Why I Have Never Owned a 1911…

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 (103)

  1. Many high-quality USA manufactured 1911’s have slides and frames produced by Taurus and are imprinted with the manufacture’s name upon finished assembly. Taurus also manufactures a 1911 with custom features that is readily available at a $600 price point. A Texas junior pistol team had used Rock Island Armory (Philippine) 1911s for training and winning gold and silver medals a few years ago. I have been shooting 1911s for over 50 years and built up a custom competition gun from GI parts in 1975 that I shot at the range yesterday using some new +P ammo that it digested just fine. Time will tell if the plastic guns are still functioning after 107 years of service.

    1. They have torture tested these “plastic guns” to insane round counts and they’ve passed with flying colors. Try that with a 1911 and you will have issues. These plastic guns will be around for a very very long time. Deep storage favors plastic a whole lot better than metal anyways. The problem with 1911s is to get then reliable you gotta be loose with tolerances and to get accuracy you gotta be tight with tolerances. Those 2 things have to be compromised in one way or another. It’s a 100 plus year old design kept alive only by nostalgia.

  2. i never felt comfortable carrying the 1911, loaded with the hammer back, even with the safety engaged. now i have a 1911 that Leon Herbert designed that’s great. after racking the slide on a loaded magazine, you push the hammer to touch the back of the slide, the safety lever slides to “safe position”, by its self. So a loaded pistol, hammer down, safety lever in safe. When i move the safety lever off, the hammer comes back to the firing position, by its self. I pull the trigger, and the pistol fires.

    1. I am curious why you think this meathod of carry is ÔÇ£saferÔÇØ? You are still carrying a single action pistol with the hammer back and the safety on. The function is the exact same, it just appears a little different until you turn the safety off. I carry a condition 1 1911 everyday, and it is perfectly safe. To each his own, but there is no appreciable difference between what you are doing, and what I am doing. The only thing your set-up does is introduce an unnecessary point of potential failure.

  3. While I agree that the modern striker fired guns are less expensive I also say ya gets whats ya pay for or more aptly buy once cry once. I have the same problem with grip angle and fit, but the other way around, the Glock just doesn’t fit right for me. Glocks are reliable yes but feel like a Lego gun in my hand. I do own a 9mm or 2, one a S&W 9 the other a CZ75 D compact that shoots like a dream. I have a Springfield 1911A1 that I love and will never part with.

    As to the 9mm vs 45acp. Well for quick follow up yes 9mm. But I work in the Operating Room of a major city (D.C.) trauma center, before that the military, and believe me when I say that after nearly 30 years I can tell you the difference between the two by the size of the wound track and tissue damage. The 9 just doesn’t do as much damage (even modern L.E.O. rounds) so I use a 9mm to compete and a 45acp for protection.

    1. 9mm penetrates to the vitals much better than 45. They’ve proven this with ballistics gel time and time and time again. This is why the FBI went back to 9mm. Magazine count, faster follow up shot(which is all the difference between life and death), and it’s more effective. 45 is a sub Sonic round moving too slow.

  4. I have a Glock 29 10mm that is basically as effective as a 357 magnum with the right loads but I also have an old Ruger P90 45 APC, a 22 Automag, 44cal black powder, two 9mm and yes a 1911. I carried a colt 1911 in Vietnam along with a 357 a sawed off 12 gauge and an M14… Better prepared than sorry.. I shoot all of my guns, the Glock is my daily concealed carry and depending on where I am going and whether or not I feel like wearing my MAGA hat I might be carrying a compact SCCY 9mm in an ankle rig. I love the feel and the balance of the 1911, but I am addicted to power be it motorcycles, cars or guns bigger is better and at 30 to 50 yds i like the Glock

  5. I hear what you are saying but to counter, there are quite a few only a little bit off of the 1911 frames that are very affordable. I have for my carry pistol the SAR K2 in .45 which came in at $490 when I found it on sale for a .45 in a very close to 1911 frame with 14 rounds in the magazine and very decent groups at self defense range, I do not see an issue with having it with me and while I would be ticked if I was robbed when I have to leave it in the car it wouldn’t be a major financial set back.

    So there are options for high capacity and inexpensive 1911 .45 handguns that are tools.

  6. John, No one cares why you do not own an ionic 1911 ÔÇô except for maybe new shooters who are looking for input. The rest of us made that decision years ago. Some other articles you might consider writing are: ÔÇ£Why I DonÔÇÖt Shoot 9mmÔÇØ, ÔÇ£Why I Hate the Modern Sporting RifleÔÇØ, ÔÇ£Why I Despise Lever GunsÔÇØ. They would fit well with this piece. I suggest you pick a gun. Shoot it. Video it. Tell us what you think. Although after this light article, I am not sure I will care.

  7. I own [2] G-23s and [1] G-19 they are all Gen-3 – the 23s are on my CCW permit while I use the 19 frame for punching holes in paper with a .22LR slide and a Lone Wolfe 9MM/40 S&W convertible slide – I have looked at 1911s and some of them are beautiful to behold but like the author the price tag is a definite turn-off – still maybe someday – actually I am considering a G-35 for my next purchase

  8. “If you donÔÇÖt count the Philippine imports, the 1911 platform starts at about the $900 price point and quickly goes up, from there.”

    What an utter load of crap this is. There are 500 and 600 dollar 1911s available from all over the world, including right here in the USA.

    1. Great point Matt. I buy the Philippine made guns (Armscorp) and modify them to my liking. However, if you buy one like their 10mm, there is basically noting to modify. I have bought their blank frames and fitted them to Colt slides and a dozen aftermarket parts. Anyone can put 1911’s together from parts by just watching a few UTubes. I have had a lot of un matching my guns labeled RIA against the KimbersÔǪ once had a lawyer with a stainless $1,600 Kimber shoot against one of mine. It was funny because he could only shoot about 4 inches with his gun and 2 with mine. My gun cost about $300.

      You can pay $2,500 up for a polished 1911, or pay $500 and then polish it up or tweak it with the first 100 rounds of Tullamo. If you can get one 100% with that cheap ammo, then it will shoot good ammo perfectly, duh? Good comment Matt. People just do not know and guns magazines are in the business of helping market the high dollar guns, so they tell us the more you pay the better they are. FWIW

  9. A few comments re Glocks vs 1991s.I find the full size Glocks including the model 30 more comfortable to shoot than 1911s.The only tweaking I have done is to put a Lone Wolf barrel and a tritium sight on mine.I wish Glock would have put on the generation 1&2s an ambidextrous magazine release.The Colt 80deries Government 1911 needed an ambidextrous safety and adjustable sights.Colt was too cheap and lazy to do so.I gave my Colt to a friend. My next auto will be a full size Glock 21 retrofitted with a Lone Wolf barrel/24lb springs/ large tritium font sight/loaded to near 460 Rowland ballistics. I wouldn’t mind finding a 22 auto with ambidextrous safety/Magazine release.Too bad Ruger has been too cheap to do that.

  10. You might want to price the Tisas Classic 1911-A1 and the GIRSAN 1911 Series .45 acp- Gen 2 before you quote the price of a good starter for the 1911 family.

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