Recently, I shared a range day picture featuring my lightly customized Springfield Armory M1911 pistol and some boxes of Cor®Bon DPX with my old friend, Mike Shovel, sales manager at Cor®Bon Ammunition. He was appreciative of my choice of ammo, but chided me for my taste in pistols: “Can’t you find a nice polymer frame pistol made in the 21st Century?”, he chided.
My mentor, John Farnam, of Defense Training International often reminds his students that it is dangerous to have a “favorite” pistol and I agree! Dependence can lead to helplessness. I do my best to keep up with the latest designs and I do practice with and carry a variety of defensive pistols — even newly minted ones made in this century! However, one’s first love is often the deepest, and I’ve admired John Browning and his M1911 pistol. since I was a kid. The history of the pistol itself is immensely interesting. I remind my Ravelin Group Defensive Training students that the functionality and design of the M1911 works as well today in its many iterations as it did more than a century ago!
Here are my “Top 5” reasons to consider Browning’s 100+ year-old design:
- Ergonomic: Fits more hands properly than most double columned pistols in regards to trigger reach and circumference dimension.
- Carry-friendly: Thinner slide & grip profile (single column magazine) makes for more comfort & concealment when using an IWB holster.
- Optimal Standard Trigger Weight: 5 to 6 pound range allows for controlled & consistent hits. Stay away from <4 lb trigger weights in your 1911 for defensive use!
- Reliable: All steel construction / hammer-fired action offer reassuring durability & reliability when compared to polymer framed / striker fired pistols. Unlike most polymer framed pistols, the all steel framed 1911 will fully function even when a perfect or non-fully-supported grip is used.
- GTG Out of the Box: Most 1911’s come with very usable fixed high-profile sights that allows the user to quickly see the sights, unlike a lot of smaller compact pistols
Starting a quest for your own 1911? There are many models from which to choose ranging from “plain vanilla” workhorses, tactical models with picatinny rails, tricked-out competition pistols and top-of-the line showpieces. Here’s a quick caution: be prepared for sticker shock as you go shopping! 1911 platform pistols as a rule are made to very high specifications from quality materials.
Abbreviated “Good-Better-Best” Shopping Guide:
Good: $500.00 – $700.00
Rock Island Armory is a great place to start and offer an array models and options to keep your business as your interest grows.
Ruger makes their own SR1911, a cast steel version that is affordable and updated
Better: $800.00 – $1,800.00
Springfield Armory’s 1911 Series
Kimber, the choice of many professional competitors
Best: $2,500.00 and up
Ed Brown, a custom builder offers over 100 options from which to choose
Wilson Combat, offers top-of-the line models that are handsomely fitted and engraved and high-end “tactical” pistols:
The Used Market
Of course, there are plenty of options in the used market. A few cautions:
- “Parts Guns”
- Modified Pistols
A nice selection of iconic ‘70 Series Colt 1911’s in the $900.00 to $1,200.00 range, is at GunBroker.com
In the Mood for Some 1911 Reading?
The Importance of Quality Defensive Ammunition
My defensive ammunition preference has been CorBon high performance DPX® (Deep Penetrating Expanding) ammunition for more than 30 years. Becasue Cor®Bon’s custom serrated copper DPX® bullets have superior penetration and expansion. Stopping power is maximized and engineered to be retained within the target (avoiding risk of injuries beyond the intended target).