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View Full Version : Glock vs. 1911 Reliability - this time with data


barrym66
12-30-2010, 10:23 AM
This oughta be fun!

For (way too many) years, we've all seen the Glock vs. 1911 fanboy flame wars...not only on Calguns, but on pretty much every other gun forum.

Here's a great blog post that compiled real testing data, based on reliability testing done by Gun Test magazine over a 14 year period, comparing the reliability of Glock, Taurus, and various iterations of the 1911.

I post this not to provoke another flame fest, but to provide some data - rather than the usual anecdotal evidence so often used to demonstrate the superiority of whatever brand that an individual poster wishes to promote. ;)

For the record - I own and shoot both Glocks and 1911's and 1911 derivatives, and shoot Glocks in IDPA and USPSA. Not a fanboy of either design, but I really appreciate the 1911 design for it's superior ergonomics, easy ability to customize, and general cool factor... and appreciate the simplicity and reliability of the Glock. :p

From http://www.yankeegunnuts.com/2010/12/28/quality-1911-glock-taurus/

Quality – 1911, Glock, Taurus

Posted by GunNutmegger on Dec 28, 2010

Wow, looks like the 1911 Sucks post stirred up some strong emotions.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I had a great time debating the issues and I learned a lot. But there were also some other issues that were raised and not addressed to my satisfaction (being the sort of guy who likes facts and evidence). For instance: just how reliable are 1911s? How reliable are Glocks? And, from the comments, some people took exception to my characterization of Taurus as a brand with hit-or-miss quality, so what is the real deal with Taurus quality?

How can those questions be answered? I thought of a way to get some baseline metrics on those issues. And since I was burning up vacation time from work, why not use it to be productive?

Some background: When products are manufactured and offered for sale to the public, the vast majority of them are not individually tested for function & quality. A shipment of (for example) DVD players will arrive in containers at a U.S. port, and 2% of those units will be tested. If those 2% pass the testing, the entire batch will be presumed to be “good” and they will be sent to the warehouses of the retailers who will be selling them.

If more than a certain percentage of those 2% have defects of some sort, the importer will go back and test another 3% of the shipment (for a total of 5%) for defects. If the 5% sample passes the testing standards, the whole batch is sent on to the retailers. Any units that fail the testing will be sent to a service center to be repaired to testing standards and then sold as “Factory Serviced” products. (Since they are marked down, and have been tested individually to ensure function, do not hesitate to take advantage of those deals!)

But if the total 5% sample flunks the test standards, the entire batch is sent back. Modern quality control methods make that very rare nowadays.

Bottom line: lemons happen, and there is no economical way to prevent that. But they are rare.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, there is a magazine called Gun Tests that does exactly what their name says. They test guns (and the occasional scope, holster or reloading setup), usually in groups of 2-4 guns, and with 3-5 comparisons per month it adds up to a huge database of hands-on gun reviews. They don’t accept any outside advertising and thus cannot be influenced by the threat of lost ad revenue if they spill the beans on a crappy gun (and yes, that happens at the glossy gun magazines). I don’t work for them, I am simply a long-time subscriber.

Now, when you look at a gun review, there are some things that are Objective Observations (“gun X holds 10 bullets, functioned without misfeeds, and shot 3″ average groups at 50 feet for 3 shooters”) and other things that are Subjective Observations (“gun X felt good in my hand, it was easy to conceal with my carry method”). Subjective observations need to be taken with a grain of salt since every person has a different outlook, but Gun Tests has been pretty scrupulous about telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I trust their objective observations. I am sending them a link to this post, in case they want to put their two cents in (they can get the pennies off John Browning’s eyelids).

Who better to use as a reference to gauge the quality of these 3 gun types? I couldn’t think of another unbiased resource as detailed as Gun Tests, but I welcome any suggestions for additional sources of information. I want facts, no matter what they reveal.

So I went through my archive of back issues (complete, as far as I know), from the present day back to 1996, and took notes on the reviews they did of every Taurus, every Glock, and every full-size 1911 pistol in that period.

What did I find, you ask? Well, to set some guidelines, a gun would be judged as “broken” if it stopped working, shed parts, or physically disintegrated in some way. A gun would be “unreliable” if it had failures to fire, feed, extract or eject that were not attributable to a documented problem with the ammunition. I decided that an obviously defective part like a single bad magazine would not render a gun “unreliable” if the manufacturer’s regular magazines worked when the bad magazine was replaced like-for-like. Note, many of the reviews of 1911s had to use Wilson mags for the review guns, regardless of brand of gun. The reliability numbers for 1911s are probably overly-optimistic, in other words.

Well…after going through every issue I have between 1996 and today (again, I am pretty sure I have every one), I compiled the following numbers:

http://www.yankeegunnuts.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ScreenHunter_01-Dec.-28-18.322.jpg

Illuminating, isn’t it?

(there's quite a bit more in the blog, please take a look here: http://www.yankeegunnuts.com/2010/12/28/quality-1911-glock-taurus/

tipoc
12-30-2010, 11:15 AM
Illuminating, isn’t it?

Illuminating that anyone would take it seriously.

There are so many things wrong with the data and the approach by the blogger that anyone who has made it past 8th grade should spot the problems.

Glock vs. 1911 threads are seriously boring.

tipoc

Oceanbob
12-30-2010, 11:26 AM
Hmmm..I have 13 GLOCKS and 8 1911s.....I will say that once you get a 1911 running good it will eat everything as good as a GLOCK.

I own both and I love both.

(not counting my other Rugers, Smith&Wessons, Firestar, etc that Run Perfectly as well)....:D

We must be bored. ;)

drunktank
12-30-2010, 11:27 AM
Interesting article. Ive read a similar one before, but it was too subjective and cavorts the 1911

Flying Sig
12-30-2010, 11:27 AM
Illuminating that anyone would take it seriously.

There are so many things wrong with the data and the approach by the blogger that anyone who has made it past 8th grade should spot the problems.

Glock vs. 1911 threads are seriously boring.

tipoc



You must be one of those 1911 fanboys they were talking about....


;)

B Strong
12-30-2010, 11:27 AM
I've run tens of thousands of rounds in 1911's over the years, between 10 - 15 thousand rounds through BHP's, and about the same through Glocks in 9mm, .40 & .45.

My findings are that good ones run, bad ones don't.

The end.

novabrian
12-30-2010, 11:27 AM
Buy both.

Longbow
12-30-2010, 11:32 AM
I own both platforms, and have absolutely no dog in this fight.

But, as a scientist with a soid background in research methodology and statistical interpretation: - BWAA-HAA-HAA-HAA-HAA!!!!!!:rolleyes:

What you have there is the first page of a hypothesis.

Cheers,
Longbow

Super Spy
12-30-2010, 11:38 AM
Glocks work out of the box. 1911's may require some fiddling to get right, once the bugs are rectified are pretty reliable and even nicer to shoot. I'll still keep my Glock as my go to gun for bumps in the night.

Mastermason11
12-30-2010, 11:41 AM
Those guns are not even on the same category to compare them against each other... Its like comparing a BMW (glock) vs a Ferrari (1911).... In the car world, the BMWs are cheaper but very reliable out of the lot. The Ferrari is very unreliable and hard to maintain but everyone lusts to have one...

stphnman20
12-30-2010, 11:42 AM
Glocks work out of the box. 1911's may require some fiddling to get right, once the bugs are rectified are pretty reliable and even nicer to shoot. I'll still keep my Glock as my go to gun for bumps in the night.
Same here..

I own both Glock and 1911. Glock is my go getter!

evidens83
12-30-2010, 11:49 AM
This oughta be fun!



Ummmm no. Just get both ;)

Striker
12-30-2010, 1:02 PM
Gun is a tool. If it works for your purpose, it does. If it doesn't, it doesn't. Glocks and 1911s both work well under the right circumstances and don't work well under the wrong ones. One is not necessarily better than the other, they're just different. If at all possible, shoot before you buy and choose the gun that works best for you. It doesn't matter if it's a Glock, a Sig, a Smith, a 1911 etc. Choose a high quality gun in the caliber that works best for you in your situation.

barrym66
12-30-2010, 2:29 PM
Agreed on almost all counts... even with the statement that the data and conclusions are less than scientific. ;) But better than the usual claims based on a single user's experience.

When I started getting serious about shooting, about the time that Glocks were starting to make inroads in the market (early 1990 or so), I shot Tanfoglio-based race guns (40SW) and a Colt 80 series NM (in 45ACP, of course!). The Colt was not as accurate as the stock Tanfoglios out of the box, and both took a lot of work to become reliable enough for competition use. And broke often enough that we didn't think twice about carrying many extra parts (extractors, slide stops, bushings/springs, etc.) as well as a spare gun. God forbid you should be shooting tupperware back then... it's a tough crowd!

After being out of the game for 12 years (with the old race guns long gone), I was talked into buying a G23 and G22 for SD/HD guns, and after putting 800+ rounds through the G22 at a four day class with no problems (only cleaning the bore at the end of each day), I was impressed. Out of 30+ students, the only problem guns were a Kimber Custom (extractor), a SA GI 1911 (FTF's, new gun), a Beretta 92 (broken recoil spring, I think), and a couple of the el cheapo Sigmas (both died on Day 1, locked up hard).

After that I bought a couple of G35's...25K+ rounds later, the only malfs have been self-induced (all from aftermarket parts - weakened recoil and mag springs, a broken lightened striker, and a couple of broken captured guide rods). My stock G22 has seen 8.5K rounds with no failures whatsoever. I like being able to clean the frames in the dishwasher (yes) and the fact that I don't have to be paranoid about keeping everything spotlessly clean at every match. They go bang every time with little work. Over the subsequent years my impressions have not changed....it's usually the Glocks and XD's that run without issues and the 1911's and clones that break.

On the other hand, Glocks are not very 'sexy' and I still dislike the grip angle...so I am playing around with CZ's (Tanfoglios) again, as well as a Para 16 for L10 (damn CA DOJ, I really really want an STI-based gun...) . Much more pricey to tweak, and I am again having to play around with spring rates, feed ramp angles and polishing, lightened hammers and the like. But they feel good, look good, and I can make them 'mine' much more flexibly than a Glock.

So buy whatever turns you on and fits your needs...Glocks are still my go-to SD/HD guns, but when the gun buddies come over and we open the safe to play with the toys, it's the 1911's that get fondled the most. ;)

(And yes, it's boring today! Should have gone to the range.)

choprzrul
12-30-2010, 2:49 PM
...ummm....




If 8 aftermarket companies were making Glock clones, how reliable would they be?

.

barrym66
12-30-2010, 2:55 PM
If 8 aftermarket companies were making Glock clones, how reliable would they be?

.

Totally agree with your logic, but.... there isn't really an "OEM" manufacturer of 'original pattern' 1911's anymore. Colt, maybe, but even modern Colt 1911's are pretty far removed from John Browning's original design.

Then again, that is one of the attractions to the 1911! :cool: Kind of like the "small block" Chevy and/or Ford of the handgun world. A few constants (grip angle and control locations) but lots of unique interpretations. :)

novabrian
12-30-2010, 3:18 PM
Those guns are not even on the same category to compare them against each other... Its like comparing a BMW (glock) vs a Ferrari (1911).... In the car world, the BMWs are cheaper but very reliable out of the lot. The Ferrari is very unreliable and hard to maintain but everyone lusts to have one...

He will understand this.It's like comparing a Factory 5 to a Backdraft!

barrym66
12-30-2010, 3:34 PM
He will understand this.It's like comparing a Factory 5 to a Backdraft!

Hmm...now I'm curious as to which you prefer.....see my avatar. :D

A Factory 5 is more like the 1911 - you can build to whatever quality standard and performance level you want (and can afford!). A Backdraft is more like a semi-production car...you only have control the over the drivetrain...unless you want to take it apart and start over. In which case you should have started with a FF!

I have owned many BMW's and two F-cars (348 and 330GTC)....IMHO, Glocks are like old diesel Mercedes 240's...not pretty but they run forever.

A 1911 is truly like a BMW in that it is a real shooter's dream...until it breaks (and yes, Bimmers DO break!). (Note that BMW stands for "Bring Mein Wallet"!)

A Kimber, Les Baer, Nighthawk, Wilson et al 1911 custom is more like the Ferrari...very pretty, awesome to play with....until they break (which may be often), and most will be garage (safe) queens, only taken out to impress the neighbors on sunny days and special occasions. :p

Legasat
12-30-2010, 3:49 PM
Sorry, I don't see a point to this thread.

Trying to start a flame war?

STAGE 2
12-30-2010, 3:52 PM
As others have said, its not accurate to compare glock to 1911's of various manufacturers. The original 1911 design fired 6000 rounds continuously without failure in the days before wunder lubes and high tech finish treatments. At that rate, the issue of reliability is academic.

The problem is that too many people have take the 1911 design too far away from its original specs. Do that with a gun or a toaster oven and your'e going to have issues.

evolixsurf
12-30-2010, 6:18 PM
...ummm....




If 8 aftermarket companies were making Glock clones, how reliable would they be?

.

Try to get your hands on a Glock and a S&W M&P. Strip both and you can tell, in nearly every way, that the M&P is a beefed up glock with better ergonomics... I was surprised.

1lostinspace
12-30-2010, 6:22 PM
This oughta be fun!

For (way too many) years, we've all seen the Glock vs. 1911 fanboy flame wars...not only on Calguns, but on pretty much every other gun forum.

Here's a great blog post that compiled real testing data, based on reliability testing done by Gun Test magazine over a 14 year period, comparing the reliability of Glock, Taurus, and various iterations of the 1911.

I post this not to provoke another flame fest, but to provide some data - rather than the usual anecdotal evidence so often used to demonstrate the superiority of whatever brand that an individual poster wishes to promote. ;)

For the record - I own and shoot both Glocks and 1911's and 1911 derivatives, and shoot Glocks in IDPA and USPSA. Not a fanboy of either design, but I really appreciate the 1911 design for it's superior ergonomics, easy ability to customize, and general cool factor... and appreciate the simplicity and reliability of the Glock. :p

From http://www.yankeegunnuts.com/2010/12/28/quality-1911-glock-taurus/


My Glock works!

Sunday
12-30-2010, 6:28 PM
A $500.00 Glock is way better than a $500.00 1911 . When the 1911 get above $1000.00 then we are getting into some nice pistols

barrym66
12-30-2010, 7:34 PM
As others have said, its not accurate to compare glock to 1911's of various manufacturers. The original 1911 design fired 6000 rounds continuously without failure in the days before wunder lubes and high tech finish treatments. At that rate, the issue of reliability is academic.

The problem is that too many people have take the 1911 design too far away from its original specs. Do that with a gun or a toaster oven and your'e going to have issues.

True, and a reading of the early history of the original Browning design will reveal that the GI-issue 1911's had much looser tolerances to allow for reliable operation in dirty/dusty/gritty environments...with a corresponding reduction in accuracy.

The modern exotic wunder-1911's are all 'tight' and generally hand-fitted (slide to frame, barrel to barrel bushing, etc) to bring back the accuracy....thus making them more load sensitive and susceptible to reliability issues.

Same goes (to a lesser degree) for competition Glocks (and maybe M&P's, I don't own one)...common to see aftermarket slides and even frames to tighten things up, not to mention triggers (all of my race Glocks have Vanek triggers, excepting my service and stock class guns).

To Legasat, no renewal of any 'war' intended, just thought it appropriate to post some interesting data...which is more than most "Glock sucks" or "1911's rule" threads usually provide. ;)

Snoopy47
01-04-2011, 11:08 PM
Question:

Why is it always the 1911 vs. this, 1911 vs. that.

What is it about the 1911 the demands everything else be compared to it?

Also, I was wondering how many manufactures make Glocks.

As well, I’m a little uncertain how many companies in the world make 1911s. What’s awesome about that question is there is not one person here than can answer that question.

Everyone knows how many companies make Glocks.

Why would one want a hand made Ferrari when a Honda Civic will get them to and from point A and B all just as well?

loosewreck
01-04-2011, 11:23 PM
No offence OP, but...



Wwwwhhhhhyyyyyy? How many decades must this go on? :confused:

They're both good. Its just preference. Everyone get over it. Please... :p

stormy_clothing
01-04-2011, 11:33 PM
The glock design benefited from 80 years of improved manufacturing, materials, computer aided design, durability and ammunition standards that are a world apart from the 1911 conception not to mention numerous wars and other situations. Someday someone will make a better glock too.

Glock as a handgun compared to a 1911 is the essence of progress and if JB had made his handgun in 2011 instead it would probably be the same thing. Double stack, hammerless and made of polymer.

Btw when a car breaks down you usually call AAA not cease to live.