Different Tiers of 1911s [Archive] - Glock Talk


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08-09-2010, 15:05
I have a friend who is getting a GI Milspec 1911 by Springfield. I have another friend who has a Colt Defender.

It seems that there are 4 tiers: Milspec, Custom, Premium, Ultrapremium. Maybe you have a different classification. What in your opinion is the usefulness of one class over another? I can understand the Premium class for those who compete at the Elite Level, like yourself. However, for a person who just likes to shoot at the range, is there truly a need to go beyond Milspec? If someone would like to use a pistol for Self Defense or Personal Defense, are there features in a 1911 that are a must have? What characteristics do you think are important in a 1911 for defense? Are there premium magazines that work best in most, if not all, pistols? Lastly, for 1911s that have sights integrated into the barrel, what options for upgrading the sights are there?

Thank you.

Mas Ayoob
08-10-2010, 13:56
Reliability is the non-negotiable baseline, of course. Accuracy is a little down on the list from that.

If the front sight is milled integral to the slide, it won't be all that cheap for a gunsmith to create a dovetail for a replacement sight. That's why it makes sense to get a pistol that already has sight dovetails.

Highly visible sights, 100% feed n' function, and a hand-protecting beavertail grip safety are my "must haves" on a 1911, but your needs may vary. I personally prefer a low-profile ambi thumb safety, but its absence is not necessarily a deal-breaker, unless the shooter is left-handed.

Lots of opinions here. There's a wealth of collective knowledge and experience at the 1911 section here in GT, and it would be worth your while to ask the same question there.


08-10-2010, 16:00
Thank you.

That's a good starting point.

The different tiers or prices don't necessarily mean better reliability, though, right?

08-10-2010, 17:42
Someone clarified the classifications for me:


I also meant to say front sights that are not replaceable on the slide (versus interchangeable sights, as in a Polymer type pistol).

Mas Ayoob
08-10-2010, 18:58
I've had some of the low-priced 1911s exhibit outstanding reliability in my testing and for students shooting in my classes, notably the Taurus PT1911 and the ParaOrdnance GI Expert. Both also grouped better than expected for the price.

What you're paying for in the top-line versions is bragging rights and pride of ownership, and tighter groups without compromised reliability, at a cost of maybe a thousand dollars an inch in group size. For people who compete in accuracy-intensive disciplines, that's worth every penny. For others, not so much. I like the fact that my Ed Brown Signature 1911 can put five Golden Sabers in under an inch at 25 yards, but the fact that it has NEVER jammed on me is obviously more important. It also has EXACTLY the features I want in a "carry" 1911 .45.

The glass-smooth slide-glide of a Wilson or Brown gun as you operate the action means a lot to the aficionado, kinda like the ride of a BMW compared to a Ford Taurus. The Beemer and the Ford will both get you where you're going, but intangibles mean more to some than measurable function values.

CDR, I'm trying to objectively quantify subjective values here, and that's always doomed to failure to some degree, but I hope this has been of help.