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 (101)

  • Chris Farrer

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    First of all, 1911s, with few exceptions, are NOT art guns. They are professionals’ pistols. I will agree with the fellow who stated that he could teach the average shooter to be fairly proficient with a Glock in a half hour or so. The same can be and has been said of the AK47/AKM, and rightly so, but I would MUCH rather have an M4 or some sort of M4 based PDW. I used to be a Glock enthusist, as well. I bought the very first Glock 17 (The only model made at the time) to hit the gunshop shelves in 1987. It was one of the most accurate out-of-the -box pistols I have ever fired. It was also NOT the most reliable. HydraShock hollow points would occasionally just about center the bottom edge of the barrel’s feed ramp. Might have been a magazine problem. ’87 was quite a while ago. I have owned two 19s & about five 17s since then, & only one was as accurate as that first Gen1 17, but they were all 100% reliable. Not a FTF in thousands upon thousands of rounds. Then one day, I received my first 1911. It was a POS Federal Ordinance 5″ Government Model. I didn’t know a thing about them then, past how to field strip one. That thing was a nightmare at the range, never firing more than 3 rounds without a failure of some kind. Never failed to fire, though. I quickly got rid of it & didn’t get another one for a couple of years.
    Then one day I bought the book “The .45 Automatic, A Shop Manual” & my love affair with the 1911 began. That book taught me the basics of how it works & how each part works with the others & how to fix them. I then taught myself more advanced stuff like checkering, trigger jobs, grip safety installation, etc. I bought all the right tools & accessories and quickly became the most sought after 1911 ‘smith in town. I have built or customized about 80 to 100 of them since. I retired from gunsmithing & holster making a few years ago, just before the flood gates of factory custom 1911s flew open. My checkering still looks better than ANY factory job I have ever seen. I currently own 6 of John Browning’s masterpieces, with only two being Colts. These include a Light Weight Commander with Combat Commander slide, Briley ramped barrel & spherical bushing, 20 LPI checkering, Ed Brown grip & thumb safeties, Wilson Combat night sights & Bullet Proof hammer, Cylinder & Slide Marine Corps sear, STI carbon fiber and titanium trigger and a few other odds & ends. The only Colt parts left in the gun are the slide, frame, slide stop, sear spring & mainspring housing. The other Colt is an early Combat Elite with similar treatment, but retaining the factory barrel with an Army NM bushing hand fitted by myself. The others include an RIA 10mm Tactical with railed frame all the way to the end of the slide. No modifications. Yet. A Para USA GI Expert in need of a new finish, a “New Detonics” (Robbie Barrkman era gun from the late ’80s), and finally, an early super melted Kimber Custom Shop Pro CDP II. Again, the checkering looks like somebody’s first attempt.
    I also have seven SIG Sauers (three P226s, [Legion, Mk25 & ’80s era plain old 226] three P229s [Legion, Scorpion & regular 229R] & one P938. Others include my Dad’s old duty gun, a S&W 4586, an M&P45 & pair of Colt Peacemakers.
    Notice anything missing? A Glock. I just can’t bring myself to pay that kind of money for something with no personality & no soul. BTW, I would love to know where I can get one for $450. You must have been referencing their .380. You can NOT buy a new 17 for anywhere NEAR that price. Some people’s kids, huh?
    I guess I’ve bored you guys enough by now, so I think I’ll go play with my lightweight FN Hi-Power & contemplate what it needs done to it…

    Reply

  • Derek H

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    So I know there are a lot of Glock fans but really, there’s more going to be a really ugly 45 acp Glock. Please leave well enough alone I would c rather get a Colt government or a nice Kimber than that ugly square box of a 45…
    Just saying

    Reply

  • Choke

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    Nobody cares. And glocks are over rated

    Reply

  • Ron Neldon

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    I dislike the Glock for the same reason you dislike the 1911. I started shooting about 10 years before you and have always shot pistols with the same grip angle as the 1911. When my Sheriff switched to Glocks and supplied me with one, I could not qualify with it because of the odd grip angle and other quirks unique to the Glock. RO’s offered to work with me to change my grip and other tweaks to help me shoot the Tupperware, but I declined. I asked myself why I should change everything that allowed me to shoot all my other handguns well, so I could shoot one gun my department supplied. Since I am not a full time LEO, I simply transitioned to a non-armed position in my organization. I still don’t own a 1911, but the Sigs and Springfields I do own share the same grip angle with it, and I shoot them all better than the Glock.

    Reply

  • Bric

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    In working with handguns, shooting handguns, and carrying handguns for 29 years; I have learned that all semi auto platforms can have a place based on your needs and situations.

    A glock is the ak of handguns, as you can do anything to it, and it will still go bang when needed.

    1911’s are beautiful, smooth, and extremely accurate, but many require a deal of care. For left handers, almost all 1911’s need retro fitting to include new sites. They are great for day to day, but not extended time out and about.

    I compromise and prefer to use another Moses Browning design: Browning Hi Power family. Its action is the best of both worlds. CZ and Tanfoglio make accurate and high reliable handguns.

    That said, I use versions of all three platforms and enjoy all three: Striker fired, 1911’s, and Hi Power. Adaptability is the key to surviving the ultimate natural selection: “death.”

    Reply

  • Pete

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    I carried the 1911 as a sidearm in the 1970s and finally bought a Springfield Mil-Spec in stainless about six years ago kind of just to have one. I enjoy it, have a military holster and belt to take it with me when the SHTF, as they say. (I am convinced that probably will not happen in my lifetime.) If I thought really hard about it I could probably count the times I have taken it out. I just keep buying all kinds of 9mm pistols and it get lost in the shuffle. I have blown it up twice with overcharged rounds, made repairs, and it keeps going. Anyway, it is a nice to have for me. A lot of 1911 fanatics out there just like with every other gun. I think it’s a classic and can’t imagine nt having one in my eclectic collection.

    Reply

  • Ted Spencer SR

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    This guy is an IDIOT and needs to look at prices before opening his IDIOT mouth!!! Also the 1911 is the safest gun on the market, if you shoot something with one you meant to shoot it, there is NO accident with this gun. 45ACP is probable the best round on the market!!! Learn what you are talking about before opening your mouth!!!!

    Reply

    • BUURGA

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      The 1911 is nowhere near the safest gun on the market. To be ready for action it must be carried with a cocked hammer secured by a safety. Any number of other pistols are much safer and quicker to draw. Does cocked and locked work….sure. Can the hammer snag on clothing and can the safety fail….yes also. The .45 is a good, reliable round……but only 7 of them in a standard mag is a bit low for today.

      Reply

    • Patrick Gleason

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      I guess you don’t feel as though people are allowed to have opinions, other than you obviously. I have looked at some 1911 models, but chose a Sig instead. Sorry if you do not approve, but not sorry really.

      Reply

    • Jered Hoke

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      Then why did the FBI switch back to 9mm?

      Reply

    • Ken Jones

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      All valid points Ted, but is there really a need to be so nasty about it? Can’t we disagree and be civil? I’m so tired of all this on-line vitriol.

      Reply

    • Chris

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      @Ted Spenser SR- there is really no accidents with any gun, just negligence. And why so hostile Ted? Bad day for you? Maybe you should learn to articulate in your writing so people can learn what your point is. You gave no real points or evidence for your beliefs. Without doing so, people may judge you as…well…an IDOT!

      Reply

    • James Gordon

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      The fellow you are attacking might be uniformed but you sir are a
      POMPOUS ASS!While I love the 1911 and have built more than a few,the glock36 is my carry gun of choice.Your attack on this individual has made me drop down to your level and this is not going to accomplish anything!

      Reply

  • karl

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    IF,AND ONLY IF,i WERE TO GET ANOTHER 1911,IT WOULD NEED TO HAVE THE FOLLOWING:
    -AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETY
    -AMBIDEXTROUS OR LEFT HANDED MAGAZINE RELEASE
    -“PLUS P”[E.G.24 LB]SPRINGS for near -or equivalent, 460 Rowland levels
    -BARREL RIFLING SUITABLE FOR NON JACKETED PROJECTILES
    -FULLY ADJUSTABLE REAR SIGHT AND LARGE! ! TRITIUM FRONT SIGHT
    -LANYARD LOOP
    -NON REFLECTIVE STAINLESS STEEL CONSTRUCTION
    but still I still[after 5 years]don’t have my NICS back,so all my desires are merely hyperbole.
    In the meanwhile I’ll stick with my full sized Glock 30 with Lone Wolf barrel,tritium front sight,factory ammunition.

    Reply

  • Carmender

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    It’s just got to be me but I don’t like the 1911 because of the ugly horn sticking out the back of it. Yeah I know it’s to prevent slide bite but it makes the gun look like a horned toad.

    Reply

    • TW

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      The 1911 beavertail is there to prevent hammer bite, not slide bite. I have a 1911 mil-spec and after about 5 rounds I am bleeding like a stuck pig at the web between my thumb and finger. Not everyone suffers in this way, it simply depends on each individual’s hand. The only way I can shoot that particular 1911 is to put adhesive tape on my thumb webbing where the hammer horn hits. Another fix (other than a beavertail) is to install a hammer that has a ring instead of a horn on it.

      I have and like both 1911s and Glocks. Currently, I carry only Glocks for their increased capacity.

      Reply

  • Karl

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    20+years.The two modification:Lone Wolf barrel for unjacketed projectiles,tritium front sight[with standard adjustable rear sight]

    Reply

    • HW Stone

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      Not sure why, but your reply to my question got posted as a new comment– twenty years means you have a reasonable knowledge and belief in the system in your hand, and thus a valid reason for believing in it.

      But, being of a different firearms faith, I’ll still preach fewer, bigger rounds out of a pistol that I know can be passed to my great-great-great grandchild as a working old school tool for staying alive.

      Thanks.

      Reply

    • Jered Hoke

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      HW Stone. If you ever need your pistol to stay alive, I promise you 8 rounds will not be enough. Some double stack 9s hold 19 plus 1(Springfield xdm). That’s more like it.

      Reply

    • HW Stone

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      Over the last forty some odd years I have several times been forced to rely on the forty five and never have felt the need to just spray bullets– period.

      Reply

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