Years ago, I was shopping for a laser printer. The salesman at the store was telling me that “this printer prints with HP level quality.” That was when I realized that if the HP printer was the one that others were being compared to, then I would be buying an HP.  After all, with the price points being close, I would be a fool not to buy quality.
The same should go with a self defense handgun. You should buy quality, because when you carry a firearm for self defense, you are literally betting your life that it will go “bang” when you need it to. Now most guns and ammunition made today have reliability that is far superior to where it was 100 years ago.

Rob Pincus recently fired up 1911 gun owners when he said that 1911s are not reliable, and issued a challenge. Michael Bane immediately added his opinion. Immediately, the fanboys came out of the woodwork with ludicrous claims:

– It is good, because the FBI HRT, my local SWAT team, etc. uses it.
This claim is stupid, because these SWAT teams are that- teams. They take that 1911 in as part of a team, with a half dozen other team members behind them. Besides, the 1911 isn’t the primary weapon, it is a backup weapon. In either case, a failure of the gun is not as catastrophic as it would be for you- someone has their back.

– The 1911 is good, because it was the military issue sidearm for 80 years
and now it isn’t. So does that mean it isn’t good any more? Not only that, but are you saying that the US Government always buys on quality? Not politics?

– It is good, because many competitors use it in IPSC and IDPA matches
Those matches have rules that are designed to favor the 1911 platform. That was always one of the problems I had with those matches: they are gamed. IDPA has a division that is devoted to it, called “Custom Defensive Pistol,” in which the pistol must be .45ACP loaded to a certain power factor, and cannot hold more than 8 rounds. Not only that, but those competitors are shooting $5,000 custom weapons. If you have $5K to spend, you will do better to buy a $1,000 pistol and $4,000 worth of practice ammo.

My personal favorite:
– No one used an XD to clear VC tunnels, or to root Japanese soldiers out of trenches
The guns in question had not even been invented yet. Silliness.

Look, I bought several 1911s, and ran them through their paces. The first that I bought was a Colt. Out of the box, it had problems. I couldn’t fire 100 rounds without 5 or 10 stoppages. Everyone told me that 1911s have a break in period of 500 rounds. At 500, it was still not working. I took it in for warranty work, and they repaired it. It still wasn’t reliable. Then my 1911 friends blamed me as the problem, accusing me everything from performing poor maintenance to ‘limp wristing’ but the fact is, my other pistols worked fine. The Colt became a safe queen.

I bought me some Kimbers. Three, to be exact. One, a Pro Carry, had problems similar to the Colt, but they were solved by the factory repair. I was happy with all of them, until the round counts got up there. Then, they became unreliable. It turns out that they need repair every 1,000 rounds or so, and major work every 3,000 or so.

That isn’t reliable to me. I have a Sig pistol that I have had for over ten years, and it has over 20,000 rounds through it. It has only been to the shop once. (I must admit that another Sig that I had was just rebuilt because it rusted while in storage, but that is not the fault of the design) 1911s can’t do that. I have one 1911 remaining, the Ultra Carry II. It was the only one of the four 1911s that I bought that works worth a damn. 25% is not a good batting average.

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1 Comment

Anonymous · May 24, 2012 at 1:22 am

I've only owned one 1911, a Colt Officers Model, and I only put about 300 rounds through it while I owned it. I've never done much reading on the subject either, so I can't say much on the longevity of these handguns, but I do know this: for my money I would rather have a Glock model 21 (or better yet a model 32) instead of a 1911 any day.

These handguns have been put through some of the most rigorous testing of any firearm I've ever read about and continue to fire flawlessly after the testing. I'm no fanboy, but I have owned several and will definitely purchase another in the future.

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