Letter Re: Glocks, M1911s, and The Importance of Training

Friday, Dec 30, 2005

Dear Jim:
Some very good points have been made in the posts on firearms advice - one of the best being to hit with the most bullet you can handle and carry.  The only better advice I could give is:  don't obsess too much about what you shoot - but do get to a serious combat shooting school sooner, rather than later.  You don't know, what you don't know, till you've been to a few different schools - no one school has all the answers.  Some are best on weapon handling, some on technical shooting skills, some on tactics, some on Force on Force combat simulation, etc., etc..
Regarding Model 1911s versus Glocks, I do feel that y'all in the 1911 camp are missing the big picture with regards to advice for survivalists versus advice for "gun guys."
The 1911 is a great weapon, accurate, hard-hitting, and a superb single action trigger.  But it's standard magazine capacity of 6-to-8 is lacking (unless you get a special double stack model) and this is a big handicap when you have multiple threats.  But, most damning, is the fact that you often have to spend a lot of money, or do a lot of work on a 1911, to get excellent reliability.  And anything less than excellent reliability is not worth considering.
Shooting IDPA matches once a month I see 1911s with MULTIPLE malfunctions about every third month.  That is a terrible percentage out of roughly 20, 1911 shooters I see over three squads.  This doesn't usually happen to the "serious gun guys" who have spent a lot of money on their 1911 (or their gunsmith), and stay on top of maintenance - but it often happens to the more casual shooter.  As an aside, International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) matches are a great reality check to see where your shooting skills are, and great training.
Week-long trips to shooting schools with a lot of rounds down-range show the same thing - lots of 1911 problems, far fewer  Glock problems (unless you are shooting reloads in a Glock - but then you were just asking for problems!)
The Glock has a heavier, longer and slower "safe-action" trigger, but a .45 caliber compact Glock 30 holds 10 + 1 rounds, and the full-size Glock 21, (which holds 13 + 1 rounds.)  It's only a few rounds more versus a 1911, but which weapon would you rather face 3 or 4 bad guys with?  Bonus - the compact Glock 30 also accepts the 13 round Glock 21 mag - what would you rather reload with, when your gun has been shot dry, 8 or 13?   Glocks are not perfect, but their reliability is superb.  I own a bunch of them, and they all go bang with monotonous regularity - with many hundreds of rounds between cleanings.   They are quick and easy to clean and inspect.  And it is so refreshing to buy a tool that is good to go out of the box (you will want to add night sights, all else is optional).  Glocks are easy...
By the way, the Springfield XD is also an excellent gun I am told - but no .45 ACP model just yet, just .45 GAP [a short-cased variant of the .45 ACP cartridge.]  SIGs have wonderful quality, but an atrocious, hard-to-shoot design, with the bore set far too high over the hand, making recoil control much harder than it needs to be.
Once you get some good technical hands-on shooting instruction the longer Glock trigger pull is a very small disadvantage.  Check out the training at the Texas Defensive Shooting Academy -  two high intensity days there improved my shooting tremendously even after multiple courses at other very good schools. See: www.tdsa.net (I have no financial interest in TDSA, I am just an extremely grateful customer.)
So for the SWAT, or military,  or "gun guy" who can spend the extra time and money to ensure a reliable 1911, I say get the better trigger, and more power to you.  Just practice those speed reloads if you are shooting an 8 round single stack mag!  For most survivalists you can buy two Glocks for the same money - or better yet, one Glock and some serious training.
Most importantly the Glock will save time. No hassle trying to find a reliable make and model.  No fine tuning.  Easy to clean.  No diagnostic trips to the gunsmith.  Time is the most scarce commodity when you have a long survival to do list, and precious little time between work and family to get it done.  Your gun time (and money) is best spent on shooting schools, not on expensive hardware or gunsmithing. Yours truly, - N. in Texas


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