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Glock vs 1911 … Or is the 1911 Just DOA

by Don McDougall, Ammoland:

A local range/gun store asked me to put together training for their employees who carry at work.

That’s pretty much everyone on the floor and the range offices. There are plenty of handgun proficiency tests around, including a couple good ones here on Ammoland. So putting the basic together was not too hard.

The issues started when a few of the employees wanted to carry 1911’s. Some of the younger employees objected saying that 1911’s are not safe and that they’re obsolete; that only Glocks are safe.

They didn’t want to be around 1911’s that were locked and cocked.

Who knew there was a “Safe Space” for Glock owners.

Few of the employees under 30 even owned a 1911 and they had zero intention of every buying one. The 1st real pistol most of us owned is now not even in the discussion for new shooters. The “kids” impression of 1911 is an old obsolete heavy metal gun that has long been passed by. When given the option to wear one on their hip, however, it was the “Bad Ass” gun of choice.

A Glock is about as good a gun as a mil-spec 1911. The reset for the striker on the Glocks means the gun wants a trigger in the 5lb range. For a 1911 my competition guns were right at the 2.2 lb limit. The 1911 triggers lack creep and pre-travel when done properly.

The Glocks reliability comes from generous tolerances. (This is the same for the mil-spec 1911) The more play there is with a gun, the more likely it is to go “pew” every time.

There are myths about both guns. There’s no proof ever of a Glock surviving 300,000 round tests, and a .45 ACP will not just kill you it will kill your soul, the round is SO powerful. That too is a myth. (It just messes your soul up a bit.)

I find a 1911 to be a safer firearm, the external safety and the hammer being visible provides a lot of trusts to be in the gun and its condition. But that is just me.

The declining love of the 1911 is due to other factors:

Cleaning – Shooters these days are lazy, and stripping and cleaning a 1911 is more work than a Glock.
Sales – Younger sales reps sell what they know. That means they direct their 1st-time gun buyers to Glocks.
9mm Vs .45 – Let’s be blunt a 9mm is a lot like a .22. You can shoot them all day and it takes little to no effort. The .45 ACP can get tiring after 200 rounds. Plus 9mm ammo is cheap.
Weight – The 1911 is heavy, and the .45 ACP round is heavy. Hauling the gun, mags, rig and 300 rounds to a match can be a challenge all by itself.

Lastly the single biggest issue is that Elmer Keith is dead. Precision shooting is left to NRA Bullseye shooters and the Olympics. Stop by after-hours at the range and you’ll find the employees on the line seeing who can empty a magazine the fastest in a target that is 10 feet away. Back in the day we would put the target out to 10 meters and see who could shoot the smallest group. It is not that the Glock is a better gun than a 1911, it is that the games shooter play have changed and that precision shooting is no longer a valued skill.

Most of the Glock Clones have tighter tolerances; they shoot flatter and tighter groups. They’re also just not a popular. They require a bit more care (cleaning) than the original. See the pattern yet?

Remember, both the 1911 and Glock started as battlefield weapons. The 1911 was designed to allow a US soldier to drop an adversary on the battlefield. The Glock was made to provide a handgun to an Austrian Army that is more of a show piece, as well as a reliable choice in community policing.

The Glock is a fine weapon for the purpose it was built, a reliable minor caliber gun for personal protection. The 1911’s long history of service speaks for itself. As a major caliber man stopper with accuracy, there is nothing better.

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3 comments to Glock vs 1911 … Or is the 1911 Just DOA

  • mike

    As much as I hate Glock garbage if I was to recommend one pistol to people it would be a full size Glock model 22. You can get a spare 9mm barrel and be able to shoot both .40 and 9mm. They are very reliable however have a terrible grip angle and grip that translates into less accuracy shooting. The mags and parts are abundant and cheap.

    If you want the finest hand gun build by man at a similar price to the Glock get a Walther PPQ in any cal. Second to none and the single finest handgun in the world today. Everything else is total garbage and not worth the time or money.

    • Eric

      Glocks are easy to find parts for and very universal across different models.

      Good for beginners.

      Get what you’re most comfortable with and fits in your hand the best.

      • Craig Escaped Detroit

        @Eric,
        Bingo! Fits the hand, comfort and useable. For people under 60, it could be almost anything, but for people (of ANY age) who have severe bone, muscle or tissue damage, they may only be able to handle a 22LR or 32 cal. revolver.

        In that situation, then of course, that is the gun they should have.

        I love the “poly framed” guns for their light weight, non-rusting parts, etc.
        In my life, I started with a 1911. It felt like I was holding a 2×4. I didn’t find those grips to be ergonomic for me.

        Later, I got a Browning Hi-Power (9mm) and the ergonomics of it was superb. But it’s an all steel gun, making it heavy (but it shoots great and the recoil is quite mild.)

        I’ve had a .40 EAA Witness. Ergonomics similar to the Browning HiPo. But it’s also a heavy gun.

        I’ve had a Bersa 380, and found it to be a very nice all steel piece. (at a low price too.)

        I’ve had revolvers, 22’s, 25’s, etc.

        But in the future, I will be changing into the POLY pistols for all purposes. I do strongly prefer an OPEN HAMMER (don’t like “Striker fired” guns.) I also prefer an external SAFETY and don’t like the Glock style safety.

        With an open hammer, you can have a “Floating firing pin” (as in the 1911 and many other guns) and it is a SUPER nice extra margin of safety, to be able to “un-cock” the gun with the hammer laying on the firing pin, yet the pin does NOT touch the primer. Loaded and Hammer down also saves the hammer spring being in the “relaxed” position.

        I do prefer the double stacked mags. (but I am aware of the fact that single stacked mags are less finicky.) I’m pretty decent with hand tools, dremel tool, etc and can do a bit of simple custom work myself.

        For my later years (just in case I lose functionality in my hands), I certainly will have a lower caliber, easy to operate system. I’ve seen people who lost their ability to operate the slide of an automatic, or to hold the recoil of anything bigger than a 22LR.

        I observed and I learned from THEIR conditions. It can happen to anybody. Get a car door slammed on your hand, and it might never recover from that. Fall down and break your hand, wrist, fingers? Ouch.

        For the weakest hands, the best (or only) choice is probably going to be a revolver of some type.

        Good Luck to us all. I hope NOBODY gets “hand issues”, always having good eyesight and mental faculties. Be well my contentious brothers (and sisters).

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