0303 – FF Surprising 1911 Fail

It has been quite some time since we have had a FF so I thought I would resurrect that tradition for this week. At our last Combat Focus Shooting course David (who is a great shooter and a good sport) showed up with a 1911. I knew this was going to turn out the same way it always does so it was no shock that the gun stopped running. I was able to catch one of the malfunctions on camera and we chatted with David briefly about the situation.  Check out the video below.


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The Issue with 1911’s

The 1911 is a favorite of gun enthusiasts and it is no surprise why.  The 1911 is attractive, nostalgic, highly customizable, typically has a heavy frame to help reduce recoil, and the single action trigger can be tuned to dreamy, crisp pull weights that can help shooters press incredible precision out of their pistols.  Wait, the heading above is the issue with 1911’s and I just listed a whole slew of advantages….

The simple fact is 1911’s have reliability issues.

Those of you that have been around for a while know that my shooting is originally founded in the competitive arena.  I cut my teeth with a 1911.  I must say that I still have a soft spot in my heart for the platform.  I’m actually surprised that I don’t hate the guns.  If I was a rational man, I probably would.

Here is how getting a new gun ready for competition went:

  1. Spend close to $1000.oo on a nib 1911 from ANY major manufacturer
  2. Take my pistol to one of two local nationally know 1911 gunsmiths
  3. Wait 6-24 weeks
  4. Write a check for $600-$1000
  5. Head to the range and start working to tune my ammunition so the gun would run.

Some of the work that I would have done was not related to reliability, but, a lot of it was:

  • Throating the barrel
  • Polishing the feed ramp
  • Fitting slide to frame
  • Adding an extended ejector
  • Tuning the extractor
  • Tuning magazines
  • Replacing various springs

Does this seem like a lot of work to be performed on making a new gun run?

Why There is an Issue

When I was competing the only issue was the resources that needed to be expended to get a gun working.  The consequences of a failure (there were failures) was that I didn’t win a prize.

What I didn’t get at the time was that I applied competitive gear, mindset and consequences to self-defense.  Bad idea.  I carried my competitive gear for defense.  What are the consequences of failure in a defensive situation?  Think on that.

All the money, all the effort, all the energy and still the guns failed.  I realized many years ago that this was unacceptable in a combative firearm.  All of this for .001% increase in precision that doesn’t matter.  Just plain silly.

Some say that the 1911 design isn’t condusive to mass production.

Others profess that the quest for tack drivers created the reliability issues.

Others complain about Frakenguns being the issue.

I don’t care why, I just care that the 1911 reliability issue is fact.

I lived it in my shooting career, I watch it today in my classes.  One thing is for sure I take no part in it.  If you ask me, and I know you didn’t, I think you should avoid 1911’s too.

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31 replies
  1. Tim
    Tim says:

    Or you can buy a Wilson Combat.

    All of mine run like a top and have managed to survive several trips to TR with no hiccups.

    Good enough for me.

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      There certainly are guns out there that run and maybe moreimportantly people that know what to do, AND DO IT, to keep those guns running. I’m glad your Wilson’s are running well. I would maintain that for the majority of SD gunowners would do better with a modern, striker fired handgun.

      Thanks for commenting Tim!

    • Joe
      Joe says:

      Well the gun in the article isn’t even a true 1911 and has a slide mounted extractor so try selling these stories to someone else, if I took a glock and converted it out of its normal specs and change it from its original design I’m sure it would suck too

  2. L. Steele
    L. Steele says:

    Sorry that you bought a bad gun. I have shot competition in three different venues and never had a problem with any of my 1911 guns. The latest 1911 is a S&W Performance gun. It is now three years old and had over 100,000 rounds through it and NEVER a problem. It is far more accurate than I am capable of being. And I have less than $2100 in it.

    I agree a 1911 has issues. People shoot a 1911 but never learn to shoot a 1911 or know how it was designed to shoot.

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      L. Steele – just to be clear, that isn’t my gun. It is a gun that belongs to a student who was taking a course with SSA.

      The problem I see in your last comment is that you state that you have $2100 into a defensive gun. I’m glad that you have had no problems with it and it is great that it is “far more accurate” than you are. The fact is that for $600 you could have one of several modern striker fired pistols that would meet the same criteria you have laid out above.

      For $1500 extra you have purchased less capacity, additional complexity, nostalgia, tradition, and a single action trigger.

      In my opinion, that $1500 would be better spent on ammunition and training. More ROI.

      I’m glad your set up is running well for you. My intent is not to offend, but instead to keep new shooters from being sucked into the belief that the 1911 is somehow superior to modern handguns. On the contrary, in most cases, the 1911 is not an appropriate defensive pistol.

      Thanks for commenting and have a great day.

  3. steve
    steve says:

    While I understand the, “You could have paid $xxx dollars and had a gun, ammo, etc. for the price of a 1911” comment – making the gun’s price a tradeoff for additional ammunition, training, etc. is merely a strawman logic attempt. The cost of ammunition, if you shoot regularly, will soon outstrip the cost of the pistol – no matter what the price point. So you should find the gun that you shoot the best, not the one that is the cheapest. If that’s a 1911 fine – if not also fine.

    1911’s are not for the gun nimrod or the person that does not do regular preventive maintenance on them – which includes: cleaning, lubing, and springs (magazine springs included). The 1911 in the video is a 4.25 inch barrel gun – not the one I would choose for a shooting course – and my bet has not had a recoil spring change in multi-thousand rounds. Unless the gun has a flatwire spring, the recoil spring should be changed at 2000 rounds or less.

    At the very least, the person using the pistol should have started the course with a clean, lubed gun with a new recoil spring. If he was unsure of the magazine spring status – he should have changed all of the springs in the magazines he brought to the course. The misfeed looks like a magazine problem – and my guess could probably be attributed to the magazine spring.

    That’s the “problem” with a 1911 – they’re like a classic car, they take additional PM above and beyond what you do with a “modern” striker fired pistol. You don’t want to do PM and prep the gun correctly – expect malfunctions – or, as you’ve suggested – use a striker fired polymer pistol..

    Yes, a Glock is cheap and they run as reliably as a SIG, HK, and….a maintained 1911…they’re just not for everyone. I own striker fired pistols, XDm and FN-X, they work fine but in competition use have proven no more reliable than my 1911. As for Glocks – the Glock competition fanatic has had to quit a stage when his Glock terminally puked and he had to get another one from his bag. Guns are mechanical devices. If you shoot them long enough, at some point all of them fail – no matter the design or manufacturer.

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      Steve –

      No doubt that a gun and training enthusiast should not worry too much about the cost of their firearm. When compared to ammo and training cost over the life of the shooter the cost is relatively insignificant. The fact is that these “enthusiasts” tout their kind of pistol as superior. It is not. In addition, the enthusiast, tactical guru’s, gun shop sales people and many others regularly recommend their super duper wonder pistol to typical gun owners. Remember, the typical gun owner has little to no training, buys a gun and 50 rounds of ammunition. They shoot two mags at the range, get home load it up and hide it in the nightstand. They depend on that pistol to work. Period. This is a major problem. It would be similar to a dive shop clerk recommending a rebreather to a novice diver. More complicated than it need be. More expensive than it needs to be. More likely to fail due to user error etc.

      As far as the classic car comparison, I love it. Do you recommend classic cars to folks for daily drivers?

  4. Fred Ziffle
    Fred Ziffle says:

    Look at the guy in the video with the malfunction. He’s an idiot who can’t even correctly identify the type of malfunction and he clearly owns an inferior, novice grade 1911. I’ll bet the most of the malfunctions you witness are with lower grade 1911’s. Some are probably due to operator error and improper maintenance.

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:


      Let me be clear. Don’t come to my site and insult my students.

      Just because an individual misspeaks does not make them an idiot.

      I don’t care what “grade” 1911 we are dealing with. A buyer should expect a functioning pistol when they fork over $1000 for a new gun.

      • PaulCarlson
        PaulCarlson says:

        Just came across my news feed on FB I chuckled and thought I would share:

        Paul Glasco RANGE REPORT: Regent shoots good. Only one mis-feed out of 200 rounds. I’ve had high end 1911s do much worse. Trigger pull was above average, but not as soft as Kimber/Colt/SA/STI. But I can fix that for very little money. My biggest complaint: it shot right. I know, just bump the sites over, but I’ve never had a 1911 shoot inaccurately out of the box. For the price, very good value. Swap out a few small parts and tune it up and you’ll have a nice gun.

        This is what I’m talking about.

      • Fred Ziffle
        Fred Ziffle says:

        OK, I’m calling you an idiot for broadbrushing all 1911s as unreliable. My three high end 1911s have been 100% since new, with now thousands of rounds through them. OBTW, you are getting slammed on the various 1911 forums. Not good for your business!

        • PaulCarlson
          PaulCarlson says:

          You are missing the point Fred. You are comparing a “high end” 1911 to a stock polymer pistol. There is the problem. It isn’t an equal comparison. the typical 1911 owner does not own a high end gun. they own a box stock gun that is twice the price and half as reliable. You do the math.

          As far as getting slammed and its impact on my business, the last thing I am worried about is what the consequences are on my business when I speak the logical truth. Much more important to me is the integrity with which I treat my students and community. If I wanted business, all I would need to do is tout the 1911 and its superiority to those that worship the gun. they would flock in droves and we would train malfunctions until our fingers bled. Instead, my niche is customers who are able to make logical choices based on fact.

          If you have paid attention to the comments I’ve posted here you would realize that I am reading those threads. the difference between you and I is that I have no need to show up on your turf, puff up my chest and try and prove that my junk is bigger than yours. Do you really think that hurling insults helps you convey your argument?

          In parting, the nation of Japan worshiped the sword and was able to hold control over a single island for less than a century. In contrast, the Romans treated their sword as a tool and ruled the world for more than two centuries. Put your ego aside, evaluate the 1911 as a tool instead of a magical talisman and you will be better off. If you do that you might find that the 1911 is the right gun for you. More likely, however, there are more efficient alternatives for you and most people.

          Stay safe, and understand that any further insulting comments will be deleted. Productive debate is fine.

  5. Dave Waits
    Dave Waits says:

    Sir; The 1911 is very bit as reliable as any other platform. Your trials and tribulations, while sad, do not represent the majority of 1911s. I own, believe it or not, an RIA. Granted, it’s been modded a bit to account for me being left-handed but, I have over 17,000 rounds through it with not one problem that could not be attributed to ammunition. The gun and magazines(CMC Match-Grades with Wilson Combat followers) have been flawless in operation. It’s been utterly reliable and would probably feed 56 Buicks if I wanted it too. You do a great disservice to both your students and the gun-owners are just starting out with your Bias. As for the pictured S&W 1911, the problem is that External Euro-Extractor. Obviously, the Extractor tension is no longer adequate to hold on to the rim. As with all External Extractors, that one will have to be disassembled to replace the spring. A reliability problem endemic to all External Extractors.

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      Dave, They are not my trials and tribulations. My Bias is based on watching 1000’s of MSF guns run and virtually 100% of 1911’s that come to class puke before lunch on day one. My bias is based on experience and it would be a disservice to my students to not share my experiences. I share what I know and then responsible adults make their own decision.

      …and the gun is a Sig.

      • Dave Waits
        Dave Waits says:

        Pretty much the same thing I’m afraid. Looked like a S&W. I’ve Competed and taken Classes with mine and never had a problem. By the same token I’ve seen countless Polymer guns, Glocks, M&Ps, XDs, etc fail miserably during classes. Not a lot but, enough to know that any properly-built and maintained 1911 will stay right with them.

        What I find strange is that through three or four wars, countless competitions, etc, the 1911 ran like a champ. Now that the new-generation drinks the ‘Simple to operate, point and shoot Lazy-operator guns’ Kool-Aid the 1911 is now a POS. I think it’s more a problem with said operators not being able to comprehend any but the simplist machinery, hence the ‘Rack the slide and pull the trigger’ style firearms.

        • PaulCarlson
          PaulCarlson says:

          That is the other argument that 1911 guys like to throw out to protect their beliefs in their guns. The I’m good enough to run a 1911 and you aren’t doesn’t really fly with me.

          Come to a class. The offer stands to everyone. run 100% malf free with no maintenance and Ill refund your tuition.

  6. Bruce
    Bruce says:

    I really enjoy my 1911’s, my mechanical back ground has helped me to understand how this simple pistol works. But I have to agree 1911’s are NOT for everyone. Search the forums dedicated to these guns and you will see countless posts about newbies having problems with their new 1911. When I got my first one I was right there with them, but as I said, I figured it out quickly…

  7. Eric Rice
    Eric Rice says:

    Hello Paul,

    First let me say that the easiest way for a instuctor to lose work and respect is to bash a single firearm like you have done. It doesnt matter if its a 1911, a glock, or if you are just bashing a high point. You will anger those who own and love them, and more importantly you insult a persons choice and imply they are wrong. As an instructor it is your job to teach them how to use what they have, not to tell them “oh well you should be using a [insert striker fired model here]. You are paid to train them, not tell them thier gun is crap. Perhaps the most unprofessional thing you could do save flag someone with your weapon.

    Ok now that that is out of the way my thoughts. That 1911 in the video is a Sig 1911. That is a mid grade 1911, and yes grade DOES matter. It matters with anything and everything in this world. You can not compare a $300 1911 to a $3000 1911 but you seem to believe that all 1911s are the same. They are ofcourse not the same, nor are the same manufactor. I dont call glock or springfield when my M&P45 doesnt work do I? So dont blame all 1911s when a Sig goes down. That said I have a $300 Rock Island Armory that has been 100% reliable since purchase, The longest round time its seen? 800 rounds for the break in, lots of oil, NO cleaning.

    Striker fire has been around for a hundred years, browning tried it out in one of his early semi autos and didnt like it, I know what many are thinking “well why dont I hear about them?” Because they were inferior to the hammer. To be honest they still are, they are more dangerous as most the safetys are trigger related not sear and some models are fully engaged rear designs. So the striker is not modern at all. The only thing modern about your wonder gun is the polymer. 1911 thumb safety prevents the trigger from being pulled, the sear from disengaging, and the hammer from falling. A glock safety prevents the trigger from being pulled, but its on the trigger so its useless.

    1911s have proven thier muster for 100 years. For 70 years they held strong as the military pistol of choice. In desert strom the M9s started to fail due to dust, and my fellow devil dogs busted the 1911s out of storage. In fact thanks to intelligence (that is normally not seen at this level) the 1911 will come back to the Marine Corps. Now are you going to tell my Mr Carlson that The Marines, the best fighting force in the country and the world are fools for picking the 1911 again? I think not. Also note that MARSOC and other special forces units refused to give up thier 1911s and have been using them the entire time. See MEUSOC pistol.

    Its been said before but hey it needs to be said again. 1911s are not for the beginner. They require more maintenance than the average gun owner is willing to put into it. They require you replace springs. Which im going to break thought right now to point out my M&P had bent mag springs from the factory, so “wonder gun” or not it jammed, and required replacement springs now it works fine. Glock has had issues with that too in the past including broken mag springs, bent springs, cracked frames, and the list goes on.

    Simply put, if you like the feel of the 1911 learn to shoot it. If you have a need to customize your gun get a 1911 and see first point. A sword is nothing without a trained swordsman holding it. Get training or train yourself with that 1911. LEARN that is the key to anything in life, not some gun made of plastic with no safeties, designed to make it so easy a child can use it. If you like the feel of a Glock, M&P, XD, or anyother gun then get that gun. But still TRAIN with it. If it doesnt feel good in your hand at the store it wont feel good at the range.

    Eric Rice

    4 Years Marine Corps
    2 combat tours, 1 Iraq, 1 Afghanistan
    Corporal of Marines
    Firearms Instructor Marine Corps
    Gun Enthusist/Avid shooter and Owner of 18 firearms, 5 of which are 1911s

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      Eric –

      The most unprofessional thing I could do as an instructor would be to follow the party line and withhold valuable information about making the most efficient choice when it comes to a defensive handgun. I will call a spade a spade out of respect to my students. If gear isn’t up to snuff, I owe it to my students to share the information. They will make their choice.

      I am very careful when looking at what any special force or unit is using. The context of spec ops is very different from that of the armed civilian and the tools may or may not translate. In this case, there are logistical, tactical and training issues that separate the operator and the defensive hand gunner that make comparisons shaky at best.

      Most importantly Eric, thank you for your service.

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      I would disagree that I shrugged off your comment Eric.

      If you think that I am going to recommend a polymer pistol to everyone you are wrong, but if Grandma shows up to class and has a gun that isn’t efficient for her to use, I’m certainly going to point it out.

      I guess I’m on your blacklist. 100% of your Marine brothers that have trained with me would tell you that is a mistake.

      Stay safe man, and if you change your mind and want to come and train, if your 1911 runs 100% i’ll refund your tuition, if it malfs, we shoot a video on the, spot about how awesome plastic is. And yes, the video will be “smarmy.”

      I meant what I said about your service you seemed to shrug that off.

      • ChrisArcher
        ChrisArcher says:

        Quote from Eric: “You are paid to train them, not tell them thier gun is crap.”

        Eric, do you teach civies or just marines? The reason I ask is if you had a civilian in a class, shooting a firearm that, A, doesn’t fit them, or B, malfunctions all the time, would you tell them that it is a great gun to carry?

        A trainer is paid to do more than train. By being a trainer, you are responsible for your student’s lives. If you have a student in your class, and you don’t prepare them to defend themselves then you are doing a disservice to your students. At the same token, if you have a student in your class that is using an ineffective gun, and you DON’T tell them, you are doing that same disservice.

        • Eric Rice
          Eric Rice says:

          I have taught both Marines and Civilians.

          My point was not that an instructor can not recommend a firearm. Of course you can and should. What happened in this video was not an instructor recommending a different gun, but giving the student a hard time for his choice in firearm. Which at second glace the double feed apears to be 2 live rounds, a malfunction which is very hard to get as it requires the user attempting to clear the malf and failing to pull the slide back all the way to achieve this.

          Some people are not like you or I, they may not be into owning more then one gun. But they still may end up at a pistol class like this to make sure they are good in the gun they have. I have met many such people who have only that one gun. They may not have the money for another, which is why they need to learn with what they have.


      • Mark Levis
        Mark Levis says:

        Well I was in the Marines when we switched over from the 1911 to the M9. Almost all the 1911’s at that time were an accident waiting to happen as they were crap. Parts that were worn beyond use.

        I shoot 1911’s, and many other guns. The fact of the matter is that guns fail. High priced guns fail. I have witnessed many a high end 1911 have issues. A high end gun that you are betting your life in in a high stress, rapid and violent encounter needs to be 100% reliable. You also need to have recoil control to put as many rounds as possible on target as fast as possible. For many getting to that point requires a high investment in ammo and that can’t be done if they are putting a high amount of money into the gun to make it functionally reliable. Not everyone has the opportunity to hone their skills on tax payer provided ammo. I know I sure miss those days and my shooting skills have suffered for it.

        When you realistically compute the energy, wound channel and secondary wound channel you will see there really is no difference in 9mm, 40 and 45 self defense ammo (not FMJ’s). So why not use the most reliable calibre that you can rapidly put follow on shots with? And that can carry those extra rounds that may be needed? We are not all walking around with H harnesses loaded to the hilt.

        All that said one of my carry guns is a 45. One that I am sure is highly reliable and has not failed me yet.

      • Eric Rice
        Eric Rice says:

        Sir, The issues I have are not that you recommend anything or not.

        I have worked behind the counter at my LGS to help them when they are busy and even I , a person who hates shooting a Glock, have recommended a glock because it fit the guy best.

        My “grandma” comment was not 100% directed at you, but at a SD situation that happened a while back. A old lady fought off 2 rapests and thieves with her little 32S&W, many a G19 or similar double stack would have done better, the key point was she doesnt have that gun. “Grandma” is on a fixed budget and perhaps she can only afford that 32, and thats why recommendation or not that all she has at the moment.

        In this video you went further than a recommending a firearm. You decided to give him a hard time about his choice of weapon rather then attempt to find out what cause 2 LIVE rounds from double feeding. And that is why I will not attend your class. I can joke around with the best but I will not attend a class where the instructor seems to be belittling the student rather then helping. (I know that was not your intention, but at first glance it sounds like that.)

        As for my 1911 passing and gettin a refund, no thankyou. I have no doubt they would pass with ease, hell the Wilson doesnt even need more then the storage amount of lube to keep it running. But I have no need to attend the class to prove something I already know. My choice is personal and I will not tell anyone not to attend your class so no need to worry about that.

        I understand it is your website and all but it is still bad form to bash a firearm, and as you have seen the 1911 tends to have a soft spot in most peoples lives. Many of us use one for SD, even I would carry one for work if they let me.


        • PaulCarlson
          PaulCarlson says:

          Your arguments are based on assumptions. You accuse me of expecting all of my students to be the same. I haven’t stated that. You accuse me of giving my students only one solution, a Glock. I never said that. You then argue about the Grandma who can only afford one gun. If that is the case then it definitley shouldn’t be a 1911 cause that would mean she could afford 2 of any reasonable MSF pistol.

          Instead, this is a Grandpa. He has been a student of mine before. He has brought 1911’s to class before. They have malfed before. So either the guns don’t work, or he isn’t doing the work to maintain the guns so they run properly, or whatever. The point is that if he continues to carry guns that aren’t working that is a problem. the problem is simple for him to solve. Carry a gun that works. He is like most gun owners and if he is going to carry a gun to protect himself it better work. Me giving out group hugs or massaging his shoulders while we all sing Khumbia is going to make squat difference while the chips are down. Sometimes people need to get their chops busted to learn a lesson. Of course you understand this as you did attend boot camp.

          Here is the deal. At RANDOM, pick 100 MSF pistols and pick 100 1911’s from average gun guys. I am willing to go way out on a limb and say that if 1000 rounds are fired through each pistol without any maintenance, the MSF group will have fewer malfunctions by a large margin. When we factor this VERY LIKELY event with the fact that a MSF pistol costs substantially less, have a higher capacity, and as a whole tend to be much simpler to use, most often I will recommend a MSF pistol to my students.

          Alternatively, when I have the occasional student that farts angels and rides unicorns to class, I will recommend a 1911 to them.

          Finally, is a two live round double feed that hard to figure out? Failure to feed followed by a tap rack. On the rack the extractor is not fully engaged on the rim of the case and so the never hits the ejector and the cartridge is dropped in place. As the slide returns to battery it strips the next round off of the magazine and you now have two live rounds that want to be in the same place. But what do I know, I must have “staged the malfunction for a YouTube moment.”


  8. ChrisArcher
    ChrisArcher says:

    1911 are great guns. They were design 100 years ago. I’m VERY familiar with them and I understand exactly how they work. It would suck, however, if we actually thought in 100 years of Gun Science, we didn’t make any advancements in firearms. I’m not saying anything negative about 1911s here – I’m simply saying that since then, Gun Science has developed guns that don’t NEED the maintenance and shoot just as well.

    Its great that you are able to maintain your 1911 and make it run reliably. Because you do that, I’m going to say that chances are, you love guns and have put in some time learning how to maintain them. However, instructors don’t just teach gun enthusiasts. They don’t just teach people who are mechanically inclined. For the AVERAGE STUDENT, 1911s are a bad choice. For the AVERAGE STUDENT that gun gets put in a drawer, or in a holster, and honestly, probably only gets shot once a month or so in a range day. For the AVERAGE STUDENT a 1911 will malfunction because the AVERAGE STUDENT is not able to put in the expense to buy a high end gun, and then won’t maintain it.

    Again, we must look at everything from a cost benefit analysis. To get a 1911 to run without malfunction, A, you have to buy a much more expensive gun ($1500-$2000). and B, you have to maintain that gun by cleaning and lubing multiple springs. In addition, you have to replace the recoil spring every couple thousand rounds, and replace the magazine spring semi-often. However, I can buy a MSF pistol for less money ($400-$600). As a responsible gun owner, I do have to clean it from time to time, but overall, it just works.

    So, if I put in the extra work, what “benefit” does that 1911 get me? Less recoil compared to a MSF. But it also comes with the negatives of less capacity, more complexity (there is a lot going on in that gun in comparison), single action trigger (which also means each time I pull the trigger there is more going on), and added cost, weight, and effort in maintenance. Or I can buy a MSF that serves the EXACT SAME PURPOSE with NO drop in performance and also get greater capacity, double or single action triggers, in a very simple design. As long as I keep the gun semi-clean, it runs. MSF guns are also lighter.

    Let me put it this way. I’ve bought two desks, one for my home, and one for my office at work.
    – My desk for home is vacuum molded. It has 6 plastic drawers and has a nice durable writing surface. In addition, it has a keyboard tray that I am able to pull out and space for my tower. All the handles are stainless steel. It costs $200.
    – The desk for my office at work is made of top quality solid wood. It has a glass top, glass front drawers, and polished brass handles. It has 4 drawers, keyboard tray, and space for my tower. It cost $1000.

    Both desks serve my needs exactly the same. I am able to work at the plastic desk equally as well as I can work as the solid wood/glass desk. There is NO DIFFERENCE in the performance of either desk, except that the wood desk has less capacity, which considering that I only have stuff to fill 3 drawers, I’m OK with.

    At home, I work at my desk, no big deal. After about a month, the desk is a little dirty, so I wipe it down and it looks like new. I do this once a month. No big deal. One month, I get really busy and I don’t have time to clean it – but the desk still works. After 4-5 months of no cleaning, it is pretty grimy, and I have to pull hard to open the drawers, so I wipe it down, good as new.

    After a day, the glass on the desk is showing fingerprints, so I spend some time and clean it. I add it to my routine. Every day, I get glass cleaner and clean the glass. Damn it looks pretty!

    A week or so goes buy, and I notice that from lots of use, the polished brass is getting dirty. So, I get some brass polish and clean them up. Took a little while, but again, DAMN IT LOOKS PRETTY! I add this to my weekly routine.

    A month or two goes by, and the wood on the desk is starting to dry out. I clean and oil the wood. Damn, this desk is a lot of work, but its pretty, and old, and really traditional, so its worth it. I add this as a monthly routine.

    I notice that I’m spending a lot of time cleaning and maintaining this desk. I stop for two months, and see what happens. The glass gets fingerprints, no big deal. The brass tarnishes, but, I’m still able to open the drawers. But after two months, I notice that some of the wood has dried out enough that it starts to look really dingy. Eventually, it starts to crack a little. That’s not good! Wish I would’ve bought a plastic desk because all the time I’ve spent maintaining this thing just for how it looks is kinda crazy!

  9. desertech
    desertech says:


    After reading the comments, I can only offer this.

    I’m convinced you give good advice to your students. Although I shoot competitively (with both Glocks and 1911’s by the way), I have no miltary experience. I do all my own maintenance on both platforms, and have a balanced view of both. I have also taken a large number of tacitcal training classes (Thunder Ranch and the Oregon Firearms Academy are in my backyard).

    Here’s my comment for you – take it for what its worth.

    1911’s can and do make very reliable, functional defensive pistols. Your challenge was notwithstanding, I know from having been in those many classes at both locations, there are dozens of sessions I’ve attended where 1911 pistols will make it through a one or two day defensive handgun class without a malf. I’ve never been to Gunsite, but I venture to say they would echo that statement. I’ve also observed and personally experienced malfs on both platforms. With all due respect, you and I both know that someone can show up with a 1911 and run 250 – 500 rounds through it in a day or two class and not have a malf..

    1911’s, as a platform, will probably have a higher numnber of malfs when talking about the platform at large than SFP’s, again looking at the platform at large.The issue I would have with your post (assuming it mattered to me at some emotional level, which it doesn’t) is that you don’t really address any of the following:

    – all pistols can malf
    – some pistols malf more than others
    – some platforms are better suited for others
    – depending on the platform, a given level of reliability might be more expensive
    – there are advantages and disadvantages for each platform

    The arguments about reliability with the 1911 platform are legendary, extensive, and neverending. All other things being equal, dollar for dollar, there could be a case made for a SFP being a better choice for novice, average, casual, or physically challenged shooters. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

    But, you had a student who clearly was in one of those catagories. His itch for the platform caused him to make a sub-optimal choice. I’ve had a number of instructors in my time, some better than others. The ones that always delivered the best experience were the ones who taught, and understood that opinions are just that. As a student, I want an instructor to work with me within the context of my choice. The ones who use their status as teachers to pontificate an opinion, are the ones who do their students a disservice.

    Balance, sir, balance. Someone who has a post titled “Open Carry Morons” (while they are out there for sure) clearly values his own opinion a little too highly.

    • PaulCarlson
      PaulCarlson says:

      I agree with most of what you wrote here Dave.

      Supporting students in sub optimal choices is called enabling and although it looks like helping it is really handicapping. Some folks want an instructor that makes them feel safe and secure in the choices they make. Others want instructors who assist in driving toward excellence. How many Olympic level or professional level coaches support their athletes in sub optimal choices? Sub optimal choices are for the folks that like to come out and play on the weekends. When it comes to combatives, I don’t play. I cannot play. My students that have been in lethal force encounters thank me for that.

      I do not claim to be an instructor for every man. Many will not like how I do things. That is ok. They are welcome to select another training venue. Those that understand what they are looking for and find it in me will find me to be a good match.

      To set the record straight I have no post titled “Open Carry Morons.” I did however comment on a post with that title written by another instructor, Craig Douglas, aka “SouthNarc.” I assure you any ego that Craig has could not possibly compare to the quality he brings as an instructor and as a man. You can and should find him at http://www.shivworks.com

      thanks for commenting Dave.

      Stay safe!


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