This is a topic to last the ages, and while I won’t get that far into it, it is something a lot of gun owners run into. I have been on both sides of the issue, and a fan of both in competition and in concealed carry, and while it may be an older topic to some, I think it is good to revisit and see both sides of the coins.
The 1911 was first introduced in 1907, with further upgrades and adoption in 1911 gave the pistol its name. By and large, it has remained unchanged in its general function, save for upgraded materials, shorter sizes (such as the commander, and sub compact models) and is universally known.
The 1911’s has seen action in World War I, World War II and Korea, limited use in Vietnam, and was replaced for the Beretta 9mm as US military primary sidearm in 1985, and is one of, if not the coup de gras of John Moses Browning. It is typically a 45ACP, however there have been additional chamberings in 9mm, 38 Super, and 10mm, with a typical magazine capacity of around 8, making it legal in most states. It is considered by many to be a function work of art, with many being made of unique materials including a meteorite. However, it does have its drawbacks.
First as it can be heavy, especially for full length compared to Glock and others. It also has many more parts for field cleaning (over 55 parts in most models) compared to Glocks which are around 34. The other issue is that while the 1911 is notoriously reliable for hardball (non-hollow point) ammunition, it does have a reputation as being finicky with some hollow points, making it less ideal than some for personal defense rounds.
Glocks were the brainchild of Gaston Glock, an Austrian developer that saw first action in 1980s through the military. While it was originally developed for the 9x19mm parabellum (9mm), it now encompasses a much wider range of calibers, and varied sizes with some compatible parts. It has readily available models from .380, 40, 45, 10mm, 357 Sig and even their own 45 caliber ammunition.
They are notorious for their reliability in most weather conditions, parts can be interchanged such as magazines (larger frames like the G17 can work in the G19) and they are relatively corrosion resistant. While they do currently have a good reputation, there are some issues, such as a notoriously hard/sloppy trigger, not the best ergonomics, and their barrel specifically states to not use lead (non-jacketed) ammunition, all of which can be fixed with the wide availability of aftermarket parts.
So, what do you get? I say both. I started as a 1911 purist; however, I have seen the versatility, reliability and the capacity of Glock and I have started migrating that way. Also, the hefty price tag of a Colt 1911 versus a Glock means I can spend the difference on ammo when it is available. If I had to carry one, backwoods or in the city I would want the one that offers the most firepower with the most reliability which just might be the ugliest handgun on the market, a Glock, but to this day, with over 10,000 rounds I have yet to have one fail on me.
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Author: Ian Bolser