Is the 1911 a Reliable Design?


PDA






LouisianaGunner12
June 13, 2012, 10:14 PM
Is the Colt (not other manufacturers) 1911 a reliable gun?

Since there are so many 1911 makers, I guess I'll limit this question to Colt 1911's specifically.

If you enjoyed reading about "Is the 1911 a Reliable Design?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
TimboKhan
June 13, 2012, 10:15 PM
Yes.

The Lone Haranguer
June 13, 2012, 10:17 PM
The design is fine. Deviations from the original design and poor manufacturing techniques and quality control are the problem. I have had three 1911 "lemons," but the original design isn't to blame.

LouisianaGunner12
June 13, 2012, 10:20 PM
Since there are so many 1911 makers, I guess I'll limit this question to Colt 1911's specifically.

The Lone Haranguer
June 13, 2012, 10:23 PM
One of my "lemons" was a Colt. But it was used when I got it, dating to the early 1990s. Colt has had their "ups and downs" in quality control, which this one undoubtedly suffered from. I read very few complaints about their latest ones.

WC145
June 13, 2012, 10:24 PM
Is the Colt 1911 a reliable gun?
Yes, it is.

Is the 1911 a Reliable Design?
Can you think of anything else that's still being produced in what is essentially it's original form after 100 years? Must have something going for it.

Auto426
June 13, 2012, 10:32 PM
The 1911 is a reliable design. What's lacking today is the execution of that design, by the various clone makers that drift from the original blueprints and cut as many corners as possible in the name of profit.

9mmepiphany
June 13, 2012, 10:52 PM
Is the 1911 a Reliable Design?
Generally, yes

Is the Colt (not other manufacturers) 1911 a reliable gun?
Not always

My first semi-auto duy gun was a Colt 1911...it was the only departmentally authorized semi-auto...along with 4 academy mates. Three of them had function problems during the qualification portion of the semi-auto class required to carry the gun on duty. Those three were being shot right out of the box. Mine had already taken a trip to a pistolsmith and ran without a bobble.

A nearby LE agency recently allowed officers to carry personally owned 1911s as a duty weapon. None of the Colts, 3 out of 15, made it though the qualification. Neither did any of the other 1911s priced under $1500

bluetopper
June 13, 2012, 11:04 PM
The 1911 is a very reliable design and a very reliable gun no matter the manufacture if the parts fit correctly and are within specs.

Colt is just one of many manufacturors. Some are worse, some are better. Colt was just the first.....100 years ago.

LouisianaGunner12
June 13, 2012, 11:08 PM
Colt is just one of many manufacturors. Some are worse, some are better. Colt was just the first.....100 years ago.

What would you say is better than Colt?

WardenWolf
June 13, 2012, 11:14 PM
Wilson Combat and Springfield Armory are both better than Colt in terms of out-of-the-box tolerances and reliability.

9mmepiphany
June 13, 2012, 11:16 PM
What would you say is better than Colt?
You'll have to define better

jeepnik
June 13, 2012, 11:21 PM
I can say without a doubt that the 1911A1 is a much more reliable firearm than the original M-16.

The darned 1911 design has been around over 100 years. If it didn't work, it would have been relicated to the scrap heap long ago.

As to Colt brand firearms. It all depends on what era. Current 1911's from Colt are pretty damned good (of course you pay for it). But some from a few decades ago had some pretty spotty quality control.

mljdeckard
June 13, 2012, 11:41 PM
I owned a Colt. It wasn't magical. I will echo what others have said above, Don't mess with what works.

TimboKhan
June 13, 2012, 11:46 PM
You open yourself up to a hornets nest of subjective opinion with that question. Better in what way?

coolluke01
June 13, 2012, 11:50 PM
I guess I have a problem with this. The 1911 was the best at one time.
1911's can be finicky. Not all, and many have shown why that may be. But I do think there are better designs currently than the 1911 for reliability.

If this question was only for how reliable colts were in a world of only 1911's than I missed the main point of this thread.

gym
June 13, 2012, 11:55 PM
A well tuned 1911 is a wonderful thing, an out of spec one is a nightmare. they are my favorite guns to shoot bar none. You need to do your homework and read a lot about them befor jumping into the pool.
There are some terriffic 1911 guys inhere, some have the 1911 in their handle. A couple already gave you some input. Go slow and learn the differences, shoot a bunch of them and decide if they are for you.
It's the opposite of the polymer hi-cap pistols that have become so popular. It's important to have had one and please ask questions, of these gentlemen as you won't find better information anyware. You should by all means own one to round out your shooting experience.

Walkalong
June 14, 2012, 09:26 PM
My Colts simply work. I only have three though, and they made a ton more than that.

jmr40
June 14, 2012, 10:35 PM
In 1911 it was the most reliable design. In 2012 it is still reliable, if done right, unfortunatey MANY are not done right. But as good as it was, there are better choices today.

Steve C
June 14, 2012, 11:01 PM
It is reliable enough. Compared to many modern designs it is not a reliable as say the Beretta 92, Glock(s), or Sigs. The US army was satisfied with a meen time before failure of around 860 which they determined by firing relatively new conditon .45's before specifying the level which competing handguns needed to meet when they where in the selection process which the Beretta won. Both the Beretta and Sig had a MTBF rate of over 10,000 when they stopped testing as they had far exceeded the spec.

HDCamel
June 15, 2012, 01:11 AM
Can you think of anything else that's still being produced in what is essentially it's original form after 100 years?

Ballistol. :D

mavracer
June 15, 2012, 09:16 AM
The basic tilting barrel design is the most used design period. The 1911 as designed is very reliable, as reliable as any other. It is however a more difficult design to hold within tolerances. It has a two part ramp that needs to be correct and multiple lugs which must be fit correctly.
Colt does a good job nowdays.

JustinJ
June 15, 2012, 09:39 AM
Reliable is a relative term? Compared to modern quality guns, no, in general the design is not reliable or durable.

1911Tuner
June 15, 2012, 09:48 AM
Compared to modern quality guns, no, in general the design is not reliable or durable.

*cough*

Whut??

OOH! OOH! I beg to differ...

BRE346
June 15, 2012, 10:20 AM
Wasn't there a long and bitter competition to settle that about a hundred years ago?
There may have been minor improvements along the way but I haven't read of any more reliable design.

To many, that is the holy grail of handguns.

coalman
June 15, 2012, 11:54 AM
The design is reliable. Execution of the design or the user might not be.

General Geoff
June 15, 2012, 12:17 PM
1911s get a bad reputation for spotty reliabily only because of the VAST number of variants and manufacturers and custom parts used in them. The variants and custom parts CAN be made reliable, but only with close attention to detail. In short, you can have a cheap 1911, a reliable 1911, and a fancy 1911, but any one 1911 will only fit two of those three descriptors.



I've only ever owned one 1911 and it was a match-grade gun (Para Ordnance S16-40 Limited). The gun was extremely accurate and shot nicely... for about 100 rounds. Then it would start failing to feed, because of fouling in the extremely tight chamber. Clean it every 100 rounds and it would run flawlessly. But I understood when buying the gun that it was geared toward accuracy and not reliability.

Vern Humphrey
June 15, 2012, 02:19 PM
Quote:
Can you think of anything else that's still being produced in what is essentially it's original form after 100 years?

Ballistol.
Bullseye powder.

Quat
June 15, 2012, 03:10 PM
The M2 will have been in service for 100 years in about 9 years; the M1917, which it was heavily based off of, was originally designed in 1900 or 1901. It was also a Browning design.

1911Tuner
June 15, 2012, 03:24 PM
Can you think of anything else that's still being produced in what is essentially it's original form after 100 years?

The Model 94 Winchester carbine.

Hangingrock
June 15, 2012, 06:33 PM
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and I guess reliability is the same descriptive attribute to a certain existent. That’s to say with a 1911 series pistol the CYA wording so often applied “properly tuned”.

With the 230Gr-FMJ I have no problem but the 200Gr-SWC is bedeviling with the occasional stoppage of failure to feed. Yet use the same 200Gr-SWC loading with an S&W-4506, S&W-99 or a Glock-G21 no problem. These designs can/do transition from the magazine and chamber properly with out a hitch.

One of the respondents stipulated a 1911 series pistol that $1500.00 is an break point between not so good and good functionality. Apparently that’s when we achieve the CYA of “properly tuned”. As for reliable function in my experience the S&W-4506, S&W-99 or a Glock-G21 achieve reliability at a much lower cost per unit.

Two examples a Colt XSE Govt and a Springfield 1911-A1 of recent purchase of let’s say no more than 5yrs past (When you are in your sixth decade most things seem like yesterday but aren’t) occasionally choke on the 200Gr-SWC enough so as to be an irritant.

That’s my story.

EddieNFL
June 15, 2012, 07:04 PM
Is the sun hot? Well, not at night.

The 1911 is a reliable design. Not maybe, not sometimes, not generally, not depending on the make or seasonal weather.

Some makers, gunsmiths and wannabe gunsmiths can and do make unreliable versions, but the design remains reliable.

harvester
June 15, 2012, 07:20 PM
This is actually a silly question.

EddieNFL
June 15, 2012, 07:57 PM
That’s to say with a 1911 series pistol the CYA wording so often applied “properly tuned”.

Like any other firearm, the 1911 is reliable when BUILT to proper specifications. Same rule applies to a Glock.

JTQ
June 15, 2012, 08:00 PM
As for reliable function in my experience the S&W-4506, S&W-99 or a Glock-G21 achieve reliability at a much lower cost per unit.
Maybe the S&W99 and Glock 21 are at the "much lower cost per unit". I have a Colt Combat Elite 1911 and an S&W 4506, and when new, and I bought both of them new, they cost basically the same. If S&W was still making the 4506, it would cost what they charge for their 1911's.

barnbwt
June 15, 2012, 08:22 PM
The design is reliable. Execution of the design or the user might not be.

Isn't that kinda like saying "the pistols are reliable, just so long as they are made reliable"? :scrutiny:

Manufacturability, maintenance, cost, and tolerance of non-ideal care are also important considerations in design. Modern designs deal with those particular areas much better, simply because 100 years of R&D has been thrown at the problem.

The 1911 was extremely advanced when introduced; so far ahead of the competition was it that to this day, many reflexively believe there can be nothing better (not you guys, but non-gunnies;)). Compared to a polymer pistol, it's a Swiss Watch. They are beautiful feats of grace and engineering, but that also means there is more that can go wrong, especially in non-ideal conditions. My K31 is a "better rifle" than my 700 SPS, but the design sure isn't.

Just because a gun was made "out of spec" or was too neglected is small consolation if it jams when you needed it. If another design was more likely to perform properly in the same scenario, I'm not sure how it could be called an "inferior design" for the task at hand. For example, I'm a revolver fan, simply because I'm not as meticulous about my firearms as others, but I still need them to work when called for (oh, and I like to shoot magnums :D).

I'm not saying the 1911 doesn't get the job done (that would get me banned here :evil:) just that more modern designs can do it better. "Job" meaning the whole gambit of manufacture, marketing, and performance. Not just "performance". There's a reason subsequent designs were successful after 1911.

Now, if you want semi-auto you can be proud of and get the job done, I can think of none better! :cool:

TCB

PT92
June 15, 2012, 08:38 PM
Is the Colt (not other manufacturers) 1911 a reliable gun?

Since there are so many 1911 makers, I guess I'll limit this question to Colt 1911's specifically.
One should never, ever question the design/s of the late, great John Moses Browning as it will cause problems when one reaches the 'Pearly Gates' of St. Peter :fire:. Seriously though, the Colt 1911 is as reliable as clockwork and IMO historically one of mankind's greatest innovations. Indeed and in that spirit, I would be remiss not to say, God Bless JMB ;). If you're new to the world of firearms, I would highly recommend researching both the origins of the 1911 as well as the life of Mr. Browning (in fact, I would recommend a biography of him just for the avid reader in general).

This is actually a silly question.
I didn't want to be the one who said it, but...;)

-Cheers

HisSoldier
June 16, 2012, 01:22 AM
It seems strange to me to limit it to Colt's, there several brands many of us would prefer over Colt, so I'm wondering why do that? A good follow up question might be "What 1911 is better than Colt's?"

9mmepiphany
June 16, 2012, 03:20 AM
so I'm wondering why do that? A good follow up question might be "What 1911 is better than Colt's?"
If you'd like to ask that followup question, please start a new thread.

The OP limited it to a specific brand to keep discussion manageable and to avoid the inevitable submission of personal favorites...to discuss the platform as currently produced by the original manufacturer

1911Tuner
June 16, 2012, 05:15 AM
I guess the definitive answer to the OP's question is:

The 1911 pistol was designed to function. As long as it's correctly built to spec and fed decent ammunition from a proper magazine, it will function. It doesn't have a choice. It's a machine.

Cherokee
June 16, 2012, 03:46 PM
1911's are great, several have come and gone, some stayed. But, it seems to me some of the newer platforms are as good, maybe better. This is just my experience and I haven't owned/shot them all.

tarosean
June 16, 2012, 03:53 PM
Is the sun hot? Well, not at night.

I'm willing to bet its still hot! Lol


As for the op..

What year is it again and how many manufactures of 1911's are there this day and age?

vba
June 18, 2012, 12:26 PM
All I can say is MY Colt 1991A1's (ORM and NRM) are very reliable. This includes my cast 185, 200 and 255 grain SWC's, and hollow points. They fire and feed all of these and I' m happy!

Holland&Holland
June 18, 2012, 04:03 PM
Worked with a master class 1911 smith years ago, a Mr. Hoag, one of Jeff Cooper's original gang in Southern California.

Some of the issues surrounding the 1911 must include that the original blueprint dimensions for the pistol have been independently revised by every manufacturer of "new, enhanced" pistols to eliminate the handwork that used to be (mostly) necessary to get the old ones to function and shoot properly. CNC is a wonderful thing, don't get me wrong, but it surely doesn't permit a Kimber frame to necessarily accept an S&W slide with a Springfield barrel!

Seems to me that a lot of the problems are when people who aren't "Gun Guy Hobbyists" want to change the pistol yet further beyond what the respective factory has produced. I agree with several respondents that Colt quality was pretty spotty in the late '70s to early '90s, but the company was also going through ownership upheaval during Colt "Industries" cutting the parent company out of their portfolio, too. I'd also agree that since the mid 1990s that the company appears to have made some pretty nice stuff, but then again, their product line had withered so much by then that they simply had both more time as well as CNC equipment of their own to do a better job.

It is always probably better to leave the thing alone and get some pretty serious trigger time with it before mucking with it, especially if one's shooting skills at the moment do not warrant the modification, unless it's a simple ergonomic change that doesn't change function. This is just my .02 though.

1911Tuner
June 18, 2012, 05:20 PM
Some of the issues surrounding the 1911 must include that the original blueprint dimensions for the pistol have been independently revised by every manufacturer of "new, enhanced" pistols to eliminate the handwork that used to be (mostly) necessary to get the old ones to function and shoot properly.

I wholeheartedly agree with he first part...and beg to differ on the second.

The WW2 GI pistols weren't hand-fitted and individually tuned, and most of the hand work on the early versions was in the final prep before they were blued.

They all worked out of the box. No tuning or break-in required. All parts from all five contractors freely interchanged with no loss of reliability or functionality.

They were built to spec. They were equipped with proper magazines.

tuj
June 18, 2012, 05:34 PM
Funny thing is, most of the non-1911 pistols out there are really a similar form of JMB's innovations, such as the full-slide, attaching the slide via frame rails, and a tilting barrel. The fundamental design of the 1911 was so sound that it fundamentally influenced the vast majority of pistol designs in some way continuing today. There are very few other designs that have had such longevity and influence.

Among the areas of success for the Colt was a test at the end of 1910 attended by its designer, John Browning. 6,000 rounds were fired from a single pistol over the course of two days. When the gun began to grow hot, it was simply immersed in water to cool it. The Colt gun passed with no reported malfunctions, while the Savage designs had 37

1911Tuner
June 18, 2012, 05:38 PM
Funny thing is, most of the non-1911 pistols out there are really a similar form of JMB's innovations.

Yep. Glocks are more 1911 than the Glockers want to admit. Browning's fingerprints are all over it.

Holland&Holland
June 18, 2012, 10:58 PM
I agree with you as far as your historical recollection goes...for original military usage, feeding only round nose full metal jacket bullets, narrow barrel feed ramp, high ejection port, loose tolerances, they "worked" just fine. Nowadays however, many folks expect more than this. The earliest WWI era guns were made of pretty soft steel, it didn't take much shooting before one would see peened slide locking lugs and looser fit of slide to frame, especially if the older notions of "light film lubrication ONLY" taught by the military of the era was rigorously adhered to.

These days, a 1911 is expected to feed about all of the modern JHP ammo, we know that some magazines work better than others for proper feed release angle, and while probably it doesn't affect accuracy as much as barrel and bushing, hood and link lug fits, a loose, rattly slide means a lot of people will pass on an otherwise fine 1911.

Hope that clarifies things just a tad...neither of us is absolutely right or wrong here! =)

CmdrSlander
June 18, 2012, 11:34 PM
The M1911 is a heavy and cantankerous piece of equipment.
Just like the steam locomotive.
And the Saturn V rocket.
In their time they were state of the art.
Though their times may have passed all remain awesome to behold.
And even better to operate...

Recently posted this in another M1911 thread. I believe it is relevant here as well.

1911Tuner
June 19, 2012, 06:28 AM
I agree with you as far as your historical recollection goes...for original military usage, feeding only round nose full metal jacket bullets, narrow barrel feed ramp, high ejection port, loose tolerances, they "worked" just fine.

It's more than historical recollection. I've got hands-on experience with'em...and they weren't all that "loose" until they were worn out. Before I sold it, I had a 1925 commercial Government Model that didn't offer up any slide to frame play at all if there was a little oil in the rails...and barely discernible when dry. A minty, 98% likely unfired Remington Rand that's as tight as many new Colt's I've handled. A moderately used 1919 USGI Colt that's got very little "looseness" anywhere. A pair of US&S pistols that are also quite good in that respect.

And none of the above pistols can seem to tell the difference between hardball and hollowpoints. The commercial pistol...the Rand...and the Black Army Colt will run like a house afire with my home cast 200-grain LSWCs. The Union Switch twins haven't been fired with those, but I have no doubt that they'll take'em.

. Nowadays however, many folks expect more than this.

And that's where a lot of the trouble starts. "More" very often means that the pistol is essentially built out of spec.

The earliest WWI era guns were made of pretty soft steel, it didn't take much shooting before one would see peened slide locking lugs and looser fit of slide to frame,

Except for spot hardening in key areas, so were the WW2 slides. That's been addressed with better steels and fully-hardened slides. Those things shouldn't have any bearing on whether or not to adhere to the blueprints specs for the ramp geometries...which is what determines whether or not the gun will feed reliably.

As far as the rattletrap loose vs bank vault tight comparison...Loose doesn't guarantee reliably any more than tight guarantees accuracy, and too loose can make the gun less reliable. I've seen loose ones that choked like pukin' buzzards, and tight, hand-fitted guns run like Singer sewing machines. It's in the specs...not the clearances.

Accuracy was always a secondary consideration for me, but the 1919 Colt will stay in 4 inches at 50 yards with issue hardball, and it'll break 3 inches with my handloaded SWCs...from the bags. Never targeted the Rand and the Union Switch twins, but before my eyes betrayed me, I could bounce Pepsi cans at 50 yards pretty regularly with'em firing offhand. I consider that adequate accuracy for their intended purpose.

None of the above mentioned pistols has ever been specially tuned in any way. They're bone stock.

Most of my work on 1911s has been addressing functional issues and seeing to reliability. What building I've done has mostly been rebuilding old or worn out pistols to return them to serviceable condition. I work with the rule of 3s. .003 inch clearances for slide to frame and barrel hood to breechface with .005 inch on the sides of the hood. Assuming proper ramp geometries, there's no problem feeding and accuracy is better than most shooters can prove without sandbags.

I'll say it again. The 1911 pistol was designed to function. If it's properly built to soec and fed decent ammunition from proper magazines...it will function. It doesn't have a choice. It's a machine.

JustinJ
June 19, 2012, 01:47 PM
*cough*

Whut??

OOH! OOH! I beg to differ...

Well, there is no cottage industry of people tuning Glocks, M&Ps, HKs, XDs, etc. to make them reliable.

In regards to durability modern pistols are superior hands down.

Auto426
June 19, 2012, 02:07 PM
Well, there is no cottage industry of people tuning Glocks, M&Ps, HKs, XDs, etc. to make them reliable.

In regards to durability modern pistols are superior hands down.

There also aren't 20 different companies all producing copies of Glock's, M&P's, or HK's, all with their own idea of what the optimum set of specs are. As Tuner said, back when there was one official set of specifications and the various wartime manufacturers were held to it, all of the guns worked out of the box just fine and all parts were interchangeable across all the different makes.

And as far as durability goes it's hard to argue with the 90 year old examples of 1911's that are still shooting today. As far as I know the military didn't buy any new M1911A1's after 1945, and they kept those same guns in service through two more wars and lots of training up into the late 1980's. That sounds pretty durable to me.

1911Tuner
June 19, 2012, 02:27 PM
Well, there is no cottage industry of people tuning Glocks, M&Ps, HKs, XDs, etc. to make them reliable.

The cottage industry doesn't exist to make them reliable. The cottage industry is about customizing. All gunsmiths have to address function issues from time to time.

In regards to durability modern pistols are superior hands down.

You'll have a hard time provin' it.

I have a pair of early 1911A1s that I've used for beaters from day one. After 20 years and approaching 400,000 rounds collectively...about evenly split...they're showing no indications of crumbling. Replaced parts due to wear or failure include one disconnect...one slidestop...and a couple grip screw bushings.

The original barrels wore out at about 40,000 rounds...replaced with factory barrels, then swapped out for Karts when I tightened and refitted the slides and frames at around 75,000 rounds. Not because they wore out. Just for giggles. The Karts have only rarely been shot with jacketed bullets and look new.

The replacement Colt barrels...also shot mainly with cast bullets...are on duty in a friend's Norincos.

Note than neither of the Colts have ever had a recoil spring stiffer than 16 pounds, and have been fired mostly with 14 pound springs. Neither one ever saw a shock buffer until just recently. I changed springs whenever I started to get sluggish return to battery, and believe me...it was lot more than 2,000 rounds. A friend gave me a couple Wilson buffs, and I tried them out of curiosity. The frames are fine. The pistols are so boringly reliable that I have to induce a malfunction in order to practice a clearance drill...which really don't bother with any more.

This isn't at all unusual. I know a few guys whose mileage is in the neighborhood of a half-million rounds on a single pistol.

M1key
June 19, 2012, 02:32 PM
The OP didn't mention which caliber either...:scrutiny:

M

fatcat4620
June 19, 2012, 03:32 PM
So the 1911 is reliable but the last ones were made in 1945?

1911Tuner
June 19, 2012, 04:36 PM
So the 1911 is reliable but the last ones were made in 1945?

Yes...and no.

Colt ramped up in anticipation of another military contract that never came, so they had a buttload of parts ready to assemble and finish. Never being known to waste anything, they just assembled the guns and sold them to the public as Government Models. There's a rumor...unsubstantiated...that they sold a lot of small parts to the fledgling Springfield Armory just before the 1911 resurgence of the 70s. I do know that I've seen several early Springfield pistols with some small parts that look mighty familiar, the most notable being the small, old-style thumb safety pad that was present in spite of Colt's new "Teardrop" design...considered by many to be superior. They also had milled triggers, which is a bit unusual.

The commercial Colt Government Models manufactured in the 50s and 60s were largely built from USGI-spec parts, and are considered to be among the best that Colt ever produced.

Then they ran out, and because there was a growing market that Springfield was threatening to take away from them...and because they'd sold off a lot of their tooling...they started accepting many small parts from vendors.

The early Springfields were excellent pistols, built to USGI specs and with machined steel parts throughout, including triggers, thumb and grip safeties...and the bushings and plunger tubes were properly prepped and staked in attention to detail that is often lacking on today's examples. I have one of the early Springfields, and I consider it to be every bit the pistol that a late Rand or GI Colt was, and made of better steel to boot. Function is flawless, and accuracy is better than I can appreciate.

1911Tuner
June 19, 2012, 04:46 PM
Here's a picture of the Springfield. Note the thumb safety and the true parkerized finish.

Yeah, that's a later plastic box. I picked it up at a gun show for 5 bucks. I offer no apologies.

That tall rear sight is a mystery. Interestingly and maybe coincidentally, with that sight, the pistol zeroed at 100 yards...and I could make hits with it on gallon milk jugs. I've since swapped it out for the correct one.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e243/1911Tuner/Springer-R.jpg

JohnBT
June 19, 2012, 07:41 PM
I bought one of the original run of Colt WWI Repros ten years or so ago. It is extremely accurate, has a fine trigger, and has not choked once on FMJ, HP or anything. I know it's not an exact duplicate of an original 1911, but it certainly appears to be a reliable design. I assume they didn't redesign the 1911 for just this one model.

And I love the tiny sights. And it doesn't bite me. My father carried a 1911 from New Guinea to the Philippines and the end of the war and he hated the hammer bite. Even he thought the Repro was a nice gun. Not as nice as his favorite Python you understand, but nice enough. ;)

John

Ala Dan
June 19, 2012, 09:58 PM
Everybody and their brother are now making the 1911 design;
so choose wisely. Frame to slide fit, barrel bushing it, good trigger,
beavertail grip safety, excellent sights, and a preferred stainless steel
barrel are assets. You may want to add "a bullet proof slide stop", Wilson
combat magazines,or other equipment. Finish and grips are optional; and
can run into some serious money~!!!:scrutiny: :eek: ;)

So, YES the 1911 is a PROVEN reliable design, with a little "fine tuning"~!

LawScholar
June 19, 2012, 11:05 PM
A gun that needs to be manufactured JUST the right way to be reliable should not be called reliable by modern standards.

I love the 1911. Beautiful, slender, powerful, accurate, and pleasant to shoot. But if you took a quality 1911 and had it face off with 2,000 rounds competing with an M&P45 and a G21, I'd easily bet on even a Colt or Dan Wesson losing that reliability battle.

Great, great gun, the 1911. As a complete package, it has not been bested. As a duty or carry weapon - reliability being the paramount concern - in my opinion it has been overshadowed.

kcshooter
June 19, 2012, 11:08 PM
A gun that needs to be manufactured JUST the right way to be reliable should not be called reliable by modern standards.Uhh, what?
Just a heads up, there aren't a lot of guns that, if manufactured out of spec, would be reliable.
By not a lot, I mean none.

HDCamel
June 19, 2012, 11:16 PM
But if you took a quality 1911 and had it face off with 2,000 rounds competing with an M&P45 and a G21, I'd easily bet on even a Colt or Dan Wesson losing that reliability battle.


You do know that the original reliability test that led to the adoption of the 1911 was 6,000 rounds during which it had 0 malfunctions, right?

coolluke01
June 19, 2012, 11:26 PM
After firing 15,000 rounds of standard ammunition, the pistol will be inspected for wear. The pistol will then be used to fire an overpressure test cartridge generating 5,000 bar (500 MPa; 73,000 psi) (the normal maximum operating pressure Pmax for the 9 mm NATO is rated at 2,520 bar (252 MPa; 36,500 psi).[7] The critical components must continue to function properly and be up to specifications, otherwise the pistol will be disqualified.

Guess which gun this was. Not a 1911.


Glock always wins remember! lol

HDCamel
June 19, 2012, 11:34 PM
A gun need not be "the best" or even "better" to save your life. It only needs to be "good enough".
1911s are good enough.

Auto426
June 19, 2012, 11:35 PM
A gun that needs to be manufactured JUST the right way to be reliable should not be called reliable by modern standards.

I'm with kcshooter on this one. Out of spec parts are out of spec and rarely if ever function well, regardless of which gun they are designed to go into. Every design is susceptible to failure if the parts that make up the design are manufactured with the wring dimensions or tolerances. Modern guns are no different.

tarosean
June 19, 2012, 11:55 PM
Guess which gun this was.

One of two that was going to be "awarded" a contract...

and I do use awarded loosely as they were not going to give a contract to a foreign manufacture. Guess its a good thing the other local maker submitted a turd.. or we may have never known....

coolluke01
June 20, 2012, 12:01 AM
A gun need not be "the best" or even "better" to save your life. It only needs to be "good enough".
1911s are good enough.

This is a mindless statement. What is "good enough"? Why wouldn't you want better?
To save your life isn't perfection what you want. (this is not a Glock plug) I use perfection because I would want to be as close to it as possible if I'm betting my life on it.

To the point that has been made. 1911's work when they are made just right or to spec. This may be. But in a world of imperfection tolerances are the judge of whether or not something can be called reliable. I'm going to go out on a limb here since I don't know what the tolerances of a 1911 are but I would be willing to bet they are tighter and less forgiving to error than a Glock.

It's the whole AK vs AR debate. The AR is a more accurate finely made machine, but it's not as reliable in design as the AK.


Even if we have the perfect 1911. Made to perfect spec it still will be more susceptible to dirt or foreign matter than many modern designs.

For the most part a finely tuned, precise tool will be more susceptible and subject to fail when used in a dirty imperfect world. Therefore the design is not as reliable as many others.

It doesn't matter how many guns where in the mix. A gun did complete the 15000 round challenge and the triple charge. Has anyone done that with a 1911?

LawScholar
June 20, 2012, 12:08 AM
Regarding my "out of spec" comment:

If all other designs are just as susceptible to poor manufacturing as the 1911, why are even brand name 1911s so finicky compared to more modern designs? I have observed far more Colt and Springer jams than Glock, M&P, or more modern design jams. And those are solid quality 1911-makers.

HDCamel, do you have a link to that 6.000 round test? Not being contrary, genuinely interested. I also stand by the torture test points. Can a 1911 ace tens of thousands of rounds test? An HK P30 can.

Another huge gripe I have is the problem many 1911s have feeding JHP ammo. I don't intend to count on a gun that won't let me take advantage of modern ammunition technology to increase wound cavity and prevent over-penetration.

shootniron
June 20, 2012, 12:12 AM
It is truly sad, so much jealousy over the popularity of a 100yr old gun.

You choose what you will and I will choose what I want(the 1911)...I promise I will not be jealous of your gun, so please do not be jealous of my choice...be content with yours.

HDCamel
June 20, 2012, 12:16 AM
Torture tests exist to replicate the wear and tear of an entire lifetime's worth of use. I'm absolutely certain that there were and are 1911s that have fired well over 15,000 rounds and a variety of overpressure cartridges over their lifetimes.

My friend has a 1911 that was issued in WWI, WWII, Korea, sold to South Vietnam, captured by VC, sold to a merchant, then sold it to a GI for $5 who shot it just about every month for over 20 years if the auctioneer was to be believed.

It's got rust all over, no finish to speak of, rattles like a silverware drawer, and it has the grittiest trigger I've ever felt.

It still puts 'em inside 4" at 50 yards with no malfunctions, which is "good enough" to save your life.

LawScholar
June 20, 2012, 12:23 AM
Torture tests exist to replicate the wear and tear of an entire lifetime's worth of use. I'm absolutely certain that there were and are 1911s that have fired well over 15,000 rounds and a variety of overpressure cartridges over their lifetimes.

My friend has a 1911 that was issued in WWI, WWII, Korea, sold to South Vietnam, captured by VC, sold to a merchant, then sold it to a GI for $5 who shot it just about every month for over 20 years if the auctioneer was to be believed.

It's got rust all over, no finish to speak of, rattles like a silverware drawer, and it has the grittiest trigger I've ever felt.

It still puts 'em inside 4" at 50 yards with no malfunctions, which is "good enough" to save your life.

That's impressive. As I said in my opening post, I truly love the 1911, I just don't think it's as tough or reliable as certain modern designs.15,000 is good, but there are Glocks and HKs that can clear 100,000 with considerably less wear, and when parts do need replaced maintenance can be done in-field, mostly without tools.

HDCamel
June 20, 2012, 12:23 AM
HDCamel, do you have a link to that 6.000 round test? Not being contrary, genuinely interested.

It's on the wikipedia article and has a book cited as the source.

This is from one of my favorite YouTubers. I recommend watching the whole series on the pistol trials because it's really interesting stuff.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbJzU4hSRtY&feature=relmfu

coolluke01
June 20, 2012, 12:24 AM
if the auctioneer was to be believed.

LOL. I really laughed at that one.

Are we really going to start basing the reliability and lasting endurance on 3rd, 4th, or 5th hand info from an auctioneer?

Torture tests exist to replicate the wear and tear of an entire lifetime's worth of use. I'm absolutely certain that there were and are 1911s that have fired well over 15,000 rounds and a variety of overpressure cartridges over their lifetimes.

This is speculation. If there are facts then show them.

It's an iconic, legendary design. It's not infallible however and most likely not the most reliable option available today.

LawScholar
June 20, 2012, 12:30 AM
It's on the wikipedia article and has a book cited as the source.

This is from one of my favorite YouTubers. I recommend watching the whole series on the pistol trials because it's really interesting stuff.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbJzU4hSRtY&feature=relmfu

Thank you! Bed for now, but now I have entertainment at lunch tomorrow.

I'll check in on this thread. I think there are very valid arguments to be made on both sides (like the truly unbeatable 1911 trigger) so I look forward to reading. Hopefully it stays civil. The progeny of JMB is a passionate subject.

HDCamel
June 20, 2012, 12:30 AM
LOL. I really laughed at that one.

Are we really going to start basing the reliability and lasting endurance on 3rd, 4th, or 5th hand info from an auctioneer?



This is speculation. If there are facts then show them.

It's an iconic, legendary design. It's not infallible however and most likely not the most reliable option available today.
The issuing and selling of the pistol was documented, the "every month for 20+ years" was not.

No one is claiming that it's the most reliable, I'm simply stating that it's not a gamble to trust your life to one (I do it every day :) ). Reliability isn't just black and white. If 100% reliable is black then the 1911 is a very, VERY dark shade of gray.

coolluke01
June 20, 2012, 12:35 AM
No one is claiming that it's the most reliable, I'm simply stating that it's not a gamble to trust your life to one (I do it every day ). Reliability isn't just black and white. If 100% reliable is black then the 1911 is a very, VERY dark shade of gray.

Ok, this is acceptable to me. I would trust my life with one that I had good history with. Same with my Glock, if I didn't have good history with my carry gun I wouldn't trust it just because it's a Glock!

shootniron
June 20, 2012, 12:41 AM
It's an iconic, legendary design.

You are not kidding with that statement. It is probably more popular now than it has been at any time in the last 100yrs.


It's not infallible however and most likely not the most reliable option available today.
This may be true as well. However, I will continue to trust one for a while longer.

JohnKSa
June 20, 2012, 12:49 AM
And none of the above pistols can seem to tell the difference between hardball and hollowpoints.Are you stating that any unmodified vintage 1911/magazine combination in originally specified condition (including original feedramp geometry/configuration) will feed hollowpoint ammunition reliably?

If so, when and how did so many people become convinced (to the point of being willing to part with their hard-earned $$$) that it is necessary to do feedramp work on a stock 1911 to get it to feed HP ammo?

peacebutready
June 20, 2012, 01:29 AM
A nearby LE agency recently allowed officers to carry personally owned 1911s as a duty weapon. None of the Colts, 3 out of 15, made it though the qualification. Neither did any of the other 1911s priced under $1500

Interesting...Last I heard, Colt believed if a 1911 doesn't run out of the box, it is broken. Also, I read they are made looser. I wonder if those 3 Colts had a few hundred rounds through them before qualification. If not, I wonder if they would have passed if they had.

I'm curious to know if the 1911's that passed were manufactured to be reliable with h.p.'s.

I think the Colt XSE series are throated differently than the other models for reliability with h.p.'s.

1911Tuner
June 20, 2012, 04:58 AM
Are you stating that any unmodified vintage 1911/magazine combination in originally specified condition (including original feedramp geometry/configuration) will feed hollowpoint ammunition reliably?

Now, how did you arrive at that?

I've got several original/correct USGI pistols. At least one example from each of the WW2 contractors except Singer, and two WW1-era Colts. In addition, there's a 1925 commercial Government Model that I recently sold.

They all feed hollowpoints reliably, and they do it from the old "Hardball" only magazines. The few that I tested with lead SWCs have also fed them just fine. (Hensley & Gibbs # 68) While I can't make such a claim for all USGI pistols...obviously...I can make note of what I've observed with my own collection and in more than a few pistols belonging to other people who were willing to shoot them a little.

But "all" GI pistols? That's a stretch. There were only a couple million of'em made. Where would I find the time to test all of them, even assuming that I could find'em?

Pete D.
June 20, 2012, 05:40 AM
Quote:
Is the Colt 1911 a reliable gun?
Yes, it is.

Quote:
Is the 1911 a Reliable Design?
Can you think of anything else that's still being produced in what is essentially it's original form after 100 years? Must have something going for it.

^^^^What he said.
I have two 1911s, a Colt Gold Cup and SA "Loaded". They have run perfectly well right out of the box since I have had them. The Colt has upwards of 60,000 rounds through it.
Yes, there are firearms with more modern design. More modern design does necessarily make for more reliable, just more modern.
Pete

kcshooter
June 20, 2012, 09:36 AM
Has anyone done that with a 1911? If they haven't, does it really prove anything? Are you saying because it hasn't been done, it couldn't be done??

JohnBT
June 20, 2012, 12:23 PM
I think the answer to the HP question is ammo shape. The newer HP designs feed well because they mimic the 230 grain ball profile. The older designs didn't work too well which why they changed them.

I wonder how much I've spent on ammo since 1999 for my stainless Kimber Gold Match. I quit counting at 25k rounds. The gun is the cheapest part of the equation.

JTQ
June 20, 2012, 12:37 PM
I'm not sure what those torture test are worth, but for you fans of torture tests, I always like the Glock 19, 1000 round test and the ParaUSA 1911, 1000 round torture tests.

Both completed the test. However, it took longer to shoot 1000 rounds through the G19 in spite of the higher capacity mags and smaller caliber, and they did melt the polymer guide rod in the G19. In the G19's defense, it did keep functioning with a melted (and I believe, ejected) guide rod. By the way, nothing melted (or broke) on the 1911, though it apparently got pretty darn hot.

G19, 1000 rounds - James Yeager
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_JuF23qazI

1911, 1000 rounds - Todd Jarrett
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7wL2QuFTLQ

1911Tuner
June 20, 2012, 12:51 PM
I think the answer to the HP question is ammo shape. The newer HP designs feed well because they mimic the 230 grain ball profile. The older designs didn't work too well which why they changed them.

That's a roger. The ones that seemed to give the most problems were the truncated cone designs like the early Hydra-Shok. The Hornady XTPs were a little better, but still caught the barrel ramp on a number of pistols. The breakthrough came with the Winchester Black Talon and the Remington Golden Saber.

1858
June 20, 2012, 01:36 PM
If JMB were around today I wonder if he'd make any changes to his design to account for the wide selection of .45 AUTO ammunition that we have now. Had he known that people would want to shoot 185gr JHP +P loads or odd SWC bullets maybe he'd have made some changes. There is little doubt in my mind that pistols from SIG, GLOCK, S&W or others are far more "forgiving" when it comes to ammunition compared to 1911s but I still believe that the 1911 is a reliable design.

Hangingrock
June 20, 2012, 04:18 PM
As for the longevity of the 1911 and 1911A1 military personnel issued the previously mentioned weren’t necessary expected to be shooters primarily.

For one of my three MOS (0300 – 0811 – 0846) I was issued a 1911A1, three magazines, belt holster, web dual magazine pouch, K-Bar knife and a brown cardboard box containing fifty rounds of 45ACP Ball. My previous experience with the 1911A1 was at Parris Island for familiarization firing which was one for certain or maybe two magazines so therefore seven to fourteen rounds was my basic firing experience.

An individual isn’t sent to war primarily as a shooter armed with a 1911A1 and 21 rounds of ammunition contained in three magazines. I believe there were substantial numbers of 1911A1 pistols that were much handed but with low round counts of fire outside of annual qualification.

My issued example was an Ithaca made during WW2 and issued for its third war when I was the recipient. Of the issued three magazines two were problematic and one acceptable. As one learns from experience the 1911A1 is not the best primary weapon but a supplement.

I have no way of knowing the number of rounds fired thru the Ithaca before it was issued to or what happened to it when it past from my hands those decades past.

I have 1911 series pistols predominantly Colts and a Springfield. Reliable yes with 230Gr-FMJ occasionally chokes with 200Gr-SWC. For self-defense/concealed carry if I were to carry a 1911 series pistol it would be with 230Gr-FMJ.

As for the bench mark of $1500.00 between reliable and not so reliable the Colt MSRP list issued in January of this year the XSE series $1021.00/$1188.00 and the Special Combat series $1995.00 thus reliability with Colt is the Special Combat series or so it would appear.

HDCamel
June 20, 2012, 04:51 PM
An individual isn’t sent to war primarily as a shooter armed with a 1911A1 and 21 rounds of ammunition contained in three magazines.

While that's true, WWI saw extensive (and very effective) use of handguns by front line fighters, particularly commissioned and non-commissioned officers, (mostly dismounted) cavalry units, and machine gun crews... albeit with 4 magazines standard instead of 3.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather not clear a trench with an M1903 Springfield or a BAR.

Also, guys in Vietnam took 1911s with them down into VC tunnels for pretty much the same reasons.

jeepnik
June 20, 2012, 06:12 PM
Wow! Four pages and the first guy to respond nailed it. So much for conserving band width.:neener:

OldMac
June 20, 2012, 09:40 PM
I might wait until they work the bugs out. I feel safe with the proven design of the sharp stick that I tuck into my loin cloth on my way to work at the quarry.

JohnKSa
June 21, 2012, 12:40 AM
But "all" GI pistols? That's a stretch. There were only a couple million of'em made. Where would I find the time to test all of them, even assuming that I could find'em? I'm not trying to get to you personally guarantee the functioning of '"all" GI pistols'.

When I say, for example, that Ruger P95 pistols reliably feed hollowpoint ammunition, I'm not making the claim that there are no Ruger P95 pistols that have feeding problems with hollowpoint ammunition nor am I implying that I've tested them all.

The statement basically means that I believe that:

1. There is nothing in the design of the Ruger P95 that precludes the feeding of hollowpoint ammunition
2. There are no changes that a purchaser of said pistol should expect to have to make to a Ruger P95 in originally specified condition to make it reliably feed hollowpoint ammunition.
3. A purchaser of a Ruger P95 can reasonably expect it to function with hollowpoint ammunition, and further that the owner of such a pistol should, in fact, consider it a defect if it does not reliably feed hollowpoint ammunition.

So with that said, let's start again.

When you disagreed with the comment that 1911's were reliable "for original military usage, feeding only round nose full metal jacket bullets". What did you mean?

Are you pointing out, as an interesting anecdote that you have some unmodified 1911s that feed hollowpoint ammunition reliably, or are you saying that you believe that original, unmodified 1911 pistols reliably feed hollowpoint ammunition in the sense that I explained above using the Ruger P95 as a randomly chosen example?

If it's the latter, when and how did so many people become convinced (to the point of being willing to part with their hard-earned $$$) that it is necessary to do feedramp work on a stock/vintage/issue condition 1911 to get it to feed HP ammo?

1911Tuner
June 21, 2012, 06:45 AM
When you disagreed with the comment that 1911's were reliable "for original military usage, feeding only round nose full metal jacket bullets". What did you mean?

I meant that, just because they were designed around the only ammunition available at the time, it doesn't mean that's all that any of them will function with, as so many insist. i.e. "If you want to use hollow points, you'll have to take it to a supersmith for extensive work."

Are you pointing out, as an interesting anecdote that you have some unmodified 1911s that feed hollowpoint ammunition reliably, or are you saying that you believe that original, unmodified 1911 pistols reliably feed hollowpoint ammunition ?

I'm saying that many of them will, given the chance to prove it. Though each one is an individual, and subject to tolerance stacking, the military pistols...particularly the WW2 era versions...were surprisingly consistent.

If it's the latter, when and how did so many people become convinced (to the point of being willing to part with their hard-earned $$$) that it is necessary to do feedramp work on a stock/vintage/issue condition 1911 to get it to feed HP ammo?

Largely because most of them have only had limited experience with a small number of USGI pistols that were both in good condition and still running on their original barrels. In the 70s and 80s, when the collector interest was sparked, there were a buttload of "Original" military pistols being pieced together by unscrupulous people and sold at gun shows for premium prices. They came to be known as "Gunshow Specials, and for every good one that was sold, there were a dozen such cobble jobs. Sometimes they were hard to spot for the buyers who didn't know what to look for. Often these "originals" were built with GI parts that had been rejected for being out of spec.

It's a little like building an engine. If you throw it together without regard to dimensions and clearances, you can't expect it to perform as well as one that's carefully built by an engine builder who mikes everything and select-fits...not hand fits...critical parts like rings and bearings...laps valve seats...and degrees in the camshaft.

That's my problem. I have had a high number of original examples in my hands that were in good condition. I've put some of the myths to the test...and have busted more than a few.

One of my favorites is the one about needing a polished feed ramp, despite the block of Ithacas that was delivered with the parkerizing applied to them after the ramps were finished instead of before...as per ordnance requirements. A suggestion to test-fire them before rejecting the whole block was made...and they ran just fine. After another sampling produced the same results, the pistols were entered into inventory.

But, let one gun writer or known pistolsmith make statements concerning GI pistols "needing" expert/extensive ramp'n'throat work and mirror polishing, and it goes viral. A few lone voices...like me...suggest maybe trying the gun before jumping, and we get piled on by the "Everybody knows" crowd.

TonyT
June 21, 2012, 08:36 AM
It's worked for more than 100 years. That should be a testament to it's design.

peacebutready
June 21, 2012, 01:16 PM
They all feed hollowpoints reliably, and they do it from the old "Hardball" only magazines. The few that I tested with lead SWCs have also fed them just fine. (Hensley & Gibbs # 68) While I can't make such a claim for all USGI pistols...obviously...I can make note of what I've observed with my own collection and in more than a few pistols belonging to other people who were willing to shoot them a little.

Are there any semi-custom or custom 1911 builders that can make one like that?

peacebutready
June 21, 2012, 01:31 PM
I'm not sure what those torture test are worth, but for you fans of torture tests, I always like the Glock 19, 1000 round test and the ParaUSA 1911, 1000 round torture tests.

I'm sure they gave the Para a careful going-over before performing that 1000 rounds test.

peacebutready
June 21, 2012, 01:37 PM
Also, guys in Vietnam took 1911s with them down into VC tunnels for pretty much the same reasons.

Off Topic:

I'm somewhat familiar with the 'Nam era American "Tunnel Rats". They used .38 revolvers down there because the .45 was too loud. When turning a tunnel corner, if they thought something was there or may be there, they'd fire 3 shots, then look around the bend.

1911Tuner
June 21, 2012, 02:04 PM
Are there any semi-custom or custom 1911 builders that can make one like that?

Well, sure.

mavracer
June 21, 2012, 02:12 PM
If it's the latter, when and how did so many people become convinced (to the point of being willing to part with their hard-earned $$$) that it is necessary to do feedramp work on a stock/vintage/issue condition 1911 to get it to feed HP ammo?
I don't know exacticly when it happened, I got a good idea of how.
I wonder how many guns that would have eaten any ammo right out of the box, have been buggered up and never run right because "so many people are convinced (to the point of being willing to part with their hard-earned $$$) that it is necessary to do feedramp work on a stock/vintage/issue condition 1911 to get it to feed HP ammo."

1911Tuner
June 21, 2012, 02:18 PM
I wonder how many guns that would have eaten any ammo right out of the box, have been buggered up and never run right because "so many people are convinced (to the point of being willing to part with their hard-earned $$$) that it is necessary to do feedramp work on a stock/vintage/issue condition 1911 to get it to feed HP ammo."

I can offer a little insight on that one.

Many times, the phone has jangled me out of my nap, with the voice on the other end practically in a panic.

"I done me a throwdown killer ramp'n'throat job, and it won't feed fer sour owl...spit."

"Wasn't it feeding before?" I'd enquire.

"Oh yeah, It fed fine. I just thought I'd get it to feed better."

*sigh*

On those days, I went ahead and laced myself up with Excedrin Migraine an hour before they got here.

1858
June 21, 2012, 02:30 PM
Designing pistols or ammunition today is far more involved than it used to be. Pistols have to be tested with a myriad of ammunition types and a new cartridge has to be tested with a myriad of pistol models ... it's no small task. Sometimes it's not possible to design a pistol that works with everything. Even my coworker's G17 won't run worth a damn with Golden Saber 124gr or 147gr.

Ed Brown states in the FAQ on their website ....

Q: What type of ammunition do you recommend for your handguns?

We recommend high quality Federal or Winchester ammunition, and nothing else. In our years of testing and experience, ammunition by these makers has proven to be of consistent high quality. The core of our function testing is done with Federal 230 grain FMJ, which is great self-defense ammunition. For accuracy, the Federal 185 grain Gold Metal Match ammo tends to produce the best groups.

http://www.edbrown.com/FAQ.htm#aas

fatmanonabike
June 21, 2012, 10:21 PM
No absolutely not. It is simply junk, the poorest design ever conceived. However several generations of mass hypnosis has enabled a couple dozen manufacturers to stay in business.

theQman23
June 21, 2012, 11:14 PM
I do not consider the limited capacity single stack prone to have a .5% ftf rate as a great option for trusting my life to it. Though I have carried 1911's, I generally carry a glock when in normal clothing and a 5 shot revolver when dressed skimpy. Either of these guns have proven to me to be 99.99999 percent reliable. I have owned 4 1911's, and worked on some more. Out of the 4 that I own, none of them have proven 99.99999 effective. Maybe 95% at best.

I love 1911's, (do a search on my screen name and you'll see custom makeovers on 1911's that I've personally built,) I really do love them. But their 100 year history has much more to do with the aftermarket support and customization markets than it does the inherent design of the pieces themselves.

For example, buy a 1911, then (see my posts on 1911 builds from scratch) modify the heck out of them. Hammers, triggers, slides, bull barrells, whatever. Buy a glock or a sig, and what to glock and sig owners upgrade on their guns? Sights maybe? Or another barrell to run 2 calibers?

1911's are like Harleys. They have history. They are cool. They are shiny, or if not shiny, sexy. But just like a Harley I wouldn't trust my life to one. A harley is okay to ride for a while around town, and a 1911 is nice to shoot at the range. But if I'm going racing at 185mph on the banks of Daytona, I'll take my R1 yamaha thank you very much, and for day to day carry, it's the glock.

Flame away, but the truth is, as the truth does, and cops and military do NOT carry 1911's as duty guns anymore. There's a reason.

Walkalong
June 21, 2012, 11:23 PM
the truth is
that they are more popular today than ever, and many people stake their lives on the design.

cops and military do NOT carry 1911's as duty guns anymore. There's a reason
Their lawyers won't let them?

FoMoGo
June 21, 2012, 11:29 PM
I do not consider the limited capacity single stack prone to have a .5% ftf rate as a great option for trusting my life to it.
Dude, you need to find someone else to build those 1911s then.

I have owned 4 1911's, and worked on some more. Out of the 4 that I own, none of them have proven 99.99999 effective. Maybe 95% at best.
See above statement.

For example, buy a 1911, then (see my posts on 1911 builds from scratch) modify the heck out of them. Hammers, triggers, slides, bull barrells, whatever. Buy a glock or a sig, and what to glock and sig owners upgrade on their guns? Sights maybe? Or another barrell to run 2 calibers?

Ever think that all the modification MAY be why they are not running correctly?

Flame away, but the truth is, as the truth does, and cops and military do NOT carry 1911's as duty guns anymore. There's a reason.

Actually... some still do.


Jim

shootniron
June 21, 2012, 11:29 PM
for day to day carry, it's the glock.

Hey man, it it great that you like and trust the Glock as I much as I like and trust the 1911. It is a good feeling to carry a gun that you have absolute confidence in.

About the only advice that I can give you is, if you ever find yourself in a defensive situation and facing a BG armed with a 1911...you better be quicker and shoot straighter than him, and don't bet your life on that 1911 not going "bang".

HDCamel
June 21, 2012, 11:39 PM
cops and military do NOT carry 1911's as duty guns anymore. There's a reason.

9mm is cheaper and easier to learn for both.
For the military, the surplus stock of 1911s was from 1945 and practically falling apart.

You really can't argue that the military doesn't carry 1911s due to reliability since the AR-15 family isn't 100% reliable either. You'd also be bananas to suggest that the Beretta 92 family is perfectly reliable or even appreciably more reliable than the 1911.

theQman23
June 21, 2012, 11:43 PM
okay, I'll play. soo.........
If the reason is that the lawyer's won't let them carry them, one must ask, "why won't the lawyers let them carry them?" Are the lawyers pro-plastic? Anti single action? What is it that causes the lawyers to not want police and military to carry 1911's?

Oh yeah, that' right, about 100 years of statistical data that shows the overall length of the round has to be long enough to prevent nose dives ftf, and another 100 years of data showing that safeties complicate training, and another 100 years of data showing that civlians may only need 3-5 rounds to be safe but SOME officers and all military need way more than that.......... hhhhmmmmm, I"m on a roll now.

Might the lawyers that don't want cops and soldiers carrying 1911's have reviewed the 100 years of data that shows in the heat and speed of battle 12-17 rounds of 9 are more effective than 7 rounds of 45? Or maybe, just maybe, it could be that the lawyers who don't want the cops and soldiers to carry 1911's have access to 100 years of data that shows that 1911's have to be individually smithed in an effort to line up the disconnectors, triggers, hammers, safeties, etc all working together and that is why most high end 1911 parts "require gunsmith fitting" when glock or SIG parts bolt right in and work without all the custom fitting?

I'm not knocking 1911's. I like them. I've had a few of them, and just recently built another. I did a bull barrelled ramp fed blued steel piece with checkering and molon labe grips, it's cool. I get that 1911's are cool. And have wonderful triggers. The one I just built hits at 1 inch at 25 yards off a sang bag, feeds anything including flying ashtray hollows, (thanks to the ramp I work that I welded in, before it would only feed ball ammo,) and it's as reliable as a 1911 can be. AFTER 1000 DOLLARS AND 20 HOURS OF WORK. To get all this from a glock you just pay the police or military price of $350, and all of the aforementioned is avoided.

But I lied when I said that there's a reason cops and soldiers no longer carry them on duty. Because actually, there's more like 10.

dcarch
June 21, 2012, 11:52 PM
I have a Kimber Custom II. Just passed 1000 rds., and no malfunctions of any sort here. Works for me.

shootniron
June 22, 2012, 12:13 AM
I have a Kimber Custom II. Just passed 1000 rds., and no malfunctions of any sort here. Works for me.

This can't be right...they will NOT shoot more than 100rds without a malfunction. You need to brush-up on your counting before posting such.

Auto426
June 22, 2012, 12:32 AM
okay, I'll play. soo.........
If the reason is that the lawyer's won't let them carry them, one must ask, "why won't the lawyers let them carry them?" Are the lawyers pro-plastic? Anti single action? What is it that causes the lawyers to not want police and military to carry 1911's?

Lawyers are anti-give-a-destructive-device-to-someone-who-has-no-clue-what-they-are-doing. And quite frankly no, I don't believe lawyers have much influence at all over what police departments choose to issue, cause if they did the cops would be left with flashlights and nightsticks only.

The 1911 was never a popular police handgun, but neither were any other automatics until capacity became a big concern in the 1980's. Police were content with medium frame double action revolvers for many years, but then again in those days it was rare for a cop to have to pull a gun on someone. As far as the military goes they must have been pretty content with the 1911, as it was one of the longest serving small arms of any nation on earth.

Even today the 1911 is still seeing use in both military and police units across the country. The Marines are even in the process of adopting the 1911 again in the form of the M45 Close Quarters Combat Pistol, which will be issued on a limited basis. They must not be concerned with the "100 years of data" if they are choosing to re-adopt the gun.

Jason_G
June 22, 2012, 03:44 PM
But I lied when I said that there's a reason cops and soldiers no longer carry them on duty. Because actually, there's more like 10.

Geez Louise, you better hurry up and inform these guys (they must not have seen your post yet!):

USMC Force Recon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MEU(SOC)_pistol)
FBI Hostage Rescue Team (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/411540169)
LAPD SWAT (http://www.newamericantruth.com/2012/06/kimber-tle-ii-the-lapd-swat-gun/)
USA 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (http://vickerstactical.com/about-larry-vickers-2/1911-pistolsmithing/)

I'm sure there are lots of others, but you should at least send written warning to the above agencies ASAP!

:)


In all seriousness, the real reason most LEA have gone to plastic pistols is more than likely financial. It almost always eventually comes down to money doesn't it? There's a bean counter in every agency. These polymer guns can be offered at prices that no manufacturer would be able to offer for a quality 1911. Glock can offer the same kind of deal to LEAs that Walmart has on underwear- about thirty of them for a nickel. Not that there aren't other reasons, but I'd be willing to bet it's the biggest.

JMHO.


Jason

1911Tuner
June 22, 2012, 04:31 PM
Oh yeah, that' right, about 100 years of statistical data that shows the overall length of the round has to be long enough to prevent nose dives ftf,

And you came up with this information where...exactly?

OAL from 1.190-1.275 seem to do just fine. If you're getting nose-dives, I'd suggest that you try a good magazine. If that doesn't cure it, the feed ramp is out of spec.

another 100 years of data showing that safeties complicate training,

So a single motion with the thumb is complex...but all the other controls are simple. Hmm

Well...you know what they say. PracticePracticePractice.

Might the lawyers that don't want cops and soldiers carrying 1911's have reviewed the 100 years of data that shows in the heat and speed of battle 12-17 rounds of 9 are more effective than 7 rounds of 45?

Yeah. Capacity is important if you miss a lot. See the part about PracticePracticePractice.

For example, buy a 1911, then (see my posts on 1911 builds from scratch) modify the heck out of them. Hammers, triggers, slides, bull barrells, whatever. Buy a glock or a sig, and what to glock and sig owners upgrade on their guns?

Could be that's because people like to tinker and customize 1911s...for one reason or another...and because the aftermarket is full of vendors ready, willing, and able to sell things to people who do that. Could be that GlockSigBeretta aftermarket modification parts just aren't all that plentiful.

EddieNFL
June 22, 2012, 04:55 PM
I do not consider the limited capacity single stack prone to have a .5% ftf rate as a great option for trusting my life to it. Though I have carried 1911's,

I have to question the rationality of carrying a firearm that malfunctions once in 20 rounds.

Out of the 4 that I own, none of them have proven 99.99999 effective. Maybe 95% at best.

I love 1911's, (do a search on my screen name and you'll see custom makeovers on 1911's that I've personally built,)

I think I found your problem.

EddieNFL
June 22, 2012, 04:58 PM
So a single motion with the thumb is complex...

Right up there with Rubik's cube, I recently learned.

1911Tuner
June 22, 2012, 05:06 PM
I think I found your problem.

Touche'!

Right up there with Rubik's cube, I recently learned.

Shirley you jest!

I do not consider the limited capacity single stack prone to have a .5% ftf rate as a great option for trusting my life to it.

Paintin' with an awful wide brush ain'tcha sport? Considering the millions that have been produced in the last hundred years and all...implying that they're all bad based on your experience with a handful is a little like insisting that they're all flawless.

1858
June 22, 2012, 05:08 PM
I generally carry a glock when in normal clothing and a 5 shot revolver when dressed skimpy. Either of these guns have proven to me to be 99.99999 percent reliable.

If only your math were as reliable as your GLOCK. :rolleyes:

99.99999% reliable means that you had one failure in 10,000,000 rounds!!!

1858
June 22, 2012, 05:18 PM
I do not consider the limited capacity single stack prone to have a .5% ftf rate as a great option for trusting my life to it.

I have to question the rationality of carrying a firearm that malfunctions once in 20 rounds.

A 0.5% failure rate is one failure in 200 rounds.

EddieNFL
June 22, 2012, 06:21 PM
A 0.5% failure rate is one failure in 200 rounds.
You are correct, however, I had this in mind when I posted.

Out of the 4 that I own, none of them have proven 99.99999 effective. Maybe 95% at best.

Five percent would be one in 20.

At any rate, I don't think we uncovered any credibility.

YankeeFlyr
June 23, 2012, 01:05 AM
Been reading this thread...seems to me that it's not the design that's been a problem, it's the deviation from it by these high-end makers (I don't mean one-off true custom guns, but the production custom lines) that cause problems.

The 1911 and -A1 were intended as close-in, I-can-smell-your-breath combat pieces, not target shooters or race guns...tightening them up and playing with the time-proven parameters of operation is what compromises reliability.

Slide to frame fit? Leave it be if you want it to go bang in the field, every time.

Hammer lock time? Don't mess with the hammer mainspring and expect the required cycling energy to be the same as tested for standardization way back when.

Trigger job? They're COMBAT PISTOLS. :cool:

Get a target job if ya want...don't cry if it's not an eat-all-ammo world beater. I wouldn't.

Brockak47
June 23, 2012, 01:36 AM
Is the 100+ year 1911 Design reliable?

1911Tuner
June 23, 2012, 04:13 AM
Loose doesn't guarantee bet-your-life reliability any more than tight guarantees bughole accuracy, and too loose can actually compromise reliability. I've seen super-tight pistols run with the best of'em...clean or dirty. I've seen loose pistols that delivered surprising accuracy. It can go either way. Reliability is more a matter of correct ramp geometry and extractor function than anything else. If those two factors are right, the pistol will run, assuming a good magazine and decent ammunition.

The reason that so many people believe that the GI pistols were reliable because they were loose is because the ones they've handled have been badly worn. New ones...or the ones that hadn't been shot to death...were actually pretty well fitted.

wwace
June 23, 2012, 06:42 AM
Is the 100+ year 1911 Design reliable?

I can agree with this statements implication, and I can also test fire my new girl to provide the definitive answer to this thread. She will be 100 next year. We did a lengthy look at her internals and she looks great, firing pin and extractor show some wear but other than that she has a clean bill of health.

http://i972.photobucket.com/albums/ae206/wwace/20120621_182128.jpg

http://i972.photobucket.com/albums/ae206/wwace/20120621_182152.jpg

LawScholar
June 23, 2012, 11:47 AM
Is the 100+ year 1911 Design reliable?

I can agree with this statements implication, and I can also test fire my new girl to provide the definitive answer to this thread. She will be 100 next year. We did a lengthy look at her internals and she looks great, firing pin and extractor show some wear but other than that she has a clean bill of health.

http://i972.photobucket.com/albums/ae206/wwace/20120621_182128.jpg

http://i972.photobucket.com/albums/ae206/wwace/20120621_182152.jpg

Beautiful old girl! Wow!

jeepnik
June 23, 2012, 05:02 PM
After five pages, the first response should have ended it.

peacebutready
June 23, 2012, 09:38 PM
Flame away, but the truth is, as the truth does, and cops and military do NOT carry 1911's as duty guns anymore. There's a reason.

I saw an officer with a 1911. I think a 1911 needs to be at least of a certain quality for officer duty. I read figure on $1500 to spend. Then, they need to be looked after/maintained more than Glocks, for example. Won't a good 1911 do better than 95% reliability with ammo that has been given a sufficient test?

The military doesn't carry 1911's anymore because they had to adopt the 9mm for NATO reasons.

Might the lawyers that don't want cops and soldiers carrying 1911's have reviewed the 100 years of data that shows in the heat and speed of battle 12-17 rounds of 9 are more effective than 7 rounds of 45?

That's where skills with tactical reloading come in. Carry multiple 7 or 8 round spare mags.

AABEN
June 23, 2012, 09:49 PM
Where have you been for the last 100??????

PT92
June 23, 2012, 09:50 PM
Not to take the OP thread 'entirely' off-topic, but when it comes to the 'capacity' debate which at times can be almost as heated as the perpetual 'Caliber War,' another selling point for the 1911 is that it's that 'happy-medium' for round-count if you will. Those that say the revolver is lacking and, conversely, those that say the hi-capacity 9/40's are overkill can settle on the 'in-between' capacity of a 1911. Sounds logical to me...

-Cheers

mavracer
June 24, 2012, 10:09 AM
If your gonna lump everything with a link and cut round lugs in when discussing just how reliable the 1911 design is when compared to Sigs and Glocks linkless square cut locking lugs don't we need to include all the Taurus and Kel-tecs in with that bunch?
And Hi-Point is a modern polymer framed striker fired gun shouldn't their durability be concidered right along with the other modern guns?

tomrkba
June 24, 2012, 11:29 AM
Just because it is your favorite gun does not mean the 1911 "is a reliable design". I believe it to be a rather poor design that needs improvement. People continue to use Windows; just because it's popular and has been around awhile does not change the drawbacks of the design. This does not mean that the 1911 cannot be made to function properly. Doing so requires the attention of a qualified gunsmith at the factory. Modern factory equipment can eliminate some of the variation that must be corrected.

The 1911 requires correct maintenance on a schedule. Again, this is not bad by itself. However, if the user does not do the work, then the gun will begin to fail to perform. The issue is how much work is required over time. Some designs require less maintenance over the same period. All require maintenance regardless of design.

This is the whole point Hilton Yam has been trying to make. The 1911 can be made to work if the manufacturer produces a correct gun. If the manufacturer does not make a correct gun, then a gunsmith will have to correct those deficiencies.* It is the shooter's responsibility to perform the maintenance to ensure it continues to work.


* Michael Bane comments about this frequently. He talks about the 70's where every new Colt gun had to be immediately sent to a gunsmith to be made functional.

ugaarguy
June 24, 2012, 11:38 AM
I believe it to be a rather poor design that needs improvement.
You can believe what you want to believe. So called 1911s start having problems when manufacturers and / or wanna be gunsmiths start trying to "improve" them. But that horse has already been beat to death in this thread.

Michael Bane comments about this frequently. He talks about the 70's where every new Colt gun had to be immediately sent to a gunsmith to be made functional.
Also been beaten to death in previous posts here. Colt wasn't making their own gun correctly in the 70s, and they had problems - or so I'm told by folks I know and trust. And the 70's ended over 30 years ago.

tomrkba
June 24, 2012, 11:39 AM
You can believe what you want to believe. So called 1911s start having problems when manufacturers and / or wanna be gunsmiths start trying to "improve" them. But that horse has already been beat to death in this thread.

See above: too much emotion, not enough logic!

Did you even read the rest of the post?

I am not saying I don't like 1911's. It's a complicated design that includes extra factors to get a cartridge into and out of the chamber. The gun is not going to go away. I plan upon getting another Colt XSE or one of their Rail Guns.

But, you need to separate emotion from the argument.

mavracer
June 24, 2012, 12:06 PM
I am not saying I don't like 1911's. It's a complicated design that includes extra factors to get a cartridge into and out of the chamber.
???????????????????????????????

918v
June 24, 2012, 01:55 PM
Having owned eight 1911s from Springfield MilSpecs to Custom Shop Professionals, including Colts and a Ruger, and not having any malfunctions, I can say that the 1911 is a reliable design across the board.

Guns, unlike toasters, are not and should not be treated like consumer items. They are tools for skilled individuals with a moderate amount of mechanical aptitude. If you want a 100% reliable weapon that even a retarded monkey can effectively wield, get a knife. If people can't figure out why their 3rd world slave labor 1911s are not running 100% with their crappy out of spec reloads, gun ownership is not for them.

918v
June 24, 2012, 02:10 PM
But I lied when I said that there's a reason cops and soldiers no longer carry them on duty. Because actually, there's more like 10.

Last year I was in Long Beach, CA and called LBPD. Eight officers responded. Seven were packing 1911s.

The reason cops generally don't carry 1911s is the same reason they don't ride around in Mercedes patrol cars.

1911Tuner
June 24, 2012, 02:14 PM
The 1911 can be made to work if the manufacturer produces a correct gun.

Yes. I think I made that point three pages ago. "If it's built to correct specs and fed decent ammunition from proper magazines, it'll run. It doesn't have a choice.

The 1911 requires correct maintenance on a schedule. Again, this is not bad by itself. However, if the user does not do the work, then the gun will begin to fail to perform.

As it is with any machine. With the 1911, it's mostly a matter of keeping it reasonably clean and adding a drop of oil here and there.

This is the whole point Hilton Yam has been trying to make.

I heard that Yam changes extractors every 5,000 rounds. I shot him a PM and told him I'd give him 5 bucks apiece for all those "bad" extractors that he pulled, and offered to pay shipping. He never responded, and I think he banned me.

If people can't figure out why their 3rd world slave labor 1911s are not running 100% with their crappy out of spec reloads, gun ownership is not for them.

Well...ya get what ya pay for. That which is cheap can be very expensive...or so I've heard.

And we're back to square one. "If it's built to spec, it'll run. It's a machine. It doesn't have a choice."

Most of the time, the problem is with the magazine. Wish I had a dollar for every Jammin' Jenny that I've "fixed" by handing the owner a few good magazines.

Hangingrock
June 24, 2012, 04:24 PM
As Iíve stated previously issued a 1911A1 with three magazines for a total of 21 rounds your primary job is not to be a shooter. Those of us issued such soon realized the 1911A1 had to be supplemented with something better (Rifle or shotgun).

During the time period of the M14 being in general issue the 1st Marine Div issued M1 carbines in lieu of 1911A1 pistols for MOS designated Officers and NCOís if memory serves me correctly.

Is it reliable? One respondent pointed out that the ďThe Marines are even in the process of adopting the 1911 series pistol again (did it ever go away really as it was in limited usage by designated units) in the form of the M45 Close Quarters Combat Pistol, which will be issued on a limited basis. You betcha the M45-CQCP is only going to be issued to Special Operations personnel and these people in one training cycle would fire more ammunition than a Marine issued an M9 fires in their entire enlistment period. If nothing else Marine armories have a long established methodology of keeping 1911 series pistols operational. With out the armories care and attention I doubt 1911 series could keep on running in other words a high maintenance item.

My motherís uncle served in the AEF during WW1 in France. He lost the lower half of his right arm due to wounds and was also gassed. I wonder what he would think of the 1911 series still being in limited service today. As his issued side arm was a 1911.

Family story as told to me: his 1911 failed to fire thus allowing his advisory to slash his arm with bayonet. He struggled choking his advisory to death. He was stranded in no-manís-land for sustained period of time with an unattended wound that became infected and during that period exposed to mustard gas. (His service record stipulates the lower arm amputation due to infection and that he was exposed to mustard gas)As for the 1911 failure to fire donít know the truth of the matter but thatís the story.

1911Tuner
June 24, 2012, 05:01 PM
With out the armories care and attention I doubt 1911 series could keep on running in other words a high maintenance item.

I haven't found the 1911 to be a high maintenance item at all, and I've run'em long, hard, hot and dirty. As I said earlier...Keep it reasonably clean and put a little oil in the rails from time to time.

The MEUSOC personnel have been firing upward of 30,000 rounds annually in practice. I daresay that anything shot that much will need the attention of the unit armorer at some point.

Family story as told to me:

I love the stories from both world wars. Both my grandfathers were veterans of WW1, and my father and uncles of WW2...but the implication that the 1911 is an unreliable design based on one reported failure...and in the mud-filled trenches of France especially...is a bit of a stretch. All sorts of weapons will fail under those conditions...and a large number of them functioned under those same conditions. Some of those guys swore by their pistols...including both my grandfathers.

Remember what Gunny told ya.

"Expect your weapon to malfunction."

918v
June 24, 2012, 05:07 PM
If Glock were forced to build millions of guns in the middle of two world wars, I'm sure they would be just as reliable as the 1911. As it stands, Glock only has to deal with an occasional KB or two... maybe a torn frame rail or this:

http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/2046/79489913.jpg

EddieNFL
June 24, 2012, 06:08 PM
I believe it to be a rather poor design that needs improvement.

I've read lots of stuff on the internet, too.

mesonsdad
June 24, 2012, 08:32 PM
OK - there ARE some inherent problems with the Colt .45 1911; that said, there are numerous after-market enhancements that really make this very fine weapon much more effective and efficient. Ambidextrous safety, for one. Magna-porting, perhaps...of course, trigger work is always a plus...the bottom line - a 250 grain slug traveling at nearly 1000 fps is formidable and worthy of it's legendary status. Further, it is very difficult for me to recognize the "superiority" of the "wunder-guns" and their DAO, DA-SA, or whatever configurations in comparison to the smooth, single action reliability of the 1911. Condition-One for any GUN!!

orionengnr
June 24, 2012, 08:41 PM
I have owned almost 30 1911s, and have had good luck with some.

I have not had the best of luck with Colt 1911s (three so far).
So they are off my list.

PT92
June 24, 2012, 08:53 PM
When I reached 'the big 4 O' a few years back I finally accepted that there will never be unanimous consensus on anything be it tangible (1911) or intangible (religion for example). Even where COMPLETE consensus would/should be expected (perhaps mandatory), it's still sometimes subject to debate? Case and point, there are actually people who find something wrong with 'The Goddess' Salma Heyak for goodness sake :confused: (!Que Caramba!) so how in the world am I to expect unanimity concerning Mr. Browning's Gem...? The 1911 to me is analogous to Salma Heyak but for some, apparently it's analogous to 'Rosie O'Donnell' (pardon me but I just threw-up a little bit :barf:)...

Byrd666
June 24, 2012, 08:53 PM
Umm, YES

ugaarguy
June 24, 2012, 09:03 PM
Did you even read the rest of the post?
Read the whole thing.
See above: too much emotion, not enough logic!
Resorting to personal attacks is verboten here. Tone it down please.

You want logic? Here's my logic: The below 1911s were all switched to GI style short guide rods & spring caps if not so equipped from the factory, but otherwise they were unmodified unless noted.

SA GI - Ran anything I fed it.

SIG GSR - Only thing it would run was 185 gr LSWC - wouldn't even run 230 gr ball.

Colt XSE LW Commander - 80 Series FP block broke, but it ran fine one I took all the 80 series crap out.

SA Loaded base parkerized - ran anything I fed it.

Kimber pre-Series II - ran everything I fed it.

DW RZ-10 - Ran everything I fed it.

SA full size LW Operator - even with the ramped bbl it ran anything I fed it.

Colt Delta Elite - preemptively converted to non 80 series, converted to single recoil spring with heavy main spring and oversize FP stop to deal with 10mm recoil better than the over sprung dual recoil spring setup, per Tuner and BBBill's recommendation - ran everything I fed it.

Newest is a Colt Wiley Clapp 21st Century commander. In less than a week it's run 200 rounds of 230 ball ammo of various manufacture, 50 rounds of Federal HST 230 gr +P, and 16 rounds of 230 gr Speer Gold Dot. I've done nothing to it other than clean and lube after unboxing, and clean & lube after a couple of range trips.

Notice that the "Improved" guns were the ones that had problems. The pistols that were/are internally closest to GI spec ran/run best, and the XSE converted back to get it nearly GI spec internally had no problems thereafter; and the SIG GSR, which was a supposedly "improved" 1911, and deviated furthest from the GI spec, was the one with the most problems.

Hangingrock
June 24, 2012, 09:09 PM
A 1911A1 story of note from Viet-Nam a Marine officer wounded to the extent of suffering paralysis of his legs was dragged out of danger by his radioman. While being dragged he emptied his pistol at the enemy. After being evacuated and hospitalized he regained use of his legs one of the more inspiring stories. That’s the factual information.

Another version of the story but unsubstantiated is that officer used the radioman’s 1911A1 also and was firing both pistols simultaneously while being dragged out of danger.

coolluke01
June 24, 2012, 10:39 PM
I don't think anyone will question the reliability of the generation that fought in the wars with the 1911.

A legendary weapon in a legendary area.

The above story is case in point.

Complex often means less reliable. Not always but it lends to more opportunity for things to go wrong.
While many may see it as a sufficiently reliable option, I do think most would recognize that there are simpler and more reliable options.

1911's are great but maybe not the best when it comes to being the most reliable.

1911Tuner
June 25, 2012, 05:06 AM
1911's are great but maybe not the best when it comes to being the most reliable.

My experience over the last 50 years doesn't mirror that. The problems are with the more recent execution of the design...not in the design itself. 95% of my work with the 1911 has been with functional reliability...or tuning if you prefer. Hence the username.

I started with the 1911 pistol in 1962, and actually wrenching on them in 1965. I wouldn't be afraid to estimate that I've put something over 3/4 million rounds through various 1911 pistols and their clones and variants in the years since. In the day, GI surplus ammunition was so cheap that nobody bothered to pick up the brass for reloading.

When the stories about "jamming" and what-not began to surface, I was puzzled, and when I started to actually see these malfunctions first-hand, I was determined to figure out why they were misbehaving.

I found out.

The preponderance of delinquent pistols that I've tended to were "dinked" with. Whenever I returned them as nearly as I could to un-dinked condition...most of them rewarded my efforts by settling down and running. Others had been over-dinked, usually with mirror polished feed ramps and hogged-out barrel ramps done in the effort to compensate for ruining the feed ramps. Magazines were very often at the root of the problems, and using a proper magazine generally resulted in a pistol that was boringly reliable.

With the others, careful investigation and measuring revealed that the pistols were hopelessly out of spec in critical areas, the most common being in the feedway...frame and barrel ramps. There are other more subtle specs that most people don't even consider. The oversquare breechface being one of these. That 89'8" angle is important, and the prints allow no tolerance...which means that it's critical. Whenever a 1911 pistol intermittently misfeeds, it's one of the first things that I check. As often as not, it's 90 degrees...and it's not supposed to be.

buckhorn_cortez
June 25, 2012, 05:57 AM
Shooting action pistol type events you see every type of gun used jam. One shooter uses nothing but Glocks - he's had feed problems during matches as well as running trouble free. My wife shoots an XDm - it refused to reset the trigger this past weekend because it got sand wedged between the trigger transfer bar and the frame.

The majority of people where I shoot use 1911 and 2011 style guns, and generally run the matches trouble free. I have SIGS, HKs, and 1911s - if you shoot enough - you will have a problem. The worst malfunction I ever had was with a S&W model 25-5 - so I'm not naive enough to believe revolvers always run 100% either.

The 1911 is a 100 year old design. It doesn't work like modern pistols designed for assembly line manufacture. If you don't want to put the effort in to make a 1911 run reliably - don't get one. If you have a correctly built gun, run good magazines, and do very simple things in preventive maintenance - you can run as trouble free as any other design. You just have to accept going in - they take a bit more work to ensure reliability. What that means is PM on lube, springs (including magazine springs), checking magazine feed lips on older magazines, etc.

You don't want to do that - don't buy a 1911. If you do buy one and don't put the work in that it needs - that's your fault if it doesn't run, not the guns's.

1911Tuner
June 25, 2012, 06:06 AM
You just have to accept going in - they take a bit more work to ensure reliability.

And again...that doesn't mirror my own experience with the pistol. Cleaning...spring replacement when needed...proper magazines, etc, is normal maintenance and tossing damaged or out of spec parts doesn't really qualify as "work." Those same things apply to any weapon system or platform and any machine that is put to use. Use it enough, and something will break or wear out eventually. Even a broadhead ax will require sharpening if it's used.

Byrd666
July 4, 2012, 07:26 PM
1911 Tuner

Your post on # 147 was nicely re-educational. I remember the "Armorer"/ Gunners Mate explaining just that to me years ago after I was having problems with my 965th, :-), hand service pistol. Way back when the 1911 was still standard issue, of course.

gym
July 5, 2012, 02:02 PM
No that's why most of us love then so much, can't help being sarcastic. If you spent any time in a gun forum you have seen the 1911 mentioned more than any other handgun.
Why do you think that might be? and why do they run 1000 dollars and up, for a high end gun.

Kleanbore
July 5, 2012, 02:27 PM
Of course it is reliable, when executed properly in a firearm that is properly maintained, equipped with a good magazine, and fed good ammunition. Not all 1911 type pistols measure up, but the best do.

From what I have read, however, there are a number of pistols that are generally thought to be even more reliable--Beretta, Glock, and SIG Sauer, to name the best ones. However, none of those suit me as well for various reasons.

Where the BHP, CZ75, and S&W M&P fit on the scale, I do not know.

I carry a steel frame STI Guardian in .45 and a Smith M&P 9c; the former has worked perfectly since new except with some lead allow wadcutter-type handloads, and the M&P has been reliable after the first 100 or so rounds.

kyletx1911
July 5, 2012, 04:28 PM
i have bottom of the heap(ria)so they say a used gi 5k rds two fs tacs 800 in each, a new citadel 300 so far lo and behold no problems!!!!! and i trust them with my life. so yes i rely on them

Robert101
July 5, 2012, 05:10 PM
My short answer is no. I have not read the 6 prior pages of commentary but here is my reasoning for doubt. I hear things like "if done right", or "100 years of production make is so", or with good magazines, and do not find these reasons to be valid. I have 2 (yep only 2) 1911's: a SA Loaded 45, and a Dan Wesson PM-7 in 10MM which are well noted manufacturers. They do have some feeding issues say .4% based on my round counts. That is to say 2 misfeeds out of about 500 rounds. My carry weapon outside of CA is a Glock G27. It is so far 100% reliable. That is no failures in 500 rounds. I just don't see the 1911 gun as being equal in reliability as the newer generation of guns. My math agrees with me.

EddieNFL
July 5, 2012, 07:19 PM
They do have some feeding issues say .4% based on my round counts.

They weren't "done right." Your Glock was. If not, you would have the same issues with it. Run crappy or damaged mags in the Glock and get back to me.

"Done right" and "with good magazinzes" is valid with any autoloader...don't care who made it. My logic agrees with me.

I wouldn't own a firearm that malfunctioned twice in 500 rounds.

ugaarguy
July 5, 2012, 07:27 PM
I hear things like "if done right", or "100 years of production make is so", or with good magazines, and do not find these reasons to be valid.
So if I set up Ugaarguy manufacturing to build a Glock 17 clone, but it varies from Glock's specs in critical areas, I use ultra cheap USA brand magazines, and the pistol doesn't work does it mean that the Glock 17 is suddenly an unreliable design? By your reasoning if I do that then I can make the Glock 17 an unreliable design by doing that.

You should go back and read the previous 6 pages of replies and pay particular attention to the replies by 1911Tuner.

FMF Doc
July 5, 2012, 09:23 PM
In the original GI conficuration, yes. With all the "tuning" and "upgrading" manufactures and individials do to the guns these days, they may be more accurate (questionably) they are almost never more reliable.

oso
July 6, 2012, 09:55 AM
my expierence with the 1911 is very reliable, in fact i can fire it with my weak hand holding the pistol upside down and it still functions without failure. anybody with the plastic fantanstic pistols able to do this? doubtful, you will say limp-wristing not the pistols fault.

as stated in other post it is out of spec pistols and custom pistols. i don't blame customs like Les Baer he is filling a niche, people want a 1911 with guarentee accurracy of 1" at 50 yds. he will give it to you but you are sacrificing reliability. 99% people can't shoot a custom pistol any better than a stock pistol and would be able to shoot any ammo trouble free.

Robert101
July 6, 2012, 03:20 PM
Well, all of you that want to defend the 1911 are really ignoring the abundance of unreliable 1911 guns produced today. The "if done right" just doesn't cut it with me. I don't need to read 6 pages of prior posts to realize what has happened with the 1911 guns being produced. Like it or not the design as being made from many many manufacturers is hit and miss. I use my 1911's for recreational shooting and my Glock for self defense. This is my opinion and I'm sticking to it. I really wish the 1911 manufacturers would produce a reliable product like the Glock because I am a big fan of the gun - I just see the final product from something other than the glasses others are wearing.

Skylerbone
July 6, 2012, 03:23 PM
I'd take a Les Baer in the reliability column over any stock 1911 South of its price point. They are both accurate and reliable, something LB owners know.

The 1911 is a reliable design. Closing large tolerances does not automatically increase or decrease reliability. A large number of current 1911 manufacturers shouldn't be, they give Hi Points a good name.

Robert, I can no more defend what some 1911 manufacturers do than you can defend every manufacturer of AR-15s. Does a Noveske with Magpul P-Mags work better than an Oly with import "GI" mags? It would be an act of God if it didn't. I'm not wearing glasses, I'm defending the design- that was the original question.

peacebutready
July 6, 2012, 03:29 PM
Where the BHP, CZ75, and S&W M&P fit on the scale, I do not know


The BHP and CZ75 got my curiosity because they are traditional steel models.

For equal money, I say the CZ75 wins over the 1911. It's based on experience.

mavracer
July 6, 2012, 03:32 PM
I hear things like "if done right", or "100 years of production make is so", or with good magazines, and do not find these reasons to be valid.
Ok then in that case your G27 is a unreliable design because it won't feed using XD40 mags. If it's a reliable design by your standards it shouldn't matter who makes the mags or to what spec they're made to.

police chief 2007
July 6, 2012, 05:03 PM
I agree with Mr. Tuner. I have carried, and still do carry a 1911 (Colt Series 70) since I began my career as a LEO in 1976. I bought the gun because at that time I was a skinny 21 year old and was going lame from carrying a Colt Python of S&W Model 27. A Vietnam veteran I worked with told me to get a Colt Government model. I did. I've carried it ever since. It has been my experience that the more you "mess" with the gun, the more liklihood of a problem. I never had a reliability package, trigger job, beavertail grip safety, extended thumb safety, slide and frame tightning, ramp and throat, checkering, stippling, or lowered and flared ejection port. I did have the mag well beveled and also had King Tappen sights installed, those were just higher visibility sights, and changed out the series 70 collet bushing. I used Colt 7 round mags. I practiced with the cheapest 230 grain FMJ brass case ammo I could find and carried Winchester Ranger JHP on duty. The gun worked, it always worked. I cleaned it after shooting, detail stripped it every year, unless I was caught in a downpour for an extended period of time, kept it oiled, and wiped down the exterior with an oily rag or silicone cloth. I went to an armorer's school, so I could do some minor parts replacement, when necessary. IMHO, the problems arose when everyone had to have the gun magazine of the month modification, and let less than qualified people work on their guns. There are only 3 people in the US I would ever allow to work on my gun, and they are all out of the area where I live. After 36 years of carrying this old gun, I think it best to keep things simple, and shoot the thing a bunch. I'm not really sure what firing umpteen thousand rounds through a gun proves, unless you are trying to shoot the thing to failure. I really can't imaging a cop, or private CCW permit holder getting in a 100,000 round shootout.

1911Tuner
July 6, 2012, 05:04 PM
Well, all of you that want to defend the 1911 are really ignoring the abundance of unreliable 1911 guns produced today. The "if done right" just doesn't cut it with me. I don't need to read 6 pages of prior posts to realize what has happened with the 1911 guns being produced.

And that's not the fault of the design. It's the execution of the design.

Of the total number of 1911 pistols that I've been obliged to work on for functional issues, about 90% of them are cured by either handing the shooter a few good magazines, or making minor adjustments to the extractor. Occasionally, I'll have to recut a barrel ramp...but it's relatively rare. This does assume that a previous owner hasn't "improved" it with a Dremel moto tool or doing a double-throwdown trigger job at his girlfriend's kitchen table while they drink wine and watch American Idol on the teevee.

The preponderance of the ones that aren't simple cures have been dinked with...either by a former owner or the present owner who blames it on a former owner.

For the few true lemons that appear, consider these two things.

1. Many clone and variant producers either seem to be making them up as they go, or they're just determined to prove that they can do it differently.

2. When a blue gazillion pistols are being made every year by about 20 different manufacturers...most of which are actually assemblers of various outsourced parts...you're bound to get a few bad ones.

Greg528iT
July 6, 2012, 05:13 PM
I really wish the 1911 manufacturers would produce a reliable product like the Glock

Here is the difference.. multiple manufacturers vs ONE manufacturer. and as previously said XXX times, multiple manufacturers using slight variations of the original design. Once Glock's patents run out and any tom dick and harry can produce clones, watch out.

Tcruse
July 6, 2012, 05:27 PM
This discussion brings to mind the classic discussion about Apple and Microsoft. Apple makes the software and the hardware, you use Apple only products and things generally work well. If it does not work well, you re-install everything and then it works well again.
Microsoft you buy hardware usually from multiple vendors, you can find software from thousands of sources (some good and some bad). You complain if you spend 1/3 as much for Windows products as the Apple equivalent. So, which is better? MS or Apple?

police chief 2007
July 6, 2012, 05:27 PM
I guess I just got lucky:

I agree with Mr. Tuner. I have carried, and still do carry a 1911 (Colt Series 70) since I began my career as a LEO in 1976. I bought the gun because at that time I was a skinny 21 year old and was going lame from carrying a Colt Python of S&W Model 27. A Vietnam veteran I worked with told me to get a Colt Government model. I did. I've carried it ever since. It has been my experience that the more you "mess" with the gun, the more liklihood of a problem. I never had a reliability package, trigger job, beavertail grip safety, extended thumb safety, slide and frame tightning, ramp and throat, checkering, stippling, or lowered and flared ejection port. I did have the mag well beveled and also had King Tappen sights installed, those were just higher visibility sights, and changed out the series 70 collet bushing. I used Colt 7 round mags. I practiced with the cheapest 230 grain FMJ brass case ammo I could find and carried Winchester Ranger JHP on duty. The gun worked, it always worked. I cleaned it after shooting, detail stripped it every year, unless I was caught in a downpour for an extended period of time, kept it oiled, and wiped down the exterior with an oily rag or silicone cloth. I went to an armorer's school, so I could do some minor parts replacement, when necessary. IMHO, the problems arose when everyone had to have the gun magazine of the month modification, and let less than qualified people work on their guns. There are only 3 people in the US I would ever allow to work on my gun, and they are all out of the area where I live. After 36 years of carrying this old gun, I think it best to keep things simple, and shoot the thing a bunch. I'm not really sure what firing umpteen thousand rounds through a gun proves, unless you are trying to shoot the thing to failure. I really can't imaging a cop, or private CCW permit holder getting in a 100,000 round shootout."
"

kcshooter
July 6, 2012, 05:43 PM
This is my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Opinions formed from a lack of information and knowledge shouldn't be stuck to so vehemently.

1911Tuner
July 6, 2012, 07:32 PM
A little story is in order, I guess. Got the dogs all tended to early, and I've got a little time on my hands.

True story. Every word. Near as I can recall, it was about 6 years ago.

I'm at PHA with a couple of my beaters and 72 Metalform magazines stoked up with 200-grain home cast SWCs. Another early bird was in a bay with a Springfield GI Mil-Spec. I hear intermittent bang-bang-bang punctuated by a string of words that I must not repeat here lest Art's grammaw wash my mouth out with soap.

Curious...I step over to the next bay to see if I can help the guy out. His blood pressure is up. Way up. He can't get this thing to run, no matter what ammo or what magazine or what ancient chant he practices...and he's ready to throw it in the dumpster. Then he offers to sell it to me for a hundred bucks. He keeps his magazines, though. They're new and not part of the deal.

:)

I pay him, and he stomps off to shoot a nice 6-inch Python. He hears his pistol bangin' away without stoppages. Curious, he steps around the wall to make sure it's his pistol. Yep. Runs like a Singer sewin' machine says I. Purty good shooter. Best C-note I ever spent.

He's all Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Demands to know what I did to get it to run...probably suspicious that I was some kinda reincarnated Mayan shaman. Tweaked the extractor a little and started shootin' says I.

With cast semi-wadcutters? He inquired.

Yep. Wanna try it?

He wanted to try again. Brought his magazines over, and it was the same ol' same. Bang-bang-jam-cuss-bang-bang-jam-cuss-bang.

He can't understand it. These are the best magazines money can buy. Said so right there on the internet.

I sold it back to him for a hundred bucks. My deviousness will only go so far.

Next Sunday rolls around, and he's back. Same pistol. Same magazines. Same story. Bang-bang-jam-cuss-bang-jam-cuss-bang.

Many expletives deleted. Grammaw never sleeps.

Bygodthesemagazinesarethebestthatmoneycanbuyandbygodthey'regonnawork!

*sigh*

Vern Humphrey
July 6, 2012, 07:46 PM
Tuner, you shoulda kept his gun, just to teach him a lesson.

Skylerbone
July 6, 2012, 07:49 PM
I wouldn't of taken you for a teaser of dawgs, Tuner, even one who refused to learn a simple new trick. :) Was they Chip McWilson Crossbred Tactical Elites by chance? Not as good as the Elite Pro models with the Ti followers. :D

Sergei Mosin
July 6, 2012, 08:08 PM
And the best part is, that Springer of his probably came with Metalform magazines. Reliable and cheap - what's not to love?

EddieNFL
July 6, 2012, 08:38 PM
Well, all of you that want to defend the 1911 are really ignoring the abundance of unreliable 1911 guns produced today.

There are an abundance of unreliable automobiles produced today. You don't drive a car, do you?


The "if done right" just doesn't cut it with me.

And who are you?

I don't need to read 6 pages of prior posts to realize what has happened with the 1911 guns being produced.

Of course not. You have a PHD in internetology.

1911Tuner
July 6, 2012, 08:46 PM
Let's not get personal, now. This one has moved along pretty smoothly.

Skylerbone
July 6, 2012, 09:37 PM
I think some people mistake JMB with Rube Goldberg when they Wiki "facts" about the 1911. I've seen far too many engineers, machinists and professional operators express their approval of the design to believe that it is by chance, ignorance or snobbery.

It takes no more effort to become acquainted with the 1911's design than one might spend becoming a Glock armorer. I see that title emblazoned on countless signature lines so I know people have the time. The question is, do they lack the motivation?

To those who shared a personal disappointment, don't be a victim of that experience. If you buy a cheap ATI and the sights fall off, Arnel will fix it. New Springfield extractor clocking? Call Judy, I hear she's nice. Colt plunger tube loose? Brent will make it right. All for free. (Due diligence in selecting a brand can help as well). Insert baby/bath water cliche here.

ohwell
July 6, 2012, 09:54 PM
I have a couple of 1911's a Ruger SR1911 thats been flawless and a Springfield Micro Compact that I refer to as my hobby learning gun . Actually I'm kind of proud that the only problem I have left with the little Springer is that it likes to bounce casings of my forhead and glass's every now and than. 1911 is a grand ole design but they do seem to need more care than the new age guns. Skylerbone gave you the names of I'm sure some very good customer service people. The truth is when you get a really good gun you dont need to know the names of the customer service reps!

Skylerbone
July 6, 2012, 10:03 PM
And now you know the difference between the 1911 design and a cropped and chopped "variant". Cut the frame bridge, throw in a ramped barrel, shorten the magazine, whittle on the dustcover, shorten the springs, toss out the bushing...what could possibly go wrong?

ohwell
July 6, 2012, 10:27 PM
lol your very right skylerbone but I must admit I have enjoyed tinkering with that little gun .

JB357MAG
July 7, 2012, 07:56 PM
Hi all, I have a Colt Series 80 Govt model Enhanced on layaway
from 1992.

When I pick it up I will be completely shocked if it doesnt work
correctly.

Sometimes I wish I didnt have the internet and read all the bad things
about the gun im buying.

Jimmy

kcshooter
July 7, 2012, 08:01 PM
Hi all, I have a Colt Series 80 Govt model Enhanced on layaway
from 1992.Don't worry, it'll be fine.

20 years is a long time for layaway though!



(I know, I know, bad joke, I can't resist sometimes)

Robert101
July 8, 2012, 01:19 PM
I respect the various posisions stated here. And since this is the High Road I won't respond to the personal attacks. But I will only modify my initial position by stating that the 1911 design AS IMPLIMENTED BY THE MAJORITY of the manufacturers is lacking. Yes you can say that many many great guns are produced but there are way to many guns inclusive of their mag that malfunction far too often.

EddieNFL
July 8, 2012, 02:21 PM
But I will only modify my initial position by stating that the 1911 design AS IMPLIMENTED BY THE MAJORITY of the manufacturers is lacking.

Not sure how you arrived at the majority, but I don't think anyone here has disagreed that many screw up a good design. You throw out loaded statements, but give nothing to quantify...except the two you own.

1911Tuner
July 8, 2012, 03:00 PM
But I will only modify my initial position by stating that the 1911 design AS IMPLIMENTED BY THE MAJORITY of the manufacturers is lacking.

And I'll stand by by my original position and say that the majority of the problems with the 1911 pistols produced today can be traced straight to the magazines that the manufacturers include with their pistols, and nearly 50 years of experience bears it out.

The design itself is sound. The execution of the design is lacking in some instances.

the_skunk
July 8, 2012, 04:54 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ab/John_Dillinger_mug_shot.jpg/220px-John_Dillinger_mug_shot.jpg


Johny knew his guns, and they had to work. He always said "Never trust a woman, or an automatic weapon". Naturally in his line of work he always carried back-up pistols.

1911's are great guns but put 300 rounds through them, and check all your magazines.

PT92
July 8, 2012, 05:00 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ab/John_Dillinger_mug_shot.jpg/220px-John_Dillinger_mug_shot.jpg


Johny knew his guns, and they had to work. He always said "Never trust a woman, or an automatic weapon". Naturally in his line of work he always carried back-up pistols.

1911's are great guns but put 300 rounds through them, and check all your magazines.
I believe John Dillinger's 1911's were of the .38 Super flavor?

-Cheers

jeepnik
July 8, 2012, 05:30 PM
What's amazing is that it's now eight pages to establish what the first responder wrote. Go back read the first response and you can save yourself time and bandwidth.

If you enjoyed reading about "Is the 1911 a Reliable Design?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!