buying 1911, want advice....


March 25, 2004, 02:25 AM
in the next month or so, (possibly after work friday) i am going to be putting a Sprinfield "mil-spec" on lay away (only have part time job at moment, can't afford to fork out whole amount at once).

i would like to know what i should be looking at/for when i examine some examples of this gun.. (yes i'm one of those guys that if i go into a store adn they have three in stock i wanna take a close look at all three then pick the best of the bunch)

so what should i know beforehand?
what should i possible take with me to help examine the gun (snapcap etc)?
what actions should i take to check the basic fuction of the gun?

it's been long enough sincei had to deal with any of this that i sorta want you guys to treat this as if i'm a complete noob to semi's (i almost am) adn give me the basics.

thanks for your time and all input and advice is appreciated.

If you enjoyed reading about "buying 1911, want advice...." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 25, 2004, 02:48 AM
If the pistol frame says BRAZIL on it, pass. (Imbel) The extractor and ejector should be replaced right out of the gate. You should be OK after that. The mainspring might need replacing, the best thing to do is put a Wolff spring set in. The slide, barrel and barrel bushing should be OK. Sights are owners choice.

March 25, 2004, 05:17 AM
Go here ( ... and here ( . Don't know if you're buying new or used, but these are decent checks just the same.


March 25, 2004, 06:27 AM
I agree, go over to and read the reviews and comments about all the manufacturers. I think you will see that none are perfect and all of them turn out some stinkers. Personally, I would pick a Colt, Dan Wesson or Springfield.

March 25, 2004, 07:07 AM
"If the pistol frame says BRAZIL on it, pass. (Imbel)"

Why is that?

March 25, 2004, 07:45 AM
If the pistol frame says BRAZIL on it, pass. (Imbel)

All Springfield frames begin life as forgings from Imbel, from the lowliest Mil-Spec to the TGO-1 and Professional.

Sean Smith
March 25, 2004, 09:27 AM
Bingo. Only some of them SAY they are from Brazil. ;)

Here is some stuff off the top of my head. 4 rules apply as usual. Make it obvious that you are being safe so the clerk and other patrons don't flip out.

1. Ask if they'll let you dry-fire the gun. It is unusual if they won't. Then do the following:

-Slowly squeeze the trigger. I'd expect a 5-6 pound pull. See if the trigger feels gritty, the pull weight is inconsistent, or has any "creep." Aside from the initial takeup, you shouldn't feel a 1911 trigger moving when you pull on it; it should feel like it is going from not moving at all, to the hammer falling, with no apparent intermediate movement.

-Test the safeties. Pull the trigger without depressing the grip safety. Pull the trigger with the thumb safety in the up position. Pull the trigger with the slide pushed back a fraction of an inch. The hammer should not fall in any of these conditions.

2. Cycle the action by hand. The hammer should stay cocked and not follow the slide forward. If it does, you don't have a semi-auto, you have a machine pistol.

3. Push on the barrel through the ejection port with your thunb. If the barrel is well-fitted, it won't wiggle around if you do this.

4. Insert an EMPTY magazine. Cycle the action by hand. The magazine should lock the slide back.

5. Gently try to wiggle the sights with your fingers. They shouldn't wiggle.

6. Ideally, you should bring a little light with you. Lock the slide back, shine it down the barrel. The bore should be smooth, and any gouges, scratches or pits are defnitely a no-no. Then look at the end of the barrel itself. Any dents or dings where the rifling ends can impair accuracy.

March 25, 2004, 12:18 PM
Mine say "Itajuba" on them. I was worried there for a sec...

Yes, I know Itajuba is in Brazil.

Guess all those Imbel FAL parts are junk too? ;)

Black Majik
March 25, 2004, 02:52 PM
Personally I'd spit up a slight bit more $$ and go for the NRM Colts. The blue finish and dark rosewood grips are absolutely beautiful to look at. Slightly more refined than the SA mil-spec (though both are great guns). I must say I'm glad you're considering a 1911 without front slide serrations! :p

Also note that when you press the mag release that the magazine falls freely from the frame. There shouldn't be any binding in the frame/magazine.

March 26, 2004, 10:00 AM
Regarding the whole Imbel/Brazil thing... first of all, as long as it's reliable I don't care! :cuss: But on to my observations.

I've probably owned between 12 and 15 Springfields and have stripped another 5 or so... In my experience, if the serial number begins with 'NM' there will not be Brazil or Imbel markings on the gun. Also, the three 'NM' guns I've owned had a one piece barrel. On the 1911forum, Deb from Springfield has said that all frames start out in Brazil and most of the ones with a 'NM' prefix are finished here in the US but that is just a trend.

Another word of advice, I've had at least one Springfield that had the only Brazil or Imbel markings under the grip panels and it stated 'FI Brazil' only on the part of the frame under the grips. The best shooting Springfield I've owned was tightly fitted, had the 'NM' prefix, a one piece barrel and no Brazil or Imbel markings. The second best shooting one had all the 'bad stuff' and was quite sloppily fitted.

$450 1911s are a crap shoot. But if you buy one new and feed it good ammo from through good magazines, it should be decent and the factory should make it just about perfect in the worst case scenario.

If you enjoyed reading about "buying 1911, want advice...." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!