Shopping for a 1911 - What Should I Look For? - M14 Forum

M14 Forum

Shopping for a 1911 - What Should I Look For?

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 ...

Go Back   M14 Forum > Gun Forum > Handguns

LinkBack Moderator Tools Display Modes

Old December 28th, 2016, 03:24 AM   #1
Platoon Commander
Medved11's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: East Coast
Posts: 459
Shopping for a 1911 - What Should I Look For?

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

Medved11 is offline  
Remove Ads
Old December 28th, 2016, 03:35 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: USSA, NJ
Posts: 83
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

Thanks from XXIV Corps and Medved11
Zerstoren77 is offline  
Old December 28th, 2016, 03:48 AM   #3
Platoon Commander
mb3's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Jupiter FL
Posts: 486
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.

Thanks from Medved11
mb3 is offline  
Old December 28th, 2016, 05:42 AM   #4
Wasted ammo's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: GA
Posts: 3,204
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.

Wasted ammo is online now  
Old December 28th, 2016, 06:13 AM   #5
Harleystoo's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 2,065
Ditto to the above posts.

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.

Harleystoo is offline  
Old December 28th, 2016, 06:35 AM   #6
Old Salt
Thedutchman's Avatar
Join Date: May 2014
Location: State bird: Loon
Posts: 1,833
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.

The below Companies manufacture series 70 1911's.

Wilson Combat
STI (Texas)
Ed Brown
Les Bear
Dan Wesson
Rock Island

STI: those plastic triggers really bother me.
Smith & Wesson makes good wheel guns, I don't like their 1911's.
Please don't buy a Kimber.

Thanks from Medved11

Last edited by Thedutchman; December 28th, 2016 at 07:00 AM.
Thedutchman is online now  
Old December 28th, 2016, 06:58 AM   #7
Dodgin' The Reaper
Hgunner's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 6,401
What is your Budget?

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).
Ambi- Safety
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?
Adjustable sights.
Night Sights.

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.

Hgunner is online now  
Old December 28th, 2016, 07:22 AM   #8
Automatic Rifleman
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 164
A Pony on the slide!!

kentosan is offline  
Old December 28th, 2016, 10:28 PM   #9
Old Salt
WaM14gunner's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Washington
Posts: 1,208
I have a Colt full size in .38 Super and love it, its the Enhanced model of some years ago. I also more recently got an STI Commander .45ACP. Excellent pistol, very accurate and reliable.

WaM14gunner is offline  
Old December 28th, 2016, 10:54 PM   #10
No social life
m14brian's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: The Pyrite State
Posts: 11,860

Awards Showcase

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.

m14brian is offline  
Old December 28th, 2016, 11:04 PM   #11
Platoon Commander
pupulepeter's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Anywhere
Posts: 547
You can't go wrong with a Springfield. The TRP is an excellent weapon. I buy the mil spec model and have it done to my specifications by SACS or a reputable custom shop.

pupulepeter is offline  
Old December 28th, 2016, 11:08 PM   #12
Earthquake's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sandy Valley, NV
Posts: 4,539
A big hole in the pointy end and 7-8 round mags!


Thanks from XXXMarine
Earthquake is offline  
Old December 29th, 2016, 03:46 AM   #13
Old Salt
Kid Sopris's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Star, Idaho
Posts: 1,197

Awards Showcase

There are a lot of 1911 platforms to choose from. The average person cannot tell the difference in the Series 70 versus the Series Firing Systems. Most of the Top names have been named:

In the Kimber line, I think the Gold Match II is a better buy for the money :

Sig Fastback Carry Nightmare is also a fine choice.

Colt offers many choices from Competition Series, Gold Cups, 1918 Reproductions and polished Bright Stainless in .38 Super just to name a few.

It really boils down to $...What is your budget ?

Thanks from Majikani
Kid Sopris is offline  
Old December 29th, 2016, 05:19 AM   #14
Scout Sniper
Majikani's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: South Florida, or offshore GOM
Posts: 790

Awards Showcase


Some excellent options in this post!

Majikani is offline  
Old December 29th, 2016, 07:23 AM   #15
Platoon Commander
Alibius's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: central New York
Posts: 445
"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.

Alibius is offline  

  M14 Forum > Gun Forum > Handguns

Moderator Tools
Display Modes

Similar M14 Forum Discussions
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1911 Parts & Tools CASINOMICK PX 1 June 4th, 2010 04:52 PM
Crimson Trace Laser Grips, 1911, LG401 Ontos PX 0 January 2nd, 2010 12:51 PM
My 1911 Odyessey - Nighthawk Talon Range Report djl4570 Handguns 5 March 29th, 2007 08:19 PM

Top Gun Sites Top Sites List