Upgrades to Inexpensive 1911's


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emtpacker
December 8, 2011, 12:01 AM
Hi, guys and gals!

I am going to be taking a drink of the 1911 kool-aid here in the next few months and I'm trying to get as much information before I take the plunge.

This will be my first 1911 and I'm not looking to spend a lot of money, due to family concerns and also because I don't want to shell out a lot of money on some features that I find I don't like or want. I have shot 1911's before and have a basic set of specs that I'm looking for. I'm going for government size, beavertail, improved sights (not GI type), and an extended thumb safety. This pistol will likely be my carry gun after I determine it's reliability. The two front runners are:

RIA tactical
I really like this pistol for a number of reasons: most reviews are extremely positive concerning the quality, durability, reliability, and customer service when/if needed.

I'm hesitant only because the finish is parkerized and I don't know how well that will hold up for daily carry in the hot, humid Magic City.

Metro Arms American Classic II
Like this one a lot, too, especially the hard chrome version. The LGS had one of these for $500 out the door and it felt very nice in my hand. The big roll mark is a bit garrish and the hammer is goofy looking, but other than that, the pistol seemed to fit the bill for me.

One unknown about these is the overall quality and customer service issues are not as well established as RIA.

What I don't know about either of these guns or the other inexpensive 1911's is the possibility of upgrading them down the road. Are the dovetails cut for aftermarket sights? Can new slide stops, safeties, etc, be dropped in? I don't plan on this pistol being a "project" gun, just one to learn the platform on and enjoy as much as possible.

I am open to any suggestions and input you all may have. I have to keep my budget to less than $600 for the pistol, so saving more for anything else is really not feasible at this time. Thanks!

Colin

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bdb benzino
December 8, 2011, 12:09 AM
Love my Metro Arms American Classic II!! I have added the following parts with zero fitting necessary... a Springfeild Armory SS barrel bushing, a Colt SS Enhanced 5'' barrel, an ED Brown chainlink MSH, a Wilson Combat 2 peice FLGR. They stay true to Colt specs and even use Colt dovetail cuts for the sights. All parts fit tight and correct, even had the barrel checked for correct fit by a gunsmith.

I like the fact that the slide is forged on the Metro Arms. The commander and officer sized models look great but have not enjoyed the reputation for reliability like the Government models do. My Government model is an earlier one and seems to be extremly well fit and smooth for the price. I have not had any failure of any kind yet in the 1000 plus rounds.

I have also had all sizes of 1911's made by Armscor or RIA. I still own the 4'' mid size. They have all been great and reliable, but if I were looking for a 5'' Government model I would go with the Metro Arms all the way!!
Good luck.

mgmorden
December 8, 2011, 09:54 AM
Parkerized finishes were used by the military in some pretty rough environments for a long time. They'll do fine. Their drawback is in their appearance, not durability.

As to upgrades - I know that the RIA dovetails are a little off from Novak, but close. Aftermarket parks - 1911 and "drop in" is a bit of an oxymoron - even on high quality pieces. The design is made to have parts fitted. They all use the same types of parts as any other 1911, but depending on what piece you're talking about it may need to be fitted. That's an issue with the 1911 - whether its an RIA or a Les Baer.

2wheels
December 8, 2011, 10:01 AM
"Drop in" is hit or miss with 1911s. I had to fit my Wilson Combat beavertail grip safety on my Colt, even though it is advertised as drop in for Colt 1911s.

Not a big deal, I half expected it and it took me all of 2 minutes.

essayons21
December 8, 2011, 10:29 AM
Go with the RIA Tactical, you won't be dissapointed.

The sight cut dimensions are a PITA, but depending on your mechanical ability it shouldn't be a huge problem with the correct file. If not, any competent gunsmith should be able to swap them out for you. I still have the stock sights that came on my Tactical, they are more than adequate.

The parkerized finish they use is of very good quality, no corrosion problems there.

If you don't like the finish, you can sandblast it or rough it up with some fine grit sandpaper and apply an at home bake on finish like aluma-hyde. No need to remove all the parkerized metal, just rough it up.

I undercut the trigger guard, did a light carry melt to the frame, and refinished with alumahyde II, all other finish is stock.

http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q177/collingscb/Guns/008.jpg

This is my primary range gun, it probably has about 5k rounds of .45 and twice that of .22 with a ciener conversion.

The only part that I have swapped is the extractor, not that it needed it I just wanted to compare the fit with that of another gun, both Ed Brown and Springfield extractors fit just fine.

tuj
December 8, 2011, 12:02 PM
Don't forget about the STI Spartan. Very good gun.

rcmodel
December 8, 2011, 12:11 PM
Look at a Springfield Range Officer.

While it may cost a little more up front, it will be cheaper in the long run because it already has every feature you could need or want on a 1911 already.

And it works & is very accurate right out of the box.

http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/springfield-range-officer-review/

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/70940

rc

Sniper X
December 8, 2011, 12:24 PM
Well, since I have a RIA tactical and can say I have done a lot to it I can chime in here. I have done a Wilson tool steel ignition (matched 3.5lb trigger) set, and when I installed them, I lightly polished (stoned) the trigger tracks, and I fitted a Briley Spherical barrel bushing, and am putting on a system made by Hocue that is grips, and a MSH that has an integral magwell housing. After I finish it I am going to have the whole pistol refiished hard chrome frame in silver, and have the slide and furniture high polish blued.

Ghost Tracker
December 8, 2011, 12:33 PM
I think (IMHO) a lot of folks do the same thing with a 1911 that happens to an AR or a Ruger 10/22. The inexpensive buy-in is always the priority, but by the time you do all the mods you "need" you could have bought a nicer model to begin with! And saved yourself the trouble of having a drawer-full of factory OEM parts you no longer use or need (but just can't BRING yourself to get rid of). *This is the once-costly, wiser-now voice of experience talking. ;)

I, personally, would rather spend my $600 budget on a higher-quality used 1911 with some holster wear or scratches than get that "new-gun-smell" in a cheaper NIB 1911 that I know I'm soon gonna' be putting higher-quality parts & a new finish on anyway!

Olympus
December 8, 2011, 12:40 PM
My experience with Armscor 1911s with parkerized finishes are that the finishes are very thin. The finish will begin to show wear immediately in the areas that see frequent movement, like on the frame around the thumb safety and the sides of the grip safety. The parkerizing on the one I had was so thin that I had to keep it moist with oil or it would start to develop a film of rust on the surface.

I'd pick just about anything else over a parkerized Armscor 1911.

emtpacker
December 8, 2011, 03:30 PM
guys, thanks to all of you for your input.

bdb benzino: I appreciate the plug for the AC II. If I go with this pistol, I will most likely only upgrade the sights.

essayons21 and Olympus: I know that anything made by men is prone to inconsistency, but how old are the RIA's that you have had experience with? Only asking in case the finish was thin a few years ago, but since improved. I don't know.

rcmodel and tuj: the only negative for me with regards to the RO and the Spartan is the target sight. I'm not a big fan of that style on a potential carry gun.

Again, thanks for the responses!

essayons21
December 8, 2011, 03:37 PM
Mine is about 4 years old. I don't know what models Olympus was experiencing thin parkerization on, the RIA I have had no such problem. I know as I took sandpaper to the entire frame. I originally wanted to take it down to bare metal, but soon gave up. After learning that thoroughly degreased park would take the finish just as well I roughed up all of the areas and applied the finish with no problems.

The only spot showing any wear is the top of the chamber on the barrel, and all of my 1911s show some scuffing here.

I should also note that I live on the east coast, and this gun is abused by my standards, shot with sweaty hands and put away dirty and stored with no oil, and I haven't had any problems with rust. On the other hand, my Springfield Champion which is my EDC for the past 6 years, and costs twice as much as the RIA, is starting to show some rust on some small parts.

Rail Driver
December 8, 2011, 03:39 PM
Parking is good stuff if you keep it oiled. It's a lot more forgiving of a finish than some

Olympus
December 8, 2011, 03:59 PM
I had a Citadel (made by Armscor) that was terrible. It was about a year and a half ago, maybe more. The extractor was improperly tuned and my first range session resulted in hundreds of little tick marks on the top of the slide. Took it home for cleaning and really got to looking at them, and it wasn't just brass transfer scuff like I had thought while at the range. But the brass had actually taken little nicks out of the parkerizing just from being ejected. That's poor in my book. It got to the point where I just decided to completely Duracoat the entire gun. I have photos somewhere. I also had some issues with rust forming on the barrel hood as well, but that's not parkerized so not really relevant.

It doesn't take very long to look at the RIA photo threads at the various 1911 forums to see the kind of wear I'm talking about in the park. It's just not for me.

Zach S
December 8, 2011, 06:15 PM
I have no experience with either one of the pistols mentioned by the OP, but would consider the RIA based on what I've read here at THR. Parkerizing is good stuff, the only downside IMO is having to have it refinished if you have to have the sight milled for whatever sight you install. Otherwise, upkeep is as easy as stainless.

the only negative for me with regards to the RO and the Spartan is the target sight. I'm not a big fan of that style on a potential carry gun.
I prefer a fixed sight as well. However, Harrison Design has fixed sights to fit the Bo-Mar and LPA cuts. IIRC, they cost about $75. They also have night sights available with one trituim vial (a la Heinie Straight 8) or two dots (for traditional three dot).

The inexpensive buy-in is always the priority, but by the time you do all the mods you "need" you could have bought a nicer model to begin with!Some of the nicer models have bells and whisltes you dont want.

Take one of my Kimbers for example. It has had all of the screws replaced with slotted ones, the FLGR has been cut down with the proper plug installed, a night sight installed up front, a 10-8 sight in the rear.

A Colt 1991A1 would have to have the slide milled for a Novak front.

Having owned both Kimbers, and a box-stock 1991A1 that I had customized, the Colt was less expensive. Both guns were bought used.

BIGBANG
December 8, 2011, 06:23 PM
+1 to the Metro Arms! I've had mine for almost a year and it has right over 2,000 rounds through it.When I first got mine it was tight and it wouldn't feed a full mag, after about 2 to 300 rounds it started feeding and hasn't had a hickup yet. I carry it at least 3 days a week depending on my attire.

Olympus
December 8, 2011, 06:43 PM
Full size Metro Arms would be another great choice. Here's what my commander looked like when I first bought it. I would rather have the bluing on the Metro Arms compared to a parkerized finish.

http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy151/brownscustomgrips/P4180044.jpg

http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy151/brownscustomgrips/P4180047.jpg

Byrd666
December 8, 2011, 07:21 PM
I have also heard quite a bit of good about another Filipino brand by the name of Shooters Arms Manufacturing, S.A.M., imported by A.T.I., American Tactical Imports
I have been doing as much research as possible on the ATI FX Titan, it's a 3.18" bbl .45acp that Ive heard a lot of good about. Both in person and the web. The same can be said about the full size models as well. And as far as I've read on/about them, a lot of the Asian and South Pacific countries use them for for LEO and Military applications. They may not be a Colt or a Springfield but, they have me interested.

TennJed
December 8, 2011, 08:34 PM
I think (IMHO) a lot of folks do the same thing with a 1911 that happens to an AR or a Ruger 10/22. The inexpensive buy-in is always the priority, but by the time you do all the mods you "need" you could have bought a nicer model to begin with! And saved yourself the trouble of having a drawer-full of factory OEM parts you no longer use or need (but just can't BRING yourself to get rid of). *This is the once-costly, wiser-now voice of experience talking. ;)

I, personally, would rather spend my $600 budget on a higher-quality used 1911 with some holster wear or scratches than get that "new-gun-smell" in a cheaper NIB 1911 that I know I'm soon gonna' be putting higher-quality parts & a new finish on anyway!
To some people (myself included) half the fun is tinkering, building, and customizing. Neither way is necessarily better than the other, just personal preference.

In a gun like a 1911,10/22, or AR I would not want a gun that came with everything I wanted

emtpacker
December 8, 2011, 11:12 PM
Ghost Tracker: I appreciate your insight, and the way I read your advice is that I should save up to buy the 1911 that I really want and get it right the first time. I agree with this principle, but at this point I don't know what it is in a 1911 that I really want other than some basic enhancements that I listed in the opening thread. I know that this will not not be my last 1911, so I dont want to save up and break the bank and end up with a pistol that I want to change, but can't afford to.

Olympus, that's a very nice commander! The grips really set off the nice bluing job. How has your experience been with the gun and the company as a whole?

BIGBANG, which model are you carrying? Did you do anything besides shoot the thing to get it reliable?

Thanks again, guys!

BIGBANG
December 8, 2011, 11:21 PM
I have the government size American Classic II in stainless, and no all I did was shoot it. The only after market parts I've added is some hogue grips. Everything else is they way I bought it. It has the beavertail with I an extend safety, 3 hole trigger and a rounded skeletonized hammer. I know those ain't the specific names for the parts but that's what they look like lol.

I did take it completely apart and clean ever last nook and cranny about a month ago to get more familiar with it an everything inside still looked shiny and new, I was rather impressed because I'm not exactly gentle with it.

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 8, 2011, 11:25 PM
1. Get the RIA
2. Detail Strip the gun
3. Put all the parts in a bag
4. Throw in River
5. Buy a Wilson Combat
6. ???
7. Profit!

Only real 1911s cost more than $3,000 cuz they are better.

Furncliff
December 8, 2011, 11:35 PM
My RIA Tactical is ~3years old. Have had one problem with it, broken slide stop early on, since then no problems. It's one raged hole accurate at 10 yards from a rest with cheap ammo. I reload for it now and it has run all bullet types I've tried. It came out of the box with an exceptional trigger and the park finnish has held up well, but I don't carry it and I live in a very dry climate. I was/am looking for a Colt National Match when my wife gave me this. I don't feel like I'm cheating myself, this gun is accurate and reliable. If you plan to carry... shot it lots then have a smith do a reliability job on it. I would recommend the same for any CCW weapon. At ~$450 these are a best bang for the buck in my book.

PS. I would plan on different grips for this pistol (I have Pachmyer on mine). I found the smooth wood grips that came on it too slick.

bdb benzino
December 8, 2011, 11:46 PM
Here is a few pics of my Metro Arms Government model and the upgrades.

154397

154398

154400

It runs like a top and feels like it rides on ball berrings. Mine is one of their first 1000 in production, it is fit very well.

bdb benzino
December 8, 2011, 11:53 PM
1. Get the RIA
2. Detail Strip the gun
3. Put all the parts in a bag
4. Throw in River
5. Buy a Wilson Combat
6. ???
7. Profit!

Only real 1911s cost more than $3,000 cuz they are better.
__________________


Not everyone can afford those, and your statement was about as helpful as a poke in the eye!

Skylerbone
December 8, 2011, 11:56 PM
If you're looking for a defensive carry pistol and you aren't sure what it needs have a look here (at the picture galleries): http://www.rodgerspistolsmithing.com/.

That's as good as they get for parts, fit and reliability. If you don't see it there you don't need it. Quality parts are important but most premature parts failures have more to do with fit or geometry rather than how "cheap" they are. If you cannot afford the 1911 you want, you won't be any closer buying one you don't want.

emtpacker
December 8, 2011, 11:58 PM
Gentlemen, thanks again for the replies! I have to say that I'm leaning heavily toward the ACII. I don't have a whole lot to reference to, but the bluing on the metro pistols seems very well done and attractive!

9mmepiphany
December 9, 2011, 12:08 AM
Ghost Tracker: I appreciate your insight, and the way I read your advice is that I should save up to buy the 1911 that I really want and get it right the first time. I agree with this principle, but at this point I don't know what it is in a 1911 that I really want other than some basic enhancements that I listed in the opening thread. I know that this will not not be my last 1911, so I dont want to save up and break the bank and end up with a pistol that I want to change, but can't afford to.
This actually makes a lot of sense. It is how I started to discover what I wanted and then what I need in a 1911...it takes a while. You have to understand that folks often try to warn you about their own mistakes...forgetting that we don't all want/need the same thing.

I started with the cheapest 1911 available...a Colt Combat Commander...and just kept adding and taking off stuff I wanted to try. I knew I'd never get my money back out of it...but the experience was invaluable. I shudder to think of all the things I've tried over the 35 years on a number if 1911s just to see if it would work for me...this was before the days of the internet. When Springfield came on the market, it was a godsend as it really bought the price down while rising build quality. Then Kimber really turned the market upside down offering the most commonly desired options.

This is the article (http://10-8performance.blogspot.com/2011/01/choosing-your-first-1911-some-thoughts.html) I usually refer folks to who are just starting out. It is a good read even if you don't follow what it recommends. There are many more options available to a new 1911 shooter today than ever, but it really makes the choice harder...because someone starting out really doesn't know what they want/need.

There is nothing wrong with starting with the cheapest 1911 that will function and going from there....I'd recommend a RIA over the AC. The only really good advice is that you look for a gun that has most of the machining already done that you might want (lower ejection port, dovetailed sights, radiused tangs) because everything else is pretty much swappable.

At this point in my life, acceptable starts at about $1200-$1500 in a mid-priced production 1911...but it took me years to figure that out. I'll warn you that this journey leads to a custom 1911...because the more you know, the more you'll demand

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 9, 2011, 12:30 AM
Not everyone can afford those, and your statement was about as helpful as a poke in the eye!

Sorry that you don't like taking out a second mortgage for a handgun. Sheesh!

CapnMac
December 9, 2011, 02:32 AM
Huh? What was the question again?

You mean that there is a different way than:
See .45 you like.
If you have the cash, buy it.
Repeat as occurs.

Ok, I know I'm biased, I've probably bought nine 1911's so far. Some were good, some less so (like the LCDR thet never quite worked out). Only have the two right now, and those are keepers.

Olympus
December 9, 2011, 08:24 AM
I would recommend the full size American Classic over the RIA. But that's just my opinion.

essayons21
December 9, 2011, 08:46 AM
I wouldn't mind picking up an American Classic, but the logo on the side of the slide is horrible.

I know its petty, but why would you ruin a good looking 1911 like that?

Olympus
December 9, 2011, 09:43 AM
I wouldn't mind picking up an American Classic, but the logo on the side of the slide is horrible.

I know its petty, but why would you ruin a good looking 1911 like that?

The RIA billboard isn't much better. But I know what you mean. I had the billboards milled off the sides of mine and had the whole gun reblued.

Greg528iT
December 9, 2011, 01:59 PM
Oops

essayons21
December 9, 2011, 08:26 PM
I had the billboards milled off the sides of mine and had the whole gun reblued.

If you don't mind me asking, how much did that run you?

I can deal with the RIAs better than most, it has a more classic font. Although they added a (TM) on the newer ones, which ruins it for me. Again its kinda silly but there are a number of 1911 manufacturers I won't even look at because of their awful billboards. If milling it off isn't too expensive that may open some new options for me.

Olympus
December 9, 2011, 08:27 PM
I don't remember, but it was cheap. The problem is you'll have to have the slide completely refinished afterwards.

Body Mass
December 9, 2011, 09:02 PM
+1 for the American Classic... I love mine. Best "bang" for the buck IMO.

Olympus
December 9, 2011, 10:15 PM
Here's a couple photos of the Ameican Classic Commander after I had the billboards taken off and completely reblued. I had quite a bit of other work done too. ;)

http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy151/brownscustomgrips/P6010050.jpg

http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy151/brownscustomgrips/P6010049.jpg

0to60
December 9, 2011, 10:50 PM
A good 1911 isn't a good 1911 because of the parts list. A good 1911 has had a lot of hand fitting and tuning from the mfg. This is the problem with getting a $400 RIA and swapping in quality parts from Nighthawk and Wilson. Without the hand fitting, you won't necessarily end up with a better gun.

If you're dying to get started with a 1911 but you blanch at the $900 price tag, its a tough spot to be in. I was there also a few months back and got a Springfield Mil Spec, and in all honesty its my least reliable gun. The 1911 is a design that can't be done cheaply.

Byrd666
December 10, 2011, 07:15 PM
Olympus

Man, I Really like the looks of those smoothed and polished slides. Not being a machinist myself and not trying to sound dumb, even if I am on occasion, can any gunsmith do that? Or does he/she need to be more specific in nature, like a full fledged machine shop?

Zach S
December 10, 2011, 08:56 PM
Any respectable gunsmith will have the tools and knowledge to do that. I don't know if face mills are common for gunsmiths to have in the shop, so they'll likely have to make a few to several passes with an end mill.

A full fledged machine shop will likely have faster turnaround time, if they'll take it in.

AJumbo
December 10, 2011, 10:25 PM
The parkerizing on my RIA GI has held up wonderfully, and it had been carried in every climate Arizona had to offer, with many of those miles on horseback. Horses sweat like pigs. No salt damage thus far.

Mechanically, the Rock is solid as a rock. I have slowly turned my GI into a Tac-like thing by adding a beavertail, Commander-style hammer, etc, and would buy a Tactical if I had to do it all over again.

emtpacker
December 10, 2011, 11:40 PM
9mm, thanks for the insight. The 10-8 link was much appreciated as well. Of the more basic 1911's available - colt 1991, springer mill spec, etc - which would you recommend and why?

Olympus, plus one on the gorgeous pistol!

To you guys who have endorsed one model over others, how much use have you put on your guns in terms of rounds fired, classes attended, amount of time carried, etc? Have you had any problems? Thanks again for your help!

9mmepiphany
December 11, 2011, 12:59 AM
Of the more basic 1911's available - colt 1991, springer mill spec, etc - which would you recommend and why?
I recently attended a 1911-centric class. We only shot about 1000 in 5 days, but I watched as various different brands of 1911s went down or bit their owners...Bandaids and Mortrin were in high demand.

I've always recommended the basic Springfields (how basic depends on which features you want), because their QC is very consistent and the IMBEL factory in Brazil has a great reputation.

I was impressed by how well the Filipino 1911s have held up. The problems I saw ranged from easily fixed to very worrisome. The top two I've had experience with have been the RIA and STI...their prices really reflect the work put into them. If I were to buy a RIA, I'd want to inspect it closely, or have someone who knows something about 1911s look at it, before I bought it

I would not personally recommend a Colt, 1991 or otherwise, except as the base gun for a custom build. They are famous for being built to loose tolerances and the line above the trigger guard is just irritating

Joshua M. Smith
December 11, 2011, 01:50 AM
Hello,

The STI Spartan is a rebadged RIA.

WRT the RIA Tactical, be prepared to replace the thumb safety if you're a lefty. It's not high quality and I managed to snap two of them in short order.

I'd recommend a Caspian as a replacement.

Josh

9mmepiphany
December 11, 2011, 03:30 AM
The STI Spartan is a rebadged RIA.
Maybe a bit more than re-badging.

The frame slide and barrel are manufactured in the Philippines. The rear sight is Italian. All the other parts are from STI in TX. It is assembled in the P.I. with final inspection in TX

jblackfish
December 11, 2011, 08:25 AM
I know you said $600 is your limit but a couple of nice 1911's that are just beyond that figure (there are always choices just beyond what you want to spend) are the STI Spartin (under $700) and the Ruger SR1911 (I've heard of good deals under $700 - the gun itself is still a little scarce) - you might find a deal on one of those and consider it. Good luck.

pinstripe
December 11, 2011, 08:02 PM
Second that. If i wanted something nice and shiney that I had to keep spotless in order to have any joy in it, i would collect coins. I use my 1911 for what it is intended to be, a tool. If I have to have a pretty gun in order to show off to my friends, then I am running with the wrong boys. Get the RIA and let nature take its course. if kept long enough and close enough, it , with its scrathces and dings, will become an old friend.

emtpacker
December 11, 2011, 11:32 PM
Jblackfish, I would be much more interested in the ruger if there were any to be had! There is so much to like about them except for the fact that there are none available. I may hold off on my purchase a few months to see if production can meet demand.

Pinstripe, I'm not so interested in having anything shiny or blinged-out. No nickel-plated sissy pistols for me! I am mostly concerned about the sweat resistant properties of parkerised guns. I carry just about every day, all day, and can get to be a really sweaty dude real quick. Both of my xd's had rust problems on the magazine release buttons from this. If a parked gun can hold up, I'm all for it. I actually like the look of holster wear and the 'character' that usage and enjoyment gives to guns.

Jaymo
February 24, 2012, 10:22 PM
emtpacker, "nickel plated sissy gun". Great quote from "US Marshals" :)
Too bad the gun in question was stainless steel slide/aluminum frame, not nickel.
I blame the writers and/or prop house for that mistake.
Not like movie writers are known for knowing anything about guns or cars.

GCBurner
February 24, 2012, 11:16 PM
I started with a plain blued finish Norinco 1911A1, which seemed to be accurate enough with the fixed 3-dot sights that came on it, and which shoots both FMJ 230 grain and semi-wadcutter 200 grain ammo pretty reliably. The only upgrades I felt I needed were a better set of grips, so I can hold it better and more comfortably than with the brown plastic it came with, and an ambidextrous safety, so I can practice shooting from cocked-and-locked with either hand. All together, I guess I have about $400 invested in it, and it works well for me.

gunfighter48
February 25, 2012, 01:58 AM
I have an RIA Match 45. Get the RIA and their customer service is great.

Zerodefect
February 25, 2012, 08:27 AM
Nothing wrong with adding a few fiinishing touches to a cheaper 1911. Even expensive 1911's need the same attention to detail.

No such thing as a perfect 1911 out of the box. There is allways a part or two that I prefer that every single high end 1911 is missing.

I'd recommend starting with one of the better cheap 1911's from Colt, Kimber (Custom or TLE), Dan Wesson.

Modifications I usually install:
-Wilson Sear , Hammer, Disconnector
-Tripp Cobra mags
-Dawson front sight
-10-8, Heinie, Warren rear sight
-VZ Grips, Sarges Grips
-10-8 or Ed Brown Mag release
-Wolff springs


The Dan Wessons are my fvorite 1911's right now.

hogrdr
February 25, 2012, 09:31 AM
i wouldn't put a lot of money in a cheaper 1911 unless i was going to keep it forever. you can't get your money back if you sell. stock guns usually sell quicker and higher than home smithed ones. i won't buy a home smithed 1911 at all.

sarge83
March 21, 2012, 08:37 AM
"I started with a plain blued finish Norinco 1911A1, which seemed to be accurate enough with the fixed 3-dot sights that came on it, and which shoots both FMJ 230 grain and semi-wadcutter 200 grain ammo pretty reliably. The only upgrades I felt I needed were a better set of grips, so I can hold it better and more comfortably than with the brown plastic it came with, and an ambidextrous safety, so I can practice shooting from cocked-and-locked with either hand. All together, I guess I have about $400 invested in it, and it works well for me."


Same with me for my Nork. It was at a pawn shop and had some really beat up Colt rubber grips on it. A new set of walnut checkered grips and thorough stripping and cleaning and for $350 I have a solid, accurate and reliable 1911.

I currently have a RIA Tactical in layaway at the same shop, looking forward to shooting it.

Jaymo
March 21, 2012, 07:10 PM
The only problem my ATI Commander has had is a soft ejector. The tip mushroomed.
A jeweller's hammer, needle files, Arkansas oilstones, and Kasenit seem to have fixed that.
I bought it, planning to tinker with it and replace some parts, ejector included.

Magoo
March 21, 2012, 09:10 PM
...or "pre-owned" (and loved/hated :confused:) if you prefer.

With the resurgence in the popularity of the 1911, lot's of them end up being resold. There are a lot of really good 1911s out there available for a price well within your budget.

I picked the one below up from a LGS a year or so ago for $350 OTD. It doesn't have your beavertail request, and while "extended" thumb safety is somewhat subjective to me I'd say this one is a true GI. I like it. You can find one you like if you're patient.

http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g251/jrr1/SAright.jpg

It was parkerized (with requisite idiot scatch and other wear points). I got a screaming deal on an antranite refinish, so I had a dehorn and undercut trigger guard done before the refinish. I swapped the grip panels out for some Alumagrips. About $300 total. That's the extent of "aftermarket" for this one. And none of it was needed. This pistol is mechanically identical to when I bought it. The only failures I've had were from the same crappy mag that Les so kindly throws in with his pistols.

ETA: It currently has poor man's front strap checkering too. Grip tape :D

ETA2: Forgot about the Wilson Combat "drop in" (tho' it was) extended mag well. $20-ish

Okiegunner
March 21, 2012, 09:24 PM
Combat Handguns, May, 2012.

Article on Umarex R-100, 1911. Turkish made 1911 platform. Trabzon made pistol. Investment cast frame, CNC machined slide.

Like every article I have ever read about this firearm, the reviewer really liked this pistol. Purely G.I. grade, no frills, solid, basic 1911. 100% parts interchangable. Black gun, with Hogue grips. MSRP (according to this article) $499.

Available right now at CDNN, for $349. I have posted about this gun before, and really want one. I have to wait another 4-6 weeks (Paycheck thing, OK?) and then I am going to purchase.

Really...If they are even close to as good, as to what is written, for the money?? How could you go wrong?

Gunner

Baba Louie
March 22, 2012, 03:55 PM
emt,
You've been given some sound advice and have offered pretty good rebuttal and rationale behind your decision ala 1st 1911.

I'll offer only one broad piece of advice.

Buy one. Any one of them.

And Ammo. A Lot of ammo. Shoot it. All.

Your new 1911 (whichever one you buy) will soon tell you what it needs. Might be sights. Might be a trigger. Maybe the extractor needs tweaking. Springs perhaps. Etc. Learn your particular weapon's likes and dislikes...

THEN... change ONE (1) thing at a time, buy more ammo, shoot more until you're sure and certain that new piece is good to go and does what you need. Continue on in this fashion as this is your first. Don't do everything at once. Learn the system, how to detail break it down and rebuild back until it's second nature.

And don't worry. This one will simply be your first. (muahaha :D)

Maybe. You might end up hating the heavy, old 8 rd limit, slab sided centenarian. :eek:

Old CooT
March 22, 2012, 06:22 PM
I upgraded my Mk IV Series 80 Colt to .460 Rowland and love it. I also put some Millet adjustable sights on it, and with a 230 gr xtp doing 1300 fps or a 185 gr. doing 1500 fps, it is a smaller pkg than Dirty Harry's .44 mag. and is easier to handle. The minus side is that the 24lb mainspring is a real pain to pull back....

If I use a 20lb spring, I can mix and match acp and .460, it is like, bang, bang, BLAM, BLAM, bang,....but I think it may be a little rough on the frame tho.

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