Opinions wanted on defensive 1911


August 11, 2004, 10:03 PM
I've been looking at 1911's again. It seems like there is alot of confusion regarding their quality (especially regarding MIM parts) and the modernization of their (re)design (external extractor, full length guide rods, etc.). I'm not really into competition shooting (not yet anyway - I did just get my G19 and plan on trying my hand at IDPA), but I like all of my guns to be suitable for defensive scenarios as well. Bottom line is I like them to function with hollow points and be able to stand up to the hardships a duty gun would require. The design which seem to have caught my eye that seem like they'd be good defensive 1911's are:

1. S&W 1911
2. Springfield Mil-Spec
3. Springfield's new MC Operator http://www.springfield-armory.com/images/pistols/PX9105MLLarge.jpg
4. Kimber's newly announced Warrior model http://www.defensereview.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=559

Of course all of these suffer from MIM and modern design alterations, but they seem like they serve as good defensive guns. I know it may sound crazy, but I really kinda like the S&W 1911. I was just wondering what advice/experience anyone could give regarding this 1911. The only thing that I don't like about it is the full length guide rod, but most reviews seem to be favorable regarding this gun.

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Black Majik
August 11, 2004, 10:20 PM
A defensive 1911 does not need to be expensive to be reliable. The SA Mil-spec will fit the bill nicely.

The SW1911 is nice too, I've heard good reports about them. Really, any fullsize 1911 will do.

The Operator is pretty bulky, and probably wont be the best choice if this gun is going to be carried.

The new Kimber... i'd say pass. Theres no track record of it yet. Wait til' all the bugs are worked out. Pick one of their fullsize guns that's already proven to be reliable. Just beware, some like the Series II pistols, some dont. IMO try and find a lightly used Series I pistol.

My suggestion: dont overlook the NRM Colt Governments. They are great pistols for the money, and dont have as many MIM parts as some of the mainstream 1911's do.

My Colt Government serves as my Defense gun. :)

M2 Carbine
August 11, 2004, 10:23 PM
I've got several 1911's and 4 Kimbers.

My carry gun is the Kimber Tactical Ultra. (3 inch barrel)
Totally reliable and will shoot about a 5 inch group at 50 yards. (probably better with a better shooter)

I don't know how I can inprove on that but if I found a better gun for my use I'd buy it.:)

45 Fu
August 11, 2004, 11:36 PM
My carry gun is a Kimber Custom II. Out of the box it is reliable, accurate, and has what you used to have a pistol sent away to get (match barrel, extended safety, beaver tail, etc.). I do not see any real difference between the Series I or II pistols, but that's just me. When 9/14 comes it will still reside on my hip in spite of the chance at higher capacity pistols. That is how much I think of this pistol. I also had a "loaded" Springfield 1911 and it was a great pistol. The only thing that kept me from really liking it was the two piece guide rod. Other than that, it was one of the best 1911s I've ever shot.

As far as MIM parts go, most people will never shoot thier guns enough to stress the MIM parts. If they broke as much as people claim they would no longer be used. You may run into a bad part every now and then, but most people will have to replace their recoil spring before a MIM part breaks. Really, any 1911 that functions 100% and can hold a 5 inch group at 25 yards is enough for us mere mortals for social concerns. I will admit that 5" groups are not as fun as 1.5" but it will get the job done.

There are two things that are most important when looking at a 1911: a good trigger and good sights. The trigger doesn't have to be light (4 pounds) as long as it's clean. You should be able to see the sights easily. This is where the newer 1911s are worlds better than the old ones.

Get a good 1911 and you'll be hooked. Don't say I didn't warn you.

August 11, 2004, 11:56 PM
I went from Kimber to Springfield and finally settled on a Customized Colt.
All I did was add a Beavertail and thumb safety to a NRM Commander and use it as a carry gun. Its reliable, accurate, and powerful. I have yet to have a single malfunction with the gun.

August 12, 2004, 10:47 AM
I've got a S&W 5" 1911 and couldn't be happier with it. I just read a review of the 'new?' S&W 1911 Sc on www.gunblast.com. It has a 4.25" barrel with a full sized grip. It has a lightweight scandium alloy frame. I've been considering another .45 for carry duty. I'm gonna check out one of these puppies. If it's as well put together as my 5" Smith it's gonna be a keeper as well.


August 12, 2004, 10:56 AM
After researching adn sampling a variety of 1911 makes for my first 1911, I decided upon a SW1911 a few months ago, and it's been flawless since that time -- no FTE's, no FTF's. It's a pistol that performs (and, according to some, is built) like a finely-tuned semi-custom...but at a stock price ($650 - $700). Keep checking around -- I think you'll find, as I did, that the SW1911 seems to be almost universally praised w/ far fewer complaints that comparably-priced makes.

August 12, 2004, 11:07 AM
SW1911 hands down.

August 12, 2004, 11:10 AM
It may be worth noting that the MC Operator has a regular-length dust cover with a light rail, as opposed to the full length rail of earlier Operator models.

Also, the Kimber Warrior :rolleyes: is a Series I, internal extractor, light rail gun. Great sounding combo.

I am very interested in both the Warrior and MC Operator. Both look like excellent designs.

August 12, 2004, 11:30 AM
If it aint got the dancin pony..its not a 1911..its a knock of...



August 12, 2004, 11:36 AM
It can have a whole herd of horses waltzing across the slide, and if it doesn't say "U.S. Government Property" on the frame, it ain't a 1911.

Tamsinceyouwantedtogettechnicalara :p

August 12, 2004, 11:47 AM
What do you want to do with it? Carry it, practice with it, compete with it, leave it on the nightstand, etc.?

If you want a range/home defense gun, then any you mentioned would probably work fine. Personally I'd go with the new Kimber Warrior if I had the money and it was available; otherwise I'd probably opt for a Custom TLE II (my current range/home defense gun) or Custom TLE/RL II (if you must have the integral light rail).

If you are looking at a low round count, principally defensive weapon, with carry/CCW in mind, then I'd go with the Kimber Custom CDP (my current full-size CCW gun).

I've handled, but not fired, the S&W and Springfield (Operator). They seem well built, as they should, but they also seemed to be covered in very sharp edges. I get enough bumps and bruises thank you; I don't need my gun tearing me up unneccessarily.

If the new Kimber Warrior is the same as, or even a really close re-creation of, the Det One ICQB pistol, then the Warrior will simply kick most serious butt. I have a very good friend with Det One (who's currently running around Iraq with his fancy Kimber ICQB), and he couldn't say enough good things about the gun. I've heard from him, and a few other reputable sources, that the Kimbers have excelled under very demanding conditions (harsh climate and high round count). Now I'll just have to figure out where to get one, and how much it will cost me.

August 12, 2004, 12:28 PM
ooooooooo SNAP! WA got served! :neener:

August 12, 2004, 12:32 PM
As long as you get a name brand, any of the 1911 manufacturers will make a suitable "defensive" 1911. Colt, Kimber, Springfield, S&W, SIG, et al will work just fine. You could also add STI, Wilson Combat, Ed Brown, and Rock River Arms to that list. All of the companies have quality offerings, and none of them is the end-all-be-all. I am sure there are other companies I have managed to not list that also provide a quality product. In the end, the brand is immaterial.

As far as deciding which pistol, that depends on how you want to use it. As an example, a nightstand pistol may benefit from an integral light rail and the corresponding light while a pistol intended to be carried concealed would be easier to carry with a standard dust cover. I would try to find the pistol that has the features you actually will use, and none of the features you do not want. Since it is easier to add features than to delete them, it is sometimes best to start with the lowest-cost model from a manufacturer and tweak it to your own specifications.

Some of the differences in brands are very subtle, such as front strap curvature and radius and sight dovetail cuts. As such, it is best to shoot as many as you can so you can evaluate if a particular feature works for you. The best thing about the 1911 is that the owner can create a pistol that works for that person, not what works for the majority, due to the variety of models and the ability to customize.

August 12, 2004, 01:02 PM
but I really kinda like the S&W 1911. I was just wondering what advice/experience anyone could give regarding this 1911. The only thing that I don't like about it is the full length guide rod, The FLGR is easily replaced if you don't like it.

As for my vote, a basic Colt or Kimber should do.

Ala Dan
August 12, 2004, 01:30 PM
Sorry that I can't be of much help with your decision,
cuz the only 1911 that I own is a Springfield WW-II Mil Spec
with the parkerized finish. Let me say this about it, I have
owned several models of Colt 1911's in the past; and I am
equally impressed with this Springer. The use of MIM parts
is not a concern, cuz the only part on this weapon that is
MIM I believe is the grip safety. Good Luck!

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

August 12, 2004, 01:42 PM
Ala Dan,

Wow, the Springer only has one MIM part? My only other concern is the lack of a beavertail. Have you experienced any hammer bite? Also, how is the reliabilty and accuracy of the gun w/ hollowpoints? I recently handled one of these and it was at a decent price. The only thing I would want to do is change the sights. Let me know.

Ala Dan
August 12, 2004, 02:20 PM
Greeting's cameramonkey

Thats correct, the only MIM part that I find on the Springfield
WW-II Mil Spec is the grip safety. I have rather huge mitts,
and have not experienced any hammer bite. Honestly,
I can't answer your question regarding the Springers total
reliability with hollow point ammunition; cuz the only ammo
that I have shot thru it has been my handloads using the
Magnus 200 grain hard cast L-SWC bullets. BTW, fit and
finish are remarkable on this piece, and it is very highly
recommended by myself and a few other folks from THR.

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

August 12, 2004, 03:41 PM
Thanks Ala Dan. I appreciate the info. It's coming down between the Sprinfield Mil-Spec and the S&W 1911.

August 12, 2004, 05:21 PM
You might want to check on that MIM list for the Springer. Everything I have read has the Colt in with the least amount of MIM parts for production 1911's.

As far as 1911's for carry, I like Colt myself. If I couldn't have a Colt I would go with Springfield.

Al Thompson
August 12, 2004, 07:48 PM
CM, you (IMHO) shoot a non-beavertail 1911 first. I have medium sized hands and get chewed up painfully by "stock" 1911s. For me, beavertails are a must have.

August 12, 2004, 07:50 PM
I have a 1991 Colt Compact (the plain vanilla version of the Officer's), & it is very reliable so far. (Not like that customized POS I had before.) Small handle (6 shot mag). Sights are just plain - might want some addition... I added CT lasergrips cuz of my old eyes. It hits where I point it!

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