One of my favorite handguns to shoot for sheer enjoyment is the .45 caliber model 1911. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a big history buff, so I can appreciate the pistol’s military service record and development. But with the design now 105 years old, can it truly compete with modern designs, or is the 1911 effectively dead?

That’s a tricky question – one that requires knowledge about the current state of handgun design, what constitutes an “effective” defensive handgun, and what affect both have on usability. Even a cursory glance at weapon design reveals that all types of firearms are moving towards lighter, smaller and more ergonomic designs.

Ever since Heckler and Koch introduced their polymer-framed VP70, and Glock catapulted the popularity of polymer pistols to surpass all others, “lighter” has been the name of the game. There’s a reason companies like Smith & Wesson and Ruger have discontinued production of metal-framed handguns such as the 5900 series and the P95 – they’re less popular and more expensive to produce than polymer-framed guns.

Which isn’t to say metal-framed guns don’t have their merits, but lighter guns mean carrying more ammunition, which is inarguably an advantage. But I’ll stop there, so as to not venture too deep into the 9mm vs .45 ACP debate.

This Auto Ordnance 1911 looks like the ones carried by U.S. soldiers in WWII, but the internals and the trigger are different.
This Auto Ordnance 1911 looks like the ones carried by U.S. soldiers in WWII, but the internals and the trigger are different.

Back to the second portion my original point: What constitutes an effective defensive handgun? A firearm designed for self-defense (either military, law enforcement or civilian) needs to meet a minimum of four criteria to be considered effective:

  • Function reliability even without lubrication or regular maintenance
  • Able to consistently hit a 6-inch target within self-defense range (typically within 25 feet)
  • Fire a round proven to reliably stop an attacker with reasonable shot placement
  • Carry at least five rounds of ammo and be easily reloadable

The 1911 barely meets the first criteria. Not because the design isn’t capable – I’ve seen 1911s that rattle like an old toolbox that run like a scalded dog – but because its magazines can be a total crap shoot. The overwhelming majority of 1911s that suffer from reliability issues can be traced back to faulty magazines.

Shooters should stick with new-production magazines from companies with solid reputations like Chip McCormick Customs. These guys have been working on, running and building 1911 magazines for 3 decades. So I called the owner, Chip, and asked him about the importance of magazines.

“Magazines lie at the heart of (the M1911’s) reliability,” Chip explained. “Browning never intended 1911 magazines to be extended, or be run as hard as competitors tend to these days.”

He explained that because of this, the 1911’s design doesn’t leave enough room for extra material (and thus increased durability/reliability) to be readily added to its magazines. Which is why it’s imperative to choose good magazines built from high-quality materials.

Master magazine-maker Chip McCormick’s newest addition to their product lineup, the Railed Power Mag. This example holds 10 rounds of .45 ACP.
Master magazine-maker Chip McCormick’s newest addition to their product lineup, the Railed Power Mag. This example holds 10 rounds of .45 ACP.

With good mags and top-notch ammunition, the 1911 is more than reliable enough for military, law enforcement or defensive work – which brings us to accuracy.

The accuracy guidelines aren’t as arbitrary as they sound; I used the 6-inch metric as a rough approximation of half a human head.

Why?

Because it provides a worst-case scenario minimum for acceptable accuracy – the ability hit the thoracic “T” section of a human skull on an assailant just outside the 21-foot Tueller drill distance. This 21-foot guideline is the result of a series of experiments to determine at what distance a rushing attacker can reach a cop before the cop is able to draw and fire their gun.

Because these experiments were done with cops using duty holsters, I added roughly 20 percent to 21 feet to obtain my stated distance criteria of 25 feet in order to compensate for shooters having to draw from concealment.

As for the thoracic “T-zone,” that is the area on a human face that when struck by a bullet, instantly incapacitates a human being by piercing the brain stem. Doing so cuts off the brain’s ability to communicate with the central nervous system, preventing a would-be assailant from continuing their attack.

All but the most shot-out 1911 barrels are easy capable of accurately placing rounds within this T-section/6-inch target at 25 feet. Most are capable of doing so at double that distance, but firing at an assailant at such a distance would call into question the necessity of, and thus legality and ethics of, such a shot. Regardless, the point remains that the average 1911 is plenty accurate enough for our purposes.

The stainless Colt 1911 Government Model – a classic example of the 1911.
The stainless Colt 1911 Government Model – a classic example of the 1911.

The second-to-last requirement I tend to simplify to recommending only firearms chambered in calibers issued to modern militaries. So no .32 ACP, or .25 ACP. This requirement is based on FBI suggested requirement of minimum tissue penetration depth necessary to reliably incapacitate adversaries. Their studies found that depth to be approximately 12 inches.

The 1911’s standard, .45 caliber 230-grain FMJ round has proven itself in a half-dozen theatres of operation over the course of more than 8 decades of service. Furthermore, FBI ballistics test conducted in the late 1980s determined that .45 caliber 230-grain JHP (like those found in most 1911s used for home defense) are 95 percent effective at achieving the 12 inches of tissue penetration needed to effectively incapacitate bad guys.

Grim terminal ballistics aside, any firearm capable of these feats is acceptable, but capacity still plays a part in the defensive handgun equation. A Thompson Center Contender, breech-loading single-shot handgun chambered in .45-70 Gov is a less-effective tool for self-defense than an eight-shot .38 Special revolver from a purely numerical standpoint.

The five-round criteria baseline is to make sure people don’t disregard snub-nosed .38 J-frame revolvers. These little guys are very difficult to control, but are surprisingly accurate.

Keep in mind that higher capacity isn’t always beneficial to the shooter; there comes a point of diminishing returns on either extending magazines on pistols chambered in common calibers, or shrinking the cartridge to fit more rounds in flush-fitting magazines. The former will eventually make the firearm too heavy, awkward and unwieldy to be practical. And the latter can lead to rounds with lackluster terminal performance. Here again, the 1911 still stands high enough to compete with modern designs.

While flush-fitting magazines (on standard-sized) are limited to 8+1 rounds on full-sized 1911s, 10-round extended examples don’t add much bulk to the design and give shooters a decent number of rounds to dispatch. Sure, this is fewer rounds than many modern automatics, but still more than enough to dispatch the majority of threats – at least based on the average number of shots fired in defensive encounters, which is just two rounds.

This isn’t to say a two-shot derringer is sufficient; it isn’t. Not simply because its short barrel and diminutive size make is equally difficult to aim, shoot control and reload, but because people who carry guns do so to hedge their bets against possible threats. Why would someone go to the trouble of carrying a gun if they’re going to limit themselves to two cartridges?

Yesterday and today: The .45 ACP 1911 sits alongside a Glock model 17 in 9mm. The Glock’s magazine holds nearly three times as much ammunition.
Yesterday and today: The .45 ACP 1911 sits alongside a Glock model 17 in 9mm. The Glock’s magazine holds nearly three times as much ammunition.

Because the 1911 meets or exceeds all the aforementioned criteria, it’s not only a solid choice for serious self-defense use, but also on par with more modern designs, right?

Yes and no.

The 1911 is a solid platform, but advances in firearm tech means carrying one versus a lighter gun with higher capacity magazines puts the shooter at a distinct, measurable disadvantage. But the 1911 isn’t simply a pariah for the 9mm vs .45 ACP debate, it brings its own set of advantages over modern designs.

For example, the gun’s slim grip and that grip’s angle make it comfortably fit the hands of most shooters. Also, the unique trigger design makes for a light, crisp and straightforward pull that makes keeping the pistol on target while pulling the trigger much easier for inexperienced shooters.

So, while pistols such as the Glock 19 carry more than twice as many rounds, the striker-fired design’s spongy triggers can be difficult for less proficient shooters to use without pulling the gun off-target.

So do these restrictions apply only to new shooters?

In many ways, yes. Guys such as Jerry Miculek, who fire millions of rounds a year, could stop a dozen knife-wielding attackers with a revolver faster than the average shooter with a belt-fed machinegun. But this doesn’t mean shooters need to take out a second mortgage to afford the ammunition they need to be effective. They simply need to train enough to be proficient with their firearm of choice.

A 1911 in the hands of a total novice is as useful as a screen-door on a submarine. But with a few hours of familiarization, and 30 minutes of reloading and dry-fire practice a week, anyone can weld a pistol with enough skill to defend themselves – provided they have the will to fight.

The 1911’s design could certainly benefit from higher magazine capacity, like something on par with the Springfield XDm in .45 ACP or the Glock 21 in the same caliber. Higher capacity frames like those from Infinity and STI exist, but are vastly more expensive than standard capacity 1911s. But it’s safe to say, as the 1911 continues to evolve, it’s far from obsolete.

I guess the rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated.

Images by Jim Grant

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66 thoughts on “Is the 1911 Dead?

  1. I’ve carried a 1911 for 50 years now. The ones I’ve carried have NEVER failed me in any way.
    Say what you want about them, But I’ll keep on trusting my life to them!

  2. I agree with Mr. T_Reese. I too have been shooting the 1911A1 for quite a ling time, put millions of rounds through them

    with NO malfunctions.

    Try running over a polymer 9MM with a tractor-trailer truck. It won’t work. My 1911A1s will both function and very well. They are steel. If you too much of a woos to carry a steel weapon, go sit in the corner and knit. Tight, reliable, and flinging a .52 ounce slug at over 980 FPS (600+ MPH) I think they will do quite well.

    1. You mean the “gun” you have will only shoot ball ammo. McCormick’s magazine don’t know the difference between ball or FMJ ammo, because the feed lips never come close to even touching the bullet projectile itself. They only touch the brass case.

      1. Funny thing then that when I called them they said “yes you’re only supposed to shoot ball ammo in those magazines.”

      2. Sheepdog, you mean you actually checked into something at the source instead of taking the word of every internet gun guru with a keyboard? Wow, what a novel approach.

        Good job!

      3. Ball pistol bullets tumble and outperform hollow points by every measure. The ammo companies have brainwashed the public about hollow points. Hollow points allow them to sell you significantly less bullet for significantly more money.

  3. Two of the most cosmetic pleasing are the M-1 Garand & the Colt 1911 .45 ACP. to me nothing can compare. Just would not have a polymer in my holster. or a Nine mike mike.

  4. Then there is that nice little thing I find saves me lots of money.. the 22rf conversion kit…1911 second only to my old Ruger 3 screw 44 mag… both have lots of shots/handloads through them and work just great…

  5. The 1911 will never die. It’s an iconic gun that is still relevant 105 years after it was first put into production. Very accurate. My wife and I both have one and we love shooting them. Although, to be honest nether of us carry one as out EDC.

  6. I’ve always had to carry a heavy gun, first a .38 revolver than even heavier, a stainless steal high capacity semi-auto. I found that when carrying the semi in plain cloths, the secret is having a well made gun belt and a good holster. I would forget I even was carrying with this set up, which included two 15 round mags and handcuffs.

    1. Actually, the first breech loading metallic cartridges were .46 rimfire. The .46 rimfire short was quickly followed by the .46 rimfire long. When they developed metallic breech loading cartridges they decided the convention would be to name them after the bullet diameter (not the minimal bore diameter as in muzzle loading weapons). So .44 caliber weapons when converted to metallic cartridges were all .46 caliber. So the .46 caliber weapon was actually the first metallic cartridge weapon in use.

      1. There were five different calibers of pinfire cartridges in wide distribution for handgun and rifle before the first rimfire cartridges were invented, and the .22 rimfire copper case predated the larger rimfire rounds.

      2. My point was simply that they DID MAKE A .46– BEFORE they made a .45. You are of course correct regarding .22 rimfire, also there was the 32 rimfire in1860. The pinfire cartridges also pre-dated the .46 rimfire. Perhaps I should have stated the .46 rimfire as the “Remington Army cartridge-conversions were the first large-caliber cartridge revolvers” rather than “first metallic cartridge”. The .44 rimfire was made by Remington for conversions of the Remington .44 New Model Army.

      3. Just part of the history– before Remington made the rimfire conversion of the 44 they made a brand new (not a conversion) pinfire 13mm revolver sold only in Europe. The problem was that the 1854 LeFaucheux 13mm pinfire revolver was both cheaper and a clean, well working double action design so the Remington just did not sell well.

        That was a messed up period of history, and the naming of cartridges was only part of the confusion. You loaded a .46 caliber bulleted cartridge but the bullet that came out was .43 caliber, while a 13mm cartridge bullet exited the muzzle at 13 mm.

        Just over fifty caliber.

        .

  7. When I’m not carrying my Desert Eagle 50… I carry a 45acp…

    I carry a .22lr because I saw on the internet they are lethal out to 1 mile…

    I carry a 9mm because the FBI carry’s it now, and most of the law enforcement in the US is shifting to it…

    I carry a 408cheytac for the long range stuff, with a 50bmg semi-auto for CQB work…

    I squirrel hunt with a .338 lapua magnum, and hog hunt with tannerite…

    I carry this because of that, or that because I heard this, and I’m trying to impress everyone or blah blah blah…

    I carry what I carry, not because its the best for everyone, but because its the most practical choice for me at the time. I don’t care what the other guy carries, thats his problem. There is no one size fits all solution. We constantly hear the same stuff regurgitated, and we are always having to relearn the same lessons every generation. For all that has changed in the last 105 years, you realize not all that much has actually changed.

  8. Your possibilities with other calibers, while plausible, remain an unmitigated myth. What matters is who connects first with the most debilitating hit. I’ll take one well-placed .45 round over multiple 9mm hits all day long. AJ

    1. Yes, I remember a Fed Agent being killed by a PCP’d thug after he and his partner had shot the guy 13 times. Shot placement is enhanced by larger calibers that hit the mark.

  9. The six inch criterion is when? Under duress? I doubt it as FBI statistics show 70-80% of shots fired by law enforcement in the line of duty miss. This is why they are going back to 9mm for round count. I’d say if you could find a way to practice daily under simulated stress, then sure 25 feet in a 6″ target is possible. I’d certainly suggest that having a gun drawn and firing in sequence as a perp moved toward you (versus the far more likely scenario of him running away) that a .45 is preferable for stopping power. Also, regarding polymer, I carry a P229 or a CZ SDP. Non-polymer, not too heavy and with the trigger mods, very accurate and easy to shoot. If I could unload 5 shots or so quickly, I’ll take my chances that way. Of course, it’s easy for us “guys in a diner” to discuss. All I can say is anyone who uses their gun in self defense had better be prepared to have his life changed forever.

  10. Informative but,,,, I hardly consider any Glock as representative of the state of the art in handguns.
    Especially,,, when you are not comparing them to todays products by H&K or Sig.
    Amongst others, I shoot a Sig 229 and a Sig 226 which both outshine the Glock.
    But to each his own,,,,,
    However the 1911 will not go away in popularity for a long time.
    Mine has earned a solid place in my collection.

  11. My 1911 was built by Clarks and is my favorite and most accurate handgun but I carry a Taurus 709 slim that has never missed a beat at the range and it’s a straight shooter that is far better than any compact gun, under $500, I’ve ever tested. It’s easier to conceal, carry and at a fraction of the cost of the 1911, replace.

  12. I carry a 1911 full size 10mm everyday!! Along with a keltec 9mm as backup for my off hand!! & A NAA 22mag revolver in my 5 pocket for last resort!!! 1911 will NEVER be dead!!!

  13. The title of this article is a bit silly. Considering the number of manufacturers still making the 1911 in a host of different configurations, I would say this platform is far from dead or dying. And it’s an icon, every freedom loving Americans should own a 1911

  14. I suspect that the 1911 will still be alive and kicking when its current critics are nothing more than forgotten worm food.. As for the silly “more is better” argument and to serve as a single example, how many instances appearing in the “American Rifleman” magazine’s “The Armed Citizen” has a defender used more than one, two or (possibly) three rounds? Gun writers today sure like to pant heavily whenever they swoon over double-stack magazine capabilities…

  15. The bad guys psychology says that IF they’re going to stick somebody up they don’t want to get shot trying to steal $10. If they see the shape of a 1911 they might just decide to flee because they “know” a 45 will knock them down with a hit in the thumb. The Thompson has the same visual gravitas.
    Silly, yes. But the 1911 fits my hand because carrying and shooting the 1911 for nearly 60 years and my hand has grown to function despite some arthritis.

  16. The article is full of false premises and faulty assumptions. The author first advances criteria as significant and then later in the article dismisses the same criteria as insignificant. Why? Space to fill?

    The only thing that can be said for the Glock is that its designed to be so idiot proof that it safe enough to issue to cops. (The majority of cops could not pass the ASVAB- right?.)

    Polymer framed pistols (and aluminum framed pistols that came before them) are just are cheap imitations of steel framed guns. Striker fired pistols are nothing new- The Sauer & Sohns Model 1913 was the first such pistol in widespread use. It was issued to officers in WWI. The Glocks “novel design” first appeared in boy’s toy cap pistols just after 1900. So even the Glock is not really new. High cap 9mms have been around since 1935. So stop telling us the Glock is more modern than the 1911- it’s NOT.

    1. Double stacked handguns haven’t been around for a hundred years yet. The Browning P-35 (Hi Power) was the first, and it was released in 1935.
      Also, if by novel design from a cap pistol, you mean plastic, then you are not correct. The Glock frame is polymer, which is not really plastic. It’s a blend of materials. The Glock IS more modern than the 1911, that’s not necessarily a negative for the 1911 though. It is just designed with newer manufacturing processes and materials than the 1911. I prefer my personal Colt Series 70 1911, but the Glock is an awesome pistol in its own way also. I wouldn’t deploy overseas with my 1911 even if I could, but I will definitely pick to wear it out and about on my personal time.

      1. Sorry, Savage came out with a pistol slightly double stacked in 1907 in order to fit ten rounds into the space of a normal pistol frame.

        Actually plastic- as it first appeared and as most of us remember it as used in toys as kids- is long gone. All of the plastics used today ARE composits of multiple materials tailored to suit the application. “Plastic”-“polymer” it’s a distinction that no longer has a difference. Except that Polymer does better with marketing focus groups. ‘Polymer’ is just so much more marketable. It sounds more expensive doesn’t it? They call that a “value proposition” and it means they can charge more for the product if they call it polymer.

  17. Have owned 1911s for a long time. Down to one at the moment, a Kimber CDP .45 Cal. Also own a Browning 9mm Hi Power. I shoot both of them together, one after the other, and have a hard time deciding which I like the best.

    1. I always got much more kick-up from my Hi-Power, than my 1911. My 1911 seems to twist and kick straight back at me. So much faster to get back on target with it than the Browning. I dont shoot much anymore, but I am sure they would still behave the same.

  18. 1911 is Still valid….design needs to be updated to current military standards and function: Double-action/Single-action, with de-cocker safety, captured recoil spring assembly and increased capacity. Keep the original design for die-hards, and upgrade design to continue the tradition—they’ll sell millions!!! I would buy one in a heartbeat, and I’m not alone……Also, tolerances need upgrade to eliminate binding and the need to “run-wet”; new technologies would allow ability to run harder, hotter, drier and longer without lockup. PARA dipped their toes in the new waters with the LDA (light double action), but it needs to be pushed to DA/SA to make it worthwhile. Americans are Innovators by nature, but the design is past due for a new iteration, and no-one seems to have the guts to push the envelope………I think John Browning would approve by now, so who out there will tackle it……..Colt? Springfield? Browning? Are ‘ya listening out there?!?!? It’s high time for a Gen II, before it dies out!!

    1. I’m sorry, but a DA/SA trigger and de-cocker are not upgrades. People buy a 1911, so they don’t have to deal with those. If someone wanted a DA/SA design, they would buy a proven design like the Sig Sauer models (which are also much easier to disassemble and clean). A DA/SA 1911 was made in the 1970’s. It was made by L.W. Seecamp Co.
      Also, increased capacity has been done in a 1911 and again, you buy a 1911, because you want a flatter pistol that’s easy to conceal. A double stack frame in steel would be way too heavy and bulky for comfortable daily carry.

  19. CZ’s design is battle-field proven, and adopted by many a country. The “Gen II” 1911 could incorporate the same features, on a 1911 platform, and kick a lot of butt on the battlefield, and on the market. Military is currently re-negotiating contracts on sidearms, and I hear tell A PLASTIC GLOCK is being used in limited numbers by the Rangers, and Seals. Tell me Colt, why have Italians, and now Austrians dominated the sidearm contract for the world’s greatest Military? What’s wrong with this picture?!?!? I’m sorry, but zytel plastic does not belong on an unforgiving battlefield, and America needs to put a new, domestic sidearm into every troop’s hands, like days gone by………..and where are you Colt? Springfield? Is anyone in those corporate boardrooms listening?!?!?

    1. MEUSOC issues an updated 1911 service pistol. It’s called the M45A1.

      I disagree here also. Polymer framed weapons are great for military use. With a Glock 19, I have a handgun that weights less and takes up less space on my belt or plate carrier than the M9 or M11 did. It carriers 15 rounds like my M9, and I don’t have to worry about the slide mounted safety of the M9. Also, in field conditions, it is awesomely easy to maintain. Those Glocks and Berettas are domestic sidearms. They are made in facilities here in the USA.
      As a note though, I opt for a gen. 3 model. I have personally seen two gen 4 Glocks get the bottom of the slide where the recoil spring is held in get bent (one by getting the slide dropped on a concrete floor and one by the gun getting accidentally tossed down a range during a training). On the Gen. 4’s, there is less material there because of the larger recoil spring.

  20. A few comments:
    1. The author questions the reliability of the 1911 and then points a finger at magazines as the problem. Which is it? Shitty mags or the pistol? I never have FTFs, or FTEs with my 1911s. The platform is as reliable as ANY other handgun made.
    2. “more ergonomic designs”??????????? The 1911 is the gold standard for ergonomics. ALL other pistol manufacturers would jump through their a*ses to achieve 1911 ergonomics.
    I will never not own 1911s, but, they have become recreational pistols for me due to their weight. Fact is, 15 rds of modern 9mm or 40 S&W in a pistol package that weighs less than a 1911 with 8 rds is simply a no brainer for anyone who carries daily.

  21. u’m now 3 years into IPSC with the Kimber I bought in 1994. I’ve fired over 25,000 rounds and had NO breakages. There was a problem with the extractor after a several thousand rounds which only needed to be slightly bent to original condition. In a rare situation there was a slam fire which was likely a over sensitive or high primer which blew part of the out disgorged the magazine and ruined the grips! In a mater of 10 mins I concluded that there was no damage to the gun and returned to the match. A similar situation happened with factory reloaded 9mm ammo in a Beretta 92 to say the least the outcome was not as good. When I look at the other pistols being used I see slide breaking and other problems that are not as easy to remedy with the availability of 1911 parts. Over my last 40 years of shooting I’ve seen a lot of different designs come and go and yet the 1911 being over 100 years old is still one of the most popular pistols , and now everyone is making them. Is it time to write the epitaph for the design, : “rumours of its demise are greatly exaggerated”! PS I’m now several thousands of rounds down range with out a malfunction with magazines by 4 different manufactures.

    1. Agree with you. Even the old rattling 1911’s I used in the Army could shoot until they were too hot to hold without malfunction. Accuracy is more a function of the shooter that the pistol.

  22. When My pants go on a 1911 Commander or Officer size goes into my IWB holster. It started with my issued 1911 in 1967 and been in love with it ever since.
    Theirs other pistols out their but 1911 is still selling strong. I have to daughters Youngest is 22 . Her pistol of choice a Colt Defender.

  23. The author seems to take a lot of time defending the merits of a 100+ year old design and then compares it to a 9mm Glock. The 1911 is a valid defensive pistol with out doubt, but does it compare to its modern counterparts? No. A more likely comparison would be with a Glock 21 or other similar modern pistol in .45 acp. A Glock 21 carries 13 rounds, almost doubling the capacity of a 1911. Since it is striker fired it does not have to be carried “condition 1” with all the resulting issues of training people with carrying “cocked and locked”, or the safer mode “condition 3” which slows the response time further. I assume the author is discussing a full sized 1911 but even the officer sized examples are heaver and more difficult to carry than a Glock 36 which holds just as many rounds and is much less finicky when it comes to ammunition selection. As for training, I can have someone up and running with a Glock safely in about 30 – 45 minutes. A 1911 will take longer, and the operation will have to be more thoroughly explained. And speaking of safety, I wouldn’t be afraid to throw a loaded Glock against and brick wall. I doubt many would venture that with series 70. Maintenance? I can teach an 10 year old to disassemble and reassemble a Glock in 30 seconds. Try teaching your wife who has never held and handgun to take apart and reassemble your 1911. I own a Colt SXE. It’s a fine pistol and I love to shoot it, but if my life depended on me having any handgun at my disposal in time of emergency, a 1911 would not be my first choice. Its design is dated making it more expensive to manufacture than other designs for the same money. Springfield XDs, Smith and Wesson M&Ps, and Glocks outsell the 1911s 10 to 1, and as the years go by they are becoming harder to sell except to the die hard 1911 crowd. Whether the design can sustain itself will depend on the economics of the situation. Sooner or later people will tire of paying upwards of a thousand dollars for a single action auto with single stack mag, others will take the lighter gun, with twice the capacity, for half the price.

    1. Actually throwing a Glock against a wall will result in the slide flying of the cheap flexible plasticky frame. Glock has never solved this and their latest police model is still falling apart when dropped resulting in yet another endless recall.

      1. I see, and can you cite examples of this or firearm industry articles which substantiate this fact? I look forward to researching this.

      2. I tried twice to send you a link covering the latest recall but this sight keeps blocking it. I suggest you look for it yourself if your really interested as you can find it in seconds as its been posted on several other firearms sights.

      3. It apparently only involved 150 Glock 17Ms issued to the Indy PD for issues with the slide coming off during dry firing exercises. The units were replaced with Gen 4 22s until the problem could be corrected. I note that the 17Ms are brand new and have the requirement that the slides must be able to be removed without dry firing the pistol. This was an enhancement required to satisfy new military and law enforcement contracts due to stupid people dropping the striker on a loaded chamber. Glock is correcting the issue and it is apparently due to a weak slide retainer spring. The slides are not “flying off the pistols” and the condition only presents itself under intense dry firing.

      4. I did not read that. I read that the slides did indeed fall off when they were live firing them. Also you brought up another Glock defect and that is that the weak striker system breaks when dry firing it. A fault that is not found on quality manufactured pistols. It takes literally tens of thousands of dry fire to break a 1911 firing pin. An lets not forget the anemic firing pin energy of pre-loaded striker fired guns. As I have said I ran tests on 3 Glocks and 1 Walther PP99 and all failed the high primer test. Not so with the hammer fired guns I tested.

      5. And lets look at another reason that the Police wanted to disassemble the Glock without dry firing it. Because the take down system is TOTALLY UNSAFE. I have seen medical pictures of horrific wounds people suffered when they forgot to unload the chamber and then pulled the trigger when trying to disassemble their Glocks. It took a real Moron to design such a totally unsafe system. Contrast this with say a Beretta 92 pistol which requires you to lock back the slide on an empty chamber. A totally foolproof way of requiring a person to unload the chamber to take off the slide. There can be no argument between what an unsafe takedown procedure the Glock has as opposed to the superior and much safer Beretta system.
        As a matter of fact as we speak their is a very big law suit/ counter lawsuit between the Massachusetts Attorney General which is demanding Glocks own records on all the needless deaths and injuries due to the Glock’s defect designs which were incorporated into the pistol including also the unsafe trigger system and lack of manual safety which has resulted in many fatalities.

      6. Millions of Glock pistols are handled daily by police and civilians alike without incident, The inability of a person to clear their weapon should not be a mark on the design. You sound like a lawyer.

      7. Wrong: Here are just a few of the many accidental deaths and shootings from Glocks all documented.
        1. Famous Black Athlete shoots himself while sitting down in New York Restaurant as broadcast by all major News Media outlets.
        2.. Police Chief shoots his thumb off while reaching for his Glock sitting on his desk as reported in the News Media.
        3. Police Officer shoots innocent passenger in vehicle accidentally when he walks towards pulled over car as reported this year in the major Gun Magazines.
        4. Policeman’s daughter accidentally killed when she touches his gun that was thrown down on the bed when he was undressing. She was 4 years old. As reported by “Gun Week News'”
        5. Policeman accidentally kills teenage girl who was drunk and running away from him he chased her and his Glock went off and he shot her in the head killing her. As reported in Gun Week
        6. Female Cop puts Glock under her pillow and it goes off but she survives as reported in Gun Week.
        7. Air Marshal sits down on airplane and his Glock goes off in his pants shooting himself as reported in Gun Week
        8. Street punk in Washington D.C. is walking down the street with his Glock in his pants when it accidentally goes off and he shoots himself. As reported in Gun Week.
        I could go on and on but as you can see this gun should never have been marketed without at least a manual safety. Most if not all of these accidents and deaths would have been far, far, less likely to happened with guns with tradition hard long double action pulls like the Beretta 92, or the single action 1911 etc. etc.

      8. And in every instance someone either put their goober picker on the trigger or snagged it on something by improperly carrying.

      9. What does it take to get through your thick head. Cannot you see the design difference and flaw in the Glock as compared to other more safer designed pistols. No, Jethro, safety devices do save lives that is why we have back up safeties on lawn mowers, safety glass in auto windshields, safety tops on child proof bottles and surprise, surprise that is why we have inside toilets Jethro because flies spread diseases in out houses. I am sure all this is way over your head.

      10. And by the way do not try to refute the fact that a Glock’s striker will not break when dry firing it and also its open channel lets in dirt and debris which often jams up the forward motion of the pin. Excess oil and grease also cause the striker to malfunction due to not only the open channel but the very weak striker momentum which I have previously proven with the high primer test failures.

      11. In the 16 years we have been servicing Glocks in our shop (we are a law enforcement dealer) I have not seen one broken striker. We have replaced broken trigger return springs which does not stop the gun from functioning and have replaced recoil spring assemblies on guns with thousands of rounds through them. However, we have replaced many 1911 sear springs, links, link pins, and safeties. We did have one Glock that stopped completely. The owner never cleaned it and when taken apart ti was full of carbon build-up between the slide and the frame preventing it from cycling.

  24. Quote:——– For example, the gun’s slim grip and that grip’s angle make it comfortably fit the hands of most shooters. Also, the unique trigger design makes for a light, crisp and straightforward pull that makes keeping the pistol on target while pulling the trigger much easier for inexperienced shooters.——- Quote:

    Wrong! One of the biggest complaints against the 1911 was its long grip frame made to accommodate the longer .45acp cartridge. When compared to the grip-less plasticky framed Glock the Glock is actually easier to grip for people with short fingers or small hands.
    The 9mm/ 45 ACP debate actually ended (among the educated) in 1900 when the “real results” of the Thompson/Laguarda tests were conducted and re-affirmed decades later in the “Pistolero Tests” on live hogs in the 1980’s. Both tests showed the 45acp was no more lethal than the 9×19.

    1. I can get way more of my finger on the trigger of a 1911A1 than I can my Glock 19. The 1911A1 update was made to help people with smaller hands. The 1911 originally used the long trigger most people see on modern 1911 models. The A1 uses the shorter trigger and arched mainspring housing to help people with shorter fingers.

  25. Is the 1911 (or properly the Colt Government Model) dead? Only to the brain dead.

    One observation: “…but lighter guns mean carrying more ammunition, which is inarguably an advantage.”
    Particularly for those who miss a great deal.

  26. Well, here are my two cents on the 1911. Back in the 70’s while stationed in Ft. Carson, my personal handgun was a 1940’s Colt 1911 that I bought from an NCO. Very reliable pistol, a little heavy on the pants belt but rugged and perfect for close encounters. After my military service I joined the P.R. PD and became a Narc. Det./ on a DNA task force, my service pistol? A beautiful chrome 1911 45, with mother of pearl grips. That pistol saved my Life in countless close encounters with Perp’s and never an issue in over 12 yrs of service. Today in my very late 50’s, I carry a Rem. R1 and a Glock 19, an again no issues with the 1911. As a close protection officer I find the 1911 a very reliable tool for the Trade. Overall the 1911 is very much alive and I believe it will continue to be for years to come.

  27. I have shot IPSC and IDPA as well as steel events with my 1911 since 1970, and it runs! Despite the Chip McCormick commercial contained in this article, I had problems with his magazines. When I switched to Wilson Combat mags, I never had a single problem in many thousands of rounds. Try one. You won’t ever go back to any other brand.

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