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View Full Version : Total noob at 1911's. Please school me O wise Calguns veterans...


joostin4
04-25-2011, 7:12 PM
I am pretty new to handguns in general, much less 1911's. However, after shooting my first 1911 a couple weeks ago at a local range, I could instantly understand why the massive appeal for this iconic platform.

Being new to handguns, I researched as much as I could before finally making my first handgun purchase. I tried to learn as much as I could and shoot as many models and calibers as I could get my hands on before I finally pulled the trigger :D I finally decided on a heavy, 9mm, all steel handgun for purposes of target shooting: a CZ SP01 (It's still being shipped). I also purchased a Ruger MKIII 22/45 for correcting my bad habits (per helpful advice from the Calguns forums).

Now after numerous trips to the local range I'm starting to get more and more interested in maybe purchasing a 1911 in the future. I've just started researching it and found that there is thankfully (and overwhelmingly) a SEA of information on 1911's. Especially mind-boggling is the endless number of brands variations of 1911's ranging from $500 to upwards of $3000.

This big difference in price worries me. Do the $500 and $3000 price points really indicate that big of a difference in quality? Can anybody point me towards a good beginner's 1911? Something that is practical, reliable, not overly expensive, but isn't cheap enough to be a possible lemon either? Any brands to stay away from? Any brand that are great values on the dollar? Any general tips on 1911's based on your experiences would be greatly appreciated... :)

sk8804
04-25-2011, 7:20 PM
The prices do mean a lot, such as match grade hand fitted barrels, and exotic finishes, but for a good starter 1911 you cant beat rock island armory pistols. $700 and a good gun.

Damiiaaannn
04-25-2011, 7:25 PM
What is your price range?

robcoe
04-25-2011, 7:28 PM
For a starter I would go with the RIA guns, they work nicely, dont cost much, and are not so large an investment that if you later decide to sell it you'll be pissed at yourself.

Other nice thing is that you can convert the .38 super RIA's to 9mm(a round you already have a bunch of I assume since you have an SP01) for about $60 in parts, a couple new mags and shipping.

joostin4
04-25-2011, 7:36 PM
What is your price range?

Possibly $1100 or so. But only if the extra cash is reallllly worth it. I would prefer to settle on something around $850 or so possibly...

sk8804
04-25-2011, 7:42 PM
Possibly $1100 or so. But only if the extra cash is reallllly worth it. I would prefer to settle on something around $850 or so possibly...

in that case i would buy an RIA and a lot of mags and accessories.

mugiwara
04-25-2011, 7:47 PM
you should get a rock island gi or tactical, and a lot of ammo, and take a class in handgun shooting (tactical, competitive, whatver interests you). it will be SO worth it. also, armscor make nice guns, dont feel like its a piece of **** just because its cheap.

FantasticPlastic
04-25-2011, 8:51 PM
The $2500 difference in price between your standard GI model and a custom by one of the 1911 legends is, quite often, a practice in diminishing returns. After a certain price level, you start to pay for minor increases in quality, and more subtle exhibitions of tighter fit and finish. You also get things like hands on inspections of every gun and less automation. Quite often you also get the name of the manufacturer, akin to BMW or Mercedes vs. Nissan or Chevy. I have seen expense of guns fail and cheap guns do well. It's an emotional thing, like most firearms purchases, and logic only goes so far. Because, after all, what really matters is how much a particular firearm speaks to you. In my own experience, I have made exceptions for guns that I really really liked even though they didn't perform very well, and, like the Kimbers I'm about to sell, guns that are very very good, but I just don't shoot all that much because another gun is currently speaking to me more.

JanG
04-25-2011, 8:55 PM
i'd go with a rock island tactical. you can even get the 9mm version if you go to the right places.

thai562
04-25-2011, 9:10 PM
You will get what you paid for. Don't get the $500 and don't get $3000.
$1000 will be good.
I love Sig, they are a great company and they make great pistols, they also offer a fair price 1911. Consider them as an option.
Oh, get one with a rail, they look really cool.

Cokebottle
04-25-2011, 9:18 PM
The prices do mean a lot, such as match grade hand fitted barrels, and exotic finishes, but for a good starter 1911 you cant beat rock island armory pistols. $550 and a good gun.
Fixed it for you.... and that's for the Tactical.
The GI can often be had for well under $500.

Cokebottle
04-25-2011, 9:20 PM
Possibly $1100 or so. But only if the extra cash is reallllly worth it. I would prefer to settle on something around $850 or so possibly...
in that case i would buy an RIA and a lot of mags and accessories.
I dunno... $850 price range I'd be considering spending a bit more on a Springfield.

five.five-six
04-25-2011, 9:22 PM
can't beat a SA milspec for a starter 1911. and by milspec, I do not mean GI,

9mmepiphany
04-25-2011, 9:33 PM
The $2500 difference in price between your standard GI model and a custom by one of the 1911 legends

I don't know of any 1911 custom by one of the legends is quite that inexpensive. However the $3k range will get a nice high end production 1911....the one I'd really like is $6k

I think the sweet spot in 1911s is in the mid-priced range around $1500...I really think the Dan Wesson is a great value and are some offerings from S&W.

Hilton Yam of 10-8 Performance has a great article (http://10-8performance.blogspot.com/2011/01/choosing-your-first-1911-some-thoughts.html) on how to choose your first 1911...for more than a casual range toy

Cokebottle
04-25-2011, 9:50 PM
can't beat a SA milspec for a starter 1911. and by milspec, I do not mean GI,
Ditto.

Or for $850, a lightly used Loaded.

Check the marketplace... none of the 1911s for sale here have more than 50 rounds through them ;)

S dot
04-25-2011, 9:52 PM
Kimber custom II or springfield loaded for a great production 1911. Colt if you can find one.

Springfield has a lifetime warranty and prob the best customer service.

If you hear all the negativity on Kimbers, it has to due with their old system of external extractors. Simply not an issue anymore. A lot of FUD on kimbers.

Personally, not a huge fan of para ord 1911's. Sigs are great but the slide lines just dont have that 1911 look for me, great shooters though.

Perfect world scenario would be to get a Springfield MC Operator, little north of 1000, but that would be a 1911 to last a lifetime really. Or a used TRP operator another lifer.

One thing to think about too is Ammo cost. You need to plan on running a few hundred rounds to smooth things out before trusting your life on it. 1911's do require a break in period. And depending on the manufacturer you choose, magazine upgrade. LIke the stock kimber mags are worthless. ACTMAG, MECGAR, or Wilson combat are ones to plan on acquiring.

HkFan416
04-25-2011, 10:35 PM
Springfield armory loaded model is your friend.

Q619
04-25-2011, 10:45 PM
For money: I'd go with a Springfield loaded or mil-spec model. I've had a few Springers and have been very happy with them!

high_lander
04-26-2011, 7:05 AM
I am going to echo the Springfield Loaded. I started with the RAI Tac, but sold it and picked the Springer, which I should have done in the first place. The Loaded will allow some more customization, as the RIA uses non standard parts in some areas (like the ambi-safety). Springfield and RIA both have EXCELLENT customer service and warranties.

Your choice, but I would go with the Loaded.

bombadillo
04-26-2011, 7:15 AM
I'd go springfield loaded stainless if it were myself. For a bit extra, you get a great finish, quite a few extra parts, and can have things customized from there if you ever want to. It will also retain its resale value slightly better than the RIA.

triplestack3
04-26-2011, 7:25 AM
Less common, but S&W makes a nice 1911.

t0kie
04-26-2011, 7:31 AM
Springfield armory loaded model is your friend.

+1, it's a great gun to start with because almost all you need are there.
________
Angelinalove (http://www.girlcamfriend.com/cam/angelinalove/)

dfens
04-26-2011, 7:31 AM
I've shot many 1911's not the super high end ones but enough to know I will get one someday.

The problem I see is lots of people get a cheap RIA or some sort or GI model, whatever budget 1911 and then end up wanting to either customize it or get a more polished expensive model. Now you have to sale the old one at a loss or save longer to get the one you want. Even deal with ordering add on parts and maybe gunsmithing to get it the way you want when you could have bought it off shelf for a few bucks more and a lot less headache.

For me I'm going to get the 1911 I want right off the bat because I only intend to buy one and one only since I want to buy other things so it better be the way I want it out of the box.

If it was me and with what you are looking to spend I would get a Springfield MC Operator or something in that price/quality range from Springer. Kimber a TLE II or Warrior. Now if I where to go all out a Wilson Combat CQB or a Nighthawk.

Bobby Hated
04-26-2011, 7:33 AM
i cant believe no one here suggested actually buying a Colt. your first 1911 should be a Colt .45! unless you are a commie pinko skinny sympathizing SOB!

and any colt 1911 bought this year comes with the once in a lifetime "100 years of service" rollmark.

on second thought, buy a springer. if you buy a colt that will be one less colt witht he 100 year rollmark for me to buy this year.

five.five-six
04-26-2011, 7:36 AM
For me I'm going to get the 1911 I want right off the bat because I only intend to buy one and one only since I want to buy other things so it better be the way I want it out of the box.


lol, you are living in a dreamworld :rofl:

ZX-10R
04-26-2011, 7:55 AM
This is the winner. Colt...Quality, history, 100 Years of Service, Made in the USA, etc.

Actually, I agree do not get a Colt so you do not mess up my availability for one since I just ordered a Colt XSE this past Friday. I don't want you to get a Colt. Get a Brazilian made SA.

As a side note, one member already stated it...S&W makes a beautiful 1911. It was my second choice.


i cant believe no one here suggested actually buying a Colt. your first 1911 should be a Colt .45! unless you are a commie pinko skinny sympathizing SOB!

and any colt 1911 bought this year comes with the once in a lifetime "100 years of service" rollmark.

on second thought, buy a springer. if you buy a colt that will be one less colt witht he 100 year rollmark for me to buy this year.

dfens
04-26-2011, 7:59 AM
Not a dreamworld instead of modifying ever thing on the gun down the line, get it as close as I like it out of the box and be happy with it.

Yeah it would be nice to have it 100 percent custom built, but that's not a option unless I plan on using it to be my go to gun and could wait the several years.

I know a 1911 can be customized as much as a car, but most cars I buy I drive them as they are from the factory and if I want something more I get another car. So might as well get what you want from the start and if you don't have enough save for it till you do.

Of course you have to handle and shoot many 1911's to know what you are looking for and that for a lot of people one 1911 isn't enough once they get one. For me more than one is not a option so their is no point buying a RIA or Mil-Spec Springfield both are great guns to start off with, when I know I want something more high end that is put together a little better and with options/features the cheaper 1911's don't come with.

Price is not a problem for me so I better get the one suited to my taste because I don't want to half to sale it and get something else down the line.

gun505
04-26-2011, 8:03 AM
I went with the loaded springer as my first 1911, love the feel of it. thinking of getting one of them colts later this year.

DaveFJ80
04-26-2011, 8:31 AM
The RIA Tactical is nice, and I have nothing against RIA 1911's... but they're a little cheap looking IMO, especially compared to a Kimber Custom II or a Springfield Loaded.

It's one thing to get a nice entry-level (cheaper) 1911 to start off with, and if you don't care about how it looks and just want it to function and have fun with it, then the RIA is perfect. However for me, I like my guns to look somewhat decent to me, so I'm happy with my purchase and happy with shooting it. Therefore, I don't mind paying a couple hundred bucks more and getting a nicer finish 1911 and enjoying that.

Again, nothing wrong with RIA, but just something to consider. Kimber Custom II's or Springfield Loaded models can be found around the $700-$850 range pretty much anywhere, so it's well with your budget of what you mentioned above.

codeman8
04-26-2011, 10:14 AM
Get a Springfield Armory 1911 Loaded model. Gunbroker has them all the time for $800. They are awesome 1911's and every SA 1911 includes a LIFETIME warranty. You simply cannot beat that. If that isn't a good enough reason, how about the fact that SA also has it's own custom shop. You can send it in to SA and get stuff done to it whenever/if ever you want. It's a win win

bartt
04-26-2011, 11:01 AM
SpringField loaded ++++. Check the different site options before you buy. I found I could not see the plain iron sites if I stepped into a shady area. SO I got a loaded with night sites (9109LP model).
A lot of people bad mouth gun broker, but I got mine there for $725 shipped, you just have to be patient.
Have fun with your new favorite pistol..

himurax13
04-26-2011, 11:06 AM
I say go with a RIA Tactical. Once you get used to shooting 1911's, you can either sell it for basically what you paid for it, or you can keep it as a loaner gun. I love mine and it is a nail driver and is reliable with the cheap ACT mags.

http://i51.tinypic.com/4ios39.jpg

http://i54.tinypic.com/33axy88.jpg

jak77
04-26-2011, 12:07 PM
Another vote for SA loaded. I got mine for about 875 out the door, new. Do your research and find a good deal. At that price you will have a couple hundred left over to buy quality mags and some ammo

RealBarber
04-26-2011, 12:44 PM
stick with Colt

1991 for a basic original GI 1911

XSE for a custom 1911

nrvnqsrxk
04-26-2011, 12:58 PM
Springfield Loaded is where your marginal utility = 1. Solid performer stock, good platform to build off of once you decide to start customizing it.

animossity
04-26-2011, 2:50 PM
RIA's are great for the money but I cannot get over their ugly finish. SA mil spec or loaded would be a good choice both look and perform great.

Shawn L
04-26-2011, 2:59 PM
S.A Loaded or save a little more and get the MC Operator.

sigfan91
04-26-2011, 4:29 PM
Possibly $1100 or so. But only if the extra cash is reallllly worth it. I would prefer to settle on something around $850 or so possibly...

Get an RIA Tactical with 2000 rounds of ammo. That should get you started.

ChopperX
04-26-2011, 8:26 PM
I actually bought my first gun. Its a Springfield 1911 GI. Had to buy online since I didnt want to wait 9 months until they would become available. It cost's about $570 with all the shipping which is very reasonable. However I have to pay about $75 for transfer and DROS fees ($50 for out of state transfer and $25 for DROS). All in all I spent about $30 more online than I would have at the store which is not a big deal for me.

Why did I do this? Cause I want my 1911 now and not 9 months later since this is my planned first purchase since I turned 21 almost a month ago.

Jevans
04-26-2011, 8:27 PM
I recently picked up a Dan Wesson PM7 - my first pistol. Its well made and a joy to shoot. I believe DW no longer makes them although there are plenty for sale at the usual out of state internet sources for the time being. I bought mine local and paid up a bit. But its California and I didn't want to deal with shipping, a wait, etc.

To me the PM7 seemed like a good balance between cost, fit and finish and quality of components (i.e. no MIM parts). There are actually a reasonable number of quality production/semi custom 1911's that don't cost a whole lot and get great reviews. But usually the maker only has 1-2 models that are registered for sale in Kalifornia, and there is usually a lengthy wait for these 1911's. I found the DW local, paid a bit extra and am very happy. Another option is Kimber - plenty for sale in California. I've shot several before and really liked them but some recent feedback about QC scared me off. Probably just being overly paranoid, but wanted to minimize my odds of sending something back for re-work even though their reputation is customer service is pretty good. Good luck in your search.

jimbos44
04-26-2011, 9:02 PM
I've owned a smith and wesson for a couple of years. 100% usa made. Great Quality, accurate, and all the bells, $749 at bass pro shops.

plankowner
04-27-2011, 5:34 AM
I have to agree with the wise ones here on a Springfield, I have a mil-spec that I have had for years and a Kimber tle/rl and I have not had a single regret with either of them but Springfield does have lifetime warranty,

Lumpia is sarap!
04-27-2011, 6:48 AM
All great advice here and good luck with picking one out! Last thing: BEWARE OF THE IDIOT MARK!!!!

hornswaggled
04-27-2011, 8:31 AM
Agree with a Springfield. You get the same top quality as a Colt for a little less money. I have a Colt 1991A1, my next will be a Springfield.

ZX-10R
04-27-2011, 4:49 PM
stick with Colt

1991 for a basic original GI 1911

XSE for a custom 1911

I agree. I went with the XSE for ambi safety. Also, the OP should understand this is 100 Years of Service. This is 100 Years of Colt making a great handgun. So if money is not an issue or if you have a budget of $1100 get a piece of history...My original choice was an RIA...Then I realized I wanted something made in USA (ha I am Filipino even). Then I realized not all 1911s are the same so I went to 1911 forums and yeah SA makes good ones but I could not get over the Brazilian thing. So I looked at the S&W 1911 and it was beautiful...Then my Engineer said go look at Colt...He had a Colt 1911 he sold a while back and regretted. I said ok...I liked the XSE a lot. Very nice and looked well made. Did the reviews...Winner Winner chicken dinner...I paid for one this past Friday and a friend did the same.

Our criteria which you should have...
- Ambi safety
- Stainless Steel
- Made in USA
I do not regret this purchase considering it is the 100th year of this handgun and it is engraved on it. That must mean a little to some people here but on 1911 forums it means a TON.

ninjawho?
04-27-2011, 6:30 PM
your story mirror mine very closely.....bought a sp01 when i got back into shooting,then wanted a 1911.....looked and tried RIA,S/A,colt,kimber,was going to look at a sig but a friend showed me a dan wesson pm7,yea a little more but i looked at it...fit and build was way better than any of these guns right of the bat,parts were all quality,no mim parts,shot great,nice trigger,was ready to go right out of the box,but expensive...shot tits....so i cooled off and went to try a sig 1911....as soon as i held it i was like nah....slop in the slide/frame,barrel,just didnt feel right,didnt even shoot it....got the dw .....havent looked back....
True story ehh.......:)

joostin4
04-27-2011, 9:19 PM
All great advice here and good luck with picking one out! Last thing: BEWARE OF THE IDIOT MARK!!!!

what exactly is the idiot mark???


Also, I just got back from the range. I ended up spending $92 just shooting!!

I chose a CZ P-01 and a Glock 19 to start (50 rounds each). Then I asked for an easy to shoot 1911 for a beginner. They handed me the Sig 1911 XO. My first two experiences shooting a 1911 was startling to be honest. There seemed to be a lot of muzzle flash and I flinched pretty noticeably. This time though, I think I got used to it. The power of the bigger caliber didn't startle me this time and my flinching was noticeably reduced.

One thing I noticed about the Sig XO, I didn't really like the trigger. I don't know if that's how all 1911's are but the trigger seemed almost tooooo light. It felt like I barely touched it and it would go off. I like to keep my finger lightly on the trigger as I look down the sights until my sight picture looks satisfactory. This was hard to do as even the slightest squeeze set it off. I think I still ended up shooting it more accurately than the 9mm's though somehow. The gun was much more accurate than I was :)

Also, after I fired, the trigger didn't seem to reset well. I had to literally take my trigger finger off to follow up again with another shot. With the 9mm's I could just consecutively squeeze.....squeeze.....squeeze in a rhythm all without taking my finger off the trigger. When I tried the same technique with the Sig, i'd flinch expecting a bang but nothing would happen. Then I'd realize the trigger didn't reset, so I'd take my finger off the trigger completely to reset it and then fire. Is this normal?

rojocorsa
04-27-2011, 9:25 PM
http://www.10-8performance.com/Articles.htm

Read this, OP.

C.W.M.V.
04-27-2011, 9:37 PM
Going to have to go against Springfield and Kimber here.
If it doesn't have Browning/Kuhnhausen specs, its not for me.
I'm down to my Colt 70 series and two RIA's. Nice thing about RIA is that its compatible with all parts made for a Colt, where with any other brand for the most part you have to get brand specific parts.
But I like simple weapons, they don't fail as much. With RIA you get outstanding functionality in a time and battle tested platform with what is arguably one of the best warranties out there. If the finish is THAT big of a deal to you I'm not sure why your into 1911's!:D Its a working gun!

rescuerigger
04-30-2011, 10:34 AM
1, Make a bulk purchase of ammo now! At .33-.40 it gets expensive and prices are going up.

2. Get good mags. Macgar works the best for me. I had problems with Chip McCormicks.

3. Figure out what you want to do with it (plink, carry, competition) what style (GI look, SS, Crome, Tactical) and how much you want to pay. You will find what you want as long as you are not looking for a cheap match grade, you have to be reasonable. If you stick with the major brand you won't go wrong.

I have SA 1911 GI style with target sights and match bushing that probably about 30 years old (got it used when I was a kid about 20 years ago and had no idea of its history). I personally put a few thousand rounds though it and took it for a week long GUNSITE class. No issues at all and I even let a classmate shoot it for two days when their Wilson Combat broke. (I had another gun to shoot) I just purchased an Advantage Arms 22lr conversion so I can plink in my back yard.

Good luck!

rescuerigger
04-30-2011, 10:39 AM
I believe the idiot mark is the scratch on the frame/slide from the slide lock during disassembly.

Cokebottle
04-30-2011, 12:15 PM
I believe the idiot mark is the scratch on the frame/slide from the take slide lock during disassembly.
This is one of the worst idiot marks I've ever seen.
How he got it on the slide itself is a mystery:

http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n169/mrmikeman/springfield1911idiot1-1.jpghttp://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n169/mrmikeman/springfield1911idiot1.jpg