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NGIB 03-15-2010 12:30 PM

The 1911 trap
On my local GA forum today are 2 adds in the swap & sell section for basic 1911s with a bunch of stuff hung on them. No mention of what gunsmith did the parts fitting so I'll assume the work was done on the kitchen table (that's where I do mine). They are asking prices high enough to recoup their investment and it's doubtful they'll get anywhere close to what they have invested. Anyway, thought I'd post something I posted on my local forum which gives an insight in my 1911 adventures from the early days.


Yup, anyone that knows me also knows I'm a serious 1911 fan. Once you've shot one, no other trigger feels as good anymore and nothing seems to point as naturally. Once you've decided to make the leap, you're now faced with a bewildering array of choices and prices, from $400 to over $3000. Many folks decide to just dip the old toe into the 1911 pool and start out with one of the budget GI models, which is where I started with a Springer GI - bought used for $379.

Next, some "buddy" gives you a copy of the Brownell's 1911 catalog - and now you're screwed for life. There's an endless array of stuff available for 1911s but the gadgets add up fast. Back to my Springer GI...

The tiny sights didn't work well for my old eyes so this was going to be my first upgrade, once my hand quit bleeding from the hammer bite. No, mine didn't have a beavertail either so that was going to be on the list as well. I also contemplated on buying a good shooting hat as the non flared & lowered ejection port tended to throw hot brass right at my face - yup needed to fix that as well. You see where I'm going I hope - to make my budget gun something I enjoyed shooting was going to cost $$$ and effort and at least 1 trip to the gunsmith to get the ejection port fixed and the dovetail cut for the more choices for a front sight.

About this time, one of my shooting buddies had a hankering for this Springer and I realized it would be cheaper and easier for me to buy a gun with the features I wanted - so I sold it and bought a Springer Loaded. I didn't fall into the trap as I could have easily spent a couple hundred bucks fixing the one I had which would have put me in the Loaded price range anyway - but at sale time all I would have had is a customized GI model. It's very difficult to get the cost of gunsmithing work and accessories back out of the gun at sale time - kind of like hanging all kinds of stuff on your basic Ford truck as it will always be a Ford truck.

Now many folks prefer the basic GI guns. I tend to prefer something a little bit more refined with a few more features. The nice thing is the 1911 platform allows us each to have what we want out of it. My one piece of real advice in all this rambling is: it's usually cheaper and easier to buy the 1911 with the features you want than to add them yourself. (Yeah, someday I may build one just for giggles but that's for later).

Anyway, this explains why I generally recommend a Rock Island Tactical as the best entry-level 1911 - they have all the bells & whistles I mentioned and are priced reasonably...
Now, if you're building one for yourself and have no intention of selling - have fun...

canebrake 03-15-2010 12:44 PM

Tough to beat!

NGIB 03-15-2010 01:08 PM

I'm actually throwing a few $$$ at the RIA I got last week - but I know it will still be just an RIA. The trigger had some slop so I tried all the different triggers I had in my parts box and none fixed the issue. I suspect the trigger "channels" in the frame are slightly oversized so I ordered a trigger with an adjustable bow. While I have it apart, I'm going to fit a Commander style hammer and reshape the factory grip safety for clearance.

It's fun to tinker but you have to realize that the value added is for yourself alone...

NGIB 10-13-2010 03:13 PM

Thought this old one deserved a bump...

Sarge43 10-13-2010 10:53 PM

You mean that I'll never get my money back out of the BeastBob? :eek::D
Don't care, that's one that my grandkids will have when I get around to having grandkids.

CA357 10-13-2010 11:02 PM

Yup, that's the truth for sure. I've had the basic and I've had the better. The better is better. ;)

I know that my old Sistema will always be only a Sistema, but I knew that going in. So, no harm, no foul. However, it's my default handgun and it's tailored for me. ;)

NGIB 10-13-2010 11:09 PM

The only point I was trying to make is that you CANNOT turn a Rock Island into a Nighthawk - no matter how much $$$ you invest. If you intend to keep it - great but don't ever expect to sell it for more than a new Rock Island Tactical.

And Sarge, I don't think your gun really fits the topic...:D

CA357 10-13-2010 11:20 PM

I don't think a custom DW fits the criteria either. :p

NGIB 10-13-2010 11:26 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I got these lime green grips from Scubie - I think I fell into the trap and landed on my head. They are really comfortable though...

canebrake 10-13-2010 11:34 PM


Originally Posted by NGIB (Post 367919)
And Sarge, I don't think your gun really fits the topic...:D


Originally Posted by CA357 (Post 367928)
I don't think a custom DW fits the criteria either. :p

No but I think it would fit my hand just right Sarge!

There is no value to an heirloom, just ask me what I want for Dad's Ithaca M1911A1.

Canebrake Defender-----$1500

J.P. Sauer & Sohn 20ga side by side-------$10K

Ithaca 1943 M1911A1-------Priceless!

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