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1911 is outdated?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by The Exile, May 8, 2015.

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  1. The Exile

    The Exile Member

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    I saw an article and a introdcution paragraph had the following warning about 1911 and I wanted to know if it was true.

    "“Now, I shoot a Glock,” Vickers tells me. “Make sure you tell guys that the 1911 is a pain in the ass. If they don’t like messing around with the pistol and spending a grand to really get it tuned, then they should forget it.”

    Modern pistol designs have made the 1911 obsolete in its role as a combat sidearm. It’s finicky and demands constant attention that a warfighter can’t afford to offer. But when it’s tuned and running well, it’s the most accurate pistol out there."
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    IMO:?

    A match tuned 1911 will shoot rings around any Glock ever made as far as accuracy.

    A GI grade, loose as a goose 1911 built to mil-spec is every bit as reliable as any Glock ever made.
    (Though probably not as accurate.)

    Today's hodge-podge 1911 manufactures are not building the mil-spec guns that fought WWI, and WWII, and Korea, and Vietnam.
    They are building either low price point entry level guns?
    Or high price point match guns?

    There is no longer a way to compare a modern today's 1911 with one that was made right under military inspectors, to work under combat conditions in two world wars and so many more police actions.

    Still and all though?
    I'd still rather take a 1911 completely apart in the dark in a muddy fox hole to clean it then a Glock on my workbench in the basement under four big lights!

    rc
     
  3. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Member

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    I love 1911's, but they are outdated. It's a century old design, and things have moved on. Does this mean you shouldn't own a 1911? Absolutely not! I own one, and I love to shoot it. As rcmodel pointed out already, they're marvelously accurate handguns for many shooters.

    But, other designs shoot well, too. And, I'd argue that Glocks, M&Ps, XD's, and other similar firearms are definitely more reliable than 1911's. My department authorizes a variety of handguns for duty use, and the 1911's go down more often than most of the other guns. Go to an IPSC match and watch the shooters running tuned 1911's. They're shooting beautiful, quick, and accurate guns… and I see these guys literally cleaning between stages to keep their guns running.

    Again, I love 1911's, but the design is outdated in terms of its original purpose. Other guns are more reliable, function better under adverse conditions, and carry twice as much ammunition. But, it was absolutely revolutionary at the time that it was first built, and it will always be a cool gun to own, at least in my opinion. And, they can certainly do the job for self defense, it's just that some guns do the job better.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Again.

    Your typical 1911 sold and shot today is not built to mil-spec.

    It is either a tight match-grade gun built for accuracy.
    Or a entry level price-point gun built to compete with the 'plastic guns'.

    And in either case, is not a real mil-spec 1911 you should, and could bet your life on.

    In my 50 years experience, 1911's do Not 'go down' hardly ever.
    I could count on one hand the ones I have repaired do to parts breakage in the last 50 years.
    In the military, and civilian life.

    rc
     
  5. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    *sigh*

    Yet another opinionated article. As far as opinions go...I suppose it's par for the course.

    The short answer to your question is "No, it's not true."

    First of all, it's not a "pain in the *ss". If it were, it would never have survived more than a century as the most popular and well known semi-automatic ever produced, nor would it have been copied and sold at such a rate that no other handgun has ever come close to matching it.

    First of all, most articles such as that fail to mention specifics. They almost always speak in generalities:


    "...the 1911 is a pain in the *ss."

    HOW is it a pain in the keister? What characteristics lead this person to say that? Are these characteristics objective or subjective?


    "...messing around with the pistol and spending a grand to really get it tuned..."

    Mess around with it HOW? Why would it need to be messed around with? Why would it need to be "tuned"? Such comments make it sound like a 1911 is some kind of present that comes with a label that says "some assembly required". Do you really believe this is the case?


    "Modern pistol designs have made the 1911 obsolete in its role as a combat sidearm. It’s finicky and demands constant attention that a warfighter can’t afford to offer. But when it’s tuned and running well, it’s the most accurate pistol out there."

    Really? First of all, this person seems to assume that a sidearm assumes some overriding importance in combat. It does not. It's the least powerful firearm in the world, much less for a soldier in combat. And a combat warrior will not have anywhere near the amount of ammunition for his sidearm that he will for his rifle because of this. And a true 1911 "combat sidearm" is about as reliable a weapon as you'll ever find because it's specifically designed to shoot the ammo that the combat veteran will be feeding it and in the conditions the combat warrior will be operating in. It does not NEED to be "tuned" because the 1911 combat sidearm is going to go "BANG!" every time the combat warrior pulls the trigger with that ammunition loaded in it. And a combat warrior doesn't need extreme accuracy with a sidearm. Anything that's far enough away from him to require any kind of accuracy is going to be on the receiving end of his rifle. And anything closer than that doesn't require competition level accuracies to hit.

    The LAST thing a combat warrior would want in the field with him is some kind of highly tuned sidearm with tolerances so tight that the filthy real-world combat conditions will cause it to jam or otherwise be unreliable.


    In the end, what this person said illustrates to me a basic level of ignorance and bias that makes me roll my eyes at everything he has posted. And, quite frankly, the opening statement of "Now, I shoot a Glock..." immediately put me on edge.

    Don't get me wrong...Glock has a well established, and well deserved, reputation. In fact, I wouldn't mind owning one if it weren't for the fact that I think they're uglier than sin. But there are quite a lot of Glock owners out there who just come across as rude, crude, and socially unacceptable on this matter.


    And for the record...I'd take him on in a contest of reliability and accuracy with stock, straight-out-of-the-box unmodified low budget comparison between his Glock and my Colt 1991A1. In nearly a quarter century, I can't recall having any issues at all with reliability or accuracy.


    :)
     
  6. PabloJ

    PabloJ member

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    For target or range use no for duty or carry use yes.
     
  7. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    Again

    Not again. Alas.
    An article by someone who does not know what he is talking about. Not really.
    Outdated? What does that mean anyway?
    Perhaps capacity? Only seven rounds? That would make the Glock 36 outdated also.
    Materials? Steel is outdated? Steel is bad? Nuh-uh.
    Trigger? 1911 triggers, even bad ones, are better than the best Glock triggers....at least in my experience.
    Accuracy.....I haven't met a 1911 that was less accurate than a Glock.
    (Not to pick on Glocks....I like and own and use Glocks. It is a handy example.)
    And so on..
    Pete
     
  8. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    There are lots of polite ways to say this. I'll skip those.

    The 1911 is a fine design. It has lasted over a century, is still produced in mass quantities and if most companies would take the time to do it right instead of cutting corners, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The design is like common sense and manners. Still highly useful and appreciated, but most people today can't be bothered with silly things like those. If you're too lazy to maintain a piece of equipment, the 1911 might not be for you. If you're too stupid to learn seventh grade mechanics and understand how it works, the 1911 might not be for you. If you're such a lemming that you have to have an opinion writer make up your mind for you (extolling the latest trend, which they were PAID to do), then the 1911 might not be for you.

    If you actually shoot one and decide you don't like it, fine. But the notion that it's obsolete is foolishness.
     
  9. PabloJ

    PabloJ member

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    Outdated simply means more expensive or too expensive to make. This is especially important with respect to military firearms. I suspect that is why when it comes to large bore handguns the G21 is now the "Gold Standard".
     
  10. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Remember that this is the same Vickers who made money teaching classes on the 1911. Somebody stopped writing checks, he bailed and found another sugar-daddy.
     
  11. Silverado6x6

    Silverado6x6 Member

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    I guess i will have to pass up a deal on a 1958 Corvette, its too old to keep up with modern traffic....
     
  12. SwaneeSR

    SwaneeSR Member

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    This is that same silly conversation......

    You all have a right to express your opinion. I do not think you can lump a whole class of firearms into one bucket and definitely say all are one thing or another.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  13. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    This is the cry that we hear most often, and while I'm sure that a few people have had a 1911 or two that it applies to...that hasn't been my experience...and I've been dancin' with Johnny's Toy for a bit over 50 years.

    I've run into a few that didn't behave, but...assuming that a previous owner hadn't grabbed a Dremel and had at it...the issue was most often simple in origin and just as simple to cure.

    To be perfectly honest, if a gunsmith charges a thousand dollars to
    solve a feed/RTB or extraction/ejection problem with a gun that hasn't had the attentions of Dremel Dan or Butcher Bob, he's ripping you off...and I've known of a few who did just that by claiming that the pistol "needed" to be rebuilt from the ground up when all it actually needed was a little extractor work or to have a couple warts knocked off.

    Sometimes it's as simple as the magazine. I wish I had a dollar for every 1911 pistol that I've "fixed" by doing no more than handing the disgruntled owner a few of my magazines and having him try again...only to see a opuzzled expression on his face when his problems vanish.

    Even the accursed plunger tube issue that plagues so many could be avoided with the proper left-side grip panel that supports the tube firmly from below to keep the stress off the legs, and from the side so that...just in case it does loosen...stays in place until the panel is removed.

    Recently...in the last 8-10 years or so...failure to go to/return to battery issues that have come to my attention are caused by excessive extractor deflection. In layman's terms, it means that there's way yonder too much of the case rim's tensioning wall showing in the breechface area...and when that's present, fiddling with the tension can drive one nearly 'round the bend before the gun will run reliably, if it ever does. In these cases, the only options are to alter the extractor, or buy a new one that's within spec...or buy one with an oversized front pad that allows the installer to locate the wall and claw relative to the breechface centerline correctly.

    And...for the record...none of the extractors in any of my pistols have required attention beyond periodic removal for cleaning in many years and many tens of thousands of rounds. I attribute that to my use of proper magazines that don't lose control of the cartridges and force the extractor to climb the rim as the round chambers.
     
  14. Ash

    Ash Member

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    No matter how modern folks think their pistol of choice is, there is nothing at all new under the sun. Nothing. No, really, nothing in handguns is new.

    Polymer frames are the newest idea - and that is a 40 year old idea. All the magical innovations are nothing more than cost-cutting features. The SIG-designed upgrade to the Browning barrel, which is 80 years old now, is just that, a cost-cutting feature. It brings nothing else to the table better than the locking-lugs of the Browning design. Indeed, it takes away from the table because the designs are necessarily blocky, making them less concealable than a similar round-topped Browning type slide.

    As to innovation, think of a Glock or M&P. Striker-fired autos are now in the 100 year territory, so that method of ignition is geriatric. The safety on the trigger was introduced in the 1920's or 30's and is itself 80 years old. The double-box magazine is 90 years old. Modifications of the double-action-only type action are just as old.

    The only difference between the new plastic fantastics and the 1911 is in complication, primarily in take down and the swinging link. The 1911 is not as easy to take down and clean. The trouble is, that has nothing to do with usefulness or obsolescence. Also, a 1911 user has no trouble with stripping one for cleaning.

    And that pesky swinging link, while in my opinion unneeded, is hardly enough to damn the entire platform to some dusty shelf.

    Obsolescence comes only when some feature renders the entire firearm vastly slower or inferior to what replaces it. Black-powder percussion revolvers are obsolete. Single-shot martial rifles are obsolete. Bolt action repeaters as general-service arms are obsolete.

    One might say that mercury thermometers became obsolete when new digital thermometers came on the market. While they take time, nothing is as accurate or trustworthy or rugged as the old mercury stick. I keep one because when you have to trust the reading, nothing beats the incontrovertible laws of physics.

    I have an antebellum house. The floor joists were hand-cut with an adze axe. The nails are all square nails. The studs are true 2 inches by 4 inches. The corners are notched-and-pinned. The walls are solid wood...everywhere. The kitchen was once a separate building. Every corner is a 4x6 and the rafters are notched and pinned into the corners. Middle studs run diagonally giving rigidity to the structure. Rather than being mere sheets to cover studs, the walls provide additional structure to the house. The building methods and materials in that house would be called obsolete today (and yet, almost 200 years later, it still stands). Granted, indoor plumbing is very nice as is central heat and air (although, it never really gets all that hot in the house in the middle of a south-Mississippi summer, they put it in exactly the right spot for an inversion). And while the construction might be obsolete today, I dare say that old place is far better built than anything on the market today.

    The 1978 Ford I use as a farm truck might not compare well to a 2015 Ford in comfort or fuel economy, but it is far simpler to run and repair. When hauling loads to the dump or picking up lumber, it does everything asked of it equally as well (and without a plethora of computers and sensors to fail).

    There is nothing about the 1911 design that makes it in any way inferior in performance or reliability to the newest single-stack Glock. Webster claims that to be obsolete, the thing must be no longer used or useful. Can we really say that of a 1911?
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  15. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    True.

    Another thing that always bugs me is when people say "1911s are……"

    To me that's like saying "All plastic guns……". There are too many different guns being produced at different price points by different manufacturers. You can't blanket compare "1911" to another brand of gun. Sure, you can compare Kimber or Colt 1911s to another brand of handgun, but not the blanket design of 1911.
     
  16. critter

    critter Member

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    Yeah, they are passe. That is the reason they aren't made any more! (Sarcasm!)
     
  17. drband

    drband Member

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    Pick up a 1911, hold it, cycle the slide, pull the trigger. Pick up a Glock (or any striker-fired pistol), hold it, cycle the slide, pull the trigger.
    1911 wins.
    Any questions?
    It does take an honest person to do the comparison IMHO.
     
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    The 1911 is by far my favorite auto pistol. Mine haven't gotten the word that they don't work, so they just keep on working. They fit my hand, are slim, are a simple design, are easy to field strip or detail strip, and can be as accurate as you want them to be. If by outdated one means they are a single stack, well then so be it, they are outdated. The average round count in a typical gunfight is still under the mag capacity of a 1911, and I don't lay awake at night worrying about fighting off entire gangs.

    There is still a huge demand for these pistols, for a reason. Don't like them? Fine by me. :)
     
  19. ACP

    ACP Member

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    Everyone has an opinion, as you can see here -- including Larry Vickers. I understand he may have a broader range of experience than some.

    My answer is "no."

    You can Google all of the special response law enforcement units using
    1911s, not Glocks. That is for a reason.

    You can also Google all the PDs switching to Glocks, S&Ws or some other hi-cap polymer DAO gun. That is for a reason too.

    BTW, I think that Vickers comment is several years old... but he'll still sell you one of his... for $5,000.. in 2012 dollars. From his website:

    8. Do you still sell custom 1911′s?

    I occasionally have pistols I built available for sale after my gunsmithing classes or 1911′s I built years ago that the owners want to sell. The best bet is to contact me via my website to be placed on a list for the next available pistol. Being placed on the list however does not mean you will get a gun just that your name is in the hat. And be forewarned they are not cheap – prices start at $5000 for even a fairly basic gun.

    :what:
     
  20. HexHead

    HexHead Member

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    Do you even know who Larry Vickers is? Here's some comments he made about the HK 45 he and Ken Hackerthorn were largely responsible for developing....

    http://pistol-training.com/articles/hk45-interview-with-ken-hackathorn-and-larry-vickers
     
  21. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    According to whom?
     
  22. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    I am with R C and Tuner on this. The 1911 is my go to fighting pistol. I like CZ's but forced to choose, 1911for the win.
    Im always suspicious of operators who trot out their credentials for financial gain.
     
  23. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Another vote for the 1911. Certainly every gun out there will eventually be overtaken by something new and improved (and that includes Glock and HK products as well), but for me the 100+ year old design of the 1911 has stod the test of time and come out of it a clear winner. And it still meets, and exceeds, what I want in a .45 ACP pistol.
     
  24. HDCamel

    HDCamel Member

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    The naysayers' comments on the 1911's reliability are, unfortunately, true (to one extent or another) for the vast majority of pistols produced today due to a wide variance in production standards and design specs. It's for this reason that I tend to refer to any non-Colts as "1911-pattern pistols" even if they're as good or better. In a sense, Vickers is right in that one needs to be their own armorer to some extent if you're going to buy a 1911-pattern.

    That being said, they're usually easy fixes. A tune of an extractor here, a stroke of the file there, etc. Also, most people don't understand the complexities of magazine design and its relationship to the gun and the ammo being used. They just go "these mags are expensive, therefore they must be good".

    So you kind of do need to be an enthusiast to get into the 1911, but only because a certain level of expertise is necessary to sift through all the BS that's piled up around it for the last 100 years.

    Like trench coats and Converse All Stars, the 1911 will never go out of style.
     
  25. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Member

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    There's a lot more to who Larry is and why his opinion on the matter weighs heavier than those whose 1911 experience consists of a range trip every now and then to blast off a box or two of ammo...

    http://vickerstactical.com/about-larry-vickers-2/about-larry-vickers/

    What a lot of people don't know is that Larry is quite possibly one of the top 1911 pistolsmiths in the country and has forgotten more about the 1911 than most here will ever know.

    Aside from his involvement in the HK 1911 project (which turned into the HK45), he also was a critical component of the design and development of the HK416. He has used a wide range of firearms in some intense situations in undesirable parts of the world. He has a wide range of experience with firearms that most of us will never see, yet they reside in his collection.

    At the end of the day, he is a prime example of a Small Arms Expert.

    To be fair, he has made a living in recent years through endorsements (DSA, Daniel Defense, BCM, etc.), but his comments regarding the 1911 were made long before he ever teamed up with Glock to incorporate the Vickers brand into their special offerings. You have to separate the wheat from the chaff sometimes, but frankly, his comments regarding the 1911 are gleaned from his experiences.

    I remember him saying "If you treat your pistol like you treat your lawnmower, get a Glock."

    I enjoy shooting the 1911, but I absolutely hate owning them. It's a constant state of ongoing monitoring and in my opinion, the juice (while sweet & tangy) isn't worth the squeeze.
     
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