I want a 1911... but they scare me.


August 14, 2004, 02:30 PM
I've shot a few 1911s here and there, but I've never been this smitten until I shot a few magazines through Correia's Springfield Loaded (At least, I think it was a Springer Loaded).

But with all of the reading I do, I'm scared to even think about getting one. I really don't want to get one and have to replace breakage-prone ILS parts, or immediately toss out an extractor.

So, this leads me to a question -- rather than buying a Sprinfield Mil-Spec and replacing parts, or a 1991A1 and possibly replacing parts, would it be an act of insanity to just build your own from a Caspian frame and slide (under proper tutelage, of course) with your own choice of small parts?

Of course, I speak prematurely since it will be a good while before I get back into gun-buying, but it's a thought that's been up there for a while.

What do you think? (Tuner? Bueller? Bueller?)


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August 14, 2004, 02:36 PM
Not knowing your level of smithing experience, forgive me if I assume none. Building a 1911 is not as simple as some of the other do-it-yourselfers. There is a lot of detailed fitting. Having said that, the beauty of your idea is you can buy top quality parts a piece at a time as your budget allows, and pay an experienced smithy to assemble her for you. A sit down with the aforementioned smithy to talk over ideas for parts would be a great start. Good luck & be forewarned 1911's are the firearm's enthusiasts' crack.

August 14, 2004, 03:03 PM
would it be an act of insanity to just build your own from a Caspian frame and slide (under proper tutelage, of course) with your own choice of small parts?

As long as you have someone who is thoroughly familiar with the 1911 watching over your shoulder and helping you, you could pull off building your own. Otherwise, check out a new production Colt or shop around for an older Colt or a first generation Kimber or an older Springfield.

August 14, 2004, 03:18 PM
not all 1911s have problems.

Colt 1991A. I've put through a few thousand rounds; lord knows how many my dad put through before i got my hands on it. It failed only during one session. Turns out the mags were crudded through and through, and the recoild spring was a few thousand rounds overdue for a changeout.

August 14, 2004, 03:32 PM
You could also look for models made long before the MIM parts. A National Match from yesteryear would be hard to beat by most models coming out the factories today. Have a good smith give her a freshening up if necessary and it will last another lifetime.

Black Majik
August 14, 2004, 03:40 PM
There are two basic model pistols that I can recommend to be very good quality.

NRM Colt Government

Kimber Series I 1911's.

For the Colts, their QC's have gone up significantly and are trying hard to make things right w. their pistols. Go hold one, the quality is there.

Kimber Series I pistols. From what I've noticed and seen, the Series I pistols are better fit and finished than the Series II pistol. Of course YMMV.

August 14, 2004, 07:01 PM
Building a 1911 from parts is one of the funnest things I've ever done in the Firearms Hobby. I used an Essex Frame, and surplus military parts to do the job. For sheer ease of assembly, I don't think you can beat military parts. They are soooooo uniform and interchangeable. They are also quite inexpensive. :)

I've built two of them (the second just cause I had so much fun putting together the first!) and they both work PERFECTLY. And I shoot some fairly nasty ammo: cheap, surplus stuff of unknown origin, hailing from foreign parts... as we used to say. :)

Plus my own greasy, tumble lubed cast ammo. Neither piece has EVER bobbled. But heck, I can hit the steel gong every time down at the gunclub, so it's all good. :)

And doing it myself that way, I now KNOW the 1911 like no other. Makes me like 'em even more. Lot of fun all the way around. If I wanted to I could upgrade them, part by part. But I don't think I will... they just feel so good to me, I can't help but smile when I take them out.

Enjoy yourself... it's a GREAT project. :)


cracked butt
August 14, 2004, 08:28 PM
Face it, you want the springfield loaded so buy it:D
I've had mine for 6 months, have put about 1000 rnds through it already and haven't had a single hiccup. Sure the mim slidestop or hammer might go at any time, but I'm not going to lose any sleep worrying about it. The extractor on mine is still fine, but its pretty cheap and easy to replace.

IMHO I think the MIM subject on1911s is overblown. MIM parts are used on almost all autoloaders these days, its just that people who want 1911s want all forged and milled parts because that's the way JMB designed it. I don't necessarily disagree with these sentiments, but I'll let you know if and when things start breaking on my pistol, and I'm sure anyone else will also. So far, the only thing I've heard of were extractors breaking and I did see a picture of a broken slide stop on a Kimber once, but I would blieve these are the exception and not the rule.

R.H. Lee
August 14, 2004, 08:37 PM
ditto what cb said. I'e got a Springfield Milspec Stainless with +-1500 rds through it with no problems. Haven't replaced any parts excep the MSH and trigger (I like flat and long, respectively). Wouldn't hesitate to buy another one. Parts are easily obtainable and not difficult to replace if necessary. NOTHING points better than a 1911, IMO. :)

August 14, 2004, 09:02 PM
Well, I tell you what... I've probably owned 20 to 25 various 1911s including many Springfields - Loadeds and MilSpecs. I honestly can't think of a single parts breakage ever. Now, having said that, I tend to swap out the extractors pretty much as soon as I get them home and changing out mainspring housings and internals is about 1 percent more difficult than changing grip panels. And whether it matched or not, I almost always use an old blued GI slide stop in my actual carry guns.

Having said that, if you have someone in mind under whose tutelage you would be building the proposed 1911 from scratch, have that person show you how to tune an extractor. And the mainspring housing. The slide stop is obviously a no brainer but desiring to build a 1911 from a raw frame and slide because you don't know (or maybe you don't want to) change an extractor is akin to wanting to build a car from the ground up because you don't want to change the spark plugs or coil. Having said that, I would LOVE to build a 1911 in a small classroom setting with a good and fairly friendly 'smith watching over and pointing out our errors before we make them. :p

If you don't mind the slide serrations, the Loadeds are really a very good value in a basic 1911 with the standard 'custom' touches.

August 14, 2004, 09:18 PM
Wes - one other thought ..... if and when you can go buying .... maybe get an old Sistema ... something which is a basic workhorse 1911 .. shoot it - strip it - shoot it - strip it ..... become familiar with the platform to the degree of intimacy.

Once you feel that you know it inside out then .. maybe ... consider a build .. with of course appropriate feedback from them as knows em even better. Tuner etc.

OTOH .. maybe when hopefully you land that dreamy big money job .... save and get a loaded!!:)

August 14, 2004, 09:23 PM
I guess I think opposite of you. I like 1911's but what scares me is not buying a pistol that may need a couple few things but rather putting one together from a myriad of parts or installer sources or especially fitting my own parts.

I don't like to tread in the makers area. Let the makers make it and assemble it. I'll disassemble, clean and admire the work maybe even polish something and thats about it. I know alot of it is probably easy but thats also the guys that have the proper tools too.

Maybe if I was best friends with a smith and it was a secondary pistol it'd be fun to try. Me & my buddy made a part for an old H&R and fixed it but it was not a serious endeavor.

IMO it sounds like you should get a Milspec/Loaded and build the parts gun aside from it. Youd have a serious working pistol and a 3D working template for your project pistol for reference.

Have fun!

August 14, 2004, 09:35 PM
don't let the wonderful internet scare you off...for every 1 story of a particular brand problem, there are countless satisfied people...I was in your shoes last month and was going crazy, then I just took the plunge and bought my Kimber TLE (no related TLE stories neccessary here folks)....great gun..no problems in 150 rounds...if something breaks, I will fix it...but I refuse to worry about it....find something you really like and take a chance...that is what life's all about..

August 15, 2004, 09:19 AM
I'd go for a Colt 1991A1, but I have heard pretty good things about Springfeils and the few i have shot were OK.
Then after shooting the crap out of it, giving it some gentle tweaking, and finding out what works for you...then I might ponder getting the Caspian parts and putting it together(with the aid of a competant 'smith) for that primo custom piece.
But I'd keep the old reliable beater too!

August 15, 2004, 09:50 AM
If it is a pistol that you are going to bet your life on, I'd replace the suspect parts. We just had to replace the thumb safety on the Kimber Eclipse II we rent. It's had about 500 rounds thru it and the flange seperated from the bar on the firing line. Yikes!

August 15, 2004, 10:47 AM
C-O-L-T ;)

August 15, 2004, 02:07 PM
i got a springer mil spec and have had only 2 problems in about 400 to 600 rounds. both were failure to feed on the first clip. after that no problems. i did have a forum member(1911 tuner) help me out with an extractor and hammer strut replacement. no broken parts at all, just thought i'd change them and see how long it'll run before something does break. i haven't been around autos that much but if you need advice/help this is the place to look. lots of good people/advice/expertise available here.:)

August 15, 2004, 02:43 PM
This year I am 2 Colts richer, having taken the 1911 plunge with no regrets-
Went with the 1991 and the LW Commander. My only question- why didn't I buy one sooner? Because I read way too much into the MIM parts arguments, the extractor arguments, etc. JMB designed an awsome firearm, which has developed a large and loyal following. I still have Berettas, CZ's, Rugers, and S&W's, with no major performance problems- the 1911's are more enjoyable to shoot!:D

August 15, 2004, 03:21 PM
I have had a few 1911s from different manufacturers, Colt, Kimber, Dan Wesson, Les Bear, and Springfield, with all of them developing some kind of malfunction that required the pistol being sent back for repair. That isn't to say that you will have problems with your 1911 if you should decide to get one. What should scare you is if the manufacturer didn't stand behind their product after it broke. This hasn't happened to me and I don't think that you'll run into any problems as well.

August 15, 2004, 04:01 PM
Thanks for the many replies. Yes, maybe I am being paranoid about it.

After all, I still have 2 proven HPs to trust.

OTOH .. maybe when hopefully you land that dreamy big money job .... save and get a loaded!!

Yeah... still waiting for that ship to come in for me. I think it sunk. :uhoh: But it's still nice to pretend that you could go out and buy another gun. ;)


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