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Old July 5, 2008, 02:36 PM   #1
lux_aeternae
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Best CQB Sidearm, 1911? Your thoughts.

Hello fellow gun enthusiasts. I was wondering if I could ask your educated opinion on the effectiveness of the 1911 as a CQB pistol. I love everything about the gun, but when push comes to shove, is the 1911's 7+1 really enough in a CQB situation?
I have read that in recent years operators have been making the transition back to the tried and true 1911, from the LAPD Swat to the Marine Recon Expeditionary Unit to our Army's Delta Force. It seems that our elite, despite choices of other expensive fine sidearms, they chose to go with a user customized 1911. I initially found this surprising, due to the venerable reputation of the H&K and SIG firearms.
I have heard handling and speed are everything in CQB, and that more rounds (although nice) does not mean much when you may never have the chance to use them - but is the 1911's other positive attributes enough to compensate for it's smaller magazine capacity and to allow it to compete with high end double stack firearms? I have been reconsidering this recently and would like to hear your thoughts on this. Concealed carry and money are not an issue for this discussion. Thanks again for your help. Hope this is a lively and useful discussion.
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Old July 5, 2008, 03:30 PM   #2
David Armstrong
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It seems that our elite, despite choices of other expensive fine sidearms, they chose to go with a user customized 1911.
Some of the elite are going to the 1911, but for every one that does there are several who pick something else. The reason it gets so much play in the gun press, IMO, is the old 1911 mythology and the fact that is is so rare. If it gave a distinct advantage lots more would be going to it. As for capacity, I'd put it way down on the list of importance. You should be far more concerned with something that is reliable and that you can use well, no matter what the caliber/capacity. My $.02.
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Old July 5, 2008, 04:16 PM   #3
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A good, reliable 1911 is great for CQB.
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Old July 5, 2008, 04:26 PM   #4
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A good, reliable 1911 is great for CQB...but IMO a good, reliable pistol with a higher magazine capacity is better.
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Old July 5, 2008, 05:07 PM   #5
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Nothing wrong with a solid 1911 for CQB/HD IMO. I used to carry one and have one beside the bed for years. I switched to Glock for increased capacity and reliability but the 1911 is still a viable platform.
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Old July 5, 2008, 05:25 PM   #6
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I think the point-ability and the ease of accuracy with the 1911 make it the choice sidearm for certain law enforcement agencies.
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Old July 5, 2008, 09:24 PM   #7
lux_aeternae
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Hey thanks everyone for your help. It seems that what I'm hearing about the 1911 in CQB is that it is a good gun if you can find/make it reliable, but the magazine capacity is definitely a negative.
Still though, I do not understand why these elite agencies would switch to the 1911 unless it did offer some sort of distinct advantage, but perhaps I am wrong to suppose that the choosing of the gun relies solely in the gun characteristics, perhaps it could be American tradition? Maybe the sons of America want to use the same pistol their great grandfathers used in defense of America - or perhaps that is only an additional plus?
I'm still open to more input, 1911 diehards and plastic-double stack diehards alike. The reason I'm so interested is what I've been hearing lately, also from what I hear from my Corpsman buddy in Iraq. The .45 seems to be on demand. Keep shootin' guys.
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Old July 5, 2008, 09:35 PM   #8
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Best?

Best in reference to any firearm for any role depends on what a given person shoots well, is reliable, and is effective.

A .380 might be easy to shoot and quite reliable, but its effectiveness would be wanting compared to some other pistols. The 1911 has proven itself time and again in numerous theaters of battle. Other guns have acquitted themselves nicely when the chips were down- Sig, Glock, CZ, S&W, and more.

Government agencies do what government agencies do, and not always with well reasoned and logical justifications. Sure, they may pick out a great gun, but that doesn't necessarily detract from the guns they didn't choose. There is likely a good deal of personal bias in the selection process.
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Old July 5, 2008, 11:52 PM   #9
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Several years ago I wrote an article where I interviewed a SEAL, Delta Force operator, and a PJ and asked them entirely handgun related questions.
It was interesting that only 1 of the 3 chose a 1911 platform for his number 1 pick. 1 chose the Glock and 1 chose the Sig. 2 of the 3 had the Glock in their top 3, and all three had the 1911 in their top 3.

I don't think the 1911 is all mythology. There are a lot of things that can come into play for a combat handgun, but at the moment the gun is drawn, and the trigger is pulled a single time statistically speaking the very best shot is likely to be offered by a 1911 platform weapon.
A combat handgun is NOT all about shooting though. It is about ridiculous reliability, it is about function in circumstances that no one should ever find themselves in, and it is about being your fallback weapon when something has gone dreadfully wrong. I think other weapons can provide that better than a 1911 can.

Why do the Spec Ops guys go with a 1911? Because their mission focus is often pretty narrow and I KNOW that even the guys who carry a 1911 in the Spec Ops world don't always carry a 1911. If I was going to fly into Modadishu, fast rope onto a rooftop, grab/shoot some terrorist and fly away, I would probably carry a 1911. If I was going to wander around the jungle for 30 days, slogging through rivers etc to face unknown forces, I would probably not carry a 1911.

For the rank and file soldier a Glock is probably a better choice.

Of course, there are a billion different shooters, with differen hands/finger dimensions etc... And thankfully there are a lot of great choices for the job.

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Old July 5, 2008, 11:57 PM   #10
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"Still though, I do not understand why these elite agencies would switch to the 1911 unless it did offer some sort of distinct advantage, but perhaps I am wrong to suppose that the choosing of the gun relies solely in the gun characteristics, perhaps it could be American tradition?"

I'm sure those elite agencies are using shotguns, submachine guns, and other long arms as their primary weapons, with the pistols as backup. In addition to flashbang grenades, smoke grenades, tear gas, etc. AND, they are going into harms way with plenty of backup in the form of fellow agents. They also train regularly to make all their shots count.

I think the only thing the 1911 has over more modern designs is a nice trigger and a long sight radius, But those are pretty good features. My Kimber is easily the most accurate of my centerfire semiautos.
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Old July 6, 2008, 12:04 AM   #11
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I honestly can't decide, probably 'cause deep down I don't want to. But I'm down to just two, a HK P2000SK (40SW) and a CDP Compact Kimber.
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Old July 6, 2008, 01:52 AM   #12
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Double stack 1911, problem solved.
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Old July 6, 2008, 02:30 AM   #13
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SA

There's another consideration for a 1911, same as an SA revolver, after the safety's off - or for the revolver after it's cocked - you are but a very slight finger nudge away from shooting - so practice is really necessary with an SA CCW. In the heat of likely the most extreme moment of your life, you could shoot yourself or the other person, the latter in the moment you discover he is not attacker after all; however, a slight jerk of your finger by mistake kills him.
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Old July 6, 2008, 05:02 AM   #14
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People who are in organizations like FBI SWAT or LAPD SWAT/SIS seem to really prefer them. They claim they're able to squeeze out that little bit of extra performance that most avg. shooters cannot. I'll take their word for it. Its their choice. If you feel the 1911 helps you shoot better than that's what you should choose. But if it doesn't make a difference one shouldnt' necessarily choose it just because the "pros" use them. They're pros because they're highly trained, motivated, and talented. Which most of us are not.

Other organization use different pistols. Delta Force is currently using Glock 17's instead of 1911's (Larry Vickers apparently recommended them) . Navy SEAL's and British SAS continue to use SIG Sauer P226 9mm's. U.S. Army Special Forces use Beretta M9's. What does it prove? That they've proven to be good reliable guns minimum, nothing more.

Some of us like to think having a 1911 or a Glock or a SIG P226 will give us an edge because some respected organization uses it, but its all an illusion. If you simply suck or if you're mediocre, you'll still suck or be mediocre no matter what gun you have.
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Old July 6, 2008, 05:24 AM   #15
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CQB huh. I would say more often than not, if someone is telling someone else what type of sidearms are being used by the SEALs, Delta, etc they are probably making it up or just speculating. I would tend to suspect that those types high speed low drag enough to actually know likely don't post in public forums, if at all. People like Vickers are the rare exception as he's actually BTDT unlike some of the fools posting on the net (such as myself ). Now here's an uneducated guess of my own. Judging by what has been told to me by various friend's that have been to Iraq and the Stan and that have actually dealt with SF types, it sounds to be far less common seeing those types using the 1911 than is made out to be by some people on the net. My question is, does it really matter what those guys use? I don't think most people in public forums are going to find themselves in close quarters battle any time soon. lol

1911 good for CQB? Buy these:



10 rounds of 45acp ought to get the job done. Judging by what I hear, that much 45acp concentrated in one area will likely blow a hole in the space time continuum, pick your CQB adversary up off his feet, and throw him through the wormhole. hahahahahaha Back to reality now. Seriously though, I don't see why people stress out about or even waste time with 7 or 8 rounders. I would have nothing but those Chip Mccormack 10 rounders myself. No need to buy some double stack gun to put your mind at ease that you won't be able to bump fire your 1911 long enough in CQB to vaporize the bad guy. Hehe sorry. I hear the term CQB and the jokes just start pouring out of me. Any gun will only work as well in "CQB" as the shooter.
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Old July 6, 2008, 05:28 AM   #16
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I would tend to suspect that those types high speed low drag enough to actually know likely don't post in public forums, if at all.
The handguns they use isn't a big secret. It doesn't effect national security or compromise them. They're standard 9mm and .45 handguns. Nothing more. For instance go to www.tacticalforums.com. Click on the Navy SEAL section. A member by the username "Frogman" who's an active duty SEAL posts there and he talks about what he uses, what he likes, and what he doesn't in private messages and in various threads. Its not a big deal.
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Old July 6, 2008, 10:49 AM   #17
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I guess I have to ask what you mean by a CQB situation? Everybody here is talking special forces or SWAT. CQB, as it applies to my life, means I walk in on an intruder or am accosted on the street. I've read somewhere the "average" gun battle is maybe 3 shots. That means the standard 1911 load (7+1) has plenty of ammo over the "average" gun battle. Several manufacturers are now making slightly extended 8 rounders (let's leave aside the 10 rounders as they won't be carried much). Now, you have a pistol with 9 shots in it.

Personally, I shoot a 1911 better than any handgun I own. It feels right in my hand, it points naturally, and it has a fantastic trigger. Couple that with a big hole and you have a CQB handgun. I don't troll through the jungles or through the deserts. I walk the streets and drive the car. If I were in the jungle or in the desert, I might carry something other than a 1911 but maybe not. The 1911 with through 4 major wars (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam) in all kinds of conditions and has proven itself.
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Old July 6, 2008, 11:30 AM   #18
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big sticks

Capacity is valued most by those who miss most.

I have numerous guns, but shoot the 1911 best.
I solve my personal conundrum by being ambi, able to wear a 1911 on my strong side, and a hi-capacity (9x19 Witness) butt-forwrd on my left.

Except mostly I just wear a 5-shot 22LR.
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Old July 6, 2008, 11:40 AM   #19
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1911s are nice but my first choice would be a sig 220
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Old July 6, 2008, 12:06 PM   #20
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Capacity is valued most by those who miss most.
That's garbage. That is pure snobbery based on the need to rationalize a shortcoming.
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Old July 6, 2008, 12:49 PM   #21
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That's garbage. That is pure snobbery based on the need to rationalize a shortcoming.


If you can't get things taken care of with the first 7 or 8 rounds what makes you think another 7 or 8 is going to help.
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Old July 6, 2008, 12:53 PM   #22
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Given a reliable 1911, and a reliable cartridge (45acp), and sufficient practice and training the question becomes.... How many times do you plan to miss? If you haven't solved the problem in 8+1 it's well past time to make your exit. Still only you know what kind of harms way you are anticipating.

BTW a nice thing about single stack is reloads are easy to carry.
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Old July 6, 2008, 12:55 PM   #23
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If you can't get things taken care of with the first 7 or 8 rounds what makes you think another 7 or 8 is going to help.
Because that ninth bad guy could really ruin my day?
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Old July 6, 2008, 02:10 PM   #24
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You could be faced with more than one assailant or intruder. You can miss under stress. Gunfights do occur beyond conversational distances. More can be better. But more can also mean you might not be as conservative with your shots. Its also just as likely you'll only face one intruder at conversational distances. About half the confrontations end without a shot being fired (according to DOJ statististics) The hard and fast rule is there is no hard and fast rule.
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Old July 6, 2008, 02:19 PM   #25
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If you can't get things taken care of with the first 7 or 8 rounds what makes you think another 7 or 8 is going to help.
Because its better to have and not need than to need and not have.
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