WANTED: Reliable 1911 with Easy take-down & Assembly

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Dog Wonder

Dec 6, 2008
East Coast

I am willing to spend $1500 on a 1911 -45 caliber handgun!
This handgun will be at my bedside for home protection!
I have some experience from the Marines in shooting 1911's!
Here's what I am hoping to get in a 1911-

(1) reliability
(2) both take-down & assembly is fairly easy
(3) a 4 to 41/4 inch barrel
(4) will spend up to $1500

I am strongly against 1911's that are difficult to take apart & assemble!
I have dreamed of having a 1911 that's both comfortable to shoot and
a 1911 that's easy to care for and yet in time of crisis you can bet your life
on it.

What Brand & Model would fit what I am looking for?

Thank-you for your recommendation!
I dunno. I paid $540 OTD for my 1911 and it's reliable, accurate and easy to disassemble & reassemble.:confused:

It's an RIA Tactical. It's available in Commander size. If you want to spend a grand & a half I guess you could... easily.;)
What brand is a RIA tactical?
Thank-you for your post!

I very much like your signature!
Dogs are great buddies!
What brand is a RIA tactical?

Look at Centerfire systems; they have RIAs (and others) for around that price. Good pistols from all the reviews. I have the American Classic ll which has been a good pistol for me. Both are Philippine made 1911s and can be had for less than $500.

There are many choices in the 7 to $800 range
I have a full-size Rock Island Armory (RIA) GI that I got for $400. IT has been amazingly reliable, and is a GI-spec, so it takes down without a single tool. If 'pretty' doesn't matter much, definitely look at the Rock Island Commanders.

If you want to step up a little more, take a look at the Springfield Armory compacts.

I just ordered the S&W 1911SC E-Series which is a solid Commander, however it has a full-length guide rod, which makes it a little more difficult to disassemble.
Dog Wonder said:
I am strongly against 1911's that are difficult to take apart & assemble!
It might be easier to address your issues/concerns, if you'd clarify what it is about your past experience that has made a 1911 difficult to assemble or dis-assemble...and how you define easy.

While the 1911 isn't as easy to take down as the SIG 220 or H&K45, it isn't as difficult as some others
I think all 1911s (at least those with standard guide rods) will be more or less the same when it comes to field stripping them...

$1500 gives you a lot of decent options, up to stuff like Dan Wessons. I personally like Colts, Springfield and S&W make good 1911s too. They all offer 4-4 1/4" barreled 1911s.
Stay away from full length guide rods, ambi safeties, and firing pin blocks, and disassemble/reassembly is a breeze.
In my experience, reliability and short barrels are not always to be found in the same weapon. Such eminent 1911 smiths as David Lauck and Hilton Yam seem to believe in 5" 1911s, and I believe strongly in 5" 1911 pistols, even for concealed carry, based upon experience with a total of three Commanders, an Officer's ACP, a Wilson Combat Sentinel, and two Detonics Combat Masters. My 5" Colts were reliable, one from round one, and the other after 200 break-in rounds. My 5" Springfield Armory, Inc. was reliable from round one. My Les Baer TRS, the only 1911 I still own, has been reliable from round one.

As for easy to take down, I am no mechanical wiz, but managed to learn detail stripping of the 1911 rather quickly, with no need to consult a book or manual, anymore, once I had it down. By comparison, I always have to consult a take-down guide to detail-strip my SIG P229. Of course, take-down for cleaning may be construed as mere field-stripping, and I reckon a 1911 is more complicated to field-strip than some more modern pistols. I like going further than mere field-stripping.

Your stated budget can buy a Colt Government Model, which is what I would choose if I had your budget. I would probably go with the "Rail Gun" or XSE
versions, myself, as I like that way the junction of the trigger guard and front
strap is sculpted to allow a higher grip on the weapon.

FWIW, I had bad luck with three Kimbers, even though they were 5" guns. I know plenty of Kimbers work well, but mine did not.
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I don't understand the question of "easy take-down and assembly." All 1911s "take down" basically the same way. The further the departure from the original design (notably some guide rods), the more difficult it will be.
Lone Haranguer-
1 1/2 years ago I owned a Sig Sauer C3 and found this model to be easy to take-down but-this handgun was difficult for me to reassemble! Maybe it was because this handgun parts and size of this handgun was smaller than a commander size 1911!
Which part of the reassembly process did you find difficult?

I have an idea, but would like some direction before going down that path
I'l respectfully disagree with Rexter and say that a Commander length 1911 is going to be less reliable than a 5".

But, since it'll be a dedicated nightstand gun, I'll ask why not a 5"?

You'll get a longer sight radius, and the added weight will help with follow up shots.
If it were me i would worry more about reliability and functioning of the pistol.Since 1911's are pretty much mechanically the same animal and take down the same. The only difference i can see is the fit of the barrel bushing,when on a custom gun the barrel is needed to drive the bushing out.so mabe go with a mil-spec pistol. I think it's like anything else,how much are you going to use this pistol? The more you do something through repetition the more skilled you become.
If you can't figure out how to make 1911 disassembly easy then your doomed forever to shoot Glock's and M&P's. So sorry.

Check out the Dan Wesson Vbob. CCO and ECO are more CCW oriented. Also the Les Baer Stinger, Concept 7, etc etc. Spend a little extra.
I have a Taurus PT1911 that I just love. It is super accurate(it outshoots me) and is easy to take down and put back together. I shoot nothing but my own cast and reloaded ammo and it has never failed to load or fire. I bought it new for $ 467 out the door in 2011. Probably the one gun I shoot the most and it is a full size 1911.
You cannot go wrong with the Springfield Champions! They have the 4'' barrel, extremely easy to take down, and I have never had a hiccup with one! they are extremely accurate, well built and a heck of a bang for you buck! Just my opinion, but check them out!
If it'll be primarily a night table gun then you'll want to look for a model which either comes with tritium night sights or one which has the rear sight cuts to allow an easy change to a tritium style rear.

Normally I consider tritium sights a useless accessory. But I only shoot for fun in daylight. So I don't need "glow in the dark" sights. But I'd change my tune in the blink of an eye if I had to deal with potential low light defensive situations.

I'll also echo the thoughts of the others on the lower cost options. Stick with guns that are close to the standard old GI style and field stripping is as easy as it gets with a 1911. It's those full length guide rods and double sided safeties that mess things up.

I'd say that there is simply no need to spend more than about half of your budget. Just off the top of my head you can find decent and proven reliable 1911's from Rock Island Armory, STI, Remington and Ruger just to name a few that are currently available.

But keep in mind that it simply does not matter if you spend $150 or $1500. YOU need to shoot enough ammo thru it of the sort which you plan on using to confirm that the gun is indeed reliable enough to use for defensive use. I'd want to see any gun that I used for this application go through 500 rounds of the ammo I intend to use without any jams before I'd want to trust it with my life.
New Colt Commander if you don't mind the firing pin safety, RIA Commander size for a (just a bit) easier take down and assembly.

If you aren't going to be pulling the firing pin and extractor amd a total detail strip for routine cleaning then there is no reason not to go for the Colt.

Same applies to most all of the safety equiped 1911's, Colt just happens to be my favorite.
I agree with those that say you can find a simple, reliable 1911 for no more than half your budget. The most important thing with 1911s (and autos in general) to ensure reliability are the magazines. Some 1911s like brand A, others like B. So you might have to experiment a bit. Lots of people like the Wilson Combats, others like Chip McCormick. I myself prefer Metalforms and Colt magazines with the flat, dimpled follower. If you use the Metalforms, its probably a good idea to swap out the mag springs for some quality Wolf springs. Same goes for the recoil spring. 1911s run best when you put in a fresh recoil spring ever 1,000 rounds or so. Again, Wolf is a good source for mainsprings, but interestingly I did get a dud spring once that was only about half as stiff as it should have been. Cheap insurance to just change it ever 750 rounds.

Other than magazines and weakened mainsprings, the next biggest 1911 issue is the extractor. Many manufacturers don't use the best materials in their extractors. When I bought my Springfield Milspec 6 or 7 years ago, I dropped in a Wilson Combat Bulletproof extractor after a hundred rounds on the original extractor (I save it as a spare). Runs perfectly.
At that price point, another vote for Dan Wesson. Either the Guardian or CCO. Very well made and easy to maintain. Both have 4.25 inch barrels and no tools are needed for take down/cleaning. Also very reliable and accurate.
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