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View Full Version : Trying to find the right 1911 - input appreciated


Ladyfox
05-08-2009, 8:33 PM
Okay, I'm going flat-out nuts here trying to get a 1911-style pistol. At first I was trying to get a Springfield Loaded but finding one locally has flat-out been impossible so far striking out at Reeds, Bay Area Gun Vault (nice guys there BTW!!!), and Target Masters.

I thought about possibly getting a Colt Series 70/80 but after adding up the cost involved with all of the features I was looking to get put it close into custom territory. And I'm ever going to spend that much on a weapon it sure as heck will not be on that.

Briefly considered getting a Rock Island 1911 but after looking at one in person it felt as cheap as it looked. Granted, I know some swear by them but when something looks like it came out of the dollar store I just can not spend money on it.

Buying an STI, Baer, or other pistol just is not realistic since I do not have that kind of money to blow. And, to be honest, even if I did I probably would not since I'm looking for something that not only will be a workhorse and used a LOT but something that is a bit more easier to afford.

So that left me with only two options from what I was able to find locally:

1. Kimber Custom II w/ night-sights

Pros: Good price (found one for around $900), all the features I was looking for

Cons: Many reports of Kimbers being non-reliable for protection and prone to breakage, MIM parts prone to failure, full-length guide rod, break-in period of 500 rounds, Schwartz safety

2. S&W SW1911 model 108285

Pros: G.I. guide rod, many reviewers seem to be very pleased comparing favorably to actual Colt's

Cons: Much more expensive than Kimber (at least $200 more), lack of night-sights, external extractor, also has reports of loose parts or extractor failure


At this point I almost feel like giving up since I'm wondering if I'm just choosing the lesser of two evils between these two options. In the morning I'll be taking a trip over to Irvington Arms to see what they have but at this point I'm really frustrated.

Does anyone here have any input they could share on this?

JTROKS
05-08-2009, 8:45 PM
I could've sworn I saw a Springfield at Irvington Arms yesterday. I know for a fact they have an EMP, because I was drooling over it. I wiped down the counter. :)

MonsterMan
05-08-2009, 8:58 PM
I love my sw1911pd. It has the rails on it. I replaced the sights with the trijicon night sights. It is very accurate and a little lighter weight than the standard 1911. I recommend it.

demo
05-08-2009, 9:15 PM
i recently bought a Springfield GI in stainless from the gun exchange. it wasn't exactly what I wanted, but one in the hand it worth 2 in the bush.

I figured I'd buy the cheap one and upgrade if I wanted.

I suggest you order some ammo now.

tankerman
05-08-2009, 9:18 PM
You looking for new or used?

I have a spare Springfield TRP laying around.

hkfooey
05-08-2009, 9:20 PM
If rail is not a MUST, I would recommend a DW PM7. Got mine from Irvington Arm... love it (and less than $1k out the door).

Sinixstar
05-08-2009, 9:30 PM
Check out the Springfield mil-spec. It's sort of the middle-ground between the loaded and the GI. Definitely not a bad gun. was thinking about getting one myself, but ended up with the Taurus PT instead. If the PT wasn't available to me (i live in NV for another week or so) - the Mil-Spec would have been the winner...

Ladyfox
05-08-2009, 9:47 PM
You looking for new or used?

I have a spare Springfield TRP laying around.

I'd prefer new, being the first momma and all, but at this point I'll take what I can get. I'm hoping I'll be able to get lucky at Irvington Arms in the morning but we'll see I guess.

Just out of curiousity what is the difference between the TRP and Loaded? I looked and did not see any differences on Springfield's website but then again I'm pretty tired after the crappy week I just had so I may have missed something. ^_^


Ladyfox,
who was at least happy that her work treated everyone to Star Trek today

Ladyfox
05-08-2009, 9:52 PM
Check out the Springfield mil-spec. It's sort of the middle-ground between the loaded and the GI. Definitely not a bad gun. was thinking about getting one myself, but ended up with the Taurus PT instead. If the PT wasn't available to me (i live in NV for another week or so) - the Mil-Spec would have been the winner...

That would be a thought if I could even find one of those around here. Closest I've found was a GI and I've not quite gotten that deperate yet.

I mean, maybe it was just me looking thru wistful eyes but I do not remember the first 1911 I had, a Remington-Rand I foolishly sold and still regret, looking quite that basic or ugly. ^_^

Not that I'm shooting down your idea mind you I'm just hoping to get lucky and find something better and avoid buying a money sink. *crosses fingers*

IMC87
05-08-2009, 10:08 PM
i started with a SA loaded, but the horrendous trigger pull made me sell it (came in at about 8 lbs), then switched to a glock, then sold that cuz i missed my 1911, so i bought a SA MC Operator...BEST DECISION I EVER MADE...i love everything about my MC Operator :D

Sinixstar
05-08-2009, 10:12 PM
That would be a thought if I could even find one of those around here. Closest I've found was a GI and I've not quite gotten that deperate yet.

I mean, maybe it was just me looking thru wistful eyes but I do not remember the first 1911 I had, a Remington-Rand I foolishly sold and still regret, looking quite that basic or ugly. ^_^

Not that I'm shooting down your idea mind you I'm just hoping to get lucky and find something better and avoid buying a money sink. *crosses fingers*

Hey - I understand.
I ruled out the Gi pretty quickly myself. Just thought if you're on a budget the mil-spec would be a decent middle ground. Perhaps a decent platform to build off of over time as well.

rumble phish
05-08-2009, 11:24 PM
I've been pondering whether to replace the barrel and slide on my Dad's Essex 1911 (40 y.o. gun) or just buy a new 1911. After pricing a replacement Essex slide and a Wilson barrel + gunsmithing (I ain't about to tackle it myself) and looking at a price tag of at least $600 I decided to get a new 1911. I wanted to keep it on a budget so i was looking at the Rock Island Armory, the Auto Ordnance and the Springfield G.I., I decided on the Rock island. They were all identical with the Auto Ordnance and the Springfield having a few extra bells. I came down to which slide felt the best and price. The Springfield was the nicest, with a easy pull of the slide and best feeling spring. next best was the Rock island which felt almost as nice as the Springer. Then the AO. The slide was sticky and the spring felt way too heavy. Then looking at the price tag made it a no brainer. At $449 the RIA was $100 cheaper than the AO and $200 cheaper than the Springer. Sure, the grips suck on the RIA but those probably wont even make it into the safe without being replaced with a set of Pachmyers (sp?). I got the last one at River City Gun Exchange and I have to say those guys run a great shop. Great inventory (considering the market) and their prices are very fair. This one will make a great range/defense gun. I'm vary happy :)

Here's what I got....

http://www.snipercountrypx.com/images/PRODUCT/medium/54121.jpg

no frills. Just a good'ole 1911 .45ACP. She'll go bang every time with any ammo :)

Sam
05-08-2009, 11:53 PM
...break-in period of 500 rounds...

I would not really consider a break in period a con as I like to run at least 500 rounds approximately (250 of ball and 250 of Federal HST) through a pistol to just make sure it will be reliable. Anyway, have you tried searching online anywhere?

Sinixstar
05-09-2009, 12:04 AM
I would not really consider a break in period a con as I like to run at least 500 rounds approximately (250 of ball and 250 of Federal HST) through a pistol to just make sure it will be reliable. Anyway, have you tried searching online anywhere?

I look at the break in period as not just a matter of breaking in the gun, but breaking in myself as well. each gun is a little different - and it takes time to really get to know the subtleties and nuances of how each one shoots. Almost a "getting acquainted" period.
If you're looking to use that gun for anything other then something else to shoot at the range, this is very important. For SD/HD purposes - it's absolutely vital.

masameet
05-09-2009, 12:33 AM
... So that left me with only two options from what I was able to find locally:

1. Kimber Custom II w/ night-sights ...

2. S&W SW1911 model 108285 ...

At this point I almost feel like giving up since I'm wondering if I'm just choosing the lesser of two evils between these two options. In the morning I'll be taking a trip over to Irvington Arms to see what they have but at this point I'm really frustrated.

Does anyone here have any input they could share on this?

Are you looking at the MSRP for these new 1911s?

Even in these times of handgun and ammo scarcity, a gun's price is negotiable as long as you're willing to negotiate and a seller is willing to do business with you. You might even have to go back a few times to convince the gun shop that your price is right. And if tankerman's offer doesn't work out, check the Private Sales and Dealer Consignments ads in the Calguns Classifieds.

But if you're sold on buying new, consider these thoughts: For non-custom 1911s some gun shops charge full retail, some mark up over MSRP, and some charge less than retail. I like to use Gallery of Guns' Gun Genie (Davidson's) discounted prices from several Bay Area gun shops to help me figure out a handgun's relative price and which shop to go to. (But Gun Genie can't give out the discounted price on any S&W 1911s, since it has none in stock.) (And apparently Kimber doesn't deal with Davidson's.) But you probably could call sometime next week and talk to one of the sales guys, who might be willing to tell you what the dealer price is on the 108285 model and when S&W will be shipping it to its warehouse. (Gun shops get firearms from a firearms warehouse (a wholesaler), and Davidson's is one of them. And just like other manufacturers of goods, gun makers tend to make batches of certain models and deliver them at certain times of the year. And most gun shops deal with more than one firearms wholesaler. Or at least that's my understanding of how a firearm goes from the maker to the new firearms owner.)

5thstreet@sbcglobal.net
05-09-2009, 1:04 AM
I have a kimber custom tle/rl. Its my favorite gun. Never had one problem (about 1000 rounds through it). If you make it to modesto/turlock alquist arms in turlock has a good deals on kimbers I got my tle/rl for 1050 and my basic custom 2 in stainless for $750

FeuerFrei
05-09-2009, 8:12 AM
Dude, the best advice is to just try a "1911" style pistol and see if it is your cup of tea.
Some guys hate them and some don't.
Just try as many different type pistols as possible and start with smaller calibers like 9mm and keep an open mind.
Choosing a pistol is kinda like choosing a wife.
When you find the "right one" you'll be happy for a life time but, if it's the wrong one you'll not be able to get rid of it fast enough. It'll suck the life right out of you.:ack2:

Ladyfox
05-09-2009, 8:36 AM
Dude, the best advice is to just try a "1911" style pistol and see if it is your cup of tea.
Some guys hate them and some don't.
Just try as many different type pistols as possible and start with smaller calibers like 9mm and keep an open mind.
Choosing a pistol is kinda like choosing a wife.
When you find the "right one" you'll be happy for a life time but, if it's the wrong one you'll not be able to get rid of it fast enough. It'll suck the life right out of you.:ack2:

*chuckle* I KNEW someone would mention this sooner or later.

The problem here is not so much if I like the 1911, which I can wholeheartedly say yes to since my very first pistol was a Remington-Rand WW2 issue 1911, but finding the right 1911 that is available. I've always regretted selling my 1911 and now that I finally have some funds to buy another I find myself in a rather unusual situation as far as availability and quality of those that are available.

Really, if I just wanted a .45 ACP pistol I'd go for a Glock but I've already got a Glock 19 and would rather put that on the "rainy day" list rather than as a primary. ^_^

JMB1911
05-09-2009, 8:57 AM
Any production 1911s from Kimber or Springfield Armory is good. I have models from both and have never had problems. I can't speak for Colts or S&W since I've never had either but I've heard and read good things about Colt's XSE line in both governenment and commander models. The only bad thing I've heard about the S&W is that they have the external extractor. It isn't a bad thing but I think 1911 purists are up in arms about that. But hey, if it works why not. For the money the Springfield Loaded models are a pretty good value. Kimber's TLE models cost a bit more than the loadeds. Colt XSE is somewhere in between. Of course you can always get a G.I type pistol and pay less but then might want to upgrade later which is the rationale for the "custom" production 1911. Check out Gunbroker.com there are a few of the above there.

Ladyfox
05-09-2009, 9:12 AM
I would not really consider a break in period a con as I like to run at least 500 rounds approximately (250 of ball and 250 of Federal HST) through a pistol to just make sure it will be reliable. Anyway, have you tried searching online anywhere?

Oh, I'm in agreement I was just mainly listing the cons as I heard them during my research of the Kimber. For me, the thought of being "forced" to "break in" a pistol is more like a treat than a con. -_^

I've searched on Gunbroker and may have possibly located one. However, I'm finding that most shops I would have asked for the FFL transfer are not very fond of internet sales with one place quoting me $150 just to do the transaction. o_O

rumble phish
05-09-2009, 9:15 AM
If you don't mind driving to get what you want you should check out River City Gun Exchange in Sacramento off of Fruitridge Ave. They have quite a few 1911's in stock (well, one less now :) ) and their prices are very fair. Good people, too.

Ladyfox
05-09-2009, 9:17 AM
Are you looking at the MSRP for these new 1911s?

Even in these times of handgun and ammo scarcity, a gun's price is negotiable as long as you're willing to negotiate and a seller is willing to do business with you. You might even have to go back a few times to convince the gun shop that your price is right. And if tankerman's offer doesn't work out, check the Private Sales and Dealer Consignments ads in the Calguns Classifieds.

Actually, all of my pricing is coming from visiting the stores in-person.

For example, both Target Masters and Bay Area Gun Vault both have S&W SW1911's in stock but the starting point for pricing is in the $1100 range and they go up from there. Then you have the Kimber's which, between Gun Vault and Reed's, start at about $800 with the highest topping out in the $1100 range. The single Springfield I found, a Stainless model, was priced right at $1100 and when I went back a day later it had sold already.

But, you do bring up some good points and if this stretches out past this weekend I'll most likely put some of your suggestions into action. Meantime, I'm constantly refreshing the Classifieds area to see if maybe I'll get lucky. ^_^

greybeard
05-09-2009, 9:21 AM
You may want to give J& R Sports in Livermore a call, they have a bunch of 1911 in stock. 925-443-9691

Snapping Twig
05-09-2009, 10:00 AM
There's so much to know about 1911's. Internal/external extractors, series 80, series 70, schwartz safety, no schwartz safety, alloy frame, steel frame, night sights, no night sights, full size or commander or even smaller.

Do you like arched main spring housings or flat? Beavertail safety or not?

How about a bobtail?

Like was said earlier, it's too personal for someone to select for you.

My advice is to get something inexpensive and learn what you do/do not like.

RIA is a good starting point, good value for the $$. SA is the next best bang for the buck on a higher level.

My personal choice is a Dan Wesson Classic Bobtail Commander. 4.25" barrel and the smallest size for reliability. Go smaller and the pistol needs to be modified to be reliable and they can be finicky about things.

Go with something basic, get your legs and consider all the different offerings.

Try these sites for general information from all the top brands.

http://forums.1911forum.com/

http://forum.m1911.org/index.php?

coop44
05-09-2009, 3:59 PM
a parkerized GI springfield. Bought one way back and it shot a group of 7 connecting holes at 10 yards. You could fold a dollar bill in half and cover them. It served well for 15 years and is now retired. I now carry a sig 220 that I expect is better, But, my eyes have gotten worse and my groups are a bit bigger.About 5 inches at 10 yards.

another thought, buy it the way J.B. designed it. The more you modify it the more you will HAVE to modify it .

Ladyfox
05-09-2009, 5:31 PM
You may want to give J& R Sports in Livermore a call, they have a bunch of 1911 in stock. 925-443-9691

Thank you VERY much for this suggestion!

I drove out there today after striking out over at Irvington Arms and the visit was well worth it. One of the nicest shops I've seen outside of the Bay Area Gun Vault and the person there I was talking to, his name escapes me but he said he only worked Saturday's, was very helpful and learned a lot talking to him and the other guys there about current 1911's.

I'm now leaning strongly towards the S&W SW1911 model 108285 and one other S&W SW1911 they had there. Got some thinking to do over the next few days. ^_^

Ladyfox
05-09-2009, 5:34 PM
There's so much to know about 1911's. Internal/external extractors, series 80, series 70, schwartz safety, no schwartz safety, alloy frame, steel frame, night sights, no night sights, full size or commander or even smaller.

Thanks for all of the info!

Right now I've got some serious thinking to do and I'm of the mind that short of a deal showing up for a Springfield I'll be going with the S&W SW1911 model 108285 I saw. Granted, it's got a couple of quirks (still weird seeing the extractor on the outside) but I really liked the trigger on it.

7x57
05-09-2009, 5:57 PM
RIA is a good starting point, good value for the $$. SA is the next best bang for the buck on a higher level.


I occasionally see ads for Para's entry-level 1911, strangely called "expert." The price seems similar to RIA. Anyone know how they compare?

7x57

greybeard
05-09-2009, 6:36 PM
Thank you VERY much for this suggestion!

I drove out there today after striking out over at Irvington Arms and the visit was well worth it. One of the nicest shops I've seen outside of the Bay Area Gun Vault and the person there I was talking to, his name escapes me but he said he only worked Saturday's, was very helpful and learned a lot talking to him and the other guys there about current 1911's.

I'm now leaning strongly towards the S&W SW1911 model 108285 and one other S&W SW1911 they had there. Got some thinking to do over the next few days. ^_^
Glad you enjoyed it. I think you talked to Paul or Rhino. They were both there today. the other guys work most of the time.

aplinker
05-09-2009, 6:47 PM
If you can't find what you want locally, Roger's Relics has reasonable transfer fees.

You could contact Bud's or any of the myriad of other online sellers, along with GB, etc.

SimpleCountryActuary
05-09-2009, 7:33 PM
I mean, maybe it was just me looking thru wistful eyes but I do not remember the first 1911 I had, a Remington-Rand I foolishly sold and still regret, looking quite that basic or ugly. ^_^

I just picked up a Remington-Rand from Retting. :p They are all out of the less expensive M1911's like the GI and Milspec (which I have, too). They do have the pricier M1911's, though.