Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: Report #3

6-Aug-12 – 10:25 by ToddG
6,609 rounds 3 stoppages 0 malfunctions 0 parts breakages
2 mags deadlined

Two more stoppages since the last report highlight the latest update.

Stoppage number two was #5,231. After a more than 1,700 rounds without cleaning or lubrication the gun began to feel sluggish but I pressed on to see if there would be any trouble. Sure enough, the gun experienced a failure. Like the previous one, it was technically a failure to eject but really it stemmed from a failure to feed. The top round in the magazine got hung up on the feed ramp, preventing the slide from closing and in the process the extracted round simply fell loose into the ejection port.

Stoppage number three occurred somewhere between 6,088 and 6,096 (and barely 100 rounds since the gun had last been cleaned and lubricated). It appeared to be a classic feed failure with the bullet nose jamming into the barrel ramp, but it happened during a Figure-8 Barrel Drill in the Portland AFHF class. I had to clear it while moving nonstop around the barrels so didn’t really get a chance to analyze it closely.

Further, another one of the Metalform mags stopped locking the slide back and has been deadlined. With some assistance from Wilson Combat, I’ve been able to get my Wilson magazines working properly and have switched to them for the time being.

Both sets of my Crimson Trace Lasergrips have stopped working reliably. When the first set (green) began failing, I took the backup gun’s grips (grey) and put them on the endurance test gun. Within about a thousand rounds they stopped, too. I suspect the checkering on the pistol’s front strap may be damaging some of the contact points that run the pressure switch. The grips are on their way back to CTC for evaluation and in the meantime I’m using the thin wood grips that came with the pistol.

At just shy of 6,000 rounds I replaced the recoil spring with another Wolff 12# variable spring. The firing pin spring was replaced at the same time. I tried an 11# spring briefly but didn’t like the way the slide cycled.

The gun is now on its third mag catch. The Ed Brown extended catch I fitted myself has been replaced with a custom piece from Jason Burton at Heirloom Precision. Burton’s version is slightly taller at the front (muzzle end) than the back, which along with the deep serrations provides very positive contact. I found it much more functional than the 10-8 mag catch I tried which uses an opposite angle (taller near the grip, shorter near the trigger guard).

Thanks to a lot of dry fire, my reloads are smoothing out. It will still take a lot of work before they’re polished and fast but I’ve definitely been able to address some of the problems with accessing controls and setting up the right angle for inserting the magazine.

I shot the 99 Drill for the first time using the 1911, scoring a 91. I dropped one shot during the first string of fire (3 on 3×5 in 2.5s at 7yd). During the second string (1-R-2 on 3×5 in 5s at 7yd) I anticipated coming out of the reload twice. The 10yd string (3 on 3×5 in 3.5s) was going extremely well up until the last run when I managed to establish my sight picture too low, failed to realize it, and missed all three shots. Then I managed to miss two more at 15yd (3 on 3×5 in 5s) simply by rushing my shots. For multiple precision shots I definitely find the substantially greater weight of the 1911 causes more wobble over time compared to the lighter polymer framed guns I’ve shot over the past four years.

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. 10 Responses to “Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: Report #3”

  2. nice article ive been observing this particular write up (im a 1911 fan)..and i admire you toddG for doing such tedious work for info that would be very helpful for all gun enthusiasts..
    might i suggest something, have you tried the wolff standard 12lb recoil spring?or 12.5 instead of the variable rate..i think its gonna help on those ftf’s..

    By bry09 on Aug 6, 2012

  3. Agree with bry09, contrary to what Wolff claims, the variable rates tend to cause feed problems in weapons that function well with conventional springs. Sometimes they’ll help if the weapon is having problem with conventional springs since it modulates the feed rate. If it was tuned with conventional springs and works well, I’d stick with them. I’m not really surprised with the mag issues, the first step to troubleshooting a 1911 is generally to check the magazine, that’s where most feeding issues seem to come from.

    By chimptastic on Aug 6, 2012

  4. also the 9mm magazines have to have those spacers to have the bullet closer to the feed ramp..i think mecgar and wilson mags have these.bec the 9mm is much shorter than the cartridge the 1911 was designed for, 45acp..my 45 and super works flawlessly and so did my 9mm 1911 with spacers in the magazine which i had a gunsmith weld.

    By bry09 on Aug 6, 2012

  5. Since you are doing this with a 9mm do you think you’d ever follow it up with .45? See if the added recoil would change the endurance if the pistol?

    By Bill on Aug 6, 2012

  6. Wow! I’ve never heard a 1911 go so long — 1700 rounds — without cleaning! YOU … are a trailblazer, my friend.

    Friends never let friends shoot a dirty 1911. haha

    I’ve heard the same thing about the variable-rate recoil springs on a 1911 — feed issues — but don’t have any first hand experience. I’m used to constant-rate springs.

    Very interesting posts. I’m learning and I like it. Try different ammo, next. Yeah! Yeah! Try that! :-)

    By GhettoSmack on Aug 7, 2012

  7. I carried 1911’s for a long time and I’ve had some of the same problems regarding ammunition, magazines, spring rates, extractors, etc. that you’ve experienced. They can be frustrating for sure but after thousands of and thousands and rounds the surest failsafe solution I found was HK. :)

    By Matt on Aug 7, 2012

  8. I wonder how this compares to a proper 9MM 1911 (Browning Hi Power).

    By Edwin on Aug 7, 2012

  9. Seems like these are starting to require more maintenance and troubleshooting than previous test guns.

    Thanks for your service in helping others beat back the 1911 bug.

    By Pete on Aug 7, 2012

  10. To be fair, I don’t really think 3 stoppages and a couple bad magazines (the two could very well be related) really qualifies as an inditement of the design. The Glock had a far worse time by this point in the test.

    By chimptastic on Aug 7, 2012

  11. As long as a properly built 1911 is well lubed, the pistol can go a long time without being cleaned. Back when I ran them full-time, my training 1911’s would routinely go 2000 rounds without a cleaning–although they did get some lube added as needed.

    The CTC lasergrips we had on our 1911’s continually failed. We eventually ended up putting layers of tape between the lasergrip and the forestrap–this seemed to help. CTC response to the numerous problems was less than stellar.

    By DocGKR on Aug 7, 2012

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