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1911dude
10-14-2008, 9:49 AM
Hello, a friend of mine turned me on to this site and I've been looking around for about a week and decided to post. I'm considering a few options for my first hand gun (actually first gun ever) and I would very much appreciate people's thoughts. I guess I can start with a few questions since I've done some research on line regarding brands, models, etc.

I'd like to get a 1911 .45 ACP. The brands I'm condering are Kimber, Springfield and since Sig seems to get a lot of attention on this forum maybe even them too.

First, I'm not planning on carrying so what is a nice sized barrel to get? I have shot a Kimber with what I recall a 4" barrel. What's the difference in actual usage between a 4" and 5"?

Second, When it comes to a 1911 are all brands and styles pretty much the same? If not, are the differences a big issue when it comes to shooting? I understand that quality of materials etc. can affect price but can I get a good gun for $1,000?

Third, what kinds of attributes should I look for in a hand gun in the brands I listed?


I hope there can be some good discussion in this thread because I like to make sure I know what I'm buying and that I'm getting the best gun for the money. It took me a month to buy my first digital camera from all the research so I'm hoping this isn't going to be as extensive. :D

Anyway, thanks for the input.

Bob

EOD3
10-14-2008, 9:55 AM
Hi Bob,

My preference would be the Kimber or the Sig and I suppose if I had to pick only one, it'd be the kimber.

dadoody
10-14-2008, 9:58 AM
I've read that between 4" and 5" barrells there is hardly any difference in ballistic characteristics.Between 2" and 4" is huge, but between 4"-6" not that huge.
So Barrel length between 4" and 5" might be personal preference.

Of the handgun makers you listed, to me, Kimber is the best. For the price you pay, you're getting a gun with a 4-5 pound trigger pull weight, "match grade" barrel and all that other stuff - it's a very accurate gun. I don't go out to the pistol range more than once or twice a year, and I'm still shooting tight groups with a Kimber.

What it comes down to it, it'll all be based on your preference. All the handguns you've listed are good manufacturers. In the end, it'll be up to you based on look, feel, and pull.

You should got to a shooting range that rents all the guns you want - I know Insight in Cerritos has all 3 of those. Shoot them all and feel out your preferred one.


Personally, for the money, I think Kimber is the best 1911 you can get under $1000.

renardsubtil
10-14-2008, 10:22 AM
hi bob, welcome to the site.

I actually just started purchasing firearms this year and my first purchase was a handgun (it goes downhill from there!) - Kimber Custom 2 in 5 inch. I rented a Springfield Champion before hand in 3 inch(?) and I liked it as well, I just ended up with the Kimber because it was a good deal at the time.

ldivinag
10-14-2008, 10:24 AM
Hi Bob,

My preference would be the Kimber or the Sig and I suppose if I had to pick only one, it'd be the kimber P226 in 40S&W.


fixed it for ya...

Black Majik
10-14-2008, 10:25 AM
Welcome to Calguns. Good choice on a 1911, however .45 ACP ammo is mighty expensive to shoot regularly.

Take a stroll over to 1911forum.com. A lot of us also hang out there, and they'll have manufacturer specific subforums that'll be much more direct in the maker's you're interested in.

For around $1000, my favorite would lean towards the Kimber TLE II. It'll be a basic Custom II with nightsights and fronstrap checkering. If those aren't needed, the basic Custom II will come with fixed sights, Full length stainless guide rod, extended thumb safety, beavertail, and front cocking serrations. The Custom II has all the basic features of the "starting point" of all models. Comparable models would be the Springfield Armory Loaded, Dan Wesson PM7, SW1911, and Colt XSE.

You'll have to try each, or handle them at a gunstore since they'll all feel different. If you can, rent or meet up with some Calgunners in your area to try the different models. A basic GI type 1911 also might suit your needs such as a Colt NRM Government or Springfield Armory Mil-spec.

Don't get too caught up in the different firing pin block setups. They're a favorite topic to get beaten to death over, and usually irrelevent to a range gun. The two main firing pin safeties are the Series 80 found in Colts and SIGs. The other is the Schwartz safety found in Kimbers and S&Ws. Springfield Armory and Dan Wesson don't use any firing pin safeties. But don't mind this mumbo jumbo, it ranks along with the MIM dead horse towards the top of locked threads and bickering.

Since this is a range gun, I'd say look into a fullsize 5" model. It'll be the most reliable, and offer the full length slide for longer sight radius, and fullsize grip. Stick with a single stack gun, get good quality magazines such as Tripp Research Cobramags, Wilson's 47D/ETM, or Chip McCormick's Powermags. Look into a handgun course, buy bunch of ammo to practice with and have fun!

Good luck :)

glockman19
10-14-2008, 10:32 AM
Hi Bob,

Welcome to Cal Guns.


As Black Majik states You can get a Kimber Custom II for between $600 & $700. It's a great basic 1911 that can easily be upgraded.

As a first gun that you won't be carrying I'd get at 5".

As far as manufacturers, I'd get Kimber, Springfield and/or Colt.

SJgunguy24
10-14-2008, 11:05 AM
Hey Bob (1911dude) Welcome to calguns! I would find a range that rents guns. Go with a buddy who is familier with handguns and try a few out. Where do you live? I'm in San Jose if your anywhere in the southbay i'll let you shoot my pistols.

You might even find that a revolver will suit you needs more. Everyones different so try out a bunch of guns. Sometimes the same gun in another caliber will feel better. Happy hunting.

1911dude
10-14-2008, 11:09 AM
Thanks so far everyone for opinions and welcomings. Some more questions if I may.

Does the barrel size matter if also might pull double duty as range shooting and home protection?

BlackMajik suggests a basic model. Is there a significant difference between them and the more expensive models to justify the price difference?

These are the models I singled out as the first round preliminary choices (no particular order). What are your thoughts on these?

Kimber:
Custom CDP II
Gold Match II
Tactical II
Eclipse II

Springfield:
Trophy Match PI9140LP
Loaded PI9132LP
Loaded PX9104LP
Loaded PX9151LP


On the subject of magazines, I've read that the ones Kimber provides are crap. What about the one's that come stock on the Springfields?

Also with regard to weight. The Kimbers are certainly lighter by 9-10 ounces depending on model. How does weight factor in to the big picture?

Black Majik
10-14-2008, 11:22 AM
If you're looking at the basic model, the one to choose would be the Springfield Milspec. In my opinion, Colt priced themselved out of the market with the NRM Government, usually about $800 for brand new before tax and fees. However, for $650 you can find some very, very lightly used ones in the Calguns classifieds.

A few differences between, say a Colt Government and Kimber's Custom, Springfield Loaded, and S&W 1911. The Colt Government will be very basic, it'll come with GI type fixed sights, no beavertail, no extended thumb safety, no front cocking serrations, short GI rod and plug. Where the Kimber, Springfield and S&W shine is the extra options for just a slight bit more in price. Shootability is similiar, however if you learn to shoot high thumb riding the safety, the Kimber, SA, and S&W really become beneficial. Shooting with a higher up grip can cause discomfort with GI type pistols due to hammer bite, and the lack of protection from a beavertail grip safety. Also, GI sights are not as crisp as a fixed sights setup from a Novak or Kimber's fixed sights.

Starting out however, it's probably unlikely you'll be riding the thumb safety and shooting with a high grip. If that's the case, a SA Milspec or Colt Government will serve you well.

With regards to the weight, that weight difference is due to an aluminum frame vs. the heavier steel frame. An aluminum frame is usually catered to those who carry. I personally prefer a steel frame as the heavier total weight really soaks up the recoil. Also to note, steel followers, especially Chip McCormick's can gouge a aluminum frame at the feed ramp.

A fullsize 1911 will also serve excellently as a home defense gun as well as a range gun. Since it wont be carried, full size guns are usually easiest to shoot. The extra weight, extra sight radius, and extra ease in use all go towards your favor in a home defense pistol.

One quick note. The models you listed are great. You do have some of the Kimbers with aluminum frames in there, so be mindful whether you prefer an alloy frame or steel frame. Also, choose between a fixed sight or adjustable sight.

Good luck!

1911dude
10-14-2008, 12:02 PM
Thanks a lot Richard. What are the benefits/draw backs to the fixed versus adjustable sights? Also by short GI rod and plug you are referring to the trigger style? Forgive me with basic questions as this is really the first time I've been exposed to terminology and am learning as we go.

thanks

Greg-Dawg
10-14-2008, 12:25 PM
Welcome aboard Bob! Kimber all the way!

1911dude
10-14-2008, 12:30 PM
With regard to the Sig guns I have taken notice of the P220 and P226. How does this style compare to the 1911?

How does trigger style affect the feel? I ask this because the P220 trigger is different from a 1911 in appearance so naturally I'd wonder what the difference is to pull it.

Ooh boy, another question. Regarding ammo. It's another whole ball of wax with regard to buying them but as far as deciding which caliber to go with (9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP) what would be the best choice for home protection and range shooting?

ldivinag
10-14-2008, 12:34 PM
cats and dogs.

well unless you newer X series from sigs where you have a thumb safety and a whaletail/beavertail.

trigger? i shot a para LDA once... granted, my sigs are DA/SA so i cant compare. but then again... i havent shot one in years...

as for ammo, that's a whole thread in itself.

i suggest you start out with a 9mm. then go bigger afterwards.

shot placement is the key. who cares if you have a .45 and you can hit worth <bleep>...

Black Majik
10-14-2008, 12:44 PM
Thanks a lot Richard. What are the benefits/draw backs to the fixed versus adjustable sights? Also by short GI rod and plug you are referring to the trigger style? Forgive me with basic questions as this is really the first time I've been exposed to terminology and am learning as we go.

thanks

Hey Bob.

For a basic range gun, fixed sights are easier to deal with. They offer 1) no snag for carry 2) no sharp edges 3) no fumbling adjusting sights.

With factory loads, you should be pretty dead on.

Adjustable sight allow the shooter to adjust the sights depending on their reloads. It's usually not a concern if you're shooting factory ammunition. Also, some adjustable sights have sharp edges. They do offer very clean sight pictures however, great for target work.

The short GI rod and plug refers to the recoil rod holding the recoil spring. It's the assembly under the barrel inside the slide. There's a full length version, usually marketed to tame recoil due to the extra weight up front. It'll also help against spring kinking inside the dustcover (most forward of the frame hiding the spring assembly).

P.S. If you do buy a Springfield, toss their 2 pc guide rod. It can unscrew from recoil. Thus, the short GI rod and plug is usually recommended, for the simplistic folks like me. Less to fuss with and quicker to field strip.

Hope that helps.

P.P.S. Also don't forget to visit www.1911forum.com :)

NineteenElev3n
10-14-2008, 12:59 PM
Thanks so far everyone for opinions and welcomings. Some more questions if I may.

Does the barrel size matter if also might pull double duty as range shooting and home protection?

BlackMajik suggests a basic model. Is there a significant difference between them and the more expensive models to justify the price difference?

These are the models I singled out as the first round preliminary choices (no particular order). What are your thoughts on these?

Kimber:
Custom CDP II
Gold Match II
Tactical II
Eclipse II

Springfield:
Trophy Match PI9140LP
Loaded PI9132LP
Loaded PX9104LP
Loaded PX9151LP


On the subject of magazines, I've read that the ones Kimber provides are crap. What about the one's that come stock on the Springfields?

Also with regard to weight. The Kimbers are certainly lighter by 9-10 ounces depending on model. How does weight factor in to the big picture?

First, you heard right about the Kimber OEM magazines being crap. Since you are looking at 5" barrel Kimbers, you might want to consder the Kimber Custom TLE/RL II (http://www.kimberamerica.com/pistols/custom/custom_tle_rl_II/)? This model is cheaper than the Custom CDP II, plus it has an accessory rail to possibly mount a tactical light, ect. It is heavier than a Custom CDP II, but since it seems like you do not want to carry, the weight should not be a problem.

1911dude
10-14-2008, 2:02 PM
Just visited www.1911forum.com. Holy crap...information overload.

t0kie
10-14-2008, 2:44 PM
Hi Bob, welcome to the club.
I cannot tell you about all brands, but I have a Springfield Loaded , and so far I'm happy with it.
________
Mr. Nice Guy Dispensary In San Francisco (http://www.dispensaries.org/)

EOD3
10-14-2008, 5:58 PM
IMHO, given that you're looking primarily for a range and/or house gun I'd concentrate on a 5 inch barrel and adjustable night sights. The heavier gun will tend to mitigate the recoil.

As far as 1911 models, any of the factory "custom" guns will be quite suitable. The Kimber is my personal favorite but I'm tempted by the Sig 1911 too. I'm not a fan of the Springfield pistols.

The Sig 226/228 guns are very good but the trigger system is completely different.

Any of these guns (NIB) are going to be fairly expensive. Making a trip to one of the rent-a-gun ranges or tagging along with a more experienced shooter sounds like a good idea to me.

Just my BAC.

dadoody
10-14-2008, 8:18 PM
whatever you get, if you use it for home defense, mount a laser on that sucker.

duenor
10-14-2008, 8:44 PM
i have many handguns and 0 lasers. im not so sure im underarmed. but hey, it cant hurt.

BlackDrop50
10-14-2008, 9:36 PM
Kimber mags aren't great but they are alright. I use their KimPro mags and they work excellent.

Get a Gold Match II.

I got a Raptor II for my first 1911, love it, hasn't let me down, reliable, accurate, looks great, made in USA.

1911dude
10-15-2008, 10:00 AM
Thanks a lot for the help everyone. I guess I should find a shop and fondle their selection. I'm in San Diego. Any guns shops down here that carry a large selection of Kimber and Springfield? Where are good shooting ranges that have large selection of rentals? I noticed a range in Kearny Mesa that has quite a few.