Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

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darmok
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Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by darmok »

Lurker, bucolic, marlene, cover me!

I've got a problem I'd like to pose to the community. When I started researching firearms, I quickly found the 1911, then even more quickly wrote it off as being a gun liked only by crazy old coots who yell at kids to get off their lawn (no offense, lurker, bucolic, and marlene!). Fast forward to this week, and I'm forced to acknowledge that I, too---by the transitive property--must be a crazy old coot.

As established in my New Member Intro, I'd never touched a gun before, have been on the fence about guns for a long time, and recent events have convinced me to get off that fence. I'm still actually on the fence (availability is low, ranges near me are all closed, had some unexpected expenses), but I've taken your advice and at least handled a few guns for the first time, so I'll be less of a chump when I make a purchase.

A friend recently showed me how to operate a 1911, P99 compact, and Glock 26. The aforementioned range restrictions and the fact that neither of us live in environments where it'd be safe or polite to shoot in our backyards meant that I really only practised loading, chambering, firing, and unloading snap caps, but still! According to my friend, releasing the slide lock on a semi-auto is an approximation of the felt recoil from firing a round. [1] Correction: according to my friend, releasing the slide lock on his particular 1911 an approximation of the felt recoil from firing a round through it.

I'll acknowledge fully that as someone who has yet to actually fire a single round, I have no idea what I'm talking about. But, if my friend's assertion holds true, 1911's are way less snappy than their polymer brethren. I was completely unprepared for that, despite all I've read, all of the friends with whom I've spoken, and all the guntubers I've watched. Seriously, the P99 and G26 felt like mouse traps compared to the silky smooth operation of a several-pound assembly of steel. [2]

The difference in "snappiness" alone was enough to convince me to put the breaks on getting a G19 or PPQ. My questions to community (provided I haven't been booted out by this sentence) are:

(1) Being small, the P99 compact and Glock 26 must be snappier than larger polymer guns (G19 and PPQ), but are they appreciably snappier?

(2) Is my friend correct: can releasing a slide lock adequately emulate the "snappiness" of a gun when it fires? Made irrelevant by correction above.

(3) From your experience with other novices, what other things tend to surprise new shooters as they orient themselves to different styles of handgun?

(4) If I like the weight, ergonomics, and snappiness of the 1911, but I wanted a heavier trigger pull, is something like the Beretta 92 a good option?

(5) Am I a crazy old coot?

Thanks,
darmok

[1] He emphasized several times that the accompanying loud BANG from firing a round plays a larger role taking you off target.

[2] All the more remarkable was the fact that, despite my having never held a gun, I found myself thinking that of the three, the 1911 felt most like a gun.
Last edited by darmok on Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by rolandson »

It has a lot to do with the round. Surprisingly so.

A smallish dinky little .380 (a 9mm "short" or "kurtz" as our German friends like to call it) round in a heavy "all stainless" frame and slide pistol generates significantly more felt "snap" (muzzle rise) than a Glock .45. It's a relationship involving a lot of stuff...projectile mass -v- propellant, barrel length, materials...

I don't know where you are, but regardless...some time spent with an instructor will be valuable. Some time spent on a range that offers a variety of rental guns is a must for one such as yourself. There's a wide variety of makes and models and...the decision is, as you've noted, all about feel.

There's only one way to accomplish that. Try before you buy. The brand name, the materials, the mechanics...irrelevant. Only thing that matters is how "well" it works for you.

And that information is obtained in one way only. Just keep in mind that it's a process and not an event and you'll be good.

Oh, and no...releasing the slide isn't an approximation of recoil. However, when you fire a semiautomatic you'll get that too, as the pistol loads another round into the chamber...but you won't feel it. It happens pretty fast. You'll still be thinking "oh so that's that it feels like" when the slide does its thing...
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by dLEVO »

Yeah, operating the slide cannot approximate recoil.

The slide action on my G19 is “softer” than my P226. But, my P226 has less felt recoil.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by sig230 »

Your friends assertion doesn't really hold true BUT recoil is not some uncontrollably force.

As to why some of us (even crazy old coots who would yell at kids to get off their lawn if I had a lawn) don't carry a 1911 is that we don't like 1911s (or Glocks either).

May I suggest a next step in your education. Get back you your friend and do some field stripping, cleaning and maintenance on each of the guns. This will also give you a better idea of how things works and what's involved in maintenance.
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by damnitman »

I will be interested in your comments after your first range trip. I am a crazy old coot, and I like 1911s, but I am not sure that the two issues are interrelated.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by wings »

Good advice here. Also, haven't seen marlene or lurker around for a minute. Miss you!

You're surrounded by crazy old coots here. Hang out very long, you'll find yourself getting older by the second. Beats the alternative.

The 1911 was one of the guns my CHL instructor trained me on. One of the reasons I did mine over winter, at an outdoor range, was to avoid sharing instructor time with other students. He was happy to run me through a variety of options. Of the defensive-caliber semiautos, it was my favorite, the only one that felt like it had any character. I agree, despite its size, the .380 felt plenty punchy, and it was probably down to the light weight of the modern polymers, alongside the ballistic qualities rolandson noted above.

Now, I'm a fan of big hunks of stainless. Since I don't carry, and if I did I have holsters, I don't mind the weight. It plays a major role in reducing felt recoil, simply because of physics. Momentum = mass x velocity, and is conserved. For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. For the same round, a 40oz gun is going to have half the recoil of a 20oz gun, assuming identical slides etc., or a revolver. Now, .357 is a handful in a tiny snubby - it stings. But grips also matter. Enormously.

The .45 ACP in a 1911 is a very comfortable round to fire. Like everyone else, I go back and forth on the relative merits of different rounds for defensive purposes, but natural selection is a powerful force. The most popular rounds survive for reasons. .45 ball is cheap, penetrates well, isn't terribly loud or uncomfortable, and leaves a big hole. If the gun is easy to shoot, you shouldn't need too many rounds. +P JHP in 9mm Luger can get comparable performance and twice as many shots, but they're loud, and a flinch won't do your aim any favors. In a defensive situation, you won't have ear protection. Also, if high-capacity magazine bans come into force, that advantage goes away.

I shoot .45, both Colt and ACP, in a convertible single action revolver. The ACP is hotter on paper, but it feels softer in the hand, and quieter to boot. There's no slide to take up the recoil, just the natural rotation of the revolver grip. I still prefer it to the semiauto. Makes me crazier and older, I guess.

The others have hit the key advice though. Try before you buy. Practice, often. Learn the gun - look into their reliability, cleaning and maintenance needs. A Ruger Mark II and Mark IV are not the same there. :rofl: Consider doubling up on ear protection. Also, don't feel that you're stuck with the first gun you buy. There's a healthy secondhand market, they don't depreciate nearly as badly as, say, cars, and you can trade pretty easily too.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by CDFingers »

I'm a crazy old coot, but I have revolvers, too.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by lurker »

get off my lawn.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by CDFingers »

There he is.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by Stiff »

If you want a fair comparison, you should put the 1911 next to a full size P99 or a Glock 17.

Unfortunately you can’t approximate how a gun would shoot by just rocking the slide. The best way to pick what you like is by renting and shooting a lot of different guns at the range.

In general a good 1911 would be easier to shoot accurately due to its single action trigger, weight, and full size grip. A lot of folks prefer other guns (usually polymer 9mm) due to weight, mag capacity, and lack of manual safety. A gun with multiple backstraps and grip panels like the VP9 would be more ergonomic.
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by NuJudge »

The 1911 is a design you can not simply assemble from parts, there is a fair amount of hand fitting that goes into the extractor, safety, barrel bushing, barrel, slide and slide stop. Some things like the extractor will need periodic fiddling with. The safety works the opposite of what is instinctual for me. The upside is that gunsmiths understand it well, and understand how to make it shoot really well for a long time.

If really understanding a mechanism and frequent fiddling with is not something you enjoy, you might be better off with one of the Plastic Fantastics.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by wings »

lurker wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:05 am
get off my lawn.
:yahoo:
I'm getting, I'm getting!

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by Wino »

Don't own one and don't want one. We don't all have one cause some (as in me) think they suck. I've never held nor shot a 1911 that didn't feel like a brick.
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by RotaryMags »

You are just going to have to shoot as many as you can, even though I know that can be incredibly difficult.

Firearms become extensions of our personality, reflecting our own biases as we recognize the unique attributes each may have.
No faster way to start a fight than by saying one beloved firearm is better than another (My Glock is a better gun than your S&W..)
It's very much like arguing about cars or bikes or dogs or architecture. Maybe you have an ethnic or National affinity?
It's 100% about what YOU like and what works for you, so in the end budget often becomes the deciding factor.

There are certain styles of firearms I just don't want to own. The modern Glock-style firearms interest me not at all.
I like well made...things. Stuff that will often outlive me. I truly despise throw-away culture. That may not be you.
Guns are tools. Do you buy Snap-ON or Harbor Freight?

NONE is perfect, but they ALL do what they were intended to do.
So, no matter what you settle on, be prepared to feel less than fully satisfied with your purchase. ;)
Because that leads to want to find something to fill that gap. Then another to fill the gap THAT one has, then....

It's a very slippery slope. Enjoy the ride!
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by YankeeTarheel »

I was advised early on that 1911s are mechanically more complex than other guns, particularly strikers.
You were comparing a big, heavy gun, to (I assume) sub-compact poly striker-fired. And that's not a meaningful comparison.
A full-sized striker-fired will absorb far more recoil than a sub-C and be much closer to a 1911.

I have a Compact Sig P320 (the Lego Gun!) When I use the Carry grip module, the recoil is slightly less than as a Compact. But when I use the Sub-C conversion kit, the recoil is much more intense and unpleasant. It's harder to shoot, and harder to shoot accurately.

I also have a Ruger .357 / .38 revolver which is all steel and heavy. Shooting .357 magnum has significant recoil, but not too bad. But with .38 special, there is lighter recoil than a 9mm and it's a super-easy shooter.

Even a Glock G17 or G19 will be much different than the Sub-Cs you tried. I tried the PPQ when I was "shopping" as a newbie and, for me, it and the VP-9 (which I bought) were nearly identical.
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by NegativeApproach »

.45 tends to be more of a "thud" than a "snap", but that doesn't mean you have reduced felt recoil. As others have pointed out, lots of factors come into play. A full size .45 will probably have less felt recoil than a pocket size .380. Weight of the gun, barrel length, grip angle, caliber, the size of your hands, your life skills up to this point, and a multitude of other factors will determine how you enjoy the gun you're shooting and what works best for your body/style.

I enjoy a bit of bang, and .357 sig had been my go to caliber before the covid ammo panic hit. Now, I'm shooting a LOT more .22 LR, since I have enough for several years. I'm just sitting on my .45 acp, 9mm, and other pistol calibers for now.

Start with something you like to hold, that you think looks good (this is an under-rated factor), and that you feel comfortable with when you push out from a low-ready position. If it feels wobbly in your hands, it's probably too heavy for starting out with. You should be able to point it at your target and be able to hold it completely still for extended periods of time. If you get worn out quickly, lighten the gun and lighten the load/caliber.

.22lr is seen as a training round but I've really been enjoying shooting it out of pistols these past few months.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by senorgrand »

there are also all steel striker fired single stacks out there you might like - Kahrs are great
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by Bucolic »

As one of the original crazy old coots called out in the original post (I am honored ), let me apologize for being late to this party and note that you’ve gotten a lot of advice to chew on.

I will add my opinion though. I love my Sig 1911. Shoot a 911 and, if you love it, get one. But if you do, think about another gun or two, specifically, assess what your needs are. I could argue for a CZ 75 if you want a full size 9mm, or a revolver for simplicity, or a compact 380 for discrete carry, or a .22 LR for plinking and developing trigger discipline, or etc.

Think hard about what you need but don’t forget to choose guns that you enjoy shooting.
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by CDFingers »

RotaryMags wrote:
Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:03 pm
It's a very slippery slope. Enjoy the ride!
This is exactly true, which is why I am heavily invested in the stock of gun safe makers, eh.

I don't have a lawn anymore. I converted it into an alligator farm. Been lots of kids on milk cartons lately.

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by darmok »

Thanks to you all for your thoughtful replies. Reading them jogged my memory: it wasn't that releasing the slide lock approximates recoil for all semi-autos, it's that for my friend's particular 1911, it does. To protect my anonymous friend's reputation and the integrity of the information floating around on the Internet, I've corrected that assertion in my original post.

I freely admit that, when I first came here in April, I had the hubris to think that, with sufficient research, I could find the ideal gun, zip out to an FFL heavily masked and with minimal interaction to buy it, and mail-order ammo. I'm glad to have had the sense to include you all in my research, and to have spoken to my friends about it.

I'll get off your lawns, now!

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by damnitman »

I have found the perfect gun many times! I still, always carry a 1911. ;)

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by YankeeTarheel »

darmok wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:43 am
I freely admit that, when I first came here in April, I had the hubris to think that, with sufficient research, I could find the ideal gun, zip out to an FFL heavily masked and with minimal interaction to buy it, and mail-order ammo.
Be reassured, you're not the only one who thought that! It's like test-driving a car or a motorcycle...you can't tell till you experience it!

I test-drove Corvettes, Porsches, and Jaguars...ended up with a 2007 BMW clam-shell drop-top (still have it). Had my heart set on a Honda 919 naked bike back in 2002. And for comparison, a Yamaha FZ1. I still have the FZ1...

So, when I first got to a range--freaked out by all the red-hats, even here in NJ, I got lots of surprises, good and bad. Now, of course, all the guns were rental range rats, not always well-maintained, so it can skew your impressions. Even some from the same company. But you have to shoot them, even though you have to pay inflated range ammo prices.
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by Rust »

it wasn't that releasing the slide lock approximates recoil for all semi-autos, it's that for my friend's particular 1911, it does
(7 grains of powder accelerating 1/2 ounce of lead to 850 feet per second in 1/1000 of a second + the slide moving back and hitting the slide stop + the slide moving forward) does not = (the slide moving forward).

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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by Stiff »

darmok wrote:
Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:43 am
Thanks to you all for your thoughtful replies. Reading them jogged my memory: it wasn't that releasing the slide lock approximates recoil for all semi-autos, it's that for my friend's particular 1911, it does. To protect my anonymous friend's reputation and the integrity of the information floating around on the Internet, I've corrected that assertion in my original post.

I freely admit that, when I first came here in April, I had the hubris to think that, with sufficient research, I could find the ideal gun, zip out to an FFL heavily masked and with minimal interaction to buy it, and mail-order ammo. I'm glad to have had the sense to include you all in my research, and to have spoken to my friends about it.

I'll get off your lawns, now!
A handgun is quite a personal choice. I remember when I rented my first batch of pistols to try, some were more accurate than others for me. I wanted a Glock, but changed my mind because their gen 3 guns just didn’t fit my hand well and I shot it poorly. Despite not liking the Springfield XD, I shot bullseye with it the first time around. The M&P Shield would be ideal for carry, but the grouping was too large for my liking. Despite the miniature size and snappy recoil, I’m actually decent with my S&W Bodyguard.

Hands come in different sizes and shapes. Just because 6’9” Hickok45 on youtube can shoot it well doesn’t mean it will work for you. As a new guy, I think it’s important to rent and shoot first.
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Re: Just Held a Gun for the First Time -- Why don't we all have 1911's?

Post by CDFingers »

Hey, darmok. Check out these threads

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=45561

viewtopic.php?f=60&t=55392

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Don't worry 'bout the jury, they'll prolly take care of themselves."

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