Which pistol? (A real dilemma!)


April 22, 2011, 08:43 PM
Drove just over an hour this morning, to get to the only gun shop around with a really good selection of range rentals. Being in the market for a new CCW pistol, I wanted to shoot a whole bunch of ammo through a whole bunch of different guns, and see what I liked best. I brought with me 200 rounds of 9mm, a hundred rounds of .40S&W, and 50 rounds of .45 ACP.

I really didn't expect to like any of the forties, since what I carry now is a forty (Taurus 25/7 Pro) and there's something about the recoil impulse that just makes it hard to control for me. I was really expecting to enjoy the heck out of shooting the nines, but I had promised a friend to shoot at least one Commander-sized .45, because that's his own personal favorite. I had no idea of what to expect from the .45, recoil-wise, but I did expect it to have more than the 9mm's, so I didn't expect to enjoy it very much.

(A little back-story - I'm nearly 50, and I've had three surgeries through my right shoulder, making all the connective tissue up there feel like weak painful rubber bands. Not only that, but I've had nerve impingement issues in my neck, causing me to have some of my cervical vertebra fused, and also causing some slight paralysis in my left arm. Wheeee! I've become very recoil-sensitive, and shooting a pistol isn't nearly as easy for me as it used to be. Had to be said. Sigh.)

I fired:
Glock 19
S/W M&P Compacts in 9mm and .40
CZ 75B Compact
CZ Rami in 9mm
Beretta PX4 Storm
PX4 Storm Compact
Kimber TLE

And I think I'm missing a couple more, but that's okay - they didn't stand out enough for me to remember them, I'm not gonna buy one.

The Glock was okay - I shot it well enough. The Rami really beat the heck out of my hand in 9mm - I wasn't about to shoot the .40 version. The M&P's left me cold - they were just okay. I really liked the full-sized Storm, but it's just that... full sized. I wasn't too crazy about the compact.

Here's the dilemma - I shot the CZ 75 like it was made for my hand. Double taps were easier than with any other pistol I've ever fired, and that includes shooting cream-puff wadcutters out of my 686. The other horn of the dilemma: firing the Kimber was simply awesome. Double-taps with it were nearly as easy as with the CZ. I've never felt a trigger pull I liked so much as the 1911-style single-action. The sights on both are amazingly easy to see. They both felt incredibly good in my hand. If I had to point out a negative on the CZ, it would be that I've never really liked their polycoat. If I had to point out a negative on the Kimber, it's that I'm so accustomed to wonder-nines that I have to ask... only seven rounds?

Help me out here, High-Roaders. I really want both pistols, but "get both" is simply not an option. CZ fans - try to bring me over to your side. 1911 aficionados, convert me. Please! Help me decide!

If you enjoyed reading about "Which pistol? (A real dilemma!)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
April 22, 2011, 08:49 PM
I've converted almost totally to single action 1911 or 1911 style (My P238) pistols. The only holdout left is my Cougar, and I'm even considering selling that for a .22LR 1911 trainer. And I have a few more 1911 purchases planned.

CZs are great pistols, I can't really say anything bad about them. I do want to own one someday, a CZ75 SA.

But in my heart, I'm a 1911 guy. Great triggers, great grips, easy to customize. You can get one to suit your tastes. With a million different 1911 makers, you can find one that makes you fall in love.

Oh, and a 9mm 1911 will allow you to hold a couple more rounds. But yeah, unless you go to a double stack 1911 you'll have to live with a "limited" amount of ammo on tap.

April 22, 2011, 09:06 PM
I've shot a SA M1911 Mil Spec and a CZ 75 SP01. I like the M1911 design, but 7-8 rounds in a compact/full-size semi-auto is outdated. I think the CZ 75 is a great choice if you want the aesthetic appeal of a metal framed gun like the M1911 with the mag capacity of a modern design. I say choose the CZ 75. You even said that you shot it well. The recoil should be less of a problem for your injuries also.

April 22, 2011, 09:39 PM
I'm strictly 1911 or Glock.

Those two pistols cover all my needs. And on days where I only want to carry a knife, I carry a Kahr p380.

I wouldn't worry about mag capacity much. 8 rounds is plenty. Just use 10 round mags as your reloads. I carry one 15 round mag to reload my Glock 23 (total 29), and 2 10round mags to reload my 1911 (total28). Sometimes just 1 mag (total 18). That's plenty of ammo. If you feel the need for more, move to a safer location. LOLz.

If you go 1911, save up and at least get a good one.

+best trigger of all pistols
+only fullsize gun that conceals well
+fullsize is easy to shoot
+heavy, light, big, small are all available
+good sight selection
+excellent aftermarket parts selection
+interchangeable grips
+very safe, even cocked and locked
-often heavy
-allways expensive
-comes with junk magazines
-needs customization to the shooter to get max performance
-rarely comes in a durable rust free finish, needs melonite, hardhat, or ION bond which are all quite expensive.
-sometimes picky with ammo
Obi Wan Kenobi

+only modern gun that can keep up with a 1911 in competition
+good rust free finish
+easy to shoot, easy to adapt modern grips
+allways comes with good mags
+good aftermarket parts support
-gritty, cheap trigger
-more recoil
-fat double stack
-stippling grips is a one time deal
-needs care when reholstering
Darth Vader

April 22, 2011, 09:45 PM
Starts with a G and rhymes with LOCK. For a CCW, they go bang every time, they are affordable, they are plentiful, they are reliable, they shoot any ammo. If anything ever happened to it, you could easily replace it for a few hundred bucks.

April 22, 2011, 10:48 PM
All I can tell you is that I bought a Kimber and I've been in love with it ever since. Just a great weapon and, like you said - an amazing trigger. And it's gorgeous. Like I said - I'm in love with it. :cool:

It was my first handgun and, like you, I went out and tried everything. The first time I held the Kimber, though, and I knew she was 'the one'. Since then I've bought a lot of different handguns, but the Kimber is still my favorite.

April 22, 2011, 11:19 PM
Much as I like how the CZ's feel in hand, that's where the love fest stops for me. How you achieved rapid double taps with the long, vague reset on a CZ75 is beyond me.

1911s and Glocks are the speed kings. And those are what I've settled on after owning many others. Good luck.

April 22, 2011, 11:29 PM

April 22, 2011, 11:46 PM
I have two of the designs on your list. Glock and CZ. (Well, close enough.)

Glock 17
(Close enough to the G19) Amazing reliability. Mine has 13,000 rounds through it, 2 malfunctions, ammo related to a single batch of Remington UMC with improperly seated primers. Trigger is kind of spongey, but once you learn the re-set, you'll be fine. I've shot this gun the most and I'm still less accurate with it than I am with my CZ (more on that in a minute) but that's prob just me. I went 1,000 rounds in between cleanings once, and the thing didn't miss a beat. I've done NOTHING to this gun except clean it. I should prob replace the recoil spring, but its not malfunctioning yet.

CZ-75B You said the gun just felt right, and I totally agree. Points naturally, excellent single action trigger, incredible inherent accuracy for a production gun. Mine has been 100% flawless (zero malfunctions) in the 5,000+ rounds I've shot. MecGar mags are top notch. The gun is HEAVY, but that makes the recoil virtually non-existent to me. Great for fast follow up shot and double taps. My only complaint is that the trigger has a semi-contoured edge that can get a bit sharp/unpleasant after hundreds of rounds in a single sitting.

Hope this helps some.

April 22, 2011, 11:56 PM
I plan to get a 1911 eventually (have shot some before, and had a good time), but I have and enjoy shooting a Cz-75.

I also found the same about the feel of the cz-75 -- fits my hand right, and just feels good.

Between the two, if I could only have one, well, you can see where I came down ;) The Cz-75 is nice and easy to break down for cleaning, too, and I see fewer threads on THR about finicky Cz-75s that only take certain ammo, say.


Nacho Libre
April 23, 2011, 12:02 AM
If you want something that's reliable go with Glock. If you want something that's pretty and reliable go with 1911.:D

April 23, 2011, 12:14 AM
I really liked the full-sized Storm, but it's just that... full sized.


FYI, Beretta makes a smaller Px4 w/rotating barrel called a Compact Px4 9mm

It's slightly smaller in both length and height of a Sig P228 / P229..

From what I've heard - those that own full size Px4 9mm's and now own the smaller Compact version (not to be confused with the smallest Px4Sc, sub compact, 9mm w/tilt up barrel action).. are saying that the Compact has even less recoil of the, already, very soft/balanced recoil of the bigger full size Px4 9mm, otherwise, they like it even more than their full size Px4 9mm's.

Here's a pic of them all

My full size Px4 40 and Sig P228 9mm for size comparisons


And P228 9mm next to Px4 "Compact" 9mm and Beretta Centurion or Brigadier - as these are not my guns but you can see the size difference of full size vs Compact Px4.


Full size Px4 frame/slide vs Px4 Compact frame/slide


Worth another look if you can find one at any local gun dealer.. Px4 Compact 9mm w/rotating barrel



April 23, 2011, 12:26 AM
forget about the round count. it's not important.

You've pretty much already narrowed it down to a 1911 or a CZ. Those are what you shoot well with so those are what you should choose.

You havn't even considered the second part of the decision process...that is what is easiest to carry concealed. of the two that you shoot the best, you should pick the one that you feel most comfortable carrying. Before you buy, I might try a few more examples. CZ makes polymer versions of their 9mm guns. There are different sizes of 1911 guns. Some even have aluminum frames.

i think you should test out a few more variations of the CZ and a few more variations of the 1911. Then pick the one you think would be easiest to carry.

April 23, 2011, 02:00 AM
If you want a 1911 for CCW, I'd suggest going for the aluminum frame rather than steel. Kimber has shorter models that would be suitable: Pro Carry (4" barrel) and Ultra (3" barrel). The big question mark is reliability, which seems to be a little hit-or-miss with 1911s.

April 23, 2011, 10:53 AM
I've had Glocks, I've had Sigs, I've had just about everything over the years. And for the $370 OTD I paid for my FNP9 it's the best value, best shooting gun I've owned.


April 23, 2011, 11:05 AM
You've quite the Dilemma. In point of fact, you've found the one "wonder-nine" that the 1911 guru Col. Jeff Copper actually priased.

In truth, I can't sway you either way, because I have the same affliction. My solution was to get both. That said, My Colt Mk IV Stainless was my first handgun ever. I've had a love affair with the 1911 since I found out what they were at about 12 years old.

April 23, 2011, 05:18 PM
I've had Glocks, I've had Sigs, I've had just about everything over the years. And for the $370 OTD I paid for my FNP9 it's the best value, best shooting gun I've owned.

I really wanted to try out a FNP or FNX, but the shop didn't have any. They had a few H&K's, but those are way out of my price range.

April 23, 2011, 05:32 PM
They had a few H&K's, but those are way out of my price range.

H&K builds one heck of a nice $500 handgun and sells it for $1,000

April 23, 2011, 05:52 PM
that's a really hard one as the 1911 and cz 75b and both amazing guns.

I own a cz 75b and am a really big fan of 1911 but have little experience with them, I can say with a trigger job and a comp hammer you can have a cz 75b with a trigger pull just as good as a 1911 but there is something about the 1911 that has always made me want to get one and they fell great in the hand(I think). I would say go back to the range a few more times and just shoot those two till you pick one.

April 23, 2011, 06:03 PM
Great post and an interesting dilemma.

I am a John Moses Browning fan; the more I shoot the 1911, the more I appreciate how great a platform it is. Trigger, grip angle........

There is one pistol you didn't try (I have never seen one as a range rental) that I would seriously consider if I were you, the Browning Hi Power, perhaps the finest expression of JMBs talent. It has all of the goodness of the 1911, but a bit slimmer, and, to my eyes, more beautiful. It is a great carry weapon, carries 13+1 of 9mm+P, points better than any firearm I have ever shot, and has very modest recoil. I have owned over 50 pistols and revolvers in my life, it remains my favorite.

April 23, 2011, 08:10 PM
H&K builds one heck of a nice $500 handgun and sells it for $1,000

Guess, they are just great at marketing, then huh?

For those who want a nice HK, but don't want to pay their new prices, there are often LNIB or ones in great shape that come up for sale used for less, and they still work like new.

April 23, 2011, 08:21 PM
that's a really hard one as the 1911 and cz 75b and both amazing guns.

I own a cz 75b and am a really big fan of 1911 but have little experience with them, I can say with a trigger job and a comp hammer you can have a cz 75b with a trigger pull just as good as a 1911 but there is something about the 1911 that has always made me want to get one and they fell great in the hand(I think). I would say go back to the range a few more times and just shoot those two till you pick one.

I have a cz75b and a 1911 and I have more experience with the 1911.

The cz trigger is something that I have to spend some time getting used to, since it is longer in single action than the 1911.

I shoot more accurately with the 1911 in 45 than the cz in 9mm!

I'll get better

April 24, 2011, 10:11 AM
well got of the box the cz75b trigger is nothing special and could use some work. but with a different main spring, comp hammer, and re cutting the angle on the sear it changes the single action pull a lot.

April 24, 2011, 11:10 AM
only seven rounds?

You can get a pistol that holds more, but the grip body gets bigger. Some hands don't grip double column guns well.

A Browning Hi-Power is a good blend of capacity, a trim grip, with a nice trigger. Nothing's going to be as nice as the 1911's single action trigger, but a Hi-Power comes close.

With those physical problems, a 1911 in 38 Super might be just what the doctor ordered. It will recoil gently, and it'll hold 9 in the magazine.

Gun Geezer
April 24, 2011, 12:16 PM
Most of the pistols you list are very compact! Just saying. But I assume you know that already.

I have a CZ compact, the PCR. I love the little gun. Extremely reliable, SA/DA, etc. Through several 1000 rounds it has never failed to fire or eject any ammo. It eats it all including steel and aluminum junk.

But for CCW it is rather thickish.

April 24, 2011, 03:49 PM
Try a SIG. Everything I want in a pistol; I will never part with mine. Wide variety of 9mm, several with easy hold E2 grips. SAS might be right for you.

If you seek a small, fairly light CCW, there are plenty Walther P5s around. Accurate, dependable, its point of impact is where I aim, if you know what I mean...

April 24, 2011, 09:05 PM
Did you shoot the compact or sub-compact? The compact is new to the market while the sub-compact has been out several years. The compact has a rotating barrel similar to the full size while the subcompact has a tilt barrel. I just purchase a compact and will take it to the range later this week. I now own all three PX4 Storm pistols, full size, compact, and sub-compact. If the compact shoots as well as the full size and sub-compact I will be very pleased.

April 24, 2011, 09:56 PM
I only shot the full-sized and the sub-compact. That's all they had at the range for rent. I thought the sub-compact was the compact, bu tit seems I was mistaken.

BTW - how did you ever get used to the backwardness of the safety lever? (LOL) That was something I felt like I just could never get the hang of.

April 24, 2011, 10:25 PM
Versus a Kimber? Get the CZ.

April 25, 2011, 12:00 AM
The 1911 has been around since 1911!!!! to present date 2011 best auto-hand gun , and dont worry about 8 round clips if needed for protection the 45auto you know is nicked named the man stopper!!for good reasons.I personally own a Springfield Armory model 1911-A1 45.

April 25, 2011, 12:17 AM
a "few" hundred bucks? meaning 4 or more?

April 25, 2011, 11:58 AM
get the CZ...

Not liking the "poly coat" on a gun you shoot well and is a reliable design from a reputable manufacture is nit picking. The CZ design has been proven in combat and copied by legions of gun makers.

April 25, 2011, 01:08 PM
1911s are nice, but they are made to be 45s, and 45s just kick more. 1911s are not even the lightest kicking 45s. I think HKs are. The PX4 in 45 was very nice too, but it has the plastic thing going for it like the Glock does. It just doesn't encourage emotional bonding like metal does to me.

CZs are super nice. One of the best grip shapes ever. Bad DA triggers though. Fans say they smooth up with dry firing and use. The slide's a little harder to grip, since it runs inside the frame instead of outside. (this is supposed to make them more accurate) I'd buy one myself if I were in the market for another nine.

But earlier comments on the Hi-Power are right on. It is the perfect mix of a 1911 (single action, classic Browning design) and CZ75. (super comfortable grip, easy recoil) With a Hogue grip, it is even more comfortable than the CZ.

Saying generically that 1911 triggers are better is not really fair. They can be fantastic, but they can also be pretty heavy. The trigger on my Hi Power, even with the magazine disconnect still functional, is better (lighter) than that of my entry level 1911. The recoil is 1/2. The take-down is much easier and faster. The 1911's take-down is not hard, there are just a lot more steps to it.

I bought a Glock once, a 34, the modern competition 9mm. I'd wanted one all my life. But in the end, it was just pretty blah, and I sold it for something metal.

Here are my two guns that were talked about here, a Charles Daly Hi-Power in 9mm and a Para GI Expert in 1911:

Not particularly good shooting on my part, but there you have it.


Pre-Hogue grips:




If you have no loyalties, 9mm 1911s are a real joy to shoot. Nobody seems to want them, so you might be able to make a good deal on them. 38 Super is out, unless you hand-load or are pretty rich.

June 12, 2011, 09:40 PM
I own a .40 cal px4 that is double action only and my wife has the cz 75 compact in 9mm. both are great but i tend to enjoy to shoot the cz more (prob because of the single action) but i like to clean the px4 much more.

June 13, 2011, 12:33 PM
I think, I believe someone may have already pointed out, that since you really like how both shoot that you may want to consider which one you would carry the best as a deciding factor.

The cost of ammo can also be a deciding factor.


June 13, 2011, 03:10 PM
I have both, and like both.(I have a Colt, and not a Kimber though) IMO a 1911, and a CZ 75 are 2 pistols every handgun fan should get.

The 1911 is very American, and a true classic. I wouldn't want to own another handgun without also owning a 1911. With that said I tend to kind of baby 1911's as I like to keep them like new. That's just me though.

A CZ 75 can be had in SA also, and you can get them in stainless of nickle plates, or duel tone, and the CZ will likely cost less than the Kimber. The CZ has great ergonomics, and is a natural pointer. JMO

Think hard about which one you like the best and go with it.

June 13, 2011, 03:18 PM
I would never let the cost of ammo be the deciding factor in a ccw gun. I'd either reload my practice ammo, or find a reliable person to reload it for me. I'veseen guys complain about having to spend $100 or a bit more on testing defensive ammo that can really make a difference, when they had a 1000 dollar gun! :-) Since it's the bullet that does the stopping, and lots of fast hits with most types of ammo have failed, and since the gun normally doesn't have to be fired, I'll stick to $500 and less guns, thanks. It is likely to be siezed as evidence when I shoot or otherwise stop somebody, or have to be jettisoned, or be lost in a car wreck, fire, etc.

June 13, 2011, 03:21 PM
LOL. 50 rds is a "whole bunch of shooting, right? To evalute all the guns available in .45 ACP? :-) Man, that is funny. I've had many, many a 1000 rd day at the shooting range. So has any other serious competitor. I'd say 100 rds per gun is giving them pretty short shrift, considering that you are talking about a life saving instrument.

June 13, 2011, 03:49 PM
I think there are still quite a few guns you could/should try. My first recomendation would be an HK P2000. If you're more budget minded a Ruger SR9. Not to mention Springfield XD, a vareity of Sig models, FNX or P if not too big for your purpose, etc. Personally, i'm not a fan of the 1911 for practical use. Fun guns but i feel there are far better options for practical use. Another option if 9 is hard on your shoulder would be to give a CZ82 a try.

If you enjoyed reading about "Which pistol? (A real dilemma!)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!