Friday, October 8, 2010

Regarding the 1911 vs. "X" etc.

The content below is made up of 1/2 forum posts and 1/2 updated text to make it read better here without the other posts present to piece it all together.

I don't know why exactly, but some people act like the 1911 platform had somehow managed to pour sugar in their gas tank while simultaneously lighting a bag of poo on their front porch and soaping their windows.

We've all seen the "Which 1911" threads, or the "1911 vs. "X"" threads, and my favorite "What's so great about the 1911?" threads. But what I just don't get are the folks that just can't wrap their heads around the fact that some people just like 1911s, we like how they shoot, we like how they carry etc.

Yes they are heavier, yes they have lesser capacity than other guns, yes they have those "funny" things called safeties, yes they are usually carried with an evil, menacing, ominous cocked hammer but for whatever reason it's what I shoot best.

Those things listed above don't bother me. Back in 2003 when I came back from the Gulf, my Dad lent me several pistols to take to the range and try them out to see what I liked as I was to be applying for my Concealed Pistol License (CPL-Michigan ). I had a Glock 22, a Smith 4506, a Colt Light Weight Commander and a J-Frame.

Of them all I shot and liked the LW Commander the best. Shortly after taking my CPL class I moved to PA and applied/received my Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms (LTCF). My first pistol was a Para P16-40 which is a Government sized 1911 pattern pistol with a double stack magazine chambered in .40S&W and held 16rds of .40. It didn't last long as a carry pistol, it was just too big of a gun. But for the better part of the last six years I've been carrying some variant of 1911 pattern pistol. Along the way I've carried many other guns as well. Sig, Glock, Springfield XDM, S&W J-Frame etc. I have a wide variety of guns to choose from and of all of them I still like the 1911 best and perform the best with it, the XDM is a close second.

Now with all that being said, some will totally disregard it and claim that I am just being sentimental, compensating for something because I like the .45, or some other rubbish. As for why I like the .45ACP, it's not that I'm enamored by it's girth, it's that I like 1911s and for me (and according to others more in the know than I) 5" 1911s in .45ACP run best. I've had a bunch of 1911s, 3", 4", and 5" and had a couple of them in .40. I've had single stacks, I've had double stacks, I've had Light Double Actions (LDA) and traditional single actions. In other words I know a thing or two about 1911s.

A couple of weeks ago a thread was started titled "Why Carry a 1911 over a Glock or XD. Now without even getting into the grip angle of the Glock or the lower than average opinion of the XD in general (I like mine by the way) what gets under my skin is why is it always the 1911 being questioned?

Why is it always the 1911? How come no one harps on the Sig 220 or 220 SAO? Those are larger heavier, single stack .45s, one of which has a thumb safety. Why is it not the Hi Power which is larger than a G19 with less ammo and has a thumb safety? Why is not the single stack S&W models with the safety/decocker?
Why is it not the HK P7 which is smaller than a 5" 1911, but about the same weight (8oz diff) with only 9 rounds of 9mm? How come it's not the Kahr line with their limited capacity and weight in the steel frame selections?

Did I miss the memo somewhere that excludes the above from scrutiny?  Lets not even wake the revolver aficionados by harping on 5-8rds and the slowest reload in modern handgunning.

Back to the 1911, the only "fault" of the 1911 design is the capacity, yes it's less than "X". However it's still the same as other popular carry guns listed above. How come no one is bashing the G36 for it's limited capacity? Because it's slimmer than the other Glocks? That can't be because that would mean that it's OK for the 1911 to be slim...

 The weight, the weight makes for nicely balanced, easy shooting firearm. I would much rather shoot a lot of rounds through my 1911s than my G21, and again why does the 1911 earn so much disdain for it's weight when there are plenty of other models out there that are equally heavy. If the weight is an issue for some, don't carry it, it's a choice made. the weight doesn't really bother me but after a couple of days of carrying the G21 I can see the appeal of a lighter firearm.

 As for why carry the 1911 over "X" I offer the following:

Regarding thickness:

When carrying IWB every bit of slimness helps and comparing the 1911 to a .40 or 9mm isn't exactly apples to apples, lets compare slide thickness of a Glock 21, 30, or 36 to a 1911 and tell me it's "just a bit thicker"

And when comparing grip thickness, it's not the width of the grip, but the overall shape, the 1911 is more oval shape while double stacks are more squared, those with smaller hands will have an easier time wrapping their hand around a 1911. There were some pics of a 1911 compared to a Glock or an XD illustrating the difference in grip shape, but I can't find them any more, I'll take some later tonight.

The Trigger:
The trigger is very, very, sweet. Nothing this side of a super slick double action only can touch it. If Glock had a trigger as smooth and crisp as a 1911, I don't know what I would do.*1

The Ergonomics:

 Everyone has different hands and the 1911 fits them all or at least it seems to me that it does. Before the Gen4 Glocks came out, my wife couldn't hardly reach the trigger on one, not the case with a 1911 and that's even with a long trigger and full thickness grip panels.

The 1911 points and shoots very easily and has a lower bore axis than an XD. 

Yes the 1911 requires a little more upkeep, one poster made reference to a 1911 rusting up within a year of carry which is laughable. You need to maintain your gun. Rust after a YEAR is not the guns fault. Lack of maintenance can't be blamed on anyone other than the user. Sure the Glock finish is more durable than standard bluing, that's why blued guns are not preferred for carry. THEY RUST EASILY. Of course other finishes (when properly applied) are going to be more resistant to the elements than others. Now that being said, some 1911 makers have more rust issues than others and some use better finishes than others. But that should be taken into account when purchasing one. Also the early M&P auto had some rust issues, as well did the HS2000 (pre XD).

Sure the 1911 is a little more complicated to take apart to the bare bones, but that doesn't need to be done every time the gun is cleaned and the basic field strip is not that complicated until you get into the goofy models requiring take down tools to facilitate the removal of the recoil spring assembly, but those are not found on all 1911s and should be considered when making a purchase. Bottom line is that it's not rocket science. And in all honesty the 1911 is not that hard to strip completely. There's no roll pins and other than the grip screws and bushings no tools are required to break the gun down pending on exact configuration.

Next up was a post from a member whose opinion I actually seek in some matters, but when it comes to the 1911, he has an almost comical dislike.

"Every issue of every gun mag doesn't have a BHP or P7 on the cover. There aren’t 1,000 page catalogs of Kahr aftermarket parts. There aren't "demotivational" posters out there disparaging every firearm on earth except the 1911. People don't have aneurisms if you criticize most gun designers, but if a disparaging word is ever said about the Sainted JMB, you'd better have on your kevlar Under-Roos. In short, nothing comes close to the cult of the 1911 in terms of exaggerated history/performance, blind devotion, uninformed worship, and general "mytholog-izing."

When SO MANY people are SO VEHEMENT about the 1911 being the one and only handgun that a “real man” would carry, a few “real men” are going to take exception…"
Sure there are many fans of the 1911 platform, but very few say the 1911 is the one and only. Even OD (if you're a member of any 1911 forum worth it's salt, OD is there) who is probably one of the most fanatical, and I mean that in a good way, doesn't run around saying that "Only real men carry 1911s", if anyone were to say that and actually meaning it, not just in jest, I'd probably ban them on general principle for being a dunce, deliberately dense, or a troll, and that goes for any brand/caliber combination out there.

And regarding the near saintly opinion of JMB, Gaston's crowd is growing. One member actually made  a picture of the apes circling the Glock ala' 2001 a Space Odyessy  and was very happy with what he accomplished with it. Sorry guys, but comparing yourself to an ape in awe over a black box...never mind, not going there, lets just say that the Glock has almost the same devoted following as the 1911. When the Missus reported that she had a couple failures with her 4th Generation Glock 19 the :"IT MUST BE YOU!: crowd came out in full force despite lots of reports about the new dual spring design being a little much for the 9mm.

And ludicrous aftermarket gadgets? Ghost trigger kits, magwells, stainless guide rods, spring kits, grip reductions, aftermarket frames, barrels, slide releases, mag catches, grip sleeves, etc. What's missing from the 1911 catalog other than dead sexy grip panels? So much for Glock perfection as almost every Glock I've seen in competition or training class has almost all that crap listed above slapped on it, an "improved" trigger kit would probably be found on every Glock at my local IDPA club.

I could care less if people want to bash the 1911, one could rant up one side and down the other about how inferior it is till they're blue in the face and I'm just going to point and laugh at them. for trying to argue "Which gun is better" it's seriously comical.

All I ask is that people make their own decisions based on actual experience, don't know if the thickness will make a difference? Try one. Want to see if the trigger is all it's hyped up to be? Try one. Want to lecture about how they carry? Carry one for a few DECADES like some have.

I'm no fanboy of any genre, make, model, or caliber, I am a fanboy of GUNS in general and try to give them all a fair shake and try as many different platforms as possible. I've got/had the XD, the Glock, the HK, the Kahr, the service revolvers, the Hi Power, the Sig, the J-frame, the pocket guns, the .380s, the 9mm, the .40 and the .45 as well as the legendary .357 magnum and for me, the 1911 just fits me best.
Every now and then I try something new just to see if I like it better. I tried the Sig 220 for about 3-4 months, shelved the 1911s and shot/carried nothing but the Sig, after those 3/4 months were up I took one of the 1911s to the range and still shot it better and liked the way it carried compared to the 220. Right now I'm sipping the Glock water and getting acquainted with my G21SF till my Nighthawk is done, I'll continue to carry the Glock and shoot it at the local matches and see how I like it*2, but as of right now the only things it offers are 5 more rounds in the mag (50+% more) and it's lighter. The capacity of the 1911 doesn't bother me here given the crime stats for Iowa, if I were back home in Detroit or an area with higher gang activity, I'd probably favor the G21 or the XDM-9 with it's almost never ending magazine. And the weight isn't really a factor unless I start walking the 24 miles to work and back or on lengthy shopping trips with the wife and kid where I am carrying more gear than I did in Iraq.

I guess the thing that gets me is that people are so stuck on themselves and can't see past their own noses to really GET the fact that just because they like "X" and not "Y" doesn't mean that "X" works better then "Y" for others and then have to start a thread on it when all this has been posted I don't know how many times, on I don't know how many forums over the years and the answers haven't changed and probably never will. Why can't they just take 30 minutes of personal reflection on "How does "X" compare to "Y" and why might that be good or bad?" I mean seriously is it that hard to figure out?

Then again, most people on gun forums can't figure out how to drop a deuce while carrying without starting a thread asking how to do it or want to argue about killer zombie dogs from mars and would would be best to dispatch them.

*1: Regarding the 1911 trigger, yes it is short, yes it is crisp but the thing I like most about it is that a jerked trigger with a 1911 doesn't seem to throw shots as bad as other triggers and at some level I'm just lazy and don't want to, can't afford to, or don't have the time to devote myself to learning a new trigger style. I've been trying with the Glock 21SF using an Advantage Arms conversion kit, but it's just not working out well for me (The Glock, not the kit, I love the .22 kit it works very well) which leads us up to *2: As mentioned in the after action review (AAR) of my Langdon Tactical class I shot the Glock 21SF along with my Baer TRS and the 1911 is still going to be my preferred piece. And if you're wondering why I went with the 21SF if I am not enamored with the .45ACP, it's simple, I had a ton of .45 ACP on hand and it's what I all ready load for so it just made sense.

I would also like to add that during the Langdon class I was no slower getting my 1911 into play than anyone shooting a Glock, M&P or HK30, I did not forget to remove the safety and in all honesty I only remember removing it once during a left handed drill. The only thing that set it apart from the other guns at the class is that I had to reload it more.

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