Nine 1911 Myths

Nine 1911 Myths

The Army wanted a .45 because of the .38's poor performance against the Moros.
In actuality, what everyone wanted was a caliber that could stop a charging horse. The Army had been using a .45 sidearm before the .38 Colt, liked it, and wanted more of the same.

The 1911 has to rattle to be reliable.
A loose gun can be reliable, but it is a symptom, not a cause. A reliable pistol works in a repeatable fashion, loose or tight. Reliable is reliable, loose is loose, and a pistol may be both.

You need a light trigger to shoot a 1911 well.
A clean, crisp trigger that works the same way every time is easier to build correct habits around. A light trigger can encourage trigger-snatching and anticipating the break of the shot.

The best way to test a 1911 trigger is to drop the slide on an empty chamber.
When you crash the slide home, it bounces the trigger back and forth in its slot, and that taps the sear. The barrel lugs also take the full force of the recoil spring and slide momentum, without a feeding round to slow them down. That hurts.

You shoot faster with a lighter recoil spring
No, light springs are not a means to shoot faster. They are something that very fast shooters use to "time" the gun to their shooting pace. The difference is so small, if you aren't consistently second in matches, tuning the springs won't help.

Shock buffers increase frame life.
With all due respect to those who make shock buffers, I've never worn out a frame. Some 1911s actually are made less reliable with a shock buffer installed. If they don't make your gun cranky, and you are comforted by them, go for it. Otherwise, skip the buffers.

Every 1911 has to be gunsmithed to be reliable and accurate.
Back in the old days, maybe. Today, not so much. I'd go so far as to say that if you find a newly bought 1911 to be inaccurate or unreliable, I'd look first to your own reloaded ammo before blaming the gun.

The feed ramp has to glimmer like mercury to be reliable.
If the feed ramp is in the correct place in the frame and tipped at the right angle, it will feed everything regardless of toolmarks. Does your pistol work? If yes, leave it alone. If not, find the real source of the problem and don't go polishing everything in sight just because you have power tools and are itching to use them.

The recoil of a .45 1911 is too much for many shooters.
If you really believe that, I have a group of women shooters I'd like to introduce you to—national-level competitors who are under 51â'„2 feet tall, some barely five feet, who have no problems with the .45 ACP. The recoil of the .45 is not nothing, but it certainly isn't an oppressive impact.

Recommended for You


SIG P365 Review

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all...


SIG P320 Accessories and Upgrades

James Tarr - December 14, 2017

The number of accessories and aftermarket upgrades for the SIG P320 is only going to increase.


Mossberg MC1sc 9mm Pistol Review

Brad Fitzpatrick

Mossberg dives into the CCW market with the MC1sc 9mm pistol (#89001), their first...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

All About Handgun Ammo

Rich and Jim get into the nitty gritty of the FBI ammo protocol, firing into various barriers to illustrate what can happen to a bullet.

Dealing with Subcompacts

Jim and Rich cover the benefits and the challenges presented by very small pistols.

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


SIG P320 Accessories and Upgrades

James Tarr - December 14, 2017

The number of accessories and aftermarket upgrades for the SIG P320 is only going to increase.


Remington Timeline: 2011 - R1 Pistol Is Introduced

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while...


To Cast a Good Bullet

Bart Skelton - June 28, 2012

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a...

See More Stories

More 1911


Review: Inland MFG. 1911A1 Government

James Tarr - May 25, 2018

James Tarr reviews the Inland MFG. 1911A1 Government.


Review: Ed Brown CCO LW 9mm

James Tarr - September 24, 2018

Ed Brown's CCO LW is the best example of a 9mm 1911 carry gun you're going to find.


Handgun Beauties: Dan Wesson 50th Anniversary

Stan Trzoniec - October 11, 2018

A fitting tribute to the legacy Dan Wesson left behind.

See More 1911

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.