I know my Glock 23. I trust my Glock 23. I’ve put thousands and thousands of rounds through my Glock 23. I’m pretty dang accurate with my Glock 23. It really and truly is the optimum balance of Size, Weight, and Firepower in a package that makes it the ultimate Jack of All Trades.
To me, saying “1911” is like saying “Pickup Truck”. There are many Makes and Models out there, all different, all with different purposes. But they are all 1911’s so they are pretty good and should all pretty much run the same way. But one configuration of 1911 that always makes me drool…
A Lightweight Commander. Specifically a two tone LW Commander. As far as pistols go – these are my Redheads. My Kryponite. My weakness.
This one is very nice… Subdued colors. A big visible dot on the front sight… Very nice indeed. I’m not a huge fan of the ramped rear sight, but I can deal with that. On this gun the higher end red wood grips are a little dressy on the flat finished gun.
This one is nice too… Subdued colors again, but with a set of black grip panels. I like that a bit better due to the fact that it’s more in keeping with the motif. The first one is like having White Wall tires on a Mustang GT. I guess that would be fine if that’s your thing… it’s just not my thing. And if it is your thing… and you like that… Well, “America”. Bully for you!
Here’s one that’s very good. Micarta grips, brushed stainless and a moderate polish on the slide… Not Subdued, but more natural. I really like that. I also like the Bobtail… a lot. But it’s not necessary… Just really really nice. Like Navigation or a Back Up Camera, or XM Radio.
Oh man… Here we go. This is the higher end. We have a high polish on that blued slide and burled walnut grips. This one is so nice that it’s almost too nice. We call guns like this “BBQ Guns”, but it’s what you wear to a BBQ at your friends place… your nicest gun in a nice leather holster. Not something I’d EDC, but wear to special occasions. It would be like having a date with a Super Model… You are not going to take her out on the rounds of your usual haunts, but to some place special. (Unless she asked to go to the regular haunts mind you) So for me, that last one there, the more natural one, that’s the one I’d pick.
What do all these Commanders have in common? Two Tone Finishes, with Dark on top of Light. The current Vogue due to the advent of stainless slides on polymer frames is to have a light colored slide on a dark frame. This I don’t care for. It makes all manner of sense though, sure. It’s PRACTICAL. A stainless slide will show less wear than a blued slide. And frames will typically show less wear than slides… So putting a stainless slide on that black frame makes Reason and Logic smile. But it doesn’t make me necessarily smile, no, just the opposite is true. And let me tell you why.
Growing up reading every gun magazine I could get my hands on as a kid, I stared with wide eyes and great wonder at the custom 1911’s made by true master level gunsmiths… and all of them were two tones with stainless frames and high polished blued slides. That LOOK defined “Custom” for me then and it does so now. So the stainless slides on black frames just look “off” to me. So my ultimate has to have a black slide on light frame. That just visually tastes right to me.
I know I’ve been packing a Glock 23 for years… but lately I’ve been doing that less and less. Really it’s been relegated to Car Gun Status now, so I always have it close when I’m out and about. But what I carry on my person – that’s changed.
More and more my Go To pistol has been my Beretta 92FS, and I’ve been carrying my 1911 a LOT more. As I type this post, it’s the 1911 that’s sitting by my left hand. Don’t laugh at my desk… I know it’s cluttered, but then again, so is my mind. So it all works out. That’s my beloved GI… which had a light issue with cracking grip panels. That was the worst thing that could have happened, because dang it… now I’m thinking about changing other parts. Like a Beaver Tail and a Commander style hammer… and if I am doing that – I might as well change the sear and trigger… You guys know the drill. The grips were the lid to a bloody Pandora’s Box of tweaks. Why? Why the hell did I do that? I could have got some double diamond checkered wood grips and have been fine. But no… I asked my friends for some regular old black plastics… thought I’d cheap out… not thinking about how they fecking changed the whole dynamic of the pistol and it’s in my head that I could change other things.
And now I’m looking at the Beretta 92FS and thinking… “You know, Wilson Combat is now making Beretta parts.” They have a slick short reach trigger… No… NO!
No… I’m not going to mess with my Beretta. That’s become the Go To Gun. My Almost EDC. I’m not doing that.
But the 1911… Well… that’s different.
I’m thinking why not have some fun with it? I can detail strip it blindfolded, and that sentimental GI memento cherry has been popped with the black grips. Why not?
Deep polished blued levers and safety, but the slide and frame – Color Cased. That is just sexy to me. I don’t know.
What do you guys think?
The 1911. It’s a fantastic shooting platform. I had gotten away from it for some years and now I’m back to it for the time being. As an instructor I’ve made many observations on the guns and the shooters and I think I’ve come up with some conclusions.
1. The 1911 demands loyalty. You can’t cheat on it and have it be faithful back to you. If you are going to carry a 1911, you need to marry it. Here’s why… In most every class I’ve taught that had a 1911 shooter in it, I’ll catch a guy draw his weapon, push out from the high compressed position, and then crush his trigger to no effect because he forgot to sweep the safety off. Most of the guys that do that, do so because their other guns are not 1911’s. They are Glocks or XD’s or M&P’s or something altogether not 1911’s. Don’t cheat on the 1911. Because that’s going to lead some issues.
2. Don’t go shorter than 4 inches. 1911’s that are shorter than a “Commander” start to give up reliability. You give up other things as well to the point that you are detracting from the fantastic qualities that make the 1911 the 1911 in the first place. The long sight radius, the accuracy, the pointability… These things make a 1911 what it is. Chopping them down to 3 inches… you’ve ruined it. You no longer have the pointing, the accuracy, the very things we love the 1911 for. And I’ve never seen a compact 1911 of any sort complete one of my handgun courses without turning into a hot mess of problems. The Commander is 4.25 inches. Many 1911 makers are doing a 4″ version, and they seem to be running just about as well as any good full sized 5″ “Government” model. Shorter than 4, it’s effecting the geometry and the timing and it’s just not worth the risk in reliability for the perception of greater concealment.
3. The 1911 needs to be well lubricated. Some guys like oil, some grease, and others a combo of both in different places. However you like it – that’s fine. As long as you oil it. Most every 1911 I’ve seen with issues that wasn’t shorter than 4″, was a pistol that was bone dry. Just like an AR-15, it can be hot, and dirty… but it can’t be dry. The 1911 likes to be wet.
4. The 1911 is a traditional type of pistol so it needs a traditional type of holsters – leather. Good leather. Most 1911’s are north of $1,000 dollars, so don’t even think about it letting it ride in a cheap rig. And remember what I said about marrying the 1911? That means showing it the respect that it deserves… let it ride in something nice. Let it know you care. Here’s the other reason… The 1911 is not for the Duffers. It’s a pistol for the experts. It’s for the experienced shooters. It should show some miles on it. Let it get some holster wear, let that holster break in… And you do that by #5…
5. You Must Train with it. Practice your draw. Practice your re-holstering. Practice getting that one thing that the 1911 excels at – that fast and precise first round heavy hit. All gunfights have one thing in common. That first shot. Make it count.
Before I roll forward with Armchair Quarterbacking Detonics, I want the readers here to know my long history with the Combat Master, and my affections for it. I wrote two articles about the Combat Master for Concealed Carry Magazine. Both articles were rather glowing of the guns overall. You can read them both here. The second article has photos here.
“This is like Scarlett Johanson winning an Ultimate Fighter Championship.”
I considered Jerry Ahern a friend. We had many great conversations about Detonics and about the Combat Master. When Jerry passed away, I was greatly saddened. But what saddened me the most was the new iteration of Detonics and the all new version of the Combat Master.
One of the things we had talked about was the use of a regular dovetailed front sight with Tritium and moving the rear sight back to the normal 1911 position and using a regular Commander style hammer and a Beavertail. Make it more like a regular 1911 that people are familiar with instead of having the Combat Master occupy the Uncanny Valley. We had even discussed me buying one in this configuration from Detonics USA, and Jerry had said “Don’t worry about it, George. We’ll send you a prototype.” This was being discussed while I was writing the second Combat Master review. But before I could return the review pistol to Detonics, the company had closed its doors and Jerry was removed from his office. And what we had discussed went with him.
Some time after that all happened, Detonics had reopened. And they did come out with a new version of the Combat Master…. and this happened:
They did indeed use a regular sized front sight post… and they moved the rear sight back to where they normally go. And then they did that. I don’t even know what that is. No one else did either as this version of the Combat Master was killed off almost as fast as it had come out. Here is where it failed again. It’s still not like a 1911… It’s still almost familiar but wrong – dead nuts in the center of the Uncanny Valley zip code. Right where people look at it from a distance and say “hey, look at that” and then they get close enough to really see it and they are repelled. Instinct dictates the initial attraction and the subsequent revulsion. Because it’s not what they are familiar with it. A hexagon barrel with the front sight mounted to it is just fine… On a Webley. But on a 1911 pistol of any sort?
Detonics needs to bring back the Combat Master because that’s WHAT DETONICS IS. But they need to forget that strange polygonal barrel and make it more like a traditional 1911.
The scalloping of the ejection port on the older Combat Masters is both elegant and beautiful. That’s a nice touch that should come back. The Rear Sight should be in the normal 1911 position. But not a Novak ramp style. Something more like an ICE Claw rear sight. And give it a small Beavertail. For better accuracy, reliability, and ballistic punch, lengthen the barrel a bit.
The other problem with the Combat Master is the Magazine. They are shorter than the standard Officer’s model, which means you are Single Sourced for them. Lengthen the frame just a touch so that you can use regular Officer’s Magazines. The result is you will have a gun that fits people’s hands better and they can get a bunch of spare mags without having to sell a car to do it.
I’d even take this a step further and use a GI Guid rod and Bushing. Take a look at the Nighthawk T3. You know what, Detonics? There is a waiting list for those things. And those guns cost double your discontinued Combat Master. Do you see the difference here? You probably don’t. The difference is your gun was not just different – it was strange. While the T3 was a compact 1911 DONE WELL. That’s the difference. And that’s why people were waiting to pay double dollars for something that the Combat Master was competing with.
The 1911 should always feel like it’s familiar. You should never have to break out a Manual or look up a How To video on YouTube. The 1911 should be a 1911. Like Apple Pie and Baseball, it should be Classic and it should be reminding their owners of heroic days past… and it should be inspiring in its accuracy and reliability for future adventures. It it doesn’t do that, you’ve failed. I can’t explain this any better. If it’s not clear to you, well… Good luck.
The MTX pistol looks interesting. But you said a 3.5″ and a 5″ version will be available in 2013. Nothing looks worse than saying you are coming out with something and then you don’t. Unless it’s a double stacked 1911 with a 3.5″ barrel. Just don’t do that. It sounds good at first but is never a good thing once it’s in the hand. Just drop that, and concentrate on getting that 5″ version done… and maybe even do a 6″. Do a 10mm version in 6″ because that would be awesome and something that is just not available outside of STI. A 6″ 10mm MTX would have me drooling.
Bring back the Range Master and the Street Master. Make the Range Master a 5″ traditional 1911 with adjustable sights and the Street Master a 4.25″ with fixed sights. Make them like the originals, but better. Give them Match barrels and triggers and make them as accurate and as reliable as any other high end 1911, but do it at a competitive price. Look at Dan Wesson’s 1911’s. They are absolutely excellent. Do some extra touches that need to be done… Polish the rails and the locking lugs. Polish the trigger parts so the trigger feel is absolute perfection. And forget the gimmicks. The only options should be polished blue or stainless. The grips should be stunning woods with torques head screws so it looks clean. Double Diamonds. Traditional. Traditional done to Perfection. Make the guns live up to their names. It should make the person feel like he really and truly is holding something special and wonderful in their hands when they pick one up. Nothing about it should make one raise an eyebrow.
Caliber options for all guns should be 9mm, 10mm and .45 Auto.
If at this point, you can’t do a good traditional 1911, Detonics should be allowed to die with dignity. But for some people, the name still holds currency and we want it to succeed. You just need a man with some vision to take charge and make the name great again. You need another Jerry Ahern.
I’m available for contract negotiations at any time. 😉
I’m done. I’m not going to do it any more. I’m not going to carry a tiny mouse gun anymore. That’s over. As a main carry gun, of course. Maybe as a backup piece, or a hold out. But no more as my main carry gun. It’s time to go big.
Why do we carry at all? Think about this for a minute, or more. And think about the possible scenarios that might require you to actually have to use your concealed carry gun. In any of these scenarios, does it play out that you would be better off in those situations with a smaller gun? Or did you, like me, come to the conclusion that you would rather have as much gun as you can?
You have a CFP, or more commonly a CCW Permit. Most States do not require you to carry a specific gun. You have the option to change it up. If you have the option, why not go big when you can? Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter to the Anti-Gun Biggots what gun you carry. They have never said “Oh, its okay, he only has a .380.” In fact, they have tried specifically to ban small guns because they are more concealable. Remember they made a run against Saturday Night Specials? They don’t care. That being the case, f you are going to get wet, you might as well go swimming. Should you have to use your weapon, and you end up in a court of Law, they will make no distinctions regarding the size or type. Or if you are in a store and lift your arm up to reach a top shelf item and someone sees the grip of your pistol. They call the cops no matter what it is and when The Bronze approaches you they don’t make any distinction either. You are either legal to carry, or you are not. Size does not matter.
The last several months I’ve been packing bigger guns. Mostly full sized duty pistols. Government Model 1911’s, Railed Commander 1911’s, Beretta 92FS and full sized Storms, Glock 22’s. The smallest gun I’ve carried is a Glock 23. None of these are Mouse Guns or Pocket Pistols. Each on let’s you know you have a “fist full of Iron”. Or advanced polymer as the case may be. As I write this, on my hip right now is a Springfield 1911 .45 and there is a great deal of satisfaction in having it on me.
Bigger guns make fewer compromises. They hold more rounds, are more reliable, more accurate, maybe more powerful, and are certainly more intimidating. The more intimidating the gun is, the more likely you won’t have to actually pull the trigger. The only disadvantage to them is the greater challenge of carrying it concealed. To carry a full sized gun concealed, you are going to have to take a bit more care in your holster and wardrobe selection.
Thankfully the good folks at Crossbreed Holsters can help us out. The Supertuck is available for many handguns, including the big 92FS. This holster allows for the big gun to be carried comfortably, inside the waistband, all day long. For me, that’s the advantage I need. Because I’ll wear a gun from the time I get out of bed until I give up on the day and go back to bed.
Normally I wear Pancake style rigs, wide, outside of the waistband holsters that help contour the shape of the gun to hide it, and pack more comfortably while wearing normal sized pants. I find this to be an advantage when riding a motorcycle. The downside to a pancake rig, is that the length of the gun makes it easier for the muzzle end to peak out from under your jacket or shirt.
This isn’t so much of a problem during most of the year. But during the peak of the summer, wearing jackets and sport coats becomes less than ideal. During these times, as much as possible, I’ll wear a Mechanics style shirt or a Bowling shirt. If one is less fashionable, or a huge fan of Weird Al, you can wear a Hawaiian style shirt. Anything that can be worn untucked, loose, and can cover up the whole gun. But this is me and I am not required to wear Business Casual. But even then, there are still ways to carry a full sized gun.
Not long ago I was talking about packing large handguns with a local Police Officer. I mentioned that I was packing a Beretta 92FS and he didn’t believe me. I was in the process of selling him a Beretta but he was balking on the purchase, thinking it was too big to be carried undercover. I was wearing an Under Armor polo shirt. You should have seen his eyes when I pulled my Beretta 92FS out, cleared it, and laid it on the counter. I can’t repeat what he said, but he was clearly surprised that I had it on me as he normally could tell if someone was packing or not. After that, it became a discussion regarding holsters instead of the gun. To end this story, he bought the gun and has enjoyed it ever since.
I live in a very rural area of Utah. My front yard is a farmer’s field. We get all sorts of wildlife here at “Ogre Ranch”. Some big, some small. One night I came home on my motorcycle, late and in the dark. I shut off my bike and jumped off. As I stepped around the big KTM Enduro, I saw a dark shadow and eye shine. Something was there in the shadows beside my house. I don’t remember drawing, or even making the decision to draw, but suddenly my gun was in my hands and that gun was in a ready position as I was squinting to try to identify what was over there in the shadows. At that moment, a full sized duty sidearm was very comforting. The only problem was that I didn’t have a light mounted on my weapon and my normal companion of the Surefire Aviator flashlight was with me but tucked safely in my backpack. Inaccessible and useless to me as this didn’t feel like a time when I could shrug my pack off and dig through it to find my light. Instead I was there, gun in hand, waiting until I could ID this thing as a threat or not. I could hear it breathing. I could see it’s eye-shine, and that was it. It really was a freaky moment. The moment ended though when my wife pulled up and her headlights illuminated what I was in a standoff with. It was a large Mule Deer Buck. I can chuckle about it now, but in that moment of looking into the unknown, had I been armed with something small and mousy, I’d probably have been a lot more uncomfortable with the situation.
This goes back to what the great Clint Smith has said. Guns are not supposed to be comfortable, they are supposed to be comforting. He is exactly right. I don’t recall ever being in a situation where I was comforted by packing a tiny little gun. I remember one time I needed something small and concealable where low profile was critical. A .25 Caliber Baby Browning the answer. I could stand there with my hands in my pockets and still be ready to draw that little pistol. I thought it was a perfect solution. Until I needed it. I reached into my pocket and grabbed the little gun, but didn’t draw it. Let me tell you, that pistol offered no comfort. In fact, I let it go and instead opted for the ASP Baton tucked inside the waistband. At least that felt solid. It felt like a weapon. The .25 felt like a squirt gun. In this situation, neither was required to be used, thankfully. But it impressed upon me that the small gun was useless. Harsh Language proved more potent. That was the last time I bothered with the .25. I think I remember that I traded it for a few boxes of ammo.
I’m not saying that only huge hand cannons are the way to go. I’m just saying you don’t have to limit yourself to tiny guns.
I find it interesting that having worked for a holster company for 10 months, I don’t have a decent EDC holster for my 1911. Sure I have a leg rig. And an Army Field rig… but I’m not one that I can carry concealed with. That’s most strange to me. Because I’ve been working on my 1911 a bit here and there all day long. Just holding it, gives me some comfort and satisfaction in the beauty of the thing.
Mine is not a fancy 1911. It’s not shiny and it’s not gleaming with black tactical pretense. It is, just what it is. And that’s why I love it so much. It’s very honest about what it is. Springfield Armory may have discontinued it… the “GI” model, but I think it was a mistake… because for some reason, I think it was the best 1911 Springfield Armory has ever made.
The finish is worn. In places, down the bare metal. The wood grips are scratched and scared. It’s heavy, being made of solid steel. The sights are the old style, rudimentary and hard to see. The hammer spur is long, and with GI grip safety – it can bite you. It’s not the most pleasant gun to look at or fire for any amount of time. But it has something else….
Reliability. I’ve not had a failure with this pistol… Not a single jam or misfire… and the accuracy has been above par. I trust this gun. It’s one of the few guns I keep loaded at all times. (Which reminds me… it’s time to rotate the magazines) It has never let me down when I put it to the test and it has done everything I’ve ever asked of it.
It reminds me of myself. I’m not old, but I feel a lot older than I should for a man of my age. It’s not the years, it’s the miles, they say. My finish is worn and so are my parts. I’m not pleasing to look at, and I’m a bit too heavy, and I can bite when not handled properly. But I am reliable, and I hit hard, and I hit true.
Getting back into the job market… looking for employment. I’m suddenly no longer optimistic. I’m not as young as I used to be, and my family is larger and their necessities are more expensive… Feeding them is a challenge. If an Employer is like a Gun Buyer… Why would they pick an old ugly GI 1911 when for less money they could buy one of these younger M&P’s or Glocks?
Such thoughts have depressed me greatly. Regardless of that, I’ll be packing my 1911 from now until… Well… I need to find a good EDC holster for this thing. I think perhaps, I shall make one.
This 1911 is special to me. It is an almost identical clone to one issued to me when I was in uniform and found myself in a kinetic altercation. The result was both my adversary and myself laying on the ground fifty yards apart. I credit my armor for saving my life from his hit on me. I credit the 1911 with denying him a second shot. This is something that no Glock or M&P has done for me. And well, this 1911 didn’t either, but it is a mirror image of the one that did. That one was a Colt and had to be returned to the armory. This clone was made by Springfield Armory. I consider it to be close enough for a memento. The fact that it’s served so well ever since I acquired it is only a happy bonus.
Apple Mac Destruction with Colt M45 1911 Pistol, and a SIG 1911 TACOPS. Both .45 Auto pistols. Both just as accurate, both just as powerful, and both just as reliable.
The Colt though is quite expensive. The SIG is a bargain in comparison. Between the two though… which would I buy?
A Glock 21. For myself. But between these two guns, I’d buy the SIG 1911 TACOPS. If given the choice between these two guns, say as a gift, and I could pick one… I’d still pick the SIG. Reason being is that I like the checkering and the mag well funnel. Sure these could be added to the Colt, but the SIG doesn’t come with the pretension and attitude. It just works. And it does it without the drama and fanfare.
The finish on the Colt is an odd color. It’s too damn yellow. I don’t know what color that is supposed to be, but it’s yellow. And while the finish is applied just fine, you can see a lot of tool marks under the coating, especially around the frame rail. I’d think a pistol of this legacy should have a better exterior finish. I have not yet examined the interior though.
The slide pull is nice and slick. It’s very smooth. As is the trigger. Which is, well, flat out amazing. However the SIG’s was almost as good. One thing to note – Both of these pistols had yet to be fired until these first shots recorded. Both guns were smooth and accurate, to the point that I couldn’t determine if either one had an advantage.
Notes on this computer… I have to admit that I very much love the Architecture of these machines. As a former computer tech, working on these is awesome. So easy to drop the side open and everything is laid out and accessible. Exactly in the way that Dell, HP, and Gateways are not. No one had a better case design.
At one point I had ever ram slot filled and it had two hard drives. It was a great computer. But it wouldn’t take OSX and after awhile all the software just became so far out of date that it rendered this machine useless. It was quite sad for me to retire it, because I loved it. The second HD with crucial data was pulled, as was the RAM, to be used in another machine.
Before I pulled this machine off line to give it this Going Away Party, I did make sure that it was running. I could have thrown Linux on it… Yeah, I know that. But I’ll get more use out of this video than I will a Mac based Linux box.