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1911 Reliability for Self Defense?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Fisherman12, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    I'm not sure what that means, especially in the context of .45acp. There's NO double stack. 45acp auto, ESPECIALLY double actions, that are comfortable for me to fire one handed, and I wouldn't consider a handgun that couldn't be fired effectively one handed.

    For me, the M1911 is the perfect grip size for a semi-auto .45.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2019
  2. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    A double stack 45 feels just fine one handed to me, glock 21 and similar.
    What i meant about capacity to weight ratio is if im looking at a 40+ oz semi auto i expect better than 7 +1. A glock 30 holds 10+1 and is less than half the weight.
    1911 feels great in my hand too, feels arent everything. Just because a certain gun doesnt fit you doesnt mean its not a superior choice for others and those who choose to train up on one that may not feel as natural. No 1911 hate here, i just know the platform and its short comings.
     
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  3. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Some funny crap gets spun in 1911 reliability threads that I love.
    1911 size and weight detractors only recognize 5" steel guns but will lump 3" alloy in for reliability.

    Also some folks want every 1911 from the 30+ manufacturers to work with every mag from the 100s of manufacturers.
    Biggest problem is many of these manufacturers and the 1911 Smith's of the world think they're smarter than JMB.
     
  4. Fisherman12

    Fisherman12 Member

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    I don't buy the "capacity to weight ratio" thing. I prefer larger/heavier guns for any given capacity or caliber because they're easier to shoot quickly with accuracy. I like to conceal the biggest/heaviest pistol I am willing to carry consistently. The shootability of the 1911 outweighs any capacity concerns for me. It's not hard to reload, either. Would I rather it hold more? Sure, but it's not a deal breaker. I'd rather have a 7rd government sized 1911 than a 7 round 9mm polymer micro-gun that kicks more and is more difficult to shoot as quickly and accurately (assuming the same reliability, which is my only reservation with the 1911).

    My Glock 21 Gen 4 seems to be the best of all worlds though, with high capacity, light weight, large size, and soft recoil.
     
  5. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    Indeed I would best most of the ones i owned would do so just fine, given quality ammo and mags. I always run Wilson's (i have 47D and ETM) and CMC Shooting stars. New guns mags just get tossed in the bin and I start with known "good" mags. Though the checkmate flush fit 8 rounders my VBob came with work just fine.

    Looking over my logs of my current guns, my VBob has just shy of 5K on it. I think I probably have 5 jams on it, 3 or so the first range session after a few hundred when the tight fitting rails gummed up. And one or two since with my handloads, most likely due more to my loading failure than the gun.

    My Kimber Warrior has just over 2K and has 2 jams, both with my handloads, and relatively recently. I recall clearly because it had never stopped before that so both were notable, and again likely due to my handloading, though I did replace the recoil spring just in case and haven't had an issue since.

    My only other current .45 1911(ish) is a R1 enhanced double stack with just shy of 1K rounds in it. No failures of any kind yet, mostly running mec gar Para 14.45 mags (which I like better than the Remington ones it came with).

    I'd carry any of the 3 with confidence, have carried all 3 in fact.

    Looking at the dates... I've really been neglecting my 1911s this year! Barely shot them at all since about February. That darned Glock 19X and Sig 226 have eaten all my range time!
     
  6. Obturation
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    Obturation Contributing Member

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    I've learned through the years of internet chats two things for sure that apply to this thread.
    1. The 1911 was designed and handed down by god himself , anyone with a negative comment no matter what it is has blasphemed and should hang by their toes until dead.
    2. People will form their own opinions and disregard all others as nonsense if they dont want to hear it.
    That said, i will remove myself from all 1911 conversations on this platform as aparently i have a disorder that results in truth (from my experience and opinions)oozing from my mouth and that gets some people uneasy.
     
  7. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I usually opt for pocket carry but I do occasionally carry my 1911. If I were going to carry one everyday or carry it as a duty gun, I would recommend the following

    The slide and frame and barrel lockup should have generous clearances
    It should have new springs of good quality with full tension, both the recoil spring and leaf spring.
    The bullets need to be pretty round in profile
    I would want one with a ramped barrel
    External spring loaded extractor is a plus
    Use a good mag and test it with the ammo you use

    These things in my experience will solve a lot of the reliability problems.
     
  8. imashooter

    imashooter Member

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    I consider all my 1911s (.45acp), to include my two 3.5" ones, to be fully reliable for self defense, carry, etc. If they weren't, I wouldn't have them. Most places I go I carry the smaller, however, if I know ahead of time where I'll be at a location where a bit more range would be nice to have, I'll carry a 5". I typically carry two additional magazines. IMO, I maintain all my firearms at a high state of readiness. But in the end, they're all mechanical devices so who knows what can happen at the most inopportune time. If I go to "town" or farther (15 miles), I carry a little backup .32 pistol in my front pants pocket.
     
  9. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    My Springfield getting in the 600-700 round range the ejection pattern may have some odd ones thrown out. Case thrown forward, straight up being the two. That's my indicator to remove the extractor and clean the channel of the carbon build-up.
     
  10. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Kind of like Imashooter wrote, if a handgun isn't reliable, I will either make it become reliable, or I will get rid of it (probably give it away to a friend or relative who is more mechanically adept).

    22's are an exception. They are just range toys or plinkers, so an occasional malfunction doesn't really matter.

    So my half dozen or so 1911's or 1911 "style" pistols will all go through 50 rounds without a bobble (unless it's bad ammo) anytime I ask them to. So will all of my other center-fire handguns. There are some that I definitely prefer for CC or HD, but if they aren't reliable, I just won't keep them.

    I've been shooting handguns regularly for about 40 years and haven't found 1911's to be either less or more reliable than any other category of center-fire semiautomatic handgun.

    To go off topic and invite the torches and pitchforks, I have found that my revolvers are more reliable, but I'm just trolling. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  11. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    There aren't 100's of 1911 magazine manufacturers. Only about seven worth considering. That's it.
    • Checkmate
    • Mec-Gar
    • Wilson
    • Power Mag
    • Tripp Industries
    • Metalform
    • McCormick
    Most 1911 manufacturers use one of these because that's what works in their pistols. If you have any doubts call the pistol manufacturer and ask them what they recommend. JMB didn't build 1911's, he just designed it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  12. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    McCormick makes the PowerMag ( https://www.cmcproducts.com/Power-Mag_c_54.html ). Perhaps you were thinking of something else.

    Wilson, by the way now owns McCormick.

    While there may not be 100 makers of 1911 magazines (though there certainly sure could be), the ones you've listed are all pretty good choices, but there are lots of mags available without those brands that can be had at just about any gun show across the US or on eBay.
     
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  13. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    That's cool. We'll be fine without you.

    I don't try to convince folks to like 1911's anymore. Either you get them, or you don't. If you don't, that's just fine.
     
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  14. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    I speak only for myself. If a Desert Eagle is comfortable in somebody else's hand, that's irrelevant to me.
     
  15. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    I find a Glock 21 perfectly fine for one hand use myself. A double stack 1911? Not as great. It works but with my R1 I gotta be careful of my grip or I pull off the grip safety.
     
  16. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Agreed. I wasn't considering the ones made in Pakistan, China or Uzbekistan.:D
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  17. DaStray

    DaStray Member

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    I had a Colt Defender in .45 that wasn`t reliable enough for me to fully trust either. It would shoot lighter weight bullets best (165/185 gr) but would usually choke on 230gr. Most reliable round was the WWB 185 gr flat point target loads which surprised me since they are flat points. I may have kept it if I could`ve found a reliable good defensive round but alas, it wasn`t to be. I would usually get 1-2 malfunctions per range trip even with the lighter weight bullets. I`d even bought Wilson Combat mags with no difference in reliability.
    I realize that short barrel 1911`s are generally finicky about ammo choices. Speer Gold Dot 200 gr made it a single shot pistol and I literally gave away the rest of the box of the Gold Dots.
    I traded it away for a Ruger PC 9, even trade, and couldn`t be happier as the Defender sat in the gun safe for a couple of years as I`d quit taking it to the range.
     
  18. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    After shooting tens of thousands of rounds of 45 ACP through various 1911's, I have developed some opinions about the pistol for self defense. One opinion is, I prefer a double action revolver. No flippers, levers, safeties. Just pull the trigger and it goes bang. I like the simplicity.

    I have a number of 1911's, but I am convinced the only real fighting 1911 is the original configuration that John Browning designed. That is, a series 70 action. Based on my firing pin stop malfunctions in my series 80 1911's, I don't want one in a combat pistol. And that includes the Swartz firing pin block. I have not shot my 9mm 1911 enough to prove the reliability of the Swartz one way or another, but I did take the slide mounted block out. And the weapon is a target pistol.

    KdNllQ0.jpg

    I also don't like beavertails or those long safeties that came around with beavertails.

    bvLj1Gy.jpg

    Those ambi safeties are often found "Off", when you think they are "On", and they will bump "On" when you think they are "Off". I have had a 1911 safety roll on while shooting. That sure was a surprise, the pistol would not go bang and I had to stop and puzzle that out. A bud of mine is the Range Master at a local indoor range. Bud was also a Bullseye Shooter in the Army reserves, so he has seen a lot. He has seen many 1911's at his range where the shooter bumped the safety on, while shooting. It is my opinion that those long lever safeties are there for quick draw games, and will get you killed in the real world.

    The original 1911 configuration did not have beavertails. It was not carried cocked and locked. The pistol was carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer down. The trick is to get the hammer down without slipping. I use two hands in lowering the hammer. The trigger finger hand is not used for anything but the trigger. The major source of accidental discharges is when someone tries to lower the hammer with the shooting hand thumb. The hammer slips and then, bang! I am a righty, and the middle finger of my left hand is under the hammer when I pull the trigger. The forefinger is between the hammer and hammer spur. I pull the middle finger out, control the hammer with my fore finger, lower the hammer more, and I finally get the hammer down.

    As I wrote, the pistol was carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer down. Upon presentation, when the pistol was removed from the flap holster, the hammer was thumb cocked. Early 1911's have wide hammer spurs and the grip tang is not in the way when thumb cocking the hammer. I would not trust carrying a cocked and locked 1911, I think the only safe way to carry the thing is hammer down. It is up to you whether you carry it with a round in the chamber, but I am not going to carry it cocked with a round in the chamber. The safeties on the A1 version can still be bumped accidentally, but it does take much more effort than an extended safety.

    bYTfb5t.jpg

    gtPckYj.jpg

    If I were to carry a 1911 for a self defense weapon, I would carry something like the RIA, but with better fixed sights. However, the over layout is what I consider adequate for a single action self defense auto. I would have no problem thumb cocking the thing, at least I think I would have no problem thumb cocking the thing. Once I got the hammer back, I would be ready to rock and roll. And I would not have some stupid firing pin safety jam the pistol, and I would not have some extended safety to accidentally bump into the "safe" position.
     
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  19. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    If you grip the gun correctly, chances of the thumb safety accidentally being activated is almost impossible.

    Doug Koenig on how to grip an auto pistol. Note where his right hand thumb goes.

     
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  20. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    I daresay you'll get some disagreement on this when the East coast and Midwest members wake up and trudge to their computers, coffee in hand ...

    Condition 3 was the military doctrine for carry of the 1911 for pretty much the entire time it was the issue of our armed forces; I have seen on the internet where anonymous posters claimed that Condition 2 was once the proscribed condition of carry, but have never seen credible documentation of such. I can tell you that during my time on active duty, commencing in the late '70s up through 2005 (and I was with units issued the 1911 through 1994), Condition 3 was the ONLY carry condition allowed until such time one actually needed to bring the pistol into action ...

    Finally, I suspect that 99% of those that actually carry a 1911 routinely use Condition 1. I know that all of the PNW law enforcement officers I've worked with who are allowed to carry the 1911, carry cocked and locked -- as does every citizen I know who carries one. Some of us trust our pistols and our chosen holsters.
     
  21. Praxidike

    Praxidike Member

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    Stupid question here.. I'm not sure if it's been brought up yet. If you own several other guns that meet your requirements, why waste time, money, and tens of thousands of rounds trying to find a 1911 that meets your requirements? Especially when it seems that you personally have the worst luck with regards to reliability with 1911s. Is it for looks, bragging rights, what?

    I only put a few hundred though any new carry gun before I carry, and then I take it to the range periodically thereafter... On top of that, I only carry revolver or single stack 7 rounder instead of 30+ rounds of ammo and a backup gun... After reading rationales and listening to experts on the Inet, I'm just grateful to have survived long enough to tell about it.
     
  22. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Thanks for your service to our country. You came in to the military in a bad time, the 1970's were a hollow decade for the military. A bud of mine, his unit was so underfunded that they spent their month's fuel bill just taking the unit to the motor pool to be refueled! I am surprised you left in 2005 as the military was running short of cannon fodder for Iraq/Afghanistan. All the services were having to drop their recruiting standards down to the level that criminals who were not too bad, were being admitted.

    Anyway, as far back as your service goes, I doubt you ever met any active duty individual whose service started prior, or in, WW1. Maybe if you had been in the service in the 1950's you would have met someone, but I am pretty sure, by the late 1950's anyone who was there during Pershing's Mexican Expedition, was pretty much gone.

    I claim that the 1911 was designed to be carried round in the chamber and hammer down. I don't have the original design documents, but I have documentation from pre WW1 which described the required mode of carry. I have posted images here:


    Designed to be carried Cocked and Locked: Not!

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/designed-to-be-carried-cocked-and-locked-not.502877/

    https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...-1911-good-and-bad.754073/page-4#post-9513050

    I have also talked to enough bud's to know, accidental discharges happened with every pistol issued by the military with military servicemen. No doubt with your long service, you found your chain of command was pretty "no tolerant" of accidents, and just one incident would ruin the career of a commanding officer. The no fault nature of the military has created a Safety uber allies culture inside the services. No doubt, you remember your yearly safety training. It has gotten worse in time, since training became automated, the amount of training has just sky rocketed. Did you take the Congressionally mandated Constitution Training? I think the legislative branch was surprised to find just how many of its members had no idea of the structure or requirements of the Constitution (and still don't) that some of them decided that it would be a good idea to force the Executive Branch employees to take another time wasting class on the topic.

    In so far as carry condition, carry to your level of psychological happiness. I am not going to rely on a holster to protect me, from what I consider, a risky mode of carry with a M1911 (cocked and locked). Using ancillary equipment to compensate, for a bad operational procedure, on a piece that was never meant to be carried that way, may work, but I don't feel comfortable with the practice. There are plenty of accounts on this site of safeties being bumped off in the holster.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  23. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    What kind of holster or ancillary equipment would that be?

    I challenge you to name a 1911-centric defensive pistol training school that teaches carrying the 1911 in any Condition other than Condition 1.

    As I mentioned to another member, I no longer try to convince people to like the 1911. Either you get the strengths or you don't. If you don't, that's fine with me, but I do spend some effort correcting errors when folks are discussing information about the gun that they either don't understand or willfully ignore.
     
  24. Fisherman12

    Fisherman12 Member

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    It's not a stupid question at all. The overwhelming virtue of the 1911 that has me still wanting to carry one is how well I shoot with it. That said, the combined wisdom of posts in this thread is starting to convince me that I'm better off with my Glock 19 (or my Glock 21 if I want .45). It makes me a bit sad, as I love the 1911, and I love shooting it. But reliability is the most important aspect of a pistol for self defense.
     
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  25. drband

    drband Member

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    Agreed. I’m not sure why one cannot find a reliable 1911 for EDC. I usually carry something smaller (P938) but would not hesitate to carry my DW Heritage or my RIA 9mm DS 1911 if appropriate. They just don’t fail to perform.
     
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