Why 1911?

30-May-12 – 10:50 by ToddG

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve received a deluge of emails, forum PMs, phone calls, and smoke signals asking what in the world made me decide to shoot a 1911 for the next endurance test. Well, the answer is pretty simple: I didn’t really have faith in the gun’s staying power until now. I mean, anything can last for 100 years. But 101? That’s awesome.

OK, not serious.

There are a few different reasons I wanted to undertake this test.

First and foremost, about 10% of the students who attend a pistol-training.com class are shooting 1911-style pistols. But aside from a few weeks in ’08 when I was shooting a ton of rounds through some FBI-HRT guns down at Quantico, I’ve never really put serious time behind a 1911. I can talk about Berettas, Glocks, HKs, SIGs, and Smiths from extensive experience, whereas I talk about 1911s mostly from an observer’s point of view. That should change. Heck, I’ve learned more about 1911s in the past few weeks — thanks in large part to the advice and assistance of famed gunsmith Jason Burton from Heirloom Precision — than I thought possible.

Second, as anyone who’s read this site knows, I’ve never been part of the Cult of 1911. I’ve seen far too many 1911s of all shapes, sizes, calibers, and price points come through class and FAIL … dramatically. That mirrored my observations from competition, as well. But I’ve also seen guys come through class shooting 1911s without a hiccup. So I have very strongly held beliefs, but are they legitimate?

Finally, it will be fun. Even moreso than the HK P30 test where I had to learn the LEM trigger, shooting a 1911 is going to require me to make a lot of changes to how I shoot. I haven’t used a manually safety in more than a decade. The mag release button is on the “wrong side” and is far enough forward that I’ll need to assess how best to drop mags. The slide release lever, too, is out of normal reach and will require a different approach than what I’ve been doing for almost 20 years.

So no, this test won’t have the same should I buy one? appeal to most readers as previous tests. A semi-custom $2,000 1911 isn’t as likely a purchase for most shooters as a $500 Glock. But it will be interesting to see what the gun can do and whether it has any advantages over the less expensive plastic wonderguns. Maybe I’ll be done with it in a year. Maybe I’ll join the cult. Either way, it will be interesting.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 78 Responses to “Why 1911?”

  2. One thing I don’t think has been mentioned in all of this is that aside from your learning the 1911 platform, those of us who shoot and carry 1911s may learn a great deal as well. I look forward to reading about how you adopt your technique to take advantage of the pistol’s positive attributes and deal with the negatives. I’m sure there will be much food for thought coming from this for anyone with an open mind.

    By Robinson on May 30, 2012

  3. Todd –

    Personally, I feel that it is practically mandatory to have time behind a 1911. Maybe not a year of using it exclusively like you will be, but its the kind of thing where it is important to be well rounded. It’s like reading the Bible if you live in the Western world… regardless of whether or not you believe in it, it is such a cornerstone of the culture (and in many ways you don’t even know about until you read it), that it’s just really important to have read it. The 1911, regardless of one’s thoughts or experiences on reliability, carry-ability, capacity, ballistics characteristics, etc., is a landmark firearm that has influenced in one way or another just about every pistol since. The Browning locking breech principle is one of them. Less obvious are the ergos. The P30 and HK45 are two examples of pistols that tried their very best to mimic the grip and safety ergos of the 1911, and for good reason; shooters of guns with manual safeties nearly universally praise the safety layout of the 1911, it’s one of the best parts of the design. How many times do we hear vendors pushing a product to replicate the 1911 trigger on a non-1911 gun?

    And that’s why I applaud your decision to try this out. Obviously, the “will it run reliably” end of things won’t be as interesting. As you’ve pointed out, if it fails folks will say, “but it’s not in .45” and if it runs folks will say, “it’s a $2,000 custom job”. The mindset, tactics, etc. you learn and write about will be nice. I own a P30S V3, which means that I can run it IDENTICALLY to a 1911 if I choose; right now I’m carrying hammer down off safe, but the strategies and tactics you talk about may tell me that cocked ‘n locked is the way to go (I’ve considered it a number of times).

    And I think for you as an instructor, it is important to have the experience, not just because 10% of your students are running 1911’s, but because it exposes you to ideas that you otherwise would not have. For all I know, you’ll come out of this saying, “hey, the 1911 manual of arms was great, but I didn’t like the pistol itself, so I suggest you get a P30S or an HK45 or a SIG or M&P with thumb safety, and run it like a 1911 because I improved 25% with the 1911 compared to an SFA or DA/SA gun”.


    By Justin James on May 30, 2012

  4. I’ve never understood the 1911 kool-aide drinkers, but that said, the only reason to have a 1911 style pistol in anything other than a 45 is for competition.

    The reason to have a 1911 is because it IS a .45.

    By Eric on May 30, 2012

  5. I think this a great choice to run as an endurance test gun for many of Tge reasons you outlined above.

    That said, I’m 100% in agreement with Mr. James above that the “it’s not a .45…” chorus will get very loud throughout the test.

    By ChipK on May 30, 2012

  6. I´m only suprized it will be 9mm not .45.

    By Marek Z on May 30, 2012

  7. I’m not so interested on whether it runs, so much as how you run it.

    By jstyer on May 30, 2012

  8. I am not a 1911 fan but I am glad you are doing the test, in that calibre. I am very interested in the results.

    By steve b on May 30, 2012

  9. If that’s the picture of the test gun, it looks really sharp. That said, I am all about the .45 in the 1911 platform. However, custom or not, if it is tweaked to run in peak performance as a 9mm, I think that the results of the test are easily attributable to the .45. I look forward to the test and the results.

    By John K on May 30, 2012

  10. Are you taking on bets on how long until you need to pin the grip safety?

    If you draw and take a high grip the beavertail acts as a lever. I am interested in hearing if this ever (and I mean EVER) happens to you. Would you chalk that up to user error or a malfunction of the gun?

    By Ariel Weisberg on May 30, 2012

  11. I’ve already been bugging Todd to pin the grip safety. I predict less than a 200 rounds before it raises its head.

    By Rob E on May 30, 2012

  12. This will be an interesting test that I am very interested in seeing.

    By Mitchell, Esq. on May 30, 2012

  13. I’ve been shooting 1911s for decades, many tens of thousands of rounds, but I just don’t get this test at all despite your explanations. I mean I get it; it’s your website and your money and none of my business what you shoot or write about. No argument from me there. But this is just too far away from reality for me to have any meaning, even as a long-time 1911 fan. Not interested at all and up til now I’ve read every word on this site.

    A specially ordered customized gun (in the wrong caliber) just leaves me underwhelmed. I mean it’s right up there with test driving a Saleen Mustang on a closed course track and trying to extrapolate in reverse and say that your results are equally valid for run-of-the-mill production line V-6 Mustangs that you see in the grocery store parking lot. Or something like that. Probably not a great analogy, but the point is that such a test could not be called a Mustang test with a straight face.

    Why not at least run a bone stock Series 80 Colt side by side with your barbecue gun? At least for the first 10 or 15 thousand rounds.

    Otherwise this is in no way a true 1911 test and your observations of 1911 performance from past classes cannot be interpreted in light of any results you gather here.

    Sorry if this sounds bitter. Not meant to be. Again, your site, your money, your choice. I can live with that. But I won’t be following this one.

    By Billy Shears on May 30, 2012

  14. Todd:

    To help your get into this whole 1911 thing, here are some starting points:

    1) Never call the designer “Browning” or “John Browning.” It is always “John Moses Browning.”

    2) Explain to doubters that “plastic can melt; steel can’t.”

    3) Also explain that “if it was good enough for the Marine Corps from Belleau Wood to Afghanistan, it’s good enough for me.”

    4) Convince yourself that paying $2,000 for a pistol is utterly reasonable given that it is a 1911, after all.

    5) Keep trying the trigger and reset.

    6) Stare at that gorgeous photo some. Try the reset again and then stare some more.

    By SteveJ on May 30, 2012

  15. Billy –

    I think part of the problem is that Todd’s calling this an “endurance test” when really, I think that “proving” anything with regards to endurance isn’t his goal… and because it’s a pricey custom job in 9mm, no one reading it will accept it as proof of anything either, other than proving that a pricey custom job can run 9mm well (if it runs well).

    Once you set aside the idea of that this is going to prove anything about the gun one way or the other, it gets a lot more interesting in my opinion. :)


    By Justin James on May 30, 2012

  16. I’m excited to read about this test. I think a lot of people are missing the FACT that none of the endurance tests really prove anything other than ONE sample of a batch performed a certain way.

    These tests won’t convince those who’ve already made up their minds about a pistol, but for the rest of us it’s good entertainment and food for thought.

    By raks on May 30, 2012

  17. If you want to be really well rounded you’ll have to run a wheelgun next.

    I vote for a slicked up 3″ model 65

    By Chuck Haggard on May 30, 2012

  18. I am looking forward to this test, not so much as a mark about how a 1911 in 9mm runs as far as reliability but more so for the fact of how a “plastic Fantastic” shooter learns to run and operate a 1911 with an economy of motion that someone like myself who was born with a glock in my hand cannot find on the 1911 platform.

    I own 8 glocks, 3 1911’s and a variety of other pistols and I keep trying to like the 1911 platform but every time I take it out I note the issues it has rather then the positives, hopefully Todd can show me how he negates the negatives and I hope all of us can learn from somebody who is taking the time.

    thank you

    By Wesley Belland on May 30, 2012

  19. I only wish you had picked one in the same price class as the Glocks and M&Ps, that would have been truly interesting.

    If this thing performs as well as those, we can only say that yes, a gun that’s twice as expensive can perform as well as one that’s half the price..

    Not very convincing. :p I mean, I love the 1911 – its heritage, its looks, its ergonomics. But I don’t think it is competitive on a head-to-head basis. This won’t do anything to change that perception, even if it performs well.

    By jellydonut on May 31, 2012

  20. Does it matter what it costs? Who cares what calibre. I have a 2,000 dollar car bought used and have not had a problem in 4yrs with 200,000 miles. I also bought a new Ford truck and it sucks. I have numerous pistols including a Springfield operator 1911 .45 and have run numerous high count classes with no problem. And for those that say the 9mm is ,whatever, run down range and get shot a couple of times and see what you think. Get over it. If you don’t like it run your own test. I look forward to it as I am getting a 1911 9mm as I have a 9mm in every duty gun I have used.

    By Matt Jenson on May 31, 2012

  21. I’m just curious if Todd will come up with some sort of New Gadget for the gun :)

    By Bryce S on May 31, 2012

  22. Why would you test a 100years old proven design?!

    By Randori on May 31, 2012

  23. @ Matt,
    I think the issue with the 9mm choice is that the 1911 was designed around the .45 caliber. So, basing a judgement of a platform around a “modified” gun would be like taking jeep off road with racing slicks instead of all terrain tires. It would be unreasonable to think “Well this thing sucks out here!”

    By DC on May 31, 2012

  24. Interesting to see how much passion there is, on more than one side, when the 1911 is mentioned.

    1911 partisans are staking their positions, non-1911 folk are getting some jabs in, hell there are people claiming to like both but you can still see their intense interest.

    You would think we are discussing religion or something…

    By Chem on May 31, 2012

  25. Some folks are missing the point or, rather, trying to find a point that isn’t there. This isn’t intended to be the be-all end-all last word on whether “1911′” as a class of firearm is good or bad. It’s not an evaluation of every 1911 brand, size, caliber, and model in existence. It is not, to borrow another poster’s phrase, an evaluation of the platform. It’s an evaluation of this gun, in this caliber, from this manufacturer.

    I appreciate the folks who say they wish it was a .45, but they’re not the ones who have to shoot 50k through the gun in a year. I’ve done that (HK45) and it beat up my fingers, wrists, and elbows enough that I swore I wouldn’t do it again. I don’t see how that should prevent me from ever using a 1911.

    I appreciate the folks who say they wish it was a $500 gun, but they’re not the ones who commit to carrying this thing every day for a year. This gun is the bare minimum I considered for that purpose. Even with that, pistol-forum.com is awash with people warning me that the gun won’t run reliably. So from that standpoint, yes, it will be interesting to see if the $2,000 semi-custom gun can run as well as the $5-900 Smiths, Glocks, and HKs I’ve used in previous tests.

    Hope this clears some things up. Every year there are folks who express disappointment with the gun chosen for the test, and certainly that is understandable. For everyone else, though, I hope it will be an interesting and informative year.

    By ToddG on May 31, 2012

  26. This is funny. The 1911 “elite” are poo-pooing the test because it’s not “a valid test of the gun”. Then the “plastic-fantastic” crowd is saying it’s not a valid test because the the pistol isn’t in the same price range. Oh, brother.

    As Todd said, this isn’t really an endurance test or to prove the pistol is reliable for XXX rounds without breakage. This is Todd learning something new to be a better trainer and for personal advancement.

    I really look forward to the updates! I’m curious to see Todd’s experience and open-minded evaluation of the lessons learned.

    By the way, 9mm 1911 is LIKE BUTTER! If you can get it to run reliably you WILL get spoiled! My wife had bad tendinitis in her elbow from shooting a popular plastic pistol. She switched to 9mm 1911 and it went away!

    By GhettoSmack on May 31, 2012

  27. I am pretty excited about this. I view it in the same light as I view top gear testing a ferrari Enzo. I’ll never drive one, but they are awesome. It will be interesting to see how the gun runs in the hands of our tame professional shooter.

    By JConn on May 31, 2012

  28. Todd,

    I have an ambidextrous magazine release for a 1911 that somebody gave me 20 or 30 years ago. You can have it if you want it. :)


    By Bill Nesbitt on May 31, 2012

  29. I am excited about this test gun. I am a long time 1911 fan who also understands some of the shortcomings of the 1911. My interest in this test is not how many rounds will this particular gun go before it stops (but I am curious about that)but rather because of Todd’s skill level and analytical mind. Having him shoot the gun long term and finding the most efficient ways to run it.

    I figure whether the gun runs well or not and whether Todd likes the gun or not we will all still learn something.

    By Corey on May 31, 2012

  30. Can you post some picture now the Glock is done?

    I’d love to see how the high wear areas did hold up…

    By Sebastian on May 31, 2012

  31. Bill — Something tells me there’s a reason the ambi 1911 mag catch never took off…

    Sebastian — There will be continuing Glock updates until the 1911s are in my hands and ready for everyday carry, which probably won’t be for a month or more.

    By ToddG on May 31, 2012

  32. I own a Glock 26 9MM a M&P9c (everyday IWB Carry), and a SIG P229 Elite on 9mm also, A 1911 is the next one on my wish list, so its learning time from El Maestro Todd. Good luck with the test! always a fan. Todd just to remember… your best time in the FAST test is with what gun?
    I wonder how the 1911 is gonna response to the FAST…time will tell… buena suerte!

    By svega on May 31, 2012

  33. I sincerely doubt I’m going to revolutionize anything about the way people run 1911s considering the tremendous amount of testing, assessing, and development that’s gone into them over the past half a century from IPSC to IDPA to Delta to HRT etc. etc.

    While the trigger might be (in theory) more shootable than previous guns I’ve used, the reload procedure is going to be more complicated and quite possibly more time consuming. At least for the F.A.S.T. where the reload is such a critical part of the drill it’s very doubtful in my mind that I’ll set a personal best using this gun. But only time will tell.

    By ToddG on May 31, 2012

  34. I would really like to see some video of Todd Dual weilding those 1911’s like Nicholas Cage in Face-Off!…. Even if they are 9mm…


    I think the 2012 test is going to be very interesting, and I will be following along for the ride!

    By ZackP on May 31, 2012

  35. A test of “this gun in this caliber from this manufacturer” as you put it takes this website entirely out of the realm of being a sort of broadbased Consumer Reports for Firearms, as many of us have long viewed it, where your testing held widespread applicability to entire classes of firearms and classes of shooters, and puts it instead squarely in the category of social media, where the rest of us are mere observers, voyeurs in some cases, of your own private pleasures; pleasures that are surely entertaining to you and a few faithful, but almost entirely irrelevant to the vast majority of shooters who will never own (or even consider owning) such an esoteric firearm.

    So, thanks, but no thanks. Best wishes for a successful test. It’s been a pleasure and I appreciate your work. Catch up with you again in 2014 or so.

    By Billy Shears on May 31, 2012

  36. Billy — See here for the Consumer Reports preview of the 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet… $93,700.

    I certainly do understand if the gun, either due to its type or caliber or price, is not of interest to a particular person. But because I see plenty of people in classes, matches, etc. who do use this type, caliber, and/or price point of pistol I’m pretty sure it won’t be quite the same as doing a year long test drive of a Buggati Veyron. Though here’s an Edmunds Review of the Bugatti Veyron. 8)

    By ToddG on May 31, 2012

  37. You’re carrying this weapon exclusively? And I do read correctly that you’re, let’s say, “rusty” with the platform, yes?

    I recall a rant concerning “carry gun rotation” (which I will note that I didn’t necessarily disagree with). As you said in one of the Rotation articles, “Carrying a gun is not about personal enjoyment, it is about personal safety. If your weapon selection is based on something other than objective factors like concealability, reliability, and shootability then you’re doing it wrong.”

    For the record, I’m not trying be a jerk at all. I very much look forward to seeing how this pistol run. I’m just genuinely curious. I guess what I’m really wondering is how you reconcile this. On the surface it does appear that you will be trusting your life to a weapon you are less than ideally proficient with, no?

    By T. on May 31, 2012

  38. T. — That’s a reasonable and very relevant question.

    Planning a committed change to a new system once a year isn’t the same as casually picking from amongst a handful of dissimilar guns each day. While there will certainly be a period of time during which I’m not as proficient with the new gun as I was with the last, I’m not just randomly choosing which gun to carry on Tuesday as opposed to Wednesday.

    I won’t start carrying the 1911 until two things have happened: first, the gun has proven to me that it is reliable enough to depend upon; and second, I’ve become familiar enough with it that I feel confident I can shoot it well under stress. Those two requirements are generally met simultaneously after about 1,000 rounds of ammo through the test gun. In addition, given just how much different the 1911 is from the guns I’m used to (manual safety, mag release on the opposite side, slide release not reachable by my right thumb) I expect to do a ridiculous amount of dry fire during the first few days I have the gun. Until I feel like I’m operating the controls at a preconscious level, I won’t switch.

    Once I switch to the 1911, barring some substantial problem like the one I had with the G17 early on, I won’t switch back until it’s time to begin another test.

    I see that as substantially different than practicing with a bunch of different guns a little bit each time I’m at the range and then carrying each of them on different days as whim takes me.

    By ToddG on May 31, 2012

  39. He’s giving a gun a fair shake. As a professional, it’s a wise decision for a gun that influenced a lot of the features we see on guns today.

    Rather than giving generalities he can give insights. I was certain he was going to go with the FN Striker fired pistol, Certain. I said so, but I was wrong.

    He’s trying something different, I think he’s wrong though, honestly, I mean I understand in the theory of testing you can say, this is an example of one. But in reality, you could say the same about all of the tests that have ever been conducted and say that they were null and void, that nothing could be deduced.

    Personally, I’m fascinated with the tests, always have been. He’s putting his money where his mouth is, and investing what? $2k per pistol, let’s say $400-500 in carry gear, probably the same or more in equipment to maintain the gun, spending what… $10,000-ish on bullets for the test to give us this information for free?

    Sure it’s a business expense, and he’d have to be shooting something, but… I value that, he did exactly what I would’ve never believed he would’ve done.

    I don’t agree with him that he won’t be evaluating the platform, he’ll have to get used to a single stack magazine, he’ll have to get used to the magazine release, the manual of arms, the do’s and dont’s of 1911’s. Sure it doesn’t have .45 ACP recoil, but, all in all it’s a Government size 1911 in 9mm with everything that I would want.

    He’s running the modern 1911, IMHO. I can’t blame him for shooting 9mm either.

    I mean, honestly, I put Todd in a box and said he’d be shooting another double stack, polymer gun. I was pleasantly surprised.

    Dude, enjoy the test, I look forward to it.

    Not going to lie, I do have one gripe with you. I think you need to do more than monthly updates on the pistol-test with the 1911, I think as you’re cutting your teeth on the platform, the things you observe in a weekly maybe even bi-weekly, are what we come here for.

    I can understand monthly with the Glock, we’re pretty much through the thick of the test, just finishing it out now.

    Thanks for all you do and contribute to us,

    God Bless,


    By BWT on May 31, 2012

  40. Thanks, Brandon! The plan is to do weekly updates just as I have with all the guns. I only switched to the monthly format with the Glock because the test went past a year and the amount of actual shooting I was getting to do dropped to the point where weekly updates amounted to nothing but “didn’t shoot this week but the gun is still black.”

    By ToddG on May 31, 2012

  41. Tood, I have a $516 Rock Island that I would put up next to any Glock. Laugh as you may, but being a long time 1911 man I feel that the Rock’s are one of the best kept secrets. Owning 27 different 1911’s from a $2800 Les Baer,Wilson’s, STI’s and several Colt’s. I also have 7 Rock Islands that have run flawless. +20,000 rounds down the pipe on one of my Rock’s with only a spring change. Many guys at the pin shoots and at the gun club stop me wondering what I’m shooting? Grab a 1911 in 9mm from Rock Island and lets see your endurance test on one of those.

    By Mike on Jun 1, 2012

  42. Bravo. I think ToddG made a brilliant decision for this year long test. Having carried .45 ACP 1911’s for 25 years, I already know they can work when properly set-up. On the other hand, I have yet to see a fully reliable 1911 in 9 mm–I truly hope that SA has cracked the code on this. In addition, given the numerous 1911’s that are still relied upon by many individuals, it will be interesting to see how Todd approaches the retro-pistol and what adaptations he requires to optimize its use as compared to the Glock, HK’s, M&P, Sig, and Beretta’s he has previously shot. For those individuals whining about the greater cost of the 1911 compared to a modern polymer service pistol, you are off base; most of the major organizations that have issued 1911’s in the past decade or so have typically used 1911’s valued in the $2000-3000 range–it is simply what a duty ready 1911 now costs.

    By DocGKR on Jun 1, 2012

  43. Thanks, DocGKR!

    By ToddG on Jun 1, 2012

  44. I think the biggest value in the new evaluation is following a non-1911 person through the experience of OBJECTIVELY learning and advancing with a 1911. I can’t wait!

    Prediction: FAST Drill will be slow at first, but once proficient with the platform, FAST times will be at or better than Todd’s personal best. Reloads may be the slowest for proficiency. But with the low muzzle flip of a 9mm 1911, split times will be QUICK.

    By GhettoSmack on Jun 1, 2012

  45. I think that Todd made a great decision on the selection of the new test gun.
    The price of ammo, recoil factors plus all of the bells and whistles you can add to a 1911 platform made this weapon a wonderful choice.
    Let the test begin!!!

    By Redninja on Jun 1, 2012

  46. If you want to test a 1911, then it really should be in 10mm, .40S&W or ideally .45ACP
    9mm just isn’t its forté & if real metal handguns are required in that caliber, I suggest either the Hi-Power or CZ75/85…..

    ….posted only partly tongue in cheek;-)

    By Mike the Limey on Jun 1, 2012

  47. Get a .45 1911!

    By Rustin on Jun 2, 2012

  48. I showed this post to my wife because she uses a 9mm 1911 for IDPA matches and she said “Hey, that looks like my old Taurus PT1911!”.

    Just thought you would want to know your $2k (assuming) custom 1911 looks like a Taurus :)

    By 167 on Jun 2, 2012

  49. todd,
    i’m interested in seeing how your journey into “m1911 land” will work out. i’ve been carrying a g.i. m1911a1 .45 for many years, my daughter has been carrying an m1911a1 9mm, conversion from .38 super since just before she turned 21, (she’s 41 now) and she’s happy with her gun, its not a $2,000 custom job, nor is my .45, but they do the job.

    By "guner" on Jun 3, 2012

  50. Why 1911?

    Because racegun!

    By Tam on Jun 4, 2012

  51. “Because racegun!”

    Nuh-uh! It’s totally practical and … um… OK, yeah.

    By ToddG on Jun 4, 2012

  52. 😀

    I think it was the review of the Pro in S.W.A.T. Magazine that remarked that the FTU had figured out how to get a pretty sweet CDP gun on the taxpayer’s dime.

    By Tam on Jun 4, 2012

  53. Nevermind the zealots on both sides of this religious aisle – I’m just looking forward to what TODD has to say. Why? Because Todd!

    By 1911Man on Jun 4, 2012

  54. I think tht it will be a very interesting journey-both because Todd is testing a 1911, and because it’s a 9mm 1911.

    While all my 1911s are in .45 ACP (and trust me, I’m hardly the world’s biggest 1911 fan), given increases in cartridge and bullet technology I think that a 9mm 1911 is very much a viable platform, both for self-defense and for gun gaming-at a lower cost ammunition-wise and at a lower pain level physically. That said, to date most attention to 9mm 1911s has been seemingly pretty much exclusively in the gaming arena-Todd’s test could be a paradigm changer.

    And yes, I’m skeptical about the overall applicability of the chosen platform, given both its likely cost and probable lack of realistic availability-but I’m still intrigued and appreciative of Todd’s willingness to go this route. I think that the results will be potentially far-reaching, as well as having a trickle-down potential over time regarding the gun, it’s components, and to other platforms, 1911 and otherwise.

    Kudos to you Todd. I look foward to the saga with great interest.

    Best, Jon Stein

    By Jon Stein on Jun 4, 2012

  55. I think tht it will be a very interesting journey-both because Todd is testing a 1911, and because it’s a 9mm 1911.

    While all my 1911s are in .45 ACP (and trust me, I’m hardly the world’s biggest 1911 fan), given increases in cartridge and bullet technology I think that a 9mm 1911 is very much a viable platform, both for self-defense and for gun gaming-at a lower cost ammunition-wise and at a lower pain level physically. That said, to date most attention to 9mm 1911s has been seemingly pretty much exclusively in the gaming arena-Todd’s test could be a paradigm changer.

    And yes, I’m skeptical about the overall applicability of the chosen platform, given both its likely cost and probable lack of realistic availability-but I’m still intrigued and appreciative of Todd’s willingness to go this route. I think that the results will be potentially far-reaching, as well as having a trickle-down potential over time regarding the gun, it’s components, and to other platforms, 1911 and otherwise.

    Kudos to you Todd. I look foward to the saga with great interest.

    By Jon Stein on Jun 4, 2012

  56. For a moment, I thought you were actually going to shoot a Man’s gun for a change…then I saw the 9mm. :-)

    Am I correct in assuming you’re sticking with AIWB? Have you decided on a holster?

    FWIW – Great choice with the 1911!!! Looking forward to the results!!!

    By agent-smith on Jun 4, 2012

  57. agent-smith — True, true. I don’t think my Pamprin prescription is big enough to handle a .45 again. 8)

    Yes, I’m planning on aiwb. I’ve got a couple of different holsters on the way and will certainly include discussion of those once the test reports begin.

    By ToddG on Jun 4, 2012

  58. So ToddG sez:
    “Second, as anyone who’s read this site knows, I’ve never been part of the Cult of 1911. I’ve seen far too many 1911s of all shapes, sizes, calibers, and price points come through class and FAIL … dramatically. That mirrored my observations from competition, as well.”

    Here’s the problem – people shooting expensive, tarted-up 1911’s in competition. They think that the slide needs to be tightly hand-fitted and lapped to the frame, the barrel needs to have a match chamber and fully supported, (which changes the feed angle), and the barrel lockup and bushing need to be so tight that you need a bushing wrench and a cheater pipe to break it down.

    Lets replace everything from the trigger to the hammer, and buy expensive magazines that don’t hold only 7 rounds and have an original Colt-style follower. Better yet, lets us a high-capacity frame and screw everything up!

    Finally, let’s shoot anything but hardball ammo and mess around with the weight of the recoil spring.

    No wonder the damned things don’t work right. If folks were to spend money on reliability instead of style, those expensive match pistols would look a whole lot like GI issue. It’s their own darned fault.

    By Davey on Jun 4, 2012

  59. What I’d like to see Todd test is a Browning Hi-Power in .45ACP but there’s a problem with that idea … has anyone ever made such a critter?

    I hope after a year you give the basic .45 1911 a try, and the Hi-Power, its 9mm successor.

    I’ll be reading, this sounds interesting.

    By htom on Jun 4, 2012

  60. It’s available in .40S&W but the frame just isn’t big enough to take .45ACP.
    I’d rather have a BHP than pretty much anything except a CZ75/85, which comes a close second.

    By Mike the Limey on Jun 4, 2012

  61. Todd:

    The reason for the “memory” bump on the bottom of the grip safety, and also why some are recommending that you pin (disable) it, is due to a couple of conflicting factors.

    One, is the undercut of the frame at the top of the grip safety with beavertail. The original design does not have this. The intent is to get the gun to sit a little lower in the hand, which it does. The thinking was to help control heavy recoil.

    Two, is the insistence, by the originator of the cult of the 1911, to shoot with the thumb on top of the thumb safety.

    The problem comes about due to the hand contortion needed to accommodate both. The new position of the thumb safety requires your thumb to be lifted and pulled back, relative to OEM design. This pulls the palm away from the backstrap, creating a gap, which is why the bump was added to try bringing the grip safety back into contact with your palm. Depending on your hand profile, it may work, or it may not.

    What it doesn’t do, is help you control recoil. Your palm does not have solid contact with the backstrap, so the gun tends to move around during recoil. If you look, you will see your hand only touches at the web, and the bottom edge of the palm.

    So, the various fixes for this self-inflicted problem are many, and expensive. Lots of grip designs, and added grooving, stippling, etc., of the frame and parts. Plus, different ways to hold it with two hands, all trying to counteract a confluence of a bad technique with a design modification.

    Either, by itself, may be acceptable, but combined are a disaster.

    Further, the thumb safety was an afterthought on the 1911. After winning acceptance in the trials in 1910, the Army requested a thumb safety be added to the design. It’s not clear how much input JMB had on it, and how much was Colt’s engineering dept.

    Note: the grip safety was the original JMB safety on the 1911. This can be verified by looking at the Army Trial guns. This is counter to the myth the True Believers have come up with, that the army made him put the grip safety on. JMB put a grip safety on a LOT of his designs. I suspect he did this to make his guns left-hander friendly, as he gives indications he was a lefty himself.

    There is one of the Army guns in this museum:

    By Will on Jun 4, 2012

  62. “a man’s gun” i didn’t know guns had “gender” 9mm pistols, (and submachine guns) have killed a lot of bad and good guys since 1908, as also has .45 acp in the m1911/11a1. my daughter, noted above, started out shooting my m1911a1 around age 14/15 before later switching to the 9mm colt. i had a female friend visiting from canada some years ago, i took her to the range to try out shooting a pistol, she tried my .45, loved it, and was royally peeved to learn she could not have one at home. i’ve known several gals who shoot the m1911a1 very well, and would laugh at the idea that it’s exclusively a “man’s gun”. the gun does not care who shoots it.

    By "gunner" on Jun 4, 2012

  63. Davey,

    Out of curiosity, have you ever run though an AFHF (or any other 2 day/1k round) class with a .45ACP 1911?

    By Tam on Jun 4, 2012

  64. @ will,
    thanks for the link to the browning museum photos. most interesting.

    By "gunner" on Jun 4, 2012

  65. Folks, please don’t take the “man gun” thing too seriously or out of context. “agent-smith” is a buddy of mine and was just teasing, just as I was teasing in my response.

    No one here is (or should be, anyway) saying the 9mm is just for girl’s.

    By ToddG on Jun 4, 2012

  66. o.k. todd, got it, and i understand your choosing 9mm, pain hurts. my daughter prefers her 9mm colt for its lesser recoil, though she likes the “feel” of the govt. model the oricinal .38 super barrel was also more than she liked, “too snappy’ was her comment, so the conversion to 9mm.

    By "gunner" on Jun 4, 2012

  67. I remember reading many years ago that 1911’s were popular in Argentina among civilian shooters. .45 was reserved for the military. The 1911’s in 9mm were preferred because the held up better than the Browning Hi-Power (P-35) and could be had with better trigger pulls. It seems the most common bugaboo for 1911 clones is they are fussy about magazines. My problems with my grip safety were eliminated by going to Chip McCormack extra thin grips. Also I do better with the short trigger.

    By toadold on Jun 4, 2012

  68. I’m at least as interested in reading Todd’s responses to the gun–whatever it is–as I am in the gun itself.

    Okie John

    By okie john on Jun 5, 2012

  69. i’ve owned an argentine “model 1927”, an m1911a1 made under colt license and supervision. they were well made, to the point where parts were interchangeble with u.s. mil-spec pistols with little or no fitting. the argentine “ballester-molina” pistols somewhat resembled the colts, but in detail were more akin to the spanish “star”, lacking a grip safety.

    By "gunner" on Jun 5, 2012

  70. This sounds like an interesting test. Looking forward to it, I’ve owned a Glock .40, XDM9 and M&P9.

    I’ve shot the S&W 1911 Pro 9mm a few times and really liked it, but never owned a 1911. If I was to purchase my 5th or 6th handgun, I probably would buy a 1911 9mm, or even a 2011 9mm.

    ToddG, even though you and agent-smith were playing around we all still know that people still think the 9mm is a sub standard defense round.

    With 9mm “defensive ammo”, the people to really answer that question are ER doctors and surgeons, from what I’ve heard, once they open you up to operate they can’t tell the difference between modern 9mm, .40 or .45 round. Now 22lr’s I’m sure that’s a different story.

    By SBMe on Jun 6, 2012

  71. the argentine “ballester-molina” pistols

    Heh. Or “Ballerina-Molester” pistols, as they’re sometimes called… 😉

    By Tam on Jun 6, 2012

  72. @ tam,
    “ballerina molester”, haven’t heard that one before, would that be “amos” in the “9 chickweed lane” comic strip, and didn’t i see you on the range with sam and zed a couple of days ago?

    By "gunner" on Jun 6, 2012

  73. I was exited when I read that you would be testing a 1911, then upon reading further I found that it would be chambered in 9mm. While I understand your points concerning ammo cost and the physical stress of high round counts with a .45 I honestly don’t see the point in this choice of weapon for your next test. The 1911 platform is designed for the .45acp cartridge, runs best with the .45acp cartridge and the overwhelming magority of us buy them chambered for .45acp. In my opinion this is can never be an accurate assessment of the 1911 platform.

    By Woodman on Jun 10, 2012

  74. Which is why I keep saying it’s not intended to be a definitive assessment of the 1911 platform…

    By ToddG on Jun 10, 2012

  75. todd has explained his reason for going to 9mm, and it’s a valid one. while the m1911a1 was designed around the .45 acp cartridge i’ve heard of it being adapted to even the 7.62 russian pistol cartridge, (why, i don’t know.) i’d suggest we let todd get on with his project and see what develops.

    By "gunner" on Jun 10, 2012

  76. It’s more important to see the 1911 ran in contrast to polymer double stack designs for the data the test generates than it is to run a weapon in .45ACP.

    At least for me.

    Data is data…except when it’s a Lt. Commander on 1701-D…

    By Mitchell, Esq. on Jun 10, 2012

  77. Todd
    Don’t get me wrong, I love the 9mm (my favorite ccw is a glock 19 rtf2) and I also love the 1911 .45, I just bought a Dan Wesson Valor and after about 4000 rounds I’m absolutely ape over it. It’s just that no one else that I am aware of is publicly running truly high round counts through pistols and what with all of the debate over 1911’s vs polymer I have always wanted to see how a high end 1911 .45 would match up against modern designs in a true reliability test such as this. My dream match up would be a high end 1911 vs a stock gen 3 Glock 17 or 19. My money would be on the Glock. At any rate I appreciate what you are doing and I really enjoy your gun tests.

    By Woodman on Jun 10, 2012

  78. Mitchell, Esq.,

    Data is data…except when it’s a Lt. Commander on 1701-D…

    Nerd. :p

    By Tam on Jun 10, 2012

  79. It seems there are a number of companies who produce a 1911 chambered in 9mm. Currently Sig, Smith and Wesson, Springfield, Kimber, Taurus, just off the top of my head all make a full sized 1911 in 9mm. So i like the choice of gun.
    Admittedly I have been looking at a 1911 for USPSA and IDPA competition and like shooting 9mm.

    So far as manual of arms, how is the location of the mag release different that on a glock/ m&p?

    Regarding the slide stop/ slide release, if you rack the slide to release from slide stop then the 1911 runs exactly the same as any other gun (the big advantage to training to release the slide in this manner).

    By Bryan on Jun 12, 2012

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