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I recently took a combat handgun course and noticed the class was roughly divided between 1911's and the new wonder guns. The instructors favored the Glock style weapons, although the guys with 1911's more than held their own. I can understand the legal ramifications of a DAO style weapon-vs-a cocked and locked one, and why the powers that be would favor the newer weapons. My question is: from a purely combat shooting point of view, are these new guns superior to the 1911? And is the .40 SW really a better choice in caliber? Not trying to plow old ground here, but I've shot the 1911 .45 for over twenty years and would welcome some opinions on the subject.
 

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My question is: from a purely combat shooting point of view, are these new guns superior to the 1911?
No*.

1911s and the variants (2011, Para, etc.) are hugely popular and regularly win in combat and practial shootings sports. 1911s are supposedly in high demand with our troops in Afganistan and Iraq, and remain popular with SWAT teams and LEO alike.

They are durable, reliable, can be incredibly accurate, they have good ergonomics, and can be customized to suit an idividual or a specific application.

*but they are generally cheaper and that's important to government agencies buying many units.
 

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There is a reason why shooters with 1911s routinely clean up every shooting league competition that allows 1911s.

Like a friend of mine says, every combat shooting sport on the planet has to come up with special handicap classes for "Guns That Aren't 1911's" to let them feel involved, too. :D

I carry a 1911 because it lets me shoot a very big bullet faster and more accurately than any other design. So, from a pure combat shooting point of view, it is superior to the Glock, at least to me. Other people's mileage may vary.
 

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I think that pointabilty is more important than wether or not the pistol is made of plastic or metal, now for me i just traded my G36 for a springfield ww2 mil spec i like it for it's pointabilty and heft. That said if one likes a polymer framed gun then go for it, you should shoot whats comfortable.
 

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I can understand the legal ramifications of a DAO style weapon-vs-a cocked and locked one
Well, enlighten us. As far as I'm concerned, a CnL 1911 is much safer to carry than, say, a Glock with its "emperor's new safety". And, in any case, the *most* important consideration is the amount and quality of the training of the firearm's user.

As for the .40 vs .45 argument, why do people like Clint Smith carry pistols full of .45acp FMJ? The .45 has been knocking them down for a lot of years, what is the data with .40 like? I'm sure it's a fine cartridge, but I've always figured the bigger the hole the better.
 

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The 1911 has been around longer than Glock and has had less accidental discharges than Glock. Which pistol do you think is safer?
 

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When I took my first combat pistol course, the class was evenly distributed between 1911's, and "others:" 1 Sig, 4 Glocks, and a Beretta knockoff. You could easily tell by looking at the targets, just who shot a 1911, and who didn't. Most of the 1911's had a small ragged hole at centre mass. The others had buckshot patterns. Even the worst 1911 groupings were consistently better than the best "other" grouping (and we're talking about a guy who couldn't shoot at all, with a brand new Valtro).

TigerI said:
i just traded my G36 for a springfield ww2 mil spec i like it for it's pointabilty and heft.
and the great thing about the 1911 is that when you're COMPLETELY out of ammo, you still have 36oz of steel to beat the scumbag into the ground. Try doing THAT with combat tupperware. :biglaugh:


PS. YAY! I MADE 200 POSTS!
 

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"...you still have 36oz of steel to beat the scumbag into the ground."

Technically speaking, if you're carrying a Government Model it's more like 39 oz of steel.

Smiley face goes here!!!!!
 

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eh, I was going by the weights the mfrs were giving me for full-size Gov't models. They're probably empty weight, no mag. so, a mag weighs 3 oz? Or is the 39 a full loaded weight?
 

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Safe and "looks safe" are two different things. Tuppeware guns look "safe", they are marketed as having several "safeties", they are marketed as having a more simple manual of arms, etc etc. They have higher capacities, and require less training to be "proficient", i.e. less money spent on training. The big one is that a cocked and locked pistol looks "dangerous". On another note getting shot with 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45, is going to end my day on an unhappy note.
 

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Better.. NO, Different.. YES.. I have both Glocks and 1911's, and love both. I actually more naturally point the Glock than the 1911, I love both designs, and the Glock is my nightstand gun. I no-longer use the Glock for competition as the mass of the 1911 is better for follow-ups. The botom line is you should become familiar with all, and then choose whats best for you. Just because it has been around for a long time, doesnt make it always better, and I will always be looking at the new designs to keep me with whats best for me.
 

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I always favor my 1911 w/SS magwell over any other pistol I've found, simply because it makes a nice weapon if I run out of ammo, the magwell edge makes a nasty cut when you club someone with it.
 

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Craig,

The Colt Government Model is rated at 39 oz. It used to be "39.5" but that was when they used steel mainspring housings.

Just to fill out this bit of trivia, the Combat Commander used to be rated at 33 oz while the original Commander (now referred to as the Lightweight) was rated at 27.5 oz.

As to the original question of 1911 vs polymer, what about the Wilson KZ-45?
 

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it's got a mostly steel frame, coated with the polymer, which makes up the dustcover.


the 35 oz figure I have is for my 5" Les Baer.
 

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Asking this question here is like walking into a packed Baptist church on Sunday morning and asking whether you should worship Jesus or Buddha. The answer is a foregone conclusion.

The degree of emotion surrounding this issue--particularly here on this forum--is betrayed by comments like "...tupperware guns..."

As somebody who either owns or has owned both 1911s and Glocks, I'd say that each has its strengths and weaknesses.

There's an undeniable romance to the 1911, with its classic lines and 92 years of history. It's also perhaps the most-customized firearm in history, and most 1911 fans tend to rework their guns in a very personal way. It's still a very effective combat weapon, and the .45 ACP round is--in my opinion--just about the ideal balance between stopping power and controllability. The 1911 is fairly accurate, and decent examples have a good, crisp trigger that is about as good as you can get on a combat handgun.

The Glock, on the other hand, has a lot going for it. When it comes to modern defensive ammo, the 1911 is a bit of a crap shoot. The one you get will probably be reliable, but that's not definite. The Glock, on the other hand, was specifically designed to swallow almost any ammo as long as it's the right caliber--and it does so right out of the box, without any modification. The reliability of the ones I've seen is almost scary.

1911 fans like to deride the accuracy of the Glock, but in my experience it's about on a par with low-to-medium end 1911s--in other words, dollar for dollar, they're about as accurate as a 1911.

The plastic frame at which 1911 fans like to scoff has two key advantages. First, it's a lot lighter than steel even though it's at least as strong. This means a lot in a carry gun. Second, it has a small amount of flexibility. This helps absorb some of the recoil.

The flexibility of the frame, along with the steeper grip angle and lower bore axis, means that the felt recoil of the .45 ACP round in a Glock 21 is about 2/3 what it is in the 1911. And don't listen to the 1911 partisans say that a real man shouldn't care; for a given level of training and practice, the Glock will produce faster follow-ups.

Because of the design of the safety, the trigger on the Glock is slightly heavier than the 1911's, and not as crisp. This may be the 1911's biggest advantage over the Glock. Practice will help improve your performance with the Glock trigger, and there are some modifications (namely, the Ghost overtravel stops) that can improve it a little.

I always chuckle at people who say the ergonomics of this gun are better than the ergonomics of that gun, as if such things are absolutes. Shooters here on this board are pretty darned likely to say that the 1911's ergonomics are "superior". Some people like the size and shape of the 1911's grip, some people prefer the Glock's. For me, the long, thick grip of the Glock 21 is much more comfortable than the shorter, narrower grip of the 1911. I have unusually large hands, so your experience may be different. As for "pointability," after 15 years of shooting Glocks guess which one points better for me?

A 1911 was the first centerfire handgun I ever purchased--I had to have my mother sign the paperwork because I was only 20 years old. But I bought my first Glock back in 1988, and sold my 1911 not too long after that. When I decided I wanted to get back to making .45" inch holes instead of 9mm holes, I considered a new 1911 but purchased a Glock 21 instead. I haven't been the tiniest bit disappointed.

Do yourself a favor and do two things:
1. Post your question on Glocktalk.com and see the responses you get from the other side of the coin.
2. Get to a shooting range that rents guns and try both of them out. See which one fits your own hands, your own tastes and your own requirements best.

And as an aside, the Glock is not a "DAO" design--it's not a double-action at all. In a double-action pistol, pulling the trigger does the whole job of cocking the hammer or striker. In a Glock, cycling the slide does most of the work of cocking the striker. Pulling the trigger does the rest. Therefore, the Glock is neither a double-action or a single-action--maybe it's a 1.5-action.
 

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Limber Frames

it has a small amount of flexibility.
Around here, this Trait leads frequent humorous Scenes.

Little Jason, a former Junior Highpower Student of mine, has a favorite Trick he likes to pull on Tupperware Gun Shooters. LIttle Jason is now about 6' 6" and 320#s. He's also a multiple State and regional USPSA and IDPA Champion with a 1911.

Once, while trying out the new Glock of a Friend, Jason discovered that if he applied his usual Death Grip on the Plastic Wonder, it would fire one round and jam, because the Slide was bound up. Now, it never fails to draw a Crowd when some proud new Glock Owner offers to let Jason try out his new Toy. Everyone wants to see the Reaction of the owner when his new Pride and Joy suffers one Malf after another.

One Question: Could not this Trait be a Problem in a Firefight as an adrenalin pumped Shooter put an iron Grip on his own Plastic Pig?
 

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as a relatively new shooter (6 years), and someone who has owned both polymer and steel framed guns, I thought I'd throw in my 'experience'.. while I'm sure I don't represent everyone getting started, I bet my situation is not uncommon

a little background: I'm a computer guy.. and as we all know, in the computer world, newer is better, with almost no exceptions.. another hobby is sports cars.. and while there is some emotional draw to classic muscle cars and exotic cars from years gone by, from a purely performance standpoint, most cars produced in the past 5-10 years will outperform almost anything from 20, and definitely 50 years ago.. even the typical minivan with a V6 today would keep up with a stock early '60s Corvette at the dragstrip

but back to the gun thing.. I've been a handgun fan all my life, but my relatives are not the hunting/shooting type.. so I never had a mentor to help me out.. I had to figure out everything on my own

long before I bought my first gun, I watched a lot of movies.. you know, the stuff that is laughable if you have any actual shooting experience.. Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, doing gymnastics while never failing to wing the bad guy in the arm, so a good martial arts fight can still ensue.. never mind that his sidearm switches from a BHP to Beretta in every 3rd scene

anyway, somewhere along the line, I 'figured out' that the spec ops boys in the movies were using polymer guns.. HK, Sig and Glock.. I subscribed to Combat Handguns, and quickly learned how the new space-age material would take over the weapons world with all its advantages.. light weight (which is always good, right? :rolleyes: ), rust-proof, and just really high-tech.. my mind was made up

let me remind you that I didn't have any shooting friends at that point to tell me about other aspects.. like "get something that fits your hand".. it never occurred to me that the fit would be important.. all I worried about was the 3 C's (sorta like diamonds).. caliber, capacity and coolness

I never looked at a 1911.. those were 'old school'.. all the professionals were using the latest and greatest (at least according to the magazines and movies).. so I bought a HK USP.. it was cool looking (at least I thought so at the time).. and the accuracy was excellent.. I could easily shoot out the X-ring if I was shooting from the bench.. but for some reason my accuracy dropped when shooting off-hand.. I could barely keep them in the paper.. and I wasn't prepared for something else.. after shooting a couple boxes of Win Clean, my hand hurt.. A LOT.. shooting wasn't as fun as I thought it would be.. so my weekly trips to the range became monthly trips

after a year or so, on one of my regular trips to the local gunshop (I actually spent more time looking at guns than shooting them), I discovered a Browning HP Practical.. it wasn't the wonderful plastic that I 'knew' was superior.. but it still had a nice look to it.. two-tone, with Pachmyr grips, target sight.. and it was the same .40 caliber double-stack that I was familiar with.. my HK quickly went bye-bye and the BHP went home

I started shooting more regularly after that, altho I still had some problems with my groups.. I couldn't figure out why... until the day this fall when I asked to see a Kimber, based on their reputation.. suddenly I knew what 'fit' and 'balance' were.. my BHP was a nice gun, but the double-stack magazine was a serious problem with my small hands.. and the Kimber can easily shoot sub-4" groups at 25 yards.. I was never able to do that with any of the über-guns I started with.. at last, shooting was FUN, and not an exercise in futility.. and as we all know, the more fun it is, the more you shoot.. and the more you shoot, the better you get

so, my story is one of learning that in some cases, the tried and true setup is still the best.. while I'm not saying that a 1911 is the perfect solution for everyone, perhaps a lot of the non-1911 shooters are 'immature', much as I was
 

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I have a tremendous amount of respect for both the 1911 and the Glock. Both shoot well for most people, and both have their niche where they stand above the rest.

I would say that the Glock definitely holds the advantage for the beginner. It is simple enough to teach to anyone who will listen for 15 minutes. That simplicity is also a benefit when the new shooter is at the range, if only because they can focus all of their attention on the sights and trigger.

For the experienced, but not truly professional shooter (most of us), it is a toss up. Whichever fits your hand the best and whichever you have the most time on will be the one that you will shoot the best. This is where facts, experience, religion, and myth all blur into the "mine is better than yours" arguments.

For the professional shooter, the 1911 holds the advantage. If it didn't, why would every competition shooter in events that allow the 1911 use one? The Glock is ignored in every event where it will be shot head-to-head against 1911's by professional shooters. There is no mystery as to the reason.

For me personally, I am between the experienced level and professional level. I am certainly not a professional competition shooter, and would be embarrassed on the range if I were shooting next to them. At the same time, I can outshoot most people who would consider themselves "experienced non-professionals". I do like the Glocks and shoot them well, but the 1911 gives me a small but noticable advantage at the range.
 

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1911s come with stainless steel, carbon steel, polymer, Ti, and alumninum alloy frames. They also come with single or high capacity frames. They can be had any number of ways, and if not, someone will do it for you. They seem to be acknowledged by many/most shooters as one of the most ergonomic pistols on the market, if not the most. They point well. Their triggers are excellent. They have character. class, and history.

Other models of polymer framed pistols come... as is out of the box, for the most part. Most are fine pistols. Most will do their part if the shooter will. Most impress newer shooters more than experienced ones. Marketers seem to love them at times more than their owners. I'm fond of some, I admit.

To each their own...
 

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1911 v. "polymer frame" guns? I've never seen a actual "polymer frame" gun. Every "polymer frame" gun I've ever seen had a metal frame cut down to the bare essentials for correct functioning and covered in plastic so you could shoot it without injury.

It is simple enough to teach to anyone who will listen for 15 minutes.
I don't know about that. Everybody I've ever seen learn to shoot a gun that fast has always left me wanting body armor and a bunker.:eek:
 
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