Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


More In: Pistols


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  • Woodroez

    Ed Foster’s comments within that are worth reading, aside from his theory regarding whether or not a bullet should fully penetrate the target, but that’s an argument for another time.

  • http://homeplace-artsstuff.blogspot.com Arthur B. Burnett

    Greetings from Texas,
    “Manufacturing the M1911A1 is not rocket surgery; the
    gun is a stone axe, designed to be maintained in the field by draftee armorers using drop-in parts.”

    I agree completely, and that is why we love it.

  • subase

    Nostalgia = 1911

  • SpudGun

    The only ‘facts’ I could glean from the article were –

    1) WW2 1911s were parts bin guns that were reliable but a bit crap to shoot

    2) Modern 1911s are more refined but not as reliable

    The rest of the article is the usual mix of anecdotal evidence, purient emotion and hopeless nostalgia. I’m not singling Tam out, every article on the 1911 starts with at least a paragraph of fluff trying to justify the shortcomings of the platform.

  • http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com Tam

    SpudGun,

    I must have missed the “emotion” and “nostalgia”. Perhaps you could help me by pointing it out?

    What I love about this so far is that the 1911 fans are mad because they think I’m bashing the 1911 and the 1911 haters are mad because they think I’m getting weepy over it.

    I must have written it right. ;)

  • DonM

    What shortcomings?

  • http://staghounds.blogspot.com/ staghounds

    None of these commenters are qualified, not a “venerable” or “slabsides” in the whole thing.

  • Desertrat

    I’ve never worried about my 1911. It’s the fella in front of it who has cause for concern.

  • Joe Hooker

    Not one of Tam’s better posts. Okay the original 1911 was loose because it had to work with a lot of dirt in it, have interchangeable parts and be worked on by draftees. So does any military gun. Make ‘em tighter, they shoot better but aren’t as reliable under extreme conditions. This is news?

    Obvious question — would an off-the-shelf Glock work as well under military (not police) conditions? No one really knows how polymer will hold up in the long run.

    Polymer guns are lighter. Maybe, maybe not depending on what you compare. Very little difference in size and weight between a Glock 21 in .45 ACP and a 1911 except for number of rounds carried (13+1 vs. 7 or 8+1), and yes you can get double-stack 1911′s if you need to spray ‘n pray.

    Otherwise, if you can’t hit ‘em with the first seven rounds, what would lead you to believe you can hit ‘em with the next seven?

  • SpudGun

    Apologies to you Tam, your article wasn’t filled with emotion and nostalgia, but the following posts on your site (and a lot of the times here) were chock o’ block with the usual misty eyed guff over the 1911.

    And yes, you have written your article very well and I was seeing 1911 fanaticisim without it actually being present. – But I’m watching you. ;)

  • http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com Tam

    Joe Hooker,

    Okay the original 1911 was loose because it had to work with a lot of dirt in it…

    People tend to think the “original 1911″ was “loose” because all they ever handle are re-arsenalled 70+ year-old guns. A low-mileage pre-’43 military 1911 is about as tight in frame-to-slide and barrel-to-slide fit as a modern commercial Colt or Springer.

    Obvious question — would an off-the-shelf Glock work as well under military (not police) conditions? No one really knows how polymer will hold up in the long run.

    That’s two separate questions. Yes, a Glock will work as good or better in sand and mud. Will it work better 60 years later? Who knows? But that’s not the question.

    And I don’t know where anybody’s getting the idea that I said a tight, quality 1911 wouldn’t work in rough conditions. I stomped my $2,000+ Springfield Custom Shop Professional Model into a mudhole to prove that’s a myth. (The key word there being “$2,000+”. An HK45 is very nearly as accurate, more reliable, and costs less than half as much, which is an important consideration when you’re buying pistols for hundreds or thousands of people at once.)

    Is the 1911 perfect? No. Are there better pistols to issue to beat cops and Army mortarmen these days? Yes.

    What’s in my holster while I type this? (HINT: I am not a beat cop or an mortar maggot…)

  • DonM

    As a mortar maggot in the hinterlands of Germany, (81mm and 4.2 inch) I carried a .45 Combat Commander, nickel plated, with Bomar sights, and got an armorer to put in a lanyard ring. Back then it was considered “cool” to open your beer with the magazine partly ejected.

    Its a wonder any of us survived.

  • DonM

    The German “partnership” units always wanted to get some time in on the .45 pistol and grease gun. They really wanted the bragging rights when they got home having put rounds down range in a handgun whose caliber that started with “11″.

  • jdun1911

    Plastic degrade immediately. You can slow it down but can’t prevent the end result. This of is a nightmare for historians that want to preserves artifacts that are composed of or in part polymer base.

    http://www.azom.com/Details.asp?ArticleID=1655

    My I bought second generation Glock 19 in the early 90s. The frame is still good but I know it is degrading everyday and I can’t prevent it. It won’t last forever just remember that.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      jdun1911, steel corrodes over time as well if exposed to moisture and oxygen ;)

      The first polymer stocked gun, the Nylon 66, are still working fine. You Glock will probably out live you. By the time it degrades everyone will have their own personal 3D printer and they can just print replacement parts :)

  • Joe Hooker

    Tam,

    I’m not a beat cop or a mortar maggot either — but I was an armored cav guy and carried a 1911 a lot including two tours in ‘Nam. Right now I have several Glocks and 1911s of all shapes and sizes and feel I’m reasonably familiar with both. My service 1911 wasn’t terribly accurate but it never failed me (I actually did see an enemy soldier shot with one — by my troop commander). Just not sure a Glock would hold up that well under the same conditions. As for accuracy, I’ve shot arms room 1911s that did quite well, while I have a Glock 22 (a popular cop gun) that won’t hit the side of a barn.

    From the cop/soldier perspective I don’t see much difference between a full-size 1911 vs. a full-size Glock .45. They are pretty similar in size and weight, and if you need extra capacity you can go to a double-stack 1911. From an agency perspective, however, the Glock is much better because it’s less expensive. There’s just no way you can build a steel pistol that can compete on price with a polymer one.

    The Glock’s main advantage, which you didn’t mention, is that it was designed from the gitgo to feed hollow-points, which the 1911 was not. Glocks will digest just about anything, while 1911s can be a bit picky sometimes about ammo. Not really a problem with full-size models, but the 1911 design does not scale well while the Glock, which has a more straight-in feed path, does. Small Glocks work pretty well, small 1911s do not. This may or may not be a problem with your application — I sold a 3″ Para because I could not get it to work right.

    I daily carry a Glock 36 because I can rely on it (I am working on a 3.5″ Springfield, but that’s another story) but if I went back into combat I’d much rather have a full-size or commander-size 1911.

    Steve, as far as long-term reliability goes, no one knows. There are Glocks made in the ’80 whose frames are cracking. Whether this is just a few guns or if it’s a widespread problem no one can yet say. The Army used 40′s-vintage 1911s until the switchover to the M9 in the 80s (a big mistake IMO) and they continued to work just fine altho they were getting a bit loose. I shot a turn of the century broomhandle over the holidays and it seemed to work just fine. Maybe the polymer pistols will last, maybe they won’t.

  • jdun1911

    But how many steel/metal artifacts are still with us? We got metal objects that came from the bronze age. We got stone artifacts that came from the stone ages. We won’t have plastic artifacts that will last .0001% long as those.

    Tam is right that Glock and other plastic guns won’t even come to the longevity as their metal counterpart. In 40 years will the Glock frame be able to stand up to the stress?

    What I like to see is tests done to the early first production Steyr AUG rifle to determine how much of the plastic housing has been degraded.

    Can Glock and other plastic firearms survive this kind of punishment? And yes you can still shoot them once restored. I don’t know why the stupid post saying that heat made those firearms unsafe. Common sense will tell you that shooting a gun will create heat. Does shooting guns make gun unsafe due to the heat it generate?

    http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3038539&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=1

    One last thing my cousin few years back loaded some very hot .40 rounds. It actually made the tip end of his Glock warped. Still able to shoot it but the plastic did warped from the heat.

    I like Glock and defended them in the past but I do know the limitation of plastic made guns.

  • Pete Sheppard

    And I thought it was going to be a knock-down drag-out over the relative merits of the original M1911 and its sissified* younger sibling, the M1911A1…
    :P
    *REAL men don’t need short triggers, frame cutouts and laugh at hammer bite!

  • subase

    Antique value = 1911 pistol

  • scott

    on a different note I have an original 1911 to be clear not a 1911A1 (not that there is any thing wrong with that). I’m tring to restore to as close to perfect $$$ as possible. So to all of my good old 1911 boy and well girls too I’m lookin for slide release, magazine, trigger and grips scews. Can u please give web sites/refferals to complete my project and also nobama