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Hi, I am contemplating my first purchase of a 1911 and there are a few different manufactures I have been looking at. At the top of my list is Smith & Wesson because I own a couple of their products and have been very satisfied with them. Also too, I like the fact they offer a limited lifetime warranty on their product. I think that speaks volumes of a merchant when they promise the quality of their product like that. Anyway, getting to the point. I am very interested in the Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model SW1911 (sku: 178011). I noticed though on the site that it appears there is an internal frame lock. I was hoping someone on here could let me know if there is indeed an internal frame lock as I have heard they can cause problems. I have also included a picture for your viewing pleasure too.

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Any insights are appreciated. Also, the other manufacturers I have considered are Springfield Armory, Remington, Colt, and Dan Wesson. As mentioned earlier, I like the promise of a lifetime warranty. Any recommendations on these others is also appreciated too!
 

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I looked on the web site and did not see a reference to an internal frame lock. (The picture of the right side shows the end of the slide lock, hopefully you are not confusing that with an internal lock.) Most (not all) S&W revolvers have an internal frame lock, but I am not aware of one on the 1911's
I have owned most of the other brands that you mentioned but have never owned a S&W 1911
Of the other brands you did mention, Dan Wesson would be my first choice and Kimber (you did not list that brand), would be my 2nd choice.
 

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To the best of my knowledge there has never been a lock on S&W 1911's.
Any insights are appreciated. Also, the other manufacturers I have considered are Springfield Armory, Remington, Colt, and Dan Wesson.
However, Springfield has offered an Internal Locking System (ILS) on many of their 1911 models.
 

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There's no 'internal lock' on S&W 1911s. However, unlike with their E-Series pistols, the Pro series does have a firing pin safety which is activated by the grip safety Think 'Series 80' vs. 'Series 70' Colts, if that helps to visualize, or what you'll find in Kimbers as well, although the design is not exactly the same as either of those.
 

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No frame lock on S&W 1911;s. You might be confusing their revolver hillary holes with the end of the slide stop pin in the photo you posted?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No frame lock on S&W 1911;s. You might be confusing their revolver hillary holes with the end of the slide stop pin in the photo you posted?
@Colt191145, I thought about that too. You are right. I’m not a big fan of the frame locks. I can see why someone would want them but to me it is just another thing that can fail in a critical moment. That said, any recommendations on manufacturers for a 1911?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There's no 'internal lock' on S&W 1911s. However, unlike with their E-Series pistols, the Pro series does have a firing pin safety which is activated by the grip safety Think 'Series 80' vs. 'Series 70' Colts, if that helps to visualize, or what you'll find in Kimbers as well, although the design is not exactly the same as either of those.
@havanajim, thank you for bringing this up. I went and looked it up and it was educative. Have you seen/heard any failures with the firing pin safety?
 

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To the best of my knowledge there has never been a lock on S&W 1911's.

However, Springfield has offered an Internal Locking System (ILS) on many of their 1911 models.
@jtq, I was checking out their Ronin and 1911 Loaded lines and I did not see them mention a frame lock. Do you know if this is something that is optional or they have dropped? Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I looked on the web site and did not see a reference to an internal frame lock. (The picture of the right side shows the end of the slide lock, hopefully you are not confusing that with an internal lock.) Most (not all) S&W revolvers have an internal frame lock, but I am not aware of one on the 1911's
I have owned most of the other brands that you mentioned but have never owned a S&W 1911
Of the other brands you did mention, Dan Wesson would be my first choice and Kimber (you did not list that brand), would be my 2nd choice.
@Electraclyde, thank you for the input. Yeah, I started looking closer and I realize it was probably the the image looked. I’ve heard how the frame locks have failed in the past and do not want this to fail in a critical moment. That said, how do you feel about the fact Dan Wesson and Kimber do not guarantee their product for life? Why do you prefer Dan Wesson over Kimber? I only ask because this is a little bit of money being dropped. Thanks again.
 

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There is a lot of love for Dan Wesson's on the forum, and I suppose they are good guns. However, folks are normally comparing a $1,500 Dan Wesson to an $800 - $1,000 Colt, S&W, Kimber, Springfield, etc.

I think the Dan Wesson's are probably consistently better than those guns, but at a price premium. A $2,400 Ed Brown is probably consistently better than a $1,500 Dan Wesson. There are trade off's. While I believe Dan Wessons are step up from the typical production 1911, I'd spend some time reading about their Duty Coat (or whatever their dark finish is called) finish and interactions with common lube/cleaners like BreakFree CLP, and a galling issue with their stainless steel models.

The former is simply a matter of reading the owners manual and following the company's recommendation for what lubricants and cleaners to use, and the latter may be the same, but it also may involve inexperienced 1911 users that don't know what they're doing. For instance, before the Dan Wesson galling issues popped up on the forum, I hadn't heard of galling issues with stainless steel guns since the 1980's. I was pretty sure nearly every gun manufacturer in the world had figured how to avoid galling issues with stainless steel, and find it hard to believe Dan Wesson is the only one that hadn't.
 

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@jtq, I was checking out their Ronin and 1911 Loaded lines and I did not see them mention a frame lock. Do you know if this is something that is optional or they have dropped? Thanks again!
I think Springfield has moved away from the ILS, but there will no doubt be used models out there, and it's possible there are some states that require the feature on guns sold in their state. My state has no such rules, so I don't follow the issue very closely.
 

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When folks come to the forum looking for their first 1911 (we have a few threads, and I think a "sticky" somewhere on the subject), the two things I always recommend they consider is...

1. Do you want/need a beavertail grip safety.

2. Do you want/need adjustable sights.

If you choose wrong on either or both, chances are good you're going to spend some time and money and either grinding or welding on your 1911 correcting your error.

The point is most folks coming to a 1911 from something else (lets be honest, most are coming over from a Glock), don't realize not all 1911 sight cuts are the same, and not all grip safeties are beavertail grip safeties, and the bonus point is the old saying "there are no drop in parts on a 1911".
 

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@havanajim, thank you for bringing this up. I went and looked it up and it was educative. Have you seen/heard any failures with the firing pin safety?
No, I haven't heard of any failures related specifically to this particular firing pin safety design. Again, it's just a variation of similar designs found on those other brands I mentioned, and those have excellent track records as well. If you'd like to avoid the whole 'firing pin safety' business, you can look at their E-Series pistols. None of those have firing pin safeties. I wouldn't hesitate to say that the E-Series guns are most likely the best bargain for the money in the 1911 world - considering what you get for the price. There are much 'nicer' pistols out there, for sure, but the E-Series is a tremendous value - unless you're looking specifically for a 9mm. If you are looking for a 9mm, well, they Pro Series would have to be it, as S&W doesn't offer a 9mm in the E-Series (something I've never quite understood).

Good luck on the hunt.
 

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@Electraclyde, thank you for the input. Yeah, I started looking closer and I realize it was probably the the image looked. I’ve heard how the frame locks have failed in the past and do not want this to fail in a critical moment. That said, how do you feel about the fact Dan Wesson and Kimber do not guarantee their product for life? Why do you prefer Dan Wesson over Kimber? I only ask because this is a little bit of money being dropped. Thanks again.
I have never bought any guns based on the warranty. In most cases I did not know what the warranty was at all, and never needed the warranty.
If that is a major concern for you, then Ruger (not yet mentioned) or Springfield have the best warranty. The S&W "E" series of 1911 and the Dan Wesson and high end Kimber's are all close in price. The DW is all steel, fitted parts (some are Ed Brown), Kimber does use some "MIM" parts as I am sure S&W also does.
I have used the S&W warranty on 2 occassions, once on an M&P and once on a revolver. Both times took way to long and the M&P made 2 trips and was never properly repaired. I used the Springfield warranty once and had the gun returned in exactly 7 days, repaired.
YMMV.
 
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