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Colt 1911--worth it?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Eightball, Dec 29, 2007.


Colt 1911, or....?

Poll closed Jan 28, 2008.
  1. Yes, for the criteria listed, a Colt 1911 is the way to go.

    43 vote(s)
  2. No, for the criteria listed, a Colt 1911 is NOT the way to go.

    2 vote(s)
  3. Use the search function for all things 1911 related to find the answer

    4 vote(s)
  4. There's other brands that fit this bill.

    22 vote(s)
  1. Eightball

    Eightball Well-Known Member

    *please read before posting*

    Basic question: for a "non-custom-shop" 1911 that is guaranteed 100% all parts "made-in-America", non-MIM (i.e. everything's forged), with a good finish, and parts actually built/supplied by the company in question, is an actual Colt 1911 unbeatable? (Yes, used/older Colts are to be included in this question)

    Springfield stuff comes from Brazil.

    From what I've heard (inside source), occasionally Kimber stuff comes from Mexico.

    And the list goes on.

    Thoughts, opinions?

    (And please, don't come in here with a "buy glocks, they're better," "buy XDs, their better or what I prefer", etc. I started the thread for a 1911, if I wanted opinions on another firearm platform, I would start a thread for that. Thank you in advance).

    EDIT: And for those wondering--no, I wouldn't necessarily want a "made to WWII specification's" 1911; more of just a "good" one.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2007
  2. Mac Attack

    Mac Attack Well-Known Member

    I like Colt's. I have owned many Colt 1911's over the years and all have been reliable out of the box. They all could use some tuning to make them utter reliable, but out of the box they were good to go. I only buy Colts for production pieces...the older the better.

    I however voted no, because I have read countless posts were others have not been so lucky as I have when it comes to Colts. But I believe that Colt's are made in the USA with American made parts, usually have good finishes but the newer pieces have MIM parts (which I don't think is as big of a deal as some would lead you to believe).
  3. GunDog44

    GunDog44 Well-Known Member

    Looking at the non-custom Colts, all parts are not forged. The MSH is plastic, on some models the trigger is plastic. Some models, if not all models consist of Cast & forged parts.
  4. steelyblue

    steelyblue Well-Known Member

    Brazil is in America. South America, that is.

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    Make mine Colt
  6. Big Boomer

    Big Boomer Well-Known Member

    This is only correct for the Loaded models and below, my TRP comes from the good old USofA.

    Also the operator models are also US made as well for Springfield.

    I just bought the TRP and will be range testing it with about 500 rounds tomorrow.
  7. JaxNovice

    JaxNovice member

    Which parts of a Kimber come from Mexico?
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Today, no one makes a 1911/Government Model pistol that is 100% correct and in accordance with the U.S. Governments blueprints or specifications. This may be good or bad, depending on your point of view. The manufacturers themselves are far from dependable, and sometimes turn out junk one day, and passable pistols the next. In this environment buying a gun is a crapshoot, and getting a good one is very much a luck-of-the-draw.

    The problem with some MIM parts is inconsistent quality control, and the manufacturer's attitude that, "if it breaks we'll fix it," without any consideration that the gun owner, under some circumstances, might not still be around. They advertise their products as if they were serious weapons, but make them like big-boy toys.

    Excluding out-of-dimension parts, the most common cause of failure-to-function is (1) bad magazines, (2) mis-fitted or poor quality extractors, and (3) poor quality ammunition. To this I would add: (4) undersized chambers and (5) excessive tightness, particularly in the wrong places.

    These things are fixable, but it begs a question, "why should they have to be fixed, and so often?"

    Buying an older Colt Government Model or USGI 1911A1 pistol only insures that it's highly probable the pistol meets all of the standards for materials, heat treating, and blueprint dimensions - plus it was produced where there was a real quality control/inspection system in place.

    Beyond doubt, our best pistolsmiths can turn out new pistols that are 99.99999% reliable, but at a (justifiable) cost that's higher then I'm willing to pay. Our own "1911Tuner" took a rack-grade Springfield Armory pistol and made it equally as reliable for much less money. S.A. could have done the same, but didn't. This begs another question, "why?" :scrutiny:

    For some this is important, others seem more concerned about having an accessory rail on the dust cover so that they can mount... whatever.

    Back decades ago I bought only Colt's or USGI pistols, and over a time span covering more then a half-century they have proven to be reliable, starting out-or-the-box. Starting in the early 1980's I became dissatisfied with what was coming out of the Colt factory, and started assembling my own pistols using aftermarket frames and slides, combined with mostly surplus USGI parts. These proved to be as reliable, and sometimes more accurate, then the older pistols. Today I have no reason to buy more, but that's hardly a solution for others. All current buyers can do is look at their options and pick a direction to go. :banghead:
  9. 308win

    308win Well-Known Member

    1911Tuner obviously takes pride in his work and places that first. The manufacturers are in the business to make money and the additional effort and investment, hand fitting, and other costs they would have to incur to replicate what a competant pistolsmith can turn out are costs they are not willing to absorb or incur. 1911Tuner on occasion may be willing to work for a smaller monetary return than SA and he considers getting it right as part of his return.
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    I should have pointed out that Tuner is not in the business of building guns.

    He slightly modified a standard "Springer," and then ran it through a multi-thousand round torture test to determine its reliability. His experiment proved that a currently made pistol could be reliable if a little extra attention was paid when it was assembled, and this could be done at modest cost.

    He will gladly explain the "how to," but don't expect him to take in guns and fix them. That is limited to a few individuals who visit him, pet his dogs (and get licked to death) and survive drinking his turbo-coffee. :D
  11. Thirties

    Thirties Well-Known Member

    Eightball, you are fitting yourself for a straight jacket of correctness.

    My opinion is to jump in and get a cheap 1911 to see if you even like the platform. Then you can go from there with another purchase, saving your first one for a project. Or you can keep and modify your first one. Or you can just keep and shoot the first one.

    But loosen up the collar a little bit . . .
  12. dsk

    dsk Well-Known Member

    Today's Colt pistols use mostly forged and barstock parts. The sear, disconnector, and mag catch are the only MIM components. The thumb and grip safeties are cast, and the mainspring housing will either be plastic or cast steel depending on the model. For a short time Colt used MIM plunger tubes and extractors, but both parts proved troublesome so Colt changed those back to barstock.

    If you buy a recent-production Colt you should be very happy with it. Colt's darkest days were back in the early 1990's, when their stuff was often really bad. I once had a stainless Commander from that time period that was a total lemon. It refused to reliably feed anything, including ball. I had sent it in to Cylinder & Slide, and Bill Lathridge himself told me there was no way to make it reliable without milling out the bullet ramp and installing a custom ramped barrel.

    Fast forward to 2007. I now own two stainless Series 70 Governments, and both are 100% reliable with anything I feed them, and very accurate to boot. If you go with Colt, buy something from new stock and avoid older ones unless you're willing to pay collector's prices for something dating back to before the 1970's. There are indeed still lots of good original 70's, 80's, and 90's Colts out there, but unless you know how to spot one for manufacturing flaws I recommend staying away from that era of production.
  13. weisse52

    weisse52 Well-Known Member

    A Colt is always the right answer.

    A new 70 Series re-issue is a close as it get today. (IMHO, so save comments)
    If you find an older one, and they are out there, it will fit your stated criteria to a tee.

    And as I like to say, A Colt is always the right answer.
  14. jdc1244

    jdc1244 Well-Known Member

    To me, a Colt 1911 is worth it.
  15. steelyblue

    steelyblue Well-Known Member

    I think with colt, you are paying for a name. I believe that, short of the highline models, they are all pretty much the same. SA, Colt, and Kimber have minimal differences. I find the one used 1911 that I want and buy it. If I find something to be wrong with it, I get it fixed and try to sell it for what I have in it. This has happened to me with SA's, Colts, but I have had great luck with Kimbers. I will have several people bash my opinions and that is OK, but I still like to give them.

    BTW,any of these pistols can be obtained for $500 - $700 (used), and can usually be sold for the same. When you find one that you shoot well and works properly, it is a keeper!

    Shoot long and prosper!!!!!
  16. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    I love my Colt CCO MkIV, but it clearly has MIM or cast parts (I can see the seam). The mainspring housing was plastic (I swapped that out) as is the trigger (the bows are metal).
  17. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    I will simply state that of the 8 Colts I have, only one has failed to meet my anal-retentive, obsessively meticulous demands for near human perfection in artistic form and irrefutable reliability. It's either right, or it's wrong. Colt's employees even courteously tolerated my phone calls and e-mails as I nervously awaited my sweet-heart's release from the Colt 1911 Urgicare. You think I'm kidding...ask Hunter.

    The saddest part is, it ran right, just not as-accurate-as I demand, and I also demanded better attention to detail of fit. Well, I got just what I asked for from Colt...danged perfection, and I mean "Celia" is the best-looking 1911 I have ever held.

    My wife and daughter now laugh their posteriors off at me because each time I take "Celia" out of the vault, I put her right back with the remorseful retort, "She's too pretty to carry!" :eek: Careful what you ask for in a Colt...you just might get everything you want, but you might not want what you get...beautiful brawn! Who knew they could co-exist in a 1911?!

    Oh yeah, and none of my 8 Colts has failed yet, but "Celia" stole my heart!

    <<Guys...what's that funky white jacket with reeeally long arms and tie-downs doing here? And who are the guys in white coats?! Heeelp! "Celia"!!!>> Snicker, snicker. :eek:
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2007
  18. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Well-Known Member

    There are other brands that satisfy the criteria -- Wilson Combat, for example -- but they cost twice as much or more. So I voted for the Colt.

    BTW -- current Colts do have one or two MIM small parts. Don't remember which two, though.

    ALL Springfield frames and slides are manufactured in Brazil. Whether the pistol says "Made in Brazil" or "Made in USA" on it doesn't change this. The difference is that the "Made in Brazil" guns are final assembled in Brazil and shipped here complete, whereas the others are assembled in the U.S. from parts manufactured in Brazil.
  19. joffe

    joffe Well-Known Member

    Colts have MIM parts.

    Personally, if I wanted a catalog 1911, I'd toss in more money and go to the higher tier - Les Baer, etc.
  20. dsk

    dsk Well-Known Member

    Anybody bother to read my thread? The answers were right there. :)

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