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Thread: Is It Just What You Get Used To?

  1. #1

    Is It Just What You Get Used To?

    Measuring the distance from the center of the trigger to the top of the sights of the 1911 finds it's 2 1/4". On the single action revolver the sights are 3" above the trigger. I carried and shot the 1911 for years as a peace officer. Retired I prefer the single action revolver.

    Comparing the different guns, the rear sight on the single action revolver is directly over the trigger however the rear sight on the 1911 is over 2" behind the trigger. The front sight is 4 1/2" in front of the trigger of the 5" 1911, on a 4 3/4" single action Colt's the front sight is over 6" in front of the trigger.

    Not only are the grips not similar in any way, but the 1911 grip rests between the web the thumb and forefinger while the single action grip places an arched backstrap in the palm.

    So all these differences and I question if we chose a gun because of what we are used to or are our hands that much different that 2 totally different guns suit some humans better than others because we are that different.

    I recently we to a gunshow and found what I was looking for, a 6" L frame blued without the lock in the sideplate. The grips looked great but it felt so foreign in my hand I didn't think I could ever abide with this gun so I didn't buy it. I carried a 6" .357 DA for a decade before the massive transition to bottom feeders. I competed and shot that DA all the time, that was then, now it's like a foreign object to me.

    With polymer the gun manufacturers can make any design and they are all trying to sell a better mousetrap but so far I haven't found one I want to buy.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    MI (summer) - AZ (winter)
    You are comparing apples to oranges and expecting them to taste the same. Your hands/muscles have been trained to use your 1911. I have shot SA for 55 years so they are like "old hat" to me. I had a nice Colt 1911A1 that I sold as it just didn't "feel" right to me. I've owned a few semis and after using them, have gotten used to them but again, they are totally different than a SA hogleg.

    On the other hand, I have owned and do own a number of DA revolvers - Colt and S & W. I like the K frame a lot and I prefer to CCW a J freme - but my hands are not small nor are they large. On some of them it has taken some work to find a set of grips that "feel right" and when brought up, the sights be where they are supposed to be. If you like a certain frame size, I'd suggest trying some different grips before giving up on it.

    A SA in the traditional Colt style is going to be different. First of all, you are going to have a top strap rear sight groove and a blade front sight - similar to a standard K frame, etc. but still not "precision" sights. On a SA, you'll soon learn that you have to "learn" the revolver - i.e. POA to POI and how to use a little "kentucky windage" when needed.

    I don't think I've answered the question that well but in the end, it's just a case of learning the gun. Since I shoot SA most of the time, it is challenge to go to my semis but like nothing else, it takes practice and training your muscles to the handgun.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    State of Denial
    I spend a lot of time teaching relatively new shooters and as such, I have to be able to shoot the gun they bring to the party better than they do. While I would be forced to say that ergonomics DO make a difference to some degree, I can't place a lot of reliance on it when adjusting on the fly to a semi-alien pistol. Good fundamentals of grip, sighting, and trigger control will get you a lot farther than a cozy grip.

    There's a bit of folly in trying to compare revolvers to autos simply on "feel". DA or SA, a revolver is cocked by muscle every shot, so the ergonomics of those guns have to take both cocking AND firing into account. With a proper autoloader (one not designed by lawyers), cocking is handled when loading, so all the shaper of the grip needs to consider is how it handles during firing. A shovel feels different from a screwdriver because it needs to - same kinda thing.

    I think after 30-odd years on the market, polymer will finally come into it's own with the next round of handgun evolution. The early steel guns like Peacemakers, Lugers, K-38's and 1911's all fit the hand pretty well. On the 1911, you can adjust quite a bit with mainspring housing shape and trigger length, but even so. . . all of those guns had to balance making a good shape against time it took to mass produce a grip by wearing out a mill bit against an expensive frame material. When the plastic guns showed up, the craze at the time was seeing how big a magazine could be fit into the correspondingly big grip - which also compromised ergonomics. With concealed carry becoming more widespread, and the facts of shootings being more thoroughly analyzed, we're starting to see that a mountain of ammo onboard isn't typically necessary, and a smaller grip has many advantages. I am HOPING that this will mean full-sized single-stack polymer pistols with really well thought out grip shapes - the cost of which won't be hampered by mill time.


  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    I'm an old revolver guy and have always shot them more accurately. But for the last year or so have been hammering my 9mm semi's pretty hard and neglecting the revo's. I have noticed my accuracy with the revo's has suffered greatly while the semi's has improved greatly. So, I guess a lot of it is what your used to, muscle memory makes a big difference.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Grip angle too. I have a hard time shooting rapid fire with a revolver. I just can't acquire the sights fast enough. The muscle memory of shooting 1911's for a lifetime interferes with the differences. And, yes, I've had trouble with some other autos as well.

  6. #6
    I really appreciate your input guys. Ultimately a handgun fits in the hand to enable a boolit to be placed where the handler's brain has decided it needs to go. Both when I grab a carry gun in the morning heading out for the day and when I grab a gun to hit the range for a weekly shooting session I grab the Colt's single action revolver. The 1911 tends to sit in the safe. I am familiar with the uh oh moments, and I believe that trust in a handgun has several facets many may be subconscious.

    I like the solid boolit with a substantial meplat in the revolver over the j-word HP, I like the confidence that comes with a revolver, and I don't have a Chief standing there telling me I can't carry a since action revolver while he has his single action revolver on his hip. The 1911 I carried on duty was in a Greg Kramer horsehide scabbard positively secure. When I was working our qualification course dictated X number of rounds in X number of seconds -totally unrealistic but mandated by the State Training Commission. Retired I have no such silly rules.

    I could carry anything but the single action army Colt's fits my hand best and the grip aligns the sights to my eye.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check