Quantcast
  1. Upgrade efforts paused for now. Thanks for your patience. More details in the thread in Tech Support for those who are interested.
    Dismiss Notice

Why is the 1911 not a "beginner's gun"?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by LocoGringo, Aug 24, 2022.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    9,316
    Location:
    SE GA
    Every gun is a beginners gun to a non-gun enthusiast.

    My first handgun was a 1911. However, I knew exactly what I was getting into. I had been reading about them for the last several years, knew the manual of arms, and all of the strengths and weaknesses.

    That said, I no longer care for the them they way I once did and have no sentimental attraction to them because of my early love affair.

    I prefer simpler handguns now.

    In that regard, it would seem that simpler handguns could be the hallmark of both experienced and beginning shooters.

    I guess my question would be how is it a beginners gun and who exactly is the beginner we are talking about? I knew more about 1911s than most owners of 1911s before I had ever even seen one. This was proven to me one day when a police officer at the place I was working asked me how to operate the one he had just purchased.
     
    Slamfire likes this.
  2. Trashyshoots

    Trashyshoots Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2019
    Messages:
    579
    Maintenance, take down compared to striker fires, how finicky they can be with particular ammo/mags in a new gun owners price range (especially 9mm models)

    Just my two cents.
     
    Slamfire likes this.
  3. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    14,894
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    Mountains and molehills.
    It's as possible to be a "beginner" with a 1911 as a P38--or a P-08 for that matter--or a GP-35.

    "Easier" is not always "better" and vice versa, naturally. The same holds true for "more work" and "less work," too.

    Are GI sights on a 1911 easy to use? Maybe. They are simple, beyond any measure. Are they more work for precsion shooting? Maybe.

    The problem here is in perspective. It's the same argument that comes from, say, should beginning drivers learn on a manual transmission rather than an automatic?

    Most of that--in either case--boils down to "How many things do you expect to teach at once?" If all you have is, say, one day, perhaps eight hours of instruction time, then all the things you expect to teach must needs be truncated and abbreviated. Military "handgun training"--specific to handguns--only runs to eight hours, 12 to 16 at a maximum. Typically only one range day., perhaps a magazine per each. (Military puts very little shrift in the utility of handguns when rifles and crew-served weapons are available.) Now, that's not the only "range education" military people get, so there is considerable overlap.

    And, I have considerable bias. I was first handed a 1911A1 49 years ago, aged about 13.
     
    SSBN617b, qwert65 and gyp_c2 like this.
  4. PWC

    PWC Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2018
    Messages:
    1,517
    Location:
    Central AZ
    To answer the OPs question simply....recoil. Beginner probably uses comm'l ammo, not down loaded handloads. Heavy recoil is probably the biggest reason the shooting community loses potential new members, and right behind that is loud report with inadequate hearing protection.

    Most successful coaches begin lighter and quieter and get return shooters.
     
  5. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    11,794
    Location:
    Forestburg, Texas
    Because for years, Ayood said it wasn't. Then, it was, but it wasn't. Let me explain...

    In "The Gravest Extreme." page 98 he considers the 1911 as an "experts only" weapon. In discussing women specifically, he notes that .45s and magnums are too powerful for small hands to control, page 40 (as if hand size determined strength). In a 2006 Combat Handguns issue, Ayoob mentioned 1911's as an option for women and men with small hands who have trouble qualifying with other designs.

    So, depending on when you sampled his writing or what you sampled, you learned that it was an expert's gun or it was a gun for small handed women and men who can't qualify with {unnamed} expert guns.
     
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    21,192
    Good question, a 1911 was my first centerfire pistol.

    Well, he’s a great guy and more of a writer than a competitive shooter. IDPA didn’t exist when he wrote “The Gravest Extreme”. I first met and had a few drinks with him at the Nationals “match hotel” in Little Rock one year, at the time he was a master class revolver shooter, IIRC first place SS SSR had a better time. Lots of women and youngsters running 1911’s and 2011’s with better times, all the way down to MM level (lowest classification allowed to compete at Nationals). Proof can always change someone’s perspective.
     
  7. PWC

    PWC Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2018
    Messages:
    1,517
    Location:
    Central AZ
    I was 19 and 1911 was my first center fire pistol. USAF issued it to me in 1965. Rattley old Smith Corona. First qual on the Travis AFB indoor range, I shot the hell out of the batter boards and backstop.

    When I got back to the section, my NCOIC, went to the CONEX container. Got a GI green box of ammo and said I had a permanent spot on the range until I qualed xpert.

    The range was open one class in the morning, one in the afternoon. I didn't have to attend the care and cleaning classroom, only the live fire.

    The aircrews had to qual with 38 Spl Air Weights, and I had ole' slab sides.
    The rangemaster put the aircrews on the left side and me all the way down the right side because the 1911's noise inside was distracting the aircrews.

    Second day, aftetnoon, one of the instructors took pity on me and offered help. Don't squeeze it like I'm trying to strangle it, relax back and shoulders, don't anticipate recoil, causes me to push the gun away and muzzle goes down, and several others.

    Well I shot the rest of the afternoon, and next morn I qualed xpert. I knew it would take at least one day for the paperwork to make it's way thru, so I shot that afternoon and the next day, used all the ammo. I still have the box in my reloading room/ closet
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2022
  8. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    MN
    Maybe they're like electric scooters, not a lot of horsepower, but still a lot of fun to ride around until your friends find out...
     
    FL-NC likes this.
  9. KyJim

    KyJim Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Messages:
    494
    Location:
    Kentucky
    If the beginner simply plans on taking a handgun to the range a couple of times a year and then placing the gun in a sock drawer, a 1911 is not for that beginner.

    Learning takedown and maintenance alone are more complicated than such a user will want to deal with. Then there is the issue of ammo, mags, etc. that the beginner might have to fool with.

    I own multiple 1911s and both love and carry them, but IMO they are a poor choice for the casual beginner. Now, if the new user is intent on becoming proficient with a pistol and practice with it, a 1911 is a fine choice.
     
    Tallball and trackskippy like this.
  10. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    4,890
    Location:
    Missouri
    Again it is all in how much you train.

    After shooting a 1911 and other similar types of single action pistols, sweeping the safety off is second nature and only take a split second to do. I still sweep the safety off on my striker fired pistols too and they don't have one. It does not slow me down.

    As far as the 1911 being too much for a beginner, I don't agree with that either. I have taken enough male and female soldiers that had absolutely no firearms experience prior to joining the military and train them to use a pistol safely in 8-16 hours. I also trained people on the M9 too. I was one of the marksmanship trainers for most of my units.

    Now I won't argue about starting someone off with a 22lr, that has worked well for a long time.
     
    gyp_c2 and drband like this.
  11. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,572
    Location:
    TX
    Building on the Ayoob comments @Double Naught Spy referenced. My wife first picked a 686 as her go to and ‘learning’ hand gun. It was during classes she discovered her weak hand trigger finger was not strong enough for the double action drills. Her second choice - a 1911. She later took a class under Kay Clark Miculek…most the class shooting 9’s, my wife running a 1911. The only downside then was mag capacity….
     
  12. Blkhrt13

    Blkhrt13 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2017
    Messages:
    2,291
    Location:
    The armpit of Satan (south Louisiana)
    My first handgun was a colt 22. My first carry gun was a 38. Then I swapped it for a 1911. I am not sure if I would have counted as a beginner considering I knew the manual of arms for disassembly for 5 years or so before I owned that gun. I’m sure it’s more about the owner.
     
  13. Old_Grouch

    Old_Grouch Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2021
    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    Pierre, South Dakota
    "Don't get caught with your dingus down" ~Jeff Cooper
     
  14. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    MN
    I think a better way of putting it is that a 1911 is not the ideal starter gun for someone who is not interested in learning its ins and outs and would mainly like a gun to have in a desk safe that they load for home defense and then never shoot otherwise.
     
    Slamfire, PWC and Tallball like this.
  15. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,992
    Location:
    Florida
    The 1911 is less reliable and more complicated to take apart than plastic guns.
     
    Slamfire and bearcreek like this.
  16. Tallball

    Tallball Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,435
    "IMO a 1911 is for somebody "into" guns that practices frequently; it should be carried condition 1 or don't carry it.
    Glock / 365 / Shield / Beretta 92 - fine for somebody who wants to learn, shoots occasionally, and is comfortable/competent with loaded chamber carry.
    Revolvers - Anybody not comfortable with carrying loaded chamber in a pistol. Those that seldom shoot. Those not "into" guns."


    I agree.

    I'm actually "into" guns. I have some handguns in my safe, including several 1911's. But for SD I stick to DAO and prefer revolvers. If there are fewer levers and switches, there's less chance of me doing something incorrectly.
     
    Slamfire likes this.
  17. LocoGringo

    LocoGringo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Messages:
    744
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    What a great discussion! Some trends that I'm seeing in the responses are:
    1) recoil
    2) safety activation/deactivation
    3) maintenance

    I'm a pretty good shooter and am competent with both a Glock and a 1911/2011. The first handgun I ever purchased while I was in college (be gentle) was a Taurus PT945 that was 1911-like, kinda, sorta. I didn't know anything about pistols at the time and it wasn't a conscious decision to get something like a 1911, but I wanted something that shot .45 (don't ask why, I don't know) and the price was right for a college student. It was two tone and had a compensator built in. It was interesting when I went for my concealed carry permit because I used a shoulder holster rather than a hip holster, so to draw the pistol, I had to sweep my left arm, basically. They put me on the far left side so that I wouldn't sweep people. They allowed it and I qualified, but it's funny to think back on now.

    I traded that in for a Glock 21 and was underwhelmed with the Glock. It was completely utilitarian, but uninspiring. I tolerated it until I noticed the recoil spring guide rod flange broke. I traded it in after replacing the guide rod assembly for a Steyr-Mannlicher M40 because I wanted more capacity and I liked the trapezoidal sights. I never shot well with that pistol and set it aside. While in the Coast Guard, I was exposed to the Beretta M9 and I shot it well (qualified "Expert" in boot camp), but didn't particularly like it either. Then I bought a Kimber Custom Target II stainless and was in love.

    Now I have 2 "plastic fantastic" handguns (Glock 17 to duplicate what I have at work and SA XDs in .45 for concealed carry) and 5 1911/2011 variants (2-.45 ACP and 3-9mm). I also have 2 Ruger 22/45s that are close to the 1911 in grip angle and controls for fun and cheap training. I shoot 3-gun using a 2011 and will be shooting IDPA with a Dan Wesson 1911 commander in 9mm. For work and qualification I never try to remove the safety as if it's a 1911 when shooting the Glock and in competition I'm smooth and fluid with the safety when using the 2011. I don't get them mixed up and am skillful with both. I have to admit I've never been on a two way range and never been under fire, so I don't know how I would react, but I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have a problem with either sidearm.

    From the beginner's point of view, you don't know what you don't know. If someone begins with a 1911 style pistol, they will begin with using the safety. If they are smart like we want every beginner to be, they will seek training with whatever gun they choose. If they begin with a 1911 style pistol, they will train with that gun and, hopefully, practice with the safety so that it becomes part of their routine. Hopefully they will learn the trigger and have an appropriate trigger pull weight for self-defense. If someone is a beginner using a 1911 with a 2 pound pull weight, I would think that is a rarity and also stupid.

    So, if someone trains as we all recommend a beginner to do, the safety activation/deactivation should become part of the draw stroke.

    Recoil can be mitigated by choosing a 9mm rather than a .45, easy. There are PLENTY of reliable options out there for 9mm 1911s. Yes, there are also many unreliable options out there.

    Maintenance...if your life is depending on that tool, you'd better check it and maintain it no matter what style it is. I've only replaced 2 recoil springs on 1911/2011s (guess I haven't shot enough). No other fixes have been necessary for excellent reliability...including my accursed Kimber.

    I'm still not convinced, but it's a great discussion.
     
  18. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    Messages:
    2,962
    Location:
    N Idaho
    Of course. Unfortunately, most "shooters" don't train enough as it is. A safety is one more thing for a untrained/poorly trained person to screw up.

    How many "typical" gun owners do you know who have had 8-16 hours of good training? The vast majority have had zero beyond possibly a CCW class, which, in most cases, focuses on the law and the most elemental level of gun safety rules and in some cases the basics of handling a pistol without killing someone unintentionally. That's pretty much it for most folks.
     
  19. LocoGringo

    LocoGringo Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Messages:
    744
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    With the level of training you describe, they will be incompetent with ANY handgun you put in their hands. They'd be lucky to hit a man-sized target in the vitals at 7 yards under pressure with ANY handgun. If they chose to conceal carry a Glock and decided to respond to an emergency situation that required a lethal response, would you want them to? The liability that goes with carrying a pistol for self-defense is very high and if they haven't trained or practiced enough to swipe a safety under pressure, I don't really want them responding with lethal force with ANY handgun.
     
  20. Hikingman

    Hikingman Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Messages:
    545
    Location:
    Alabama
    On the training of soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces or a regular first timer, it goes to this: training. Let's get something straight since mentoring is an unpopular word these days among many.

    A few minutes of video traning on Utube from a little known, self-trained person is not what we're talking about. A U.S. GI training movie (it has survived on Utube, and the title begins with "WW2") required training about the 1911 pistol is one aspect to consider.

    Cleaning the firearm using military training, and standing on a firing line with very experienced military instructors might not be the best, but those things can far exceed the standards of lots of non-mil people.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2022
  21. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    Messages:
    2,962
    Location:
    N Idaho
    And yet, that is the level of training of the average gun owner. I'd love to be proven wrong.
     
  22. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    11,778
    Location:
    East TN
    I agree, but it applies to striker fired pistols as well as 1911 style pistols. Each has its own safety systems and must be trained for for each shooter.

    If you dumb down the instruction for striker style pistols because they appear to be intrinsically safe, the term "Glock leg" will expand greatly, in my opinion.

    Personally, I feel a 1911 is safer to handle and carry than a striker fired pistol. I do not trust the safety of the reliability of the "do-hicky" in the middle of the trigger. But, different strokes for different folks.
     
  23. Ethan Verity

    Ethan Verity Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2021
    Messages:
    466
    From what I see people doing every time I visit the range, you are absolutely right!
     
  24. Monac

    Monac Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,430
    Location:
    Southeast Wisconsin
    I don't think the 1911 design is a problem for beginners. I think it is the recoil. When I started out, I got a 22 revolver. My next gun was an all-steel 32 pocket automatic, and frankly, that seemed quite snappy at the time. I went up by gentle stages with a 38 S&W Webley revolver and a 9mm Radom VIS-35, which is a vaguely 1911 style pistol, and I got used to more recoil. I got a refinished Colt 1917, and that was a little more recoil than I liked, although I kept shooting it because it seemed to have a tuned SA trigger pull and was very accurate.

    But when I finally got a 1911 (a Remington Rand, before the price for WWII 1911's went to the moon) I was surprised to find that the recoil seemed even worse than the Colt 1917. I sold it, for various reasons, among them that I did not like shooting it. But I must have got used to more recoil over the years, because I got a hankering for a 1911 a few years ago and found a decent Argentine DGFM for a reasonable price. I found it much more pleasant to shoot than I remembered. But I still think it's nothing to hand a beginner, unless they are really interested in guns, because too much recoil is a great way to develop a flinch.

    Look, during WWII, the Army handed out lots of 1911's to absolute beginners. From what I recall reading, many of them consided it a real powerhouse of a pistol ("pocket artillery" is one description I remember), and the mystique of the 45 automatic was born. But a lot of them did not really enjoy shooting it, because it's got a lot of felt recoil to someone who has never fired a pistol before and is only doing so because it is required. For a person who really wants one, or who likes guns for their own sake? They will get used to it. But for person with no experience, who is trying to find something they like and feel confident about their ability to learn to shoot well with, it would not be something I would recommend. Anyway, that's my opinion, right off the top of my head.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2022
  25. westernrover

    westernrover Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2018
    Messages:
    917
    It goes back farther than that. In 1942, William Fairbairn developed and published opinions on the 1911 and smaller Colt pistols like the 1903 that were absolutely seminal to government doctrine on handguns in the US for the military, FBI, and police. As a cop himself, Ayoob's early (1980) opinions were simply a result of this. By 2006, his opinions had to evolve as a result of the overwhelming rejection of Fairbairn's doctrine in favor of Jeff Cooper's, the overwhelming prevalence of double-stack magazine pistols, and the overwhelming prevalence of lightweight polymer-framed pistols in 40 caliber that weighed 47% less than the 1911, recoiling with nearly twice the energy and velocity.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice