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Advice for a first time 1911 owner?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by fireninja13, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    As some of you know I'm a pretty diehard revolver guy, but after some years of curiosity (and fun with various friend's guns) I picked up my first 1911 today in a trade with a Forum member (thanks to OregonCC10 for such a nice smooth transaction).

    Being an antiquarian, I really wanted a teens or 20s era military surplus model, but the damn things are crazy expensive (a surprise to me, but I'm guessing y'all knew that already ;) . So based on some internet homework, I gathered that Colt's basic government style models were solid and a good platform to build from if I wanted to go fancy custom down the road.

    So, now I have a Colt m1991A1 in stainless with nice wood grips, but everything else pretty well stock. . . Originally, I had my heart set on a series 70, but this one "felt right in my hands" and seemed like a fair trade. Besides, I get the sense I wouldn't have a hard time trading or selling it if I decide I don't like it.

    I am an experienced gun owner and have lots and lots of rounds downrange with big magnum revolvers, snubbys, and small semi-auto carry guns. But, heretofore I have only fired 50-100 rounds from full size 1911 platform guns (Sigs and Kimbers that my various friends own -- all pretty tricked out guns). Other than shooting it a bunch (which I intend to do), do the members of the Church of John Browning, and the Cult of the 1911 hereabouts have any suggestions or tips?

    686_VS_m1991AI.jpg

    686_VS_m1991AI.jpg
     
  2. GOG

    GOG State of Jefferson Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations on the Colt. My suggestion is to shoot several hundred rounds with it as is. Then after you have a feel for the pistol, you'll know better what, if any changes you'll want to make.

    The most common are a trigger job, sights and installing a beavertail grip safety.
     
  3. techieguy

    techieguy Well-Known Member

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    Myself I would get some real sights (those tiny GI style sight aren't great in my opinion) a beavertail grip safety(this would also require a commander hammer) would also be on my 'add' list lastly I would have a extended safety added to make it easier to 'ride' the safety.
     
  4. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    Trigger job, eh? My one concern about the m1991AI thus far is the plastic trigger. . . as a vintage S&W revolver guy, it feels very very strange. I read on the various forums that it is pretty ok as triggers go, but that many folks swap them out for reasons of aesthetics. . .

    I guess I should wait until I decide whether to go for some custom work and a trigger job before messing with it. It would certainly be nice if it had a trigger like my buddy's Kimber race gun. . .
     
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  5. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    Its funny you mention the sights -- the simplistic notch and post sights are very much like the ones on my older S&W revolvers. . . I kinda like them. Then again, I guess when you get used to the low profile sights on a 442 or a MDE, simple notch and post seem downright luxurious ;)
     
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  6. GOG

    GOG State of Jefferson Well-Known Member

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    If you decide to get a trigger job, have the 'smith install a new trigger. There's a ton of excellent parts manufacturers out there.
     
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  7. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    By the looks of the pic, I've got that same 1911. However, I do not believe your trigger is "stock" (FWIW). It was my first 1911 & it bit the crap outta me. I don't really want to change anything on it (it has the "100 years of service" rollmark) I just have to remember to put my gloves on before I shoot it. My others have the beavertail so it isn't an issue.

    Your'e gonna have fun. But be careful 1911's seem to multiply.
     
  8. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I have the same gun but with the parkerized finish. With regard to sights they are the same as mine and are not really a tiny military style but more of an 'improved' style with a higher profile. Other than modifying them to a three dot configuration mine shoots point of aim perfectly and I am not going to change them. A trigger job on mine is definitely in the near future but mine came with the Vidicki adjustable trigger which may or may not stay - depending on what I change out during the trigger job. Regardless get out and shoot the heck out of it. The 1911 is one of the few guns that seems to require a LOT of shooting to determine what changes or modifications you want to make.
     
  9. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Congrats on the new addition!
    If you don't get the web of your hand bitten by the hammer, the beavertail and hammer are more for looks than anything. I never had a problem with the stock Colt style grip safety and hammer, but other people do. The long spur hammer is easier to thumb cock, too. Shoot it a bunch and you'll soon find out.

    Other than that, I'd change the trigger just because I don't like the looks of the plastic one, but like mentioned, that's just aesthetics. And I'd remove the Series 80 firing pin safety that I believe this gun has because it's the only thing that ever caused me grief with a 1911.

    I've never picked up a 1911 of any kind, including Para Ordnance double stacks, that didn't feel right to me.:thumbup:
     
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  10. Classic

    Classic Federal Way WA Well-Known Member

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    Cylinder and Slide is your friend. CS0003 is the trigger reduction kit ($48)for for a series 80 and CS0219 is the Tactical II setup $150 which will get rid of all internal mim parts except for the extractor so CS0023S ($35). The cs0003 and the cs0219 will net you a 3.5lb trigger. Then the slide release (I went Ed Brown-perfect fit) $35ish. If it has a plastic trigger you can upgrade for about $30.
    Fred Hastings at C.a.R firearms added all these parts to both my series 80 Colts and did a bow job (polish and fit) for a little more than what most smiths charge for the bow job. Total for about $400 your gun will have an incredible trigger and no MIM parts!
     
  11. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    So I have heard. . . If it is anything like my vintage revolver "problem" I'm going to need another safe ;)

    From what I have read on various 1911 and Colt forums, the black plastic trigger was factory for some years in the 90s. That said, I'm no expert. Regardless, I don't like it much. . . I'd much prefer a serrated trigger, and one made of metal. . . But I do intend to shoot it a bunch before deciding anything.
     
  12. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    My one reservation about the series 80 was what I had read about the safeties. . . hence my original preference for a series 70. Problem is, no one seemed to want to part with theirs, but for an exorbitant fee.
     
  13. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    Interesting. . . I'm not a big fan of MIM parts -- much prefer forged or milled barstock. I'm going to keep track of your list as I explore my options. Thanks!
     
  14. winmag

    winmag Hillsboro New Member

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    I agree with the advice from GOG - shoot it a LOT before you start tweaking anything! Congrats - i suspect you'll find out that John Browning figured out how to build a fantastic semi auto pistol a long time ago!
     
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  15. JRuby

    JRuby St. Helens Oregon Well-Known Member

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    My sole recommendation is to get some high quality magazines - I have gone to the Wilson Combat magazines in my gold cup and have never had a problem. Do not buy cheap magazines as they to me are the cause of most failures in a 1911. I am trying to find Colt Hybrid magazines with the dimple on the follower for my custom Essex 1911. The Wilson work well in my Essex but dont look right due to no extended magazine extender on the bottom of my grip.
     
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  16. BAMCIS

    BAMCIS Eugene Well-Known Member

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    I got that problem too. :D Besides 1911's I have an affinity for Pythons.....


    I stand corrected. You may very well have a "stock" trigger. My frame of reference was my own. But as noted it is fairly new.
     
  17. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    Interesting. I have a couple Colt magazines which I got with the gun. The springs seem sound, although I was planning on replacing them if I had any feed issues. My general approach would have been to use Colt magazines in a Colt 1911, but I'm not stuck on that if it isn't feeding well.

    Gentlemen (and ladies?), in your experience do factory Colt magazines work well enough, or should I look into something fancier? I do like the stock look. . . is is possible to just replace the springs and the follower in the colt mags? This part is all pretty new to me. . . my revolver experience doesn't help me here :(
     
  18. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    In other words what did you say/"ask"? It is what it is.
    Get a good holster and a very large pile a ammo and send it downrange.
     
  19. uberguy

    uberguy Bend Member

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    Good tip on buying quality spare magazines - for myself (and I own a collection of 1911's, incl. several Colts) - I'd leave it stock but do shoot the heck out of it; I've both paid a pro-smith to go over several of mine as well as home-smithing after yrs. of experience.

    Everything is so stock on that model - you're really better off leaving it that way. If you end up liking the 1911 platform, put this one away (as stock Colt's and S&W are more likely to retain collector value) - for the money you'd likely put into really doing everything with parts and labor - you could buy or nearly pay for another 1911 already nicely outfitted. In my view...
     
  20. fireninja13

    fireninja13 Newberg / Portland Metro Active Member

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    I asked for exactly what these fine gentlemen have been posting -- 1911 related tips from knowledgeable well-rounded shooters.

    What I was hoping for was to avoid both newbie stuff like "always treat it like it is loaded" and "gently squeeze don't pull the trigger" and also 1911 fanboy stuff. And, y'all have delivered. Thanks!