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Thread: Who makes the best Model 1911?

  1. #1
    Military Professional Captain C's Avatar
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    Who makes the best Model 1911?

    I've shot 1911's made by various manufacturers while in the Military. I've owned a Colt Officer's Model and a Kimber Warrior II since I have been out. But I haven't fired 1911's by S&W, Wilson Combat, Thompson, or any of the others. How reliable are your 1911's and what do you like/dislike about any particular model?

    Military: .45's from my era were worn out badly but they still fired every time with no malfunctions.

    Colt Officer's Model: Worked flawlessly from the first to the last shot I ever fired through it. Never jammed one time no matter what I fed it.

    Kimber Warrior II: After 400 rounds through the gun it has about a 10% jam rate with 230 gr. ball ammo, much worse with anything else...ANYTHING else... I called Kimber today and it's going back to the manufacturer.... I'm glad to see they are backing up their product thus far. I will keep everyone updated on that.

    I do like the "Night Sights" on the Kimber and I will be putting some on my Beretta 92FS. Pachmayr grips are what I put on all my 1911's. GM 45C's on the full size, don't remember the part number for the Officer's model. I like the front wrap around without finger grooves as I need a larger grip and finger grooves usually don't fit me well. These don't have the thumb rest so ambidextrous use is not hindered.
    Last edited by Captain C; 23 Jan 07, at 06:30.
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    HKHolic Senior Contributor leib10's Avatar
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    I have a Springfield model. It works well enough. The sights are terrible though.
    "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes." G-Man

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    Military Professional Captain C's Avatar
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    I have Meprolight night sights on the Kimber. They work quite well at night. I would think about using the Brand that Wilson Combat uses if I were to purchase new sights. The night sights they use are two colors. The front dot is a different color than the rear dots. It makes it easier in total darkness to ensure the front sight dot is the one in the middle. In low light, mine work great, guess I need to try them in the closet to see how they work in no light.

    My Wilson Combat 8 round magazine came in just as the Kimber was going back to the factory. I think it would have gone a long way toward eliminating the jam issues I've been having with the Kimber. The follower doesn't tip forward nearly as much as the Kimber magazines do. When releasing the slide, you can see it nose down the shell into the feed ramp, and that's where it sticks.... Hopefully Kimber will do a better polish job on the ramp, they're a lot of money for a gun that doesn't work.....
    Revelation 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
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    HKHolic Senior Contributor leib10's Avatar
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    Yeah, I hate it when you have a gun that you paid a lot of money for that doesn't even work reliably. My BW5 was that way for awhile.
    "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes." G-Man

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Currently, I think a stock Springfield 1911 is the best, the most faithful model to the original design. And I agree, it has terrible sights.
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    Military Professional Captain C's Avatar
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    I probably should have bought a box stock Colt or Springfield and do most of the upgrades myself. On my Colt Officer's Model, I installed the ambidextrous safety, King's match trigger, extended slide release, and beveled the mag well myself. I also changed the recoil spring, and hammer spring. The design of the barrel pretty much puts it back into the correct spot every time so a match barrel and bushing wasn't needed.

    I had a Pachmayr adjustable rear sight on it for a while but it kept snagging on my shoulder holster retaining strap so I switched back to the stock one. As long as I used Remington 185gr+P ammo it was dead on at 25 yards with the stock sights.
    Last edited by Captain C; 27 Jan 07, at 08:06.
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    The two that keep comming up universally for accuracy and reliability are Springfield Arms and STI International ( STI International, Inc. ). The guys at all the IPSC and steel plate matches LOVE STI.

    Kimber used to be decent, but since they started mass-producing them for police work, the quality has purportedly suffered. I loved the old Kimbers.

    As one of our club's top shooters said in his Toby Keith voice,"Why send money to New York for an over-priced, funkily-engineered gun that doesn't work when you can instead send that money to Texas for a gun that DOES!"

    Give STI a try.
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    Military Professional Captain C's Avatar
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    I've never heard of STI as a 1911 for some reason, I'll have to look them up on the web. I almost bought a Springfield but I didn't care for the "large" bump in their grip safety, the Kimber is a little better from that point as the bump isn't huge. I was also looking for the integral light/laser mount... Definite lesson learned...

    So far Kimber is at least trying to make good on their warranty, I have to give them credit on that. They paid for the shipping of the weapon back to them. I'll just have to wait and see what happens from there. The gun is beautiful although the grips on my particular model are garbage. They look good, they just aren't comfortable or give a good grip. I suggested they make the same grip, but with a rubberized finish. Should be a great grip if they do that. In the meantime, I love the Pachmayr's I installed!!! Great feel and a no slip grip

    One other thing that I have found out about the Kimber is the hole for the slide release is of a smaller diameter than a standard GI type. I may have to send the gun to a gunsmith yet in order to install an extended slide release....
    Revelation 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
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    I've never heard of STI as a 1911 for some reason, I'll have to look them up on the web.
    I included linky in my above post.
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    Military Professional Captain C's Avatar
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    I just got a call from Kimber yesterday, they are blaming my jamming problems on my magazines. I told the guy, these are brand new, they're your top of the line KIMPRO TACMAG's and they're already bad???? He said yes and that they had replaced the magazines. I'll see what he sent back when the gun arrives today.... Needless to say, I will be buying Wilson mags form now on....

    I will be taking the gun out to shoot on Monday if the weather is ok (supposed to rain all week). If it still jams, the gun is going to Wilson Combat for repairs this time. I can't afford to carry a gun that I can't depend on.

    BTW, they didn't even clean my gun after firing it. They're sending it back to me dirty......
    Revelation 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
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  11. #11
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    Basic military 1911s aren't produced much anymore, but the best is made by Norinco. They are hard to get in the US because of the ban. A good alternative are the 1911s from Rock Island Armory. Both have the typical required break-in period, and both prefer hardball.

    A long time ago, I carried a lend-lease Colt 1911A1, marked all over with US Property and British proofs, and the great "Not British Made" stamp. Eventually I realized that I shouldn't carry such a historic piece, tried some others, and wound up with a Colt 1991A1 Compact. Its a nice gun that will digest any ammo I feed it. I wouldn't buy a new Colt today because of their politics, but a used (or NOS) 1991A1 won't let you down. Its not fancy, but a great daily shooter.

    Among the most recent production guns, we have (or currently) rent most popular models. The Springfield sees a lot of use and is both durable and accurate. The S&W is of surprisingly good quality, and sees even more use. On a busy day, these guns sometimes don't even get to cool down between rentals, so its not like we baby them with maintenance. Our rental guns only shoot ball or truncated cone ammo, so I don't know how these models feed hollow points.

    Kimbers seem to commonly have small problems at first, Wilsons less so, but I would not consider either a guaranteed runner right out of the box. We see a lot of Kimbers being sold by owners, but they usually do so in favor of a different model of Kimber.

    For mags, I like the Shooting Star 8-rounders, but the stainless steel Pachmayrs work just as well in any gun.

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    Military Professional Captain C's Avatar
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    I got the gun back last night at around 7:00 PM. I tried all my mags and just did a slide release on a round out each fully loaded magazine, whcih is wehre 90% of my jams were coming from, even after 400 rounds. I tried them will all my different types of ammunition that I have on hand. Corbon 165gr hollowpoints, 185gr DPX, and Speer Lawman 185gr TMJ. It seemed to feed all of them well. The true test will be at the range of course. It looks like they did a throat job on it.

    My Colt Officer's Model that I bought new in 1989 would feed anything right out of the box. The only time it jammed was when using USA brand 15 round magazines. I ended up using them for targets they were so bad!!!!

    BTW, I sent in a "new" gun to Kimber, didn't have a blemish in the finish. It came back with scratches and chips in the finish. I just emailed them and included a digital picture of the worst spot and a description of the other two worst spots. I'm going to see if they will do anything about it. The gun looks far worse right now than my 15 year old Beretta 92FS. I'm not a happy camper. In their favor, they did make it right on the jamming issue, I just hope they will do the same for this.

    In case you didn't know it, S&W was the first gun maker to stab us gun owners in the back. They paid for it big time with lots of lost sales. I don't know what Colt has done, but if they have gone off the deep end too, then I'm sure they will pay as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain C View Post
    In case you didn't know it, S&W was the first gun maker to stab us gun owners in the back. They paid for it big time with lots of lost sales.
    That was when S&W was owned by the British, and they made a deal with the devil. The boycott against them resulted in their bankruptcy and resale back to American ownership, where, with the election of the Bush administration and declaration of new ownership, withdrew from their agreements made under the Klintonistas. S&W is now kosher.

    I don't know what Colt has done, but if they have gone off the deep end too, then I'm sure they will pay as well.
    I am curious as to what Colt may have done, as well. I know Ruger made himself quite unpopular supporting importation bans.
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    HKHolic Senior Contributor leib10's Avatar
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    I just got a call from Kimber yesterday, they are blaming my jamming problems on my magazines. I told the guy, these are brand new, they're your top of the line KIMPRO TACMAG's and they're already bad???? He said yes and that they had replaced the magazines. I'll see what he sent back when the gun arrives today.... Needless to say, I will be buying Wilson mags form now on....
    This is a problem with 1911s. There are so many different mags made by different manufacturers with different fits and specs to fit so many different 1911s from all different eras and origins that buying mags for a .45 can be described as a trial-and-error exercise. I had to go through 4 different mags for my Springfield before I found one type that actually worked.

    And BTW, Heckler and Koch has got to be one of the worst manufacturers for civilian markets in existence today.
    "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes." G-Man

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain C View Post
    In case you didn't know it, S&W was the first gun maker to stab us gun owners in the back. They paid for it big time with lots of lost sales. I don't know what Colt has done, but if they have gone off the deep end too, then I'm sure they will pay as well.
    Captain C, I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. I believe it was Ruger that first sold us out, with S&W second.

    It was Bill Ruger himself who invented the idea of federally mandating an upper limit on magazine capacity. He came up with the idea in 1989, and lobbied Congress hard for it. In Ruger's original concept, any magazine over 15 rds would be illegal to possess. Congress had lowered the number to 10 by the time the bill became law in 1994. Whatever Ruger's motives, it is true that this law had little effect on Ruger's sales, but hammered their competitors that were starting to grab significant market share (such as Glock).

    What Colt has done is effectively withdraw from the US defensive handgun market, and worked towards eliminating that market altogether. They dropped every model of handgun that was appropriate for general concealed defensive carry, and you will find the names of Colt's present owners among the major contributors to election campaigns of anti-gun leaders such as Schumer. This is because the present owners of Colt are an Iranian banking family who are philosophically opposed to the concept of regular people owning guns.

    They purchased Colt as a straight turnaround investment, and decided to concentrate exclusively on the police and military markets. Losing the M-16 contract to FN forced them to continue limited non-government sales, but they dropped every line that they could.

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