1911 Buyers Guide, How to Not Get Ripped Off Video

Hey there, Youtube! I’m coming at you with a new video. This is all about checking 1911s. This is a quick guide for anybody who’s thinking about going out and buying a 1911 to give you some pointers, some things to check and look for.

This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive overview of a 1911. This is just meant to show you a couple of things that are important to look for.

First of all, whenever you reach for a gun in a gun store the clerk should have opened it for you or slid the slide back. He should have looked down in the chamber to make sure there’s no bullet.

If he hands it to you without checking, then that’s what you’re going to do. Pull it back and peer right down in there. See right down in the beautiful, nice chamber to see that there is no round in the chamber. Do not make sure the chamber is clear by looking down this end. You’ll look like an idiot.

Second, assuming the clerk has handed it to you this way, please don’t thumb it down. That puts a lot of stress on the internal components of the weapon. Instead, you’ll let the slide go forward. Give me one second. I’m doing this one handed. I know that’s pretty poor taste, but you guys have to bear with me.

You’re going to grab it.

It’s just like that. It’s very simple. If you let it go down, the clerk might get pissed. Don’t do it because it’s a dick move.

Our first test that we’re going to look at is called, “Muzzle to Bushing Fit.” There’s our muzzle. Obviously, there’s a bushing right there. This bushing is to make sure the barrel stays in line with the sights on the pistol. If the barrel does not stay in line with the sights on the pistol, then we will have inaccuracy.

Take your thumb and place it over top. Wiggle around the in circles. If you feel slack, clicking, anything like that, then you have a loose bushing. That’s easily fixed, but it’s something to look for. The gun shop might fix that for you, if you’re interested in the pistol.

Second, we’ll do a lock up test. Do the same kind of thing with your thumb. Push right on the chamber, straight down. If it moves considerably, more than a 16th of an inch is not okay. A tiny movement is okay. If it actually slides when you do that, then it’s bad. You have a bad lock-up, and that’s a sign of inaccuracy, as well.

Another thing to look for is slide-to-frame fit. You are going to grab and wiggle. You’ll hear some shattering.

Gun for Sale

That’s okay. It’s not bad. If it goes, “Clack, clack, clack, clack” real bad, then you should stay away from that one. If you find a Kimber that has a lot of that or another high end gun, then it’s probably been shot out and you should look for something else.

This is actually a brand new 1911. It’s not that bad to have a little bit of slop, like that. Everything in moderation. You don’t want too much slop going on. This is pretty close to pushing it. I’m not happy with how loose that is. The more room you have there, if it gets dirty, it won’t lock up on you. The tight ones will lock up on you.

The next thing you’ll look for is the sights. Go ahead and give the front sight a nice wiggle and see if that moves. Do the same with the rear sights. These are pinned. It’s pretty good. It’s nice to have.

Again, it’s clear. You looked at it and made sure. Don’t point it at the clerk when you do this. Alright? You’re going to point it at something that wouldn’t kill someone if it did go off. I’m talking about the floor. That’s about it. Point it down.

Notice how much room the trigger has to move back before I hit the engagement. It’s called take-up. It’s not a lot. I’ve got about an eighth of an inch of take-up. Watch how much over travel I have. Okay? I have almost no over travel.

This is a very nice trigger. That’s a hallmark of 1911s. Even the bad ones seem to have good triggers. Here’s something to look for. That hole means I have an adjustable over travel, so I can actually adjust this trigger. I can’t adjust the weight of the trigger, but I can adjust the over travel.

Next thing we’re looking for is our barrel to frame fit. We’re going to lock it open again. 

When we have it locked open, then we’re going to look down inside. Let me grab a flashlight.

We’re going to look down inside. Do you remember the chamber we got? I’m going to run my finger up the ramp into the barrel. I’m feeling for any rough spot where the barrel meets the frame. I don’t want a lot of overhang. You should feel the barrel in front of the ramp and the frame. That’s good. If the barrel overhangs the frame, then you’re going to have rounds that get caught. That’s bad. 

Next, we’ll look for how easily I can drop a magazine in.

With this test I have a magazine. I’m going to press the magazine release, and I’m going to drop this in. This should go all the way in.

Obviously, I’ve got a follower in there that’s keeping it from seating all the way.

This is another test. I’m going to press the magazine release, turn the pistol over and allow the magazine to fall out.

Don’t drop it on the floor in the gun store. Be respectful with all this junk. That means that the trigger bars around the magazine are not touching the magazine. That’s why it’s important to have the release pressed. Watch what happens when I don’t. 

That’s as far as the magazine goes. I have to push it the rest of the way. That’s fine. That’s what you’ll do every time you chamber a magazine. You don’t have to have this down while you push it in.

There’s no reason to have to do that. It’s just a test. 

There’s some other stuff to look for if you’re getting really serious. Check out the extractor. Check the safety.

Does it engage well? Is it slick? Is it too easy? You want it to be easy, but not too easy.

A race gun is going to be quick. It’ll be real on and off. It’s a race gun. It stays in the case, goes to the shooting range. That’s it. You might want the safety of a carry gun to be a little hard to put on and off. It’s up to you. It’s how you feel. Keep in mind that what you use the pistol for is important.

The last test we’re going to do is called the pencil test. I’ve misplaced my pencil.

What we’re going to here is move the camera. I’m going to drop a pencil into the pistol, down the barrel. This is to check the lock up.

Don’t pull the pistol because you’ll send the pencil flying. I’m going to take and push it. Watch the pistol unlock. It helps to turn the safety off. Watch the pistol unlock. 

You’re going to feel it. Is it clunky? Are there clicks to overcome or does it feel smooth? Don’t go by what’s happening right here. Don’t look at it so much.

Feel inside the pencil. Are you feeling clicks or pops? Are you feeling stuff like that? That might mean that there’s a bad lockup. The link pin might be too long or too short. Something’s going on in there. This one’s pretty good. It feels nice and smooth.

Let’s do the next part of this test. I’m going to tilt the pencil inside, this way. I’m going to push the lugs upwards. It’s the same test and same purpose. I’m just feeling to make sure it’s not clunky. It’s good.

You’re going to shave some shavings off. Don’t be too freaked out. If you do it with a pencil, it’s better because they don’t do it as much.

Be respectful. If the clerk doesn’t want you to do those things, don’t do those things. These are some good tests. Check out your 1911 that you’re trying to buy because it is a big purchase.

If you’re just getting into 1911s, the last thing you want to do is spend $400-800 or more on a pistol that’s junk. Don’t get taken. There are just as many dishonest people as there are honest people out there. Do your research. Check for what you want. If you want a carry gun, then you might get a commander size like this. You might get an officer size which is even shorter.

This is a four and a third inch barrel. They’re usually four and a quarter. It has a little extra length past the bushing. The commanders are usually about a four and a quarter inch. They have the same from here back. The governments are the full five inch. The old 1911 A1s are like that. The old officers are shorter, still. They only have six or seven rounds in the magazine instead of eight rounds. They’re another quarter of an inch shorter than this.

Think about what you want it for and have fun! 1911s are like the Legos of handguns. There’s so much that you can do with them. They’re a lot of fun. If you just want one for customizing, then maybe these tests will help you find one that’s in operational condition. Then, you can change out the grips, the safeties, the hammers and the sights. Have fun with it!

I hope I didn’t talk your ear off. I hope you found this informative. God bless America. This is Schroeder. I’ll see you all later!