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Benching my 1911

As happens occasionally, someone recently asked me a question to which I didn’t have answer. The question, as I recall, was “Now that you’ve decided you don’t like your 1911, are you going to sell it?” I had to take a moment and unpack the question because it boggled my mind in two ways.

The first was the idea of “not liking” my 1911. My 1911 is a stainless Springfield TRP which is, it must be said, an outstanding gun. When I was shopping for a 1911, I was looking for something good for IDPA and USPSA. For those of you who know 1911s, that means it needed a good magwell, no rail, a barrel bushing, an ambi safety, and a decently bumpy grip safety. If you’re not familiar with all that, suffice it to say that I was looking for a fairly specific configuration, and I was astounded after a few months of looking to stumble on essentially the perfect gun.

But after 10 matches and 2000 rounds over the last six months, I’ve decided that as this competition season spins up, I’m going to stick with shooting 9mm in IDPA SSP and USPSA Production. The TRP is a great gun but I also had more problems with it in six months of matches than three years with my Glock.

And that was the root of the first misunderstanding packed in the question: my uncle, who was asking me that, took my criticism of the gun as overall dislike. To be clear, that’s an easy mistake to make because there are lot of guns I dislike for specific reasons. But that dislike stems from the fact that the problems with those guns come at no benefit. Let’s take an easy target: a Ruger SR9 saves you some money when you buy it, but in the long run the cons of the gun don’t make up for it. Expecting to shoot 10,000 rounds through any gun you buy changes the way you shop for them.

As it happens, the problems of the 1911 are both solvable with proper maintenance, like changing springs and tuning magazines, and indeed outweighed by the features of the gun. I still stand by the aphorism that there are two kinds of people: those who don’t understand 1911s and those who’ve shot them. I bought the 1911 because I was the former, and am now one of the latter. But that doesn’t mean I want to have to deal with keeping my gun running happy this competition season. I’d rather spend the time working and improving myself.

Which kinda spoils the answer to the question, and the second way that the original question confused me. I won’t be selling my 1911 any time soon, even if it will go a month or more without getting rounds through it. I stick by the idea that the 1911 is an important landmark in handgun design and worth owning and shooting to remind us, for example, that the DA/SA problem was solved a century ago. I’ll take it to the range, I’ll put it in the hands of new shooters, and maybe after the major matches finish up this summer, I’ll dip my toes back into competing in CDP/Single Stack.

Yeah, I like that. Maybe I’ll make it my basketball season gun.


About Ben

Blog contributor. Active in IDPA and USPSA, and he won't flinch if you call him a rules lawyer. Ben is a beard wearing, bacon eating, whiskey drinking, motorcycle riding, coder.


  1. If I could find an alternative that fit my hand, I’d bench my 1911 too. I have had malfunctions in every match I’ve shot with this gun and the learning curve is high. After spending quite a bit on the gun and the associated gear, I’m sticking with it for this year. I really can’t justify any more spending at the moment. However, I would not recommend a 1911 for a new shooter. I’ve been learning some hard lessons with this “classic”.

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