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bighosscat 12-20-2010 04:49 PM

1911 Reliabilty Question
I am an owner of several double action handguns in many calibers, including 45 acp. I have decided it is time to become an owner of a 1911 type pistol. As I read online reviews of both 45 ammo and 1911 style handguns, a number of the reviews mention problems with cycling, ejection, etc. It seems that no price range is immune to this problem.

How common is this issue with 1911s? Are my concerns merited considering this new purchase woud be a daily carry pistol?

NGIB 12-20-2010 04:53 PM

Lots of folks carry 1911s every day. Much of the bad press surrounding these guns is due to cheap magazines. Most factory mags are basically junk - not sure why but they are. Some 1911s are sensitive to JHP ammo - especially the "flying ashtray" design but not all of them. The bottom line is a quality 1911 from a reputable manufacturer with good magazines will generally be as reliable as any other handgun. I have a number of 1911s and I trust all of them...

JonM 12-20-2010 05:09 PM

on top of what ngib said a lot of of the issues with 1911 comes from the gun owner limp wristing or sever flinching which will throw the recoil impulse off and cause misfeeds.

new manufacture colts will feed anything. both my new agent and series 70 will cycle empty cases. there isnt another semi auto i have in my collection that will cycle empties.

colt redisgned the feed ramp/throat of their barrels and the results in reliability and the ammo it will eat is amazing. if you get a close view of a new make colt compare the throat/feed ramp area to a kimber or glock or whatever its very different.

i wouold stack my colts against any da auto for reliability.

i cant say the same for my springfield A1 altho so far my 1944 issue ithaca 1911-a1 will also feed empties and havent found a hp round it wont eat.

Dillinger 12-20-2010 05:41 PM

My first 1911 was a Kimber Custom II that is now floating around the forum here with a new owner. :p

Before it, I carried a Sig for years. I had a little shooting session with an older guy who schooled me in our shoot off and then he gave me a brief instruction on his 1911. I fell in love and have never looked back.

The only 1911 that I have personally had problems with is the Kimber 22lr, all aluminum that I got for a training model and that was a three fold fix: A stronger spring & a better magazine, which made the third problem I was having ( dirt a residue from shooting cheap range ammo ) a non issue once the new parts were in place.

I have shot a lot of them. Nowhere near as many as NGIB, but I have yet to see a 1911 that wasn't built by some half ass wannabe gunsmith that didn't function correctly when it had quality mags, quality ammo and a quality shooter owning and maintaining it.

I have carried a 1911 for going on 9 years now, been through thousands of rounds and would not think of reaching for anything else in need of a handgun.

Good luck, do some research, and I am sure you will be most happy with the purchase. They truly are still popular after over 100 years of production for a reason.


CA357 12-20-2010 05:51 PM

As has been said, there is a reason that the 1911 is still in use today. Unless the pistol has been messed with by an idiot that was clueless, any 1911 should be good to go.

However, you do get what you pay for.

Sometimes a pistol, any pistol will require breaking in to operate 100%. The parts need to mate through use and the pistol will sometimes not function to its ability until it's had several hundred rounds through it.

I've owned a number of 1911's and all ran fine except for one that was a pure lemon. I got rid of it promptly. Unfortunately, lemons sometimes happen. :o

Every other 1911 I've owned proved reliable and accurate. Most often, the problem with a 1911 is crummy magazines.

DinkyDauDon 12-20-2010 06:10 PM

I go along with what has aready been said here. I carry one everyday...have nine of them (working toward an even dozen)...would feel confident betting my life on anyone of them. If I've gotten a lemon, I got it fixed or got rid of it.

CHLChris 12-20-2010 06:51 PM

The only problems I've had (much less experience than most 1911 owners 'round here) are related to magazine. I give a magazine 2 range trips to prove themselves.

If a magazine malfunctions on a range trip, I set it aside and do NOT use it to carry. When I go to the range again, I take that magazine and try it out. If it malfunctions again I say adios!

Some people switch out springs and followers. For me life is too short. I'm very Darwinian about my magazines. Function ALWAYS or you get whacked.

General_lee 12-20-2010 07:23 PM

I have two Springfield 1911s, one I've had for about a year and the other one probably 6-8 months.
Both have performed flawlessly so far with JHP, SWC and FMJ ammo using Chip McCormick and KimPro magazines.
IMO the 1911 design is one of the best, if not THE best pistol ever made.
Like others have said before me, most of the feeding problems you get with a 1911 are due to bad magazines. Stick with high quality magazines and you should be fine.

danf_fl 12-20-2010 08:08 PM

Mags are the biggest problem with the 1911, followed by poor maintenance or repairs. When you consider that the number of matches shot with the 1911a1, the number of 1911a1's carried for defense, the years the 1911a1 has been around, I would venture to guess that not too many people really have reliability problems with it.

HOSSFLY 12-21-2010 01:05 AM


The bottom line is a quality 1911 from a reputable manufacturer with good magazines will generally be as reliable as any other handgun.
That truly is the bottom line :cool:
I've owned dozens of 1911's over 40 yrs & i dare to say if any problems occured with any of them 95% was mag related--

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