Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: Report #15

20-Feb-13 – 19:48 by ToddG

WTS017-dirty-2

25,466 rounds 10 stoppages 0 malfunctions 1 parts breakages

Perhaps my sense of  humor is just a bit too dry. For those who didn’t get the joke from last Friday: The SACS/Warren pistol is running just fine and broke the 25,000 round mark. Contrary to popular belief, Todd Green carrying a 1911 was not the 2012 disaster predicted by the Mayans.

I had promised the good people at Springfield Armory Custom Shop that I’d be more responsible about preventative maintenance with this $2,000 semi-custom 1911 than I have in the past with, you know, store bought guns. Unfortunately, circumstances and an innate sense of laziness led to the gun going the last 6,132 rounds without cleaning. And it ran quite well during that stretch despite the dire warnings from many that a 1911 — and especially a 9mm 1911 — would need to be kept tightly tuned. In fact, if you look at the numbers, the gun has run more reliably when it’s been dirty.

WST017-dirty-1Now admittedly, the gun was pretty foul by the time 25,000 rolled around. With an accuracy assessment due, it seemed like now would be a good time to give the gun a decent cleaning. Even though I only performed a basic field strip cleaning, it took quite a while to get some of the caked on crud to let go of its hold on the steel. Solvent, cotton swabs, toothpicks, possibly a dental tool or two later… it may not be clean enough to pass USMC white glove inspection but it’s definitely in clean working order.

Except for the caked on fouling, nothing notable was found during the cleaning and inspection. The recoil spring was replaced with another 14 pound variable; the old one, with about 5,000 rounds on it, was two coils shorter than the new. The firing pin spring was also replaced per 1911 standard practice, though the “old” was only about half a coil shorter than the “new.”

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.

After getting the magazine situation sorted out and settling exclusively on Wilson ETM magazines, the gun has run a steady course without much drama. The only parts breakage was the mainspring housing pin that snapped in two somewhere around the 18,000 round mark (documented here). Springfield promptly replaced it with an improved pin and told me to expect no further problems.

As a precaution, a few weeks into the test the gun went back to SACS to be fitted for a couple spare extractors. That has proven unnecessary, at least so far. The gun is still on its original extractor. Both range testing and workbench testing show that it is still functioning fine with no apparent loss in tension.

The only noticeable wear on the gun has been from countless hours of holster work. The finish around the ejection port has been marred just enough to make the gun look well used.

WTS017-25k-slidewear

What else is there to say? A year ago I looked upon 1911s (and their owners) as misbegotten malcontents. The Springfield Custom Shop Warren Tactical gun has completely changed my opinion of what a quality well-built 1911 can do. I’m already on to my next project — another 1911 — and I’ve also been approached by another well known 1911 company about the possibility of doing a 50,000 round test on one of their forty-fives. It could happen…

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

You can also follow and discuss via the pistol-forum.com 2012-2013 Endurance Test thread.

Previous Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test posts at pistol-training.com:

  1. 21 Responses to “Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: Report #15”

  2. Yeah I have to stop drinking and then posting things on the internet. Glad the gun and you are running well.

    By JConn on Feb 20, 2013

  3. OMG I was waiting and constantly watching the site every day countless times for nothing!!!
    Well Mr. Todd, that was really hard joke and you definitelly fool me :-D. Maybe best prank in my life and definitelly prank of the year ;-). Working healthy 1911 just ruined my day :-D.
    I was looking forward for some big failures since first round, because it is 1911 in 9 mm, not a trusty reliable H&K.

    By MKabar on Feb 20, 2013

  4. I love the 1911 and despite this one working pretty well, its ashame that you have to spend $2k to get one that works well, exp in 9mm… I just think after 100 years in the making it would be easy to make a 1911 that works like an AK… o well its still a sweet looking platform….

    By Steve on Feb 20, 2013

  5. Carry that thing any longer and you’ll need a PTC vest.

    By Tom on Feb 20, 2013

  6. Nice write-up. I would suggest considering a transition right into a test of the 1911 .45 in the event you take whichever company it is up on their offer. You’ll already be familiar with the operation so you’ll be ahead of the learning curve. Whatever the outcome, I am enjoying you putting this pistol through its paces. I’m finding even more enjoyment out of the fact it is running so well.

    By john k on Feb 20, 2013

  7. So, Todd. In 25k rounds:

    What has the 1911 done for you that another pistol can’t?

    (I like 1911s, but I’ve never been able to justify buying/carrying one.)

    By Robert on Feb 21, 2013

  8. I’ve also been approached by another well known 1911 company about the possibility of doing a 50,000 round test on one of their forty-fives. It could happen…

    yeeeeeeeeeees.

    I am praying that this is actually a shelf product, rather than a custom or semi-custom.

    By jellydonut on Feb 21, 2013

  9. I was going to write something snarky about the ammunition capacity of a single stack gun, until I remembered that my P239 is a single stack gun…..

    By Bruce on Feb 21, 2013

  10. TLG, have you used the light rail, and would you rather your EDC1911 have a rail or not?

    Any sense of how your overall performance with the 1911 compares to the G17/P30? Same question, disregarding the reload time difference?

    By GJM on Feb 21, 2013

  11. Robert & GJM: That’s a fair question and something I want to address in more detail in a future post. Short answer is that I don’t think it has any serious advantage in terms of pure shooting. The trigger is easier to press, but it’s also easier to snatch… especially when going fast. OTOH, I do think it was a lot easier to come back from a 2-month hiatus than it would be with a more challenging trigger.

    Looking at the numbers, except for raw splits (which are pretty low on my list of priorities) I can’t say it’s turned in any magical numbers.

    By ToddG on Feb 21, 2013

  12. I think the real question is not whether a quality 1911 will work, but whether a quality 1911 is recommendable.

    By Chance on Feb 21, 2013

  13. And it ran quite well during that stretch despite the dire warnings from many that a 1911 — and especially a 9mm 1911 — would need to be kept tightly tuned. In fact, if you look at the numbers, the gun has run more reliably when it’s been dirty.

    While I knew that even a tight SACS 1911 will run fine when absolutely vilely filthy, I will admit to being caught off guard by the reliability of the 9mm gun.

    I’d assumed that all 1911s got more finicky when you set them on “stun”… :p 😀

    By Tam on Feb 21, 2013

  14. I’m with Steve. This proves two points. First that 1911s can be reliable, and second that you have to pay 3x the cost of another reliable pistol and go to custom gunsmiths to get there. Or do you? While this is an interesting and useful test, it would also be useful to see how your basic $500-700 off-the-shelf 1911 would do under such conditions.

    By Curby on Feb 21, 2013

  15. Here’s hoping there’ll be a test on an STI/SVI. Double stack 9mm, 1911 ergonomics, and competition made to run reliably.

    Not sure why everyone is so worked up about gun price. After 50k rounds of 9mm or .45, the pistol price is nearly negligible in total cost.

    By Erin on Feb 23, 2013

  16. Todd: I could have sworn you said that you’d sworn off testing .45’s after the HK 45, but there are a lot of interesting .45’s you could test out there, including the new Rock River with the polymer frame. Polymer frames might be heresy to most members of the 1st Church of JMB, but if they work they could eliminate half a pound of weight–and that would be a real difference.

    By SteveJ on Feb 23, 2013

  17. Todd,

    Great to hear about the gun. I love the wear it’s starting to show, looks great!

    As for the Wilson ETM mags….when you say that you’ve settled on them, are you completely satisfied with them? Do they present any lemons, or if you buy 10 Wilson ETM’s can you expect all 10 to work (unlike some other mags you’ve tried in this test)?

    By Tyler on Feb 27, 2013

  18. Tyler — Very good question. The Wilson mags have three issues:

    (1) When loaded to 10rd, they can be difficult to insert into a loaded pistol.

    (2) The spring pressure when loaded to 10rd is enough to retard the slide, so when loading the gun administratively the first round will jam into the feed ramp unless the slide is racked vigorously.

    (3) The top round will slide forward in the magazine under recoil, preventing it from falling free.

    Of the three, only the last one really matters. The other two are easily addressed by the shooter’s technique.

    By ToddG on Feb 28, 2013

  19. glad to know youre back and well Todd!and congratulations on breaking the 25k mark.
    im pretty excited at the 45 you may be testing i do hope it is a well made one.im a 1911 fan but i admit a lot of factory 1911s need proper tuning. if well made like forged steel, no mim, and as close to the original design as possible (stock guide rod, non ramp bushing barrel, etc) you should have no problems.
    heres an interesting link.it is an expensive gun but you get what you pay for:

    http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=390220

    By Brian on Mar 5, 2013

  20. Curby,
    You need to broaden your range of 1911s to look at. One does not need to get a custom/semi custom to get a reliable one. Poke around at 1911forum.com that Brian linked to. Keep in mind that the platform was designed around 45ACP so other calibers the manufacturers need to do their homework and work with the gun as a whole.
    That’s one of the problems with 1911s: people forget that the parts work together. Change just the recoil spring weight, it may cause issues to show up somewhere else (even feeding or extraction).
    ToddG: fully loaded magazines, just slam them home after making sure there is clearance between the bottom of the ejector and the top of the mag.

    By mer on Mar 9, 2013

  21. and may i add..one has to know the workings of a 1911.
    with all the manufacturers of 1911’s you get a whole lot of different quality levels. there are some 500$ 1911’s that work out of the box for thousands of rounds.provided it has the correct spring weights and barrel throat.
    while there are some $1,000 up 1911’s that may not work out of the box..
    and as said almost all 1911’s require tuning and proper maintainance by the user. there are some people who want a 1911 that will work out of the box but are not willing to pay the price..

    the 1911 is not the platform for a casual user. If you want to reap the benefits of its ergonomics and accuracy, you must also pay the price in terms of maintenance and set up.
    -Hilton Yam, 10-8 performance

    if i wanted a gun to work right from the start id get a glock 17 or a berreta m9. but im one of those who appreciate 1911’s for the work of art it is.and i enjoy tuning & tinkering which has resulted in my 1911’s being very relliable.in summary the 1911 is an enthusiasts gun.
    a lot of people may see the 1911 as a hassle/waste of time since you would need to pay top dollar for a good one or have to tune one,buy parts,etc..but thats just the way it is.its just not for everyone :)

    By Brian on Mar 9, 2013

  22. “And it ran quite well during that stretch despite the dire warnings from many that a 1911 — and especially a 9mm 1911 — would need to be kept tightly tuned. In fact, if you look at the numbers, the gun has run more reliably when it’s been dirty.”

    it seems you have just passed the break in period todd!now for the real test.lol. JK

    By Brian on Mar 9, 2013

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