1911 Differences
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Thread: 1911 Differences

  1. #1
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    1911 Differences

    I am aware that Mr. J.M. Browning's 1911 pistols range in price from the low $400s to over $2000, but I have never understood why. Would someone care to educate this poor, benighted soul on what determines value in things 1911?
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    just today, i went to my LGS to hopefully get a hold of a 1911...hopefully the Springfield Armory 1911.

    they had (on the website) several models.

    one, with real wood grips, and 2 magazines.

    the other, fake wood grips, and one mag

    real wood price, over $700

    fake wood price, $550

    they had neither in stock, and from what was told to me the factory was shut down?

    i also looked at the Taurus 1911, about $700

    not in stock.

    so rich man, poor man's guns.

    too many opinions on pricing. personally, i don;t need a beauty queen, i ain't gonna want to impress no one with all sorts of plated stainless steel, real wood, or one that makes my coffee in the morning.

    just the gun.

  3. #3
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    The way they are made, MIM, cast or machined parts. How tightly they are made, materials and fitting of parts.
    Lots of reason for the price range.
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  5. #4
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    The devil, and price, is in the details.

    In this case, it's fit and final assembly. Low end, price wise, guns don't get the TLC and attention in final assembly and fitting of the parts the high end guns do. They are 'to spec' or 'within tolerances' and go out the door. No hand fitting beyond what is absolutely necessary because hand fitting drives up labor hours (labor= cost which is passed onto the consumer) and cuts productivity.

    Think of the hours that can be wrapped up in just perfecting slide to frame fit. Or polishing the inside of the frame so the parts don't have to overcome drag from the machine marks. How about fitting the locking lugs or the barrel bushing?

    Attention to detail takes time and time is money.

    Think about it. How many custom 1911's have been built with a Rock Island as a base? It's still a Rock, it's just that somebody went through it, paid attention to the details, took the time and did the hand work.
    Last edited by jtg452; 08-05-2020 at 05:11 PM.
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  6. #5

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    Everyone has provided some good input, so I'll add that most of the features that differentiate a GI 1911 from a Taurus PT1911 or a Colt Combat Elite mean more machining steps or other forms of more complicated manufacture. Here's a GI-ish model:

    And here's something a bit more upscale.

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    Turning the upper pistol into the lower would mean
    Checking the frontstrap
    Undercutting the triggergaurd (If you're smart, you'll do this before the checkering)
    The cuts at the front of the slide - lots of more upscale pistols have front slide serrations instead of this
    The grip safety is a more complicated shape
    The sights are more complicated in general, and the better pistol has tritium sights in this case
    Extended thumb safety
    A lot of higher end pistols have the raised, flat topped ridge along the top to prevent glare

    But really, the hand fitting work is the most important aspect. There are dependable, reasonably accurate, quality pistols at just about every price range, it's just a question of what you want.
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  7. #6
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    For what it's worth, here's my input..

    Ruger's SR1911 Lightweight Commander 9mm

    Specs are:

    • Features a lightweight, anodized aluminum frame.
    • Classic, original 1911 fire control.
    • Precision CNC-controlled machining process results in a superior slide-to-frame fit and smooth slide travel.
    • Positive barrel lock-up allows for superior accuracy out of the box.
    • Traditional design with replaceable grip panels and checkered backstrap. I have tried three different sets of grips to date
    • Lightweight, aluminum, skeletonized trigger provides a very crisp, no creep, light trigger pull with a quick, positive reset.
    • Skeletonized hammer and titanium firing pin for faster lock time. As with the Model 70's
    • Oversized beavertail grip safety provides positive function and reliability.
    • Extended thumb safety and slide stop lever for improved, positive manipulation.
    • Integral plunger tube for slide stop and thumb safety is not staked and will never come loose.
    • Oversized ejection port and extended magazine release enhance performance.
    • Inspection port allows for visual confirmation of a loaded or empty chamber.
    • Features a flat mainspring housing and rear slide serrations for a positive grip.

    • I guess all these little 'enhancements' add to the cost of manufacture but, in my opinion, make for one fine shooting pistol.
      Now regarding prices, when I was 'window shopping' for one in the US two years ago I was finding them averaging around $700-$800 (with two 9 round mags). Mine cost me over $1200.00 but that's just because I'm in GB. Sadly I have only one other pistol to compare mine to and that a very old Remington 1911 that a fellow club member owns. His is .45ACP and really needs some attention and TLC, he rarely cleans it (shame on him) and it's not in good condition.

    • Here's mine (in its various guises - first photo is original form)
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    Last edited by ManxTom; 08-05-2020 at 06:57 PM.
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  8. #7
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    I selected the Taurus PT1911 SS many moons ago as it was billed by both Taurus and reviewers to have upgrades that others either didn't have or that one would spend money to install. Some of what I remember were the "match" barrel, flared and lowered ejection port, the extended beavertail and the grip safety "bump" and also having the ambisafety. IIRC I paid 600.00 for the pistol with two mags, bushing wrench (which I've never used) and the plastic case and got 75.00 back in rebates.
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  9. #8
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    We're overlooking a big reason that we all know about. Who's name is on the gun? If you've built a reputation of excellent fit, finish and quality of materials, then that name stamped on the slide will command a higher price. How many times have we either heard or even said "you're paying for the name on it"?
    We have makers of 1911s like Coonan, Les Baer, etc. There's other 1911's made in back alleys in the Philippines with no name on them. They're all 1911's for all intents and purposes. If you decide to make your own 1911 with a slide of your choice, a barrel and say a caspian frame you have a no-name back alley 1911 that's been built and hand fitted. Sure, you're gunsmithing skills may be top notch, but unless you make a name for yourself with high quality 1911's, It's still a back alley 1911 or something akin to a franken AR.
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  10. #9
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    You fell way short when you typed out $2,000.


    Honestly this is where worth and value are completely up to the buyer. If you have an extra 5k laying around and want a heirloom piece that combines beauty and function that will be backed up by the manufacturer so long as they exist then go for it. The rest of us will settle for less but in the great scheme of things, less isn't all that less in performance, but it can be a great deal in price. My only Taurus is a PT1911A that I bought on Buds for $600. It's served me well for 12 years now, and only once had a problem and that was due to a batch of low quality ammo. Other than that, absolutely reliable, and shoots great and I've probably got somewhere between 6-7k rounds through her. About 6 years ago I wanted to see how the other half lived. Decided to go with something higher end but not go too crazy, and wound up going halvsies with my father on a S&W Performance Center and we decided to go with this: https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearm...model-sw1911-0

    She's a stunner, and not just to look at but to shoot. Fit and finish is superb, materials are significantly stronger than MIM and Aluminum. She's more accurate than I could ever hope to be. Do I feel it is worth more than twice what I paid for my Taurus 1911? In my opinion, yes. Do I feel there is a 1911 out there that is 3 times better than this one though? I can't imagine how, but surely someone feels that way as they are selling. Names, materials, and manufacturing techniques and craftsmanship can create a huge divide between entry level bargain basement and high end cream of the crop. Again however the value of such things is entirely up to the buyer.
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  11. #10
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    For the same reason that a Chevy and a Cadillac are so different in price. Both serve the same function, getting you from point A to point B, but one does it with more "luxury than the other. Fit and finish on one is much different than the other. One has more and different options. One is designed to serve a basic purpose and the other is designed to serve that basic purpose and, in some cases, more specific purposes.
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