Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Marketing (evil) Genius.

As recently as the early 1990s, a "1911" pistol meant a GI-looking gun from Colt or Springfield or one of a tiny handful of other manufacturers.

At the same time, USPSA was going strong and IDPA was gestating and a more-or-less standard configuration of "upgraded" 1911-pattern pistol had become established. These guns had a fairly consistent suite of modifications:
  • "No-snag" sights.
  • A beavertail grip safety and "Commander" hammer to allow a higher grip while eliminating hammer bite.
  • An extended "combat" thumb safety.
  • A long, alloy trigger with lightening holes.
  • A flat, checkered mainspring housing.
  • Forward cocking serrations.
  • A full-length guide rod.
  • A slightly extended magazine release.
  • A beveled magazine well opening.
At the time, getting all this done was expensive, since the parts needed to be sourced through the aftermarket and most had to be installed by a gunsmith. Further, since many of them required grinding on the metal of the gun itself, the weapon would need to be refinished. The total bill could run into four figures for parts, installation, and refinishing alone, not counting the cost of the original gun.

It was a market niche just waiting to be exploited.

Sure enough, someone figured out how to fill it. The company that bought the old Kimber rifle company realized that, if the upgrade parts were bought in bulk and installed when the gun was made, a "custom" 1911 could be brought to market for not too much more than a standard "Government Model"-looking piece from one of the more established makers, and thus was the "Kimber Custom" born.

Kimber started out small, and quickly built an enviable reputation for near-custom levels of features and quality at a production-level price. Of course, as word got out, orders skyrocketed and there was soon trouble in paradise. With the need to ramp up production volume while holding the price point steady, cost-cutting measures had to be introduced, and by 2001 many shooters were noting that Kimber had maybe become a victim of its own success.

Other manufacturers responded with their own "factory customs", such as Springfield Armory's "Loaded" models, and Kimber's formerly private pidgin was threatened. Kimber's answers were largely marketing-oriented, and I have to give them credit for their success. In much the same way as a certain German company, Kimber coasted on past innovation and glories, and offered cosmetic packages and contracts with high-profile elite organizations as proof that they were something special, when in reality, their guns were, on average, nothing that you couldn't now buy elsewhere for less money.

To this day, though, fans remain loyal. When you buy a Kimber, you're buying the Kimber Mystique, and no matter what the naysayers claim, you'll put up a fight if someone claims it's not a better gun than a Springfield, Colt, or S&W. It's truly commendable that Kimber, which has been around for a comparative eyeblink, has developed a brand-name cult following as loyal as it has; you expect that with Colt (or Harley Davidson or Levi's) but not with a company that, at least in its current incarnation, wouldn't even be old enough to vote.

Truth be told, from my experience, if you're planning on leaving your 1911 stock or using it as a home project gun, you're as well off with a Taurus or a Filipino slag gun. If you're going to use it as a pistol kit on which to have a professionally-done custom built, then it doesn't make much difference whether you buy a Kimber or a Colt or a Springfield or a Smith.

But that's not what the marketing says...

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would not disagee with your point except my Springfield fully loaded was a complete dog, return twice and finally sent to Jim Garthwaite to become usable. The Kimber is nothing special but has gone bang every time as soon as it cleared the box.

My shooting and markmanship is so mediocre that the next level of 1911 would not improve my scoring enough to justify the cost and I really never wanted a safe queen.

Gerry

Davidwhitewolf said...

Indeed. I've been quite happy with my el cheapo Rock Island Armory 1911 -- as the base frame for one of my Pachmayr Dominators. Never shot it in stock configuration.

The Duck said...

I agree it does not much matter which brand, although the Fully Loaded SA was the only 1911 I have had to send back, the slide would bind on the frame.
The Kimbers have run well, as have the S&W's, and the Paras, and other than changing the grips they are as they came from the factory

1911Man said...

My carry gun is an early Kimber Ultra CDP. It has something like 20,000 rounds through it. I truly don't give sqrt(crap) about the brand nor its supposed mystique. What I do care about, and what this particular gun continues to provide, is that it NEVER fails to go bang, and that it has the second best trigger I've ever shot (after my Steyr Scout). It likes Wilson Combat mags, and any ammo that doesn't have a sharp shoulder like some of the truncated cone semi-wadcutter bullets I've tried in reloading. It's no longer pretty nor even close, and the rifling is starting to show a liiittle bit of wear, but those things don't matter one iota.

My next 1911 will be a full-size Springfield, I reckon. I hope its trigger is as nice as the Kimber's.

Turk Turon said...

Ditto 1911Man: mine's a Kimber CDPII. It also likes Wilson Combat mags (47,OXC). But I have little brand loyalty. Nice carry gun, 'tho.

JP556 said...

I have a Kimber Custom II. I like it. Is it the best 1911 out there? Probably not but it gets the job done, and its better than all of any of your 1911s... because this one is mine!

Anonymous said...

I too have noted these fads, though I cannot summon so much enthusiasm for most of them.

Duck's-ass grip safeties and oval slotted hammers are, to my admittedly eccentric aesthetic sensibilities, fugly. Full length guide rods have a long-standing reputation for causing more problems than they solve, and I am still trying to figure out the purpose of cocking serrations an inch behind the front sight, as well as what purpose it served to make any changes to the original USGI vertical cocking serration setup.

About the other features I am mainly neutral at best. Colonel Cooper said that all a 1911 really needs is sights you can see, a trigger you can use, and--if you intend to carry it concealed--a dehorn. Today one might add a fourth helpful upgrade: ramp and throat work to improve reliability with modern defensive ammo. Kimber's ramp and throat work seems to be some of the very best out there for a stock gun, at least with currently popular ammo. Kimbers in .45 ACP, right out of the box, tend not to have trouble with the ultra-wide-mouth 230-grain Gold Dot hollowpoint from Speer, for example, though it is possible that twenty years ago it would not have run well with the early truncated-cone version of the 230-grain Hydra-Shok which used to have such a fearsome reputation (both as a manstopper and for causing feedway stoppages of the three-point-bind variety). This is not something we can say for every maker's 1911s. And Kimbers as a rule have very nice triggers, out of the box. This is, again, not universal.

I don't mind high-visibility sights at all, and because I shoot with the thumb high, I can forgive the extended safety. But the half-assed fit and finish visible externally on so many Kimbers I've held and examined the past few years puts me off, over and above the amount of MIM parts they're using, and makes me wonder how well the important stuff is fitted inside. Maybe someday I'll buy one, or maybe I'll just get a Caspian frame and slide and have a 'smith build up something more to my tastes.

theirritablearchitect said...

Springer GI or Mil-Spec guns are, or at least were at one time, IMBEL-sourced forgings...a good value for basic 1911 builds, if one would ever have the desire to venture in that direction with their heater.

Nothing fancy, just a good, basic shooter, for comparatively less money (new, anyway) than doing the brand-buying schtick.

Just my opinion.

Firehand said...

Back a little over a decade ago I bought a Kimber Compact Aluminum for my carry piece. Still have it. Only ammo it's ever had a problem with is semi-wadcutters, just won't feed them, but everything else runs right through.

Guess it was about four years after I got it that I started hearing stories about parts problems and bad customer service; I can happily say that I've never had to use their service as all it's needed was new springs. Well, right now it's at the shop getting Cerakote applied, as the finish had become fairly awful after these years, otherwise springs only.

Six said...

Luckily I'm out of the 1911 debate. Good, bad or indifferent I've spent so many years carrying and put so many rounds through DA/SA pistols without an external safety that I simply can't re-acquire the habit of sweeping the safety off as I unholster. That first shot attempt always ends in disappointment and an expletive. Alas, the sweet taste of fanboydom will forever be beyond my grasp. Maybe I can buy an HK?

The Jack said...

Yup.

They're victims of success, which is handy on the used market. Because there's plenty that can be gotten at a good price without much wear. I have a Custom II that was sold because the previous owner (who clearly had more money than sense) put in a buffer and subsequently sold the "broken" gun.

That being said, anything beyond their basic is just a basic gun with fancy colors, and a much steeper price.

But you get a plain one used and the price is pretty good (there's the inner fanboy).

Also as a lefty I prefer their ambi safety and how it's retained. But that you can order and put into any 1911.

DirtCrashr said...

A friend who had a Kimber Super-Go-Duper recommended it highly, but I couldn't get past the cosmetic flourish of the giant Kimber swirly script on the side - that and there was a chick in our riding group named Kimber.. So I couldn't, and bought the old '43 Colt instead. It has historic value besides, but not so much you can't shoot it.

Gewehr98 said...

Tam speaks true.

That's why I bought all those Norinco 1911 clones to build race and carry guns upon, using the same Kart/Videcki/Ed Brown parts that would otherwise have been installed in a donor Colt or Springfield frame and slide. Just wish I'd bought more of 'em when they were available...

Jumpthestack said...

"coasted on past innovation and glories, and offered cosmetic packages and contracts with high-profile elite organizations as proof that they were something special, when in reality, their guns were, on average, nothing that you couldn't now buy elsewhere for less money."

All of that applies directly to SIG.

Ron Cohen, the CEO of SIG, used to be the general manager at Kimber. Coincidence? The guy is a one-man gun company ruining machine.

Anonymous said...

O.K., I thought Wookies would be into this. Kimber found a great price point for their market and its working.

The guys that know 1911s, are up to speed, and have the income are not buying Kimbers; they are buying Browns, Wilsons or Les Baers (or whatever Clint Smith tells us to buy), inter alia.

Kimber is positioned perfectly for their market: people who like gun, are aware of 1911s but not in the "know". They still want a "good deal" as they have a price cap because of the old lady or kids.

So, Kimber sells an image of a custom gun and then prices it lower.

Bait and switch or the value added fantasy? I thought Wookies would let the market decide?

Shootin' Buddy

Chris said...

Several years ago, I picked up a used Kimber Custom Stainless Target for a bit under $600, which I still consider a great deal. (Previous owner, I was told, was a woman who decided it was too much gun for her.) It has never failed to go bang when the trigger is pulled, whatever ammo I used, it makes my so-so marksmanship look better, and it's just fun to shoot. But I like my CZ75B in .40 S&W better.

Old NFO said...

Gotta agree with Shootin' Buddy, and I'd add C&S or Garthwaite or Yost to that list, along with Clark. I just sold a new Kimber Custom Target II I'd picked up to a friend (I never even took it to the range), and EVERY time he shot it with a full mag, it double tapped. He sent it back and is STILL waiting for the pistol back.

the pistolero said...

I've had good experiences with Kimber, but I prefer Springfield Armory. Cheaper and with a lifetime warranty, and SA has done right by me when I had to send my guns in for repair. I've talked with people whom I thought were at first members of the Kimber cult, but they said I made a good choice with SA.

And, um...I didn't see anyone saying the market shouldn't decide. I have not a clue as to where the "bait and switch" remark came from, either.

DJ said...

I have a Kimber Pro Covert II. I can't compare it to any other 1911 because this is my first one.

I chose it for two reasons:

1) I have a Kimber rifle that had a horrible but unnoticed defect when I bought it new. Kimber stood behind its product and its warranty. They made it as good as new, and it is a meat-getter that I am quite pleased with.

2) The 1911 Kimber I bought had the features that I wanted without having to do any customization work at all. Having read the war stories of customizations that went wrong or cost twice as much, this seemed to be a fine idea, particularly for my first one.

It has three-dot tritium sights, a Crimson Trace laser grip, and is much more accurate than I can shoot it. It functions flawlessly, so far, and handles the 230 grain Gold Dots that I load it with for home defense. I'm pleased with it.

My bottom line with guns is (to mangle a cliché) that I don't let the desire for the perfect get in the way of getting the goods. I'm satisfied with my two Kimber products and have no reason not to recommend them.

Tam said...

the pistolero,

"I have not a clue as to where the "bait and switch" remark came from, either."

Shootin' Buddy apparently didn't read my post real well.

(And we'll go into his reverence for the "quasi custom" Wilsons and Baers at a later date...;) )

Anonymous said...

"I have not a clue as to where the 'bait and switch' remark came from, either."

Ummm, you may want to try the Kimber marketing department, which was like the point of this blog post or something.

"Shootin' Buddy apparently didn't read my post real well."

I expanded upon it after adding things in. It's like I'm a blogger or something.

"(And we'll go into his reverence for the "quasi custom" Wilsons and Baers at a later date...;) )"

No reverence for any pistol. I just like solid guns. Pay the freight and get a working gun; I don't mind the extra freight if that means I don't have to screw with the gun.

Shootin' Buddy

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

Ummm, you may want to try the Kimber marketing department

Try the lolwhut? It isn't the marketing guys' fault that Kimber 1911s aren't as good as they used to be. It's not a bait-and-switch; it's a case of the quality not keeping up with the marketing, and as evidenced by the comments of the Kimber owners here not even that is universal. I know it is more widespread than the comments here would indicate, though, of course.

I might've bought a Baer, Wilson or whatnot if I'd had the funds. As it was, though, I settled on a Dan Wesson Razorback, which even before one took the cost into account was closer to a custom gun than either of my Kimbers. Woe is me. /sarcasm

OrangeNeck said...

Love my two Kimber 1911s (.45 ACP and 10mm).

Anonymous said...

"It isn't the marketing guys' fault that Kimber 1911s aren't as good as they used to be."

Perhaps you're right. I should have inserted "arguably".

Thanks for the correction, south.

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

One thing I've always found amusing about Kimber marketing is their "Custom Shop" guns which aren't really any more "Custom" than the regular catalog items.

It's become something akin to the post-Liebenberg S&W Performance Center.

Jumpthestack,

"Ron Cohen, the CEO of SIG, used to be the general manager at Kimber. Coincidence? The guy is a one-man gun company ruining machine."

Quoted For Truth.

Desertrat said...

I've heard about all these off-brand guns, but never messed with them. I've been content with my old Heinz 57 style Colt Series-70-mostly and my slicked up LW Commander. After around 30 or 35 years, it's sorta like putting on an old pair of shoes. Not real pretty, but they feel real good. They still shoot good, too, which is all that matters.

Firehand said...

I have to mention the Sistema I picked up a couple of years ago; lightly polished the feed ramp and it feeds everything I've tried with no problem. Wish I had more to mess with(and the money to buy them).

Larry Correia said...

I've got one of the original Kimber/BUL poly guns from when they first came out. Now that thing has been absolutley amazing. Estimated 20,000 rounds through it, and the only issues have been finding those stupid really expensive magazines. (which is why I don't really use it anymore)

Newer ones... meh... I've seen quite a few issues. My friend just picked up one that apparently came with the opptional the optional "burst" feature. :) (internal parts were garbage-fixed, runs okay now)

When I was selling guns, I found that if somebody had a Kimber, and it ran fine for the first few hundred rounds, the gun would be fine. If you had an issue, it was usually some small part breaking early. Fix that and they were usually fine after, but what a pain.

I can't speak for what they've done in the last 2 years though.

Robb Allen said...

This whole conversation reminds me of cell phones (and cell carriers as well).

No matter what phone you have, 40% of the world hates it and has sent it back like 200 times to get repaired, 40% think it's the cat's whiskers and can't imagine why anyone would want to buy Brand X's phone since they read that 40% of the people using it hate it, and the remaining 20% who have learned to simply accept the fact that nothing is perfect and just deals with the problems.

I'm going to be given the chance of a lifetime coming soon to build my own 1911, quite literally from a chunk of metal. I am interested in what internals I should buy vs. attempt to mill. The list up top is helpful in deciding what features to look at putting on, although I admit to being completely clueless as to the full length guide rod debate.

Tam said...

Robb,

"I'm going to be given the chance of a lifetime coming soon to build my own 1911, quite literally from a chunk of metal. I am interested in what internals I should buy vs. attempt to mill."

Watch this space in the next couple days... ;)

Kevin said...

I currently have two Kimbers and have owned another. My first 1911 was a first-gen Kimber Classic Stainless I bought some time in the early 1990's, and I still have it. It's my competition gun. It has, without a doubt, the best factory trigger I have ever pulled, and it just WORKS. My second Kimber was an Eclipse II - with the external extractor. My third is an Ultra CDP II that I won in a drawing I entered because I bought the Eclipse.

The Eclipse went back to the factory, and they put a brand-new slide on it - with an INTERNAL extractor, but it never really worked all that well and I ended up trading it in on something else.

The Ultra CDP II is my preferred carry gun, now that I have hollowpoint ammo that it will eat reliably. Its trigger is not as nice as the one on the Custom, but not far off.

I have no problem with other manufacturer's 1911-style pistols (I have a Para USA Gun Blog 45, after all) but my experience with that Classic Stainless has left a very favorable impression.

Matt G said...

My Kimber, I bought in 2001, but I had specified a Series I, when at the time the Series II's were coming out. As I'm unable to completely leave one alone, I did ditch the FLGR, and installed an arched, knurled mainspring housing with proper lanyard loop (ca. 1943?), for my big hands.

It still shoots better than I can, and is my go-to pistol, but shortly after I got it, I started hearing about the problems arising among some of the Kimbers. My assessment is as yours was: "They're victims of their own success." It happens with mass production. If anyone tells you that it didn't happen with Pre-'64 M. 70's, they're misinformed, too.

Tam said...

Kevin,

Boy, I'll bet Kimber wishes that their whole external extractor experiment could just unhappen... ;)

Gunnutmegger said...

Whether it is Kimber's marketing department or some other "authority" that people are listening to, it seems like way too many people have taken leave of their common sense when it comes to 1911-pattern pistols.

For example, if a (just to randomly select a brand of firearm) Glock needed a laundry list of aftermarket parts and repeated trips to the gun-plumber to make it work, that manufacturer/design would be scorned and derided. Yet, somehow the market accepts this situation with the 1911.

If someone told you that you needed to spend $2000 or more to make a gun reliable, you would look sideways at them the way you look at people who buy bottled tap-water for $1+ a bottle.

It's a 100-year old design. It needs tools to disassemble. It has unreliable magazines. It is finicky about ammo. And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.

The 1911 is like a Duesenberg SJ: a really good design when it was conceived, but not suitable for daily use or competition purposes today.

How else can you explain all of the extra expenses and hoops that users have to jump through just to make it work properly?

Kansas Scout said...

While I am sure there is something to your arguments, all I know is that My Kimber Custom bought in around 2000-2001 always shoots and feeds perfectly. Mine is built very well and I only had to add a lefty safety. I love mine and it will never leave me. Yes, I am highly inclined to get another Kimber if I buy a 1911 again. If not them then Colt.

tomcatshanger said...

ya know, one of the things I've grown up about on the internet is gun fandom.

Thanks Tam.

One of these days I'll pick up a 1911. I really like the Remington R-1's that I've fondled, and at the price point I'm seeing them for, it might just be my first 1911.

Oddly, my wife has owned two 1911 pattern firearms, while the closest I've come to something that looks a bit if you squint like a 1911 is a Star Super.

GuardDuck said...

I've had two Kimbers, both series I. The first a pro carry (alum frame) and the second a pro carry SLE (steel frame).

I know not of follow on quality issues over the years since. I have not had any. I do know that when shooting lots o' ammo, the aluminum framed guns show too much wear for my tastes.

I also know that I dislike needing a paper clip in order to field strip my gun.

For those two items alone, my next 1911 will diverge less from the wisdom of JMB's original.

DirtCrashr said...

Who makes the Kimber Kim-Pro Tac-Mag magazines? My old gun loves the 7-rounders.

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

It's a 100-year old design. It needs tools to disassemble. It has unreliable magazines. It is finicky about ammo. And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.

Wow, so, so much FAIL in this paragraph! It practically fisks itself!

Anonymous said...

Well. While I love my TRP, I feel just as comfortable with my 70 series Colt or my 44 RR. Both are mil-spec and dont need any "tuning or extra parts to work". Plain is sometimes good. Beavertails and extended parts are personal choices, and designed to separate money from you wallet.

Tam said...

"Beavertails and extended parts are personal choices, and designed to separate money from you wallet."

No, they were designed for very specific reasons, but if you don't know what those reasons are, you're better off leaving your money in your wallet.

I always get a chuckle out of people who eschew beavertails because they "don't like the way they look".

If I was worried about "look", I'd buy a picture of a gun instead; it's be cheaper.

David said...

I have a Kimber Tactical Custom II, which I bought used from a pawn shop. Despite holster/carry wear from a previous owner who obviously actually used the pistol, it is so far a great gun. Fantastic trigger and has not yet failed to go bang when I asked it to. It is now my everyday carry gun and I am happy. Makes no difference to me at all if anyone else is.

I have carried several other more "modern" guns, and they were all fine. S&W, Sig, Glock, Springfield...no complaint about any (except maybe the S&W duty 9mm).

But I have chosen to make a study of 1911. Are there better, more modern designs? Maybe. But I just like 1911s, and the fact that they're still going strong 100 years down the road tells me that they still work. It's not a beginner's gun, but I'm not a beginner. I will learn the 1911, because I want to.

carnaby said...

I had a Kimber Ultra Carry II a while back. It ran flawlessly, and was very accurate. Sold it to buy a full size 1911, and ended up with a Springfield TRP. I still have the TRP, which came with a very nice trigger. I chucked the trigger and all the components, and installed all Ed-Brown parts. The trigger is even better, and it's a wonderful gun. Tight, but not too tight, and very reliable.

Pretty much that's how it goes with me and 1911's now. Buy a Springy, chuck the guts, new EB guts, and GTG.

staghounds said...

"If I was worried about "look", I'd buy a picture of a gun instead; it's be cheaper."

Ive always been mystified by the appearance marketing of some things.

Really, how much time does one spend looking at one's house or car?

Geodkyt said...

Gewehr98:

Preach it, Brother! Lots of people were buying Norincos as base guns to build up -- after all, if you're gonna be throwing away everything but the frame and slide, and then modifying and refinishing both of those, why not start with the Chinese special?

Bone stock, I had (and witnessed) good luck with Norincos, too. Carried one as a gun pimp, while the owner was off at Ranger School. (Keep in mind the only 1911s I ever filled out a 4473 for were both Colts, so it's not just that I'm too cheap to buy good stuff. The Norincos I owned just sort of "followed me home". . . )

Sometimes the FCG parts were crap -- but even if you premptively replaced all of teh trigger group, it was still cheaper than any other 1911 on the market, new or used.

The only other trick to Norincos seemed to be to check the factory codes -- ISTR that one code always had excellent reliability, one code were invariably dogs, and one code was about 50/50. We joked that it was due to how corrupt the Peoples Quality Control Manager was in each plant.

You could also go by the fit & finish of the internal flats -- the good ones usually looked like they had been hand filed (but competantly so) out of the forging, and the bad ones invariably looked as if hacked out of a block of meteroric iron slag by Wolverine's admantine claws in a drunken rage.

The worse problem I ever saw with one of the "smooth" Norincos was an AD. I say "AD" becuase afterwards, we determined that the firing pin was overly long, the FP spring tension was practically non-existant, and the combination of the two resulted in popping the cap on some US civilian primered ammo whiloe chambering. Swapped FP & spring for USGI, and was unable to ever replicate the fault. (No booger hooks near the loud button. Yes, I was watching his hands when he loaded -- I tend to do that, along with figuring out where the dangerous end is pointed. As far as the Four Rules, no stack of cheesy Time-Life "The Cowboys" books ever died in a more noble cause.)

Gunnutmegger said...

Wow, so, so much FAIL in this paragraph! It practically fisks itself!

Thank you for your detailed analysis. Clearly you put a lot of work into tracking down all the facts you offered in your reply.

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

It's a 100-year old design.

A design that WORKS when built to JMB's not-unreasonable specs.

It needs tools to disassemble.

Erh? It has been pointed out only God knows how many times that the 1911 -- again, when built to those aforementioned specifications -- can be completely disassembled using its own parts.

It has unreliable magazines. It is finicky about ammo.

See Item No. 1. Different calibers than the .45, I grant, probably ARE more finicky about ammo, but as for the .45, I would think concerns about JHP ammo could largely be mitigated with a ramped barrel.

And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.

And I get accused of lacking detailed analysis? All righty then.

Gunnutmegger said...

A design that WORKS when built to JMB's not-unreasonable specs.

Then why are so many models from so many manufacturers NOT reliable? Why does a reliable 1911 cost so much, and need so much gunsmithing?

It has been pointed out only God knows how many times that the 1911 -- again, when built to those aforementioned specifications -- can be completely disassembled using its own parts.

The manual for the Springfield Armory GI.45 says that you need a screwdriver or Allen wrench. Page 26 if you want to check for yourself.

Or is that model not built to whats-his-name's specifications?

Ok, to be fair, let's try a different model. The ParaOrd GI Expert. Oh, darn. Page 29 of the user manual says you need a barrel bushing wrench.

Wow. Maybe the people who claim you don't need tools should check their facts before pointing anything out to anyone...

See Item No. 1. Different calibers than the .45, I grant, probably ARE more finicky about ammo, but as for the .45, I would think concerns about JHP ammo could largely be mitigated with a ramped barrel.

Isn't a ramped barrel non-standard? And if the gun worked properly when built to design specifications, why should it need aftermarket parts?

Maybe you can tell me where there is a police department that issues 1911s to its rank & file officers. The highly trained SWAT guys might be issued a 1911, or get permission to carry one. But the average officer isn't trained enough to be safe while carrying a 1911. And how many 1911 fans aren't as well trained as a police officer? Would you feel safe being held at gunpoint by a young policeman holding a 1911?

I wouldn't.

Desertrat said...

I see that "everybody knows" is as accurate as ever...

I'd meddled around with a 1911 for about fifteen years before taking a training course in 1980. Stock GI, Serial Number 44XX. GI Hardball ammo. Some 750 rounds in three days. By the end of that time, I was shooting El Presidentes in around eight seconds.

Whenever I've carried some variety of 1911, it's been cocked and locked. Holster, Mexican carry, Levi hip pocket carry. Nothing bad ever happened.

So the old gal needs a bit of tweaking. So what? I never saw a car which wouldn't run better with a bit of tweaking. God created "stock" so I'd have some entertainment of an evening. Sometimes NIB; sometimes rusty GI.

Still, the best pistol of all is the one with which you can best hit your target. The brand name and design is irrelevant.

The Jack said...

Re: No tools. http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/tech/toolbox.htm

Also is the tools issue one to get so butthurt about?

Personally I wouldn't feel safe being held at gunpoint by ANYone, with ANYgun, but that's just me.

I'm also not sure how that's related to your earlier claim of: "And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry."

Also by your aftermarket parts logic, then no gun works properly because there's aftermarket parts for -well- everything. Or does getting a new spring set for a Smith mean revolvers don't work properly? Do AR's not work properly because of the mass of parts? AKs? How about shotguns?

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

And how many 1911 fans aren't as well trained as a police officer?

Yeeeeeup. Because police officers are the definition, nay, the gold standard for "well-trained".

No offense, Matt G and any other of you police officers reading. I know you're not all a bunch of Barney Fifes, but the mindset exhibited by Mr. Gunnutmegger just drives me nuts. And I'm sure I'm not the "Only One."

Gunnutmegger said...

LOL. Nice job skipping over my other points, Tex.

Jack, no other gun is sold with the expectation that you must add aftermarket parts to make it "right".

And, Tex, for those of you who can't appreciate irony, my point in mentioning the required training levels of police officers was not to make it a standard that civilians should aspire to.

The point was to show that most civilians do not even reach that low standard.

A 1911 requires a lot of practice to handle safely. How safe would any of the commenters feel if someone showed up at the range, in the lane adjacent to theirs, with a cocked DA revolver (so it fires SA) holstered inside their waistband, and started doing draw-and-shoot drills?

Maybe I am unlucky, and keep running into the minuscule minority of 1911 fanboys who bought more gun than they can handle and aren't willing to train up to be proficient.

That must be it.

Anonymous said...

"so butthurt about"

Me thinks he doth project too much.

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

The point was to show that most civilians do not even reach that low standard.

Most civilians don't carry any kind of gun, either.

Chris M said...

Wow, Tam! You were brave to open this can of worms. I opined a couple of months ago in a handgun forum that, for carry, one was well served with one of the Filipino 1911s but if one wanted price bragging rights then buy a Kimber. The resulting vitriol was astonishing!

As for Kansas Scout's comments about the 1911, well, he sounds like a Glock man . Safety of the 1911? I seem to hear regularly of police officers shooting themselves whilst holstering their "safe" Glocks; it's been a long, long time since I've heard of anything like that occurring with a 1911. I can reliably shoot just about anything, including cast lead SWC bullets in my 1911, again something I couldn't do when I owned an Austrian pistol.

Geodkyt said...

Gunnutmegger said...

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

"See Item No. 1. Different calibers than the .45, I grant, probably ARE more finicky about ammo, but as for the .45, I would think concerns about JHP ammo could largely be mitigated with a ramped barrel."

Isn't a ramped barrel non-standard? And if the gun worked properly when built to design specifications, why should it need aftermarket parts?


Um, isn't JHP ammo "non-standard" when compared to the original 1911 specs?

Of course, all of my 1911s have been reliable with decent JHPs, and I've never hadaramped barrel. . . or even dropped one off at the gunsmith for tuning.

Hell, I carried a Norinco daily for a year (and shot at least a box a week through it, starting with the mag of carry ammo in the gun) that was just as reliable with JHPs as it was with ball. But I only loaded with nice roundish bullets like Black Talon, or even Winchester white box 230gr JHPs. . . That same gun wouldn't feed TC, SWC, or other "non-round" bullets worth a damn.

Geodkyt said...

Gunnutmegger said...

A 1911 requires a lot of practice to handle safely. How safe would any of the commenters feel if someone showed up at the range, in the lane adjacent to theirs, with a cocked DA revolver (so it fires SA) holstered inside their waistband, and started doing draw-and-shoot drills?

{snip}

Uh, the 1911 in Condition 1 has two positive safeties engaged when it's sitting in that holster (thumb safety and grip safety - that grip safety was designed to keep the pistol safe while bouncing on a lanyard on a galloping horse).

The cocked DA revolver has exactly ZERO positive safeties to block a negligent discharge.

Would you feel safe being held at gunpoint by a young policeman holding a 1911?

I didn't feel safe being held at gunpoint by a young policeman holding a S&W DA/SA semiauto pistol. I wouldn't have felt any safer if he had an HK P9 with it's trigger pull measured in tonnes.

I guess you feel perfectly safe when twitchy novices are pointing guns at you, so long as they have your preferred trigger groups?

What about the young police officer with his Remington 870 or Ithaca 37? You know, the cocked single action triggers, usually MUCH lighter than any "carry" or "duty" 1911, with only a trigger blocking safety?