Looking to buy a 45 handgun

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by scubadiver12165, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. ozo

    ozo Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Just a short thought on the 1911 :

    People often quiz me about why I'm so stuck on the M1911 pistol. After all, it's an old design, in service since 1911 – the source of its name – and there are newer, excellent designs of auto pistols. The SIGs, Glocks, CZ, and H&K pistols are all excellent designs which perform admirably. None of them are perfect, but many are mighty doggone good. The modern pistolero really suffers from an abundance of riches.

    The International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) selected as its motto, "Diligentia - Vis - Celeritas" – "Accuracy - Power - Speed". This comes directly from the teachings and philosophy of its first president, Col. Jeff Cooper. It’s no coincidence that Col. Cooper’s handgun of choice was the M1911 .45 automatic pistol. In my own thrashing about to find the right personal sidearm, I found that I agreed with Cooper. I got more accuracy, power and speed with the M1911 than I did with other types of pistols. It’s really as simple as that. It’s the gun I shoot the best.

    Other things I like about the M1911 include its distinguished service history and the fact that it readily lends itself to customization. More Congressional Medals of Honor have been won with M1911 pistols than any other side arm. There are lots of aftermarket modifications you can do to personalize your gun. If you're inclined to tinkering, the M1911 is your gun. One of the interesting ironies about the M1911 is that, while it's one of the oldest autoloader designs, it's still the fastest (for my money). An expert Glock shooter who knows how to do the short trigger reset can keep up with an M1911, but a normal shooter can get off rounds faster with Old Loudmouth than any of the other autos.

    Reliability: I have one autoloader which has never jammed, and that's a S&W 6906 9mm. Every other autoloader I know about has jammed sometime. For all of their hype, I have seen Glocks (and most other brands) act up at matches and training sessions. Compared to a good wheel gun, all autoloaders are fussy. There are several variables that affect this, including ammo, magazines, and grip. An auto which is not supported properly can jam. My Kimber is rock solid, but I have had times in which I was shooting from weird positions and around barricades on my weak side and have experienced feed failures. My son shoots a Beretta M9, a pistol renowned for its reliability, and when he was first learning to use the pistol he was plagued with feed failures because his grip simply wasn't firm enough. A damaged magazine, weak springs, and out of spec ammo can all trigger malfunctions in autoloaders. Part of learning to effectively use an autoloader is mastering a solid grip and learning to clear malfunctions. An M1911 which is properly set up and using appropriate ammunition is a highly reliable gun. An M1911 which is tightened and “accurized” to shoot 1” patterns at 50 yards should not be expected to enjoy a high level of combat reliability. Appropriate ammunition for the M1911 is 230 grain FMJ or hollowpoints which have the same bullet shape of the FMJ round.


    Jeff Cooper

    “The 1911 pistol remains the service pistol of choice in the eyes of those who understand the problem. Back when we audited the FBI academy in 1947, I was told that I ought not to use my pistol in their training program because it was not fair. Maybe the first thing one should demand of his sidearm is that it be unfair.”
    — Guns & Ammo, January 2002

    Clint Smith On The 1911

    “The 1911 remains popular because it’s an efficient tool. In more than 30 years of experience, I’ve met more competent, serious gunmen who carry 1911’s than those who pack any other handgun. They are professionals – policemen, government agents and others who carry handguns daily because the know their live may depend on it…Me? I’ve carried a 1911 every single day for the past 20 years. It’s a very comforting gun to have at your hip. It offers a good, consistent single-action trigger pull and is wonderfully dependable. Because the 1911 is basically a defensive handgun, I’m not concerned about tight groups. I don’t bother with expanding hollowpoints that could cause feeding problems. For absolute reliability, I shoot only high-quality ball ammunition. That big .45 slug doesn’t have to expand to be effective.”
    From Guns and Ammo, September, 2001.

    Tom Givens, Author and Trainer

    As a "fighting" handgun, a properly set up and tuned 1911 has no equal. It has superb ergonomics, redundant safeties, excellent reliability and longevity, and the best trigger action available on any common service pistol. The trigger alone makes it the easiest service pistol to shoot well at speed. My primary handgun every single day, 365 days a year, is a lightly customized 1911.

    That said, the 1911 is NOT a gun for the casual user, or what we call NDP's (non-dedicated personnel). The gun was designed when technology was expensive, but skilled labor was not. The exact opposite is true today. A carry 1911 should be gone over by an experienced specialist (Heinie, Burns, Yam, Yost, Garthwaite, etc) and then properly maintained by the end user. The average cop or typical CCW holder would be better served with a Glock or SIG in most cases. If you're willing to spend the money to get a properly set up 1911 and TRAIN with it, then you're not "average".

    Last year I took three classes as a student (Taylor, Gonzales, Suarez) and the year before one from Clint Smith. In each of those classes I fired about 800 rounds through my carry 1911 without cleaning it and with zero malfunctions. At the NTI last year, I dropped an impact target with about an eight inch square vital zone at approximately 80 yards, from an awkward position, with one shot from my carry 1911, while being filmed by a TV crew. The superb trigger on my gun made that a lot easier. Since I have a choice in my personal weapons, I choose to carry the system that stacks the odds in my favor. My life is worth the extra expense/effort. YMMV.

    Chief Michael King on the M1911

    “I've shot EVERYTHING in twenty-five plus years of law enforcement and never found anything I like better.”

    Chuck Taylor

    “If you’ve heard that Old Ugly is on the way out, you’d better look again, for such is simply untrue; quite the opposite. Everything it has had the capacity to do for the last eight and a half decades remains valid. It thus remains King Of The Hill and will likely continue to do so well into the next millennium. To produce a handgun with better or more practical capabilities will be difficult and perhaps impossible. And I, for one, feel that we can look forward to watching the M1911 continue to dominate the handgun world well into the foreseeable future.”

    “So, is there really a "best" pistol? Technically, if we eliminate shooter skill from the equation, yes. When interviewed after the tests, all participants agreed that the big Colt Government .45 (SA) had the best all-around combination of power, "user-friendliness," accuracy and functional reliability, while the Glock M-22 .40 S&W ("semi"- DA) and LW Commander .45 (SA) tied for second. The Browning P-35 9mm (SA) was rated fourth and the Smith & Wesson M-39 9mm (DA) last.”

    Officer Lawrence Birch

    “Being a police officer, I have always carried a sidearm. For the past 9 years it has been a 9mm S&W. I never liked it and always wanted my 1911 as a sidearm. In 2001, I, along with two other officers took on a tremendous task of selecting a new sidearm for my police department. All of us are partial to the 1911. It was very difficult to be fair and objective in this test. In an age of polymer guns and the 9mm and .40 rage, it was a task to find a suitable sidearm for some 50+ officers. The round was nothing but the .45, and why not? Isn’t that what everything is compared to these days? We shot and tested our guns in a brutally harsh manner, water, sand, mud and pond water rinses, thousands of rounds and a few sessions of "toss the gun at the wall". The four competitors were Glock, Smith, SIG and Para-Ordnance. Only two passed our tests, SIG and Para. In the end, 19 our of 20 police officers picked the Para, the chief went with the choice of the men and now our department carries the Para-Ordnance 14.45 LDA. Our officers qualification scores have risen dramatically and in a since we still carry a piece of history with us wherever we go. If John Browning only knew what a creation he had made.”

    Daniel N. Powell, USMC

    When I qualified with the 1911 in the Marines, my pistol rattled when I shook it, but it would still put a full magazine into the center of a combat target. Later, when we were issued the M9, none of us could shoot them accurately. Not long after they were issued, the Corps recalled the M9 and re-issued the 1911 for that reason. It wasn't until the Pentagon ordered the Marines to carry the M9 that they were re-issued. However, almost every Marine I encountered carrying a sidearm carried a 1911 in defiance of the order right up until I was discharged in 1991.

    Hal Lowder, US Army Military Police Corps

    I was very fortunate that when I was deployed to the Persian Gulf that my unit was low on the list to get Beretta's. so I HAD to carry my 1911. It was nice having a functioning sidearm that I didn't have to carry in a plastic sandwich bag like most of the other guys did. And I might add, with no malfunctions. My Remington Rand issue fired every time !!

    2LT Robert Wancha, 1776th Military Police Co., Michigan Army National Guard

    About 15 years ago my National Guard unit went to qualify with weapons (individual and crew-served). I stepped up to the firing line for qualification and I was handed a very, very old Colt 1911A1. The thing was beat to death, sloppy in fit from years of service, and badly pitted from just as many years of neglect. With a tight annual budget and little money for ammo, we didn't even have the chance to fire a few rounds for familiarization. So at this point having never handled a 1911A1, I started the qualification. I couldn't see where the rounds were striking the target, but I had faith and kept shooting center mass. When the firing stopped, we were told to walk downrange and check our targets. I put them all in a very tight circle in the black. I qualified expert. I could not believe a rattlebox in that state of shape could deliver such performance.

    Bob, USN

    When I was a young man (19 I believe), I had to apprehend a guy who went berserk and was holding a Navy nurse with a knife to her throat. I fired a round that hit the forearm just above the elbow. The impact spun him around completely and threw him to the ground. It was then that I knew why this piece was the standard issue sidearm. After 40 years, it's still as vivid in my memory as if it has happened yesterday. For me it was a sad day when it was replaced by the 9mm Beretta back in '85.

    Martin, US Army

    I was an Urban warfare instructor in Berlin, Germany with the Army. There I learned that it [the m1911] is the best pistol for warfare and home defense. We used both .45 cal. Colts and Beretta’s in 9mm. Nearly all instructors praised the 1911A-1. It is a great weapon for urban warfare and home defense.

    Jeff Chandler, Movie Actor

    A youth spent in New York City, where even admiration for a gun struck terror in the hearts of one’s elders, kept me from gun appreciation for some time. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in the service that I made close contact with firearms. And out of the welter of guns they threw at us, my fondest association was with the Colt.45 Automatic Pistol. It’s a tricky little devil, but has always paralleled, for me, the kind of punch I admire in the ring—short, well-aimed, and devastating.

    Cpl. Rick Jakubowski, 31st MEU(SOC),

    Experience and practice give DAP Marines the capability to fire three short, two-round bursts at each target they engage, and every member carries a .45-caliber pistol as a secondary weapon because of its high-caliber knockdown power. The handgun normally serves as a backup when there is no time to reload the MP-5. It is also used for accuracy when firing on a 'bad guy' using a civilian as a shield. DAP Marines train extensively with their pistols to expand their skill at accomplishing these difficult shots. Some of the DAP Marines carry 12-gauge shotguns for "minor nuisances" like locked doors.

    Bill P., Law Enforcement

    Early in my career, probably 27-28 years ago, I was involved in a drug bust/warrant arrest. One of my partners was armed with a Colt .45 1911. Upon entering the apartment of the bad guy and announcing our purpose, the bad guy, who happened to be standing next to an ironing board with a hot iron on it picked up the iron and was about to use it as a weapon when my partner drew the .45, pointed it at the bad guy's chest, saying "Put it down or I'm going to put 5 big ones in the middle of your chest." Needless to say, the bad guy succumbed to the big hole in the end of the Colt.

    Rosco S. Benson on rec.guns “Is the 1911 an Outdated Design?”

    Of course the 1911 is an outdated design. It came from an era when weapons were designed to win fights, not to avoid product liability lawsuits. It came from an era where it was the norm to learn how your weapon operated and to practice that operation until it became second nature, not to design the piece to the lowest common denominator. It came from an era in which our country tried to supply its fighting men with the best tools possible, unlike today, when our fighting men and women are issued hardware that was adopted because of international deal-making or the fact that the factory is in some well-connected congressman's district. Yes, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the 1911 IS an outdated design....and that's exactly what I love about it.

    The gangster era of the 1930s and the two world wars are mythical, archetypal times, and during that time, the "Colt Automatic" was the butt-kicking pistol. There really wasn't any competition over here in auto pistols. Of the great pistols, only the Luger co-existed with the M1911 and they weren't very popular in the States. The Luger was feared and respected, but our lawmen, soldiers and hoods didn't select it to create their legends. I don't know if the Glock or the Beretta will ever get the chance to serve during an era as uniquely suited to the creation of legend and mystique in the way the M1911 did. It's a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and getting the job done when the chips were down.
    Sugarfoot likes this.
  2. aa1911

    aa1911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    hey, you said 'short' thought!

    JK, hahaha, thanks. I always love 'cooperisms' in the guns & ammo magazine.

  3. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

    Jul 17, 2012
    I'd start with a 1911A1.

    It'll give you perspective, and if

    you don't like it, you can sell

    it again fairly easily...
  4. gvw3

    gvw3 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2011
    Chicago IL Area
    My son and I were just looking at 1911"s today. They finally have the Rugers in stock. Very beautiful gun. Its pretty tight but they say will loosen up after a few rounds. I have never shot one so I can't comment on that. Then we looked at the Remington. Not as pretty as the Ruger but nice and smooth. Had a good feel to it. Then we looked at the Colt. Sharp looking and smooth action.

    I have time to make my decision as I save for it. I would go with a 1911 for your 1st 45. You will have it for the rest of your life. So may your grandson.
  5. Bud0505

    Bud0505 Member

    Dec 5, 2011
    I would take a look at the Taurus 1911. Looks like a lot of gun for the money. It's on my short list.
  6. CCHolderinMaine

    CCHolderinMaine Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2012
    Steep Falls, Maine
    There are a ton of good choices. Best advice is try as many as you possibly can.
    One thing that is absolutely positively clear:

    A Sig and a Glock are NOT basically the same thing.
  7. grdad45

    grdad45 New Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    SW Arkansas
    After looking at and holding (fondling) a bunch of 45 ACP's, I ordered a FNP-45 from Bud's for $641, including insurance. All the reviews I read were glowing. They are US made, 14-15 round capacity, come with three mags, holster, mag carrier, two backstraps, and night sights.
    It is supposed to arrive at my dealer tomorrow. I'll post a range report after I lay hands on it.
  8. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    North Florida
    While I have never owned one myself, the reviews are good on this gun and the reputation is solid. I dont think you made a bad choice. We will be waiting for the range report...
  9. gun runner

    gun runner Former Guest

    Nov 23, 2011
    South Texas
    I would go with a Colt 1911A1. Very high quality pistol and made like a steel vault.
  10. grdad45

    grdad45 New Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    SW Arkansas
    Here it is, I shot three mag fulls the other day. It digested everything I shot. The only problem was that the last 4 shells were extremely hard to put in the mags,even denting the previous case, so I ordered a loader for it. I think I'm going to be happy with it. More range time this weekend, Isaac permitting.

    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  11. PanhandlePop

    PanhandlePop Member

    May 27, 2011
    I'm a huge 1911 fan and have a Glock 30 that is a fine little gun and surprisingly accurate. However, your question is one only you can answer. I agree with jj; study and analyze your options, handle as many different guns as you can, and, if possible, find some way to shoot those that you think will be best suited to your likes.
  12. RuffLock

    RuffLock New Member

    Dec 4, 2011
    Northern VA
    I am strongly considering a purchase of the FNP-45 as well. I would love to hear any future range reports on your experiences with it. Also considering upgrading my M&P 40C to a 45. Still undecided yet.

    I hope you have a great time with your new purchase. Don't forget to put a 1911 in your collection soon. I was one of the late comers to that party, but they are definitely the most fun to shoot.
  13. WHSmithIV

    WHSmithIV Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2012
    Moore, Idaho
    Since the Pandora's box has been opened and as an ex-Navy Petty Officer I'll go ahead and throw my 2 cents worth in.

    The 1911 is - in my opinion - the finest pistol ever created. As a concealed carry weapon, not the first weapon of choice. As a home defense weapon, perfect. As an open carry weapon perfect.

    The simple reality is that a .45 that is ACCURATE at 50 ft. is simply not a good conceal carry weapon because of it's size. There are small, short barrel 45 ACP pistols out there, but due to the size of the bullet when you fire it through a 2" barrel you are sacrificing accuracy for the size of the bullet.

    Accuracy is in direct proportion to 5 variables. The size of the projectile, the length of the barrel it is fired trough, the degree of rifling in the barrel to give the projectile spin, the pressure exerted on the projectile from the explosion of the combustible inside the cartridge and the distance required for the best possible accuracy. If all 5 variables are matched perfectly you get the most perfect accuracy for a given projectile size at a specific distance with a specific length barrel.

    So, my 5" barrel 1911 is definitely my preferred handgun of choice. My preferred concealed carry weapon is a .380 with a 3.5" barrel.
  14. Double D

    Double D Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    North Florida
    Completely disagree. Go with a 1911 commander with a scandium frame and its the cats meow in a carry gun. I consider a 380 a backup.
  15. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2008
    If your wife is going to use it, I'd get her input as to what feels comfortable shooting--not just holding. If a gun makes her flinch or is too heavy, she won't learn to shoot it well.
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