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Old 08-22-2009, 11:15 PM   #1
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Default Best and worst

I'm interested to know what your picks are for best and worst 1911 manufacturers, don't just post horror stories about a lemon you got one time, I mean actual brand names that the collective consensus has come to conclude is a good or bad manufacturer.

My top three;
Kimber
Para-ord
Springfield

Why?
These companies make the best average bang for you buck pistols out there, and even though they've had a few issues from time to time and some other companies make fancier-high end examples and others make cheaper low cost models, their quality vs. cost ratio is what I would consider fair and balanced.

My bottom three;
U.S.;
Thompson/Kahr
Detonics
AMT

Why?
Over the years these companies have been more hit and miss than a blind man at an IDPA match!

Import;
ANYTHING from the Phillipines or China
(don't get me started on the B.S. about their metal quality supposedly being better than most U.S. guns, I'm a tool&die machinist and it's all B.S., trust me on this one)
I'm not particularly fond of Brazillian Tuarus' either, but I'll leave them alone since there is such an overwhelming concensus that Brazillian made Springfield and Tuarus guns are great (which I have a very hard time believing due to my past experiences with them, notice I did include Springfield in my top three).

P.S.
Interesting note, right now I only own Colts and so does my dad, (I'm not counting my home built guns) notice Colts were not listed. Colt almost went on my bottom three due to the same reasons I listed under the other U.S. manufacturers, but Colts nearly century long history of making the 1911 non-stop and their reasonable pricing saved them from being rated by the somewhat spotty reputation they have gained the last two decades.

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Old 08-23-2009, 12:33 AM   #2
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You're certainly entitled to your opinion. There's always a problem with what's best and what's worst as it's completely subjective. I've probably owned over 2 dozen 1911s in the past few years of most of the major brands. Honestly I've never had a bad one that didn't do what it's supposed to do.

I don't understand your disdain for the PI and Chinese made guns. Rock Islands are very good pistols for their price with great customer service and lots of supporters. Norinco's are among the few brands that the custom 1911 smiths will use for "build" guns. This is a fact, not an opinion. While you say the steel quality & strength is BS, many, many other highly respected 1911 gurus disagree with you.

Spend a little time on the dedicated 1911 forums and you'll see that every brand has it's good and bad points - just depends on what YOU are looking for. You chose Kimber for the top spot on your list yet they probably have more "bad press" than all the other brands combined. I have a 1st series Gold Match and it's a fantastic gun but many later models Kimbers have problems with rust and "weak" finishes.

The bottom line is the 1911 is a fine platform and there are many good ones out there. Right now I only have five, Colt, Kimber, S&W, Springer, and Norinco - and they all perform as they should.

Question for you mr1911, how many do you (have you) personally owned and spent time with and what brands were they?

Here's a link to a thread on the m1911 forums that discusses the steel quality used by Norinco. Pay particular attention to the post by the administrator of this forum. I tend to like research over opinions...

http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.php?t=15245

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Old 08-23-2009, 02:02 AM   #3
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Before you get to proud of your Norincos, you should know that this company also sells the following to countries such as Iran. Who inturn sneaks them across the border to be fired at our troops, me included.

ETA: I'm like to add that I think this company is not the norm for China, alot of things are made in their country that are just fine, (although I'd like to see our trade deficit more balanced).
Norinco, is what I'm talking about. It gets pretty demoralizing to have these weapons fired at you, (complete with the their markings)., and then see people in your own country supporting them.

# QBZ-95, an assault rifle
#Norinco-designed QBZ-95 rifle.
# QBB 95, a squad automatic weapon version of the QBZ-95
#Type 56, a clone of the Russian AK47
# Type 86S bullpup assault rifle
# Type 88 sniper rifle
# Type 69 RPG anti-armor rocket launcher, a clone of the RPG-7
# Type 98 anti-tank rocket 120 mm anti-tank rocket system

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Old 08-23-2009, 02:12 AM   #4
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Where do SW1911's fall into the mix?

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Old 08-23-2009, 02:14 AM   #5
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LOL,....sorry didn't mean to step on some toes, just looking for some friendly exchange on where people stand on what particular brands.

I've owned about a half dozen 1911s and shot/handled/inspected at least a dozen or more various brands.

I have built a few 1911s over the years too. Being a tool & die machinist with a degree in manufacturing technology gives you quite a critical eye and feel for what goes into a pistol that most people tend to miss completely, it's just the nature of the work.

As for the 1911 forum post, that was EXACTLY what I was reffering to, I've read the forum posts on Chinese and Phillipino steels for years and can tell you that what really needs to solve the debate over them is a sample inspected by a RELIABLE metallurgist. I've machined import steels that were labeled as "XYZ" steel and can tell you that China, the Phillipines, etc. can call it "ordnance or tool steel" all day long and it doesn't make it so, the U.S. and Europe, even Japan have MUCH higher and/or different quality control standards for what qualifies as "XYZ" steel, the same goes for heat treating/surface hardening,...etc, etc.

Sorry for my "opinion", I know they really are annoying when they differ from YOUR own OPINION, but I wasn't trying to start a fight, I guess the mods can delete this topic if it's a problem.

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Old 08-23-2009, 02:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gojubrian View Post
Where do SW1911's fall into the mix?
The only reason I didn't mention S&W as a top pick, was I think they are slightly over priced for what they are and I've never liked the external extractor, I was really glad when Kimber finaly went back to the G.I. spec internal extractors.

P.S.
I'm allways amazed how touchy people get about any critisizm of their Norincos,...it doesn't bug me one bit to have someone critisize my ol' rattle trap beater Colts,....I'll join right in with 'em and joke about it,......LOL!
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Kimber
Para-ord
Springfield

Why?
These companies make the best bang for you buck pistols out there, and even though they've had a few issues from time to time and some other companies make fancier-high end examples, their quality vs. cost ratio is what I would consider fair and balanced.
Well, I don't have a 1911, but it will be my next purchase. I was settled on getting a kimber pro cdp II, but $1200!! Sheesh, it's hard to come up with and stuff keeps coming up!!

Now, I'd really like to keep it under 1k.

What do you think about S&W's or Sigs? Where does colt fall?

BTW, being a machinist myself I can respect your opinions.
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr1911 View Post
The only reason I didn't mention S&W as a top pick, was I think they are slightly over priced for what they are and I've never liked the external extractor, I was really glad when Kimber finaly went back to the G.I. spec internal extractors.
Is the external extractor some sort of quality issue or just a personal preference?
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:06 AM   #9
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Gojubrian;

I was waiting to see if my good friend "mr kimber" was going to comment, he has possibly one of the most factory perfect custom II's I've ever seen or shot, but I'll let him discuss that.

Right now after the Obama hysteria, Kimbers seem to have been jacked up price wise at the dealer level, so even though normaly I would recomend getting the Kimber custom, I would now recomend the newly introduced Para-Ord "G.I. expert", it is a serious best buy in my opinion at only $600.

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Old 08-23-2009, 04:18 AM   #10
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Gojubrian;

S&Ws are used at "GUNSITE", SIGs are used buy some of our military shooting teams they are great guns, just a little higher priced than I'd like.

Colt is making some decent guns as allways and prices are fair, but it'll take a BIG change in the companies attitude toward production and comercial sales before I would recomend one as a first 1911.

Now forgive me, as it is my "opinion", but for a first 1911 I like;
Kimber "custom",
Para's new "G.I. expert"
and Springfield's old stand buy the "mil-spec" pistol, note: this is NOT the same as a Springer "G.I." model, the "G.I." is a little rough around the edges,...tends to need a lot of tunning and finish work, but if you are a machinist like me you might enjoy it.

I like the G.I. extractor not because it's the way "John Browning wanted it", as some think, but as a practical point it's a one piece internal unit, very trouble free once properly adjusted. The external extractors (which were actualy on an early prototype) are multi-piece and external, lots of small pieces to break, jam, get lost, etc. in a combat situation, notice that Kimber abandoned them and went back to the G.I. unit.

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