2010, 01:13 AM
I think I'm sold on the PT1911. Too good for the money and prices I am finding off gunbroker for brand-new ones.

Does anyone have any experience with the stainless steel w/ pic rail model? like...is finding a holster for it hard/does it not fit in a standard holster? I'd imagine not... but, thought I'd ask. I like guns that you can do anything to, and if it fits in a holster AND can accept a light or something and work as a tacticool'd nightstand gun, well, that'd be nice.:evil::D

February 9, 2010, 04:26 AM
Dan Wessons are very nice, but so is their price now. I'm not saying they are not worth what they are asking, I'm just saying they went out of range for alot of people.

BTW, not every kimber is a $1000 gun. Several models can be had at around $800 or less.

In the end just go feel them up and get the want that feels right to you. :)

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