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I hope he brought some flame retardant undies

Hilton Yam on why he left the 1911. TLDR: It’s not very reliable and requires work.

I like shooting 1911s. They shoot great. And I can shoot them more accurately than other guns. But I wouldn’t carry one.

30 Responses to “I hope he brought some flame retardant undies”

  1. divemedic Says:

    I agree. I had four of them, and sold them all. They are malfunction prone money pits that do nothing but enrich gunsmiths.

  2. Oldradartech Says:

    I’ve got five right now, have owned a dozen over the last 30 years or so. I had function problems with two, an Auto Ordnance and a Llama.
    I’ve had no problems with Colt, Springfield Armory, and a Norinco (which was rebuilt with GI internals by the van crew from Crane – thanks, guys). All are basic 1911’s, no frills.
    1) Other than sights and grips, leave the damgun alone.
    2) There are very few 1911 ‘smiths, but there are a lot of wannabees.
    3) Factory mags are spendy, but you only have to buy ’em once.

  3. Phil Says:

    I’ll carry a 1911… but I want to make sure it works right first.

    The fact of the matter is that the 1911 IS an old design and one that is very easy to screw up, even by those who regularly make good guns. The design does have its weak points which can be balanced out by its strengths… provided that particular gun is functional. It just hasn’t made the best transition into a world that tries to avoid skilled hand fitting of parts in favor of automated computer driven manufacturing methods.

    I don’t demand that a gun shoot thousands of failure free rounds without cleaning to trust it. If it will shoot 200-300 rounds without a failure (every time), that’s good enough. No point in requiring more failure free rounds through it than I carry (or even own).

    I can certainly understand taking a different model to a pistol class… I’d be taking my Beretta M9 and not my 1911s, myself. I can also understand not wanting to equip a group of people with 1911s and keep them running. But even this old design can get the job done, and done well.

  4. liquidflorian Says:

    I think the Polymer frame 1911s will alleviate some of the issues people have.

  5. aerodawg Says:

    I don’t carry one but if I had one that was done correctly I wouldn’t hesitate to. And when I say “done correctly” I mean to the same specifications and standards John Moses would have built it to. As someone said above, it was designed to overall somewhat loose with hand fitting by craftsmen in mind. On top of that it was designed to have a 7rd mag with a dimple in the follower. So many of the “improvements” on the design that change those 4 things are anything but…

  6. Jim Brack Says:

    They are really fun guns. Of course, I don’t put thousands of rounds through any gun but they all seem to be good to go when I take them to the range.
    AMT Hardballer
    Colt 1911 made 1918
    Colt 1911 series 70
    Colt Delta Elite
    Colt Officers Model
    Auto Ordnance 1911 10mm
    Para LDA
    But I don’t carry one primarily because it’s a single action trigger.

  7. Jim Brack Says:

    Except for the LDA

  8. hardcorps Says:

    So unreliable they’ve been in constant military use for over 100 years and the only handgun used to earn the Medal of Honor. How many enemies have been gunned down by berretas or glocks in war?

    It’s ok, this is a rhetorical question.

  9. Skip Says:

    If in defense and nine rounds don’t stop it…I’m fucked.
    After a hundred it should be cleaned and lubed.

  10. ern Says:

    My experience has been completely different. I hardly ever have problems with my 1911s, and I’ve put a few thousand rounds through each of them. And while I do clean them every 300 rounds or so, I’m not particularly thorough in their maintenance. I’ve never had any malfunctions of note with any of them. They’re some of the most reliable handguns I’ve ever owned.

  11. Jack Says:

    I like 1911’s. I feel comfortable carrying one.

    But yes, out of box you’ll have less worries going with a modern design. (Not that guns can’t malf on you, I have a friend who has had bad luck with several revolvers (springs being too weak for primers ect))

    Clean sheet, if I had to do it all over again, I’d probably go with a full frame Kahr in 9mm and a pocket Kahr that’d be compatable with the same magazines. (my reloading is for 45 right now).

    My S&W E series is a dandy gun and going by my log book preforms reliably, but I have had to do more tweaking to it (flat trigger, different ambi safety, re glued the plunger tube) than my Kahr 45 (sanded down the backstrap to be less “sharp”)

  12. MAJMike Says:

    I’ve owned the beloved M1911A1 for 43 years. I’ve used it every time I qualified for my CCL and always shot 100% (I know, not that tough, but I’m a traditionalist).

    Of all the pistols I own (Glock 19, HK 45 compact USP, Ruger P89, Springfield XD), the beloved 1911 is the one pistol I want when the SHTF. Its rugged, reliable and it has served millions well since its introduction.

    Guess that classifies me as a M1911A1 fanboy.

  13. Robin Says:

    I own way too many 1911s (> 30) of all makes. I carry a GM Colt. I understand what the guy said about maintenance as I’ve had parts break, wear, etc. but mostly on guns that I use for games. I’ve had to learn to do my own maintenance to keep costs down. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about what will make a 1911 quit working. I still love ’em. I also have sigs, glock, and Smith revolvers. I’m not a typical user as I have more 1911s in my ‘carry pool’ than most people have guns. Even so, if someone asks, I don’t recommend a 1911 for anyone not willing to put in the effort. I think his advice is OK. No flame retardant undies necessary.

  14. Gunnutmegger Says:

    Nice to see another expert abandon the obsolete 1911.

  15. chris Says:

    I love 1911s more than any other gun.

    Next would be S & W N-frames.

    But I carry a cheap Taurus 38 in my front pocket and a Glock 31 in my carry bag and glove box.

    1911s are play guns to me.

    However, I don’t yet have a commander sized 1911 45 acp, and I may have to get one to try it as a supplemental carry weapon.

    I have a Colt Officer’s Model 45 acp, and it is too small to be safe from my perspective.

  16. Patrick H Says:

    Again, I think the reliability is overblown. For starters, there are a bazillion manufacturers out there of 1911s, and we are comparing all of them to one manufacturer of Glock, HK, S&W, etc. That’s hardly a fair comparison.

    We have no idea of who made these 1911, we have no idea if the shooters “tuned” them, we have no idea how many rounds through them. These guys see the worst of the worst, and make judgements based on anecdotes.

    There is nothing wrong with carrying a 1911, and anybody who would be fearful is basing it on emotions not facts.

    Why do I carry one? Its single stack, its full size, its 45, its accurate, and its damn reliable.

  17. guffaw Says:

    I’ve a Colt NM slide mated with a Vega stainless frame.
    She has functioned flawlessly for over 30 years (15,000 + rounds)…
    The exception being when not properly lubricated!


  18. Crawler Says:

    I like the 1911 and own several. I think everyone should own at least one.

    It’s hard not to like the long sight radius and the many other features — single stack slimness, multiple safeties, etc…– the 1911 offers.

    But, count me as another who doesn’t carry one.

    At the average distance a Joe or Jane lawful carrying American civilian defends themselves — which is primarily anywhere from 6-12 feet — I’ll opt for a 3-ich barrel, no safety lever, subcompact polymer pistol, or an Airweight J-Frame.

    But I won’t be getting rid of my 1911s anytime soon. I ain’t that hungry yet.

  19. Sigivald Says:

    I agree. I had four of them, and sold them all. They are malfunction prone money pits that do nothing but enrich gunsmiths.

    Well, I’m more with oldradartech.

    My “crappy” Norinco 1911A1 has been very reliable (at least with decent ammo and mags, which are required for any gun to work).

    Because it’s not an over-tuned Kimber racegun wannabe (I notice the linked post mentions a PD having a lot of problems with Kimbers – and I remember Tam’s lecturing about how bad Kimbers have variously been in terms of performance).

    (Now, the 1911 is, as Gunnutmegger says, “obsolete” in terms of weight and capacity compared to a modern platform, sure.

    But there’s nothing inherently unreliable about it.)

  20. liquidflorian Says:

    Just to expand a little on what Patrick said; if you bill yourself as a 1911 expert, people will come to you with their problems.

  21. SPQR Says:

    No other design has been made by so many manufacturers, of varying skill (indeed Colt’s skill varied …), over so many years. And no other design has been screwed around with by so many gunsmiths, ostensibly professional and amateur.

    So of course they are “unreliable”. While there is certainly a lot that has been learned about engineering since JMB, the other “more reliable” guns would not be as reliable were they subject to the same history.

  22. NotClauswitz Says:

    Isn’t Hilton a real hard-use kinda shoot-alot tactical operator who puts a lot of mileage on a gun very quickly, with a long gunny history and who has developed a very refined “gun palette” as far as likes and dislikes? Mouton-Cadet to Gallo – so what about us carry-but-never-shoot average-dude gun weenies?
    As a novice to carry my opinion might well change, but I really like the thinness of the 1911 and the Commander barrel-length and it’s natural pointing. It’s easier for me to wear on my body than my big-grip Sigs – even the short and “petite” P245 has a fat handle and is thicker across the sights than my Commander – plus when you slap home the P245 magazine (that holds less than the Commander) you’re liable to pinch your hand raise a big blood-blister.
    I should have probably bought that 9mm Commander I passed-up a few years ago, but I don’t have anything in 9mm or ammo for it anyhow, and things were pretty dry at the time off the Big Ammo Drought so ammo shopping wouldn’t have helped much.
    Meanwhile S&W’s popular-kid M&P’s are going to be hard to come by here in the PRK. Confession: I’ve never even shot a Glock, but they look like a zucchini in a condom.

  23. Texas Colt carry Says:

    I have several full size .45 1911s, and trust any one of them as a daily carry and I do daily carry even at work. All have had at least 2000+ rounds run thru them including hollow points of any brand. I do practice a lot and have yet to have a feed, fire or eject failure with any of them. NONE, ZERO, NADA! None have been “gun smith” tampered with, all are out of the box stock of several brand names. There are anywhere from 2 to 20 years old.

    (You probably have guessed by now that one of them is a Colt. It is and it is the the oldest.)

    All of this hype and crap about trigger feel and accuracy is so much nonsense. You wont be aiming at your attacker, you will be POINTING!! Your gun needs to go bang when its needed, you need to learn how to POINT! Aiming is for hunting, pointing is for defending and defending is usually at very close range.

    So carry what you feel is best for you, but learn how to point at close range and hit center mass. Heck, even a HiPoint can get the job done, just make sure it goes bang when needed.

    As for me, I will carry any one of my 1911 full size steel .45s everyday, everywhere I go. Its comfortable to me, hides well, its dependable and that’s all I can ask of it. And yes, I do carry two spare mags.

  24. Scott Says:

    There are always going to be 1911 haters, many of them who don’t know their asses from their elbows but who nonetheless do a lot of talking. If you buy a cheap weapon, it will eventually fail regardless of what pistol design it is. I have two 1911’s, a Colt for over 30 years and Springfield Armory for over 20 years and I have NEVER had a stoppage with either weapon that was not the fault of the magazine. If you put a cheap or worn magazine in any weapon, you can invite stoppages. I would have no objections whatsoever to using either one as a carry weapon.

  25. CarlS Says:

    I slept with one that was older than I was for years while in the service, except for some nights at Walter Reed. Better than a tackhammer and absolutely reliable, though I did encounter some third-world ammo it didn’t like all that much. As well as some cheap made by the lowest bidder stuff. It was rebuilt for me twice at Anniston Army Depot, and I always got the same srial number back. I own Paras, Kimbers, and some other brands, but the G.I. issue still seems most dependable. It is, you see, hard to find all those fancy parts for the others when you’re away from the pipeline . . .

  26. Gunnutmegger Says:

    “There are always going to be 1911 fans, many of them who don’t know their asses from their elbows but who nonetheless do a lot of talking.”

    There, fixed it for you Scott.

  27. Huck Says:

    Hell, Old Slabside is the only semi-auto handgun that I like and have any confidence in. They’re simple to operate, easy to take down and clean, and will accurately and effectively put rounds downrange for a looooong time unless one abuses or neglects it. And it takes a lot of abuse and neglect to get a good quality 1911 to malfunction.

    “If you put a cheap or worn magazine in any weapon, you can invite stoppages.”

    There it is Scott! That’s why I prefer Revolvers over autos though if I was to carry a auto it would be a 1911 and ONLY a 1911.

  28. Lyle Says:

    You can build a 10/22 or a Glock entirely out of non-factory parts.

    I see a definite trend in these comments;
    “My 1911 absolutely, positively never ever fails…unless…”

    The fact is, I haven’t heard of an auto pistol that doesn’t have stoppages. That being said, I do have a Daewoo DP51 that has never had a single stoppage in the 14 years I’ve owned it. But then I hardly ever use it (probably less than 500 rounds in all that time) so there you are. A gun that you never fire will have zero stoppages.

  29. McThag Says:

    Yet, somehow, the Army managed to keep thousands running for nearly fifty years without buying new ones.

    I was the company assistant armorer (1988) and we had a couple front sights fall off and a few broken grips, but never had the litany of malfunctions that seem to be common with new-made guns. None of the companies in our battalion did; even with those ancient guns.

    It makes me wonder if nobody knows how to build them and some ephemeral bit of know-how was lost between the late ’40s and today.

  30. Fred Says:

    I have been shooting IPSC and then USPSA for the last 15 years. IDPA sporadically for the last 5 years.

    My 2011 don’t malfunction, I can count the malfunction with my fingers, all of them due to ammo issues (my reloads, my error).

    STI 2011 in 38 Super (IDPA gun)
    SVI 2011 in 40 (USPSA / IPSC gun)
    STI VIP 2011 in 40 (my carry gun, and IDPA gun also)

    The STI VIP has exactly the same size as a Glock 23 and same round capacity. I can even use the same holsters designed for the 19/23.

    I like the single action better, I can shoot it faster and more accurately, which is kind of important in a gun fight.

    Am I a gun snob? YES, what’s your point?