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I recently bought my first 1911. And, unfortunatly....I had to send it in for repairs after the slide locked up on it during the first few rounds. I started comparing the slide fit on it, versus my Springfield XD and my friends Glock 17. Both of these have much looser slide fits than the 1911. You can almost hear them rattle when you shake them. But you know what??....they will eat anything, they always go BANG when you fill the trigger, and they are more accurate than I am.

So why do 1911 manufactures insist on making them so tight? Is there really a need for this? Do the mechanics of the 1911 require a tight slide to frame fit, while other guns do not?

Any info?

Thanks
 

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It's been talked about tons here. It has very little to do with anything except when someone pays $800 plus for a pistol, they don't want it to rattle.

Try doing a search on slide rattle or fitting.
 

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imq707s said:
I recently bought my first 1911. And, unfortunatly....I had to send it in for repairs after the slide locked up on it during the first few rounds. I started comparing the slide fit on it, versus my Springfield XD and my friends Glock 17. Both of these have much looser slide fits than the 1911. You can almost hear them rattle when you shake them. But you know what??....they will eat anything, they always go BANG when you fill the trigger, and they are more accurate than I am.

So why do 1911 manufactures insist on making them so tight? Is there really a need for this? Do the mechanics of the 1911 require a tight slide to frame fit, while other guns do not?

Any info?

Thanks
I understand your frustration...but I think your problem was that the frame rails were bead blasted...not a tight fit...but I'm no gunsmith.

The popular opinion is that a tight (but not too tight) fit is a sign of quality craftsmanship...and I agree with this. But opinions vary.
 

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It's the market that's insisting. Check the number of threads about rattling 1911s. It's the one aspect of a hand-fitted pistol that a total duffer can readily test without racking or otherwise "using" it. If the slide/frame fit isn't squeeky tight, then the gun must not be made very well, right?
 

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Because they can.............:hrm:

Or:



Personally speaking, I guess this answers that question for me. The Wilson has the tightest slide to frame fit of any of my weapons. My acc-u-railed Springer 1911 9mm is the next tightest and shoots just as well. Both have handled the ammo thrown into them thus far......and functioned without glitch to date although the Springer needed a ramp polish and very minor throat job as it was old and shot to crap when I decided to buy and rejuvenate it.

Oh, the LSB means I simply leaned my shoulder into the left hand wall to steady myself a bit for the longer shots.

I have handled SIG's, H&K's, Ruger's, Smith's, XD'x, Glocks, BHP's, S&W M&P's...etc...etc.

Now to be honest, I love my XD and she is a great COM gun but she don't shoot that good nor do my other 1911's for that matter. I also enjoy the slight rattle coming from my Springer Mil Spec.....but that is just me.

Also...I know other guns (non-1911's) can shoot very well and accurately but I just have not found anything that feels better and shoots better in my hand.

Be safe, shoot well. :rock:
 

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imq707s said:
Do the mechanics of the 1911 require a tight slide to frame fit, while other guns do not?
You have received very good answers from those who know. One more thing: MilSpec 1911's are a looser fit. The specifications call for a specific clearance with lower and upper limits which provides for a looser slide than the custom guns. I don't believe the accuracy is entirely dependent upon slide to frame fit. There are many variables that should be addressed first (barrel/slide fit, lock-up and barrel/Bushing/slide relationship). After these things have been properly addressed and the trigger group is perfect, slide to frame fit is all that remains. Many mil-spec 1911s shoot entirely acceptably for what they are intended for (Close Combat). I have an WWII Navy issue Colt that is ridiculously loose compared to my modern guns that shoots 3" groups at 25 meters. This would be FINE for combat. I sure wouldn't want to be the enemy to stroll into a barrage of fire from that "loose" 1911...;)
 

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The original military 1911's were purposely built with some "play" in the slide to frame fit for two reasons. One, it meant the pistol would be more likely to function if run dry, or if dunked in water, mud, snow, or if left uncleaned. The second reason was to help assure interchangeability of parts. Slides were commonly replaced in the field, especially early ones which were known to crack.

Modern 1911's are fit very tight because new owners have come to expect it. Take a look at the Colt sub-forum and read the comments from people who examined their first Colt, and were shocked to discover how "loose" the slide/frame fit was, and were asking if something was "wrong". Colt is one of the few manufacturers still adhering to mil-spec tolerances, although they are fitting the barrel lockup more tightly now. My older Colts with mil-spec tolerances (to include the barrel lockup) just run and run and run, so I am definitely in the "loose is better" camp. Yes, it is possible to make a 1911 fit tight and still be 100% reliable, but it's a matter of how well it's fitted. I can trust a custom maker like Les Baer to do it right. I don't trust cookie-cutter manufaturers like Kimber to do it, therefore I think a sub-$1000 1911 is best assembled a bit on the loose side.
 

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1911's aren't the only guns with tight slide to frame fits. Sigs, Berretas, HK's, Hi-Powers all have nicely fitted slides. The reason that these guns have tighter fits than a Glock or XD is the same as one of the reasons they cost more. The frame rails are machined and can have tighter tolerances, hence less rattles and more cost. Most of the inexpensive polymer framed guns use stamped metal frame rails that are inserted/molded into the polymer frame. It's less precise but cheaper and faster to make. Look at an HK. They use polymer frames but they also use machined frame rail inserts and cost as much as a production 1911.
 

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I'll echo the same thing everyone stated. At the $800+ price point buyers want tight 1911s for the precession machined look and feel. Most don't realize that it's the fit of the barrel to the slide and the barrel to the bushing that makes for a tack driver. A poorly made ultra tight 1911 is a paperweight, and a loose but well made 1911 will be just as reliable and accurate as any service pistol under pretty much any conditions.

That said, a tight but well made 1911 will be more reliable than a poorly made 1911 with a loose fit. And it will be just as reliable in non 'in-the-mud' conditions as a well made loose fitting 1911. That's because a very well made 1911 will have the extra attention to detail and hand work that ensures everything works together perfectly. That's what keeps the genuine custom houses and shops in business business while only turning out 250-2500 hand fitted pieces of highly functional fine art.

With everyone and their dog turning out 1911s consumers do need to take more care in choosing which one fits their own needs, desires and the conditions where it will be employed than they would with single maker service pistols. The last thing I'd want to take into combat would be an uber tight Kimber 'Warrior' but I'd feel warm and fuzzy with a mil-spec Colt. Just as I'd feel warm and fuzzy as all get out going out for a night on the town with a piece of Wilson or Baer artwork under my jacket.
 

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Many "tight" new guns don't remain that way for long. If the slide and frame aren't lapped in the fit will loosen up after 1000 rounds or so. Very often the tight fit you feel in the store is the result of high spots in the frame and slide. As these spots wear down the gun loosens up.
 
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