View Full Version : M1911A1 - Definitive Answers?
M4Carbine.net User rdc0000 asked:
There are many that love the 1911A1 pistol.
Please comment on why this design is, or is not, the right choice for a handgun used in combat?
SHIVAN's edit: Our hope here is for the quintessential reference that others will link back to for the next decade. :D
On a unit level, meaning a 1911 issued to each man, I believe it is not an ideal choice in this day and age. Simply put the maintanence and logistics tail that comes with issuing 1911 pistols makes it less than ideal in today's world. It is a pistol that requires hand fitting of many, if not most, components and that is not comparable with the way service grade firearms are maintained today.
Now armorers swap or change parts not 'fit' them - and that is the key difference. In addition it is a pistol that works best with end users with a higher than average skill level that understand the performance benefits a 1911 gives you come with a price. That is a trait that can be found in individuals but not in a department or a unit.
Great gun and a wonderful piece of American history but now it's time as a front line fighting tool in a fighting unit has past - if it was all we had we could make it work but there are better choices for that task.
Great insight as usual Larry!
Quick followup question. There are units like the FBI Swat/HRT, USMS SOG, LAPD Swat, and others who issue their operators the 1911. Do you feel that in these cases, it's a mistake and they'd be better served by a lower maintenance weapon, or are these the few units that are capable of supporting a 1911 properly? Essentially, for these select few, do the benefits of the 1911 outweigh the costs?
3 reasons why the 1911 is so cherished; adaptability, shoot ability , and durability
It combines those 3 attributes better than any pistol in history - which is why people still shoot and use them today a century after its introduction
It's a great pistol for a hardcore enthusiast - just not a great pistol issued on a department or unit level as a duty gun
The problems with the gun come from decades of a wide open market and no mass government contract with what we would now call a TDP. There was a time when it was the Glock of its day. Switching parts on true contract guns with government inspectors on site and strict standards would provide safe working guns. Drop in parts were and could be again a reality with a 1911 but for one point.
We have become spoiled individualists about the gun. For years everyone was ok with a plastic gun that worked but had a horrible trigger etc. Now the aftermarket is taking over requiring fitting of Glock parts to "make them better".
The WWII colts had horrible triggers and were clunky but could be taken apart, mixed up, put back together and work. Like contract M4s.
With today's precise CNC, better metallurgy etc and proper sole sourcing or all in house parts manufacturing it would very easy to do. But you can no longer get everyone to agree on the same features!
Just my take. Your thoughts Mr. Vickers?
By and large you are correct - the popularity of the gun has been its downfall - but there were things that had to be hand fitted from the start with the 1911; thumb safety, grip safety ( in many cases) , and extractor - those parts cannot be considered 100% interchangeable in the 1911 and should always be assumed will require hand fitting by someone knowledgable with the proper function of the pistol and how these parts affect safety and reliability
As Jason Burton says this isn't necessarily bad , it's just different - understand the era the gun was designed in and it all makes sense
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