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“The 1911 Sucks”

Over at Yankee Gun Nuts: an old design that is more trouble than it is worth.

People ask me where I come down on the whole 1911 is an old design thing. I like them. I like to shoot them. They’re one of my favorite handguns. I would not carry one.

24 Responses to ““The 1911 Sucks””

  1. Miguel Says:

    OMG! You are not supposed to tick off the 1911 Aficionados! Repent! Repent!

  2. Mike Says:

    Seriously, man, do you have a death wish or something?

    Everyone knows that only the most uber-tactical, super-special-forces, beyond-Thunderdome operators can handle the awesomeness that is the 1911, created by John Moses Browning (PBUH).

    Ya better watch it. You may wake up tomorrow with a dead horse’s head under your silken sheets.

  3. Jay G. Says:

    Nah, no horse’s head.

    Just a Glock 22 kaBOOMed from reloads…


  4. Ambulance_Driver Says:

    I own three 1911’s: one in each length. And while they don’t see as much time in my carry rotation as the plastic fantastics, all of them have round counts well over 1,000, and none of them have had issues feeding hollowpoints. They’re not uber-expensive custom guns, either.

    On the other issues he raised, I can’t find much to disagree with.

  5. weambulance Says:


    You know what some gunnies could learn? Maybe… letting people choose what they want without pissing in their cheerios. I don’t understand this need to talk smack about someone’s very personal choice in what handgun they carry.

    Also, since I can’t resist, about half of what he said is just plain wrong and clearly inflammatory.

  6. Tam Says:

    It’s a well-known fact that my gun rules and your gun sucks.

    If you don’t believe me, you can look it up on the internet.

  7. SayUncle Says:

    Tam wins the internet.

  8. Beaumont Says:

    My well-worn Colt recently parted company with the top half of its staked front sight, & began having extraction issues. My choice was whether to refurbish that all-steel carry gun or go to something else. So I bought a Springfield XD compact. Lighter, higher-cap mags, plus I get three free mags. Feeds everything I’ve tried.

    I still love 1911s, will fix the one I have and plan to buy another. But it’s not necessarily the best choice for every situation.

  9. aeronathan Says:

    After monkeying with my 1911 endlessly, there’s one fact I can’t get away from. As originally designed and intended by John Moses, the 1911 is as reliable as any other weapon out there. Deviating from that original design with things like 8 round mags, different mag followers, guide rods, etc etc, is just asking for issues….

  10. mikee Says:

    The glock design is now about 28% the age of the 1911 design. I would not try using a 1982-designed computer to save my life. I would not drive a 1911-designed car on the freeway unless forced into it. Other than my wife, who seems still to be improving with age, anything from the 80’s seems pretty outdated to me; items from 100 years ago are interesting curios.

    Both designs should be obsolete by now, shouldn’t they? Where is my ray gun? And where is my flying car?

  11. Huck Says:

    “I am not surprised that the 1911 is out of place in todayís world, and you shouldnít be surprised either. What other 100-year old design is still in daily use?”

    The Smith and Wesson model 10, introduced in 1899. The Single Action Army, introduced in 1873. The Winchester model 94, introduced in 1894. There’s more but I think y’all get the picture.

    Just because it’s older than your great grand daddy dos’nt mean it’s no good. And I’ll take a old, tried and proven, design over these newer models anytime.

  12. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    Wow large parts of that post show the author didn’t bother to actually do any research.

  13. chris Says:

    “What other 100-year old design is still in daily use?”

    The double action revolver.

  14. Phelps Says:

    Agreed. A ’67 Mustang is a nice car to own and fun to drive, but I wouldn’t want it as my daily driver.

  15. Phelps Says:

    What other 100-year old design is still in daily use?

    My safety razor is getting there.

  16. Tam Says:


    The Smith and Wesson model 10, introduced in 1899.

    One of the great unsung success stories in Industrial Design. Launched in 1899 and in continuous manufacture by the original manufacturer for 111 years, largely unchanged, it remains as good at its job as it ever was.

    The only thing I can think of that comes close is the “Gem clip” and Cushman & Dennison Mfg is long out of business…

  17. fodder4thought Says:

    Regarding the disassembly – I haven’t tried it, but there’s this:

  18. Jeff Says:

    Why stop at the guns?
    .45 acp, 30-30 Winchester, 9mm, .30-06, they’re all old designs.
    We need to move to new ammo like .327 Federal Magnum, .500 S&W Magnum, and all Winchester Short Magnums….

  19. Gunnutmegger Says:

    Hey now. Let’s not forget that the S&W Model 10, Winchester 94, and Colt SAA work reliably as designed, without requiring a plethora of aftermarket parts and gunsmithing. Unlike the 1911. I see no reason to change a design if it works well and is economical to produce (like the basic hammer). But if it is fraught with problems…

    And, speaking from personal experience, almost all of the gun snobbery I have seen has come from 1911 fans (I am pretty sure the term “tactical tupperware” was not coined by Glock fans). Ditto the dreaded “gun store attitude”.

    I will be posting a follow-up article addressing the documented reliability of Glock, 1911-pattern and Taurus guns. Should be interesting…

  20. Jack Says:

    Huh, so guy blabs on Tam’s blog to get his 1911-rage on, then waits two weeks and does it on his blog. It’s funny that the only mention of aftermarket parts is his own constant yammering on the subject.

    And the “no tools disassemble” thing? Still? Hah! That’s a delightful obsession.

    And then going hog wild with the high handed “I don’t pity you stupid unwashed lemmings” and despite the ending lines something tells me that nutmegger “didn’t get it out of [his] system.” Namely, the preceding comment of right here.

    Sir, life’s far, far too short. Especially for a defacto troll.

    Have fun with your serious business. I’m sure your next essay will be extremely edifying.

  21. Gunnutmegger Says:


    “Huh, so guy blabs on Tamís blog to get his 1911-rage on, then waits two weeks and does it on his blog.”

    I am a casual blogger, Jack. And I am not angry about 1911s or their fanboys, I am merely curious over the source of the attraction.

    While nothing would please me more than surfing the internet all day, I have a job to do, and there were preparations for Christmas that needed doing. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for the delay. I promise that next year, I will quit my job and shaft everyone on Christmas to ensure that there is less delay in posting. Just name the hoop and I will jump through it.

    Come to think of it, however, Jack, your own blog seems to be only intermittently updated. And the posts seem to be very brief, often just a “hey look at this” with a link to someone else’s content or a video.

    I guess if that is your idea of offering content, I could post a lot more often. But I prefer to deliver more substantial posts.

    “Itís funny that the only mention of aftermarket parts is his own constant yammering on the subject.”

    In looking at the current offerings from major 1911 brands like Kimber, Wilson and Les Baer, I see a lot of features that aren’t shown on the 1911 blueprints that Browning created. Those would be some of those “aftermarket parts” you seem confused about. Beavertails, external extractors, etc. Were you not aware of this?

  22. Tam Says:


    Letís not forget that the S&W Model 10, Winchester 94, and Colt SAA work reliably as designed…

    And so does the 1911.

    When you chop an inch off the barrel and stick a full length guide rod in it and make the parts out of materials other than the ones specified in the original design, and graft on some “LDA” lockwork, you can’t be surprised when it doesn’t work.

    Actually, the aforementioned Winchester 94 is a great example: Another Browning design that worked well until Winchester cheapened up the manufacturing back in ’64.

    Does the fact that Jerichos and Zastavas and Astras are malfunctioning piles of crap reflect poorly on the SIG P-series? Or the EAA Witness being garbage mean that the original “pre-B” CZ-75 is junk? Twenty years from now, when some Turkish company is churning out crappy malfunctioning Glock knockoffs, will that mean Glocks suck?

  23. Gunnutmegger Says:

    “Letís not forget that the S&W Model 10, Winchester 94, and Colt SAA work reliably as designedÖ”

    “And so does the 1911.”

    Rather than take anyone’s word on that, I compiled stats on that very issue. Posted them on my blog and on thetruthaboutguns.

    72 full-size .45acp 1911s tested by Gun Tests magazine from 1996 to the present day. 14 were unreliable. Colt, Kimber, Springfield, Wilson: all of those brands had problems. Even a Les Baer that functioned was so stiff it took 2 grown men to retract the slide. I took copious notes and provided the date of each review.

    It isn’t the shorter guns. It isn’t the oddball calibers. It isn’t the cheapo brands.

    It’s the 1911 design itself.

  24. McThag Says:

    Not a single one of the guns mentioned in Gun Test is an actual, as designed M-1911 or M-1911A1.

    When you are being critical about a design, you should really make sure you’re actually being critical about what was designed and what was changed. You’ve been repeating yourself enough that it’s clear you don’t understand the difference between design, poor quality control and corner cutting. You’re embarrassing yourself.

    Gen Test’s methodology really is anecdotal. Their sample size is entirely too small so conclusions about the overall reliability cannot be determined; even if their results mirror the anecdotal impressions of the internet and various forums. Also do not be too lulled by the lack of advertising causing a bias. All that means is there is no bias from advertisers, not that there is no bias. I would not trust you to give a fair review of an M-1911A1 now because of the bias you’ve declared.

    I can see that you think you are proving something, but all you are doing is telling us you have an unshakable opinion.

    You’ve made a point of repeating what you’ve said on your blog in the comments of any blogger who’s noticed your inflammatory post. We got your bias the first time; you don’t need to repeat it just because we don’t seem to agree with you.

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