1911s for noobs
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:36 PM   #1
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Default 1911s for noobs

Thought I'd post a thread where us old hands to 1911s can share what we've learned in our journey with this venerable platform. Here's a couple of basics:

1. The 1911 is very magazine sensitive. Using cheap mags will almost always cause problems. Even the mags that come with new guns aren't necessarily good mags. I use Chip McCormicks for range work and Wilsons for carry. I have about 2 dozen quality mags and I generally throw the mags I get with a new one in a parts box.

2. When you first get a 1911, especially if you've transitioned from a plastic gun, make sure it's cleaned and lubed properly. Many plastic guns will run with absolutely no lubrication - 1911s will not.

3. Avoid the "customize it right away" syndrome. Shoot your gun and spend some quality time with it before you start thinking about tweaking it.

4. Buy the gun with the features you know you want up front - it's cheaper. Many folks start out with a GI gun with the tiny sights as they're the cheapest way to start. To add decent sights to a GI 1911 can cost you a lot more than the price difference between models. A Rock Island Tactical is only about $100 more than a GI - and you couldn't add all the features yourself for the price difference. Just getting the slide dovetailed to replace the front sight will eat up nearly all $100 you saved by buying the GI. The same is true for a Springer GI vs Mil-Spec.

5. Many, many 1911s run just fine out of the box. To be honest, I've yet to own one that is problematic myself and I've had a bunch of different ones in the past several years. This being said - read # 1. I only use TRUSTED mags in my 1911s.

These are just a few things I've learned in my travels - JD, Cane, stalkingbear, masterPsmith and many others should be along shortly to share their wisdom...

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Old 10-29-2009, 03:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NGIB View Post
Thought I'd post a thread where us old hands to 1911s can share what we've learned in our journey with this venerable platform. Here's a couple of basics:

1. The 1911 is very magazine sensitive. Using cheap mags will almost always cause problems. Even the mags that come with new guns aren't necessarily good mags. I use Chip McCormicks for range work and Wilsons for carry. I have about 2 dozen quality mags and I generally throw the mags I get with a new one in a parts box.

2. When you first get a 1911, especially if you've transitioned from a plastic gun, make sure it's cleaned and lubed properly. Many plastic guns will run with absolutely no lubrication - 1911s will not.

3. Avoid the "customize it right away" syndrome. Shoot your gun and spend some quality time with it before you start thinking about tweaking it.

4. Buy the gun with the features you know you want up front - it's cheaper. Many folks start out with a GI gun with the tiny sights as they're the cheapest way to start. To add decent sights to a GI 1911 can cost you a lot more than the price difference between models. A Rock Island Tactical is only about $100 more than a GI - and you couldn't add all the features yourself for the price difference. Just getting the slide dovetailed to replace the front sight will eat up nearly all $100 you saved by buying the GI. The same is true for a Springer GI vs Mil-Spec.

5. Many, many 1911s run just fine out of the box. To be honest, I've yet to own one that is problematic myself and I've had a bunch of different ones in the past several years. This being said - read # 1. I only use TRUSTED mags in my 1911s.

These are just a few things I've learned in my travels - JD, Cane, stalkingbear, masterPsmith and many others should be along shortly to share their wisdom...
Good stuff there.
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:26 PM   #3
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C'mon you 1911 folks - add some good stuff for the uninitiated...

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Old 11-02-2009, 01:49 PM   #4
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There are many things you can do to your 1911 to personalize and make it yours. A lot require little to no real smithing skilz. Some CAN NOT be done without expensive tools and years of experience!

BEFORE you undertake a project, ask!

AND TRUST ME ON THIS: If you are planing to do several changes, ONLY do one at a time! Make a list, prioritize it and then learn everything you can about the first change on your list BEFORE you start, or even purchase parts.

Many of us have been there, done that and have worn out the T-shirt! Please don't go off to invent the wheel, ask, we are here to help, not judge!

If you're still bull-headed, let me save you some money. I'll sell you the WRONG parts at pennies on the dollar and you can experience how bad an idea this change was! You will get the experience with out draining your savings account! I have drawers full of stupid must-haves.

ASK!

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Old 11-02-2009, 05:45 PM   #5
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The Colt 1911

colt1911gov.jpg

series_80.jpg

coltcommander.jpg

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Old 11-02-2009, 07:18 PM   #6
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1911's have remained a standard of pistols because of their simplicity and ease of operation. They grip and point naturally and their slim design makes them easy to carry.

Start off with the best quality 1911 you can afford. Get used to shooting it, get used to disassembly and cleaning and the mechanics of it. When you've mastered it to the point of it being second nature, then consider either modifications or stepping up to a more deluxe model.

I started off with a Springfield Mil Spec, shot it for a while and then sent it to Springfield Custom for some work and then to Novak's for sights.
My next 1911 was a Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special. It needed nothing. It was followed by a Dan Wesson Commander Bobtail or CBOB. That was followed by a Rock Island Tactical model. It was a piece of crap. I bought it because I wanted a beater pistol, it turned out to be junk and I sold it for a loss just to be rid of it.

My current 1911 is an Argentine 1927 Sistema Colt, manufactured in 1959. I had it customized by a semi-local 1911 gunsmith. I absolutely love it. It has everything I want and nothing I don't.

However, I will say that I miss the D.W. CBOB. I plan on acquiring another Commander, either the CBOB or a Colt in the future.

As far as asking us which one is best, that like asking what's the best flavor of ice cream.

So, if you're anything like me, you'll learn what you prefer by trial and error. Enjoy the ride, 1911's are historic and addictive.

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Old 11-05-2009, 09:34 PM   #7
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the only changes i ever make to my 1911 pistols when i have had different ones. is an extended trigger and grips.

when i was in the army i went and bought the trigger and grips i still have on my current 1911. i put them on my service pistol while i was in the Military Police and took them off when they switched us to the craptastic M9.

the 1911 i had in the military was made by the Ithaca company back during WW2. i still shed a tear to think what happened to that super smooth nice shooter. i tried to buy it but some stupid general bought it as a job lot no doubt to resale as scrap.

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Old 11-05-2009, 10:31 PM   #8
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Here is an excellent "How To" on stripping a 1911 and an outstanding animation of 1911 assembly:

1911 Disassembly: Field Strip

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Old 11-05-2009, 11:14 PM   #9
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the 1911 i had in the military was made by the Ithaca company back during WW2. i still shed a tear to think what happened to that super smooth nice shooter. i tried to buy it but some stupid general bought it as a job lot no doubt to resale as scrap.
My Dad's M1911A1 Ithaca that went from Normandy 1944 to Dachau 1945;

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Old 11-06-2009, 01:41 AM   #10
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Very nice Cane. If your Father is still with us, please thank him for his service for me.

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