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Any bad 1911's out there?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Mooseman, Jan 4, 2011.

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  1. Mooseman

    Mooseman Member

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    I know there have been some junk 1911's produced in the past but all the new ones I hear about sound like they run well. I myself have a RIA tactical and after some early teething problems it runs like a champ. I've been hearing decent reviews about pretty much every new 1911 being produced. My question is, are any company's out there making ones that should be left strictly alone?:confused:

    For clarity, I'm talking about 1911's produced in every caliber but .22
     
  2. gun addict

    gun addict Member

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    i think the old AMT 1911s had a pretty spotty reputation as jammatics, but that's just what everyone on the internet says, i've never had one
     
  3. G27RR

    G27RR Member

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    The only 1911 I have that doesn't work well is the Kimber Super Carry Pro. It may just be that I got a bad one, but it has a lot of failures after going through a lot of ammo and different mags. I've got a different recoil spring on order and maybe that will fix it.

    Otherwise, 2 Colts and 4 STIs work flawlessly for me.
     
  4. rellascout

    rellascout member

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    Para is pretty spotty in the QC department. Across the board the quality in 1911s is higher than ever IMHO.
     
  5. gun addict

    gun addict Member

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    and that's the thing, i always hear on here and other places about how terrible their Kimbers has been , or their Para not shooting right though those 2 are both high dollared 1911s
     
  6. MCMXI
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    MCMXI Contributing Member

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    I only own one Kimber at the moment (TE II) but I know and shoot IPSC with other Kimber owners. I don't know anyone that has issues with theirs. I shot a 125 round steel match a couple of weeks ago using my Kimber and I couldn't be happier with it. It ran flawlessly and I'm sufficiently impressed with my Kimber that I want to buy at least one more.

    1911's aren't rocket science and with a little bit of thought and some research, just about anyone should be able to resolve most issues. If you read the FAQ on Ed Brown's website, he addresses two of the most common causes of malfunctions in the 1911 ... the ammuntion and the recoil spring.
     
  7. CZ223

    CZ223 Member

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    Yes there are lots of bad 1911's out there

    and if you look hard enough you will find out all about them on here. The truth is that every company puts out bad guns now and then. Kimber had a period where they put out a lot of duds. Most of their problems were due to improperly tuned extractors. I have had a couple of them. I had two Colts that made me never want another 1911. I got over it. Rock Island, Taurus and American classic put out some good guns for cheap money. I would stay away from older GI style guns if you are not familiar with 1911s.
     
  8. Elmer

    Elmer Member

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    The problem with 1911's is that the average owner buys it, and shoots 200 rounds of 750 fps white box ball ammo a year through it. This causes a lot of those guys to think they now have a "good to go" fighting gun. Don't try to argue with them.

    If you're really trying to find out about 1911 reliability, find a police department that uses them, or talk to one of the schools that train lots of people with them. Having guys on a forum tell you they put 50K rounds of +P HP's through their out of the box 1911 with no malfunctions, isn't something you should take to the bank.

    The real truth is, that not only are there bad 1911's out there, a large percentage of the 1911's being made today are junk, including some of the more expensive "tactical" models.
     
  9. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Wow... considering that the year is 2011 this information should get into the hands of the manufacturers. A lot of junk is likley to be sold this year.
     
  10. BlayGlock

    BlayGlock Member

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    Yes.

    Stay away from Para Ordnance.
     
  11. dcarch

    dcarch Member

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    Yeah, my range partner has a Citadel 1911 that's junk. FTF every three rounds or so. Buy quality. Some off brands are junk. On the other hand, my Kimber is flawless.:cool:
     
  12. Elmer

    Elmer Member

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    Oh trust me.....they get the information given to them. I've written the memos myself.

    Fixing problems, that only a tiny percentage of your customers are going to use the product enough to experience, isn't something a lot of them are prone to do.
     
  13. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    ...and that's the bottom line. Why would they spend money to fix a problem most buyers will need experience. Of course that was the thinking with the Ford Pinto's exposed gas tank too.

    The manufactures know that they're products are not up to snuff, but they also know that most customers won't pay what it would cost to make it correctly...just look at how many folks expect an <$1000 gun to run well under hard use. That doesn't mean it won't happen, but to expect all of them to do so is delusional.

    I've done my research by talking with gunsmiths who deal with hard use guns, either in competition or LE Spec Ops. I've also been lucky enough to talk with trainers in LE agencies who issue or allow the carry of the 1911 for their feedback on failure/malfunction rate of the guns they see.

    If you look at the FBI HRT/SWAT issued 1911 (which cost a bit more than $1k) and realize that they have had their share of problems keeping them running (to the point of bringing in outside gunsmiths)...i think it becomes pretty clear that there are a lot of bad 1911s out there.

    This does hinge on your definition of bad being: able to function reliably under hard use
     
  14. rellascout

    rellascout member

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    With that said I think that the quality you see in them today is better than ever in the commercial market. At least there are choices at all price levels. There are guns that fit a lot of shooters out there at different price points.

    I also think the same can be said for most gun sold in this country not just 1911s. Most guns bought in the US will never see 1000 rounds down the pipe. It a pure guess but I am going to guess over 70% of the them will never see 1000 rounds. I bet less than 5% ever see 10,000.

    Very few guns are ever really run hard IMHO. The manufacturers know that so the engineer them to work for the majority of people. If the avg gun is shot less than 5000 times in its lifetime why would spend more money building it and engineering it to shoot 50,000? Not only is no one going to pay what it costs to make that gun it is simply not needed by the majority of the consumers.

    This IMHO is the genesis of the issue not just in gun manufacturing but in almost all manufacturing. Every single consumer product is a race to the bottom in terms of price. The majority of people want to pay the least that can to get the perceived job done. Again this does not apply to just guns. Look at cars, houses, TVs, stereo equipment, cell phone and computers.... the list goes on and on. Those who are willing to pay for quality are a very small minority. New is perceived as better. Cheaper = value. As a result of this consumer mindset we get exactly what we asked for. A $500 1911 with all the bells and whistles that looks liker a $1500 gun sitting in the box new but the devil is in the details IMHO.

    You really cannot expect this:

    [​IMG]

    to be this:

    LesBaerThunderRanch.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  15. Elmer

    Elmer Member

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    Very well said. Many don't realize the 1911 they bought because it's the one used by "fill in the blank", isn't the same quietly handmade, custom tuned, or reworked by the manufacturer for that agency gun, despite what the advertising says.

    As much as it's seen as blasphemy by some, we have more reliable service weapons today than 1911's. This is coming from a guy that owns lots of them, and has been shooting, competing with, and carrying them for more than 30 years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  16. Elmer

    Elmer Member

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    Not sure if that's true in 1911's. The custom gunsmith's I know personally tell horror stories about brand new 1911's sent to them for custom work in recent years. Completely out of spec parts are common. In some cases, they just send them back to the customer telling them they won't work on them. In the last several years, I've seen perhaps 10 1911's with major parts broken, on new or almost new, $1000+ 1911's. Years ago, I never saw that many guns break parts, even when working in training and seeing hundreds of guns every week.

    I spent $1500+ on my 1911 match guns, back when I was making $300 bucks a week. But my $200 Commanders, with nothing more than some sights and a throat job, got shot more than someone who doesn't know me would ever believe, with no parts breakage.

    I think your numbers are spot on, probably even a little generous.

    Again. I think you've summed it up quite nicely. Sometimes you really do get more than what you paid for, but that's not the norm.
     
  17. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Well, there are some of us who CAN'T pay big bucks for a gun. Do we not deserve to own one? Does Colt or Kimber make a NIB $400 gun for someone who is a casual shooter?

    Ok, I guess hard use for me is 200-500 rounds every couple of weeks, in a rough environment and sometimes in competition. For me, that is as rough as it gets. I expect a $500 gun to do that. I have $200 guns that do that.

    I am not on a swat team, I am not LEO or Military, I am not a world ranked competition shooter.

    So what is wrong with my $369 1911 if it can do what I need it to do?
     
  18. critter

    critter Member

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    In honor of the 100th year of the 1911, I own eleven of the things. I have Para Ordnance, Colt, Kimber, Springfield Armory, Les Baer. I do not have a bad one. I'm sure there are individual 'lemons' in most brands, but for the most part, any well-known name brand 1911 will serve you quite well.

    I am not familiar with the 'off' brands or those made by the 'ring of fire' manufacturers.

    I hope you can find one you like and one that works for you.
     
  19. rellascout

    rellascout member

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    I hear what you are saying but I guess I am looking at it differently. I think that what your smiths are seeing and I do not doubt it are guns which are being used for something they were never intended for. If we agree that the majority of guns are never going to see 10,000 and that most people want a shooter which will do everything and be everything for under $600 one cannot expect it to be built perfectly to spec. Guns like these in the upper mid to low end where never intended to see a professional gun smith. They are buy them and shoot them cheap copies of what you used to have to pay a smith to do to a base gun. In order to create "value" for the customer they took short cuts. They are not to spec. They are not made of optimal materials.

    I would argue however they do exactly what they were intended to do. Fire with a reasonable degree of accuracy with a reasonable degree of reliability for a short period of time, say 5,000 to 15,000 rounds. This is what a $600 1911 gets you these days. It has all the bells and whistle because most people have to have them. I mean honestly how many people do you see shooting plain jane 1911s at the range. For every Govt/Mil spec I see at the range I see 10 beavertails, nightsights and front slide serrations. :) If your needs fall within that criteria who am I to say that their $600 Taurus or even $450 RIA is not a good 1911. Within that criteria IMHO they are. Directly to mcdonl's question if it works for you and you shoot it well who am I to say you do not have a good 1911.

    Again on the other side of the coin higher $$$ does not always mean value. IMHO Kimber is a high priced 1911 built in many cases to fail. I think Sigs 1911 are very much the same. These sell for the $1000 mark or higher but are not $1000 guns. They have as many powder parts as the sub $500 guns. On this one the higher price tag does not = value. Too often it equals bling. If they spent half as much money on getting the guns in spec as they do developing rainbow finishes and 80 different configurations their guns would be better IMHO because they would be truer to the spec. If looks matter more than substance then you once again are getting the "value" you asked for. To me this range is the one that erks me the most. High rate of diminishing returns at this level but I am still not willing to say these are bad 1911s. For many people they are good if not great 1911s. They shoot, they look good and do the job.

    If you are looking to build a custom 1911 and have a master smith work on it IMHO you need to choose your base gun carefully. 90% of the 1911s made today were not made with this purpose in mind. In fact I think the days of buying a production gun and using it as a base gun has diminished greatly with the advent of the semi-custom production gun. If that is your "value" criteria for determining if current 1911s are good I might have to agree with you that we are in a poorer state then I stated earlier.

    To me its all about what were/are the criteria used to purchase the gun. What are your subjective wants and needs. Did the 1911 you bought meet them? If it did I consider that a good 1911. That does not mean your good 1911 is my good 1911. It does not mean it was perfectly built to spec. It does not mean you paid $2000+ for it or you bought it at a garage sale for $100. It only means it is doing what you asked it to do within expectations. That was part of why I said it is better now than it has ever been. More people have access more to choices which meet their needs. At every price range there are options and more often then not they deliver if you choose based on your individual criteria. More viable choices is a good thing in my book.

    That $200 commander you speak of. When did you buy it and who made it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  20. Elmer

    Elmer Member

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    Not a darn thing.

    It's the amount of people that think their gun will do what they need it to, based on nothing but hope, that's the issue.
     
  21. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    Rella, that is a very reasonable post and hard to disagree with. I hate it when these class arguments come up. I was used to it, then I figured that when I entered the 1911 world everyone was just nice and played well with each other. I see that is not the case here either.

    I know that I reload and shoot roughly 3000-5000 rounds a year (Based on primer purchases) so I hope my $400 gun lasts me more then a couple of years.
     
  22. rellascout

    rellascout member

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    I do to. I also think you will want another so you might be able to share the workload. Keep us updated!
     
  23. Elmer

    Elmer Member

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    We're not that far apart. $600-1000 1911's will satisfy the needs of the majority of people that buy them. I just find that with all the 1911 lore and fantasy out there, a lot of guys think their mass produced "tactical" MIM parts 1911, will function flawlessly, even in the mud and sand, shoot +P ammo, go for 50K rounds without a stoppage or parts breakage, while shooting teeny little groups.

    Thankfully most will never need their guns to do that......because most of them won't. If they really wanted a bulletproof $600 pistol, they'd be better off with a Glock or SIG.


    I'm old my friend..... there was only one Commander made, when I bought the 4 that I own......

    And I may have paid as much as $250 for a couple of them. New of course....
     
  24. rellascout

    rellascout member

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    And they were made and put together by machinist not cnc machines. ;)
     
  25. Elmer

    Elmer Member

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    How so? Where did you see a "class argument"?
     
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