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Newish shooter wants a 1911 .45

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by RA40, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    I know this can go downhill fast so hoping that this can remain mild so that I can advise a newish shooter that asked me some questions.

    He came to me asking about getting a 1911 as his SD gun. He's a smallish guy with smaller hands. He served in the military in a non combat role so the extent of his shooting skills, IDK. I advised him that he may consider a 9mm since the grip diameter is a bit smaller and those models with backstrap or side panels options they can be adjusted for hand size. He prefers a .45 because it has that big barrel.

    Thoughts to enlighten him?
     
  2. Schlegel

    Schlegel Member

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    I don't know,if he is former military he likely qualified on an M9, so a 1911 has a smaller grip than that. I'd cut some slack on him getting his choice. IMO, we practice more when we like what we have. The exact reason why we like it isn't really important.
     
  3. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I can speak from personal experience. I have small hands and the 1911 fits me better than the M9. I also shot the 1911 better than the M9 due to how it fit in my hands. I was issued both while in the Army.

    I don't know his budget, but it's hard to beat a Rock Island 1911 for the price.

    I don't know how the local shops are around you as far a on hand stock is. Have him check out a variety of different pistols to see what he likes and fits him the best.
     
  4. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    There are lots of good GI style clones of 45 ACP M1911's on the market these days. Colt, Springfield, Dan Wesson, Rock Island and others all will perform well.

    There are lots of high dollar M1911's on the market which would be great guns but the cost might be prohibitive.

    Bargain priced M1911's such as an Auto Ordinance Thompson 1911 can be excellent self defense guns and fun guns at the range but they may need some TLC to get to shoot reliably.

    I've not found any M1911 that can shoot 230 RN ammunition reliably mostly with no work or at least a bit of tuning and polishing. When you stray from 230 RN ammunition, things might be a bit more difficult. But, a heavy, 45 caliber bullet puts a pretty big hole in the target without expanding.
     
  5. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    A single stack 1911 is going to have a smaller grip than a double-stack 9mm, so I don’t see that as an issue.

    No matter what gun he selects, he’s going to have to practice and become proficient with it. The most important thing (IMHO) is that he handles and shoots the gun well. I don’t know if any “enlightenment” is necessary - just trial and practice.
     
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  6. JeeperCreeper

    JeeperCreeper Member

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    My first handgun... Wasn't really mine... Was when I was 13 years old. Double stack Para P-14 1911.

    I could handle it ok. So I'm sure a grown man, even a small man, will be more than fine.

    Give your advice... But he's an adult.
     
  7. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    I'd say let him get what he wants, so long as he's willing to take the time to learn how to use the pistol safely and effectively. I'm a small guy two. 5'4" with my work boots on, but there hasn't been a handgun created yet that I can shoot as well as a 1911, .45. I can shoot it fast and accurately. It's in the trigger. I second the suggestion for a Rock Island. Probably the best bang for the buck on the market these days. Either a RI or a Taurus, if he's on a budget. If he has a bigger budget, pfft. The sky is the limit. I would advise that he take his time and buy something only after he's had his hands on it and makes sure that he likes the way it feels. They are all supposed to be close to the same, but they aren't. I like the Smiths and Sigs, the Kimbers don't feel right to me and always leave a blister on my thumb knuckle. I'd also advise against anything in a single stack with a ramped barrel. The .45 doesn't need it and I have yet to see a single stack .45 with a ramped barrel feed smoothly.
     
  8. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    That's what I was thinking that he knows what he want's so I didn't try to convince him otherwise and will not. :thumbup:
     
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  9. WC145

    WC145 Member

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    First, the advice you've already given him is incorrect. 9mm 1911s have the same grip frame dimensions as .45s, the only one that doesn't is the Springfield EMP which is not a 1911 in the sense that it is smaller all over because it was designed around the length of the 9mm and .40 S&W cartridges. In addition, 1911s don't have "backstrap or side panel options" in the sense that polymer guns do. Most come with standard thickness grips that an be replaced with thinner ones but they require shorter grip screws and bushings to fit correctly. Main spring housings come either flat or arched and they an affect the reach to the trigger but replacing one may require fitting. Triggers come in different lengths - short, medium, or long - and most require fitting if you want to swap one.

    If your friend has small hands the 1911 configuration most likely to fit him would have a flat main spring housing and a short trigger but their aren't a lot like that around. The next most likely to fit would be a GI or Mil-Spec style with an arched main spring housing and short trigger, there are lots of those around as it's the standard 1911A1 configuration. The best deal out there on one at the moment is probably the Springfield Armory Defender series Mil-Spec, they can be had for under $500 if you shop around, they're American made, have forged frames and slides, and decent sights. I bought one and was impressed with it for the cost, they're a lot of gun for the money.

    GsDB3tGCKx1BY4rfmeWwfS9IBQ5L-xU3cRFAoe8GMQe2p8Mg-CFnn39ofK98MAEuEzXa7p6ienez16twug=w1165-h655-no.jpg
     
  10. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    Here is a picture of me holding my Rock Island GI. Like I said, I have small hands and have no problem with gripping a 1911

    IMG_4235.jpg
     
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  11. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    WC145 is correct.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
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  12. Sovblocgunfan

    Sovblocgunfan Member

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    I’d be willing to bet that, arguably, there is no other pistol that has such a universe of options available as aftermarket parts for personal fitment. Glock maybe, but it seems to me most of the glock aftermarket is centered around “upgrading”, and not personal fit to a shooter’s hand.
     
  13. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Fixed it for you. As a side note I much prefer the shove of a .45 ACP over the snap of a 9mm. Neither has anything like punishing recoil but the impulse of the .45 makes for pleasant shooting IMO.
     
  14. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Ah come on, Schlegel - I'm not all that old!:neener:
    Just kidding around, but the fact is I'm former military (1968-1972) and I've never even touched an M9 that I can remember.;) For that matter, although I shot a 1911 a time or two while I was in the Navy, as a helicopter crewman, the sidearm I was occasionally issued was an old Model 10 Smith (I think it was called a "Victory" model) 38 Special revolver.
    As far as I can tell, M9s weren't even around until 1985. And the OP (RA40) didn't say how long ago his friend was in the military.:)
     
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  15. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    It's his choice so I say just make a few recommendations on some good 1911s in 45 caliber and sleep soundly.

    A commander length bobtail might be advisable with his hand size and desire to carry it. He'll figure out if it works for him or not pretty quickly.
     
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  16. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    I'm long time retired now, but I worked with a non-gun type guy for years that would often ask me what I would recommend for a gun for self defense. However, I eventually figured out that the guy didn't want my advice as much as he wanted my approval for his choice of a 1911 - which he knew only as a "forty-five" by the way.
    Even though I believe there's no such thing as a stupid question, it got frustrating when that guy would ask me questions like, "Which is the most powerful - a forty-four or a forty-five?" or, "If a bear was chasing you, would you rather have a revolver or a forty-five?"o_O
    I never did learn how to "enlighten" that guy. Like I said, I just finally figured out that the guy didn't want advice as much as he wanted approval. I hope your friend is not like that because it can become frustrating.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
  17. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Like 12Bravo20, I fired the M1911, M1911A1, and the M9 while in the Army. We had one 1911, and I liked the grip much better than the A1, and WAY better than the M9. I do not have small hands, they still fit better. Having that 'big barrel' is a plus. I will agree, for an off-the-shelf solution the Mil-Spec Defender is a great choice. Nothing wrong with RIA's GI 1911's either.
     
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  18. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    I like that .45. Rock Island is hitting some home runs with that GI line. I like the no non sense look of it. The design of the 1911 when it was a handgun and not a handS gun. Lol I'm sorry, it just reminded me of that scene in "We Were Soldiers" when Sam Elliot was standing there in the middle of the fray popping off his 1911 one handed.
     
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  19. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    Would he Automatically flip the safety off if he were required to pull a 1911 out in an extremely stressful situation?
    Apparently he would train enough (and has access to lots of .45 ammo) so that he would not need to think about this. But that's not our problem.

    Luckily my Sig P6, Walther P99 AS and CZ PCR don't require such an automatic reaction, other than simply keeping the trigger finger outside the trigger guard.
     
  20. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    Dan Wesson Valor (in black) and the 2020 Heirloom models are very hot right now.

    01822.jpg
     
  21. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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  22. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    See if there is a rental range nearby.
    Try out a couple of the sizes & makes.
    See if an arched mainspring fits his hands better than a flat.
    Then, try to narrow down barrel length and frame weight.
    That's my 2¢
     
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  23. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    find him a CZ to try out, most 1911 people like them, and they're far more practical. If he's not sold, Springfield Milspec is my recommendation. Properly set up, they're every bit as good as any other. 45acp is a great caliber.
     
  24. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    I'd go with a Springfield or Rock Island Armory 1911, preferably with other than GI sights.
     
  25. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    I pointed him to some of the Springfield Loaded as well as Range Officer models in that $1K price point. He wasn't aware that he can buy online so gave him the link for the CA DOJ roster of approved handguns. I'll be anxious to hear what he chose.
     
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