“Why Should I Want a 1911?” Video

So it’s been a while, but I’m going to try to kind of do a little something different and answer a question that I got in my inbox, oddly even though I never check it. So don’t tell anyone.

About a 1911, someone who’d answered to some comment I made about, why don’t you buy a Glock or something cheap, and they said, ‘Well, why would you ever own a 1911 when you can have a polymer pistol for so much less.’

Everyone who’s seeing this is likely going to know exactly why I would say buy a 1911, and I don’t know why you would give a shit what an anonymous person on the internet says about what to buy. Buy whatever makes you happy, but I’m going to tell you exactly why 1911s makes me happy. So I brought in one gun to compare this to, and I did safety check these so thanks all you silly nannies that want to make sure everything is super safe. I’m not going to waste three minutes going through each chamber of everything I have on the table to deal with it.


Here’s a Glock 21. It’s an awesome one. This is one of the new fourth gens. So you have the newer stippling on it.   Again I’m not a super technical guy. I’m going to be rattling all this off my memory. So don’t expect a parts catalogue for any amazing specifications.

This actually I think twelve rounds of .45 ACP. If you’re talking practically, I see no reason to not get a Glock or a similar gun. I personally don’t like M&Ps by Smith & Wesson. I think they’re kind of floppy in the trigger. I don’t like the two segment thing that they have going on. I don’t love them. I really did like it when we first had one to test and I played with it a bit. Since then other things have come out. Glocks have gotten better since their redesign. The XD, I really do like. There’s something about the aesthetic. I love XDs. I like to shoot them. I like to carry them. The odd like bling ring mag that they have that’s all silver is a little off putting, and for some reason it doesn’t have that panache some of these other ones do.

I’m a civilian. I’m an amateur shooter. I don’t really care much about getting super tactical stuff. I can appreciate something that’s tactical and effective for what it is, but for me personally I don’t plan on ever to actually use any of my weapons in a defensive purpose.   So my primary philosophy on all these is usually collecting. Granted you know a 21 is going to be my bedside gun, but that’s because I have the luxury of P&T where I can kind of check out a weapon from the library at any time and dick around with what I want.

So if we were talking you have a couple hundred bucks and you have to spend it in a way that’s really perfect and you don’t really want have to spend any more money and that, I would recommend a polymer pistol. There’s really if you’re pressed to get something else, unless, and this is the big asterisk, because it is your money and you can do whatever the hell you want to with it, you really like something else. If you really like a 1911 for the reasons I’m about to show you, go ahead and do that.

So I’m going to be rotating a couple of these. Keep in mind my camera is kind of flipped around. So I’ll have my Italian hands telling you stuff. You have so many options with the amount of parts when it comes to a 1911 that you can really create an aesthetic for each gun independent of all others. So this one is a Sig XO, it’s a really cool one, and you can kind of see some of things that set it apart from the others. It does have like the Trijicon night sights on it, which are really cool. It has the rail. It’s a foreign steel one. I think those are rosewood grips, really good aggressive stippling, the solid trigger on there, external extractor.

The thing that I love about 1911s is they have this time piece quality to them that few other fire arms still have. It harkens back to a time like the other favorites in MI Grand or old 1903 when guns were made out of like wood and steel and iron and they had this soul to them. You shoot it and it has such character, and it just feels different then the stuff they churn out now. Everything about the sound, about the function, about the feel of a firearm, how you handle it, the trigger pull, in a 1911 it kind of takes it and makes it a more visceral precise exercise like this one. I’m going to kind of rack these slides and give you a little pause of silence so you can listen to how different it sounds.

I’ll just drop the mags and do that.

Listen to how solid that sounds and compare it to a Glock.

It has a little more of a hollowness to it and that is because it’s on an empty mag, but it’s more mass produced. Everything we’re making now is smarter than ever. It’s all better to produce. It’s quicker, it’s cheaper. It’s a more efficient use of materials. The 1911 what was in its time a good idea. Back then they were doing the best they could, but still it takes a lot of machining processes to bring an unfinished slab of metal into what a 1911 is. That’s why it’s so damn cool.

So here’s another one. This is actually kitbash. This is a 1911 PD Smith & Wesson slide on one of their stainless frames, I think it’s stainless. Again, I’m not super up on my terminology. I didn’t really prepare for doing this so I don’t have notes to go off. This is one that I’ve slapped together just out of two Smith & Wessons. Here’s its twin.

This is the PD’s scandium frame with that one slide, and these I kind of leave in this configuration for me and suspect to go shooting together when we do that. I do like the idea of them kind of being faded together. It’s cool that they’re halves of each other, and I don’t know. To me it’s kind of cool, especially when we’re dealing with family guns. Because the 1911 has such panache and character to it, it is kind of an heirloom gun, more so than some of these others things.

I do have heirloom that are polymer ones. I have old freakin’ 80s and 90s Glocks that we’ve passed down to our family. They’re awesome, but they still lack that vibe. Granted we do have a West German Sig P226 that combines in my opinion the best of the practical real world, you know the tactical guns, with everything I love about the old world machining.

Every 1911 can be different. It harkens back to a time, and a good weapon from a more civilized age, when you could have your own personalized version of whatever the peacemaker is of its day. For the 1911 you have a frame that you can change. You can have whatever color of frame you want. You can have different slides. You can have different kind of cuts. Are they one direction? Are they two direction? Do you have in the front? How wide are they? How well spaced are they? Do you have an external extractor, internal extractor? What kind of hammer do you have? Do you have like the full on spur hammer? This is actually my favorite kind. I love them when they’re dual tone like that.

Do you have an extended beaver tail? Do you have one of those funky hump back straps? What kind of stippling do you have on it? What kind of mags are you running? Are you running an extended mag release? Do you have for whatever reason holes in the trigger to lighten it up? What kind of trigger weight do you have? What kind of, I already said mags, but what kind of mags? What kind of sights to you run on it.

All these are things that you can really change each little component and make that 1911 your own. You can customize it in so many ways that it really becomes a reflection of what you find either beautiful or super functional in a firearm, and it’s so easy to shoot. It’s an old style single action trigger. You just pull it and it fires. You can tune it really well. It’s crisp. It’s a joy to shoot. Yeah, it’s freakin’ heavy. It’s a boat anchor when you compare it to something a little leaner and meaner, and I’m just using this as a stand in. Again it can be any one of the polymer guns you want to.

You’re going to have capacity with this. With these you’re hard pressed. Maybe you’re lucky enough to get like a Kimber. That’s a 10 round mag. It never really works that well. I think this is a Wilson. That’s a Wilson combat mag, 10 rounds. Maybe you can rock one of these in there. Maybe you get an even eleven out of it, and you’re pretty happy with yourself. In our experience you’re going to have to function text these, though, and make sure they actually work in whatever your set up is. They seem kind of finicky in some of them. I know the Sig XO really hates that chamber mag. You give up capacity, but you gain whatever it is you feel in it. Maybe you feel that you’re such a better shot with the 1911. Maybe since it’s like a life preserver gun since it’s not your primary arm, you feel comfortable with carrying that in addition to something else.

For most of you guys you’re going to be range people. This is a fun gun, like all your guns are. You can pretend it’s for home defense. You can pretend it’s to fight off some kind of crazy red dawn invasion. In reality it’s likely going to sit in your safe for six months out of the year. You take it out. Take it out with your kids. Have some fun and it goes back in there. You own these to love and care, and it gives you hobby, and I think part of the gun collectors’ obsession with the 1911 is it’s never already done for you. You can get one off the rack. This is my personal one, and I’m trying to make these thumps as I’m moving these around as quiet as I can for you.

You can get a gun like this one. This is a Brazilian Taurus PT 1911 aluminum model. I got this back in ’07 I think for about 600 or 650 dollars, maybe five something back then. This one is my personal one, and I would almost say it’s not done. I have yet to meet anyone that’s like, yeah I’m completely happy with the way this 1911 is set up. You’re always eyeballing the tiny little parts and seeing what you can screw with and really change. I will throw in a plug for the 1911, at least this one if you haven’t seen it. There’s an old, older view on the fancy’s main channel where we did this one and kind of did a little bit of the process of durra coating it.

I think you get a lot for your money with the Taurus. You will notice the workmanship on it is not quite up to par with some of these other ones. Like if I were to grab this Smith & Wesson Pro series, this thing blows it out of the water, and this is even destroyed when it comes to like the jewel like precision and the Swiss obsession with precision and love, even though they’re not Swiss at all. If you look at something more up market, like a STI or Les Baer or Wilson or something like that, this is almost in some ways a mid-range, even though to me I find it super high priced. This is the fiber optic sight one. It’s a joy to shoot, and you can hear the difference in lockup.

The frame and slide fit on that is spectacular, and I really don’t know how you could get much better. Compare it to kind of sloppier sound, and I know it’s completely subjective. It doesn’t matter what it sounds like. It matters how it performs, but you do notice this spring tension on this is a little bit less. It’s a little bit lower. It almost feels like it’s tuned more towards reliability to make up for less craftsmanship. That’s a completely baseless accusation, but you get a lot with it. You get this nice little trigger. You get all the cute looking stuff that the upmarket ones have. So this isn’t going to be your biggest one out the door. You don’t have like the straight blade trigger. You don’t cheesy sights on it. I think you get a great amount for your money. Notice how much ticker these slides serrations are compared to some of these more upmarket ones. I think they do that because it’s easier and cheaper to do like three and make sure they’re not screwed up as opposed to like machining 20 in a row or something like that. Again, I’m pulling this out of ass. I like it though. This is the one I can afford. This is the one I run on.

A side note on the durra coat. I personally wish in some ways I hadn’t done it. It filled in a lot of the checkering and the serrations on here. So it really lost that tactility and grip. Even though it’s still there, it just doesn’t have as much pull as it used to. I did swap out the safety. It did have kind of a really sloppy on the old one. You can hear the snicks on here.

Where’s if you compare it to this one, it still sounds a little bit sloppier.

There’s a little bit of play on the end of that travel. I can’t really figure it out. I’ve tried doing different combinations of springs here and all that. I’ve just kind of given up and let it slide as is. At the time, I ended up having to go to a single sided safety. It was the only thing I had in the parts bins, and I didn’t really shell out for more. That is an aftermarket hammer on here. The old one had the trigger lock on it that really sucked.

So the 1911 is a reflection of its owner. It is easier to carry so say some people. I’ve never been able to fully carry this thing. I am about 5’9”, and I don’t have the body real estate to hide this form. I’ve tried going sideways. I’ve tried kind of throwing it and canton in all these different angles. I can never get it to a good easy to hide point. That’s just the way it is.

Other guys really love them. They carry their full sizes all the time or they have their short and framed ones. I am trying to figure out how do an aftermarket slide and make an alternate upper for this so I could just run a shortened on it. No luck there yet, but in all, the 1911 is everything we love as hobbyist and firearm enthusiast. You can always mess with it. You can always change the parts. It takes a lot of craftsmanship and work. It’s like owning a fine watch or a fine automobile. It surpasses all of the mass produced flotsam that you see on the market, and there are cheap ones. They’re even cheaper than Tauruses. They’re like little Philippines produced ones, but somewhere someone is devoting hours of their life to making that gun work, maybe not hours and hours on one. It’s probably assembly lined and all that, and they can churn them out at a rate that I would probably surprised at. The underlying thyme is still there. It’s a gun that takes a lot of work and forethought and manufacture and there’s craft to it that some other things are losing.

As a single defensive weapon, I’m not so sure about how comfortable I would be with it. I would make do. Again it’s very unlike I’d ever have to use anything defensively, but freakin’ eight rounds, maybe eleven if you get one of these nice bigger mags, eleven to 45, that’s still pretty damn good. As someone who carries a revolver from time to time, it’s doing better than I am now. It’s really easy to shoot, so you can make the argument of, well I can put eight rounds of .45 on target quicker than 20 of nine. It’s really up to you. Everything in this business is more about feel than it is statistics as much as we want to pretend. It’s all about wound channels and how effective this round is. For most of you guys, you know, if you take this out to work or you go to a movie or something and you come back home it doesn’t matter. You know, it’s the one out of a million times that you want it to work and you want to make sure that whoever is attacking you is not going to be attacking you after a couple of slugs of .45 in him. So whatever, it’s a little bit off topic.

That’s why I would buy a 1911.   I would buy it because it’s a celebration of everything I love in firearms.

Doodle, signing off. See you around.

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