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best 1911

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by hvychev77, May 27, 2011.

  1. hvychev77

    hvychev77 Well-Known Member

    i'm going to be in the market soon to purchase a my first 1911. i've got a few glocks and some other handguns, but have always wanted the infamous 1911 in .45. I've been doing some reading about the kimbers, colt, and para ordnance guns and was wanting some information or advice on these or any others for that matter. From what i've read, it seems like they're kinda like old muscle cars, fun as hell to own but need some tweeking from time to time. I'm not interested in having guns that i can't literally trust my life with. The gun that i will purchase will most definitely be a carry gun.........any suggestions fellas???? Thanks in advance....hvychev77
  2. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    If you want absolute reliability buy a Colt, Springfield, or whatever your smith recommends as a base. Budget to have it sent to someone like Stroh, Garthwaite, Wilson, Novak, Rodgers, Berryhill, or any of the other 1911 smiths for a reliability package.

    Out of the box for a production gun I'll take a Dan Wesson, Springfield, or Colt 70 series repro - in that order.
  3. bobby68

    bobby68 Well-Known Member

    Had to check to be sure I wasn't th OP. IM in the same mind.

    I Was considering an older gun then read about evolution of certain parts that were found wanting in the original design. Thought about Kimber then ran acrossMIM gripes. don't mind spending money, just don't want to waste it.
  4. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    What parts would those be? My experience is that the original M1911 / M1911A1 pistols don't leave anything lacking mechanically. There are some minor things like upgraded sights, and beavertail grip safeties which make them easier or more comfortable to shoot, but don't change the actual mechanics of the weapon.
  5. hvychev77

    hvychev77 Well-Known Member

    what kind of pricing goes along with a reliability package? i hate to think i'm about to drop a grand on a gun, then send it off to make it reliable, ya know? i do see where the colts and springfields have better reviews than the kimbers and para guns.......which kinda surprises me a little....
  6. Apocalypse-Now

    Apocalypse-Now Well-Known Member

    springfield armory :)
  7. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Mr. Stroh's crew at Alpha precision will do it for $196, plus the $90 job feasibility charge - which includes the $45 UPS return shipping. The $196 job is called their IPSC reliability package, and it includes test firing. You can get a new Springfield loaded in low $800 range new, and used ones for considerably less. I'd not hesitate to buy a used a one, especially if I knew I was going to send it to these folks anyway.

    Alternately, you could buy the much less expensive Springfield Mil-Spec or GI 1911, and have Alpha do their $735 AP I customizing package. Getting AP I done on a Mil-Spec or GI would get you a true custom 1911 from a master pistol smith for under $1500. You can get more info at www.alphaprecisioninc.com . These folks are local to me, and I've seen their work; so I use them as base of comparison. There are many other great 1911 smiths out there, and using Stroh / API as an example shows that custom work doesn't have to be as expensive as one might think.

    Edit to Add: 1911 pistolsmith Hilton Yam, who's one of the authorities on fighting 1911s recommends the $1100-$1200 Springfield MC Operator as a top out of the box choice, if you don't want to go the custom route.
  8. xr1200

    xr1200 Well-Known Member

    It is best to stay away from having a base model or cheap 1911 turned into a high priced custom 1911. In the end you will spend a lot of money and not have a pistol worth much more than its original price.

    Your better off just buying a top of the line Les baer, STI, or Colt Gold CUP Trophy, they will run $900-$1500, if you can afford it.

    One of the best 1911 buys out right now is the STI Trojan for $950 or the SA range officer for $750
  9. JTQ

    JTQ Well-Known Member

    I see a lot a folks recommend the Springfield Range Officer lately. I suppose mostly because it is a new model. You really need to decide what you want the pistol to do first.
    If you want a carry gun, there are much better options, even in the Springfield line-up. Nobody wants adjustable sights on a carry gun. If you buy a 1911 with adjustable sights and want to change them to fixed, there are very few options. You can get the STI Trojan with fixed sights, but they are not common.

    Get a fixed sight gun.

    If you really want the best, you need to pony up some cash. Les Baer, Ed Brown, NightHawk, Wilson, etc.

    At lower price points, I'd be prepared to do some experimenting to make sure it works with the magazines you like and ammo you like. They should probably work 100% with something, but maybe not everything.

    You probably did some tinkering with your Glocks, too. Such as after market barrel to shoot reloads, after market sights (replace the plastic ones), after market trigger spring, after market slide release, etc.
    Last edited: May 27, 2011
  10. rellascout

    rellascout member

    You have to ask yourself 2 questions and then answer them honestly before decieding on what 1911 to buy IMHO.

    1. How many rounds a year out of this gun and how many rounds in its lifetime. This answers the question is it going to be a heavy use gun. IMHO a heavy use gun is 5,000+ rounds a year.

    2. Are you going to defend your life or the lives of others with this gun?

    What gun to get really depends on the anwers to these 2 questions. IMHO From your OP you are looking to use it as a carry gun so you have answered question #2. If you are carrying I suggest a commader sized gun. They are extremely reliable and will carry better than a 5" gun. It is not that you cannot carry a fullsized 1911, I do at times, but I think the commande sized pistol is better as an EDC.

    So from there you need to think about question #1. From there you can really start to narrow down choices. A lot will depend on how much $$$$ you have to spend.

    At the under $1000 price point look at the Colt XSE Commanders or Talo CCO, the S&W Commanders and the SA 4" guns. These will be solid & reliable out of the box guns. Most of these will never need to be tweaked and will serve and protect you well but they will not be as refined as higher priced guns.

    The step up from there is the Dan Wesson Guardian, CBOB, CCO & VBOB. These start at about $1300 and end at about $1700, VBOB. Dan Wesson IMHO is the best production 1911 on the market. They used to be a better value when you could get the CBOB for $900 but those days are gone. Used CBOBs command over $1000 these days. If you want a full sized gun you can look at their RZ Heritage line which will run about $1200.

    If you really want to step up look at the Ed Brown Kobra Carry which is about $2000

    In my experience the more custom a gun is the more "tweaking and maintaince" it will require. It is like a sports car in that you have tweaked it to get better performance but at the time you have shrunk the tolerances and have compromised reliablity. In the end any 1911 even the best in the world will have parts failures if you shoot them enough. The better the starting point in terms of parts quality the higher that round count number will be but eventually they will all fail.
    Last edited: May 27, 2011
  11. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    If it's a DIY project or done my an unknown smith, then I would agree. However the Alpha Precision, Cylinder & Slide, Wilson Combat, and a hundful others logo engraved in the slide, with supporting paperwork can actually increase the value of the pistol.
  12. aminyard

    aminyard Well-Known Member

    1 Colt

    2 Ruger

    3 Remington

    Good luck!!
  13. rellascout

    rellascout member

    Rarely if ever do you get back the $$$ you put into a custom gun.
  14. GZOh

    GZOh Well-Known Member

    Around $600... Springfield Mil-Spec

    Around $800... COLT-1991

    First Choice... COLT-1991

  15. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    All guns will devalue because they're used once they leave the dealer. If a top level gunsmith works on your gun it's going to retain far more value than if you customized it yourself. I've seen action / reliability work actually increase the value if done by the right gunsmith.
  16. rellascout

    rellascout member

    I agree a named smith will help retain value but it will not increase it.

    For example if I bought a Colt Govt 70 series for $800 sent it to Novak who is just up the street from me and had them do their carry/duty package for $1395.00.


    Even if I never shot the gun I am not going to get $2195.00 for it if I try to sell it.
  17. Apocalypse-Now

    Apocalypse-Now Well-Known Member

    that's especially true for the folks that mod/stipple glock frames. kills the value, even if you send it to a "fancy" custom shop like cold bore or robar.

    i saw a cold bore stippled g27, hardly used, sit in a local shop for months for $300 before it was finally bought. that probably means they gave the original seller $200-$250 for it :eek:
  18. hvychev77

    hvychev77 Well-Known Member

    as far as the amount the gun will be shot each year, i don't think it will be shot much. i'll go through a break in period with it, i guess around 500 rounds or so, and then shoot it enough to feel comfortable and run it though it's paces a few times a year. i don't think it'll be anywhere near 5000 rounds a year. it sounds like the colt 1911's hold their value pretty good in comparison with others. i don't have the $'s to put into customizing a gun, and was hoping to get something reliable enough out of the box to carry and feel safe when i have my family with me. i guess you could say my budget is around 1000, give or take a little. i have done some reading on the colt defender series in .45. So far, the reviews i've read have been pretty good on them, and it seems like folks on here are pretty fond of colts as well. but i'm still reading and i'm all ears...........any of you guys have any experience with the defender series? thanks a ton for all the feedback, keep it comin'........hvychev77
  19. rellascout

    rellascout member

    I am not a 3" 1911 fan myself. I believe that they have gotten better but IMHO once you go under 4" on a 1911 the reliablity of the platform goes down.

    Do you want a fullsized gun, commander, officer or defender sized gun?
  20. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Rellascout, I'll play. I can get a NIB SA stainless Mil-Spec for $700 locally. I can then drop it off at Alpha Precision and get their AP I IPSC / Duty package done for $735. That's a total of $1435, for a hand customized gun out of the shop of the American Pistol Smiths Guild 1996 Pistol Smith of the year. A SA TRP runs $1500 NIB locally. The Alpha Precision built pistol is going to hold more value than the TRP. As Mr. Stroh gets on in years (he's in his late 60s / early 70s now) pistols he built, or those built under his supervision are getting fewer and fewer each year. These guns are likely to climb in value if he ever retires.

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