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1911 as a Carry or Home Defensive Weapon

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by NSDQ, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. NSDQ

    NSDQ NW Portland, Oregon Active Member

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    Through a lot of personal experience within the military and my experiences with gun enthusiasts in the civilian world, the 1911 is a popular weapon. I'm personally not a fan of the 1911 as I prefer a greater ammo capacity in a carry weapon (8's fine for 1 Red but what about 2 red's?) but I'd like to hear from what other people say about their 1911's. It appears to me that it has it's issues when it comes to tuning it to a reliable stage. For example, how does a 1911 production gun fare against Glocks? I know there are a lot of higher end 1911's like Les Baer, Dan Wesson etc etc that offer improved modifications but at a price tag of over 1k and beyond, is it worth the investment?

    I've shot a 1000 rounds out of a Kimber .45 Tactical and have had the fortunate experience of getting my Schuetzenschnur when assigned to Army USAREUR. Maybe 2000 rounds out of an HK USP Tactical .45 and less than 1000 on a HK USP Compact Tactical .45

    My experience with all three weapons was good. I never experienced any failures or malfunctions but it still leaves me with the simple question. Without spending over a grand on a pistol, are 1911's worth investing?

    Even the heavily modified M1911A1's and A2's touted by the Marines in circulation back in OIF 2 and OIF 3 had serious failures. On the shooting ranges they had malfunctions every 800-1000 rounds. The 3 shop armorers would work 12 hour shifts working through II MEU's out at Al Asad (for those familiar with Iraq) to fix the malfunctions.

    I'm biased in my opinion that the design has it's pro's but needs modifications to smooth out the con's.

    I like weapons that have been shopped to the military as they usually have had great results when thrown into the milspec testing machine. Even when weapons fail to garner the large contracts (How many weapon systems has the US Army turned down to replace the M16 and M4?) the testing results are still valuable resources when determining the reliability and functionality of a weapon. And in many cases the reason for getting turned down has nothing to do with the weapon system itself but more so with the political mumbo jumbo and government red tape involved with changing heavily NSN'd weapon system.

    So my real question is multi faceted.


    1. If you choose a 1911 for home defense or carry - What manufacturer or custom do you choose? And how well does it fair under harsh conditions?
    2. Under the 1000 dollar range is it even worth bothering with a 1911 production gun for the same purposes or is it a crap shoot?

    Or do Glocks, HK's, Sigs, and Springfields win in that category?
     
  2. jrprich

    jrprich PNW Well-Known Member

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    Ruger makes a great stainless 1911 for under $700..........if you can find one.
     
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  3. Kentucky Windage

    Kentucky Windage WA State Active Member

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    For the price point you are talking about Colt and Springfield make the best 1911. If you want a Schwartz safety, Kimber's are fine too. If you buy a Custom II (their base 1911) you get a base 1911; plastic MSH. A plastic MSH may be fine for some people for range use but it has no business being on a working gun. For $60-100 and a few minutes of your time, you can get a good, non MIM MSH fitted. Colt makes the best Series 80. Colt also makes a Series 70. Springfield only makes a Series 70 - being that they only make a Series 70 they come with a titanium firing pin and proprietary FP spring. If you are only going to play at ranges, this is fine but for a serious gun, most...if not all the 1911 experts will agree that these parts should be changed to the appropiately weighted steel FP and extra power FP spring. Additionally, Springfields come with their proprietary ILS MSH. As mentioned previously, this is easily changed. However, the strut is shorter than a standard 1911 strut so you will need a new strut (good excuse for nice parts). You can, to save money, run the gun with good MSH and the SA strut but you will not be able to use the hammer spring retention pin in the MSH. If you do, the hammer will lose tension once released because the SA strut is shorter. These are easily taken care of but they are things you should be aware of.

    The M45 built on Colt, Caspian, and Springfield slides/receivers are stout guns.

    You can build a nice 1911 from the SA RO and Loaded but the RO's are a little nicer of a base since they come with a better barrel, bushing, and are lapped. TRP's are also very good but they are above your price point.

    Glocks, XD's, and M&P's are all noticably cheaper - steel is more expensive - no surprise.

    H&K's are nice guns and they perform as advertised. Personally, I like them. However, a lot of people think it is silly to spend that much money on a polymer gun. In the end, you get what you pay for.

    I run a solid build - I am very particular though. On a Loaded, XSE etc., there are still a few things I would change out (parts and springs) - if I were looking to spend the minimum that is.

    The 1911 has been around for a few years - most of the kinks have been worked out.

    I would let you take one of mine for a spin but it appears that you are in OR.

    Is there something in particular that you are concerned about?
     
  4. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    There was another thread about putting the 1911 aside for a "better,high capacity" pistol. I kind of laughed,cause I love my 1911s and the 45acp round
    But now,I carry my glock 20 for the hotter round and the capacity.
    I don't think anyone who shoots and trains with a 1911 on a regular basis is out gunned by any pistol.You just have to learn to reload faster
    As far as for home defense,the 1911 is a great gun,as it would be what handguns were designed to be,a back up to a long gun

    Now I can shoot my $1000 Sig 1911 pretty good.Hit most everything I aim for.And I don't train with it religiously. I wouldn't bet your life on me and my sig.
    Now most 1911 aficionados I know do train and shoot their guns religiously. So imagine what they can hit.
    1 good hit is way better than 15+- misses any day
    Also,I have had a variety of different 1911s and only one,a citidel ($550) had to be sent back. The replacement runs perfectly.
    So I might agree that 1911s under say,$600 can be a crap shoot,but not under $1000.
    $1000 is a nice number for a nice 1911. That's what I expect to pay for a good,reliable 1911

    Under a grand,I would go for the M&P,the glock or the XD,depending on what fits your hands best
     
  5. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    Answers;

    1. Define harsh conditions.

    Me thinks this would fall under "Harsh Conditions".

    Berryhill AFP = Dirt Tough! - 1911Forum



    2. Unfortunately it can be a crap shoot, but most anything from Colt, Dan Wesson, STI, and Springfield should fit the bill.
     
  6. NSDQ

    NSDQ NW Portland, Oregon Active Member

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    I think i'm leaning more towards a Glock 20. I like the idea of putting out more power than a .357 magnum but with a larger ammo capacity and amazing overall weight.
     
  7. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yep 100 years in the Market place and every military conflict the USA has been in since 1911 has proven without a doubt the John Browning designed 1911 just isn't a good weapon.


    Gee's
     
  8. ATCclears

    ATCclears Seattle area, WA Well-Known Member

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    Ramblings from a non owner.

    First, I want a nice 1911. I think it will be a Dan Wesson Valor in the Spring. I struggle with the idea of having to start replacing parts on a $1,000 gun to make it what it should be. I also acknowledge that the Dan Wesson Valor is going to cost me about $1800, and it might be cheaper to get a good Colt and then have someone "fix" it. It is just annoying that a manufacturer will go cheap on a few critical parts.

    Second, an expensive 1911 would not be my first choice as an everyday-carry pistol. It will work just fine, but if I got into a situation then it's likely that the pistol will be confiscated by law enforcement (and it is questionable if I could get the pistol back, or when). My current everyday-carry pistol is the new Springfield XD-S.

    Third, firepower and your accuracy. As others have mentioned, a person is likely stopped and down with one reasonably-placed .45 ACP round. I used to have a pistol with a higher-capacity magazine, but I went with the XD-S for concealment and price... and have accepted that it only has five rounds in the magazine. This means working on your shooting skills with that pistol.

    Peter
     
  9. dan10mmman

    dan10mmman puget sound Member

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    I would like to introduce you to our friendly neighbors to the north, Para-Ordnance. They make a 1911 that holds 14 +1 rounds, the P-14. Mostly I see them in competition, and on my nightstand. I am a 10mm shooting fool, but there is a time and a place for all things. The 45 will not deafen you the way a 10mm will. The 45 will not produce a 6 foot fireball like the 10mm. so it tends not to screw up your night vision. The 45 is not known for over-penetration like the 10mm is, [I like my neighbors].
    The p-14 has a ramped barrel and I have never had any issues with any bullet that I have ever fed them. The mags though a little pricey, work excellent. Price new is around a thousand, but you can find them used for much less. I have fired thousands of rounds and the only problem that I ever had with a P-14 is when I fed it a round that had no primer. Definitely not the pistols fault.
    I see you are in OR, if you ever get up Seattle way I would be glad to let you fire mine.
    As far as carrying goes the G-20 and the P-14 are about the same size, the p-14 weighs a little more.
    IMHO the 45 for close quarters defensive. 10mm for out in the open, what is considered cover from a 45 may only be concealment to a 10mm. there is that much difference in penetration.
     
  10. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    If you want a Hicap do it right and go STI/SVI. para can be very hit and miss. A Glock/XD/M&P are totally different guns. A 1911 needs to be set up sometimes, and takes KNOWLEDGE to do so properly.
     
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  11. Kentucky Windage

    Kentucky Windage WA State Active Member

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    Perhaps you should consider a carbine, rifle, or shotgun then.


    What does, "Amazing overall weight" mean?


    It's not surprising. Manufacturers use cheaper components because they know that most people will never really run these guns. How many pistols (not just 1911's) have you seen for sale over the years that are a decade or more old that have a, "Low round count?" I can't count how many times I've seen pistols for sale that are a few years old that have only been fired a couple hundred times or less. Those same manufacturers also know that a lot of people who put their 1911's through severe use are after their slide/receiver and will build on a solid foundation. SA RO for example. One of their selling points is, you can build it however you like and it comes with a solid slide/receiver that has been lapped.


    Ramped barrel 1911's tend to have more problems.


    Mr. Barryhill used to make a nice M45 - it looks like he is not currently taking orders though. Hopefully for him that is because he is all booked up.
     
  12. NSDQ

    NSDQ NW Portland, Oregon Active Member

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    Let me refine my question..

    If you were shipping out to provide private security overseas as a contractor, what handgun would you choose for personal safety out of the box?
     
  13. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    Unsubscribing from thread
     
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  14. duginsky

    duginsky Tualatin Active Member

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    USP 45 or HK45.
     
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  15. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    NONE
     
  16. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Something tells me a rifle would be your side arm?

    Thee most important qualification for any hand gun,for any reason,is that it fits you perfect and you shoot it well.
    Again,1 hit is better than 15 misses.I would rather get missed by a 45 than hit 10 times with a 9mm.Or even a 22 short
    So many people use so many different calibers and so many different guns,with great success,it's kinda hard for someone to tell you what gun is best for YOU

    I have big hands,so most guns except a Desert Eagle fit pretty well. And I wouldn't be concerned about shooting it. That's why there is so many different guns and calibers. What's right for me may not be perfect for you.

    But you are leaning my way, thinking about the G20,lol

    There's always the range rentals to try 'em all out
     
  17. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Outside Ft Lewis East Gate Active Member

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    Having used one in combat to defend my life, I carry what I shoot well. A 1911. I tried to kill a man with a 9mm and it took three rounds in the center of his chest to put him on the ground for good (never bring a knife to a gun fight). Other times, a single round from a 1911 (.45 ACP) put a man down for good. They may not be perfect or infallible, but if I do my part to maintain the gun and my proficiency with it, I'll stick with what I know. Thanks, Mr. Browning.
     
  18. PX4WA

    PX4WA Tacoma, WA Active Member

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    HD and carry are really 2 different scenarios...

    most HD situations are rapid, fluid and most of the time shots are fired without aiming... (this is where lasers can be helpful -- that's a different thread if you want to argue this)

    on the other hand carry self defense scenarios range from the above (similar to HD) to situations where you have seconds to minutes to aim and pick your shots while trying to intervene in a felony to save another...

    in this case, having a gun you can accurately deliver lead with may matter...



    in the end, any gun you shoot well will do...
     
  19. nick1980

    nick1980 Portland, OR Active Member

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    get a Para 14
    they hold more
     
  20. wichaka

    wichaka Wa State Well-Known Member

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    A rifle will always do much better than a handgun, but that wasn't my point.

    Anything out of the box these days is a crap shoot in quality, 1911's and Glocks alike.

    There are some upper end 1911's like the Colt Gunsite that would be good out of the box.
    But most everything needs to be checked over and closely before your life can depend on it.

    If I were going overseas as a contractor, I wouldn't hesitate to take a 1911...but it would be looked over first.
    I just wouldn't be able to grab just anything off the shelf, stuff it in a holster and run off to some third world country without giving it the once over.