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I'm Giving Up On 1911s

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MagnumDweeb, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. MagnumDweeb

    MagnumDweeb Well-Known Member

    I tried so very hard to become a 1911 fiend. But I'm giving up on them. Last night did it for me. A friend of mine bought one of the latest Sig 1911s (a nearby shop had a deal on them) and we met up after work to try it out. I hadn't brought my problem child Spartan (I have two, one works great, the other needs work and time I haven't been able to bring myself to put into it), instead I only brought my S&W 15-3 and Rossi 462.

    My friend supposedly oiled the gun and everything so it was wet. I could feel a film of oil on the gun when I picked it up. We got two magazines into it and then the headaches started. A stove pipe, easy to clear, a few shots, then a a lock back there was an empty mag but there were rounds left. Then jam, then jam, a couple shots, then jam.

    Out of a hundred rounds it jammed at least two dozen times. We got through three mags without issues and it started again. I vice gripped the damn gun thinking maybe it was limp writing but it did it on me too. Then I tried each hand to see if maybe when I was shooting left handed I was knocking the slide catch somehow.

    This did not inspire confidence. My buddy hadn't shot it before last night, the mags were what came with it. Maybe he got one of the bad ones and Sig will make it right but after two different 1911s giving me problems. My faith is shaken something awful.

    I flat give up on 1911s. I'm going to Glock for .45 ACP needs via a Glock 21. I'd been playing with the idea for a bit and thought about the Sig 220 but after so many easy years with my Glock 20, I'm just going to do the Glock 21.

    I'm sure I'll eventually get my second Spartan running right but I won't trust it, so it'll get converted to .38 Super and used as a range toy. And I've got plenty range toys, no danger of a shortage there my friend. My Ruger 90 has been solid as a bank vault when it comes to reliability and while it's not the best shooter I've ever fired in .45 ACP, it'll still get fifty rounds on a 11"x8" piece of paper at fifty yards. Though the groupings may not be tight or pretty, the gun goes bang every time.

    The pursuit of the 1911 was fun but....it wasn't me. I'm a Magnum Dweeb. It's all about hand cannons and ridiculous velocities. Spend a little more time with my Ruger SRH .454 Casull. Get a few more revolvers, and stop pursuing semis after 2014 (after getting a Glock 21 and Remington R51).

    Oh 1911, I tried to love you but like a feral mutt brought in from the cold, you turned and bit me with malice where I only wanted to welcome you. So alas two of your platform shall reside in my safe. One .45 ACP, one .38 Super. And while I will take you to the range and perhaps smile after a good day of shooting. I will still in my heart, fear your unreliable streak waiting for when I should need you most and so I will not carry you to where I am not at the range. Adieu.
  2. JTQ

    JTQ Well-Known Member

    Good for you. You've found what you like and are sticking with it. There is no law that says you have to have, or like a 1911.

    I'm often intrigued by the posts from guys that complain about their 1911's. Why is it so heavy, why does it carry only 8 rounds, why does the finish rust so easily, why do I have to oil it so much, why don't all the parts drop in, this safety/cocked and locked stuff it too complicate/scary, etc.?

    Hey, all guns have limitations. Those are some of the limitations of the 1911. However, those that appreciate the good characteristics of the 1911 are often willing to put up with those limitations because the things it does well, out weighs the limitations.
  3. Fremmer

    Fremmer Well-Known Member

    Feral mutt, lol that's harsh. But I don't blame you after what you've been through.

    How about a Sig 220 SAO?
  4. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    Sounds to me like your problem is with Sig not setting the gun up properly. If a 1911 is done right it is VERY reliable. The design is very very good. But too many companies are just slapping them together and boxing them up to sell to the masses. And Sig is not the only one doing it. A decent pistolsmith can fix all of the problems. Of course they shouldn't have to if the manufacturer did it right in the first place. It's the basic problem of mass production and building to a price point.
  5. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Anybody notice that we seldom see malfunction complaints about 1911 platform pistols that were made to the original government/Colt blueprints and material specifications prior to about 1975 or '80?

    It's the later guns, made by lord knows how many manufacturers who tweek things to make the pistol tighter or easier to make. In itself, tightness isn't bad, but it requires careful attention by an experienced 'smith that's seldom seen in a mass produced product.

    What we see today are pistols that (sort of) look like the real thing, but aren't. Most can be made to work, but don't expect it out-of-the-box.

    A sad situation, but that's the way it is. :banghead:
  6. Glocktogo

    Glocktogo Well-Known Member

    Take an in-spec frame and slide, correctly fit barrel and extractor, quality internal parts and magazines, and a 1911 is just as reliable as any other pistol. The problem comes when so many manufacturers cut corners on the really important stuff to sell a "pretty" 1911 at a palatable price. Either that or they want to sell one that will print tiny groups at the sacrifice of reliability. To build a tough, reliable, accurate, pretty 1911 costs money and takes skill.

    I've always said that to be a satisfied 1911 guy, you really need to understand the how and why of it's operation, along with the basic skills necessary to fit parts and/or tune them. Not because 1911's are inherently unreliable, but because unreliable manufacturers build them.
  7. Old Dog

    Old Dog Well-Known Member

    Let me get this straight: you're giving up on 1911s because a friend's brand-new 1911, right out of the box with no break-in, and one of your entry-level 1911s, that you admittedly haven't spent time with, didn't function?

    Does it really need to be mentioned on a gun board with so many knowledgeable 1911 guys that the 1911 requires a certain level of commitment? Like buying a Harley and then deciding it's junk after the first time it has an issue because you haven't even learned rudimentary bike maintenance and have never figured out how it works?

    Ah well, more 1911s for the rest of us, those of us for whom the platform fits our hands like no other pistol, and for those who truly appreciate that there is nothing better than a good 1911 trigger ...
  8. tarosean

    tarosean Well-Known Member

    I was scratching my head on that one too. C'est la vie..

    Course if I listened to the inter web I wouldn't own guns period, as they all purportedly suck... :scrutiny:
  9. critter

    critter Well-Known Member

    I'm down to about 10 1911's in .45, .40, . 357 SIG, .38 super and 9mm. I've owned several more. All that I have and most that I've had are dead-nuts reliable. I'd trust any one that I have for a save-my-life carry gun.

    Brands: Colt, Ruger, Ed Brown, Les Baer, Springfield, Kimber, Para Ordnance, 'smith built on Essex frame and Cart barrel. Accuracy varies from pretty good to fantastic.

    That's why they build all kinds of guns. To each his own.
  10. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Well-Known Member

    Slides need grease. Oil won't last in that application.
  11. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Well-Known Member

    I've had four 1911 style pistols over the years.

    My first was a Paraordnance P12-45. I've shot the hell out of it and it works great.

    The second was a little Colt Mustang .380. Only problem I ever had with it was when my thumb would touch the slide stop lever during recoil. Once I learned to not do that, it ran great.

    Third gun was one of those Phillipines-made government models. I sold it because the hammer bit my hand and I hated the sights. It ran like a top though.

    My latest is a Springfield Mil-Spec, the one with the modern sights and the slightly-modified hammer profile that's less likely to bite you. I replaced the flawed magazine that came with it, and after that? I've yet to see any behavior from it other than a predictable BANG, and a big hole where the sights were pointed when it happened.

    None of these guns were fancy, and two of them were bought used. I honestly think I've been lucky.

    The extent of my 1911 gunsmithing skills involves occasional recoil and magazine spring replacement, occasional cleaning, a trace of purple motorcycle grease and a couple of drops of synthetic motor oil for lube. I detail-stripped the Para after I dropped it into a mud puddle once, and I'm still proud that I got all the pieces back together without breaking anything or hurting myself.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  12. tomrkba

    tomrkba Well-Known Member

    Six of the eight 1911's I have owned were bad. My EMP was bad until SA fixed it twice. Only the Colts were good. So, six out of nine were crud, two were fine and one was OK for awhile. I could have had an Heirloom Precision gun for that.

    This is not a good track record. It makes it difficult for me to shell out another $1,100+ for a new Colt when I can get a Glock 21 Gen 4 for $675 OTD.
  13. Robert101

    Robert101 Well-Known Member

    I feel your pain. I too fell in love with the 1911 only to be disappointed by having some reliability issues. One of my DW's had to make a return trip to them for fixes. I still own a few of them, that do function well, and will for life.
  14. PJSprog

    PJSprog Well-Known Member

    Break-in? Really?

    Yeah ... like a revolver. If your gun needs a "break-in" period of even one round, you should have bought a better gun.

    Now, I'm admittedly new to the 1911 platform, having only owned mine for about two years. It's a Rock Island - one that most here consider a cheapie - but it has functioned flawlessly for me. I've read for years all the complaints against 1911's, and that's mostly what has kept me away ... well, that and prices of the "good" guns. But, I'll never understand the mentality that a gun of any kind, much less one designed for the military and carried in battle for 75 years, needs a "break-in." That is truly ridiculous to me.
  15. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Well-Known Member

    While my 1991A1 doesn't quite fit this description (series 80 and all that), it's a basic, no frills 1911 from Colt, and as usual, RC is spot on. That thing will even load empty straight from the magazine. I actually load them in there to do malt-clearing drills at the range because that's the only way to get it to not fire, and even then, the empties still chamber perfectly. I haven't yet met a round of ammo that gun wouldn't feed, fire and eject perfectly.
    And for the record, I have never ever lubed it with grease. It just gets lubed lightly with Militec.
  16. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Well-Known Member

    I have two examples of the 1911 series pistol a Colt and a Springfield. Both are not problematic as long as I use ball equivalent 230Gr-FMJ. With the 200Gr-SWC load its a problem in both of them. The same 200Gr-SWC load utilized in a Glock-21, S&W 4506 and SW99 no problems. With the 1911 series pistols everyone seems to have their favorite brand of after market magazines. That's my story.
  17. Old Dog

    Old Dog Well-Known Member

    One supposes that you do not realize the unintentional irony of this statement. So in your mind, you simply pay for your gun, take it out of the box, load it up, and you're ready to defend hearth and home?

    Well, "truly ridiculous" to you, yet something a great many folks who know a great deal about semi-auto handguns understand.
  18. Fishbed77

    Fishbed77 Well-Known Member

    It's a shame you're giving up on a whole class of handguns because of two bad examples. The last few 1911s I've had much experience with (all Colts and Springfields) were boringly reliable.

    To each his own, though. I will say my brother's SW1911 has sucked since day one (constant failures to go into battery).
  19. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Well-Known Member

    I guess this will get me in trouble with the 1911 lovers, but I'm no longer excited about them either. Had a Kimber and a Springfield and they were good guns and served me well in the past. But, with the newer lines of .45 ACP pistols, I prefer my XD45, and even my Kahr CW45 over any of the 1911 guns I've owned. It's sad I know because the 1911 is a tried and true platform.

    So, fire away fellas because I'm a bit bummed at myself for turning away from such a wonderful pistol line that has served gunnies well for many years.
  20. PJSprog

    PJSprog Well-Known Member

    Irony? It's irony to you that I think a firearm should work? I expect when I buy a new firearm that it will work. In the same manner that I expect a new automobile to run, not leave me stranded on the side of the road every so often until the "break-in period" is over. They are tested before they leave the factory. They should work. Immediately. Everything else in our lives that fails to work when new is called a lemon or broken. Why is this different for a firearm?
    I'm sure you know more about 1911s than do I. That's not hard to accomplish, as I've already noted my lack of long experience with them. New to semis? Nope. I haven't had one yet that malfunctions on even an irregular basis.

    Those who expect their firearms to fail and just accept it as a quirk of that particular platform are, in my opinion, doing a great deal of dis-service to the rest of the firearms community. Stop accepting this, and demand better.

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