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1911 Education Request

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by ShooterGuy, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. ShooterGuy

    ShooterGuy Well-Known Member

    I'm in the market for the first 1911 of my collection. I own over a dozen other semi pistols, primarily springfields, glocks, FN, Walther, SW, etc. However I have yet to own or even really work with a good 1911 model, so looking for an education on the subject.

    Now, obviously there's tons of articles on this out there already. However most I found were out-dated by years and I imagine there's some new things on the market these days to consider.

    So was wondering if you might share some experience / insight on the best 1911 style I could get for around $1200 or less?

    I have some wiggle room in the budget if it means a better lifetime purchase. I'm looking for reliability, durability, accuracy, you know....the usual stuff.

    Oh and please, no shiny "blingy" show-off crap please, this would be a CC option. :)

    Thanks fellas.
  2. YZ

    YZ member

    Good for you to cut off the bling. You can have a no nonsense 1911 from Kimber, Sig Sauer, or Remington for around $800. They are common at gun shops. Don't take anyone's word. It's your eyes and your hands that matter. Shop around and try, it's free. A short checklist:
    Size. Full vs commander vs compact
    Weight. Ease of accuracy is proportional.
    Finish. Blue vs stainless. SS not necessarily better as it shows residue spots and hairline scratches.
    Sights. Fixed vs adjustable. Target sight may snag when carried. Fiber optics, tritium, gold dot etc as you please.
    Trigger. Pull force, takeup, overtravel.
    Grips. Thin vs fat.
    Controls. Thumb safety crisp vs sticky.
    There are many other variables. Some matter less than otbers i e the length of the recoil spring guide rod. Compare and save.

    1911 armorer
    Remington R1 at present
  3. Flt Simulation

    Flt Simulation Well-Known Member

    Not really that difficult ...

    1. Want the 'real thing' in a 1911 ... look for a Colt, and look for it in .45 ACP

    2. Decide whether or not you want a Series 70 or a Series 80 (there is a slight difference in the safety mechanisms) ... a Google search will give you info on the differences.

    3. Decide whether or not you want stainless or a blued finish (a brushed stainless gun with polished flat surfaces on the slide will normally hold up a little better over time than a blued finish if you plan on regularly shooting the gun ).

    4. Your probably looking for a 5" barrel (full frame 1911) ... if so, decide on a standard "Government" model, or the more expensive "Gold Cup" version. Since you have in the neighborhood of $1,200 to spend, I would look real hard at the Gold Cup.

    Enjoy :)

    Here is a good example of a late model series 80 Colt .45 ACP Gold Cup National Match, available in either stainless or a blued finish.

    Obviously, the grips are aftermarket.



    Some may not agree with me, but I feel the original Colts hold there value over time better than some other brands (clones) of the 1911 design.

    Just my opinion
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  4. JTQ

    JTQ Well-Known Member

    I'd recommend you get a full size, 5" 1911. They are typically the most reliable, and when you are looking up information, most of it is geared towards the full size. If you wear it IWB, which is the easiest way to conceal anyway, it makes very little difference whether you choose a 3", 4.25", or 5" barrel, so you may as well get the most reliable version anyway.

    The other thing to consider is if you want fixed or adjustable sights or a GI grip safety or a beavertail grip safety. Making the wrong choice, and deciding to change later, will require some grinding or welding on the frame or slide.

    At that price range, I second the recommendation for Colt.

  5. Sauer Grapes

    Sauer Grapes Well-Known Member

    You might also consider something from Springfield. They offer a loaded model in stainless and blued. Available with fixed or adjustable sights and ambi thumb safety for lefties. My favorite for the money from them is there ''Range Officer". This model is parkerized with single thumb safety, adjustable sights{only} and bevertail grips safety. Both have stainless steel barrels.
    Both solid guns and accurate. These are both under $1,000.

    Other than these two, I agree with the others, Colt is a great gun.

    Attached Files:

  6. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    There are 3 highly informative 1911 links in my signature, under the Forum Rules, about selecting a first 1911...I'd start there.

    For reliability's sake, I'd stick with a 5" or 4.25" barrel/slide to start out.

    I've always thought $1200-$1500 was the sweet spot in mid-priced 1911s. I usually recommend the Dan Wesson CBOB or the STI Trojan as good values in that price range
  7. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

  8. rgwalt

    rgwalt Well-Known Member

    Is your $1200 for the gun only? Do you have a budget set aside for additional mags, ammo, a holster, etc? If I had a $1200 budget total, I would think hard about a Sig nitron or stainless in a commander size if you plan to carry it from time to time. If you can find one, a nice used Colt Combat Commander or lightweight commander would be a great option, too, and you wouldn't have to have anything that is LNIB because you plan for it to be a shooter / carry gun.

    I like to have at least 4 magazines, plus a dedicated HD and/or CC magazine. Figure that you will spend $40 per mag for good quality 1911 mags like Wilson Combat. If you get anything other than a Colt, plan to leave the factory mags in the gun case as they will likely be junk. Also, plan to run about 500 rounds through the gun initially, which would run you $200-$250.

    Anyway, just some food for thought. It is easy to spend $500 on mags/ammo/accessories for a new 1911.
  9. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    In that range I like the S&W version the best. It is often overlooked, but I think you get a lot for the money.
  10. jfrey

    jfrey Well-Known Member

    In the $1200.00 price range, I would start with Springfield and second would be the new Sigs. STI is also a good choice. Personally, I wouldn't even look at a Kimber. Way over priced and not worth what the charge compared to the others.
  11. preachnhunt

    preachnhunt Well-Known Member

    I'll second the Dan Wesson CBOB idea. If you can find one they are very nice pistols.
  12. ShooterGuy

    ShooterGuy Well-Known Member

    Great info, a lot to digest. I kind of like the idea of a Springfield since I've had such great luck out of their other products. As for the Dan Wesson, I'll have to look into that more since it's a new name to me. I only wish guns were like shoes and I could try them on first haha Thanks again!
  13. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Well-Known Member

    SG, the simplest style 1911 to disassemble and, IMO the style offering the fewest headaches, is what many people refer to as a Series 70 Style or more appropriately a non-firing pin block model. I don't discourage people from having such safety devices in a 1911 as they do serve a purpose but add a few more parts along with potential issues.

    A few more variations that may cause consternation to new owners are the Colt Gold Cup with its increased parts and numerous alternate recoil systems which may require tools for disassembly.

    In your price range, the manufacturers offering the highest quality parts in terms of materials (which does not always equate to "best") are Colt, STI and Dan Wesson. All three offer a number of models worth considering though the DWs are rather difficult to procure and doubly so this year. Colt's website is a great place to study features of each model as is STI's.
  14. tarosean

    tarosean Well-Known Member

    Lots of gun ranges have rentals.. A test drive is far better than handling them in the store.. Call around Im sure you can find one within a reasonable distance.
  15. Tom from WNY

    Tom from WNY Well-Known Member

    1911's are my all time favorite. Currently, I own Colt and Kimber variations and have never been unhappy with either brand. My 10mm Deltas have not fallen apart (early 1990's vintage) after extensive full power 10mm shooting, my early 1990's 1991 A-1 delivered very good accuracy right out of the box and is still going strong after a lot of full power 45 ACP. All of my Kimber 1911's have delivered great accuracy and superb performance.

    Full size 5 inch guns are just about perfect for concealed carry or field use. If you want a concealable 1911, go with a 4 inch barrel on a Officer's size frame (short grip). When 1911's get much below 3.5 inches in barrel length, they become finicky regarding performance. My Kimber Compact CDP carries extremely well and is very accurate to boot.

    Additionally, my 1911's are NYSAFE compliant and with Kimber, Remington and Dan Wesson, it's a rigid one finger, "you are #1" to our NY Rulers. All 3 companies have significant local workforce that are paid well.

    The notion of renting one and trying it out is a very good suggestion. That will give you a better idea of what you really will be happy with.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  16. ShooterGuy

    ShooterGuy Well-Known Member

    Ya unfortunately our local range generally just has "junkers" for rentals. No new demo's to offer, which is a disappointment, but we're talking about a place where a guy basically just with his feet up watching tv behind a filthy counter all day not doing much...though he is happy to sell you over priced target sheets lol. However would be nice to avoid buyers remorse on such a purchase.

    I think for the moment I'm torn between the Colts/Springfields/Kimber and Dan Wesson. Will have to research more as time permits. Excellent hearing about peoples first-hand experiences though!
  17. shinyroks

    shinyroks Well-Known Member

    I have had the Springfield Range Officer, and the standard Remington. The SS Springer went down the road as I found the stainless took alot more lube over a high round count. IE it had to run wet to run, where the blued Remington has somewhere between 3-4k rounds through it without the rail sticking issues the springer had. It would also feed an empty case out of the box, something the Springfield failed to do before a lot of work. Someone with more than 3 yrs experience might be able to tell better if this was just the difference between SS and blued, but hands down the Remington is a better build IMHO.
  18. Jim PHL

    Jim PHL Well-Known Member

    I have a Colt and a Springfield and currently eyeing another Colt... and another Springfield... and a Kimber.... and a Dan Wesson. BE CAREFUL. the 1911 is probably the most serious of serious gun addictions. Once you get your first you may not be able to stop at 5. or 6.

    Seriously, though. Something from those four manufacturers that fits your other needs and wants will be dandy. I would also throw Ruger into the mix. I don't personally own one but pretty much everything I've heard and read about them has been positive. For your "first" 1911 I'd suggest you stick with a full-size, steel frame and 5" barrel in .45ACP.
  19. ShooterGuy

    ShooterGuy Well-Known Member

    ya I think right now I may be narrowed down to the Springfield Operator, the Kimber Tac Ultra II, or Colt Gold Cup, or I have yet to really look into the Dan Wessons. I really like the idea of a light rail as an option. Not that it would get used often, but having the option available is nice. Any insight on any of those anyone could share? Or perhaps another option?

    Am going with the standard 5" barrel in .45
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  20. YZ

    YZ member

    I've owned a Colt Gold Cup stainless and shot it extensively. I am fairly well familiar with the other upper middle class 1911s.

    Just like the dog is genetically 98% wolf, all 1911s are about 98% like their common predecessor. Things to consider about the Gold Cup:

    #The prancing pony (the legend, the reputation, the pride of ownership)
    #Factory accurized (your results may and will vary)
    #Looser slide-to-frame fit than most comparable 1911's (no worries)
    #Factory wraparound grip (larger than most, ask your shooting hand for details)
    #Target sights, black with no outline
    #Two recoil springs, one regular tension, the other reduced for target loads

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