HGR 012 - The 1911 World

HGR 012 - The 1911 World

This week, Ryan discusses some of the guns, tips, tricks and quirks of the 1911 world.

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

Week In Review:

  • Returned from Florida this past week, I hope you all enjoyed last week’s episode of Handgun Radio where I discussed some of the guns that I saw down there.
  • I received a comment on the Handgun Radio webpage that said I repeated myself too much on last week’s episode.  I don’t know if it was nerves (I was concerned that my poor internet connection would not let me release the show) or tiredness, but I apologize for the oversight and will try to be more cognizant of such things in the future.
  • Got the chance to handle & fire a Ruger Redhawk in .44 Magnum this past weekend.  It is what I will be using for deer hunting this year.  It is a great shooting handgun with good iron sights and a very nice trigger.  I will be using Federal .44 Magnum Jacketed Hollow Points with a weight of 240 grains. It was all I could find for .44 Magnum ammunition.
  • The Firearms Insider on the Firearms Radio Network will be going live on October 15th and will feature some great product & gear reviews that you will all enjoy for sure.  I will be contributing to the FI podcast/website as well so stay tuned for that!
  • Also, I would like to welcome the We Like Shooting podcast to the Firearms Radio Network! They have a great podcast covering all facets of the shooting world. Go check them out at the link above!

Main Topic: The 1911 World:

In this week’s main topic, we are going to be discussing some of the questions I’ve received from listeners about the 1911. The various modifications, the way the gun works, best places to get information, etc. I’ll then probably get into a few more specific reader emails that describe their experiences with the 1911 platform.

1.) Do you need a tricked out, tuned and polished 1911 to be proficient with the gun or have a reliable firearm?

  • No. The 1911 in its most basic format, was intended as a combat handgun.  It was not conceived as a target handgun. Even in its most basic iteration it can be a formidable fighting tool.
  • Yes, the sights on the original 1911 and the 1911A1’s are very small, and can be hard to see. By practicing with these small sights, one can become reasonably proficient with them.  The 1911 can have many improvements added to it, but even without them it is very usable.
  • Reliability is key in a fighting handgun. If you have a highly accurate 1911 that is so tightly fitted it cannot be counted on to function reliably, that accuracy potential may not matter. A good 1911 is properly fitted, and left loose enough to function reliably. (that is just my personal opinion, however. Others may disagree.)

2.) I’ve heard of reliability issues with the 1911 platform. Should I be concerned about these issues?

  • Yes, there have been some reports of reliability issues with the 1911. These typically stem from either bad magazines, ammunition selection or poor maintenance of the firearm.
  • Properly maintained, the 1911 is very reliable. Perhaps some of the users experiencing malfunctions are more used to the Glock style of handguns, which may not require as thorough a cleaning as often to function reliably.
  • There HAVE been some issues of the 3-inch versions of the 1911 having reliability issues. There is a video describing the issue done by Rob Pincus. Agree or disagree, it definitely offers up some food for thought.

3.) The trigger on the 1911 looks different to me than the trigger on my Sig-Sauer. Why is that?

  • The 1911 uses a different style trigger than the majority of the guns that are produced today.  The 1911 uses a sliding trigger, that moves backwards and forwards in a line parallel to the slide. Other handguns, such as the Sig-Sauer P-226, Glock 19, and Ruger P95 use a pivoting trigger, that pivots on a single axis at the top of the trigger. These two triggers systems offer a different feel, and one or the other can be preferable to some shooters.

4.) I am uncomfortable with cocked-and-locked carry or “Condition 1” with the 1911. Why is this done? Is this safe? What options are out there for someone like me not comfortable with this method of carry?

  • Condition 1 or “Cocked-and-Locked” carry is the safest method of carrying the 1911 in my opinion.
  • Condition 1 allows for a loaded round to be chambered and the hammer to be safely locked back, allowing for a fast first shot if needed.  It also helps to prevent accidental discharge.
  • On older 1911’s, there is probably no firing pin safety like you are used to on modern guns. The hammer resting against the firing pin would be unsafe if dropped. The thumb safety on older 1911’s blocks the sear from moving. Even if this thumb safety were broken, and the full cock notch on the sear were worn, the half cock notch would catch the hammer before it struck the firing pin.
  • On newer guns such as the Colt Series 80, Kimber, Smith & Wesson, Taurus and Para, a firing pin block keeps the firing pin stationary until the trigger is fully depressed.
  • In order to make your old 1911 drop safe, replace the firing pin and firing pin spring with a light titanium firing pin, with a heavy firing pin spring.  This will decrease the likelihood of a discharge with a dropped gun.
  • If you are not comfortable with the cocked-and -locked carry method, you can choose the Para LDA (Light Double Action) series of handguns, which offer all of the 1911, except the single action trigger design.  Every  trigger pull is a double action only trigger stroke.
  • You can also use the Safety Fast Shooting System from Cylinder & Slide.  This modification allows you to carry your 1911 cocked and locked, but with the hammer safely down. When you disengage the thumb safety, the hammer springs backward to full-cock, and you are ready to fire.

5.) I want to have a gunsmith customize my 1911 pistol. Do you have any advice for someone who has never worked with a gunsmith before?

  • If you are going to have a custom 1911, or any gun built or worked on by a gunsmith, choose a good one. Shop around.  The ones who do exemplary work will not be cheap, and they typically have quite a backlog. This is a good thing, as good work equals high demand which equals the backlog. There may be a reason if a gunsmith does not have a backlog. Just do your homework.
  • Bigger name gunsmiths can increase the value of your handgun, but don’t always assume that.
  • Know what you want done.  If you want a concealed carry firearm, its probably best that you don’t take your handgun to the guy who builds custom big-bore hunting revolvers.
  • Knowing what you want done will also help the gunsmith guide the project and ultimately will result in a better final product.

6.) Some E-Mails from listeners.

Wrap-Up:

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  • Thank you to everyone who is sending in the Listener FAQ Questions! I can’t wait for that episode!
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Thanks for listening and SAFE SHOOTING!!