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A Pro Walks Away From The 1911

At Gun Nuts Media, I was shocked to see this article headline.  Even more so when I read the professional in question was Hilton Yam!

About Hilton Yam

Hilton Yam is the founder of 10-8 Performance, LLC. He is a full time law enforcement officer in Florida with extensive experience working robbery and violent fugitives. He is currently assigned to firearms training and SWAT. He is a team leader as well as the lead instructor for his team, responsible for providing training in firearms, CQB, rappelling, defensive tactics, and team tactics. Hilton is also responsible for RDT&E of equipment. He has carried a 1911 extensively on duty, and has spent a great deal of time examining what makes the guns succeed and fail.

An excerpt from Mr. Yam’s essay:

It is easy to get caught up in the mystique and history of the 1911, but the design is over 100 years old, and we have learned a few things about designing and manufacturing since then.  If you enjoy the craftsmanship of a finely built 1911 or you enjoy tinkering on your own, by all means continue to enjoy them.  However, if training, shooting, and performance is your primary goal and you lack the resources, time, patience, or knowledge to keep after a 1911, then be realistic and choose something more modern.  These days I spend much less time at the workbench fixing my training guns or having to wonder if the latest build or mod will work.  I no longer need the 1911 as a crutch, and can now just concentrate on the performance.

Of course, I am not a LEO, SWAT trainer, and team leader like Mr. Yam.  I do greatly respect his judgement and expertise.  And, perhaps, if I had the finances, I would opt for a carry pistol that was more reliable and less finicky than a 1911?

BUT, the point is moot, as I do not and will not.  I will continue to carry my S&W 442 electroless nickel and (weather-permitting) my National Match 5″ 1911.  The only hiccups I’ve had with MY 1911 were due to improper maintenance (need of lubrication and lack of cleaning).  When reasonably clean and lubed, she runs like a champ!  And has for over 15,000 rounds since 1983!

Perhaps old-timers like me are akin to the guys 100 years ago who stuck by their horses or black powder?  I’m not a specops guy or even a LEO.  I’m just an old crippled guy on disability who doesn’t get out much.

But, plastic guns STILL have no soul.

h/t Gun Nuts Media, Modern Service Weapons


About guffaw1952

I'm a child of the 50's. libertarian, now medically-retired. I've been a certified firearms trainer, a private investigator, and worked for a major credit card company for almost 22 years. I am a proud NRA Life Member. I am a limited-government, free-market capitalist, who believes in the U.S. Constitution and the Rule of Law.


14 thoughts on “A Pro Walks Away From The 1911

  1. While I don’t currently own a 1911, I have carred them as an issue sidearm in the past. Last one I carried was a Remington Rand 1911-a1, older than I was. I am of the opinion that if you buy one from a good manufacturer, made as close to the original spec as possible and don’t start having it tinkered with you should be okay. Modern steels and manufacturing make it better than in 1912. My preference is for mil spec with better sights and good magazines.

    Posted by Matt | March 11, 2014, 9:52 am
    • I would generally agree with you. While mine is a NM slide, it was hand fitted by a top-notch gunsmith to a Vega (stainless) frame, and tuned to perfection!
      The only real additions were the Swenson ambi safety and Bomars. Except for changing out the 18.5 pound recoil spring every 2-3000 rounds, no other mechanical changes have been made.
      And I’ve excellent magazines.

      Posted by guffaw1952 | March 11, 2014, 10:28 am
  2. I’ll keep both of y 1911’s. My current carry gun is a High Standard Executive. All I’ve done to it is polish the feed ramps, a extended safety and slide release, put a fiber optic front sight on and Houge grips. The only time I had a issue was with some bad ammo I got. With my target ammo and carry ammo,never a issue.

    Posted by robertsgunshop | March 11, 2014, 10:45 am
  3. Me too! I picked-up a faintly used Kobra Carry to inspect at a gun-shop just to *see* it, and when I touched it my hand was filled with electricity. It touched every nerve, perfectly. I sold three guns to buy it. My Swiss K-31, a favorite National Postal Meter Carbine, and a German Sig P220… It’s never had a fault and is tight and runs on rails. I’ve never even fired a Glock, so I can’t comprehend their appeal.

    Posted by NotClauswitz | March 11, 2014, 3:45 pm
    • Great!
      In the interest of equanimity, I’ve owned three Glocks. They are well-made machines for their purpose. I had a 17 (with +2 magazine baseplates),
      a 26, and a 30. All with night sights.
      They ran like champions – and I never had a mechanical issue with them!
      They were in my safe when it was stolen. And have never surfaced. (Mexico?)
      While I wouldn’t mind having another, the idea holds no passion for me.
      Not unlike my S&W 24 3″ round butt. Or my Browning High Power.
      I MISS them!

      Posted by guffaw1952 | March 11, 2014, 4:41 pm
  4. No they don’t… But I do carry one when I need a ‘smaller’ profile…

    Posted by oldnfo | March 11, 2014, 4:46 pm
  5. There is a warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I leave the house with my 1911 strapped to my hip, but like you I love the convenience of a snub nose revolver for its simplicity and reliability. I have enjoyed training with both weapons, learning to control the recoil of .357 magnum loads and building a relationship with my 1911. I have a glock as well and I love it and shoot it very well, but it doesn’t have that same feeling when you hold the combination of steel and wood in your hands. BTW there is nothing wrong with black powder, because if you haven’t trekked out into the wilderness with a set of Dragoons on your saddle you haven’t lived and in my state you can’t get a DUI on a horse (you can get a drunk and disorderly though).

    Posted by siddharthaipriest | March 12, 2014, 7:03 am
  6. Glocks are more reliable. If you are going to run a thousand rounds through a pistol in a weekend, Glocks rule. I still do not like the way they feel, nor do I shoot as accurately with a Glock.

    With firearms, I believe that one size does not fit all (or even most), and pistols are even more that way than rifles and shotguns. My short-fingered hands do not hold a Glock well. A 1911 fits much better in my hand, although a heavy revolver is the best from my perspective.

    I personally will sacrifice a bit of reliability and even a lot of capacity for accuracy. Spray and pray has never appealed to me.

    Posted by tweell | March 13, 2014, 12:13 pm

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