Saturday, March 8, 2014


Even the 1911 gurus are starting to put it down.

If Colonel Cooper was still alive, and miraculously younger, I wonder how long before he would have swiched...

And he has some good reasons against it, also, for people considering taking up the 1911 in their police department or tactical unit

 Let me copy their list about a mental exercise with mystery gun model XYZ5000.
  1. My XYZ5000 runs great, but not with modern +P JHP service ammo.
  2. My XYZ5000 actually does not run some JHP ammo at all unless I get some gunsmithing done to it.
  3. The magazines for my XYZ5000 only last about a year if I leave them loaded and reload from slide lock a lot.
  4. The factory magazines for my XYZ5000 are actually very low quality, and I must search for the correct aftermarket magazine to use with it.
  5. XYZ5000 works better if I only use ball ammo.
  6. The best mags for the XYZ5000 are the ones which have a 13% lower capacity. It’s just how you have to roll with it.
  7. My XYZ5000 costs at least 2 times more than other common pistols on the market, and it really needs the equivalent of its retail price in gunsmithing, then it is ready to go.
  8. My XYZ5000 should really only be worked on by someone who specializes in it, even for minor repairs, since it has so many idiosyncrasies.
  9. I would not realistically be able to perform any upgrades or repairs to my own XYZ5000 without extensive training and numerous specialized tools.
  10. I own 3 XYZ5000′s, but almost none of the parts interchange with one another.  In fact, when I order XYZ5000 parts from Brownells, most of them do not even fit into the gun.
Pretty damning, eh? (XYZ5000 is a 1911 for other slow heads like me)  But not all apply to me.  I'm crotchety and an anachronistic throwback.  Odd for a child of the 80s and a man that works fixing computer systems. 

1, 2, and 5 are the same reason.  Ammo considerations

3 and 4 are the same issue, too.  Magazine consideration

I don't mind 6.  I don't think of it as having 13% less, but sometime you get 14% more.

7 isn't an issue, now.  Cost.  I am not selecting my only 2 pistols (main and a spare) to go through the rest of my gunnie life, now, am I.  I've incurred the cost at this point.

8 and 9 are the same reason. 10, too, sorta.  1911 requires being on top of it, maintenance-wise, and also gunsmithing considerations.

But I think this could spread, and applies to #6 above.  In which case people will think about 1911s again, maybe.  There is also a foreseeable future in my state where possession of an 11 round magazine could get problematic (i just can't buy them here, now) but CCW will be perfectly permissible and widespread. 

There is something I need to consider.  1911 gunsmithing classes.  See item  #8, 9, and 10, on the list above.  But I'd LOVE to learn more.    I'd like to master the extractor.  And to understand more of the gives and takes of design.  Identifying and fixing an ejector would be good to know.  Groking the give and take between the recoil spring and the hammer spring would satisfy the desire to know how things work.  I'd like to detail strip and reassemble blindfolded, just cuz.  I'm already kinda handy. 


Comrade Misfit said...

Here's the thing: If the choice is to buy a pistol that a user will have to become a bit of an amateur gunsmith in order to maintain or to buy a pistol that will just run, seems to me that the 1911 loses out.

JMB was a genius. Almost all of the pistols of that time were well obsolete by the start of Second World War. The 1911 was not.

But time marches on. You would be hard-pressed to think of any other mechanical item from 1911 that is in use today. The first transcontinental flight, in 1911, took 49 days. Rotary-dial phones weren't in use, then. Automobiles were still a novelty item.

The 1911 Colt is fine weapon. So is the 1873 Colt. They're both obsolete and have earned an honored retirement.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I want to be a gunsmith as much as I want to CCW.

Robert Fowler said...

If I can find it. I have a video tape on gunsmithing the 1911. Email me your address and you can borrow it and even make a copy. You do still have a VCR right?

robertsgunshop at mchsi dot com.

Tam said...

I think the amount of gunsmithing a good 1911 requires is vastly overblown.

I don't know how many rounds my Pro has on it, since I got it before I started getting more religious about keeping track of stuff like that, but the only parts I replaced on it in the decade I carried it were recoil springs and magazines. And, like my current carry M&Ps, it suffered from a level of neglect that bordered on abuse.

All that said, it was a big heavy gun that didn't have lot of BBs in the tank and had a trigger that was difficult to manage while SOM or at speed, at least for me. Too easy to break shots early on transitions or followups; just not a lot of forgiveness in a short, light, trigger.

Tam said...

Further, Cooper was a smart dude, but he had his flaws. For instance, his pathological loathing of DA triggers that bordered on selfcockophobia.

When you are telling people to crank off the first DA shot into the dirt to get to the SA trigger pull, I'm sorry, that's just all wet.

c-90 said...

I have exactly 1 M19111, it's 70yrs old this year, and went thru ww2. It's a Remington Rand. Not a Springfield Armory, or a Colt Commercial. Just a mass produced M1911. It's beat up, but still works, I bought it in the 1980's at a gun show. It had a worn out barrel, I had the barrel replaced and adjusted so the .45 cal mil spec acp rnds feed. It shoots, I did buy some WOOD grips, cause they're neat. I got some spare parts too, but I haven't used them yet, not even the springs. And to disassemble, I just about have to shake it a few times and it comes apart good. I did buy some mil surplus mags that work better than new commercial ones. What's the problem with M1911a1's? Nothing as far as I can see.