From Glock to 1911...a 2010 odyssey

Discussion in '1911 Forum' started by CHLChris, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    I see my firearms as each filling a particular need. When I recognize a new need, I buy a new firearm.

    I'm up to 6 need categories: Full-size pistol, Tiny carry pistol, Revolver, SD shotgun, SHTF zombie rifle, SHTF small-game rifle. I haven't bought guns to fill a couple of those needs, but I'm working on it.

    Right now my Full-size pistol category is being filled by a Glock 19, 9mm. For lots of reasons I've decided that 9mm ain't gonna cut the mustard. And Glock is just not the platform I desire, if I indeed have only one gun for this need.

    I am someone who believes in listening to those more experienced than I, and weighing their advice against my limited personal experience and add it to my voracious reading on the topic. Based on this I have decided two things:

    -I need to drop 9mm and move to .45ACP
    -I need to drop Glock and move to the 1911 platform [not brand-specific yet]

    Follow me on my odyssey to my first 1911. I'd love to hear any input you have.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  2. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    I just sold my Glock 19!

    Woohoo!!!!

    I've got a hole in my bedside safe the size of a 1911, but the wad of cash is very much on its way to filling that hole.

    I also put up for sale a bunch of tacticool accessories (light, laser, high-cap mags) so I can put it with the other proceeds.

    I'm serious about getting the right one for my first. It sure won't be the last, and my first certainly won't be the best.
     

  3. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Calling for Canebrake!

    I found one for sale that looks really interesting.

    It is a Colt Combat Commander for 'bout $800. Here is the description:

    [​IMG]

    Cane, you actually sent me some information on this gun, based on the photo and the seller's description. Would you share it with the forum? It was extremely helpful and exceedingly generous. You have been a huge resource. Your irascible manner is strong, but you are always focused on teaching. Thanks!
     
  4. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    That's a good looking Colt and priced well also. My personal preference for 1911s is Springer but you can't go wrong with Colt. I've owned nearly ever brand except for the true custom shop guns like Nighthawk and Ed Brown and at the 700-1000 level the choice is really personal preference.

    Just my 2 cents, but for your first I'd recommend a 5" government model...
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  5. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    It looks good. I do not have the extended slide release on any of my 1911's. My thumb has the tendency to ride or interfere and the slide will not lock back.
    The shorter slide needs to have the recoil spring changed more often than the 5", but you should be okay.
    Congrats.
     
  6. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

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    The Colt Combat Commander is a good pistol. As an investment they never drop in value unless the owner does something terrible to them. I've had a couple of thm adn they where really good shooting pistols.
     
  7. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

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    I wasn't born liking the 1911. My first pistol was a Beretta and the first one I bought for myself and carried for years, was a Sig.

    That said, once I got to a point where I was open to learning about the platform, and learned to shoot one, the 5" 1911 is the only pistol I would want in my thigh rig should the shi*te hit the fan. :D

    I think if you shoot a couple of them, and you are open minded, you will find that it really is a timeless piece of genius.

    Good luck in your search!

    JD
     
  8. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    Got a PM from Chris asking my opinion of this Colt. Of course I said Buy it, it's a Colt!

    The following was my response:


    Chris,

    This is not a new gun. If you can get me the s/n I can get the born on date for you. They discontinued maufacturing them in 1996.

    Is this a FTF sale? (Face to Face) Looks like he bought it and changed his mind after a half-box of ammo? Look him in the eye and ask him if he has had a problem with the 25 rounds he fired? His body language will speak volumes over his words. If it's over the phone, listen closely to his answer. Either way if he says no, and there is a problem, you've got him in a lie.

    If its a FTF sale do it at a range allowing you to shoot the gun before purchase. If its a long distance sale include "gun final sale subject to test firing" and see what he says. Get this in writing.

    From the NWF Post: Colt Combat Commander .45 with a bunch of work. Very nice shooting gun. All work was completed by Robar. Trigger job, Ed Brown safety, beveled mag well, lower and flare ejection port, wilson rod and bushing, among other things. Selling with all my factory .45acp ammo I have for it 474 (one box half shot) rounds in all.​

    First, the ammo is worth $200. That means you are getting this colt as a straight trade for your glock. IT IS MEANT TO BE!

    I don't know what you have in your glock but this gun is usually priced (premium) ~$900 NIB. IMHO, in good condition AND with the additional options it would hold its value used.

    Blue book rates this gun, if in 100% LNIB, at $800.

    As for the Robar work, here's the price list:

    Robar Price List

    Did he say if the gun was finished by Robar, or just had smith work done? If the ejection port was reworked it would need refinished. That could run anywhere from $100 to $400 depending the type and extent of the refinish.

    Here's the gun as built by Colt:

    [​IMG]

    And the one for sale:

    [​IMG]

    1. Rear sight change. ($140)
    2. Ed Brown Beavertail Grip Safety w/palm swell. ($35)
    3. Hogue grips. ($25)
    4. Ed Brown Extended Thumb Safety. ($35)
    5. Extended Slide Stop. ($65)
    6. New SS Mag Release. ($30)
    7. New Skeleton (Long) Trigger, Robar Trigger Job. ($130)
    8. Wilson Guide Rod and Bushing. ($50)
    9. Robar Flared and Lowered Ejection Port. ($75)
    10. New Mags. (-$50 for missing Colt mags)
    What to look for:

    Send me your email addy and I'll send you a thorough, "How to buy a 1911" article.

    cane
     
  9. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Of course I responded immediately: "Please send me that article!"

    And the article you sent me, Cane, had really great information that you even added to. I bet others would like to get a gander! Thanks for that personalized description of the pistol I was interested in.

    As it turns out, though, the fellow decided he didn't want to sell. So as soon as Cane got me drooling for this Colt I had in my sights, it was ripped away. That's the way it goes. Something I am learning is that there are LOTS of great guns out there!
     
  10. Angry_bald_guy

    Angry_bald_guy Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    If you're still looking, you may want to give Rock Island a look. They are about the most inexpensive on the market and they have WONDERFUL customer service. Being as cheap as it is, you won't be afraid to get it dirty or to scratch the finish up a little. My first gun ever was a Plain Jane GI Rock Island, and I plan to get a compact from them for concealed carry too.
     
  11. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    e-mail to Chris;

    This is an excellent procedure. There are a few additional “canebrake” items I like to do. The following is a color code to my editorial additions.


    That is the ultimate test < This is an example of my emphasis added.

    (This may, or may not…) < This is an example of my added editorial.

    You may want to bring your own (mag) along for this check < Items to take with you.

    xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/
    MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2010

    Checking a Used 1911 with a Purchase in Mind
    There are many advantages to buying guns used. Not only is the price lower, but the selection is more varied. You can often tell the functional quality of the gun by examining wear patterns on it. It is not uncommon for the seller to allow the buyer to shoot the gun. That is the ultimate test, and no NIB gun seller can match it.

    Prelude: Make sure the pistol is unloaded. Lock back the slide and check the chamber. Put a finger on top of the magazine follower and across the chamber. Look again. Make sure the pistol is unloaded. During all of this inspection process, keep the muzzle in a safe direction.

    #1 CHECK ORIGINALITY. (This may, or may not be a show stopper. Only the buyer can make the call.)

    Know what the pistol should look like. Know what the markings on the frame and slide should be and where they should be located. There are many mix master pistols out there, and some are quite good. Essex is not a secret Colt foundry in Area 51 though. Non-original small parts that can be rectified do not necessarily lower the price of a pistol, nor do well installed aftermarket parts that work right if the buyer wants that modification. However, they do show that someone has been monkeying around with the pistol, and other inspections should be carried out more stringently. On a collector's piece, they DO lower the value, and should have replacement cost deducted from the price accordingly. We are talking buying shooting pistols here though, not collector's guns.

    #2 CHECK FOR DAMAGE

    The seller should let you field strip the pistol. If he does not, pass on it. Period. There is no reason to refuse this on a used gun except to conceal damage.

    Once inside the gun, bring the frame and slide rails up to eye level and check them for straightness like you would a piece of lumber. A bulge on both sides of an area means this gun has suffered a KaBoom. Likewise, run the barrel between your fingers, checking for bulges. Check the bore. Check the barrel and slide lugs for damage and peening. Check the barrel seat for proper fit and signs of impact. Check the breech face and barrel hood for peening. Check the slide for cracks at the beginning of the recoil plug tunnel. Check the frame for cracks at the beginning of the dustcover and the slide stop hole. Some guns with a hole where the rear of the slide stop enters the frame will be cracked in the frame rail above the hole. This is so common that many newer guns have the rail cut out here. A crack in this area is not a cause for alarm in a shooter, but can be a bargaining chip on the price. It is easily repaired by cutting out the crack. Look for signs of an incompetent person using tools inside the pistol. (Dremel zombies) The finish should show normal wear on the rails, breech face, barrel and slide lugs, and other moving parts. Holster wear is OK. In fact, it is a common sign of a gun that works as advertised. Signs of impact from tools, especially around the right slide stop hole are signs of incompetent monkeys with tools in possession of this pistol. A stripped magazine lock screw is a sign of the same.

    #3 CHECK FUNCTIONS

    The slide should pull back easily, without any change in resistance along the length of its travel. It should lock back quickly and positively with the magazine inserted.

    Try this both with and without the magazine checking for smoothness of travel.

    A Wilson Combat or genuine Colt magazine should insert and lock positively, and fall free upon release, without resistance. It should not rattle in the gun. You may want to bring your own (mag) along for this check, as used guns are often sold with cheapo magazines. If the gun has an extended ejector, the magazine should not touch it when inserted.

    Ask if it is OK to release the slide from slide lock. This will not harm a 1911 if not done over and over. If it is OK with the owner, remove the magazine with the pistol at slide lock. Place your left thumb on the slide lock and release the slide. The hammer should not follow the slide. Check this one more time. Then, with the hammer still cocked and your finger off the trigger, try to push it off the sear. If the hammer falls in any of these instances, the gun is not safe to load with live ammo until repaired. If the seller balks at this test, pull a snap cap out of your pocket to perform it with. The test will not be as stringent with a snap cap, but if the gun fails with a snap cap, it will certainly fail without one. If the seller balks at the use of a snap cap for the test, pass on the gun.

    The thumb safety should snick (To cause (something) to click) on and off without resistance in either direction with the hammer cocked. The hammer should not move when engaging the thumb safety. Once engaged, press on the trigger a couple of times with the grip safety depressed. Then raise the rear of the pistol up to your ear and slowly pull back on the hammer. Listen for a little tink. (A sharp, quick sound) If you hear this sound, the thumb safety is allowing the sear to move on the hammer hooks while engaged. Replacement of the thumb safety or sear will be in order.

    The grip safety should not allow the trigger to be moved when not depressed. When depressed, it should offer no resistance to the trigger.


    Depress the grip safety, pull the trigger back and hold it. Release the grip safety. Then release the trigger. The trigger and grip safety should both pop back out quickly and smoothly.

    With the hammer cocked and thumb safety off, use your weak hand to hold the slide about 1/8 inch out of battery while pulling the trigger. The hammer should not fall. If it does, the disconnector is worn or monkeyed with, and you may be holding a full auto 1911.

    Ask to dry fire the gun. The trigger should release the hammer at a poundage suitable for your likes or greater. Greater poundage than required can be reduced without parts replacement. Making a light trigger heavier often involves new parts. The trigger should be smooth throughout its travel, and the sear should break cleanly. Once dry fired, lock the slide back and take a look at the breechface. The firing pin should be retracted.

    Insert a Bic-Stick type ball point pen into the barrel, plastic end first. Cock and drop the hammer with the barrel pointed straight up. The pen should fly out of the gun at least two feet. Any less is a sign of a weak mainspring, or a sign of firing pin damage.

    #4 CHECK FITTMENT

    On some pistols, such as a Colt, some lateral movement of the slide in battery is acceptable. Unless it is a match grade top of the line gunsmithed pistol, it is expected. The pistol may rattle a bit if shook vigorously from side to side and still be accurate. Other pistols, such as a Les Baer are expected to lock up tighter than Fort Knox.

    The rear of the slide should blend smoothly into the frame. Neither the ejector nor the extractor should be above or below the surface. The trigger should not flop around sloppily in its track. The magazine release should be flush on the right side with a magazine inserted.

    Many people evaluate barrel lock-up by pressing on the barrel hood in battery. Movement is considered to be bad. While a firm lock-up is nice, of greater importance is whether the barrel returns to the same location with each slide cycle. The muzzle end of the barrel should not move within the bushing. The slide should not have wear on the muzzle end that passes into the dustcover on recoil. (But most do!)

    #5 EVALUATING MODIFICATIONS

    If the pistol has any modifications, they should be well done. I look at the fit of aftermarket grip safeties, especially the way the lines of the pistol was blended into the line of the grip safety. If the rear of the frame has humps in it where it was blended, the gunsmith did not have an eye for quality. The gap between grip safety and frame should be no greater than the thickness of a piece of paper. The grip safety should not rub on either side of the frame. (But most do!)

    If it has an aftermarket bushing, I remove it and check that for fit too. A correctly fit bushing should not require a bushing wrench for removal. It should not require a hammer for installation.

    Aftermarket extended thumb safeties should snick on and off without mushiness or resistance. I check the underside of the left side of the slide to see if the thumb safety has been battering it. The apex of the thumb safety should be at least 1mm below the slide at rest.

    An aftermarket barrel should have no peening on the hood, or the lugs. The slide of such a gun as well as the frame should be checked as well. A well fitted, quality aftermarket barrel (assuming good rifling) is always a plus for me.

    Look at the sights. Quality sights with a professional installation are a big plus for me. Sights that look like Bubba bought them on sale at a gun show and installed them with a rock are not. Adjustable sights that are off center make me wonder why.

    A refinished gun is not necessarily an indicator of a worn out gun. Many pistols are refinished after customization is completed. Some finishes, such as hard chrome enhance the durability of the gun. Others like a home baked Gun Kote job may not last long. One thing to consider is that a refinish (assuming it's not 24 kt. gold) should never add to the cost of the gun, but a bad refinish can subtract from it. A good finish is expected. The same applies to grips. If the price is being jacked up because of them, ask to buy the gun without them, unless they are factory ivory. If you want them, and they are not ivory, they should not add to the price of the gun. Ugly or dinged up grips subtract from the price.

    A non-original full length guide rod and an extended slide stop are red flags to me. (Meh) They tell me the last owner did not understand this pistol very well. Conversely, a pistol that came with a FLGR but now presents with a GI set-up tells me the last owner knew the gun. Known cheapo aftermarket parts (they are easy to spot) tell me the last owner had a ghetto mentality about the gun.

    Often I will be told "This gun was done by (insert name of renowned 'smith")". (Like Robar, if no paperwork, it didn’t happen and shouldn’t add to the cost of the gun!) It pays to be able to recognize quality work, and to know what different people's work often looks like. Suffice to say, a gun that has passed through a renowned gunsmith's hands should have an appearance and function several degrees above what the factory puts out, regardless of who makes the gun. It should NEVER look worse than a top of the line gun. These men do not put out trash. Many less than stellar gunsmiths do. Which brings us to item #5.

    #5B SPOTTING INCOMPETENT WORK

    People love to fiddle with a 1911. It's hard not to. It looks so easy. It's not. It is easier to screw up a 1911 than to "improve" one. (Spoken to truth!)

    The first thing that jumps out at me is buggered up grip screws. If a man cannot use a screwdriver, he is not mechanically equipped to open up a 1911. 'nuff said.

    Next I look at the feed ramp with the slide locked back. There should be about a 2mm step between the bottom of the barrel and the top of the feed ramp on a Government Model. Incompetent gun hacks love to take a Dremel to the feed ramp of 1911's. If this step is not present, the gun will never feed ammo properly, and it cannot be repaired for less than the cost of a frame replacement.

    I look at lowered ejection ports for the straightness of the lines. The scallop behind the ejection port should have smooth edges and be in the right place.

    I look at the sights for signs of heavy handed handiwork. Punch marks around the sights and the slide stop hole, as well as stripped mag release screws and pins inserted backwards are red flags.

    #6 SHOOTING THE PISTOL

    One of the advantages of buying used is the ability to test fire the gun without lowering it's value in the marketplace.

    Many sellers will allow you to fire their gun if they perceive you as a serious buyer. It never hurts to ask. Offer the owner a "test target" to help him in his sale if you do not buy. Expect to buy the ammo, and no +P ammo. No reloads from your Brother-in-Law Bernie. Only clean factory ammo, and some JHP if it's a defensive weapon. Somewhere between 50 and 100 rounds. Buy the ammo from the seller if he is a dealer. If he will only let you shoot one magazine "out back" make it your preferred JHP and try your darndest to create a jam. Offer to clean the gun when you are done. The combination of a high dollar guaranteed ammo sale, a decent test target, and a clean gun is often too much to resist if the seller trusts you. Heck, invite him along to shoot your prize Python while he waits.

    Once at the range, I first load three rounds of JHP and shoot them to see if I get hammer follow or a full auto effect. I do this twice, at different speeds.

    Then I load a magazine full of JHP and empty it into a target as fast as I can with a limp wrist. For once, I do not care about groups. I am trying to jam the gun. I note where the empties fly. I pick one or two up and check them for centered primer strikes and dents in the case. Then I load up another magazine with JHP and do the same limp wrist procedure, except this time holding the pistol upside down. (??? I don’t understand this test, wish he explained.) I do this often enough that the Range Officer knows I am in a buying mood.

    I try to fire the pistol with the thumb safety engaged. I try to fire it with the grip safety released. I allow my thumb to ride the slide to see if I can initiate a malfunction. (I don't do this?? I stay away from moving parts.)

    If the pistol continues to work as advertised, I load up some target rounds and shoot for accuracy. I am not a bullseye shooter, so I usually shoot from sandbags at 15 yards. As long as the pistol performs better than me, I figure it is accurate enough. I shoot several groups of five rounds, and compare consistency as well as accuracy. I try to eliminate any of my own shortcomings from the equation.

    If the pistol has no failures, I clean it, and get to re-examine the interior, but this time with the advantage of fresh soot and cleaning fluid. If the job is done carefully, it can reveal damage that is invisible to the naked eye. Liquefied soot will travel right to a crack. (Poor man’s magna-flux) A piece of cloth dragged over a part can snag on a burr the finger cannot feel.

    Finally, let me say that the price of the gun should be agreed on at the counter, before the test fire. You should never use the test fire as a bargaining chip to lower the price. If you do that, the seller will likely never allow you to test fire a gun again, and you might like the next gun even more. The test fire should be seen only as a means to eliminate a potential problem gun before a transfer of ownership. You should only request a test fire if you are prepared to buy right then. If you find a problem that eliminates the gun, explain what you found in good humor. Above all, do not become hostile, but do not waver. If the owner offers a lower price, consider it and take it if you like, but never, never, make him think you are trying to get him to lower the price. At the range, a change in price should always be the seller's option. One more thing, if the seller has gone this far to sell you a gun, he deserves your loyalty. He is an honest seller, the type all gun buyers look for. The ability to buy a gun you have shot first is valuable. It is a valuable consideration when you are haggling at his counter. Don't forget that.




    I know this is long and fairly comprehensive. Do you need to perform all tests within? No, only those you understand and enough that makes you comfortable in the purchase.

    Chris, should you have any questions feel free to email me your concerns. I am convinced you will enjoy a 1911 and of course I’d like it to be a Colt. BUT, as I tell everyone, “Buy the gun YOU want and extract comfort from, NOT the gun I like. When you strap it on for protection/sport, you’ll want YOUR gun on your hip, NOT mine!”

    I seldom suggest or even advocate a novice to buy a heavily modified (customized) firearm but this Colt has most everything I would change-out to make it a canebrake gun. Let me show you what I mean;

    This is a NIB Colt Defender.
    [​IMG]

    And this is Canebrake in its current level of modification.

    [​IMG]

    See the changes that echo your Commander?
    • Front sight change
    • Beavertail Grip Safety w/palm swell
    • Grip change Removal of the Hogue grips (OK for target shooting, terrible for concealed carry)
    • Extended Thumb Safety
    • Extended Slide Stop
    • Trigger job
    • Extended Mag Release
    • Arched MSH w/mag-guide
    • Complete dehorning (carry melt)
    • Timber (Canebrake) rattler hide grips
    • Stippling
    • New mags, Tripp Research Gen II Cobras​



    [​IMG]
     
  12. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    Just move along Baldy, there's nothing to see here!

    * grumbling *

    * I got the guy hooked on a Colt damn-it *

    * grumbling *

    * then this do-gooder comes along with a suitable proposal *


    [​IMG]
     
  13. Angry_bald_guy

    Angry_bald_guy Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Hahahaha! Are you a Colt salesman or something?
     
  14. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    No, but I am a John Moses Browning disciple.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Angry_bald_guy

    Angry_bald_guy Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    True enough. I'm just a padawan in the ways of the 1911.
     
  16. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

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    I like this so far. Very informative.
    As with any handgun purchase, strive to purchase the best quality you can afford.
    I've been burned with "name" brands that people have butchered. I wish I had this information when I purchased my first used m1911a1.
     
  17. mesinge2

    mesinge2 New Member

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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  18. CHLChris

    CHLChris New Member

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    Made in USA is a must for me. I've never bought a new car, but I'd buy a Ford if I did. My Austrian Glock was a mistake for me (Don't take that to mean I am now a Glock-basher).

    Smith & Wesson
    Mossberg
    Kahr
    Del-Ton

    That's my family so far.

    For this one I'm thinking Colt or Kimber or Smith or Springfield, period.

    And one of those has definitely risen to the top;)
     
  19. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    You sir have impeccable taste in firearms!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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    Nothing at all wrong with Springfield!!!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]