1911 Reliabilty Question

Discussion in '1911 Forum' started by bighosscat, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. bighosscat

    bighosscat New Member

    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?
  2. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

    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...

  3. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    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.
  4. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    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 *** 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.

  5. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

    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. :eek:

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

    DinkyDauDon New Member

    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.
  7. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    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.
  8. General_lee

    General_lee New Member

    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.
  9. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    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 New Member

    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--
  11. bighosscat

    bighosscat New Member

    Thanks for all the input. I suspected that the individual reviews had to be blown a bit out of proportion. It is truly a shame that Kimber, Colt, etc build a $1000 firearm and include magazines that are inadequate.
  12. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    my colt current production mags work just fine.
  13. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

    The problem with new 1911s and particularly with new 1911 users is summed up in the first post they make after the cash has been exchanged for the gun; "Just got my new (fill in the blank) 1911, what can I do to improve her?" Most of the time this question is posted before the gun is released from purgatory. Want to improve your new gun? Then open the box and RTFM.

    This predicament is what I call P.E.B.T.A.H. (Problem Exists Between Trigger And Holster) and can be verified with statements like on my second clip (it’s a mag you noob) the gun jams. Really? You know there’s an issue and you have only run 14 rounds?

    Don’t do anything to, or complain about the “new” gun until you have run 500 rounds of 230 gr Ball (that’s Full Metal Jacket noob) ammo downrange. Don’t try HP’s, +P’s or anything other than what JMB designed the thing to shoot!

    Don’t shoot any of the first 500 rounds at a target located greater than 10 meters away. (it’s a gun test not a competition noob) Don’t clean it, don’t field strip it, do nothing but run a jag down the barrel to make sure there is no cosmoline remaining from shipping protection.

    If you don’t get the full 500 rounds done in one shoot, let it marinate in the soot and range sweat until you get back to the job at hand. OK, you can wipe the exterior down but don’t go inside yet. (you’re not ready noob)

    That job is NOT Break-In, it’s a new gun test to decide if you’re going to send it back to the manufacturer and have them make it right.

    This is the time to check for the following:
    • Does it feed with all the mags that came with it?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock on the last round?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock with only one round loaded?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock with two rounds loaded?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock with three rounds loaded?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock with four rounds loaded?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock with five rounds loaded?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock with six rounds loaded?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock with seven rounds loaded?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock with a full mag?
    • Does it feed and slide-lock with a full mag +1?
    • Where does the brass fall?
    • Does the gun feel solid?
    • Is anything found loose? Grips? Sights? Barrel?........
    • Yes, the slide stop/release is tight. (it’s a new gun noob)
    • Does it fire with the thumb safety on and the grip safety engaged? (do this sans ammo)
    • Does it fire with the thumb safety off and the grip safety off? (do this sans ammo)
    • Trigger take-up?
    • Trigger brake? It should be a surprise.
    • Trigger reset?
    • Does it shoot to aim?
    • Did you take notes?

    Shoot the snot out of it.

    You’ll thank us.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  14. thundrr1

    thundrr1 New Member

    Cane,,,, can I repost that on other forums, with your permission?

  15. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

    There are other forums? What are you talking about?

    What an odd request from someone with a handful of posts...:confused:
  16. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    How many posts would the magic number be? I would take the request to reprint as a compliment, personally.
  17. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

    ... and as very polite and respectful as well.
  18. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member


    If he wants to copy it somewhere else, technically he can just do it. It just seemed very odd that he is showing respect for Cane's opinion but has spent very little time in THIS forum.

    And isn't FTF the only forum worth anything on this topic? It sounds like he has toes in many ponds. Respectfully, though, I agree.
  19. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

    You mean til the barrel and slide are so hot you can't hold your hand on them?

    My Kimber has been there a number of time. :D

    HOSSFLY New Member

    If i may jump in once more i have to agree with that 100%
    I'm a old fart who belives JMB designed the 1911 to hold a 7 rd mag -
    Not 8 not 10 & dont even need any fancy "bumper pads" :rolleyes:
    My latest "ReDo" that i spent every dime i could afford on :cool: