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What is wrong with the 1911 design?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by SuperNaut, Feb 4, 2008.

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  1. mpmarty

    mpmarty Member

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    I've recently (past four months) purchased, new, two 1911 type pistols. The first was a Taurus PT1911 5 inch blue steel 45acp. It shot fine out of the box. No misfeeds, ftfs or anything, but the safety didn't work properly. I sent it back and bought an RIA Tactical 45acp the same day. The RIA has been flawless from the first mag full. It fed, fired and ejected cor-bon, wwb, cast 200gr semi wad cutters ranging from 700 to 950 fps. The Taurus is back and I will probably sell it as surplus as I prefer the RIA.
     
  2. Markbo

    Markbo member

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    What kind of accuracy are you getting with that RIA Marty?
     
  3. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

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    Not necessarily. If the design is robust, then they can be made cheaply with no hand-fitting, and slightly out-of-spec parts won't cause any malfunctions. Or, rather, there's a wider range of what's considered "in spec" so that the parts are easier/cheaper to manufacture, so that cheap manufacturers don't need as much QC.

    The truth is that a 1911 requires MUCH more QC than does a more modern design. The reason for that is because the design is not robust as I explained earlier. The design itself is so finicky that a part which is only barely out-of-spec (can only be detected by measurements, as opposed to a visual inspection) can cause a malfunction. This can be fixed by designing a more robust firearm, or by increasing time and money spent on QC (on the factory end) and maintenance/repair (on the user end).
     
  4. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    Naked Prophet,

    I wonder if that is more a commentary on a "cheap manufacturer" rather than the 1911 design. For example, you used the Glock in your earlier post as a counter-example to the 1911 design. Now the implication/assumption is that the Glock has a higher tolerance for spec-slop or as you call it "robustness." But since there are no 3rd-party manufacturers of Glocks, this spec-slop "robustness" is complete conjecture. For all we know, each part of a Glock is hand shaped and fitted. Until a Glock is manufactured by anyone other than Glock, I think this particular criticism may not be applicable.
     
  5. Markbo

    Markbo member

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    NP - how do you feel about that as it relates to the LDA variation of the 1911? I do not have one personally but have craved one for a long time.
     
  6. Michael Zeleny

    Michael Zeleny member

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    As I explained here, the SIG P210 is a perfected M1911A1. The P210 does away with fiddly and fragile features of the M11911 such as the backstrap broken up by the grip safety and the staked-in plunger tube and grip screw bushings. These quirks diminish the robustness of the M1911 and compromise the ergonomics of its handhold. The P210 also incorporates the best features of the Luger P08 in the inverted frame rails, the Browning GP35 in the slide stop integrated with disassembly pin, and the Tokarev TT1933 and French 1935 pistols in the en bloc hammer action. It further improves the fixed slide bushing and barrel camming slot of the Browning GP35 with its costly unit construction slide and patented helicoid barrel camming channel. These upgrades do away with the main design deficiencies of the M1911 platform.

    On the plus side is the capacity of the M1911 to be fully stripped without relying on special tools. However, unlike the P210 design calling for drop-in fit of every component, the M1911 requires individual hand fitting for nearly every moving part. This requirement engenders its notorious lack of reliability, inasmuch as M1911 makers and maintainers are tempted to skimp on the rigors of matching parts to each individual handgun. The cheapened and simplified successors of the P210 in the SIG-Sauer lineup do much better in this regard.

    To sum up, the M1911 merits respect as a classic of industrial design, even though is far from the most refined expression of its own design principles, as embodied in the SIG P210. It is a boutique product that has been rendered obsolete in the assembly-line manufacture that dominates the firearms industry today. Enjoy it for what it is, a sentimental relic of the good old days that can be pressed into rewarding service in the hands of a sympathetic operator.
     
  7. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

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    I suppose you could make it into a commentary on cheap manufacturers, but I'm just going on record as saying the design is flawed in that it requires more expensive manufacturing processes to achieve the same objective as other proven, less expensive designs. Therefore, "cheap manufacturers" can't do it well, because even the cheapest version which works consistently well will cost far more than a pistol of similar quality but different design.


    We know that Glocks are not hand shaped or fitted. We know that because of the lower price (and because if they were, you can bet it would be on their marketing materials!). We also know that because it doesn't take a trained gunsmith to install an extractor, nor does it require "tuning" as does a 1911 extractor.

    Besides, many folks consider the XD and M&P pistols to be copies of a Glock. They do use many of the cheaper design/manufacturing methods I mentioned - yet they don't require the hand fitting and tuning required of a 1911.

    Let's look at the extractor in particular. The 1911 extractor is a single piece of metal, long and elegant in appearance. It must be precise in several dimensions. The claw must have a certain shape, the pad must be the right height above the bottom of the claw, the claw recess must be curved just so, the extractor must be bent just right to maintain the correct tension, and must be tempered just right to avoid chipping or losing its tension. Any of these dimensions could be off by a tiny amount (the thickness of the pad being off by 0.001 inch could cause extraction problems, etc.) and the gun malfunctions.

    Consider for a moment the Glock extractor. It's a single piece of metal with a single function - it grabs the case. It does not have to flex, which gives the heat treating much more latitude. It has a spring to push on it to give it the correct tension - and coil springs are very predictable and reliable. It doesn't matter if the Glock extractor is a bit softer or harder, or a tad longer or shorter, a bit wobbly or tight. It's gonna work.

    I hope that explanation makes more sense to you. I love in-depth technical discussions.




    I don't know. Never seen one. I have heard that the trigger mechanisms (one of the more robust parts of a 1911) are much more delicate. Keep in mind, I'm not a gunsmith, nor am I an expert on the 1911. I am, however, a mechanical engineer.
     
  8. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Never...unless there's something badly wrong inside the gun...like the barrel stopping on the link. Within spec is the key.

    That IS a locking lug on that Glock, etc. It's just massive enough not to require three.

    That's not what does that...and the Glock, etc will damage the locking lug if it has the same issues that cause it in a 1911.

    Not if the grip is made to spec and offers proper support to the tube. It's necessary because the safety and the slidestop wouldn't have a spring if it weren't there.

    Surely you jest. From an assembled gun to completely detail-stripped...slide and frame...in under a minute. Back together in a minute-point-three-oh for the original, non-lawyered model.

    Ya got me there. I retune mine about once every 50-60,000 rounds.

    Where DO these rumors get started?

    A number of variables can also stop your heart..but the three things that most often cause reliability problems with 1911s...even "slightly out-of-spec" 1911s...is the magazine...the extractor...and junk ammunition. Get good magazines. Get a good extractor. Use decent ammunition that falls within SAAMI specs, and the gun will run with about 99% certainty. The "One Percenters" will always be around...regardless of whose logo is on'em.
     
  9. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    NP thanks for the explanation. I don't think I made my point very well though. I was trying to make the point that since the Glock is only manufactured by Glock, they are better equipped and prepared for any +/- variables in their design. But with the 1911, we are talking about dozens of different manufacturers with sometimes wildly differing manufacturing spec as well as QC. For every manufacturer that has a high % of QC issues there is another with a low %. Is that the design, or the manufacturer?

    When the Glock patents expire, and it is manufactured by a dozen different companies, then the tolerance of the Glock design to variability can be more equally compared to the 1911. IOW, I don't think it is a valid comparison.
     
  10. Nomad101bc

    Nomad101bc Member

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    Ohh goody another productive 1911 vs Glock debate. (pulls up lawn chair and grabs pop corn)
     
  11. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    It wasn't supposed to be.:cuss:
     
  12. Rustynuts

    Rustynuts Member

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    A lot need to be modified the handle JHP reliably. The feed ramp is TOO steep an angle.
     
  13. Ed4032

    Ed4032 Member

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    By Far the biggest problem with the 1911 is that I always seem to need just one more. Oh... I only have four right now.
     
  14. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Not if proper magazines are utilized, and the barrel ramp is to spec. The angle is part of the controlled-feed function...and is necessary for that.

    It was inevitible...
     
  15. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    There's nothing wrong with the design. I just don't particularly like the 1911. They weigh too much and don't fit my hand very well. I own an SA 1911 but it's my least favorite handgun to shoot.
    .
     
  16. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Boats, thank you. Nothing else really needs to be said, but I'd like to highlight this from the Benson quote:
     
  17. Markbo

    Markbo member

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    Michael - that may be some of the wildest opinion I have ever read on the internet. The 1911 rendered obsolete? I don't want to get into a whole line by line debate, but quite honestly I find your writing style to be while intellectual in nature, excessively complex. It is difficult to even follow what point(s) you are trying to make because you jump all around them. In fact I find that between your style and the overindulgence of references (not to mention so many dead links among them), it made your linked treatise boorish and nearly impossible to read.

    Seriously... how many readers here - or anywhere for that matter - do you expect to know & understand Italian, German and Latin? Your points are lost in the complexity of your knowledge base. Maybe for the rest of us "I can't see the forest for the trees". So I ask... why? Who is that aimed toward? And what do the unecessary links to so many other designs have anything to do with your opening statement that the P210 is a perfected 1911 when you go to such great pains to detail what is so different?

    You remind me of a friend of mine that is uber-educated and intelligent beyond my comprehension yet at 50something has no spouse nor many close friends because he has no clear understanding of how churlish and intellectually bullying his discourse becomes. I will venture a guess that you have more than one PHD as do all your friends.

    Then again Larvatus Proteo = Always go Masked, explains some. ;)

    Really... take it down a notch, less your information become completely lost in translation.
     
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Don't post negatively about the 1911 and then expect no response. That is just plain silly. :)

    If you say it is to heavy for you compared to a plastic gun, well, ya got us.

    If you say it is too big, go measure some other full sized pistols, especialy the width.

    If you say it has too many reliability issues, just weed out the out of spec pistols and try again.

    Those who love them will continue to do so, those that don't won't, and many of those that will come after us will continue to experience the brilliance of the 1911 and sing its praises.
     
  19. trbon8r

    trbon8r Member

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    I don't see how the robustness of a design has anything to do with whether one type of gun is more tolerant of poor manufacturing than the other.

    Oh good grief, you are back again to try and derail yet another 1911 thread, and attempt to redirect the discussion to an old Sig that virtually no one cares about? :confused: If the P-210 were such a good design it would be widely copied like the 1911 is, and more than just an obscure footnote in firearms history.
     
  20. Michael Zeleny

    Michael Zeleny member

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    In other words, you should have stopped right there.
    At least your friend has you to rely upon. Here's hoping that he enjoys your knack for lit-critter headshrinking.
     
  21. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    Okay guys, enough of that.
     
  22. Michael Zeleny

    Michael Zeleny member

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    Being a fit model for dysfunctional knockoffs is not a good thing in my book.
     
  23. Michael Zeleny

    Michael Zeleny member

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    SVI machines its frames with an integral plunger tube. The original staked-in configuration is a cost-cutting design compromise.
     
  24. Markbo

    Markbo member

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    Just tryin' to help a brother out! :D
     
  25. Michael Zeleny

    Michael Zeleny member

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    Improve your vision by looking here and there.
     
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