When the subject of reliability comes up the Glock is HARD to beat. The design is or was very innovative. I’ve seen Glocks do some amazing things and withstand abuse that I have not seen another pistol even attempt. In the modern world I might even go so far as the say the Glock is the most reliable pistol made. Very high praise, no doubt; and I’ve owned at one time or another almost every model Glock made. And if reliability is the only criteria used then by all means you should own a Glock. That said; I’m a 1911 guy, through and through. Why you might ask? Well I will never fire 20k rounds through one of my 1911s without cleaning it. I will never abuse one of my 1911s in a manner that Glocks are so famous for withstanding; and quite frankly the trade off in trigger control and accuracy that must be given up in order to carry a Glock is just not worth it to me. Don’t get me wrong I still have the utmost respect for the pistol and the design; it is just not in line with my thinking. Of late, the thought process seems to be capacity is king and the more rounds you carry the better off you are. Honestly in a world where LEOs miss their targets with 80+% of their rounds this may be a valid thought process; just not mine. I come from an era where you practiced and became proficient with your weapon; an era where missing your target 80% of the time was completely and totally unacceptable; period. I do not and cannot prescribe to the mantra that the answer to poor marksmanship is to simply carry more ammo; send enough lead down range and sooner or later you’ll hit something. That is just ludicrous to me. It’s a personal choice and not one I try to push on other people.
So the 1911; let’s think about this enduring pistol. Designed in an era when hand fitting was the norm not the exception. Built in the medium of its day; steel. Try to remember or keep in mind that when John Browning designed this thing gunsmiths and assembly line workers were skilled labor. Each pistol was painstakingly assembled by hand; each part hand fitted for function. By today’s standards one could almost call it a work of art. So why then does the 1911 get such a bad rap? Well that is really quite easy. A factory 1911 doesn’t get hand fitted anymore. They are turned out by the thousands in much the same manner as a Glock is. A manner that was never intended for the design at hand. Why is this important? Well there is such a thing as tolerance stacking. You see when you remove the hand fitting, you remove the method by which Mr Browning combated tolerance stacking. So what is this tolerance stacking that die hard 1911 fans keep bringing up as an excuse? Very simply; when each part of any mechanism is designed it has intended dimensions and as part of those dimensions it has tolerances. Intended size, plus or minus; or put another way, as close as we can get it to the intended size. When several parts with these tolerances are put together some times, even though the individual parts are within tolerances the assembled parts as a whole are not; and you have a case of tolerance stacking. You can imagine that when some overseas company throws together a $500 1911 (remember that they threw it together for MUCH less than that) the concern for profitability far outweighs the concern for accuracy. In a nutshell you just CANNOT build a properly functioning 1911 for what you can build a Glock for. But then when choosing the means by which I protect my life and the lives of my loved ones $$ has never been one of the factors I calculate. Just can’t put a price tag on what any of those lives are worth.
So in conclusion, it isn’t that a quality 1911 can’t be built; just that in today’s world it can’t be built cheaply. So if money is one of the factors used and it is of high priority or if you rarely practice and need the capacity; you just can’t go wrong with a Glock. On the other hand, if you spend a lot of time with your gun practicing and doing drills and have invested (probably several thousand dollars) in a quality 1911 that has been hand fitted (as was intended in the original design) then you have a pistol that you can trust that will always have an edge in accuracy and trigger feel over the Glock.
EDIT: Pictured added just for fun