Glock vs 1911 … Or is the 1911 Just DOA

By Don McDougall
Glock vs 1911, will the best everyday carry handgun please stand up.

Elderly 1911
The Elderly 1911
Don McDougall
Don McDougall

USA-(Ammoland.com)- A local range/gun store asked me to put together training for their employees who carry at work. That’s pretty much everyone on the floor and the range offices.

There are plenty of handgun proficiency tests around, including a couple good ones here on Ammoland. So putting the basic together was not too hard.

The issues started when a few of the employees wanted to carry 1911’s. Some of the younger employees objected saying that 1911’s are not safe and that they’re obsolete; that only Glocks are safe.

They didn’t want to be around 1911’s that were locked and cocked.

Who knew there was a “Safe Space” for Glock owners.

Only a few of the employees under 30 owned a 1911, and some had zero intention of every buying one. The first real pistol most of us owned, is now not even in the discussion for new shooters. The “kids”, impression of the 1911 is an obsolete, heavy metal gun that has long been passed by. However, when given the option to wear one on their hip it was the “Bad Ass”, gun of choice.

Glock 21 Handgun
Glock 21 Handgun

A Glock is about as good a gun as a mil-spec 1911. The reset for the striker on the Glocks mean that the gun wants a trigger in the 5lb range. For a 1911 my competition guns were right at the 2.2 lb limit. The 1911 triggers lack creep and pre-travel when done properly.

Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry 1911 Safety
Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry 1911's Safety

The Glocks reliability comes from their generous tolerances. (This is the same for the mil-spec 1911) The more play there is with a gun, the more likely it is to go “pew” every time.

There are myths about both guns. There’s no proof ever of a Glock surviving 300,000 round tests, and a .45 ACP will not just kill you it will kill your soul, the round is SO powerful. That too is a myth. (It just messes your soul up a bit.)

I find a 1911 to be a safer firearm, the external safety and the hammer being visible provides a lot of trusts to be in the gun and its condition. But that is just me.

The declining love of the 1911 is due to other factors:

  • Cleaning – Shooters these days are lazy, and stripping and cleaning a 1911 is more work than a Glock.
  • Sales – Younger sales reps sell what they know. That means they direct their 1st-time gun buyers to Glocks.
  • 9mm Vs .45 – Let’s be blunt a 9mm is a lot like a .22. You can shoot them all day and it takes little to no effort. The .45 ACP can get tiring after 200 rounds. Plus 9mm ammo is cheap.
  • Weight – The 1911 is heavy, and the .45 ACP round is heavy. Hauling the gun, mags, rig and 300 rounds to a match can be a challenge all by itself.
Elmer Keith
Elmer Keith : “Well known among firearm enthusiasts, the name Elmer Keith is synonymous with gun writing, magnum cartridges such as the .357, .41 and .44 Mags, and of course we can’t forget his Old West personality.” ~ Guns And Ammo

Lastly the single biggest issue is that Elmer Keith is dead. Precision shooting is left to NRA Bullseye shooters and the Olympics. Stop by after-hours at the range and you’ll find the employees on the line seeing who can empty a magazine the fastest in a target that is 10 feet away. Back in the day we would put the target out to 10 meters and see who could shoot the smallest group. It is not that the Glock is a better gun than a 1911. The difference is that the games shooters are playing have changed, and precision shooting is no longer a valued skill.

Most of the Glock Clones have tighter tolerances; they shoot flatter and tighter groups. They're also just not as popular. They require a bit more care (cleaning) than the original. See the pattern yet?

Remember, both the 1911 and Glock started as battlefield weapons. The 1911 was designed to allow a US soldier to drop an adversary on the battlefield. The Glock was made to provide a handgun to an Austrian Army that is more of a show piece, as well as a reliable choice in community policing.

The Glock is a fine weapon for the purpose it was built, a reliable minor caliber gun for personal protection. The 1911’s long history of service speaks for itself. As a major caliber man stopper with accuracy, there is nothing better.

There will always be a market for the 1911, but its dominance as the American Pistol will continue to decline as long as dumping a mag into a target at 10 feet is seen as more desirable than hitting the X ring at 10 meters.

About Don McDougall:

Don McDougall is an NRA instructor and member of the Los Padres “Friends of the NRA” committee. If he’s not at the range you will find him setting the record straight with on gun issues and gun safety on AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

143
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
64 Comment threads
79 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
78 Comment authors
CarterJDmoMEUSOCFrank Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
mo
Guest
mo

How is 9mm (.355?) a minor caliber yet .45 is a major caliber? Are you using bore size or power factor to determine major vs minor…because caliber doesnt even go into the equation for IPDA…so major/minor caliber isnt even the right terminology. Anyway Corbon 9mm 115gr+p+ make 1450fps well into the major category. Not to mention the hotter Buffalo Bore or Doubletap offerings. Also Glock makes both factory .45acp and 10mm, with added capacities over the equivalent single stack 1911. So apples to apples comparison maybe??? Fact is I love both platforms, but when I hear yet another Glock vs… Read more »

MEUSOC
Guest
MEUSOC

My EDC is based on hand to hand CQB. This is what I have experienced in real-life. My EDC is a custom MEUSOC 1911 hand activated light and laser bearing pistol, in a custom level two kydex OWB retention holster. My BUG is a deep concealment custom Colt 1908 25 caliber pocket pistol. My knife is an Emerson CQC-7 clipped horizontally in my gun belt. I train for hand to hand combat because that is the only thing that has ever happened to me. When I have been engaged in hand to hand combat I know my 1911 EDC weapon… Read more »

Mikial
Guest
Mikial

Why do so many bloggers and gun article writers perpetuate the 1911 vs Glock controversy? Both are great guns. The 1911 will be around for at least another hundred years. It is the quintessential ‘American pistol.’ My wife and I both own one and love to shoot them. I qualified on a 1911 in the Army and my first auto-loading pistol was a 1911. But neither of us carry one as our EDC. I prefer either my G21 or lately the new Ruger American Pistol, and she swears by her Beretta 92. But perpetuating this controversy, which really gets vicious… Read more »

DJ
Guest
DJ

I’ve heard the argument shot placement is the most important yet they practice by dumping a mag into the target instead of small shot groups in the X ring. I’ve heard the argument that that the 9 mm is just as good as the 45 acp because of modern day expanding ammo. Yet what they seek to do is mimic a large caliber round which necessitates a fragile bullet that doesn’t expand to soon and has adequate penetration. I don’t trust my life to a polymer pistol with a bucked of bullets. I have never trusted 9 mm in any… Read more »

analyst
Guest
analyst

You have part of the expanding bullet theory correct but in the wrong attribution. The old .45 ACP round is slow enough that is requires a weaker bullet to start expanding. The 9mm has tested BETTER that the .45 ACP based on whether or not the cartridges are loaded to their original specifications as they were designed. The 9mm over the decades has been under loaded by 25 to 30% while .45 ACP has actually had it power increased. I agree with Massad Ayoob (actually he agrees with what I’ve been saying far longer than he has) that the 115… Read more »

DJ
Guest
DJ

I don’t use expanding 45 acp bullets. I use Military Service Grade 230 FMJ. I don’t trust or use 9 mms.

JD
Guest
JD

Wow the absolute ignorance in your statement tells me everything I need to know about you

Robert
Guest
Robert

Nothing sounds more ignorant than a guy who talks like an air headed woman who makes important decisions based “feelings” not facts. If I had a nickel for every time a guy tells me ” a 1911 carries all the ammo I will ever need in a confrontation because it kills so much more effectively that a 9 mm “. Then I asked ….based on a supposed confrontation that never even happened yet ???,yea, chick talk again. Some guys think that if you shoot a bad guy with a .45 in the big toe he will land deader than a… Read more »

analyst
Guest
analyst

During the 1907 US Army pistol trial which eventually resulted in the .45 ACP being adopted, the first day of live animal testing found that the 7.65mm Luger killed faster than any other caliber. So on the 2nd round of testing the way this was tested was changed so that .45 ACP would seem to be better. The reality is NOT what the industry typically portray. The amount of damage done is a function of how much energy is transferred. The FBI uses a significantly different criterion for use than any hunter of self defense fan would consider proper because… Read more »

Frank
Guest
Frank

If he’d only carried a 45. instead of that 9mm I’d be drinking free beer today.

Your feelings, your facts , lack experience.

Mikial
Guest
Mikial

Interesting article. A few thoughts if I could. First, the first two handguns I ever owned were a Ruger Security Six .357 and a 1911, both well before the age of 30. Second, the 1911 is not declining in popularity. All you have to do is look at any gun/gun parts catalog and you will see just how popular they are. Third, although my wife and I both own a 1911, neither of us carry one. They’re great guns, very accurate. But we both prefer something with greater reliability and ammo capacity. She carries a Beretta 92 and I like… Read more »

Rick
Guest
Rick

I was one of those younger guys who was directed towards a polymer glock type pistol when I first got into handguns. After awhile of trying different models and caliberz even, I realized my problem was that its plastic mostly and it didnt feel right in my hand. So, I set out trying a bunch of different guns in my hand to see what felt right. Beretta 92 felt decent but a bit bulky for carry. Picked up a Colt .45 and I literally said, now this feel natural and right to me. I told the store owner that that… Read more »

shane
Guest
shane

When you go to the range with your buddies they pull out there glocks and no attention is given! But when my colt .45 comes out they all come over and wanna touch it,smell it,and shoot it!!! Its a mans gun not something you see on Call of Duty…..if i want the feel of plastic i will reach for my water bottle!

Carter
Guest
Carter

1911 is actually on COD…not Glocks. Just FYI. Plus, I don’t carry my handgun for its “cool” factor. 🙂

Hazzmatt
Guest
Hazzmatt

The Glock is the perfect mass issue pistol. It stepped into place once the S&W M10 & Colt Police Positive became largely obsolete. They are well made, very reliable, accurate and come in a size and caliber to make just about everyone happy and have plenty of firepower. As an instructor I really like their simplicity and the easy of training they offer. I carry a 4th gen model 22 and it’s a great gun. I would carry my Sig Tacops if the department would let me (I’m working on it) because the 1911 grip fits my hand perfectly, the… Read more »

Carlos
Guest
Carlos

I had absolutely no idea that Glocks could not chamber the .45 ACP (as implied by the article)!? I swear that someone told me that Glock has a few models that do shoot the .45 ACP, to include a couple that can actually accept a 13-round magazine as standard!!

Some people just need to stop writing articles just to sell themselves off as “experts”.

Richard
Guest
Richard

It would be interesting to know the full story behind the Marines’ decision to abandon the Colt 1911s they purchased. All I have heard is that the Corps was extremely unhappy with them and could not get rid of them fast enough. (I wonder what warehouse they are collecting dust in.) SOCOM has adopted the G19 as their basic sidearm loadout because it is small enough to conceal when mission requirements dictate concealment. The troops (yes, younger guys) reportedly like the Glock. I am sure other sidearms will continue to be available to SOCOM units on an as needed basis.… Read more »

analyst
Guest
analyst

For that you would need to read the rational of the XM9 procurement. The military was buying more than 30 small arms calibers. The logistic problems had become severe. There was a need to start using a large number of handguns. In one arsenal more than 16,000 M1911A1 handguns were examined. Over 60% were found to have cracked frames. That still was not enough of a problem to consider buying a new standard handgun and caliber for all the services. What was probably the “straw that broke the camel’s back” or the “tipping point” was that armorers trying to repair… Read more »

Bill T
Guest
Bill T

Entertaining article, pity you don’t have an editor to clean up the typo’s.

Mikial
Guest
Mikial

I like Glocks and 1911s both. I have a Commander and my wife has a Government Model. We both enjoy shooting them and shoot them well, but neither of us carry them EDC. 1911’s are wonderful guns, but I carry my Glock 21 and she carries her Beretta 92. Why? Because they are both absolutely reliable and they both have a much great ammo capacity and more reliability than a 1911. The 1911 was the cutting edge of technology when it was introduced, but it is not the gun I want to carry today. Is it more accurate than my… Read more »

Don
Guest
Don

Author starts out 1911 v Glock and then seems to imply Glocks are only 9mm and wobbles off into a caliber comparison. News flash, they also make Glocks in .45 and 10mm too. Egregious errors like this greatly diminish the value of any opinions. Carry what you want and know how to use it.