This is a discussion on Shopping for a 1911 - What Should I Look For? within the Handguns forums, part of the Gun Forum category; I've decided that I want to buy a 1911 and I'll freely admit that I'm a bit overwhelmed by the available options. I'm hoping that ...
I've decided that I want to buy a 1911 and I'll freely admit that I'm a bit overwhelmed by the available options. I'm hoping that guys with more experience with them can give me some advice in terms of what I should look for (and look out for) in terms of quality?
What I've figured out so far, from handling different models at my LGS, is that I'm leaning towards a full size frame and one with ambi controls (I'm left handed). I haven't set a price range for myself yet, but I'm thinking along the lines of "buy once, cry once" for a reliable gun.
Out of the 4-5 models that I looked at, the Sig TACOPS and the Colt Marine both felt the most comfortable in my hand. The biggest difference that I noticed between these two is that the Colt trigger had a little more take-up than the Sig did. Other than that, they both felt very comfortable in my hand.
Any advice is greatly appreciated in terms of what I should be looking at in terms of build quality/reliability is greatly appreciated
Pay attention to the options. Know what kind of sights and grip safety you prefer. I think the best bang for your buck is a Dan Wesson, Les Baer and/or STI. I've been waiting since August for my pistol permits (NJ) to clear so I can finally take possession of my Ed Brown custom and STI tactical double stack. It's been an agonizing wait, especially through this past weekend. Good luck
Either the Sig or Colt would be a great choice. I have the Colt RG and love it. My only complaints were it didn't come with night sights, and the main spring housing was made of plastic. Both easy fixes but you would have to figure that into your budget. I have shot a Sig 1911and thought it was a great gun. Finish was exellent and it handled good. In regard to the take up on the Colt, I think the trigger may be adjustable via a set screw in the trigger, or by adjusting the bow.
As you have been told both colt and sig would be great choices. I personally have a sig scorpion full size. I love it came with night sights already on it. There are several custom 1911 makers out there but prepare your wallet. Les bear,ed brown, nighthawk,Wilson combat. To name a few.
Bottom line is go with your gut and don't settle, get the one you really want/like the best.
Two guns not mentioned are S&W and Kimber. As to Colts, I would stick to Model '70s and earlier. Another issue you did not mention is color/composite. Many guns made now-days are built light weight; as if you are carrying concealed (more carrying than shooting). Personally, I like ALL steel. .45ACP does beat up an alloy and/or stainless frame, more than carbon steel. Smith made all steel guns when they came out in 94/95. Don't anymore. The early Kimbers (made in OR) were all steel, and some of their current NY guns.
Another issue is the series '80 junk they put in firing mechanisms. This was a firing pin disconnect that Colt came out with, and many manufacturers copied. Kimber sells 1911s in families (government size 5", Commander "Pro" 4.25", "Ultra" 3"). The SIS family, which was made for only a couple of years, was all steel, ambi, non-firing pin junk, and night sights. You can still find them for under $1000. Grips can be easily changed out to fit your hand, as all the full size 1911 frames are the same size.
There is over 100 years of 1911s to talk about. Then there is the bobbed-tail (I believe Ed Brown designed this modification), which has been adopted by Dan Wesson and Sig.
My Recommendations In that order:
Wilson Combat: If you are going to carry one I suggest getting one without the word "combat" on it for legal reasons.
Ruger : I own 3...I love this pistol. (Series 70) No Firing pin safety. Watch below for the difference.
Colt: I own 1.
Springfield: I own 2.
SigSauer: makes a great 1911 but they are series 80 1911's.
RIA: great for the money.
Personally I wouldn't even consider a Kimber.
Their build quality is just so hit and miss, also they
use a lot MIM parts and are over priced.
You pay for that Glossy advertising not for a good quality product.
S&W and Sigs have external extractors, they are 1911 look a likes, not true 1911s. Of course you have the if its not a Colt its a copy crowd too...
Buy once Cry once, then look at Les Baer as a minimum (personal favorite),you can contact Crazy John at 1911 Heaven for a good price.
From there Ed Brown, Guncrafters Industries (personal favorite Crazy John also sells these) Nighthawk, Wilson or a independent smith built gun.
I have heard Dan Wessons are good and they get good reviews but I have no personal experience with them.
On the lower end I'd stick with Springfield Armory or Colt.
But there is still the chance you will be crying.
Colt has done better of late quality wise but there was a
time when it was absolutely terrible.
Also on their more expensive offering they don't offer
what should be standard features, like Front Strap checkering.
Also consider the options you want.
Checkered Front Strap (is a must for me).
Style of Grip Safety and fit.
Rail? Personally I have no use for them on a 1911, makes it front heavy and throws the balance off.
Flush cut and crowned barrel?
Flush cut slide stop?
I would also take a look at the 1911Addicts site, it caters to more of the custom 1911 crowd. Sometimes there are some great deals to had with people selling high end 1911s if you don't mind used.
The Sig or Colt would probably do you fine and would be the starting point as well as a good Springfield Armory Loaded model 1911. A TRP is a good step up, a Les Baer or Ed Brown as said already are high end guns, treat yourself right if you can. A Wilson Combat would be an outstanding choice as well.
Keep in mind, you can get the Sig or Colt now too if you're on a budget, and get a better trigger job done later as well as many other mods. All MIM parts can be replaced.
"What I've figured out so far, from handling different models at my LGS, is that I'm leaning towards a full size frame and one with ambi controls (I'm left handed)."
Not for nothin', but unless you are left-eye dominant, try shooting your 1911 with your right hand (as it was built to do) for awhile. That's what I did and found that I could shoot about the same groups either way (all bad). Now I carry and shoot mine right handed.