Help me pick a 1911


Greg Bell
January 5, 2004, 06:28 PM
Alright guys, I feel like taking the plunge and buying another 1911. I've been burned twice before so don't steer me wrong!

1. I want a full-size 1911.
2. It must be reliable with ball. I don't care so much about hollow-points but that would be nice.
3. It has got to be safe. I want some sort of drop-safety.
4. It has to have a good trigger.
5. It has to be reasonably accurate?

Any suggestions?


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January 5, 2004, 06:41 PM
A drop safety? What exactly do you mean by that? :confused:

What is your 1911 experience? What is a 'good trigger' to you could very well be what I consider total crap! :p

Not meaning to pick on you... just wanting to clarify a couple things. The first two 1911s I usually suggest are either a Springfield MilSpec or a 'New Roll Mark' Colt for about $100 more than the Springfield. They both have decent triggers and should be reasonably accurate. The Colt will also come with a blued finish which, while beautiful, is more fragile than the parkerized finish that will come on the Springfield.

Greg Bell
January 5, 2004, 06:48 PM
O.K., a firing pin safety. Something to help minimize the risk of discharge from accidentally dropping the weapon.

~4 pound trigger with minimal drag/creep. Think SIG in single action mode.

January 5, 2004, 06:56 PM
Well given what Ive gotten experience with Id say a Kimber Custom. The Series 2 guns have firing pin blocks that arent connected to the trigger but the grip safety instead. The basic black stripper Kimber is just fine.

Kimber uses the same barrels, bushings etc on their basic stuff as on the high end target stuff also. So its gonna shoot.

The triggers will vary from gun to gun and are generally quite good.

The only things that will keep ANY 1911 from feeding JHP's are the feedramp/throat and mags. If you use good mags, CMC/wilson etc and the ramp is done right, it will eat anything all of the time.

Hope this helps............My Kimber Custom shot as well as my STI Trojan did and cost about 1/2 as much.

Shoot well.

January 5, 2004, 07:11 PM
I would have to agree with the Kimber. I have 5 Series I and 1 Series II. The quality and reliability of the Series II is just as good as the Series I.

Accuracy is great. For the price, I would be surprised if you could find a better 1911 assuming that you are looking for what Kimbers offers in a 1911 (beavertail, beveled mag well, forward serrations, etc.) package.


January 5, 2004, 07:16 PM
Since you want a firing pin safety, that limits your choices to a Colt Series 80 or 1991 version, a Kimber Series II, or a Smith & Wesson.

January 5, 2004, 07:17 PM

A SW1911 easily meets your 5 criteria.

With "street prices" in the $650 --> $700 range, it might be worth a look..

Good Luck...


January 5, 2004, 07:41 PM
The Colt I had would have fit quite nicely! Go give one a try ;)

January 5, 2004, 07:51 PM
I'd also say to get a new roll mark colt 1991-a1 it meets all your critaira and its a colt!! what moe could you want? :D I love a bare bones 1911 I can't ????ing stomach a 1911 with "bells and whistles" so to speak. The 1911 is the best combat handgun ever devised bar none! it is the best thing ever made for its intended purpose. Now all these "bells and whistles" simply aren't needed I mean comon if john moses browning thought we needed front cocking serations or a grip saftey you could take an eye with he'd have put them there:rolleyes: along with all the other carp that gun makers have convinced some of us that "we need" to have in order to get a reliable 1911,IMO its simply a way for gun makers to make money.

If john browning could only see how gun makers have raped,plundered and ruined his beautiful 1911 design he'd be turning in his grave like a rotisery chicken! Anyways case in point get a colt new roll mark 1991 great gun you won't be sorry hope this helps you out. :D

Sean Smith
January 5, 2004, 07:51 PM
Colt 01991 series fit the bill perfectly. The Kimber Series II and S&W 1911 firing pin blocks have been infamously problematic (see any Kimber forum and the S&W 1911 recall for details). Dan Wesson 1911s don't have a firing pin block. Neither do the Springfield Armory guns, though they use light firing pins to make them more drop-safe. Para-Ordnance... well, let's just say the one I had didn't fit the reliability, tirgger pull or accuracy criteria you named. ;)

January 5, 2004, 09:04 PM
I'd suggest the Kimber also.

Trigger seems a little better from the factory than the Springfield, I can't comment on the new Colt's, I haven't handled one.

I also like the finish on the Kimbers better than Colt or Springfield. Price is not a lot different for base line.

Happy Shooting.


silent one
January 5, 2004, 09:32 PM
I would recommend a Kimber. I have 5 of them, one series 1, and 4 series 2 models. The series 1 is a classic model, the series 2 models consist of 2 team match models, and 2 TLE models. all of them work flawlessly. I shoot only 230 gr ball ammo through them. I think problems arise when people start using exotic hand loads or other types of fancy factory loads through them. John Browning designed the 1911 model to shoot 230 gr ball ammo and I think that holds true to this day. I have seen guys at the range shooting 180 gr semi wad cutters and they have all kinds of problems. Well first of all they're shooting a light load with an 18 lb recoil spring so what happens? failure to feed, stove piping, failure to eject, etc,etc. Then they blame the weapon. It's not the weapon, It's their failure to understand that this weapon was not designed to do what they think it should. Another thing that happens is a failure to properly clean and maintain their weapons. I know people who rarely, if ever clean and lube their weapons.
Then they blame the weapon when it malfunctions. These are the same people who drive their cars for 25,000 miles without changing the oil, then when it breaks down they blame the car.
Ithink we all have to learn to get back to basics and stop trying to re- invent the wheel, or in this case the gun.
At any rate, good luck in your quest and ''be safe''


Brass Balls
January 5, 2004, 09:44 PM
Greg what's your budget for this gun? Do you prefer fixed or adjustable sights? Would you like to carry it?

With 1911s you generally get what you pay for however like binoculars the law of diminishing returns apply. In other words the difference between a $500 gun and a $1000 will be pretty substantial but the difference between the $1000 gun and a $1500 won't be as great.

I think that full size is the smart route for a first 1911. Generally speaking the full size models are going to be more reliable and more accurate.

A tool that you may find useful is the CA approved firearms list. All of the guns on the list had to pass a drop test for approval. Not all of the 1911s pass the test by utilizing a firing pin safety though.

Greg Bell
January 5, 2004, 09:48 PM
$1000.00 is the ceiling. I like the classic 1911 without all the gee-gaws. I hate, and I mean hate, forward cocking serrations. I like the series 70 look and a short trigger.

Brass Balls
January 5, 2004, 10:09 PM
You can find a really good Gov't model (fullsize) 1911 for a grand. What's going to be more of a challenge is finding one without the forward cocking serrations. I'm in agreement that they are a pretty useless "feature" that all of my Gov't models come have. It is rare for a 1911 with a sub 5" barrel to have the forward serrations, but also rare for a 5" barreled 1911 to not have them.

If you don't mind looking on another forum here's a couple of links for 1911 picture threads the can be perused for the right model.

Note the Colts on the first page of the second link. That could be a good match for you, Greg. I've heard many people, that know more about Colts than I do, say that the quality control has really improved as of late at the Colt factory.

Greg Bell
January 5, 2004, 10:17 PM
I like the WWII and series 70 reissues near the middle of the page. Thanks for the links.

January 5, 2004, 10:35 PM
Between a basic Kimber and a Springfield Loaded, I'd personally lean towards the Springfield but I am very picky at picking individual examples and will wait until I see exactly what I want. The Kimbers are more consistant but I'd just rather have a good example of a Springfield than a Kimber.

Well, if you can't have the forward cocking serrations, you're going to be more limited to choices... Really, the new rollmark Colts are very nice if limited as far as 'feature content' though that doesn't seem to be a turn off to you.

I know some guys would rather give up an arm rather than send a pistol to a smith but I've never had an aversion to making something that may one day save my life as good as possible. I'd get the Colt... play with it for a while. Maybe try renting a Kimber or Springfield Loaded (or something similar) to see if you like the beavertails and some of the other features. Once you know what you like and what doesn't really matter, then consider sending the pistol in to a well-known smith like Ned Christiansen or George Smith. The basic things that almost all will want done will be a decent trigger job and probably a new (even if similar to factory) trigger fitted and a reliability job. And maybe replace the grips with something else.

But a word to the wise, I'd go ahead and get on someone's list the day you buy the 1911... If it's perfect for you as is, then fine... pass on the work. But when you're actively waiting weeks and months to get 'your turn' at a particular smith, time seems to crawl...

January 5, 2004, 10:39 PM
Here's my NRM Colt... Since this pic was taken, I've changed the grips again and had a local guy fit a shorter metal trigger with an overtravel stop and do a trigger job. Cost me $50 plus twenty something for trigger itself. Breaks at about 4 lbs and is very crisp. I am fortunate to have a very compotent guy locally that works very cheap.

Has your firing pin block and no funky serrations. Nice blue finish and nothing much else.

John Forsyth
January 5, 2004, 10:41 PM
One more link to look at.

These are all Colts. For less than a grand, in fact for about half of that, you can get a NIB Colt Model 01091, Stainless Series 80, or Model 01991, blue Series 80. For a little more and still less than a grand, a new S70 can be had. I have one of the new S70's and the 01091 S80. Both are fine weapons that you would be proud of.

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