Ayoob: Is It Time to Retire the 1911?

Mr. Ayoob highlights some of the more critical benefits of 1911 carry. I'm from Gen X and I prefer carrying and shooting a 1911. I have several SA pistols, and a number of other manufacturers and my personal favorite is a customized SA 1911. I have around 20k rounds through it, and it's 100% reliable, extremely accurate, and very comfortable. It handles a wide range of ammo types reliably. It has had a good amount of maintenance over the years and some enhancements. It a few breakin stoppages when factory new, and the ambi safety broke and was promptly replaced by Springfield Armory warranty. I had SA Custom Shop do some excellent work. My experience with SA warranty service made me a return customer. I had also received a XD magazine warranty replacement on a very old XD and I cannot say enough good about SA personnel, really wonderful people.

My only complaint about the 1911A1 is the weight. It's a better combat handgun IMO than anything I have used. The Sig P320/M18/M17 are tight on it's heels if they can get the grip module grip angle and texture to that of the Polymer 80 P320 grip module. I prefer the M18 3.9"

I would like to see SA make a Lightweight Commander with the EMP enhancements. Full size grip module made of polymer with a FCG module with better rails for the 1911A1 upper. Dual captive CroSil recoil spring with stainless guide rod. Drop the bore axis down into the grip module in combination with slide modifications. Modernize the slide assembly with quick change sights, optic mount plate, external extractor, and bring the barrel down to 4". I would also suggest to offer grip modules with single stack and double stack options. The slide and barrel can be coated stainless to reduce weight. And give it a alpha numeric designation and a crazy name so the military will want to buy it..
Long live the 1911
NO! Do not retire the 1911 or .45 ACP! I have the utmost respect for Massad Ayoob, his experience, training, and expertise. Thank you Massad, for this excellent article specifically on the 1911, and generally on .45 ACP ammunition. I would carry my 1911 except I am a fan of more ammo. Allow me to share that in 30 years of law enforcement for a large California metropolitan department, I've seen many Officer-Involved-Shootings (OIS) involving use of .38 caliber and later, 9mm ammunition. While 9mm is certainly better than the .38 caliber (semi-jacketed lead hollow point) wheel gun I was originally issued, in many cases, a suspect shot with .38 caliber or 9mm simply did not go down (sans a head shot). Even with multiple hits, sometimes the suspect continued to fight, flee, and just stay alive. Just witnessing some of these shootings and seeing suspects hit, fall down, and (incredibily!) get up to run and/or fight again, has jaded my opinion on 9mm ammo. While there have been incredible advances in 9mm ammunition, the 9mm projectile is essentially the same diameter as .38 caliber, albeit with improvements. Allow me to openly declare; I have no empirical evidence to support my opinion. However, I do not believe suspects would have continued to fight, flee, and live if a .45 ACP 230 grain hollow point round were used. I carry a Glock 21 as my EDC loaded with Federal, Personal Defense, (Bonded) .45 ACP+P, 230 Grain, Hollow Point Ammo and always carry a spare magazine. I carry the +P as my research indicates 45 ACP ammunition can, in some cases, be too slow for full expansion, as it was designed. The +P, being higher pressure and faster in feet-per-second (fps), will (hopefully) solve any expansion related issues, based on my research and my humble opinion. I could not agree more with those who say that "shot placement" is the key in any shooting situation where you want to take a suspect down. Without doubt, shot placement is more important than most caliber and ammo decisions. I practice regularly with 230 grain ammo and I shoot center mass followed up with head shots for every two to center mass. I have no illusions that in the frantic shooting situation, there may not be time or opportunity to take a controlled head shot but I still have more faith in .45 ACP+P for its knock down and stay down power, no matter where as long as its center mass. Lastly, with thugs being high on meth and a variety of other chemicals, you simply cannot have too much knockdown, penetration, or fire power. I wish all law enforcement would carry the .45 ACP+P but politics are politics. Having said all this, allow me to say I would carry a 10mm if not for the excessive danger of over-penetration. However, when hiking in bear country, I carry 10mm. My contribution on this topic; for what its worth. Stay safe!
I was on active duty with the Marines back when they transitioned from the 1911 to the 9mm, hated them then, still don’t like them. I seem to remember when trained with the 1911 we were taught double-tap and the threat is gone. With the 9mm, they said “just keep firing until it’s empty”. I love my Springfield Mil Spec 1911. I’ve put hundreds of rounds through it an have only had 1 failure to eject, easily dealt with. The 1911 is a classic and will always be my go to. Times may change but the classics live forever.
my son in law convinced me to buy a Glock 23 .40 cal. It’s nice but it will never measure up.
Retire the 1911? Lose the brick? Shelf the single most developed ballistic, carryable, weapons system ever designed?
Uhhh...NO. I have one. It's not new, but it's the single most reliable non-blowback firearm I own. It's not a standard .45ACP version, it's an older Canadian-made higher capacity version with a bigger grip than the Gov't issue one, but it's accurate (2 inches at 75 feet when I do my part). Yes, it's heavy, but I'm used to the weight. I don't carry it everywhere, but when I do, the weight is actually a comfort. That weight, by the way, helps tame the recoil of a standard pressure 45ACP round when I shoot it.
Have I fiddled with it? Yeah. It's tight and reliable.
Now for all day carry, I can see a Glock or other light weight 9mm (or 357 Sig or whatever) but for reliable shooting? Nah. This century-plus old design has been constantly improved over its century of development and has become one of the most accurate recoil-operated firearms that exist. Not going to replace it...ever.
Now when I need a lightweight, I have a Mak clone (CZ83) in 9mm Makarov. This one's a tack driver provided the ammo is good (I may switch it to .380ACP/9mm Kurz if Makarov ammo keeps getting harder to find and more expen$ive) and it is a 1.5 minute of angle (rested and supported) piece with a great stock trigger.
Just because it's old doesn't mean it needs to go. It just means the design is successful and has been undergoing improvement for X number of years.
And at 74 years of age, reliability is rather important to me since grappling no longer looks in the least desirable.
Come 2111, the 1911 will still be a reliable and effective means of protection and accurate target work. Let's keep the thing.
Ayoob click bait. The 1911 is never going away. Heck, more than half the gun market is 50-80 yrs old. That’s the prime 1911 market right there. Check back in 25 years. By then they’ll be saying Should we Retire the Glock?

Yes. 😎
The Glock was designed for a purpose - raw trainees in an Army. The 1911 was designed to save lives by providing big bullets moving (for the time) fast. Both have a purpose, neither are obsolete.
Now, the 1911...was designed in 1911. It is archaic and outclassed by the modern gun designs. But look, they still make flintlocks and percussion black powder guns. As long as there is no law against it, go with what you like.

I gave up on 1911's around 2008. First used Berettas, then sold them off and settled on Glocks and FN's. I also retired all revolvers. Dem sponsored Summer of Love 2020 made the decision easy. Although I kept a dozen revolvers as insurance if the dems make semi-auto illegal.

Old farts have a hard time changing. Now, I'm old as well, but I have little problems moving on. Really, only issue is budget, not my mind holding me back. So, the old farts have their mind holding them back and are stuck with an out-of-date gun design.


I'm not a gun fondler any longer. Guns are just tools for defense for me now. I'm more or less all black plastic. Although I do have a Colt Custom .45 in hard chrome I forgot to sell. But I won't even use it around the house. Why? Why should I use an out-of-date gun that is outclassed by any of my other self-defense guns?

For CCW I carry 2 Hellcats.

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Sure, if I was just a target shooter, 1911's are fine guns. But as was said earlier. Guns are tools for me now and I want the best tools for the job....and a 1911 is not that tool.
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Springfield...still looking for some hi-cap extension mags for my 2 Hellcats...make em! 20 - 22 rounds is good.
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I really don’t understand the question. In fact I don’t understand why the question keeps being asked. It’s incredibly popular, 100s of thousands of people still love it, what’s the debate about? To be honest, I’m getting a little tired of hearing the gun that I own and love get picked at like it’s some sort of intruder. Who cares it was designed 100 years ago? Is it time to retire cars? They were invented 100 years ago. Ayoob loves his and I think these articles get written to defend it. It doesn’t need to be defended. Move on!
I started shooting a 1911 when I was maybe 14 or so. It was a Singer M1911A1 at the local National Guard unit. They let me shoot it because no one wanted to be issued a "sewing machine". I shot it once or twice a week for 3 or four years.

When I turned 21 the first gun I bought was a used 1911 from a buddy of mine. I carried that gun until I joined the Army, then I carried a Colt M1991 Commander once I got out of the Army. Thirty years later I now carry a Springfield Mil-Spec. I have, on occasion, carried other guns in the intervening years for specific purposes but I always go back to the 1911.