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Sub Compact 1911 reliability

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by mongo356, May 20, 2012.

  1. mongo356


    Aug 18, 2004
  2. TSAX


    Jun 5, 2010
    I would trust a 1911 in many situations especially a Wilson or Nighthawk since I have much more time behind these then the Les, Ed, Gold Cup, Performance Center, etc type 1911's. I am not knocking the guy nor defending him. I just hope that people can not trash this and try to see where is is coming from even though his statement is pretty harsh. His experience and other instructors have said this before that students have not made it through pistol courses with their 1911's without issues.

    Like him or not thats his experience just like how we can say our experience may or may not be different. he has seen much more students in these situations than most us. Maybe its a combo of student error like not taking care of his gun properly, using crappy ammo, not know how to run his gun, etc. :dunno:None of us were there.

    We have other threads like this that have gotten way off track and out of hand. Hopefully we can have a more civil discussion as Rob's challenge is pretty cool, getting good training and your ammo paid for to prove your 1911 can handle the drills/course of fire.


  3. vikingsoftpaw

    vikingsoftpaw DEPLORABLE ME!

    Aug 29, 2009
    Willoughby, Ohio USA
    I concede that Kimbers and others come from the factory with tighter the normal tolerances. They need to be properly broken in for that type of shooting course.

    I would also give a Kimber et. al. a detailed cleaning a couple of times if firing over 1200 rounds in one session.

    I do find an undercurrent of plastic gun gear-do to the video.
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  4. TSAX


    Jun 5, 2010
    Your are completely right, some need a good breaking in, the Kimber TLE/RL II I had need a good break in and it ran great from there. Some of these guys attending the classes may not have known any better and as I alluded to operator problem, I cant believe everyone that took these classes were all operator issues, but again I wasnt there :dunno:

  5. Rustin


    Oct 12, 2011
    Central Ohio
    I've heard only bad things concerning SC 1911 reliability. I personally wouldn't go below commander size.
  6. tim12232

    tim12232 Pistolero

    Aug 15, 2011
    my cbob well over 3k rounds through it not a hiccup! The key is just keeping your 1911 wet enough but no too much as to cause crap to stick inside of it! I keep mine maintained!
  7. countrygun


    Mar 9, 2012
    I thought my older Kimber compact was as small as a reliable 1911 could get. When my wife brought home an Ultra Raptor I went a bit "ballistic" given the cost and my prognosis for it's reliability. Here i sit "eating crow". The thing has thus far made a liar out of me. In a year of shooting it hasn't missed a beat. We (she) don't "shoot the heck out of it" but a couple of mags regularly on our little range. Most practice is done with a full sized 1911. I really think (now) that it is impossible to say "they never work" anymore than it is possible to say "they always work"
  8. eyelikeglasses

    eyelikeglasses Hooah, Hooah.

    Apr 10, 2009
    The Sunshine State
    Is the only for the subs? The texts states any 1911?
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  9. 257 roberts

    257 roberts

    Mar 18, 2012
    he is entitled to his opinion but thats all it is.
  10. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    He's certainly entitled to his opinion as based upon his personal observations and experience.

    It sounds as though he'd expressing opinions about both the diminutive 1911's AND some of the folks who own & run them, though.

    Neither opinion is particularly surprising. Not really.

    It's long been an observation among instructors and long time 1911 users that the smaller you go in the 1911 format, the less tolerant the guns become of both ammunition AND shooter influences. Surprise, surprise.

    Also, not everyone who goes out and buys a 1911 necessarily learns how to run & manipulate it properly & well, or how to maintain it. ;)

    I sort of look at them like I do 5-shot snub revolvers. It takes an owner/user with some knowledge, experience, training and above average skills to really run them well. This becomes especially important when you're trying to run them in difficult and demanding conditions.

    I've seen one brand of diminutive 3" -3 /12" 1911's seem to cause more frustration and annoyance to their owners than other brands ... but that brand sure seems to sell well. :whistling:

    I have a Colt OM that's been completely gone through by a more experienced Colt armorer than myself, and it runs with virtually any ammunition I've ever tried in it ... as long as I run good mags in it, of course. he also worked on another Colt OM that wouldn't consistently run ball loads, even after some warranty work, and afterward that little Colt ran all manner of ammo for more than 20K rounds before the owner retired it for something else. It did crack a bushing at about 10-12K, which was replaced and which is still in it. (He only takes it out occasionally nowadays, having decided several years ago to use some 9's & .40's, instead of .45.)

    I've been surprised to see a handful of some later production Colt Defenders run through some basic qual courses-of-fire without a bobble. The same type of qual courses and ammo that have caused some owners of another brand of shrunken 1911's fits.

    Little 3" 1911's are popular. No doubt. Some of them even seem to run well. Good for the owners.

    For optimal potential reliability, though, I'd rather rely upon a quality-built 4 1/4" - 5" 1911.

    Then again, my 3 1/4" CS45 and 3 3/4" 4513TSW are really reliable. ;)
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  11. Dawolf


    Sep 18, 2010
    My wife's Kimber Ultra Carry has been quite reliable. She did a point shooting combat class last week and fired 200 rounds of mildly loaded 230 ball with no problems (I used trail boss so her hand would not get too much recoil). She out shot the other 16 people in the class. I know, I was one of the instructors.
  12. TxGlock9


    Nov 22, 2010
    BMT, TX
    If it passes the normal 300-500 round reliability test. Use it. Just because it's shorter doesn't necessarily mean it'll fail before a 5inch version will. There are too many factors.
  13. Novocaine


    Jun 10, 2004
    The subject is Officer-sized guns
    He feels strongly about it enough to put his money and reputation where his mouth is

    No, he is not fond of 1911s in general but he is pretty clear about this particular challenge being about 3” guns.
    No it doesn’t. But it’s much more likely to do so. If 5” 1911 will fail sooner than 3” of the same quality under similar circumstances it will be against all odds. Reliability and accuracy are about odds. Going with 3” is not stacking them in your favor.
  14. TxGlock9


    Nov 22, 2010
    BMT, TX
    I definitely understand. Between a equally made 3inch and 5inch odds favor the 5inch as far as reliability goes, Agreed. I'm saying that if the 3inch keeps firing without failure for several hundreds of rounds why should it be taken out of the equation as a solid performer?
  15. WarEagle32


    Mar 15, 2011
    Larry Vickers says that any design made shorter than the original JMB design is a bad idea, and hardly any man on earth knows more about 1911's than LAV!!
  16. ca survivor

    ca survivor

    Dec 25, 2011
    I have a Colt Defender with maybe 400 + rounds and so far no issues, even feeds empty cases.
  17. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    In my Colt pistol armorer class the instructor mentioned that the Defender's reliability was due to the engineers finally developing the necessary machining and exterior angles/profile on the barrel to allow for just the right movement during the recoil cycle.

    It seems so.
  18. Bob Hafler

    Bob Hafler

    Sep 13, 2011
    Love full size 1911's but I do not trust less than full size models. I do not even like the feel of them.To me they feel out of balance. JM .02
  19. kahrcarrier

    kahrcarrier FAHRENHEIT

    Jan 8, 2004
    Southern IN
    I often carry a 3" Kimber. It hasn't bobbled yet.

    Disclaimer. When I shoot my Ultra Carry, I usually just shoot enough to empty the pistol and the spare mag. Maybe a couple of extra rounds just for the hell of it.

    Because that is what I carry: a fully loaded gun and one extra mag. I can't get too worked up over the thought of shooting several hundred rounds, because I don't CARRY several hundred rounds.

    That my little pistol might balk on round 257 doesn't concern me at all. I know it won't balk on round 15, and after that I am beating a hasty retreat or throwing rocks............
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  20. Clusterfrack


    Apr 26, 2012
    Pacific NW
    I have a Springfield EMP .40 with around 2500 rounds through it. Is it as reliable as my HK USP/c? No. The HK has had zero failures in 13 years, with a very wide variety of ammo. The EMP has a failure rate of less than 1 FTE or FTF per 500 rounds, with the "right" ammo. That's good enough for me to carry it with confidence, when I want to carry a small 1911.