Why I Have Never Owned a 1911…

By John Bibby published on in Firearms

I am not opposed to the 1911 platform. Most of us can agree there are some gorgeous 1911s. So, why do I own more than a dozen handguns and not a single 1911?

Glock 1911 Gen 4 Prototype

Glock 1911 Gen 6 Prototype – Not yet, but a fun pic just the same!

One could start by saying I came of age at the same time as the Tupperware guns. Gaston Glock had really gotten his marketing ball rolling when I bought my first handgun in the dawn of the ’90s. Back then, I was a wee lad and actually had to wait for my birthday, to take possession of the gun. At that point, I didn’t really know all that much about the choices. But, I did know that our local gendarmes had mostly transitioned away from revolvers and into Glocks. My reasoning was it fit my hand, “good enough for them, good enough for me,” and I shot it well.

I still have that first pistol. My first pistol was a Glock 17 Gen 2 and it is still shot regularly. My girlfriend uses it as a 3-Gun pistol. She chose that, as it is slightly cheaper to shoot than her duty weapon, a Glock 22 Gen 3 and she is a bit faster on follow up shots with the 9mm as compared to the .40 caliber.

The 1911 has seen a fair amount of time in my hand. Lots of my friends own them. Dozens of times I have test fired them for reviews or to help diagnose a problem. They, with few exceptions, have been great guns that worked exceptionally well; but none has ever spoken to me. Don’t get me wrong; no Glock has spoken to me either. But, I judge the two types on a different standard.

EAA Tanfoglio Witness hunter pistol left profile

Tanfoglio designed the Witness “Hunter” model after requests poured in for a true six inch barrel semi-auto pistol. The “Hunter” model is also built in the Tanfoglio custom shop, and has many of the outstanding features found in the Elite series pistols. These features include a premium 6″ barrel, drilled and tapped frame for optics platform, single action trigger, checkered front and back strap, extended safety, and adjustable rear sight. The Witness “Hunter” is available in .45 ACP and .10mm.

If you don’t count the Philippine imports, the 1911 platform starts at about the $900 price point and quickly goes up, from there. The poster child for the great Tupperware Revolution, Glock starts at about the $450 and is difficult to spend more than $700 on a factory gun without an optic. Just based on these price realities, I view the Glock and similar guns from Smith and Wesson and Springfield Armory as tools. For better or for worse, I view 1911s as collection guns / art. I am a guy who loves having lots of tools and needs art to really speak to me before I part with my money. This is the primary reason I don’t own a 1911.

If we are going to get down to brass tacks, there are a few other reasons too. If I am going to spend “art” money, then there are some amazing revolvers that I would much prefer. It is much more likely for me to part with $3,000 for a pristine Colt Python than a STI 1911. There is the simple fact that the grip angle of a 1911 is dramatically different than my plastic fantastic guns and that makes me have to focus on mechanics to shoot them well. The ultimate heresy is perhaps that I am not a great fan of the .45 ACP round and that is the ammo of choice for true 1911s.

With all that in mind, I currently lust after a certain 6-inch slide 1911 chambered in 10mm. When I buy that gun, several people are going to harass me about finally getting a 1911—and some class. I am fine with that. She will set me back a little over $1,000 and will be a fine tool for up-close Hog Hunting. She is pretty, but not art. I am a sucker for long slide guns and at 14 + 1 in 10 mm, she is plenty of gun, with plenty of ammo. I like her. So maybe, a 1911 has finally spoken to me.

Are you a 1911 or Glock fan? Which model tops your list of dream guns you do not currently own? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (97)

  • Karl

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    Character is fine and good,but will it keep you alive any better than a Glock[esp in 45ACP i.e.mdl 30 or mdl 21]?

    Reply

    • HW Stone

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      Karl, my pistol was purchased new in 1971, and has been in harm’s way several times. I’m curious. How many years have you trusted your life to any Glock?

      Reply

  • Clifffalling

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    So, I owned a 1911 once. An old Llama that somehow got passed down to me. It was loose, shot lead in all directions, almost exclusive of the direction you wanted! It was also the only firearm i have ever sold that brought in more $ than it was worth. Go figure. Anyhoo… i don’t own a 1911 now. My wife’s cousin brought one out with him on a visit from CA. A wilson combat tactical elite, etc. Etc. B E A utiful! I didn’t ask to shoot that one. 😊
    I think I always shied away from 1911s thinking about follow up shots, and the lack of them.
    When I shoot, I am pretty darn good. But… i do not train every day. I am not in active combat areas day in and out. I can’t trust that those great groups are gonna hold up when the adrenile starts pumping. I think one commenter nailed it. It’s really up to the person and what they are comfortable and confident with. For this guy, I gotta go with the Glock.

    Reply

  • mj

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    Totally Agree. While I lust for my first hot-rod I owned, a 1979 Trans Am 6.6 liter, they’re really climbing in price. Do really want it because that 2 ton 2 barrel would really smoke some cars? Na…my 2016 Dad car, Ford Explorer with 8 seats would have smoked that ole pig.

    In the bike biz, my old timers still say…’there’s not replacement for displacement’. That is until I smoke em on my 2017 worked over 600cc Yamaha R6. I tell em ‘except for technology’. At the end of the day, I really love the way the 1911 shoots. But the one I REALLY want like an Ed Brown .45, is soooo expensive, when I go to purchase one…I end up with P365, or 19X.

    So remember, there IS replacement for displacement, it’s called technology!

    Reply

  • Jim Hovater

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    From 1991 through 2004 I carried one sort of polymer handgun or another in an attempt to lighten the load of my duty belt. I shot them very well. Now that I don’t have a department dictating what I can carry, I choose the 1911. It has something polymer handguns will never have: character.

    Reply

  • Bohica66

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    I’ve never owned a Glock, never shot one, but I know dozens of people who do and I have never heard anyone say a bad word about them.My preference is Officer size 1911’s for carry, a 9mm Colt and a 45 cal Kimber, although I do stick a Smith and Wesson bodyguard 380 in the back pocket of my jeans in really hot weather. I like the thin grips on the single stack 1911’s and it freaks people out when they see you carrying the gun in condition 1 with the hammer back. Heck, that’s reason enough to carry a 1911 right there.

    Reply

  • Bob

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    The author is incorrect on several counts. An excellent 1911 can be had for well under $900; Springfield Armory, Kimber and Ruger all come to mind. Some of the less expensive Phillippine imports are very acceptable handguns; and I would postulate that most Springfield Armory 1911 pistols (my preference) and Kimbers (not so much) qualify as works of art.

    Reply

  • DaveW

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    I shoot a 1911 for a couple of reasons. It fits my hand and it’s what I carried in Vietnam. Many shooters can not handle a double stack. I’m one of them.

    A lot of shooters, like me, carried various weapons in war (and peace) on a regular basis and it became natural to carry them. That’s one of the reason so many military arms were adopted for hunting, sport, etc.

    My 1911s include a Colt, Kimber for CC, and a Springfield. All of them are well made, solid, and accurate.

    I have no desire to own a Glock. I have nothing against them, I just see no need for one when I already have what I need.

    Reply

  • Stone Jones

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    John, I believe you have missed out on life if you haven’t carried a 1911 for 30+ years. I have and may continue to do so. First there are some fine 1911 for under $1,000. There are some for around 1/2 of that that are quite well made, accurate, reliable and obtainable to be used as an EDC. They are also easy to update or change to suite you better. Grips, sights, internals, so expect a long service life. There is nothing wrong with a 9mm with proper loads, but I do prefer the larger holes made by the 45.

    After 35 years I retired my EDC a 1911 made in 1942 and switched to a new one made by Taurus. I also decided to try a Polymer gun as my EDC for this summer. I weights about the same when using the 13 round magazine. I will admit it seems to be just as accurate, carries well, and conceals just as well as the 1911, but until I have several years of practice with it, several thousand rounds down range with no problems, I will not have the same level of confidence with it.

    That is the nice thing about living in the US of A, many firearm choices for us. While I am not a Glock fan or a 10mm fan, I hope it works out well for you. I plan for my next 1911 to be a double stack 9mm or double stack 45.

    Reply

  • OldGringo

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    Which I better, Ford or Chevy? It is all experience and preference in my view. I worked in local, federal, state, and military law enforcement and have been a state and NRA CCW instructor for decades. In my pocket is a Glock 43, but the little KelTec pf9 is a better gun if I am in a Kayak or canoe and want the smaller gun. If deer hunting with my 300 BLK or 257 Weatherby, I like the little Model 60, 3 inch SW 357. It weighs 24 ounces and shoots 158 grain ammo at 1,250 fps, about 500 foot pounds. The 10 mm will produce about 650 ft pds. The 45 acp only about 375-400 ft pds. I can teach anyone to shoot a Glock well in 30 minutes, I cannot do that with a big revolver. I do poke fun at people who want 14 rounds of 10mm for protection against bears….while I have only had one encounter with a bear at arms length, I have studied them a great deal. Please look up Buffalo Bore and read Tims stuff. If a bear charges, you have 1-3 rounds before he hits you. If he takes you down and you still have your gun and wits, then you can keep shooting. Then of course we get into that reality that bigger and heavier is better. So, my little 158 grain 357 bullets and your little 180 grain 10mm rounds would not be as good as say a few rounds of 44 mag with 240-300 grain bullets. I own 3 4 mags, with 2.5, 4 inch and 5.5 inch barrels, all are superior to the 10mm and all can get off 3 shots in 3 seconds. I would also mention that if you actually need to use it as a club, the steel would be better than plastic….to each his own. I also build 1911s from blank frames and internet parts. They are simple, ez to put together and anyone can do so after simply watching 4 or 5 UTube videos. And of course you can get that magic trigger I set at 4.5 pounds and slick action using only pliers a stone and emory boards. FWIW

    Reply

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