Re: Help me enter the 1911 world

26
Before you buy this, decide what you might to with this.

I have 1911-type pistols for several purposes. One is just to look at. The pistol my father brought back from WWII is one made by Colt in 1918, and I have serious doubts about its metallurgy, so it is just for looking at. Just before his transition to the Eternal Rifle Association, he told me he wanted me to shoot it, so I do, but with a Marvel .22 conversion on top of it.

If you read what the gunsmiths say about the design, it was drawn up around the .45 acp cartridge, and you will probably have more difficulty with it if you shorten the barrel & slide, or if you go to a smaller caliber. The gunsmiths also usually say there are too many problems with holes and surfaces mislocated on the low-cost foreign guns for them to work on them. There are lots of shortened 1911 pistols, such as my Dad's old .45 Star PD: it is more sensitive to jams caused by limp wristing the pistol.

There are some gunsmithing jobs anyone can do, if you have a decent set of screwdrivers, a Vernier caliper, and few other items. A lot of commercially sold 1911 pistols have some issues with their extractor, causing significant feeing issues, which can be diagnosed and might be dealt with, with no tools. There are "drop-in" trigger jobs which can dramatically improve shootability, but will require some tweaking which can be learned from YouTube videos, but may require fitting a new safety, and a lot of safety checks, but again the references can walk you through them.

I like to do a significant amount of accuracy shooting with pistols, some of it formal Bullseye pistol matches. For the traditional Bullseye match, you need adjustable sights. For the traditional Bullseye match, at least one of the pistols you shoot has to be a .45, another has to be a .22 rimfire, and the third can be any centerfire from .32 to .45. Sometimes I shoot a .45 1911 as my .45 and again as my centerfire, and shoot a .22 1911 conversion as my rimfire.

Practical Pistol and other high volume shooters dislike adjustable sights because they can break, and they frequently like a smaller caliber with less recoil and cheaper ammo. For these types of matches, and for tin cans, fixed sights may be preferable.

Give some thought to the finish and materials you want. Bluing is the original finish, and can be very pretty, but it is not as durable as many others, especially if you are going to be holstering a lot, or you are going to be sweating as you shoot. Stainless rusts less, but can not be said not to rust, and there is an ugly form of adhesive wear phenomena that it is subject to called "galling" which is particularly ugly. Galling can be dealt with by special lubricants, or just having half your pistol be Stainless. Stainless also has problems with cracking, because of lowered impact toughness. I am experimenting recently with Nitrided parts, and am generally pleased at wear and corrosion resistance. Aluminum frames are lighter, but there is a cost in durability, one that you might be willing to pay if you were carrying it around all day.

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