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Old March 16, 2013, 03:12 PM   #1
TxFlyFish
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For those who have a lot of 1911 experience...

how much difference in tracking ability and balance/handling is there among full size offerings in the semi custom range. Is it more than just a checklist of standard features?

[rats should be in semi forum]

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Old March 16, 2013, 03:20 PM   #2
MTSCMike
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A 1911 is a 1911. If the features, fit and finish are the same then "tracking" (I am assuming you refer to sight acquisition and alignment) and handling would be identical. Only by changing features (different sights, arched vs flat MSH, different length trigger, aluminum vs steel frame, stock grip or undercut trigger guard, etc) should you be able to affect the handling and/or "pointability" of a 1911.
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Old March 16, 2013, 05:16 PM   #3
raimius
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The only major difference I've noticed is between arched and flat mainspring housings. It would take me a couple hundred rounds of practice to switch back and forth between those (when I practiced several hundred rounds a week, with emphasis on quick target acquisition.)

I wouldn't call it a "checklist" of features. I would figure out what you want to use the pistol for, what features would be useful, then which pistols match your requirements. For example, I knew I wanted a 1911 for range work and for carry. I settled on a bobtail commander as the best option for me. It had night sights, which I think are somewhat useful, but not mandatory. I didn't get one with a ambi-safety, because I didn't evaluate working the safety at speed, with my weak hand as a priority.
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Old March 16, 2013, 06:44 PM   #4
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Some people are more sensitive to how a gun is set up than are others. Some people will, for instance, have a very strong preference for a certain brand of beavertail grip safety, while I generally can't tell, just by holding, if a gun has a beavertail or not; it just doesn't make much difference.
I have a strong preference for arched mainspring housings, others prefer flat, some don't care.
The beauty is in being able to pick and choose the features that you do prefer, and have a gun that's perfectly suited to you; that's why "production custom" guns have never been very appealing to me, as they have the features that 90% of the market wants, but not what I want.
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Old March 16, 2013, 09:05 PM   #5
Jim Watson
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A real Colt has a thinner and more radiused front strap than a Springfield or Caspian. It makes a difference in the "point" of the gun, assuming same pattern grips, mainspring housing, and trigger. The grip safety does not affect my handling once I have a firing grip, but I like a beavertail for a smooth draw and to spread the recoil. I can't tell much difference by brand.

Sorry, I don't have much experience with the semi-customs like Brown, Baer, or Wilson.
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Old March 17, 2013, 10:47 PM   #6
Venom1956
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Quote:
tracking ability and balance/handling
first time i've heard it called that?

besides Flat or Arched MSH I would say the other two largest differences besides differences in the actual frame (I find Taurus 1911 frames to be noticeably different) would be slim grips and a full length dust cover such as Springer Full rail operator which causes more weight out front.
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Old March 17, 2013, 11:03 PM   #7
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I can't tell too much difference in the balance or "tracking" ability in different semi-custom 1911s I own (Brown, Wilson, Baer). They do all have a different feel about them in the hand.

However, full size 1911s do not always weigh the same so some may actually have a slightly different balance if you are sensitive about those sorts of thing. For example, both the Brown Executive Target and Wilson Classic list their full size models at 38 ounces and Springfield Armory lists the TRP at 42 ounces. There's no way to know if you can tell the difference without handling the gun.

I'll just add that sights would have a lot to do with the ability to "track" a target.
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Old March 18, 2013, 12:29 PM   #8
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I own some Kimbers, one Baer, one Brown, a couple of Wilson's ...all 5" guns and three in 9mm and three in .45acp...

There is a subtle different feel to each gun...the lines per inch on the front strap, the agressiveness on the cross hatching on the grip panels, the style of the beaver tail grip safety, the size of the thumb safety, or the size of the ambi safety...all pretty little things...

..but how they come up and out of the holster on line...is really about the same - at least on the steel 5" guns. Now I do have one Kimber that is an alloy frame ( Tactical Pro II model, 4" in 9mm) that has a really different feel to it than any of the 5" steel guns...but its the only alloy frame 1911 I have and its the only 4" 1911 I have.../ so its a combination of the weight and the length of the sight plane. But it also comes up and out of the holster and on target about the same...( it just feels different because its lighter I think ..)...

My favorites - hands down are my Wilsons ( one in 9mm / one in .45acp ) and I practice with the 9mm a lot ( 4 boxes on Sunday aftn ) and 1 box thru the .45 acp version ...and I'm a little quicker on follow up shots with the 9mm...over the .45acp ...but in terms of accuracy and control, I shoot them both about the same (both 5", steel )...the .45acp is my primary carry gun/the 9mm is my primary practice range gun. ( my other 1911's stay home a lot !! )..../ and while the triggers on my 1911's are not all identical ...I find transitioning from one 5" gun ..to the other, is really quick ( on all of them the triggers vary from 3.5 lbs to about 4.2 lbs..)../ but as my eyes get worse ( and older ) the sights are a pretty big factor.

I'm going to send both Wilsons back ...to have the rear Battle Sight put on them ...and the Fibre Optic front sight put on them vs their standard night sights one of these days...

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Old March 18, 2013, 03:59 PM   #9
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I've owned, shot, and carried a ridiculous number/variety of handguns including many different 1911s, and there is definitely a difference to how they fit, point, and feel. I have only found a few combinations that point and balance right for me. Those are Colt 1911 with standard thickness grips and flat MSHs, round butt S&W N frames with Pachmayr Compac grips, and round butt S&W J frames with CT LG-105 grips. These make up the bulk of the handguns I own and are the only guns I carry. The 1911s have similar trigger pull weights and the revolvers are DAO with bobbed hammers. I can pick up or draw any one of them and point it at a target and the sights will be lined up and the gun balanced so that it does not feel too muzzle heavy or light.
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Old March 18, 2013, 05:58 PM   #10
Don P
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Quote:
how much difference in tracking ability and balance/handling is there among full size offerings in the semi custom range. Is it more than just a checklist of standard features?
Just my opinion, in the hands of the average shooter it will make no difference. Most folks are incapable of matching the accuracy that is built into the gun
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Old March 18, 2013, 06:07 PM   #11
BigJimP
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But nice guns...make some of us look better...

( not really ....but what the heck ) ....life is too short, to shoot guns I don't like .../ but the 1911's I don't shoot - will get passed down in the family before I die ( and the really good ones / I'll take with me when I die ) !
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Old March 19, 2013, 12:39 PM   #12
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For my hands undercut trigger guard makes the biggest difference; feels like the pistol is "dropping" into my hand/firmly instead of my hand "sliding" down the grip/loosely. Beavertails also help in this regard.

Also Colt front strap dimensions; my hands wrap around these very well, my Wilson fits very nicely too.

With as many 1911 makers out there these days, there are a lot of subtle differences. Some folks can really "feel" the difference, some not so much. My smile is just all that much bigger with the "right" set up. And for me that also includes a smooth front strap and the perfect "sharpness" of checkering on the stocks.

YMMV
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Old March 20, 2013, 02:19 PM   #13
TxFlyFish
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thanks for the wealth of info everyone! I almost couldnt find the thread but seems like mods moved it to the correct spot.

I know some wondered what tracking was. I first read about "tracking" just couple years ago and the way to describe it is how "nicely a pistol behaves". I believe that a good pistol is more than just accuracy and trigger. A well behaving pistol is a testament to its design and much harder the achieve than mechanical accuracy and trigger

Ah I think theres just no shortcut for 1911s either, its gonna be a long journey of trial and error
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Old March 21, 2013, 12:20 AM   #14
KyJim
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Quote:
I know some wondered what tracking was. I first read about "tracking" just couple years ago and the way to describe it is how "nicely a pistol behaves".
Ah! I thought you meant the ability to track a moving target with your sights. In that case, I can say that my best behaved 1911s are my Browns, but opinions vary. Good luck in your quest.
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