I've decided to purchase a 1911, but aparently the choice is not as simple as I thought it would be. My criteria is:
1. must be $1,000 or less (less is good)
2. full size
3. I would expect ultra reliability in a defensive situation, accuracy is second but also important
4. no polymer!!!!
5. good to go out of the box
6. nice trigger
I have heard horror stories about Kimber's customer service, and strange reports of Springfield's slides breaking in half. I am leaning toward the Kimber Custom Stainless. Any suggestions are appreciated.
I'm in a similar situation, and after going around and around I'm still confused. Whenever you (or I) make up our minds, you will inevitably read a post complaining about the make or model.
Kimber, Springfield, Colt... I've read bad things and great things about all of them.
I was dead set on the Kimber until I heard the customer service woes of people (i.e. Sniper vs. Kimber). I can excuse any company from making mistakes, but I can't stand them not making good on mistakes.
At the moment I'm most convinced to buy a Dan Wesson. I've heard mixed reviews about them (mostly good). If you start considering a Dan Wesson, stay with the Pointman Major. I've heard more poor reviews about the Minor than good ones.
The reason that I'm highly considering the Dan Wesson is the praise of their customer service.
I don't believe any 1911 is guaranteed great "out of the box", there is almost always a breaking in period.
Being that most of the 1911's are "get what you pay for" and all are susceptible to problems, I want to buy one with reputable service that feels good to me.
That being said, I suggest you go to a range or gun show and try to feel (shoot) as many as possible; this will inevitably make up your mind.
I appreciate all of the responses so far! Unfortunately, there are no ranges around here that rent guns, or my choice would be a little easier. No (legal) CCW in this damn state either. Other than the beat-to-hell 1911's I fired in the Army, I've only shot Kimber. I was impressed with its accuracy, and it fit my hand well. I used to have a Glock 21, but sold it since it didn't fit my hand well, and I never could get used to the crappy trigger. BTW I should have mentioned that my 1911 will be shot....hopefully a lot.
I've had excellent reliability with both the Springfield Armory Loaded models, and the Kimber Custom models. I've never had any FTF, FTE, or anything with my stainless SA until the slide broke in two
and excepting the round that broke the camel's back, it always shot accurately. I also love my Kimber Custom in black (couldn't find a stainless for a good price at the time). It has had zero failures and shoots very tight groups.
Here's my limited experience with the SA and teh Kimber that I own: The Kimber gets the nod as far as the trigger goes -- all the SA's had more of a gritty trigger that got better after 4-500 rounds but still were heavier than most of the Kimber's I've handled. The Kimber's have too long of a magazine release button for my tastes and the slide stop release lever is positively miniscule -- hard to get a firm finger on it with the shooting hand. The barrel bushing got quite loose in the SA after 500 rounds but a Wilson bushing dropped right it. The Kimber I have has a lot of side clearance between the barrel hood and the side of the slide and the extractor sticks out a little too far.
I am pretty happy with my STI Trojan. I paid $859 a little over a year ago. It has served me well in IPSC Limited 10 competition. www.stiguns.com Gripes? Well, they only come one way. You don't have a choice of options like fixed vs. adjustable sights, etc. But they are a great value IMHO.
You might also look into Rock River arms. Their Standard Match is $1025, but will definitely run right out of the box and should have a great trigger too. But, you'll have to wait a long time. I think the waiting list is 9 months or more now. www.rockriverarms.com
For ultimate reliability in your price range, the Gunsite pistol would probably be a good choice also. So would a new Colt (any model will do) and have a trusted party tune and polish the extractor. (It may not need it, but this is THE critical area to check for maximum reliability.) Buy top quality magazines and you'll be set.
Well, no one is real quick to jump in with bad words for the Kimber. Lots of praise for the Colt, too.
I have no problem spending upwards of a grand or so for a nice pistol, but don't feel the need to spend my hard-earned cash on a status symbol either. What's the price difference on a Kimber vs a Colt, and is the Kimber worth the extra?
I'll be sure to give a range report. but it will be a couple weeks or so. I'm anticipating a nice comission check and trying to do my homework in the mean time.
Thanks for the good advice, and feel free to give more!
You probably won't get unconfused on this forum. More than any other handgun, the 1911 is subject to emotional appeal and personal opinion. We addicts just love our 1911's and have strong feelings about what makes up the best version of our beloved toy.
I happen to prefer Colts, many don't. I prefer to leave my guns stock and I think the plastic trigger is just fine, many get pleasure from customizing their guns and consider the plastic Colt trigger an abomination. There is plenty of room in this hobby for all of us...and for the most part, no one will criticize you for your preference. If I buy Colts, that just leaves more Kimbers for those who prefer that make.
My most recent experience involves two Colt 1991A1's purchased within the last two months. One is a Govt with new roll marks and the other a SS Commander with old roll marks. Both have been absolutely perfect out of the box. They are accurate and reliable and I really enjoy shooting them.
I have owned Springfield products in the past and have found their loaded models to be excellent values if you want a few more bells and whistles than the base Milspec or 1991A1 offers.
If you buy a 1911 from any of the major manufacturers, the odds are very much on your side that you will buy a fully functioning reliable gun. Problem guns are by far the exception and gun manufacturer service is better than that offered by makers of many other equally costly products.
In short,relax, have fun and look at them all. Decide what features you want and buy the gun that best meets your current needs. I guarantee that you won't stop with just one 1911 type pistol once you get started. If it turns out you didn't make the right choice, that provides and excellent reason to buy your next 1911. That's how most of our collections got started.
Be different, try a Dan Wesson Pointman! So far myself and a few other fellas at AR15.com have discovered DW and their outstanding products and customer service. But rather then me try to tell you why, give them a quick call or e-mail yourself and you'll find a personal response from the marketing director or the president himself.
No matter what you decide, (there are a lot of good 1911s out there) take the 5 min to get a hold of these guys, it can't hurt. But be careful, after you speak directly to these guys and hear their enthusiasim, pride in their product, and incredible value, you'll be spoiled by the attention.