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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I'm gonna start by saying that this is NOT meant to be a slamfest on old faithful, just wanted to share some thoughts and get some opinions. I bought a Sprinfield "loaded" model about 2 years ago. This pistol was not very accurate and not very reliable out of the box. After a little work and a lot of shooting it would only jam up on me once or twice every 100rds or so. I assumed nothing from this and I was pretty happy overrall with the pistol, until I started shooting some other styles of pistols. I had an el cheapo CZ40B that was 100% reliable and much more accurate. I recently bought a HK USP40 and the same goes for it. Then my hate affair began with my Springfield, I realized that it was the worst gun of the bunch and I know longer would have trusted my life to it. The Springfield has since been sold.

Now, the 1911 is IMO the best looking pistol ever made, absolutely beautiful. I just wonder if the "look" of the pistol somewhat clouds our judgement. I am fully aware of the long proven history of the 1911 in military use, but that 1911 has almost nothing in common with newly made pistols other than calibre. Countless times I read peoples reviews of new 1911's including gun rag writers. The one common link is that almost all seem to have some sort of malfunction, then the writer attributes this to either ammo or mags, and continues on like all is well. Of all the guns I've ever owned I've never experienced out of the box malfunctions of the type which plague new 1911's.

So what's the deal? I know that a whole bunch of people will respond saying that "I have a ..........., and it's been 100% reliable for me" Ok fine, but I'm pretty convinced that 1911's in general are far less reliable than some would have us believe. I'm probably not done owning or shooting 1911's, that new SIG has caught my eye, but for serious work I'll turn towards something else.

Anybody else out there ever been disenchanted like this? Possibly I'm just a scorned consumer who got unlucky with a "dud" pistol. It all boils down to this, and I'll use HK as an example, if I took an out of the box HK pistol, an out of the box 1911 in same price range, I give you 1 million dollars that you have to bet on which will have the first failure, who would you choose?
 

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Wellllllllllllllll

My HK USP .40 has had one failure to extract. The case ruptured in the chamber. I was using Wolff ammo, and have gone to brass case ammo in it since with no problems. Probably close to 5000 rounds now, by me. I bought the pistol used. The round count could be significantly higher.

My HK USPc .40 has had no failures. Bought it new. Probably 3500 rounds.

My NRM Commander has had no failures. Bought new, I'm at between 1500 and 2000 rounds.

My Gold Cup has had no failures, although it did ping my noggin with brass until I swapped out the ejector. I don't count those since it went bang. Bought this one used, I have about 2500 rounds through it. I'm guessing that it has much more through it, as the prior owner was a high volume shooter.

My Springfield Regular Mil-Spec has had no failures. Bought new, probably 2500 rounds by now. Whoops, make that one failure to fire when I was finetuning the mainspring. Since I was tuning for a lighter mainspring, does this count?

My Springfield WWII Mil-Spec had one failure, when I took a cheapo magazine, filled it with 7 rounds, slammed it in the bottom of the pistol. The bottom of the magazine gave way, and out came the spring and cartridges. I call that a mag failure, since it was not the original magazine. Bought pistol new, about 750 rounds at this point.

Maybe I have had good luck. The HK succumbed to a case rupture. The Gold Cup was tuned to be shot outside. I was shooting it inside and got brass bounced off my head. Easy fix, and has not happened since. The Regular Mil-Spec was forced to fail to find the lightest reliable mainspring. The WWII Springer didn't fail, the cheapo mag did. Maybe I just need to get more lead downrange. All these pistols with the exception of the WWII Springer will group at 2 inches (HK's fired SA). With bigger sights, the WWII might group as well. I clean and lube my pistols religiously, but not obsessively. A range trip with one pistol might entail 300 rounds, and it is cleaned afterwards. I shoot with a very frim grip. I use factory ammo.

One thing that the 1911 does offer that the HK cannot even come close on is the ability to personalize your piece. I can fix practically anything on a 1911. I don't know squat about fixing a HK, and the customer service is rumored to be slow.

I think the 1911 has several things going that make it appear unreliable.
#1 Most 1911 owners tend to tinker with their pistols.
#2 A lot of 1911 owners reload and tinker with their ammo.
#3 The 1911 has been around long enough that there are many cheap copies, and their unreliability gives 1911's a bad reputation. Cheap is cheap, whether the design copied is a 1911 or a HK.

I really cannot choose either HK or a quality 1911 as being more reliable. I think it will have a lot to do with the maintenance, the ammo, and whether the owner has monkeyed with it. None of my 1911's have had "reliability jobs" as they did not need one. I think one of the primary flaws of the 1911 is that they are so easy to customize. They tend to become test beds for experimentation. HK's don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very very good response there. I don't want this thread to become fixated on HK's, I merely used those as an example. Deep down inside I think I'm looking for some common sense replies to get me back on the 1911 bandwagon.

Thank you,
Mike
 

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No matter who makes the gun or what style it is a lemon is a lemon. If I had a 1911 that jammed 1 time out of every 100 rounds and I tried every concievable fix to no avail I'd dump it too. The 2 1911's I have are absolutely reliable so it's hard for me to get my brain around the statement that other guns are more reliable than 1911's when you can't possibly get more reliable than 100%! In fact, if I had a failure that could not be explained (and by explained I mean easily duplicated, not just "I think it was this") with any gun I'd never trust it again.

I'd get yourself another 1911, but I'd understand if you wanted to avoid Springfields :)
 

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you're missing the point

SnakeEater said:
Very very good response there. I don't want this thread to become fixated on HK's, I merely used those as an example. Deep down inside I think I'm looking for some common sense replies to get me back on the 1911 bandwagon.

Thank you,
Mike
If you want a pistol which you will never have a pistolsmith
work on or customize in any way, get an HK, Sig Sauer,
CZ or a Glock.

The whole point of a 1911 is that it was designed back when
gunsmiths were craftsmen. 1911 design depends on
hand fitting and tuning more than a more "modern" design. A
1911 can be tuned to much higher levels of accuracy and
reliability than any other pistol.

Following is the familiar article "WHY YOUR 1911 AUTO PISTOL
WON'T WORK!!" from m1911.org, the sister site of this forum.
Your Springfield probably needed the extractor to be tuned, or
maybe you used sub-standard magazines. 90% of malfunctions
can be attributed to the mags.

thanks

Jae

WHY YOUR 1911 AUTO PISTOL
WON'T WORK!!
 

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My first (and only) 1911a1 was a Rock Island Armoury one. Yes, one of those cheap Phillipines ones.

Out of the box...the magazine that came with it sucked. Constant failure to feed issues.

Replaced it with two Chip McCormick mags.

Know what? I've yet to have a single other failure of any kind. And, it is more accurate than I am.

*shrug*

I've put about 1500 rounds through it so far.
 

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My Springfeild had the same problem too. I started using Wilson mags and that took care of alot of problems. The occasional malfunction still bothered me so I changed the ejector and extractor. That took care of the rest of the issues. It took me a while to figure out what was causing the issues and it was fustrating at times but when I fixed the problems I was happy with my Springer again and enjoyed shooting it again. It's as reliable as it could possibly be without giving it a complete overhaul at some custom shop. Would I trust my life with it? Hell yes I would and I do. I have an H&K USP 40 and I concider "IT" to be just as reliable as my Springer now. I'll put my Springer up against my Wilson CQB anyday of the week and twice on sunday:D . 1911's are not perfect sometimes you get a dud, like buying a car, sometimes you get a lemon, but don't let that sway you away from the 1911's. WALK BACK TOWARDS THE LIGHT, MAN!! :biglaugh:

The great thing that I've discovered about the 1911's is that even if you get a "dud", all you have to do is give it alittle lovin', a good cleaning, replace a few parts that cost less then $50. Purchase a few "good" mags and you should be back in the game.
 

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I bought a SA Milspec and it had all kinds of failures to feed and extract. I suspected it had to do with the extractor which I tried to tune, but it wouldnt stay working for more than 200 rounds. I got tired of retuning it and replaced it with an AFTEC extractor. Since then the SA Milspec runs like crazy.

An AFTEC extractor will be added to any 1911 I purchase that doesnt already come with a quality aftermarket extractor such as the semi-customs out there like a Les Baer, Wilson, Brown, SA Pro, etc. I would like to own one of those guns, but cant afford one yet. Until then, heres to AFTEC.

;)
 

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In all painful honesty, yes, the 1911 is probably least likely of the bunch to run 100% right -DIRECTLY- out of the box. Sometimes they will; sometimes they take a few tweaks; sometimes they need some real massaging; others are total lemony-fresh duds.

But the reason why I carry a 1911 and refuse to carry anything else except in a backup capacity is this: I shoot no other handgun as quickly or as accurately, especially not at the same time. This would, naturally, be a moot point if they absolutely couldn't be made reliable, but mine are. And, so long as mine are, I could care less about what comes "out of the box", just so long as the manufacturers keep making them well enough that the slides and frames can be used to make a real pistol out of :)
 

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The thing about the 1911 as opposed to those other pistols is that the 1911 has been made for decades and decades, almost a century, and has been and is currently being made by countless different companies. Those other pistols are designs made by just those single companies. There are lots of 1911s out there of greatly different ages and qualities. Some are good, some are not, and some are great. You can't really judge the design, or the millions of 1911s out there, based on one regular production average factory pistol.

I've had some that were not so accurate and a one or two that were not reliable, but for the most part they have been very reliable and accurate.
 

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I just had this discussion with my father a few days ago. He owns a s& w 357 magnum revolver. I own a Kimber Royal II. H raised the point that i can not legally carry my handgun when i go hunting, whereas he can. The main purpose for handguns where i live is hunting backup, not protect yourself backup. We got talking and he said "Well, my revolver can't jam up or have any ftf or fte problems. " My response was basically that my gun hasn't done either of these things and is an awesome piece of art that doubles as a great tool at the range. He agreed that my gun was more fun to shoot but he still pointed out that it is hard to get a revolver to ftf.
We went on talking and discussing firearms (next it was my .270 and his .308 deer rifle) but we kept coming back to our pistols. I ended our discusion by saying that the 1911 has history, prestige even. The design of the gun is beautiful and the accuracy issue has never come up, except for break in period. It also takes a much wiser man to own and maintain a 1911. I look at field dressing and cleaning it almost as a hobby and not a chore. A 1911 may jam up but usually it is fixable if the problem can be diagnosed.
I love my 1911 and would never look at it as a bad purchase, ever. The pistol has opened the door to several fun hobbies and i have learned a lot about firearms in general. The design is old but still timeless.


On another note i would never buy a fully polymer gun, even if it was a great gun. I cant hand that down to my son it would be disgraceful to the family.
 

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Unreliable?

My Series I Kimber Custom had 2 failures to feed in the first 50 rounds, but that was five years ago, and after severall thousand rounds later, thouse were the only two FTF.

Highly customized 10 year old SA 1911A1, before I started keeping track of rounds fired, has never had a malfunction...

Two 1911's that I have built up from Essex frames, DID have many malfunctions during the building process, but now they each have over 1000 trouble free rounds through them...

I don't understand? I have a whole box full of magazines, from cheap to high dollar and they all work, in all my guns...

How come they are not reliable?

Byrd
 

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Are we 1911 fans in denial?

Maybe, maybe not?

What I find curios, is that every new self-defense or combat self-shucker that hits the streets is invariably compared to the antiquated 1911.

There must be a reason ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well for the longest time all we really had in autoloaders were the 1911 and the BHP, as such these two are the most legendary. It's only been in the last 20 years or so that alot of these new polymer guns have came along. Guys I am not questioning the 1911 design, only questioning the quality of the newer factory guns.
 

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SnakeEater,

It sounds like you've had such a small sample size of "newer factory guns" in the 1911 pattern, that your opinions are bound to be a bit skewed.

Sam, and C'B' had it right. You simply got a dud from Springfield.

Try a different model, brand or vintage. They might change your mind.

Series II Kimbers take alot of knocks, but I am 3 for 3 with them right now, in getting a properly assembled, accurate and relaible pistol, right from the box.
 

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AF......
And as we know, dud's can come from all companies.

When done as it should be, the 1911 is almost magical compared to other platforms.

Regards,
Sam
 

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I carry a C&S customized Kimber fullsize stainless and also have a Wilson LW full size that I formerly carried daily. I shoot these better than any other handgun I own. My wife shoots the 1911 platform better than any other handgun she has fired. Every new shooter that I have had first shoot other guns, then handed them a 1911, their shooting always immediately improves and big grins come across their faces. The 1911 just plain works!
 

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I'll admit it....

I'm definitely in "denial".

Here's a list of my handguns:

Wilson Super Grade (stock)
KZ45 (stock)
KZ45c (stock)
Brown Kobra Carry (stock)
70 LW Commander (somewhat modified by a professional 'smith)
70 Colt Govt (highly modified by a professional 'smith--two slides and barrels--this was my first 1911, and served as my comp and carry gun)
Kimber Ultra Ten II (stock)
BHP Practical 9mm (stock)

3 Desert Eagles
Magnum Research BFR
Ruger Mk II
Walther PPK/s
S&W K frame .357

All the guns in the first group are configured in a fashion that any of them are suitable for CCW. All those in the second group were bought either for the sheer play factor, or in the case of the S&W, I had intended it to be the defense gun, til I shot a 1911. The S&W hasn't been shot in 25 years. (I'd sell it, but with its' Colt Python barrel, it has almost no recoverable value in today's market.)

From the first group (aside from the BHP), I bought all these with the intent of experimenting to find the best ergonomic .45 ACP configuration (with an eye towards firepower) that fit me, for CCW. Since the BHP offers roughly the same ergonomics in an 18-round gun, I tried it too. All the .45's are bone stock except the two older 70's Colts. They were modified in some manner (mostly) to allow for faster presentation (oversized safety), positive grip (checkering), and to omit hammer bite (commander hammers w/beavertails). Those changes haven't been necessary of course, on the newer guns, since they come that way.

I bought all the Wilsons and the Brown used; it's the only way I could afford them; yes, my purchases have 'broken my bank' on several occasions; a couple times, these purchases broke the $1000 barrier. Ironically, none of these guns has ever had an FTE, FTF, with the only ammo I use, WW Silvertips (lately, I've been trying Hydra-shoks, with as much success).

My purchasing pattern flies in the face of those who'd object that "one shouldn't have to spend a great deal of money just to find a reliable .45, especially when you can got out and get a Glock, an HK, the new S&W 1911, a ParaOrdnance, SA, all these will do what any of your purchases will, for 'way, 'way, less money. And you could spend that extra money on ammo".

My retort is, the 1911 and its' hybrid designs allow for more customization than any other platform--I hate the Glock trigger, and it points 'ugly', like in, "wait, regrip it so it points 'naturally' "; the 1911 trigger can be tuned to a dream, and it points like I'm giving driving directions to a foreigner. I disliked the HK's (USP45c) bulkiness; it printed when I carried it like a picket sign. S&W 1911?? S&W's gotten autos wrong for so long, I haven't got any interest when for comparable money, I can get a used good-quality tricked out Kimber. I never heard enoughgreat things about Para Ordnance and SA to peak my curiousity to putting my money behind it. In the end, yes, I feed my "denial" with money, but, if I buy judiciously (for me, most of the time that means 'used') I can afford it; I'm purchasing ergonomics that fit me and the option for a vast and supportive aftermarket should I desire to make changes.
 
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