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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at getting a 1911 as a first handgun. I'm not getting it for any specialized purpose (e.g. home defense, ccw) but more as a utility/do-everything-reasonably-well gun. I have some experience shooting handguns in the past but no formal training, although I plan on getting some. I'm interested in just the basic "sights you can see and a trigger you can manage" type deal and nothing more. Would a Springfield Mil-Spec be a good option for me? Are there other options? Would I be better off just ordering a slide, frame and kit and building my own?
 

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IMHO, the SA Mil-Spec would be an excellent starter gun for you. You might need to have a trigger job done to it to get it down to 5 pounds or so, but that's probably going to be true of any 1911 you buy except the high-end ones. And then again, YOURS might come with a perfectly usable trigger right out of the box. Luck of the draw.

Building your own from a frame and slide is another way to go (that's how I got my first 1911), but you really have to know your way around the gun to end up with a decent result. Back in the day you could build up a good shooter with cheap parts, (I've built two with slides that cost me $35 or less) but I'm not sure there are any "cheap" parts around anymore, and I'm not sure you could actually save any money starting from scratch (i.e., without a box full of random odd parts to use in the build).

BTW, thanks for telling us what you want to use the gun for, and your level of experience. These are two vital things to know when trying to answer "I'm a newbie, what gun should I get?" questions.

One more thing: Start thinking about investing $200 in a Ciener .22 conversion for your new 1911. This will let you get boo-coo "trigger time" at much reduced cost, and with virtually no recoil. If the government knew how much FUN these things are, they'd slap a 500% tax on them! :lol:
 

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I'll second the SA Mil-spec. I got mine used for right around four bills and it was not used much, if at all. You could also look at the Taurus line if you decide you want some more bells and whistles but the mil-spec would be all you need for gradual upgrading as you learn what you like and or need.
 

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My only reservation about the mil-spec is the sights are small amd very GI.

It seems to me that people who do anything more than the most casual shooting will end up wanting some of the amenities that are standard on guns a notch higher such as better sigthts, and beavertails. You get those on the basic Kimber, Loaded Springfield or Taurus. They end up costing less than adding features to plain pistols.

I suggest that you try to handle and shoot as many different guns as you can before you buy anything. Your opinion is the only one that counts when you buy and all the modern 1911s are reliable and generally accurate enough for recreational shooting.
 

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Charlie Petty said:
My only reservation about the mil-spec is the sights are small amd very GI.
Springfield's GI model has the small GI sights. The Mil-Spec has enlarged fixed sights, 1/8" wide and taller than GI. I think they have white dots, too. They seem to be much like the aftermarket sights I have on most of my 1911s. They're very visible and very durable, if not as "stylish" as Novaks and their clones.

The Mil-Spec also has a lowered and slightly flared ejection port. Looks to be a good piece of kit.
 

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I will also say that the new high standard and rock island armory upgraded models are very good buys. A good friend just bought the high standard upgraded, and it was about 500 from cabela's, it was well fit, trigger was a decent 5 or so pounds, but a good 5, pretty crisp, very little creep. the hood appeared to be right and the lock up was as good as I would expect from a stock gun. I have shot it and it shoots well, I took it home and did a little touch up on the trigger and a little polishing on the disconnect and grip safety to get rid of a little drag and its darn nice, excellent for the money.
 

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My first 1911 was a used Colt 1991A1 and I still see good deals on used ones every once in awhile. If you can't find one of those, the Mil-Spec SA 1911 is a good option. I never did too much tweaking with my 1911s other than change the sights and the grips, and I don't have reliability problems.
 

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Springfield's GI model has the small GI sights. The Mil-Spec has enlarged fixed sights, 1/8" wide and taller than GI. I think they have white dots, too.
Right again :oops:

I can't help but wonder though why they call it "mil-spec" when the sights, ejection port and mag well are different?
 

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Charlie Petty said:
Springfield's GI model has the small GI sights. The Mil-Spec has enlarged fixed sights, 1/8" wide and taller than GI. I think they have white dots, too.
Right again :oops:
Okay, I had to look it up. But I wasn't going to recommend the fellow buy something with the tiny GI sights, which would immediately have to be swapped out to get something usable, especially since he'd specified he wanted "sights you can see." :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all of the replies. I've decided to go with the Mil-Spec. Now I just need to find a deal on a case of .45 ACP FMJ!
 

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I think the term I've heard before was 'Improved Mil-Spec'.

I just purchased one last year in stainless through ImpactGuns. It has the widened sights, white dots, lowered/flared ejection port, flared mag well, etc.

You'll like the Springfield as it comes with a nice foam lined carry case, 2 mags, holster and mag carrier, a bit more bang for your buck. For a starter it's great because you don't have to go find a holster, etc right off the bat. It also includes a cleaning brush I believe.

I like my Springfield, just wish they were still made in the US. Mine was made in Brazil.
 

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actually they have always been made in Brazil. There is still some confusion over what it takes to say "made in USA" but I think, in the past, it has been interpreted very loosely.

When it comes to 1911 frames there is some provision where I could have "Charlie's Gun Shop" as the maker if enough hoops were jumped through.
 

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Charlie Petty said:
...When it comes to 1911 frames there is some provision where I could have "Charlie's Gun Shop" as the maker if enough hoops were jumped through.
I own an Essex-framed 1911 that's numbered in a special series made expressly for a particular gunsmith. Every number in this set begins with his initials. (The frame does say "Essex," though.)
If I remember correctly, Essex did not charge extra for this service, if you placed an order for enough frames.

Hijacking Over: I now return you to the thread already in progress.
 

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Just read a report by John Taffin on several new 1911s from the old name of Iver Johnson. Made in the Philippines, as are several other brands of 1911, they seemed to be well put together, reliable, accurate, and very competitively priced. If I were in the market for a starter 1911, I'd at least put these on the "to check out" list.
 

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The Rock Island Armory label is also from the Philippines and a couple I have checked were just fine.

I guess I'm spoiled now because anything without a beavertail hurts
 

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When I first joined this forum and mentioned I was in the market for a "starter" 1911 Charlie recommended I take a look at the RIA line. I thought he was nuts as I confused Rock Island with Rock River. The Armscor Twin Pines facility in the Philippines at one time made the R.I.A, Charles Daly and High Standard 1911's. They also produce the STI Spartan. I ended up getting a SA Mil-Spec as I found a nice used one and at the time, it seemed all the custom Smiths were using Mil-specs as their starting point.
 

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GunBrokers has the SA milspec 1911A1 ranging from $500 to $650+. Kimbers are $1200 and Les Bear are more. HiPoint run around $150 in 45acp. You get what you pay for.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update: I ended up going with the Rock Island Armory 1911A1 GI model. I found one at a nearby gun store and paid $449 after tax and the background check. I know Sarco is selling them for $350 but this was one I could hold, inspect and dry fire. The online price also doesn't factor in shipping cost and FFL transfer fee.

After greasing the slide rails and covering the other parts in a light coat of CLP, I took it to the range and fired 120 rds of WWB through it. The gun ran flawlessly! Not one single failure to fire, feed, extract or eject. I used 4 different magazines, the 8 rd ACT MAG the gun came with, and 3 7 rd magazines of different makes that my dad had been keeping with the 1911 he got from my grandfather. The trigger on mine is lighter and crisper than the one on the Colt from 1919.

I ordered a Harrison Precision Retro rear sight (appears to be the same as the Yost Retro) and a Maryland Gun Works ramped front sight (narrow tenon stake on.) Once I get them installed I'll attempt to post a pic.

I know I'm nowhere near the end of the manufacturer recommended break-in period of 500 rds, but I am very pleased with my purchase. After the sight install I'm still about $100 under what I see new Springfield Mil Specs selling for (if I see them at all.) This money is going toward more mags and ammo! I'm also considering one of those .22 conversions.

Anyone have a recommendation for a solid 8 rd magazine? I've heard Wilson Combat was the way to go?
 

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This one was well reviewed: http://www.shootersjax.com/para-ordnanc ... d5blk.aspx

As for a case of .45 ACP, WalMart has 100 rd boxes of Winchester White Box Ball cheaper than you can mail order from most ammo sources.

If you can beat the price, with shipping, send me an email!

100 rd box under 24.00. Prices adjusted locally, subject to availability, usual disclaimers apply. My local WMs get their ammo on Wednesday..I tend to go in to work later than usual that day, for some strange reason. Yes, I hit my local gun shops for specialty Self Defense Ammo.

Geoff
Who has had his MK IV Series 70, a long time..and the .22 Conversion unit almost as long! :thumbsup:
 

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cowboy513 said:
Anyone have a recommendation for a solid 8 rd magazine? I've heard Wilson Combat was the way to go?
If you have the money get the Wilson Combat. The quick remove base plate allows you to pick up your magazines on the range and then disassemble and run a brush through the magazines between stages. http://www.natchezss.com/Category.cfm?c ... 0MAG%208RD

I'm not such a heavy competitor, I use the Chip McCormicks. http://www.natchezss.com/Category.cfm?c ... 08%20Round

Geoff
Who is older grayer and more arthritic than before...sigh.
 
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