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I just have a quick question but to explain I need to give some history. I have very little experience with automatic pistols. Growing up I learned to shoot on my dad's SW model 66 in .357/.38 but was not exposed to Autos until I had a freind in college. Now I own an MP9 and love it. I have only shot about 8 rounds through a 1911 in all my 33 years.



My question is, what makes the 1911 so great? Looking at features the SA only and having to carry "Cocked and Locked" seems a bit scary to me. The minimal mag capacity seems a bit puny especially considering you can carry any other .45 with 10-12 rounds. Don't get me wrong, I like the 1911 (based purely on others recomendations) and wish that I could afford one. Other's opinions are appreciated!
 

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The 1911 was a great design in it's day, and has been improved, and refined over the years. It has few parts, is easy to field strip, and functions reliably. But by today's standards I would not classify it as being "great".



What really amazes me is that some people are willing to pay several thousands of dollars for these refined versions of the 1911. You can only do so much. Fact of the matter is, some of the most expensive, are also somewhat unreliable, due to their close tolerances, and tight fit.
 

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features usually not found in modern semiautos are grip safety and a manual safety. A grip safety, sear disconnect, half cock position, and manual safety. many favor the theoretically greater stopping power of the .45 cartridge and the superior handling of the weapon in close fighting. Despite its relatively large size, the M1911 has a very flat profile owing to its single-stack magazine design, easing concealment. last but can't easily be ignored - it's timeless piece of craft, it has been changed little in nearly 100 years of production. :wink:
 

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I'll add to what Loloy said. I’m one of those guys that love both the M&P and the 1911. The original M1911A1 was in many ways the M&P of its day. An outstanding field grade easy to maintain pistol with very good accuracy. Technologies have moved along and if you’re looking for an inexpensive easy to maintain pistol with good combat accuracy and a lot of potential the M&P is pretty hard to beat in its price range. I own two and plan a third. Think of it as a Timex Ironman Watch. Inexpensive, rugged, and functional as hell in any environment.



If the M&P is a Timex Ironman then the 1911 can be thought of as a beautiful Seiko, or a fine handmade Swiss watch, or a cheap knockoff with the potential of growing up to be a Seiko. All depending on who made it and how much quality they chose to put into it. I own two of the “Seiko” level pistols and pick up my expensive handmade Swiss watch in February.



If nothing else a well finished 1911 is a beautiful pistol. To my eye the most beautiful of all the autoloading pistols. Then there is that fine trigger. There is a lot that can be done to improve the M&P’s trigger in an attempt to approach the perfection that is a well tuned 1911. But a well tuned 1911 is the Holy Grail that everything else is compared to. Then there is accuracy. A basic 1911 and a basic stock M&P will both offer good accuracy. Probably better than my shooting. When we get into the better grades of production 1911s there is potential for true sub 2” groups at 25 yards. With the better hand built custom match pistols capable of sub 1” groups, some well under that 1”. A lot better than my tired old eyes can do.



http://www.gunblast.com/1911_ShootOff.htm



Oh and don’t let a cocked and locked 1911 make you nervous. The pistol was designed to be carried that way and in my opinion it’s the safest possible mode of carry. Unless the grip safety is being held down it cannot fire. By itself this eliminates a lot of the stupid playing with the bang button accidents that we see with “safe action” striker fired pistols (see video). Second, the thumb safety must be disengaged for the pistol to fire. This eliminates the holstering accidents that we see with “safe action” striker fired pistols. And contrary to internet rumor you can easily and safely draw a 1911, disengage the safeties and fire without losing one nanosecond.



This video is old but it's still a fine demonstration of what cannot happen with a cocked and locked 1911, and even more of a demonstration of cockiness and stupid weapons handling. And of violating every common sense safety rule in the book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhIJOVD8hwY
 

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TAC said:
What really amazes me is that some people are willing to pay several thousands of dollars for these refined versions of the 1911. You can only do so much. Fact of the matter is, some of the most expensive, are also somewhat unreliable, due to their close tolerances, and tight fit.


I'll take exception with that statement. What makes a 1911 several thousand dollars is being hand built by someone that cares. When hand built every part is fit perfectly, when all the parts fit perfectly the guns run, run, and run some more. Some guys make guns tighter than other guys but I have seen and built some very tight guns that never miss a beat. Now I have also seen some semi-production guns that cannot shoot their way out a paper bag but that is the exception not the rule with 1911s.



What I think makes the 1911 so great is the timeless design and the ability to make it yours whether it be a under the truck seat beater or a finely tuned bullseye machine.





ps. the accuracy standard for the American Pistolsmith guild for a 1911 is 3in at 50yds. I know of several people with 1911's that will shoot 1in at 50yds, I believe I heard Doug Koenig say his Bianchi gun will do 1/2in at 50yds
(I am pretty certain his gun never chokes as it would cost a boat load of prize money)
 

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Dan -- when the APG measures accuracy, do they do it with a Ransom Rest?



I ask because, as we've discussed here previously, a Ransom Rest benefits guns with a very tight frame-to-slide fit. Since that tight fit doesn't really translate much into practical accuracy (which is much more dependent on barrel-to-slide fit, would you agree?) it seems almost like cheating ... it measures accuracy in a way that the 1911 will come out looking superior.



(I am an avowed anti-1911 bigot, so if I sound like I have an agenda it's because I do
)



When DHS/ICE tested pistol accuracy for their record-breaking procurement in 2004, they used a Ransom Rest but they also aligned the sights on each individual shot using a surveyor's laser. This provided the best possible assurance that the accuracy tested reflected the sight picture rather than simply the gun's ability to settle and stay consistent between the frame (where the Ransom Rest grips the gun) and the slide.



I've handled quite a few 1911's from APG members and there is no question they can be incredible masterpieces of skill and mechanical perfection!
 

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Todd,

Yes they do use a "machine rest" for their testing, you are also encouraged to send along your test targets and the ammo you used, so they can test it themselves.



I cannot imagine someone submitting a gun for inspection that didn't have a tight slide to frame fit. That would be like bring your car to a car show without tightening down the seats.




I absolutly agree with you 100% that slide to frame fit contributes very little to accuracy, but when you are trying to squeze every last bit out of a design it will help a little.



I still love my 1911's, I just don't carry one or compete with one any more. But I must admit I am an accuracy junkie, whether it be in shooting or mechanical things. Nothing beats a collection of parts that mesh and blend perfectly into one working machine.



If I can ever get a M&P to shoot a 3in group I will submit one, although I think I could get banned for life for even thinking such a thing
 

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I'm with Dan and sholling. Got to handle my Dads when I was 8 and been hooked on em ever since.


They are like gun 'crak' 1 mag and your hooked for some of us. Yes I admit I'm a 1911 addict. Current count is 5. 3" - 7". What got me sold on my first M&P was the similar feel between the two weapons. With the M&P .45 with side safety it's almost spooky. No drastic re-train in the muscle memory. It all adds up to
No matter what I pick up.



I got one that's sexier than Jessica Alba! almost...
 

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the trigger pull is shorter than other .45 therefore in my opinion more accurate at longer distance shooting. 25+ yards





i carry both of my 1911's cocked and locked. how ELSE would you carry it ?





"excuse me mr bad guy i need to rack the slide on my pistol before i shoot you"
 

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Dan Burwell said:
I cannot imagine someone submitting a gun for inspection that didn't have a tight slide to frame fit. That would be like bring your car to a car show without tightening down the seats.


Dan -- agreed ... I didn't mean to sound like I was questioning the practice.



I absolutly agree with you 100% that slide to frame fit contributes very little to accuracy, but when you are trying to squeze every last bit out of a design it will help a little.


My point, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that tight slide-to-frame fit is going to show up a lot more when measuring accuracy out of a machine rest than it would measuring accuracy by hand, whether you're shooting offhand or even from bags. Whereas other things which tend to improve accuracy (tighter barrel fit, match grade barrel, etc.) is going to help regardless of how you're indexing the gun.



If I can ever get a M&P to shoot a 3in group I will submit one, although I think I could get banned for life for even thinking such a thing


Mine shoots 5" at 50yd with Blazer. I'm guessing getting from 5 to 3 is a challenge, eh?
 

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ToddG said:
My point, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that tight slide-to-frame fit is going to show up a lot more when measuring accuracy out of a machine rest than it would measuring accuracy by hand, whether you're shooting offhand or even from bags. Whereas other things which tend to improve accuracy (tighter barrel fit, match grade barrel, etc.) is going to help regardless of how you're indexing the gun.
You are correct, but it will add a little to off hand accuracy as well, just not enough to worry about it for 99.99% of the shooters out there.



ToddG said:
Mine shoots 5" at 50yd with Blazer. I'm guessing getting from 5 to 3 is a challenge, eh?


Uhh... yeah. That is what a 40% improvement, hard to do in a gun without a bushing. I am hoping with the Pro series, some aftermarket over sized barrels (coming very soon by the way), and some judicious welding I can get-R-done.
 

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The trigger.

The history.

The money to be made with the platform.
 

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Here's my top 10 list of reasons the 1911 is still kicking:



1. The trigger.

Cocked and locked may look scary, but with the grip and thumb safeties in place, it really isn't inherently dangerous (assuming the carrier know the basic rules of gun safety to begin with, that is), and offers a consistent, crisp, potentially light, single-action pull for every shot fired.



2. The ergonomics.

The single stack design, though lacking in capacity, makes the pistol slim, comfortable in the hand, and surprising easy to conceal for 5" gun. And all the controls are in just the right place for most shooters. The relatively low bore axis (a trait shared with our beloved M&Ps) makes the pistol very shootable, even firing even the heavy 230 gr. round.



3. The trigger.



4. Reliability.

For close to a century, the 1911 has proven itself in combat in just about every environment on this troubled little planet of ours. This includes the sands of Iraq, where some other pistols have been choking as of late.



5. Accuracy.

Other pistols can be practically as accurate (the M&P is more than adequate for defensive purposes) but the 1911 design lends itself to achieving a superlative degree of accuracy with a little extra work.



6. The Trigger.



7. The .45 cartridge.

I list this low on the list, because it is not exclusive to the 1911, but is certainly part of its allure. The two seem to go together (no offense to the .38 Super shooters out there). The 1911 was virtually designed with the .45 cartridge, and vice versa, and no other platform seems to deliver that big, slow slug with quite the same panache.



8. The Army (Navy... Marines... Air Force)

Because the 1911 was the standard issue sidearm of the most powerful military in the world for so darn long, a lot of people were exposed to it. Soldiers learned to shoot it and trust it. They would go home after a war, or after they retired, or whatever, and when they thought about picking up a handgun for themselves, they were already accustomed to the 1911. Other people or agencies would consider it just because the U.S. Military used it. Even after the U.S. switched to the M9, there was such an industry built up around the 1911 (custom parts, smiths, etc.) that it had long since become self-sustaining.



9. The Mystique.

Very few handguns in existence today have been elevated to the mythical status of the 1911. It is a part of our culture. Charismatic characters like Col. Cooper and Sgt. York have enhanced its place in history just by being associated with it. Most guns are just tools. the 1911 is a legend.



10. The Trigger.
 

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A lot has been already said touching on many of the relevent points. For me, besides the trigger :wink:, its about ergonomics. The grip, the balance, the way the gun cycles, the high grip, the well placed controls (which can be customized to your taste), the availability of options to fit the gun to the shooter, all of these things make the 1911 the gun I compare every other gun to whenever I pick it up the first time.



The other main issue is esthetics. For me there few other guns that looks as well as nicely built and finished 1911. There are many functional, good looking, accurate, and reliable guns out there. A 1911 is a like '64 Stingray. Hmm .. I have to go fondle mine, its feeling lonely.
 

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I carry a govt model every day. Not many people know it. I can't carry a fullsize M&P under that concealment level.



If I do get in a shoot, if I need more than 9 rounds I have more problems than ammo, I should get the heck out of there.



Shooting IDPA/USPSA. I'm faster and more accurate with the 1911 than the M&P, even with reloads.



Its all about the person.



About the price. If you get into 1911's, you'll see the diff in the price levels. Some are worth it, and some arn't. I can't justify 3000+ for one, but I can see the time spent on the 1k+ ones to be in the price.



TRP models are nice, but Pricey I have never had one Failure in either of the 2 of mine, or the Trophy Match I have.



Its about your taste.



I can't stand glocks, but I know there place in the market. If I had to shoot one, I wouldn't pass one it, but I wouldn't be very good with it.
 

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sholling said:
Oh and don’t let a cocked and locked 1911 make you nervous. The pistol was designed to be carried that way and in my opinion it’s the safest possible mode of carry. Unless the grip safety is being held down it cannot fire. By itself this eliminates a lot of the stupid playing with the bang button accidents that we see with “safe action” striker fired pistols (see video). Second, the thumb safety must be disengaged for the pistol to fire. This eliminates the holstering accidents that we see with “safe action” striker fired pistols. And contrary to internet rumor you can easily and safely draw a 1911, disengage the safeties and fire without losing one nanosecond.


Apologies for going off-topic here, but is it up to the pistol to be safe or the person to develop and maintain safe, sound, proper handling techniques? I'm really not too comfortable shifting my responsibility to a couple of pieces of steel...



With that said, I got to shoot a SA TRP yesterday at the range. That was a big mistake. Recoil did not affect my shooting and that trigger is way, way, way too sweet. Looks like my accountant is going to be asking me "what the heck happened here" again this year!



What's this talk about prize money? 8)
 

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czydj said:
Apologies for going off-topic here, but is it up to the pistol to be safe or the person to develop and maintain safe, sound, proper handling techniques? I'm really not too comfortable shifting my responsibility to a couple of pieces of steel...
Assuming you're a good safe driver, did you buy your car with or without breaks? Also note that while a stock striker fired pistol has 3/8-1/2" of forgiveness built into a 5-7lb trigger, a sweetly tuned 1911 allows for very little trigger movement before firing and has a trigger set for 3.5-5lbs.
 

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sholling said:
Assuming you're a good safe driver, did you buy your car with or without breaks? Also note that while a stock striker fired pistol has 3/8-1/2" of forgiveness built into a 5-7lb trigger, a sweetly tuned 1911 allows for very little trigger movement before firing and has a trigger set for 3.5-5lbs.


I'm really not trying to split hairs with you, I see your point. My car has ABS and 6 airbags. I understand the safety features are very valuable, but again, personal responsiblity is first and foremost in the operation of the tool. Perhaps it was just the way those 1911 features were listed, it reminded me of the "guns kill people" argument of the lost left and brady bunchers...
 

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Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.



Extra effort and precautions now will prevent a world of pain later. Where firearms are concerned, I do not believe there are such things as "accidents". There is only negligence - every bad incident can be prevented by having the proper knowledge and training beforehand. I suppose the same can be said of driving, though there are more variables at play there.
 
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