Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

Welcome to Glock Forum at

Why should YOU join our forums?

  • Reason #1
  • Reason #2
  • Reason #3

Site Description

Are Steel/Alloy 1911's less Durable...

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by deeHKman, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. deeHKman

    deeHKman "It Is Written"

    Aug 13, 2010
    I want get into much detail. My neck and lower back have several Bad Discs. I would like to know are the all steel 1911's more durable or just better than the Steel Uppers and Alloy bottoms. I need the lower weight due to my disc.
    Now CZ's alloy and steel guns are as strong as any on the planet. I want a small carry 1911 and a full size 1911 for the range. See Glocks i shoot actually very well(alot of dry firing +shooting) has greatly decreased my groups. But i've sold most of my all steel guns because of this.

    To compensate i need some good ideas from whatever you guys think. Some Manufactures would be nice i could look up the specs. on them. All i see local are Kimber's which i want other avenues to explore. Thanks all for any help.

    At one time in my life i would have chopped my leg off before i bought anything other than an all steel gun. But life and situations in life change. I bought a Glock 34 yesterday now it feels much better than any of my other Glocks.
    I'm having my Armorer build me some Custom guns also.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
  2. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    I would say yes, but aluminum alloy framed 1911s have improved over time.

    Steel is still stronger though.

  3. CAcop


    Jul 21, 2002
    Probably in theory yes aluminum frame guns are weaker. In practice unless you shoot a lot or are hard on your guns you will probably never know.

    I have a nice little aluminum frame 1911 that I carry nearly every day. I only shoot it a couple of times a year. When it was new I put a thousand or so rounds through it to make sure it worked right. I also have steel guns for the range or duty use when I plan on running them harder.
  4. deeHKman

    deeHKman "It Is Written"

    Aug 13, 2010
    I'm really intrigued by the NightHawks, Browns and Wilson's at the moment.
    All i seem to find at local shops are Kimber's, a few Smith's and Springfields.
    i might drive to a larger city just to check out there.

    I hear Kimber's are a little off quality wise at the moment.I would like to know the truth so i could look into some of those. Thanks bac and other's replies.

    Oh the Dan Wesson's have my attention. I think their all steel but i can look at the weights. I know Columbia has some big gunshops i have a meeting with my someone there thats a oppurtunity there.

    I would love to have a look into my shop owner's vault. He passed some years ago but when alive he would let me go in his vault wow i have never seen so many guns brand new in boxes many from the 50's and 60's and probably much earlier.
    His wife still runs the feed and seed shop with her daughter. They will not let no one in there even tho they have known me for many years. Once his wife passes i'm sure there will be a massive Estate sale in this little town. I might go before her never know. But she has to be in her late 90's.
  5. I carry a Springfield Ultra Compact and it does get a bit heavy at times. But a nice pistol belt and quality holster will help to distribute the weight.

    Here's my DW CCO that has an alloy frame. I'm still amaze how light it is, fully loaded, even when compared against my Ultra Compact.

  6. Just to name a few:
    Nighthawk has few alloy 1911's. Springfield EMP 9mm is a small, alloy frame, officer. They also have a few alloy 45's as well. Ed Brown is finally putting out an alloy 1911. The Wilson Ultralight Carry has an alloy frame.
  7. sns3guppy


    Sep 4, 2006
    While aluminum is lighter, not as hard, and wears more than steel, one would be misplaced to suggest it's not as good or as "strong." It has superior properties in some cases and in some applications, weight not being the least of them. 7075-T6 aluminum is comparable, even superior in tensile strength, to some steel alloys. This alloy is used in some weapon frames, including the AR series of rifles.

    Numerous handguns use aluminum frames, notably production models such as Berettas and Sigs. Frame failures do occur, but are few, and far between. Simply because a handgun is lighter, doesn't mean it's not strong enough. Certainly polymer frames aren't as "strong," but are considerably more resiliant, and tend to hold up very well. In most cases, while steel is reassuring, it may be "overbuilding," and redundant.

    I like steel pistols. I shot revolvers before autos, and most revolvers I grew up shooting were steel framed. Never the less, I own a number of alloy and polymer handguns, with which I'm very pleased. Like another poster above, I own a Dan Wesson CCO. It's a very light, very comfortable pistol to wear, and it's well made. I've owned other lightweight 1911's, and have never had a frame issue with the aluminum alloys.
  8. cole

    cole Millennium Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    For a shooter, I'd choose a steel frame. If the barrel is ramped, I worry less. But, I prefer the traditional barrel ramp, so, again, steel for a shooter. For carry, with limited range time, aluminum no doubt. That's not me, so all my 1911s have been steel. The Kimber CDP would be near/at the top of my carry-only 1911 list.
  9. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    Yeah, that's the one I carry.
  10. Hokie1911

    Hokie1911 >

    Dec 26, 2003
    NE Ohio
    Still not carrying the EGW?
  11. deeHKman

    deeHKman "It Is Written"

    Aug 13, 2010
    I just looked at that exact gun on Buds web and thought it would be a excellent carry,now i see some 1911's guys whom carry it so this will be my next purchase. I am probably going with a Dan Wesson for the full size range fun. Thanks guys you helped me alot, the price was just over a $1000 seems a good price. I'll check with my friend where i found the OD34 yesterday. He had a case full of Kimbers.:thumbsup:
  12. Bob45acp

    Bob45acp HandgunWorld

    Oct 2, 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    I've wondered the same thing. Anyone own a Colt Wiley Clapp Commander? I'm considering buying one.
  13. ArmoryDoc


    May 14, 2006
    Let me approach your question from the other end of the spectrum. All steel guns are more durable. You have to put them into perspective though and ask yourself "how much more ?" Can you wear out an aluminum framed 1911, say a Colt or Dan Wesson ? Probably. But I would bet the cost for ammo would be crazy.

    I own steel framed 1911's but I also own three aluminum framed 1911's and I wouldn't trade them.
  14. Quack

    Quack Rent this space

    Jan 7, 2002
    NE Ohio
    IIRC, 50k is the round count i've read for some mfg's alloy frame lasting.
    you should also to into account the mfg's warranty, such as Wilson and Springfield in the event you should ever have a problem with the alloy framed gun. Brown has their alloy Kobra Carry and they have some available for shipping. It is also suspected the DW will have a .45ACP Guardian coming out in 2011.

    2 of my 3 carry guns are alloy.



    and my 3rd carry is stainless steel.
  15. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    I only own one alloy framed 1911, and I chose the S&W PD series for mine. In all other aluminum alloy 1911's, the frame is anodized. That surface hardens it, but as soon as that thin outer surface is worn down you get to the much softer inner material and it will begin to wear much faster. People notice this first on the feed ramp, and later on the other wear areas. That's not to say that alloy framed 1911's wear out quickly. I know the instructors at Tacoma PD, and got some of my instructor certs at their range. They issue alloy framed Kimbers and have seen excellent durability from them. Still, there is what I consider to be a better alternative now.

    The S&W 1911's with alloy frames use trace amounts of Scandium. Scandium through-hardens aluminum, basically having the same effect as anodizing the alloy all the way to the core. Wear is slow, and stays slow for the life of the pistol. It also allows you to polish the feed ramp or make other modifications without having to worry about re-anodizing afterward. That's not to say the SW1911's are better built than other 1911's in that price range, but the frames are stronger.
  16. chakup


    Jan 30, 2005
    Eugene, OR
    Only problem on this is SA uses ramped barrels to address this, bullets hit steel not AL frame.
  17. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    Some companies do, but most don't. Even the ones that do have ramped barrels are still going to see more wear on the frame rails and all other wear/impact points.

    Again, I'm not saying it's a huge difference. The modern alloys and anodizing are very good. There is a difference though.
  18. mrsurfboard

    mrsurfboard The Anti-Glock

    May 23, 2010
    If aluminum is strong enough for aircraft and the space shuttle, I think it's strong enough for a gun.
  19. FLIPPER 348

    FLIPPER 348 Happy Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    Bend Oregon

    The only improvement in aluminum alloy frames has been the recent introduction of Scandinum by S&W. It does not make the aluminum any stronger but rather allows the frame to return to it's original shape after flexing/stress. It is $$$ though!!
  20. ontarget1911@gmail.c


    Aug 1, 2008
    No one seems to have mentioned the S&W Scandium 1911's. I do bobtails on them and they are one of the nicer lighter stronger 1911s out there.

    OnTarget Custom Gunworks