Gun Test: Cheap Vs. Spendy 1911s

I really wish I had the tech and such to be able to do stuff like this.  Alas, my time has come and gone, but I still enjoy the hell out of ol’ Gramps Hitchcock45, who is my kinda guy altogether.

Take a half-hour out of your day to watch the comparison.  The only way it could be more fun for me is if I’d been there with him.


  1. I wish that I could shoot even half as good as Hickock. At my age I no longer consider his videos to be “lost productivity,”. Now they’re just ” time well spent”.

  2. I am surprised that Hickok was not wearing a Hawaiian shirt in that video … while driving his cherry ’57 to Luby’s for a buffet snack.

  3. I’ve never shot a $3,000 1911, and doubt I ever will. I paid all of $560 for my Ruger SR1911 when they first came out. It’s been faultless, and is a pleasure to shoot.

    1. When I was stationed at WSMR in 1970-71, we had a batch of Colt Match grade 1911s for the pistol team.
      I was a young, 23, shavetail and a couple of the guys in my platoon* asked me if I’d like to join them on the team so they’d have an officer. I agreed. Our coach was an old Navy mustang Lieutenant who was a life master, more than 2600 of 2700 points. We had a good time all over the southwest although one of my worst trips was across southern Arizona in July in a non-air conditioned Army station wagon.

      * I had a day job in National Range Operations, but since I was straight out of OCS, they gave me an extra duty as a platoon leader in troop command. This was one of the most amazing platoons you could put together. These were the kind of guys I’d normally hang out with. Back then there was this program called the S&E program for Scientific and Engineering. If you got into the program, you had a two year commitment. They sent you to a four-week Army orientation program**, then to your assignment. I had PhDs, Masters, and BSEs by the score. There was only one soldier in my platoon who didn’t have a high school diploma. We got him a GeD. It’s what I would have done if I’d have known about it.

      ** Since the training you got wasn’t real basic combat training, you weren’t eligible to be sent to a combat zone.

  4. In between is Kimber. I paid $1100 for a Gold Match ll ten years ago and it works just as well as a Ed Brown at five times the bucks.

  5. I’ve enjoyed a Smith and Wesson 1911 for years. I took the rubber grips off of it and replaced them with rosewood. It likes the WWB that I used to get at wally world.


    1. Bought a Norinco 1911 back in ’93 for about $250, upgraded it with a better barrel ten years on, plus hammer and beavertail, and Pachmayer grips. It’s always shot straight and true. It still is a vital defensive firearm, though I carry a Para Warthog.

      1. Picked up two Norinco’s this past year. One in 9mm and a Hi-Cap .45 used. Great guns. The Hi-Cap need the barrel link to be replaced because it wasn’t dropping to eject rounds. Was replaced with a Wilson Combat link and I’ve had no issues with it since. No jams or feed issues and on target. Spent less than a grand for both of them after all said and told.

      2. re:
        alloy Para Warthog .45

        I discovered my nearly-new lonely orphan at a Reno gunshow table a couple-three decades ago.
        The poor thing had the worst binding slide on anything you could imagine.
        The old boy said “I tried, but that will never be shootable…”, so we agreed on a trade for some for darn thing I thought I was tired of.
        (Knowing me, the trade was for cash, because I rarely release my precious firearms to be sullied by the grubby masses.)

        I knew if I could hope and pray enough, it would make an outstanding back-up to the Para 14.45 I heeled those years.

        At home, I worked Tetra© metal treatment into all the dissembled parts.
        A couple-three weeks and a few thousand dry fires later, it was slick and ready to shoot.

        It consistently stacks brass three in front and three to the right.
        It consistently double-taps nicely.
        It gobbles my Gold (super blah-blah) 185gr defense hand-loads.

        A couple-three years ago, in response to the increase in goofballs living under bushes around the fences of our farm — and occasional reports of cougar — I transitioned to an AR pistol in .300BO in a shoulder holster stuffed with a twenty-rounder with off-side two twenty-rounders for balance.
        My AR rifle in .300BO with thirty-rounders are in the truck rarely more than ten paces away.

        I haven’t shot .45 since, but this’s OK.
        Some things are in the heirloom category and shan’t be sullied by the grubby masses.
        Note to reloaders:
        * I honestly truly believe scooping polished brass from the crushed walnut in the tumbler… well, some activities are nigh onto religious.
        * And polished brass is more valuable than trinkets such as gold.

  6. I collected 1911’s for many years and I haven’t turned many of them loose.

    I can notice the difference between the tight, low-tolerance (and expensive) ones and the old ramshackle ones (preferably with the imprint of a prancing pony on the frame).

    For a pleasant day at the range, the nicer ones are more accurate. It’s really fun to buy one brand new when the slide and frame are intolerably tight, then run a few boxes of ammo through them and feel the gradual loosening of the weapon’s internals. Shooting them can result in some tap-rack-bangs, foul dispositions and even worse diction.

    But for personal defense, the looser ones (both the old, old ones and lower cost newer production ones) are pretty darned reliable.

    I similarly like to shoot sweet old high quality (and sometimes even customized) revolvers.

    But the ones I carry in my pants pockets are $400 – $500 guns.

    I even have some of the older custom 1911’s (e.g. Armand Swenson and Austin Behlart) as well as current (as of 10 or so years ago, at least) semi-customs.

    All in all, I owe a deep debt of gratitude to John Moses Browning.

    1. For a military service weapon a working loose one is preferable to a tight one that must be pampered. GIs don’t pamper their weapons. They’re used hard and put away wet. When you’re dealing with mud and crud, just drenching it in motor oil is the best you can do.

  7. Due to comments on another thread on your site Kim, I went down the Paul Harrell youtube channel. Definitely time well spent

    I like his presentation and he doesn’t come across as a high speed, low drag expert.


Comments are closed.