Thursday, March 21, 2013

What Makes a 1911 Jam?

Operator error.  In a new mid-level 1911 right out of the box, my guess is any jams you may experience are operator errors.

Ok, no selecting and using decent magazines is a big 'operator error' that isn't really operator error, but work with me on this.

Limp wristing is an operator error.

Overloading a magazine is an operator error.

For some 1911s, not giving the rails an occasional lube is an operator error.  I haven't really noticed this, but I've never tested it with 1000 rounds between cleaning.

Selecting crappy ammo is operator error.

Selecting a $200 1911 and having high hopes for it's reliability is operator error.

Lately I've been letting the thumb that rides on the safety rub the slide.  If Glocks had a thumb rest in the same place you'd hear about a lot more Glock jams.  And I've seen someone handling one of OldNFO's 1911s get a weird double tape for another odd grip configuration they did.  (I like to borrow a guy's Glock after he brags it never ever jams and grip it just the right way to make it jam 3 times with one magazine, and then point out my 1911 didn't jam once with a whole box of ammo.  I show him what I did, after, of course.  They always guess I limp wristed it, but that isn't the case.)

Then, because of all these operator errors, taking a dremel to your heater to 'improve' it and for some reason it doesn't get better (because you are still using crappy mags or a screwy) so they improve it some more and then get frustrated and sell it to the used market.  BIG operator error, there, an no mistake. 


That said, large volume training classes report issues with 1911s.  I'd love to know the reasons.  I like it when I see rare stories of trainers eschewing their $500 plastic gun and running a $900 1911 and have little or no issue on that single occasion... just to see.

Now that $400 price differential is still a HUGE advantage, and one I can't argue with.  Also, capacity.  Both serious considerations before making the old 45 your go-to preference, sure. 


I need to go back to the range.  Burn off some of this extra .45, and tamp down the operator issues more.  Hope the range is starting to thin out.  45 minute waits are not what I am looking when I want a .45 workout.


Chris said...

I have a Kimber 1911, got it on the used market 6-7 years ago (roughly half of MSRP). In all that time, running approximately 5,000 rounds through it, I have had one failure to feed that was not caused by a magazine that I later determined to be defective. I'm certainly no expert (whether as a shooter or in my knowledge of guns), but I'd call that reliable. Maybe I got lucky, but I'm quite happy with my Kimber.

Tam said...

"I like it when I see stories of trainers eschewing their $500 plastic gun and running a $900 1911 and have little or no issue."

Who was that?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

gotta find it again.

Anonymous said...

So having spent $400 less on a Glock, I got a gun that's much more highly resistant to operator error -- to the point where whole categories of operator error cease to be errors at all. Kind of like their hardware pre-emptively solves a whole raft of software problems I might have.

Sold! Glock should give you a commission!

One of these days I'll be picking up a 1911 too, 'cause they're so cool and they're funner to shoot than a Glock.

The bedside gun's still going to be a S&W Model 10, because the only way the operator can screw that up is to point it in the wrong direction. As an operator who errs now and then, I like that feature.

Sigivald said...

"What Makes a 1911 Jam?"

A really sturdy blender and some pectin?

Knitebane said...

ToddG at

"As someone who so frequently and publicly slandered the 1911 platform in general, I must admit that this gun exceeded my expectations. Even some of the most diehard 1911 fans predicted doom in 9mm. But here it is, happily on my belt, as dependable as anyone could ask for. Springfield did an incredible job putting this gun together."

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Yup Matt. I spent a lot more and got something I like better. If there was a plastic gun I liked and shot and performed better I wouldn't have a 1911.

Tam said...

Didja find who the trainer was yet?

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I think I am membering... or misremembering... that ToddG bit Knitebane sent up, above.

Tam said...

ToddG is shooting a 1911 for a year.

A $2600 SACS 9mm Pro. My $2600 SACS .45 Pro has been a very reliable pistol, too, for the many years I've owned it and gun schools it's been to.

I thought someone had found a $900 1911 on the market right now with good QC and plastic-like reliability out-of-the-box, and so I was a little excited. :)