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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 12/25/2005 9:39:06 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 10:49:13 AM EST by Combat_Jack]
We often hear that the best 1911 is the simplest. The problem posed by this is that a "simple" 1911 has not been defined.

It could mean, for instance, a stock G.I. pistol using tiny sights, a grip safety that is prone to drawing blood, a steel trigger, etc. While I have no doubt that such a pistol can and has ben used to kill thousands of our countries enemies, there are a few things that make them easier to shoot.

On the other end, you run into things which aren't, strictly speaking, necessary (although they offer some small advantage). This would include flat tops, checkered front straps, french borders, engraving, and other small details which add to the appearance of a gun without adding much to its function.

So what is the best combination of simplicity and gunsmithing that offers the best reliability and useability?

Obviously, the sights need to be larger. I like Heinie's and YoBo Pro sights. They do require a larger cut in the back. I would hardly call that more complicated. Yes, more work, but hardly more complicated. The front sight should be dovetailed in. That's my opinion anyway.

The trigger should be made of aluminum. The lighter a trigger is the better it will feel, and it won't be bouncing around changing your point of impact either. As a long trigger user, I need a new trigger on G.I. style pistols anyway.

I don't use an arched mainspring housing, but rather a flat one. Your mileage may vary.

A high cut serves the completely understandable purpose of getting the gun lower in your hand to better control recoil. It improves the feel of the gun in your hand without negatively affecting any other aspect of the pistols performance.

A beavertail is one of the more controversial modifications, but I don't understand why. The let the gun sit lower in you hand, and keep the hammer from biting the web of your hand. The only downside is that they are slightly larger than the stock setup- but if you are usning a stock hammer, you will never notice the difference anyway.

Commander hammers, particularly the skelotonized Nastoff style get a bum rap. They are required when using beavertails, and I like that they don't bite.

A beveled mag well is another necessary thing. When you are trying to fumble a mag into the mag well of a stock pistol, you will probably wishing you had opened the mag well.

So, in light of my observations, what do you gentlemen think a simple pistol is?
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 10:48:21 AM EST
Tough Crowd.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 10:53:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 10:54:04 AM EST by GUNGUY1911]
Seems to me that you pretty much have it, although I've seen some of the trimmed standard hammers and recut grip tangs here lately that have really piqued my interest. A decent set of sticky grips are a must for me, I gravitate toward the Gunners. Melting the sharp edges is also a have to for me.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 11:13:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 11:14:52 AM EST by modog]
I like:
Novak sights,
forward cocking serrations,
NO frontstrap checkering,
a matte black finish (Park or something like that)
night sights,
NO full length guide rod and
Ed Brown "tactical" single-side safety
Al trigger (Wilson ultralight is good)
high beavertail (I prefer Brown)
Gunners, Alumagrips or thin Hogues
Lanyard loop mainspring housing

Wilson magazines
flathead grip screws

Simple, but gets the job done.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 11:19:27 AM EST
It depends... simple in terms of functionality or simple in terms of appearance?

Simple functionality would suck. That's your Springfield GI/Mil-spec. You can live with it, but you know it's not doing it for you. Simple functionality won't get you checkering on the front strap, it'll leave you with plastic grips and minimal serrations on the slide. Simple functionality will give you non-adjustable sights, no full-length guide rod, no adjustable trigger, but it'll function flawlessly.

I don't want simple functionality. I had to get an extended thumb safety, I want a beavertail and I had to get an adjustable trigger. Next I'll get night sights, but that's well beyond "simple".

If we're talking simple appearance... again, GI/Mil-spec. No chrome.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 11:53:25 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 11:54:42 AM EST by Trumpet]
Great question (especially since I've been "going off" about "simple pistols" and such lately )

I'd say...
-good sights (YoBo retros, Heinie, etc) since I don't shoot BE, I view adjustable sights as unnecessary on a pistol

-reliable. If that means you need a "reliability package" done, fine. If it's reliable out of the box (like my Colt 70 has been), even better.

-Good trigger. I prefer a long Greider. It doesn't have to be a "super duper match" job. As long as it's clean.

-As accurate as it must be. Once again, my pistols are for defensive purposes and fun at the range. BE level accuracy is unnecessary. Then again, I do believe that most pistols are more accurate out of the box than the shooter. Yes, my Nighthawk is more accurate than my older SA and my Colt, but I'm far from unhappy with their accuracy. It's just gravy.

-Beavertail; only if you need it. Last range trip, I put about 400 rounds down range: 200 through the Nighthawk, and 200 through the Colt. I shot the NH first and when I switched to the Colt, I had no problems, and the only "side effect" was a sore hand.

-Checkering. Nice, but not necessary. There are enough new grips out there (simonich, VZ, etc) that I could use and cost a heck of a lot less than a checkering job. Once again, it's gravy.

-High grip. Gravy. My NH has it, and it's nice. My Colt doesn't and it's nice too. However, I WOULD spring for a hi grip mod before checkering.

-Dehorn. SLIGHT. I shouldn't cut myself on the damn thing, but aggressive dehorn jobs look like shit.

-Commander hammers. (For me) Gravy. (see my beavertail explanation)

-Bevel mag well. Yes (but slight). My NH has a magwell and it's nice, but not necessary.

So, in a nutshell

Good sights
Good trigger
SLIGHT dehorn
Mild bevel of mag well

"French" borders
Mag Well
Anything cosmetic
Finishes other than bluing
Hi grip mod (although it's more likely somwhere in between "needs" and "gravy". Hmmmmm "needs gravy"? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm gravy....)

Link Posted: 12/25/2005 12:01:27 PM EST
The best answer I would give for an example of a simple 1911 would be a WWII circa 1911 service pistol.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 12:20:30 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 12:42:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 2:39:36 AM EST by hobbs5624]
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 4:01:07 PM EST
Fixed sights (Heinie)
GI recoil system
No front serrations
Short trigger
No magwell
Straight MSH
GI thumb safety
No front cocking serrations
Plain frontstrap
beavertail with pad
Commander hammer
beveled mag well
Blued or park'd

Hmmm, this is starting to look very much like a Colt New Series 70 after a trip to Yo-Bo.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 4:04:01 PM EST
I notice so many of you want a clean front strap. Why no serrations or stippling?
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 4:39:22 PM EST
I think many people get "simple" and "bare bones" mixed up. Simple is everything you need with nothing you don't. Bare bones is a functional pistol with no cosmetic or ergonomic enhancements. In other words, a GI pistol.

To me, simple is as easy as a parked 1911 with sights I can see, a beavertail and a trigger that doesn't suck. I don't know how it can get any more simple without becoming bare bones.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:55:43 PM EST
I notice so many of you want a clean front strap. Why no serrations or stippling?

I picked plain frontstrap due to the KISS nature of the thread, but serrations, stippling, and skateboard tape all work, with the caveat that I would not put skateboard tape on top of a blued or park'd gun due to the inability to prevent corrosion underneath the tape.

A spray and bake finish is a low cost way of taking care of that problem.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 6:45:46 PM EST
I happen to like the GI-type pistols the best. I really dont like beavertails very much, as my hand is small enough that I dont get cut by spur hammers, or GI grip safeties. A flat MSH does not make a 1911 point right for me, so I like arched & serrated housings the best. Short triggers are important for me as I have small hands. I like a blued or parkerized finish the best, and no front cocking serrations on the slide. Vertical rear cocking serrations look better than slanted. I like the GI-style guide rod and plug, and no checkering at all on the MSH or frontstrap. Checkering is teh ghey. I like serrations better. As far as sights go, I like the basic Novak rear and dovetail front low profile sights. I dont mind the small WW2 GI sights either, but I guess having perfect eyesight helps with those.

Pretty much a SA Milspec has all of the features that I like best externally, but I would change out some of the critical MIM parts and ILS lock & Ti FP. Also the Colt S70 repro would be great as is with only adding some Novak sights.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 8:25:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 2:39:50 AM EST by hobbs5624]
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 9:24:30 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 9:29:50 PM EST by pulpsmack]
USGI is FLAWLESS from a functioning POV. I have a 44 Remington Rand and I love it to death. The sights need more time for target acquisition, but we could hit clay pigeons on a 100 yd berm decently. standard grip safety left ZERO bite too. also FWIW: Springfield Reissues or WWIIs (whatever they are) feel NOTHING like the real USGI pistol. They are analogous in action to a USGI pistol what a Taurus revolver is to a Smith: very similar looking, but they feel completely different (and inferior).

If a company could Get the USGI recipe down right the pistol would be perfect for carry given a de-horning and better sights for faster site picture.

Anything else is gravy (and of course, there is nothing wrong with a little gravy)
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 4:13:52 AM EST
An as issued M1911A1. Learn to shoot it.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 4:53:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By The_Gooch:
... teh ghey...

The use of the above phrase to describe anything (especially connected to 1911s) indicates latent homosexual tendencies.


Link Posted: 12/26/2005 5:17:52 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 5:20:16 AM EST by 53vortec]
It's a pistol that simply hasn't been fucked with by some WECSOG hack with a file and a hammer.

A bone stock 1911 is 10X better than a pistol that has been modified or tuned improperly. I think that's where the common notion that a "bone stock" (simple) pistol is better. For every Bill Wilson there's 100 morons who can charge you a lot of money to tear up your gun. I'm not saying don't mod your gun, but make sure the works being done right- if you can't do that, leave it simple!
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 6:09:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 2:40:02 AM EST by hobbs5624]
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:24:21 AM EST
For me, a simple 1911 is one with a well fit beavertail, extended thumb safety, better sights, lowered ejection port, extended ejector.
That's the base line, cheap, minimum 1911 that I will own or shoot.

One "step up" is better accuracy and trigger and/or parts, etc.

Complicated 1911's, to me anyway, are non-45 ACP 1911's, double stack, specific match type 1911's and "short ones in ACP". Complicated means you may have to take extra care or solutions to keep them running. That's okay, but just be aware of it.

Mil-spec/GI models still exist, IMHO, for nostalgia, looks and for a base gun to customize...and they are cheaper. If they were the same price as "Loaded" models, I'd bet they would lose 80% of their sales.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 2:42:31 PM EST
I need good sights and a beavertail, or else I can barely stand to train. There are a lot of other customizations that I prefer and opt for on my guns. A true reliability job is not just polishing and throating, but will help to ensure proper timing. This will preclude any flared ejection ports, or extended ejectors.

Link Posted: 12/26/2005 2:53:50 PM EST

Originally Posted By Sgt_Gold:
An as issued M1911A1. Learn to shoot it.

"Fight the enemy, not your gear." The Don
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 4:11:05 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 4:12:28 PM EST by wetidlerjr]

Originally Posted By hobbs5624:

Originally Posted By wetidlerjr:

Originally Posted By The_Gooch:
... teh ghey...

The use of the above phrase to describe anything (especially connected to 1911s) indicates latent homosexual tendencies.

With a username like that, what do you expect?


Of course, this is all meant to be in jest, so if it hurts anyone's feelings, let me know, and I'll edit my post.

ETA: POST 7000 !
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 4:35:18 PM EST
"The Way is in training."

"Know the Ways of all professions."


Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By Sgt_Gold:
An as issued M1911A1. Learn to shoot it.

"Fight the enemy, not your gear." The Don

Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:05:50 PM EST
Not many 1911 lovers, including myself, are eager to give up the cosmetic enhancements; after all, that's half the fun. But for the purposes of your question, this is what I'd say is the bare minimum for a reliable, accurate, reasonably ergonomic gun, in order of importance:

1) Higher profile sights than the tiny GI notch / blade. Assuming you don't want night sights, anything more than hardballer type sights are superfluous. Whatever they are, they should be able to survive a drop onto a hard surface, and easy to acquire quickly. If you do need night sights, there are perfectly servicable sets that fit the existing tenon hole and rear dovetail. Heinie or Novak sets are fine too, but these start edging into the "nice-to-have" territory.

2) Trigger with reasonable weight (5 lbs or less) and minimal creep. This is more important to me than having a short or long or whatever trigger. A overtravel screw is also unnecessary, and its omission means one less thing to worry about.

3) Reliable magazines. We all know what they are. Use them until you can trust them, and then take care of them.

4) Properly tensioned extractor. This is the root cause of so many reliability problems with the 1911 that you can't afford to be half-assed about it.

5) Proper springs installed. I like my recoil spring to be at least 17 lbs.

6) Throated barrel. There are still some guns you can buy today that don't have the wide throats that help reliability for hollowpoints and SWCs.

7) Fitted bushing. Contributes to accuracy without compromising reliability.

8) Break sharp edges on entire gun, with special attention paid to grip safety. The grip safety chews my hand up more than anything else, and I have had 1911 slides that you could shave with.

9) Mag well beveled. Not strictly necessary but no downside.

Assuming the gun isn't made from crap parts, these changes will work just fine for me. I'd prefer a beavertail, medium trigger, semi-aggressive frontstrap treatment and flat MSH, but I would be able to do good work without them.
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