Those that were born after the Glock was invented may not understand the struggle. Mad Duo
I Love You 1911, But It’s Time We See Other People
Don Copp – this article originally ran Monday, Oct. 12th, 2015
Recently, a buddy of mine sold his 1911. It’s not like it was a great example of the breed; it was an Auto Ordnance GI he had beaten with a hammer to “accurize,” painted with Krylon, and just generally mistreated. But when I heard this, I had to fight a moment of sorrow for his loss. In my mind, my alter ego—who adores the 1911—gave a little moan of anguish. I could feel the distress building from the stripping of this essential firearm from his armory. There was even a moment when this other part of me instantly said, “If I had known an hour earlier—.”
Why do I have this particular obsession with you, my dear 1911?
You’re really not that awesome. I mean seriously, remember when you wouldn’t feed that 185 grain bullet? It’s not like I didn’t give you a chance. You were even a “modern” example of the breed; you had a feed ramp, a real one, for Christ sake. I took you to the gunsmith who attended that school in Colorado I respect—remember what he told me?
“Sometimes they just don’t work with that bullet.”
What the hell? I mean my Glock feeds shitty ammo all the time. Sure, the case might barely make it out of the ejection port, but that Glock feeds it. But if I gave my 1911 shitty ammo, I’d have to beat it with a hammer to eject the first empty shell. How do I know this? Because I’ve done it.
But I kept you anyway.
There’s a feel about you, 1911, that no other pistol has. The Browning Hi-Power comes close, but the trigger is just kind of crap. That long stupid take-up before the sear catches, and then the long idiotic reset that fools the shooter every time. Then came Glock. When it comes to the 1911, Glocks can’t even compare. I don’t know why I put that word in the same sentence. The feeling that you’re grasping a not-quite-pared-down 2×4, the strange angle, those plastic sights. Not at all like you.
But yet, there’s something there as well.
Unlike you, dearest 1911, Glock will take abuse and smile. You know the abuse I’m talking about; that girlfriend you kept around because, well, she’ll do anything. She’ll drink tequila and smoke Pall Malls and do that pole dance that has all my friends laughing in disbelief, but also with envy. I can literally bury my Glock in the sticky sand of South Carolina and shoot it without much more than making sure the barrel is clear. Remember what happened to you? I bragged about you, custom 1911, I talked about how you would feed an empty case, and then, and then…. you failed me.
And I paid so much for you.
[She’ll do anything..]
It was not the first time. Honestly, I’ve given you a lot of chances.
There was a time when you were it. And let’s face it, there wasn’t really a good alternative in the semi-auto market of the day. Lugers were pretty, but the toggle slide was complicated, expensive, and, 9mm. Oh, sure, there was the Hi-Power, again in 9mm, but you had to shoot someone So. Many. Times. There was a reason why it had a 13 round magazine.
But that was then.
We’ve come so far with the ammunition we can feed a pistol, the 9mm is really the way to go now. With half the weight—and you’ve always been that side of heavy, baby—twice the number of rounds, a reliability second to none, the Glock and its ilk are really looking good these days. And, I’ll admit it, I have a thing for small pistols. With the G43, I get a perfect package you can’t compete with. Sig tried to give you a running chance with the 938, but those controls are just a tad small for me. And let’s be honest, that shit is dated.
I still love you, really I do. I keep looking at the examples of the breed I own and think I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But the truth is, I have. I’ve gone from a stable of high maintenance, beautifully crafted firearms, to just a couple examples representing the finest of who you are. I no longer depend on you the way I once did. I can’t defend you to my friends any longer and that’s the reason why I’ve come to rely on other, better equipped, accessible pistols. You’re still a thing of beauty, and all my friends get jealous when we go to the range. But, 1911, we just have to move on.
It’s not you. Really. It’s me.
-Don “Doc” Copp
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About the Author: Also known as, “The Dude”, Don COpp is a former law enforcement officer, SWAT/ERT shooter, and department trainer. He has an undiagnosed affinity for archaic and antiquated weapons, which probably stems from watching too much Dead Wood. The, ‘Copp’ part of MilCopp Tactical’s namesake, there he munificently promulgates superlative fighting advice. Translated, that means MilCopp teaches and advocates a constantly evolving, amalgamated method of military and law enforcement tactics. They leaven those TTPs with lessons learned from continued training and ongoing experience on the sharp end; these TTP’s are based on a combination of hard lessons learned and practical real-world results. He also likes bourbon. Allll the bourbon.
“Oh, hi there, 1911.
Haven’t seen you in a while.
Yeah, that breakup was a bit awkward.
No, totally my mistake, no doubt.
I know, I know, I was expecting too much too soon.
I shouldn’t have started with a 9mm without a feed ramp, I understand that now.
And yes, some guns just deserve more than others. Of course you would not go out dressed in factory parts! You would not even work with them. I get that now. Classy guns are like that.
Ah, I remember how hilarious it was when you puked on the new Mec-Gar mags. They may be Italian and have been making exemplary factory mags for all the other guns out there, but if you won’t work with them, it is their fault, right? Right?
You know, if you’re not seeing anyone right now… how about a date? For old time’s sake? With clearly set rules? No hollow-points, naturally. And no, honey, no one expects that you go for 500 rounds without malfunctions. And yes, of course, I am getting your these shiny Wilson ETM mags. Since the last ones worked occasionally…”
I’ve owned several 1911s, two Series 70 Combat Commanders and a Series 70 Government Model, plus a Detonics. I carried them all on duty at various times in the late 70s/early 80s. I agree with DC. Beautiful guns that can’t be trusted with your life. These days, I’d carry a full-size Smith or Ruger revolver before I’d carry a 1911. But then, I am an ORC (Old Revolver Cop).
I had a Glock, then a CZ75, then a S&W, all in 9mm.
I now have a 1911 in 9mm and it’s the best of the lot. I’ll be sticking with it.
Wars won with glock. Zero
Wars won with .45 Yes.
Tell that to the SF guys in the GWOT who’ve retired their 1911s in favor of Glock 19s. Tell that to the 70% of American cops who fight street wars every day with Glocks in their holsters. You can tell them they didn’t win in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Garland, Texas. Good luck with that.
3 Glocks for me (19, 26 and 30SF) with thousands of rounds through them with zero failures of any kind. My CZ 85b was back at the factory for warranty repair within 200 rounds, my Sig Sauer 1911 has anywhere from 1 to 3 rounds PER MAGAZINE that won’t feed or extract and my expensive Colt 1911 Series 70 Mk 4 was back at Colt for warranty repair before its first trip to the range. When something goes bump in the night at my house, what am I reaching for? My Glock 30SF with a Streamlight light/laser mounted on the rail and 11 rounds in it.
I bought a stock Series 70 Colt Commander in 1978. It would not feed anything but ball properly. Took it to a good gunsmith for some work and it has worked superbly ever since and is my primary carry gun.
Glocks and 9MM…do not want. I guess that leaves more for you. 🙂
The winds of change blow to and fro, and plastic is fondled by a gun-loving bro, but with a guilty gaze up toward Heaven, they always return to the 1911!!!
My 1911 was passed down to me from my pops. It is a bit of a race gun and has quite bit of smithing done to it. It is an absolute tack driver. That being said it is not reliable for shit! it is very picky on what ammo I feed it. For range days (when I have good ammo) it is the best gun to shoot. For everyday protection not so much. I use my M&P 9mm for that job. I have a bunch of Apex bits in that as well to make it run more to my liking, but it can eat all kinds of rounds and never complains. That’s what I need to keep me and my family safe. I owned a Ducati at one point. Everybody loved to look at it, hear it, talk to me about it, but I’ll be damned if every now and then for no reason whatsoever that son of a bitch Italian bitch would just kill on me at a stoplight. Never did figure it out, and never had a Honda or Yamaha do that to me. I guess it’s just one of those things!?
To the author, you are a professed 9mm shooter and I don’t hear the ring of real experience with a 1911.
I have seen some 1911s with issues, but for some reason my three (Colt, Kimber and Para) have none. Now there is a short wear in period some experience right out of the box and you have to vet your magazines. The rest is out of tolerance machining and crappy quality control.
Quick fix:Stop shooting shitty ammo. Problem solved, problem staying solved. You are welcome.
LOL, monster, see that Ed Brown in the pic? See the slide wear and the sweat blemishes on the thing? That’s my Ed Brown, that’s my sweat. That’s a pistol I’ve carried and shot and used like a motherfucker.
See that Colt Series 70 with the National Match Barrel? Yep, mine too.
The Delta Elite under that Ed Brown? Mine.
Yes, I have “real experience with a 1911.”
Years and years of it, actually.
Which is why the fun article was written, because I have been there and done that.
I have always had a soft spot for 1911’s, I have owned 4 through out my career, carried 3 of them on duty for a few years, a Kimber for SWAT and a Springfield Ultra Compact in the detective section. I did recently try a Para Black Ops single stack. I carried it for SWAT too until it started malfunctioning. Had several rounds that would fail to extract, they would lock up the action and I would have to force the slide back. For a duty gun I need the best reliability I can get. They were great guns but if I get into an oh shit situation its nice to have the 13 rounds of a Glock 21, and now with the advancements in 9mm ammo, even better to have the 17 rounds of a G17. However I must admit I have been taken in by this new German in town, I currently carry my H&K VP9 for SWAT duties, and patrol duties now. The feel of this gun in hand says it all. It has a great trigger, for me anyway, plus it digests any ammo I have put through it. My other current go to gun for shorts and a t-shirt is my slightly modified Glock 43. A little hand polishing and a new connector and this feels very good too. However I have never been a fan of the Glock serrated trigger. So I am waiting for a smooth face trigger for it that soots me.
Any way, the lighter weight and higher capacity and to hell and back reliability just can’t be beat in my opinion. But like I started this with there’s just something about a 1911 in hand, and that accuracy. Anyway, great article.
I have owned a 1911 since the early 1970’s… the same gun; fired thousands of rounds through it; it was my duty carry weapon for years and I still carry it. Has it occasional had a issue feeding or ejecting; yes, but it clears quickly and gets back in the fight. I understand you affair with the Glock and their plastic kin, my wife owns one, but still shoots that 45 so much better than her Glock. Me, I’m going to stick with good old American made steel. I ride a Harley and carry a 1911….
See I’m the opposite. Maybe I’ve just had good luck with 1911s. I’ve had several different manufacturers and with the exception of one, I’ve never had any gunsmithing done to any of them. I have Glocks, HK, XD,the aforementioned Browning, an old Smith, and a few others. After the new wears its still the love of how the 1911 shoots that always brings me back.
I always run across someone who says, “But if you had to choose just one?” My question is why? It only takes a second longer to grab 2. And a 1911 will always be one of the two.
1911’s at the 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS with a 454 auto transmission of our time. They are sexy. You almost have to love them, but even if you don’t use them, appreciate what they are.
15 years ago I bought a fairly high-dollar Kimber .45. After shooting it a few times, it would start having feed and cycling issues after about 50 or 60 consecutive rounds. That day I took it to a gun show and traded in on a Glock 21 – still carrying it today – and have never looked back. Never a single issue with my 21. Except for the guys at the range with their Kimbers. Even though I hold the range record for shooting the El Presidente drill. And as they’re clearing their $1500 super Kimbers after jamming on some shitting handloads, me and my Glock are just cruising right along.
Kimbers are generally pretty shitty. Thankfully, other companies besides Kimber make M1911 style pistols.
Now I have far less firearms experience than most people reading this article, and I certainly don’t want anyone to think that my example is universal, but I need to point out that in my limited experience I have owned two Glocks (models 20 and 22, Gen 3) and one 1911 (a basic, stainless G.I. model from Springfield Armory). BOTH Glocks had two separate failures to feed in their first 200 rounds. The 1911 has never had any problems (it’s had about 600 or so rounds through it so far).
Maybe I simply have lottery-level bad luck with Glocks, and I still understand the other differences that make the Glock preferable for self-defense, but I have to say that I’m having trouble believing in the “absolute reliability” factor of Glocks over 1911s.
It’s so sad that so many good souls get disillusioned with time. It’s ok I understand the lure of the “strange” the desire to cheat is so strong. But I will not stray. I will stand tall. I will remain a beacon to my stumbling brother. I will be true and faithful. The grass always looks greener till you get on the other side and look back. My 1911 with all our flaws will be together in sickness and health, for better or worse, richer or poorer till death do us part. Come to daddy Tacops. I love you baby.