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Old November 21, 2018, 08:54 AM   #1
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I have been seeing a lot of "chatter" about 1911's, I've never owned one.
I have a Springfield XD 45 that I enjoy shooting...(mostly I shoot 9 mm)
so, what is the hoopla about the 1911's
Do I need one? Dumb question, but if I do buy...what to look for...
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Old November 21, 2018, 09:16 AM   #2
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I suppose there are maybe three main reasons emotional, historical and technical.

Emotionally some folks just see them and think that is what a gun should look like. Maybe Dad or Granddad had one or we just grew up wanting one.

Historically they have been around for over 100 years and are still obviously very popular. They have been used by the US Military in ever major conflict of the last century. They have also been featured in numerous ways in movies, TV, print and assorted popular culture. Also, Thomas Magnum used one, so that is good for some bonus points.

Technically they tend to be very good shooters. The most accurate gun in my collection is a Wilson 1911, but I have Colts and SAs that shoot almost as well.
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Old November 21, 2018, 12:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DAKA View Post
I have been seeing a lot of "chatter" about 1911's, I've never owned one.
I have a Springfield XD 45 that I enjoy shooting...(mostly I shoot 9 mm)
so, what is the hoopla about the 1911's
Do I need one? Dumb question, but if I do buy...what to look for...
Do you need one? No. But they are fun.

what to look for
what do you want to do?

For my first (and only, and may be last) I went with a Rock Island GI .45, as closest to the original spec. It's reliable.
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Old November 21, 2018, 03:43 PM   #4
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Go to 1911Addictics or 1911Forum and read the messages there. Your questions will be answered.
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Old November 21, 2018, 03:46 PM   #5
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If you mostly shoot 9mm there are probably other guns you would enjoy more. Personally I think every 9mm lover needs a beretta 92fs. Its not that its my favorite but they are well built guns and we all grew up watching Die Hard, Leathal Weapon etc. etc. so even though its Italy it feels iconic in America.

Now if you just love 45acp.... yes you need a 1911. Its a big low capacity heavy hunk of steel that handles nice for most people and you get to go around saying 1911 this... 1911 that..... 45acp this....45acp that.

My personal view is everybody "needs" a solid 357 magnum revolver of at least 4-6" in barrel length and a good 12ga pump shotgun. Those two guns with all the versatility in loads can work for most situaltions as well as anything given you have had some practice. After that maybe a 400 yard bolt action deer rifle.

Now.... most gun enthusiasts are nerds and we all think we often look for any reason to justify another purchase. I personally have needed a Beretta 93r since I started reading Mack Bolan books but ...... it aint happening.

If you want a 1911 though go for it. Most people like them. They are good solid old fashioned semi autos. There is lots you can do with them in terms of customizing or you can leave it plain. I personally think they are nice in 38super. The 45acp is a bit of a dated cartridge in standard loads. Its big but its very slow. +p 45acp is a bit better. What we need is a 11mm..... better yet a 12mm.
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Old November 21, 2018, 06:11 PM   #6
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When I came back to shooting regularly for the first time in 65 years, a 1911 Springfield Arms Range Officer in 9mm, was my second purchase. It was recommended by my LGS guru, former Ranger Armorer. Been pleased with it; and, the other 8, or 9 1911s purchased since then. My first purchase five years ago was a Kahr 9mm for concealed carry. Now carry a Kimber Micro9, or a Shield 45ACP, depending.

Had a .22lr Anschutz target rifle I carried around during most of that 65 years.

Every shooter should at least try a 1911 in whatever caliber you prefer. I've heard the 1911 in .38 Super is a dream pistol. My experience is in 9mm and .45ACP. Satisfied with both.

These days I tend to buy STIs,1911 and 2011, along with SIGs and CZs. Have bought and sold over 50 pistols in the past five years. Haven't found a "bad" one, yet. Some better than others.

Today's favorites for everyday shooting, are SIG p210 (newest version, also had a Swiss version, prefer the newer one) a SIG X-5 L1 and a CZ Tactical Sport. Also ,some target .22lr models. Still wind up shooting a 1911 at least a couple of times a month,
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Old November 21, 2018, 06:12 PM   #7
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I've found the 1911 to be infectious.. For some reason I love the guns. If you decide you 'need' one there are almost too many choices. A decent place to start it the Ruger offerings. For the modest price they produce an excellent 'starter' 1911 IMO.

Good luck
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Old November 21, 2018, 06:44 PM   #8
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If you live in a magazine capacity restricted (i.e., “socialist”) state such as CA, NY, NJ, CT, etc., you won’t feel deprived with a 1911 since you normally only have a maximum 10 round capacity anyway. And these are generally really nice guns to shoot, regardless of caliber.
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Old November 21, 2018, 07:18 PM   #9
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I'm still trying to decide if I like the 1911. I only have 7 of them.
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Old November 21, 2018, 07:45 PM   #10
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back to the OP. The market is flooded with them. I would say get a basic model that is milspec or close to it. Then play with it for a while before dropping a bunch of cash on one. The RIA models are a good start and not expensive. Even the ATI gets good reviews. Stay away from oddballs like the old Llamas, AMT etc. etc. 45acp or 38 super and you should be good. 9mm 1911s can be problematic and often need tweeking along with high end magazines.

If you want to go semi custom from the factory Metro Arms, RIA, and even Taurus are good for the Money IMO. Ruger are a little more but good to go.

Or you can just go full bore and drop a few grand on a custom build LOL.
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Old November 21, 2018, 09:17 PM   #11
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My 1911 is one of my favorite guns to shoot. I'll carry it from time to time and never feel under gun. 1911 has been a fight stopper for over 100 years.
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Old November 21, 2018, 10:16 PM   #12
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For a first one I'd go with a Rock Island. They're not pretty but they run with the best of them and have a lifetime of the gun warranty and excellent customer support if you ever need it.
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Old November 21, 2018, 10:43 PM   #13
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My first 1911 I bought after leaving the USN was a Colt 1991A1. Much later I bought a SA XD in .45. I keep going back to the Colt. I hand load and the darn thing eats every kind of bullet I feed it. The XD, not so much. After about 3000 rounds I replaced the recoil spring in the Colt. I found it was starting to hammer the slide. The spring was down to about 12lbs. Full power loads gave that feeling. The odd thing about the 1911 is the more you use it the better the trigger gets. That is if it was made to JMB's specs. Some companies want reinvent the innards. Not a good idea.

In the end it not what to buy but how much can you afford. RIA does make a good starter 1911. With the after market parts you can modify it to your hearts content.

Add: I also have a Remington in stainless. I still like the Colt.
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Old November 21, 2018, 11:00 PM   #14
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They are good shooters. If it's a full-sized steel version, 45acp doesn't recoil that much. They feel good in the hand. The less expensive ones, like RIA, can be had new for $400 or so. Used maybe closer to $300. They are fun to shoot and you certainly wouldn't be unarmed with one for SD. I have several and like them very much.
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Old November 21, 2018, 11:42 PM   #15
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what is the hoopla about the 1911's
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Old November 22, 2018, 01:53 AM   #16
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the heart and soul is the trigger, once you shoot one you cant go back. Everything else about the pistol was ahead of its time, the ergonomics of the singlestack grip and angle, low bore axis, straight pull SAO trigger set the bar today's pistols copy but few get all in one package.
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Old November 22, 2018, 07:40 AM   #17
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I consider the 1911 to be something of a "staple" in the shooting world. I think every shooter needs to spend a little time with one, just to see what the hoopla is all about. Mine is a Springfield Armory. It started life as the old GI model, but it was a bit of a jam-o-matic. A gunsmith tuned it for me, and that problem has been solved, and in spades. I don't carry it any more, but it's always a pleasure to shoot. I also shoot it distinctly better than my G19. Once I made the transition to carrying my Glock, I didn't shoot it for a couple of years. When I picked it up again, I was astounded at how well I shot it.

In any event, maybe you need a 1911, maybe not, OP. You'll have to decide that. With that said, here's bac1023's Buyer's guide for all you 1911 addicts.
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Old November 22, 2018, 07:54 AM   #18
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BarryLee could not have said it better.

Avoid getting a 1911 at all costs....once you get one, you will need to get one custom for will starve your children to get that one!
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Old November 22, 2018, 08:11 AM   #19
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My shooting buddy and I both got 1911's brand-new for a little under $400. Mine is Turkish and his is Filipino. He got a better deal, with improved sights and larger beavertail. Mine is strictly GI style. They are both perfectly reliable with good triggers.

There are also surplus Star 1911-style pistols in 9mm widely available in the $200-something dollar rage. They are basically 1911's without the grip safety in 9mm. I own a full-size (Super B) and a smaller one (BM). They are both excellent shooters. After my friend shot my Super B he immediately ordered one for himself.

No doubt the $1,000 ones are more fun to shoot, but you can get a 1911 or 1911-style pistol inexpensively that will be fun enough and shoot very well.
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Old November 22, 2018, 08:11 AM   #20
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I second getting a Star Super B if you want a 9mm. Other than that, the classic 45 then. I'm sure at some point during Holiday dinners, my boys will get into a discussion about who gets which 1911, when I start to disperse them. I'm not a fan of "safe trigger" striker fired guns. I need a single action trigger (DA/SA is OK) and a thumb safety. Every red blooded American gun owner should have a 1911. Get a basic one but with better than GI sights.

Last edited by 44caliberkid; November 22, 2018 at 08:18 AM.
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Old November 22, 2018, 08:13 AM   #21
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I freed myself from all my 1911 pistols, I admit they were accurate and the 1911 is aesthetically pleasing to me, however, I was never happy with the reliability, I had Kimber, Colt, and Sprinfield, all full size. They did pretty good with 230 grain ball ammunition, but I often had reliability problems with HP ammo. In the end I dumped the 1911 platform for more modern 45s.
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Old November 22, 2018, 08:48 AM   #22
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To the OP, I suggest finding a range where you can rent a 1911 and try one out before buying. Then you will get to experience why there is a lot of love for the platform. As others have said, the trigger is probably better than any other pistol, even on base models. I also find it easier to instinctively aim. My wife had never shot a pistol before she shot my 1911, and her first shot was a bulls-eye at 21 feet.

Of course, after the first shot she started to flinch and the rest weren’t so good! But she’s gotten better at that and it is still her favorite.
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Old November 22, 2018, 09:11 AM   #23
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I don't know that a 50 round range session will do it. There is a familiarity that can grow between a hand and a tool.

One or two range sessions with a single action cowboy wheel gun will be a novelty experience. Carry one a while and maybe you will think "If I could only have one gun..." Or not. Tastes vary.

After about a wheelbarrow load of ammo,shooting a particular handgun might become a bit like driving with manual transmission and a clutch...its a natural,flowing thing to do. It might all come together in joy of driving,double clutching,downshifting,picking lines and rpms,using throttle to drive the corner. Its more than a two speed auto in a MiniVan.

Once you get there with a 1911,they are all 1911's,and they feel like home.

The skills transfer.

You can find all kinds of good tools. But a new gun of the month means you start over.

Confidence and competence with a good familiar tool can get the job done
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Old November 22, 2018, 11:21 AM   #24
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so, what is the hoopla about the 1911's
Do I need one? Dumb question, but if I do buy...what to look for...
The Model 1911 is much like several guns which fall into the love it or hate it class of guns. There are those who swear by the gun and others who see it as a bulky antique without a place in today's world of guns. I guess the beauty rest in the eye of the beholder and myself, personally, I began a love affair with the Model 1911 during 1969 in the Marine Corps. That love affair extended into today with a collection of about a dozen of them and I lean towards the Colt Series 70 guns, including a few Gold Cup flavors.

Like any gun, as mentioned, I suggest a try before buy and see how the gun feels to you, how it fits your hand and your style of shooting a semi-automatic handgun. Just because someone else likes a gun design and it "feels" right in their paws does not make it a good fit for your paws or also important your taste. I see a gun, much like I see my motorcycle or my truck. They are an extension of my personal taste.

Buy or not? Your call but again, try before you buy and if you choose to buy then remember, like any new to you gun it takes some rounds down range to master the tool.

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Old November 22, 2018, 02:43 PM   #25
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There have really been no advances in handgun design, other than in materials, in 100 years.
The 1911 is no more of an antique than any other handgun that shoots metallic cartridges.

Too big? Get a compact version.

Too heavy? Get an alloy-framed version.

Low capacity? Get a 2011 hi-cap variant.

And, unlike a lot of other guns, if some part of the gun doesn't fit, you can replace various parts so it conforms to you.
I've read a lot of "it didn't fit" comments about various guns, but that doesn't really apply to a 1911 properly outfitted.

You do have to decide the price point. I find $1000 to be a sweet spot for quality and desirable features, but you can go with half that, or five times that, depending on your budget and other considerations.
I consider a cheap 1911 to not really be a 1911 at all, because the generally better fit and finish of more expensive guns is part of the 1911's attraction.
If you want a bullet-slinging implement, get a plastic-framed, striker-fired something.

On another forum, a guy was saying, "With all that care and maintenance, I'll stick with my plastic, striker-fired guns", which struck me as making about as much sense as saying, "With all the care and maintenance a Ferrari needs, I'll stick to my 20yo pick-up truck."
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