Tips On Shooting A 1911 .45 ACP


Ala Dan
August 11, 2004, 03:32 PM
Greeting's Again-

I must admit its been awhile since I have consistently shot a
.45 ACP from a 1911 platform. I'm looking for a few pointer's
as I'm shooting a stock Springfield WW-II Mil-Spec. I would
be most interested to know things like what kind'a hold you
use, what after market magazines are best; and even which
type of bullet you prefer. Thanks in advance for the help, as
I'm having to learn again.

*FootNote: Please address answers using the 15 yard line
as the default distance.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

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August 11, 2004, 04:00 PM
I've only put 135 rounds though my WWII so far, but here's what worked for me.

I had no failures with the stock mag or an 8 round McCormick stainless mag.

I use a two-handed grip, Weaver stance, with the right thumb high up by the safety, the left thumb on the frame just forward of the slide lock. My left hand squeezes harder, about 65% left, 35% right. My finger hits the trigger about halfway between the tip and the first joint.

I'm not that good a shot yet, so there may be much better techniques. This is just comfortable to me, and accurate enough for self-defense, IMHO. I probably get 4" groups at 15 yds.

The PMC FMJ 230 gr rounds were more accurate and cleaner than Winchester WB, I thought, but a little more expensive.

August 11, 2004, 04:21 PM
WHOA! I think you will get as many different answers as there are 1911 nuts out here!:D

Final answer will always be (as I am sure you know) what works best for you with experience.

However, here are my opinions, worth exactly what you paid for them.

1. Hold -- I use a two handed grip, low thumb on strong hand. I don't ride the safety like a lot of people do (I get cussed out about this by alot of people that "know better"). Strong hand with web of hand wedged up under grip safety, but not forced against it, if you get my drift. Weak hand wraps around strong hand with forefinger pressed against bottom of trigger guard. I grip more strongly with weak hand than with strong. Push forward with strong hand, pull back with weak. I find this gives me a stable, repeatable grip.

Oh yeah, I can't tell you how many people have told me that their 1911 has all sorts of feeding, ejection, and extraction problems but when I shoot their gun, they vanish. I have come to the conclusion that many do not keep their wrist straight and firm, thus limp-wristing. I think people often mistake a death grip on the gun for holding a firm wrist -- IMHO the grip should be firm, but not white knuckle, while the wrist should be very firm, with the net result the bbl. should rise only a small bit during recoil.

2. Magazines -- I have had good luck with several, but I tend to stick with Wilsons. Many, including Tuner (who I respect a lot -- I hope to be as smart as him when I get to be his age!), say to stick with the 7 rounders, but I personally have not noticed any difference in reliability between the two. I also recently just adopted a new rule -- buy new Wolff magazine springs for any magazine I purchase. I just have had too many issues with the springs in factory fresh magazines -- I think all of the manufactures, even Wilson, try to cheap out on this.

3. Type of bullet -- I just use FMJ 230 grain for range work. Blazer, S&B, White box all seem to work just fine for me, I buy whatever is cheapest and available at the time.

For carry I used to use Hydra-shok, but have in the last year gone to Speer Gold Dot -- 230 gr. I THINK that the Gold Dot is a better, more modern design, but since I have never had to shoot anyone (Thank God!) this is just guesswork on my part, based on some testing I have read.

I'm sure someone will be along shortly to question my mental health for holding these opinions.:neener:

I hope I helped -- enjoy your Springer and let us know how it works.

August 11, 2004, 04:56 PM
i like using SWC reloads they really punch the paper so i can see how bad i am from real far away

R.H. Lee
August 11, 2004, 05:13 PM
I probably do everything wrong according to the experts. Modified weaver, strong hand (right) resting in left, both thumbs forward. I release the slide lock with my left thumb. Usually practice with a silhouette target, 3 quick shots, 2 COM, one to the head. My range also has some 12" metal gongs at 20 yds, sometimes I practice on those, but I have to aim to hit them. I really should start practicing drawing from a holster, condition one.

Metalform 7 rd. mags with the humped follower are $13 at my local gunshop. They work great.

Just bought a case of S&B hardball, works perfectly. Also have used WWB from Walmart, also perfect. I like PMC, but it's not available around here. Have yet to try the new Wolf but that's next.

Ala Dan
August 11, 2004, 05:33 PM
Many thanks guy's, keep 'em coming!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

August 11, 2004, 07:11 PM
hey ala dan I shoot my 1911's using a weaver stance with my left hand over my right and both thumbs up high with the one from my right hand riding the thumb safety. I will usually release the slide stop with my left hand thumb after a reload. A word of advice be careful those 1911's tend to multiply themselves rather quickly :D. Enjoy your 1911and good shooting.

August 11, 2004, 07:51 PM
Personally, I always rack the slide with an overhand grip when changing mags. The only time I use the slide stop lever is when releasing the slide on an empty mag or without a mag.

August 11, 2004, 08:59 PM
The way you were shooting at the police range last Saturday,I personally dont think you will have any major problem getting the hang of your new 1911.Develop a practice reload that has less recoil than your defence load and gives you the desired reliablity and accuracy you want. Reliability being most important.This will allow you to get more out of your practice sessions. Those many years of shooting other types of handguns will greatly assist you in mastering the govt model.

August 11, 2004, 09:45 PM
Hello Dan, my friend –

Wow, .45 ACPs from a 1911A1 in your hands (instead of your beloved Sig P220); the next thing I hear you will be supporting the Bulldogs.

I have a few tips, not that my skill or experience is impressive:

a) Magazines – I have tried many different types (including Colt, Springfield, and Kimber factory, McCormick, and Wilson). Overall, I trust eight round Wilson completely, and I have learned that many – perhaps most – 1911A1 failures-to-fire are magazine related.
b) Ammunition Brand – For normal target and plinking work, I use 230 grain ball. My favorite brands are Federal American Eagle, Speer Lawman, and Winchester USA (white box), with S&B and Fiocchi as decent “runners up”.
c) Stance and Grip – I believe you will be comfortable, safe, accurate and fast using your standard stances and grips. FWIW, I sometimes use a one-handed “bulls eye” stance with good results, particularly because the 1911A1’s crisp <4 pound SA trigger is (IMHO) ideal for precise shooting.
d) Projectile Mass – I will occasionally use 200 grain loads, as well as 230s. I never use anything else and my point-of-aim accuracy is clearly influenced by the bullet’s weight.

Like so many others, I really enjoy my 1911A1s and I wish you great happiness, success and trouble free accuracy with your new Springfield.

All the best -- Roy

Ala Dan
August 11, 2004, 11:46 PM
Thanks folk's for the kind remarks, and very informitive post's!

Like I said, its been awhile since I have owned (or even shot)
the .45 ACP from a 1911 platform. The experience I shared last
Saturday that my good friend and fellow THR member Capbuster
spoke of was a joyous one. I guess I got caught up in a "SIG rut"
and didn't think other .45 ACP's even existed!

I still love my P220, and believe it too be the finest DA .45 ACP
self-loader on the market bar none. I shoot it extremely well,
so it will continue to be my primary carry piece!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

August 12, 2004, 07:04 AM
DAN!!!! (wolf-wolf-wolf)
Good to see you back old bud.
Equally good to see you coming up in the world with a decent gun (1911)

Anywho (kidding aside). I favor 230 gr Hydra- Shok's in all 3 of my 1911 pattern pistols - 2 Kimbers and a Colt Commander.
They shoot straight, feed 100% in all 3 and have a decent reputation for defensive use.

Handload - 4.7 gr of Unique under a 230 gr cast lead slug using a standard primer/any brass. Alliant lists 5.0 gr of Unique on their website for 790 fps. I backed that down a bit to 4.7 gr as a starting load. It worked so well in my Kimber target, I just stuck with it. Again, 100% positive cycle/feed and it's scarry accurate in the Kimber target. Downside is it doesn't do as well in the Colt.

Factory - #1 choice is Winchester "Q" load - stock # Q4170. 230 gr FMJ. Shoots decent but priced a bit above ($12.95 locally) other offerings.
Factory part deaux - Win White Box. Decent and cheap. Availibility of it puts it just a tad above S&B, which I consider interchangeable with it - maybe just a little bit better though.

August 12, 2004, 07:22 AM
Good to see you back on the ranch, old Pard! I use the Colt mags and also the surplus US army mags. They have a long contract number stamped on the baseplate and can be had for a pretty good price. Avoid cheap mags other than these.

August 12, 2004, 08:00 AM
I have a Springfield parkerized mil-spec, not WW II model though. My spare 8-rd. McCormick magazine works fine. It works with 8 but I only load 7. I use an isosceles stance. I practice with 230 gr. lead round nose--the bullet weight .45 ACP pistol was designed for. My pistol has a bushing compensator, heavy duty recoil spring, and a recoil spring guide rod that has a "shock absorber". Recoil with 230 gr. feels like 200 gr. target semi-wadcutter. My self defense load is Federal Hydra-Shok 230 gr. JHP.

August 12, 2004, 11:26 AM
Yo Dan! Ditto on the "Glad to have you backs".

As you know I'm still in the "experimantal" stages with my GI at the monent as well so can't offer much. It's currently at Springfield getting Heinie sights.

If you have the loaded coupon the regular 7 rounder that came with my GI and the three more I ordered with the coupon all have worked fine with assorted FMJ and Winchester Ranger 230 Grain HP's. Rangers are my house gun load.



...Wow Karma.. just as I was about to hit "Submit" interupted by Fed-Ex with my GI back with new sights in under 3 weeks :D

Ala Dan
August 12, 2004, 01:38 PM
Hey-Hey-Hey Blueduck-

Thats a pretty good turn around time for your Springer! How
do you like those sights?

I think I will leave mind stock "GI", except for the grips, which
as you know I have replaced with a custom set of "bloodwood
grips" as made by the silent one. Take Care-

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

August 12, 2004, 02:18 PM
Bought mine at the end of March '04.

Hold = support thumb over dominant thumb, shooting at Point of Aim (I'm using Hogue FG's...they fit me perfectly)

Mag's = 8-rd Chip McCormick Power Mag's (7-rd Brownells also and I do have the 8-rd Wilson Combat), mostly using the Power Mag's.

Ammo' = Eats anything ball (haven't tried JHP yet), not a single malf' in 1100 rounds so far.

I'm shooting mine just a tad low, but it still outshoots my G35 which I've been competing with.

Safe shooting,


August 12, 2004, 08:09 PM
Sights are a bit higher than I expected (ordered the low carry version) but I'm very happy with them, for me Heinies give the best sight picture going. Eye's just can't do the tiny sight thing no mo :(

Can see keeping these things stock though, very nice classic looking gun. My deal was 1911's (except $850 Kimbers) are scarce in these parts, so mine was really bought *just* as a reasonably priced 1911, not as more of historical tribute which I think a lot of buyers are into (which is great).

To avoid serious lashing I won't mention the Speed Trigger SA installed and Houge palm swell rubber grips (no finger grooves) I just put on it:uhoh:


August 13, 2004, 04:32 PM
I put a bit of blaze orange paint on my GI's front sight. Looks a little dopey, but it sure helps with those tiny sights! Besides I can always take it off with a little enamel thinner.

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