There’s a good reason that 1911s are so popular — they can do it all. The 1911 format lends itself to any type of application. We’ll go over that in a little bit.
Its rich history is undeniable, but for some shooters, they want to look toward the future, not the past. That’s why we’ve heard the 1911 vs Glock debate so many times before. “Do modern pistols like the Glock make 1911s obsolete?” No, they don’t. There are a bunch of different ways to compare these two platforms. So, let’s get to it.
Here’s what you need to know about Glock vs 1911.
The History of 1911s and Glocks
For those of you who don’t know the story of these two formats, here’s a quick history lesson. The M1911 was designed by legendary gunsmith John Browning in the late 19th century. Since its inception, the 1911 has had a colorful service history, helped win both World Wars and become a trusted sidearm for hobbyists, outdoorsman and defenders. Today, it continues to stand tall.
Relatively speaking, the Glock is young. In the 1980s, creator Gaston Glock engineered the Glock 17, which was quickly adapted into the Austrian army. Since its introduction into the market, polymer firearms have exploded on the scene. In the United States, a majority of police agencies now use Glocks.
Comparing the Two
The 1911 has been around for over 100 years, and we’re sure it’ll be around for the next 100. A misconception about 1911s is that they’re outdated and can’t compare to more modern formats. The reality is that 1911s are a design that shooters know and love, and modern engineering has made 1911s perfect for any application. Now that that’s settled, let’s compare these two types of firearms.
1911s have an advantage with their pistol frame. Their metal frames allow for fast shooting and limited recoil. This enables shooters to get a high and strong hold on the grip, which will lead to smoother shots.
Glocks are polymer firearms, which makes them a lot lighter than most firearms. While their weight is something that is lauded, the stabilization isn’t always worth the lighter weight.
The bigger you shoot, the bigger the difference. A polymer firearm is never going to be as durable as a steel-framed firearm. While you want smooth and clean firing, you never want to mess with the continuity of the firearm itself. Polymer firearms are a lot more flexible than a steel-framed firearm. That means that these pistols can warp and become deformed. It’s true that a polymer frame can’t rust like steel does, but which would you choose?
The importance of ammo capacity goes without saying. While most modern firearms have the options for high capacity, standard magazines for Glocks have an impressive 15 rounds. High capacity 1911s aren’t hard to find, though. The Rock Ultra HC has a double-stack mag well with a 16-round capacity. It’s the best of both worlds — high capacity inside a traditional 70 series design 1911.
Most modern handguns are very reliable, but nothing is infallible. Glocks are pioneers of the polymer framed firearms, but 1911s are designed to be field stripped and repaired with nothing but its own parts. In terms of reliability, preference takes priority.
Handling & Aim
Glocks have a distinct grip angle that many find awkward and their triggers are often times called soft. 1911s have the most crisp, comfortable triggers out there. Plus, many argue that 1911s have a grip that feels more natural in the hand and that their front and rear sight have a more natural alignment. If you’re new to firearm shooting, the 1911 is an easy first choice. With Glocks, there’s only a little bit of plastic holding back an explosion. 1911s definitely take the edge in terms of handling.
Handling and aim have large influences on each other, and whatever situation you’re in, you’ll want to have quick target acquisition. To do that, you need quick slight alignment. Luckily, 1911s point straight very naturally. Glocks on the other hand, have an uncomfortable sight picture due to their grip angle. Your grip, your sight or recoil can all effect your accuracy. If you want less factors getting in the way of your shot, stick with a 1911.
Whether you’ve joined the firearm community for self defense, plinking or concealed carry, 1911s have the durability and power that you need. Who’s going to be the king of the castle? New school vs old school? This isn’t the first time anyone’s compared these platforms, and it definitely won’t be the last. Used in the right hands, both firearms can be great tools. But it’s clear why 1911s have an edge for so many shooters.
Celebrate the 1911’s history, its power and its versatility. We’re here to showcase Rock Island Armory’s innovation. RIA has taken the 1911 from a basic one-caliber design to a well-optioned, high-quality pistol. Find your next 1911 here.