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Interested in thoughts around this question:

Given all of the technological advancements over the past 10 years in precision manufacturing and tooling, is it reasonable to say that production 1911 models produced today are of better quality than those comparable 1911 manufactured 10, 20, 30 years ago?
 

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I believe that there may be less variability gun-to-gun, but no overall change in quality. The target quality is a marketing decision.
 

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Depends on which 1911s you are asking about. If you mean the guns being produced by Heirloom Precision, Pistol Dynamics, or their ilk I would agree with your premise. These guys are such masters, and the parts they work with are better than any before, that it's hard to see how any of the earlier 1911s compare.

If you are talking about budget, mass-produced guns like those from RIA...hahaha.

:D
 

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I think answers 2,3 and 5 say it best.


Is the current Samsung LED tv better than the Zenith tv you had a child in the 60's or 70's????
 

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Colt was pretty much the whole ball game years ago.

Today, with so many producing 1911s, I'd say that generally they are better than might be expected and many are excellent to at least very satisfactory.

In the 1970s, Colt was in decline. Today it's 1911 is much, much, much better.

I remember when the only alternatives were AMT, Auto Ordnance putting together old parts and if you were lucky, a smithy who knew how to take a Colt and really make it sing. And then there was Randall, a very iffy proposition.

Used to be a joke about Colt Industries as it was then known: We're Colt. **** you.

Back then it was considered a great leap forward to put a S&W revolver sight on a 1911 or a King's Works behemoth sight.

Today, even the variety of quality parts from Wilson, Baer, McCormick, Colt etc. is astounding.

I could go on.

Yes! These are the good old days for the 1911. When some of you young buggers get a lot older, you'll look back and say what a wonderful time it was for the 1911.
 

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Are rifles today better than they used to be? Well yes and no.

How about pants? Yes and no.

Stereos? yes, no doubt.

Washing machines? Yep, no doubt.

How long a list do you want?

I predict about 5 more replies then a fight.

tipoc
 

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I really can only speak for Colt's quality, which may be the most relevant since they were pretty much the only commercial 1911 manufacturer 30+ years ago. They will never return to their epic pre-WW2 days simply because back then they were hand fit by gunsmiths, much like today's Wilsons or Les Baers are. However they're currently the best they've been since their last high-water mark which was the early 1960s. Speaking as a Colt collector for nearly 30 years I've owned examples from every era, and I've noticed that it was around the late 1960s when the quality control began to slip, at least as far as 1911s were concerned. Their low point was probably the early 1990s during the time when they filed for bankruptcy, and it's been a hard road back since. But the new Colts being made today easily put the 1980's and 90's guns to shame.

As far as the other makers, I'm sure the story is different with each one as well. Auto Ordnance makes FAR better 1911s now than they did in the 1980s and 1990s. Para USA, well unfortunately I think a lot of folks would agree that their early 90's pistols (Para Ordnance) were better. Springfield Armory seems to have their phases, and the premium brands have always been pretty good.
 

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I would agree the top shelf stuff is probably making the best stuff they ever have.

The term best is like said subjective. What is "best"...

Some might say the 70 series
Some the WWI or WWII era survivors if only because of the history at least
Some the time when RIA was a $300 1911 or a good new Colt cost that.

We are lucky to live in a era that has so much competition at all price points...sure we all want them to be cheaper. We can also still find 70 series and those pieces with history again...just wish they were cheaper.
 

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Its like asking: is the 2013 Chevy corvette stingray better than the oldest Ferrari model?
This is not an apt comparison. Those are two different models and makes of cars. A better comparison would be a 1968 Corvette to a Calloway Corvette.

In any case, the answer is yes. Today I can buy a RIA 1911 for $450 and expect it to work all the time. In days gone by an el-cheapo 1911 was just something to hang on the wall as it was destined to fail several times in 100 rounds.

Manufacturing techniques have improved dramatically. There are much better machines with tighter tolerances that can be run by employees with lower skill levels. This allows manufacturers to make products that don't require a master machinist or master fitter because there is much less hand fitting required.
 

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Mine are better than what I used in the Army back in the 70's.
Considering the age and condition of what you used back in the 1970s I'm not surprised. Those of us who've had the privilege of shooting genuine WW2-era pistols in near-new condition (back before values went through the roof) can state with confidence that those old guns shot very favorably compared with today's milspec pistols. The complaints about accuracy were due to the way soldiers were trained on them, not the intrinsic accuracy of the guns themselves. But by the time you were issued one most of them truly were in sad shape.
 

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A Great Gun

13 years in the US Army as a Military Police (95B40) from 54th MP Co., 720 MP Bn (Vietnam), 2nd MP Co. 2ndID, 59th MP Co., 2nd MP Co., 980 MP Co., and 472nd MP Co. (Alaska). All the M1911A1 that I carried, only one 45 caliber ACP worked, pistol (#106) 2nd MP Co 2nd ID was the only 45 pistol that shot put the bullet where you aimed. Yes, they all worked.
 

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Considering the age and condition of what you used back in the 1970s I'm not surprised. Those of us who've had the privilege of shooting genuine WW2-era pistols in near-new condition (back before values went through the roof) can state with confidence that those old guns shot very favorably compared with today's milspec pistols. The complaints about accuracy were due to the way soldiers were trained on them, not the intrinsic accuracy of the guns themselves. But by the time you were issued one most of them truly were in sad shape.
One fine day I shot a GI model made in 1913. Bone stock, finish all but worn off, and to my elation I printed a small ragged hole at fifteen yards with those nubby sights. Worth the hammer bite and it shot as accurately as my friend Jay's Springer TRP. No complaints here.
 

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Part of the progress in the past several decades is the aftermarket parts and accessories available from so many sources. From sights to triggers, finishes to magazines, rails to lasers, grips to metallurgy, and so much more, there are so many more ways to modify and perhaps improve a 1911 to meet every cost and expectation.

Can it get any better?

All the best.....
 

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Interesting discussion. I believe it is also as yes-and-no answer as some have stated.

Do i like the idea of CNC and Autocad (et al)? Absolutely. Do I like the improvements in metalurgy and statistical precision control? Yup.

Do I like the fact that this enables guns to be put together by machines, instead of the meticulous handfitting of the guns of a few decades ago? I'm not so sure... A tolerance of thousandths of inchs can be achieved by man or machine, but I like the sentiment ( ok, the romance) of knowing a tool was lovingly handmade with blood, sweat and the occasional tears of the maker.

To me, most of the sentimentality and joy of holding any well-crafted tool (axe, knife, firearm, etc) is knowing the skill that it took to make said tool. I think I much prefer that skill, to the skill of setting up CNC machines, and pressing a button.
 

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Interesting discussion. I believe it is also as yes-and-no answer as some have stated.

Do i like the idea of CNC and Autocad (et al)? Absolutely. Do I like the improvements in metalurgy and statistical precision control? Yup.

Do I like the fact that this enables guns to be put together by machines, instead of the meticulous handfitting of the guns of a few decades ago? I'm not so sure... A tolerance of thousandths of inchs can be achieved by man or machine, but I like the sentiment ( ok, the romance) of knowing a tool was lovingly handmade with blood, sweat and the occasional tears of the maker.

To me, most of the sentimentality and joy of holding any well-crafted tool (axe, knife, firearm, etc) is knowing the skill that it took to make said tool. I think I much prefer that skill, to the skill of setting up CNC machines, and pressing a button.
I think that's a load of BS. Lovingly handmade? Please. The guy was doing a job. Just like the guy pushing the button of the CNC machine. They were doing a job to make a buck to feed their kids and buy their wife something nice so she'd give him a little. Did they take pride in doing a good job? Maybe. Lovingly? Stop it.
 
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