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Thread: 9mm vs 45 1911?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    9mm vs 45 1911?

    I've been considering a 1911 for a long time. I don't really like the way they feel in my hand, but they are so iconic, I figure I should own and shoot one at some point in my life just to make sure I'm not missing something. I am not much of a semi guy in general, but I do love a nice 1911 trigger (one of my biggest semi dislikes).

    I've been considering a Rock Island Armory GI model, just to dip my toe in the water. I've looked at the sights, and they are minimal, but I seem to be able to see them well enough. Though, I am pushing 40, so that may not last. I hear the sights may have an off size dovetail, making replacements difficult to find. I do know how to use a file, if needed.

    So the last consideration is to get one in 9mm or 45. I have reloading dies and molds for both, but would need some brass for the 45. This would be an exclusive cast bullet shooter for me. I handled both side by side at a gun show and noticed the 9mm was slightly heavier most likely due to the thicker barrel. No matter, all the better for recoil control. The difference in capacity would not be an issue, as it would be a range toy. 9mm would be easier on powder and lead, and shoot flatter for some of the long range plinking I enjoy. The 45 would probably make a nicer delayed clang on the steel. and tends to be a better cast bullet caliber, although I have seen no complaints about the 9mm and cast. An then there is the whole "1911s should be 45" thing, which does resonate a bit with me.

    What do you say?
    Last edited by Silvercreek Farmer; 02-28-2020 at 09:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
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    My guess is that you end up with one of each eventually. That is what happened to me.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    .45 ACP, as God and John Browning intended.
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


    Disarming is a mistake free people only get to make once...

  4. #4
    Boolit Master trails4u's Avatar
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGTmfyDY2zw

    I should probably apologize for this....but it's funny.
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by trails4u View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGTmfyDY2zw

    I should probably apologize for this....but it's funny.
    I don't know how he comes up with what he does, but I do find it humorous!

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by scattershot View Post
    .45 ACP, as God and John Browning intended.
    I thought this was funny! (But, basically I agree!)

    Well, Mr. Farmer, it sounds to me like you've pretty much thought it out. These threads can go on and on with guys expressing their love or hate for the .45 and 9mm, so like they say at the carnival, "you pays your money and you takes your choice."

    I own a RIA 1911 .45 (and about a dozen other 1911s) and think that them RIA is a great pistol for the money. I don't think you can really go wrong buying one, especially if you're o.k. with the sights. I've been shooting 1911s since about age 14, and most of them have similar sights. But, I can not personally confirm or deny that the dovetails are of a different size as I have not replaced mine.

    I did make some modifications. (1) The hammer bit me on the web between the thumb and forefinger. This is an odd thing that I've found over the years, that some 1911s bite me and some don't. I have a WW II G.I. Ithaca that never has, and it remains unmolested. My usual cure is to install a Commander-type hammer and/or a beavertail, but on this one I installed a beavertail and modified the original hammer. (2) I installed a straight original-type 1911 mainspring housing, (3) and an original-type long trigger. I left everything else as it came. It shoots better than G.I. accuracy, but not really target grade.

    Like you've indicated, 1911s aren't love at first sight for everyone, but you'll miss one of life's better experiences if you don't own one. And, you have to take into consideration that after 109 years they're still a hot seller, so there must be something there!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    click to enlarge

    Oh, yes-- I changed out the grips for laminated rosewood and the grip screws for hex head stainless, and installed a shok-buff. But no other modifications. The barrel, recoil spring, etc. remain stock.
    Last edited by Der Gebirgsjager; 02-28-2020 at 09:06 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvercreek Farmer View Post
    I've been considering a 1911 for a long time. I don't really like the way they feel in my hand, but they are so iconic, I figure I should own and shoot one at some point in my life just to make sure I'm not missing something. I am not much of a semi guy in general, but I do love a nice 1911 trigger (one of my biggest semi dislikes).

    I've been considering a Rock Island Armory GI model, just to dip my toe in the water.

    ...SNIP
    Silvercreek,
    I am just like you. a couple years ago, I bought a plain blued RIA in 38 super. It's a wonderful shooting 1911 for the price. The first castboolit load I tried, shot POI...which was great, as I had no plans to mod the sights. The sights are adequate for what I'll use this gun for...which is same as what you mention, "...as it would be a range toy."

    I chose the 38 super, because I always wanted one. But to be honest, now that I have it, I would have preferred to save the money on buying starline brass and another set of dies....and just got the 9mm, and use the dies I had and the brass is so plentiful and cheap,,,sometimes free.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Another thing to consider is recoil. I have no idea what your tolerance level is for handgun recoil. For me, with my blossoming arthritis, I have to watch what I shoot.
    Full power loads in a 45 ACP get unpleasant after a while. Light loads are fine.
    9mm, particularly in the 1911, is quite pleasant to shoot for extended periods.
    I own two 1911 pistols in 9mm, one of which is an RIA Ultra FS. I also own a 1911 in 45 ACP.
    I have reached the place where the minimalist sights on some of the military versions are inadequate for me. I just can't see them well at all. I much prefer the newer style combat sights.
    My RIA in 9mm handles cast well and jacketed very well. I haven't got the cast shooting as well as the jacketed yet but it will come.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    I shoot both. I find the .45 is more forgiving with cast bullets and it can use a softer alloy. The 9MM offers the advantages of free or cheap brass. Most of my shooting is on my range so the brass issues is less of a concern. 9mm bullets are cheaper as well even after factoring in a harder alloy.

    One thing to consider is primer changeover. All my pistols (expect the .45) use a SP primer so I do not need to fuss with the primer system. I have been planning to switch over the SP .45 brass but have a lot of LP stuff. Not as much of an issue if you prime off the press but I run progressives.

    A buddy of mine got the RIA and he was pleased with it. Seems like a decent gun for the price.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    I would recommend the RIA in .45 ACP. It is easier to load and to develop a load (my opinion) and if you ever do use it for social purposes, it is much more effective. If recoil is an issue, you don't have to load your ammo full throttle. A 225 grain bullet at 600 fps is very accurate, pleasant to shoot and potent on the receiving end.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    4T5ACP. I saw that on a vanity liscence plate on a car in Dallas as a young man. And I agreed. When I think "auto pistol"- the 1911 is the image. If the hammer bites me, I grind 1/8" from the spur. I like arched housings and straight housings. I've never considered the 1911 .45 a hard kicker because it fits my hand so well. And it loves cast. Get one. If you dont like it, you wont lose money on it when you sell it.
    And here's a pic just for grins!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I've had 1911's in 9mm, 10mm, and .45ACP.

    The 45 will do all that I need a 1911 to do, and will last just short of forever while doing it.

    The 10 if loaded to its full potential is a bit much for constant usage in a 1911, in my opinion.

    The 9 is a sweetheart in a steel 5" gun, recoil is not much more than Stingers in a Colt Woodsman or High Standard Model B.

    The neat thing about a 1911 is you can modify things to get it to really fit your hand. Got stubby fingers? a Short A1 style trigger works. Got longish fingers? Original triggers are easily installed. Get hammer bite? A flat mainspring housing fixes most of those, a beavertail grip safety and Commander hammer fixes the rest.

    1911's are fun and can be modified (if needed) to do just about anything a handgun needs to do.

    Robert

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I'm one of the fellows that when someone shows me their 9mm says that's cute my wife shoots one .
    But just between us members when I take out her 9s I have a blast , I have been very tempted to pick up a rock island 9mm several times . I think you will enjoy what ever you decide .

  15. #15
    Boolit Master roverboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas by God View Post
    4T5ACP. I saw that on a vanity liscence plate on a car in Dallas as a young man. And I agreed. When I think "auto pistol"- the 1911 is the image. If the hammer bites me, I grind 1/8" from the spur. I like arched housings and straight housings. I've never considered the 1911 .45 a hard kicker because it fits my hand so well. And it loves cast. Get one. If you dont like it, you wont lose money on it when you sell it.
    And here's a pic just for grins!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
    Please tell me where I get that shirt.
    Mrs. Hogwallop up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    You will look long and hard for a trigger to feel like a crisp and proper 1911. Many a steel Euro to any of the Tupperware pieces to me is like opening the silverware drawer with one finger, I have enough to say this. If serious about a new piece the thoughts must cover your requirements, capacity, power, range, carry, etc., it is a tool so buy the right tool. Second I would spend as time possible fondling them for is it the right grip angle for me, arched, flat, bob. I have 1911 hands made for an arched housing with aggressive panels, no wrap around stuff. Everybody is different, see it, pick it up loose, pick a point, close your eyes, take both hands and secure, present, open eyes. Looks good, feels good, get ya some, if the magic happens, you will know!

  17. #17
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    If it's the "iconic" itch you are aiming to scratch, I say go with the original 45ACP caliber that John Moses Browning intended it to be chambered in. There is something about the lag times in the travel of a 5" Government Model slide, it has a lazy cadence to it compared to other higher pressure calibers.

    I once owned a 1943 Colt 1911A1, slide numbered to the frame, parkerized WWII issue, oh it rattled, it had pits in the barrel you could grow potatoes in, but it had the mojo. It went to war. It lived up to the legend 100%. Like an idiot I traded it away for a nice old Ruger M77 deer rifle which put more meals on my table than that old Colt ever did, and I regretted letting it get away ever since.

    Fast forward to now, I "replaced" the old Colt with a newly made Auto Ordnance 1911A1 lower, and a WWII era Remington Rand upper with all WWII milsurp innards. It's tight, it shoots into 2" at 25 yards and it scratched the itch for that old Colt. I would suppose the RIA would do the trick for you as well.

    Got a .22 .30 .32 .357 .38 .40 .41 .44 .45 .480 or .500 S&W cylinder that needs throat reaming? 9mm, 10mm/40S&W, 45 ACP pistol barrel that won't "plunk" your handloads? Shoot me a PM! Also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cylinderhone-756429174391912/

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    If you only get one 1911 make it a .45.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Have and have had a car load of 45's in 1911. When I got my Kimber in 9mm ... thought I had found shangrala. Easy recoil, fast speed, flat trajectory and cheap to load.

    Added benny ... when ya lose brass ... no prob. Pick em up on any range ... free.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Gunslinger1911's Avatar
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