My first 1911


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cwduke08
February 15, 2012, 07:53 PM
I've been wanting a 1911 but cheaper guns keep finding their way into my hands. Should I save up for a Ed Brown or Wilson? My dream '11 is an ED BROWN KOBRA CARRY, or should I get a cheaper starter 1911. So many avenues to venture down.

Ps what makes a California 1911... They only hold 7 or 8 anyways

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CZ57
February 15, 2012, 08:10 PM
CW, take a look at Dan Wesson before you decide on anything. IMO, it's hard to get more 1911 than what you get with the DW. ;)

Topperdog
February 15, 2012, 08:19 PM
I know plenty of people that have started with low end 1911's to learn the platform first, myself being one (Auto Ordnance was my first and several friends started with Rock Island). The advantage is that you learn what you want, don't want, or if you even like the platformwith the cheap 1911. It ended up being the base for a gunsmithing project for me. Not the cheapest route and it definitely doesn't hold the value of the parts original price. But it does have sentimental value.

HDCamel
February 15, 2012, 08:29 PM
I've already said this twice today, but I really regret that my first 1911 wasn't a Colt. The Regent R100 is a fine gun, but I want the pony.

Of ALL the 1911s out there, a Colt holds it's resale value the best and they're ALWAYS in demand so selling it if you want to upgrade to a DW, Wilson, Baer, or Brown would be a cinch.

SteampunkQueen
February 15, 2012, 08:33 PM
I agree with Camel. Id say a Colt is a great place to start. They have TONS of models on the market now, and their Rail Gun was even in contention to replace the MEU(SOC) Pistol in service with Marine Force Recon Elements.

I owned an EB and it was beautiful and honestly i loved it to death, but for a first 1911, i say start with the original!

Zerodefect
February 15, 2012, 09:01 PM
Some others to look at as well:
Ed Brown Molan Labe
Dan Wesson Valor
Dan Wesson CCO
Les Baer

The Dan Wessons are very nice. My DW V is my EB that I'm not afraid to carry and use hard. (It's replaceable)

Just get the Ed Brown. It really is better, and worth every penny. If it's what you really want, then anything else is going to fall short.

mes227
February 15, 2012, 09:08 PM
+1 to the Recommendation to check out Dan Wessons. I have a Pre CZ Pointman (full size) and am on the lookout for a modern bob or maybe an older Patriot.

EddieNFL
February 15, 2012, 09:15 PM
I spent many years with Colts, Springfields and Kimbers and, with the exception of a couple of Kimbers, don't regret any of them. I bought my first semi-custom about 15 years ago and immediately regretted not doing so sooner.

cwduke08
February 15, 2012, 10:43 PM
I love the colt 1991 series! I think it just looks awesome, no adjustable sights but it looks mean and original!

MICHAEL T
February 16, 2012, 03:16 AM
I started with a Colt and know have several Bought a Dan Wesson when they were reasonable on their prices. Its a very good pistol . How ever today I would buy a Ed Brown before I buy another Dan Wesson . I now think their way over priced.

Jed Carter
February 16, 2012, 06:02 AM
STI has entry price level pistols that can shoot like much more expensive 1911s. For under $1000 the Trojan is an incredible shooter, uber reliable and a better trigger than many pistols twice the price. For less than $700 the Spartan gives a lot for the money, a great place to start the collection. One word of caution these pistols are habit forming, seven so far and more in the future for me.

JTQ
February 16, 2012, 12:49 PM
cwduke08 wrote,
I love the colt 1991 series! I think it just looks awesome, no adjustable sights but it looks mean and original!
The adjustable sight is a relative oddity on a 1911. It usually requires a different slide cut that will really limit your aftermarket options. I always recommend a fixed sight 1911 unless you actually have a specific need for the adjustable sight.

TonyDedo
February 16, 2012, 01:13 PM
cwduke, how much trigger time do you have on a 1911? I'd hesitate to dump $2000-$4000 on a gun you haven't shot much, just because it looks great on paper.

Don't go cheap and get a GI model either. Spend an extra couple hundred bucks and get something with decent sights, beavertail grip safety, etc.

I'd suggest a Smith & Wesson. They have some great options with all the bells & whistles, but don't carry the cost of a high end custom:

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757754_-1_757752_757751_image

cwduke08
February 16, 2012, 01:41 PM
@tonydedo

I've probably put about 500 rounds down range with a 1911 (rental kimber)

HDCamel
February 16, 2012, 06:50 PM
cwduke, how much trigger time do you have on a 1911? I'd hesitate to dump $2000-$4000 on a gun you haven't shot much, just because it looks great on paper.

Don't go cheap and get a GI model either. Spend an extra couple hundred bucks and get something with decent sights, beavertail grip safety, etc.

I'd suggest a Smith & Wesson. They have some great options with all the bells & whistles, but don't carry the cost of a high end custom:

http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_757754_-1_757752_757751_image
Why would you get anything BUT a GI/Government style 1911 for your first?

TonyDedo
February 16, 2012, 07:15 PM
Why would you get anything BUT a GI/Government style 1911 for your first?


Well for starters, GI sights suck. 1911s without beavertails can give hammer bite. The cheap, entry level GI models I've shot (Rock Island, Auto Ord, etc) can run loose and can eject brass all over the place.

I'm just saying if someone wants to get into 1911s, I'd hate for them to pick up a junky replica, have a bad experience with it, and lose their interest. Especially when, for a couple hundred more, they can get a really great 1911 with all the bells and whistles. You can get a lot going from a $400-$600 gun to a $700-$1000 gun.

rklessdriver
February 16, 2012, 07:23 PM
Ed Brown and Wilson Combat make some of the best 1911's money can buy. These are the top tier of what can be even remotely considered production guns. The only way to go up is to save 10 grand, wait 5 years and comission a custom gun from Harrison or Heirloom Prescision or such....

Does anyone really think you COULD be disapointed with one? There is no reason to buy a lesser gun - other than the cost. I mean $2500-$4000 is a good amount of $$$ ut it's not really that much in this day and age....

If you REALLY want an Ed Brown or Wilson Combat and you can stomach the cost, you should save up to buy one. No ifs ands or buts about it. No matter how good something else is, it won't be an Ed Brown and it won't be a Wilson....

COLT, CZ, S&W and STI all make nice 1911's but they are not comparable to Wilson and Brown. Anyone that thinks they are is kidding themselves. They are a good place to buy a 1911 if you can't (or won't) pay the admission fee for Brown or Wilson - but if you can there is no reason to settle.
Will

HDCamel
February 16, 2012, 09:29 PM
Well for starters, GI sights suck. 1911s without beavertails can give hammer bite. The cheap, entry level GI models I've shot (Rock Island, Auto Ord, etc) can run loose and can eject brass all over the place.

I'm just saying if someone wants to get into 1911s, I'd hate for them to pick up a junky replica, have a bad experience with it, and lose their interest. Especially when, for a couple hundred more, they can get a really great 1911 with all the bells and whistles. You can get a lot going from a $400-$600 gun to a $700-$1000 gun.
All of your points are a matter of opinion.

I personally prefer GI sights. Beavertails look fugly and replacing the hammer with a commander style does enough to get rid of hammerbite. Running loose isn't a negative point.

For your first car would you buy a good reliable sedan or some neon-lighted supercharged street racer?

I still say he should get a Colt. Easy to work on/have work done to, easy to sell for VERY close to new price if he ever wants to upgrade to a Wilson, Brown, or Baer.

Greg528iT
February 16, 2012, 10:15 PM
For your first car would you buy a good reliable sedan or some neon-lighted supercharged street racer?

Are you comparing an Ed Brown or Wislon to a Neon street racer??????? really?

replacing the hammer with a commander style
Then it's NOT a GI or mil spec.

The hammer bite is more the SHARP edges of the traditional thin grip safety digging into the web of the hand. Again, lack of hand fitting seen in better 1911 style guns. The tang of the grip safety on most (all?) 1911s has been extended to make it near impossible to get the web up high enough to be struck by the traditional spur hammer.

jduff8505
February 16, 2012, 10:31 PM
Great info here. Glad you started this CWDUKE.

In response to the GI model being a cheap off brand, are you saying the Govt issue 1911s were Rock Island or Auto Ord?

We had Springfield and Colts when I first qualified in 1986. Then the Military went to the M9 Berettas. I would think one of those Colt/Springfields would be a great starting place that would return your money if you decided you didn't care for the 1911 platform. I'm not trying to stir anything up but am also in the market for a 1911 and trying to get as much info as I can to make a good decision.

As a personal preference my favorite auto is the Beretta M9 due to familiarity and it feels at home in my hand. I would take about 10 of them if I had the money just to throw around.

Skylerbone
February 16, 2012, 10:53 PM
I'm truly baffled by some of the responses I've read so far. I certainly agree that both Wilson and Brown make some fine pistols with solid good looks to boot but if you have a look at the work being done by the "modern masters" most start life as nothing more than a basic Colt, Springfield Armory or Caspian.

The point of customizing a 1911 using a good smith is to allow the craftsman something to craft. How would Chuck Rogers golf ball a front strap on a pre-checkered Wilson? Why would Chuck Warner dehorn an Ed Brown?

Most smiths nowadays have gotten away from full house builds to avoid being manufacturers. They don't all have egregious wait times or $10k price tags either. I'd sooner have a Clark Meltdown Colt than a Wilson, or a Les Baer or DW with some work by Harrison. Simply personal preference however.

To the OP, you'll have to decide if a 1911 will have a niche to fill in your collection. As much as some of us enjoy them they may not be for everyone. For that matter they aren't all built for a single purpose so if you find a purpose and a budget you'll be ready to better research which specific models and manufacturers to further consider. Without that you'll be forever buried with suggestions from every manufacturer at every price point.

HDCamel
February 16, 2012, 11:12 PM
Are you comparing an Ed Brown or Wislon to a Neon street racer??????? really?
No, but I AM comparing the S&W or the Springfield Loaded to one.

Then it's NOT a GI or mil spec.
Who said he had to keep it the way he got it? I'm just saying to start with the base model and change stuff out as needed. He might not need $200-$300 worth of modifications, so why should he buy them already attached?

Greg528iT
February 16, 2012, 11:38 PM
so why should he buy them already attached?

Cause it's cheaper to buy them already attached.

I like modding a gun as much as anyone, but you can buy a loaded springfield, for a lot less than buying a mils spec and adding the same features.

GlockFan
February 16, 2012, 11:43 PM
I mean $2500-$4000 is a good amount of $$$ ut it's not really that much in this day and age....

All I gotta say is :what:

Psa1m144
February 16, 2012, 11:47 PM
Buds has a Sig 1911 with CT laser grips and novak night sights for $777! Probably the best deal I have ever seen. If I were to buy a 1911 right now, that would be the one.

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/28/products_id/79441/Handguns/SIG+Sauer

EDIT: oops nevermind, they just went out of stock.... but they had them this morning

JoNate
February 16, 2012, 11:57 PM
How does the SR1911 stack up? That is the gun that stuck out in my mind at the last gun show I attended. It just felt right.

Skylerbone
February 16, 2012, 11:58 PM
To answer the CA question for the OP any pistol for sale in California must pass drop testing. Once the manufacturer has passed certification it goes on the approved list.

robctwo
February 17, 2012, 01:48 AM
I bought a Springfield Loaded, Black Stainless Target for my first 1911. idled around with it, replaced the ignition parts with Ed Brown stuff. Reduced the trigger from about 8 pounds down to about 4. Nice gun. It runs my Ciener Platinum .22 conversion full time now.

Bought a S&W 1911 PD Commanderwith Crimson Trace laser sights. Very nice trigger. Light weight is good for carry, not so much fun for 300 rounds at the range.

I lucked into an Ed Brown Executive Target, lnib while looking for a Les Baer PII. Then I immediately found the Baer used for an outstanding price. 1.5" guarantee. The Brown and Bear are great. Buy one. Buy one used if you can find one for a reasonable price.

I like the adjustable sights. I shoot a lot of reloads and play some games. The S&W is the only one with combat sights.

The S&W

cashking
February 20, 2012, 10:35 PM
Great info. Thanks

fatmanonabike
February 22, 2012, 09:59 PM
How does the SR1911 stack up? That is the gun that stuck out in my mind at the last gun show I attended. It just felt right.
I'm very happy with my SR1911. I've been reloading now for a month or so and it even likes my LSWC reloads. This was my first ever firearm purchase. I know virtually nothing about pistols. I purchased the SR1911 because 1) it was Ruger's first 2) the anniversary 3) I like the way it looks 4) It comes WITH a lowered and flared ejection port, beaver tail grip safety and a polished feed ramp 5) every nut, every bolt every spring is AMERICAN made 6) It comes WITHOUT series 80 firing pin block 7) I paid $700 for it. All things considered I thought it an exceptional feature set at that price point. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better value.

theQman23
February 23, 2012, 02:58 AM
I posted this reply in the other 1911 question thread but it fits here too so here it goes:
I bought a rough, rattly, worn out springfield gi for 400 bucks. Then I bought springs, pins, ext slide stop, ext safety, ed brown grip safety, hammer, disc, etc etc and with a new set of grips all in all I spent about $400 on parts and tools, including a sear jig, and a checkering file. I welded up the barrel lugs and hood, recut them on the mill, (most of the barrell work could have been hand done with a file honestly,) and then welded up the rails and re-cut them to make the slide tighter on the frame. Fitting the slide after the weld/cut work took 2 hrs., the checkering all took 5 hrs, the hammer/sear/trigger work took 4 hrs, the bead blasting and polishing took 4 hrs. and oh yeah, I bob tailed the gun using the original main spring housing which required welding in the old spring hole and smoothing then checkering the flat, polishing the round edge, that alone took 5 or 6 hours.
What's my point? If you just want a gun to buy cheap and go shoot, do the 400 specials and go shoot. You'll end up with a gun that isn't special to anyone, and shoots about a three inch group at 25 yards, but hey, it's cheap, and that's okay.
If you want a reall project gun and have the tools and skill, (or desire to spend time learning to fullfill the project and enjoy earning the pride that goes with diligent work,) then do like I did, spend $800 bucks and about 40 hours of your free time after work on the project. If you do your homework and take pride in your work, it'll look nice when your done, be special to you and those in your club as they watch you learn and adore the process, and if you know how to tighten it up it'll shoot like mine, which is to say about an inch and 3/4 at 25 yards.
If you want the best, and want a status symbol piece drop 2500-3 grand or more on the name brand premium guns, and though you won't have any personal pride in its creation it'll be worth more as a status piece, and it should probably shoot under an inch and a half at 25 yards.
Now, you must decide what is important to you, and enjoy the decision, whatever it may be. I don't make any recommendations or insinuations on which path you choose, only that you do it safely, and with the constitution in mind.

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