Thursday, November 5, 2009

Super Mondo Mega Comparo!

Okay folks, this is it. This is the be-all, end-all comparison that will finally, once-and-for-all, settle the eternal question: Glock or 1911?

My good friend Weerd Beard was kind enough to take some measurements and get the weight of his Smith & Wesson SW1911SC, a scandium framed, Commander-sized 1911 from the good folks at Smith & Wesson. I provided my Glock G30, a double-stack DAO polymer-framed subcompact. In the pictures shown for comparison, I've used my Colt 1991A1 as a stand-in for Weerd's 1911SC; the only difference size-wise is that the 1991A1 is a Government model (5" barrel), adding 3/4 of an inch to the Commander model overall.

So here goes!

First off, the direct comparisons:

Glock vs. 1911: Height

Glock vs. 1911: Length

Glock vs. 1911: Width

The Glock, being a subcompact model, has the advantage in length (even subtracting 3/4" for the shorter Commander size of Weerd's 1911SC) and definitively in height. The 1911 is significantly thinner than the Glock. Both guns have other sizes available; there are micro-1911s with 3" barrels and shortened grips; there's also a single-stack subcompact Glock (G36) that's substantially thinner than the double-stack.

Next, the weights:

1911 Weight

Glock Weight

Only 1.3 ounces separate the two guns; that's pretty surprising - I would have thought the polymer-framed Glock to be substantially lighter. Had the 1911 been an all-steel model, the weight differential would be more dramatic (of course, as my grandfather used to say, had the dog not stopped to shit he'd have caught the rabbit, so...)

Other factors up for consideration are that the Glock carries 9 or 10 rounds (9 round magazine shown, and will accept a 13 round G21 (full-size) magazine. The 13 round magazines have +2 extensions available, meaning that you can have 15 rounds of .45 ACP goodness at the ready, added to the 11 (10+1) in the gun for a max of 26 rounds. The 1911 has an 8 round magazine, with 10 round magazines available, for a max of 19 rounds.

This is pretty much the end of the objective comparison; anything else that could be included would really be more subjective. Reliability, accuracy, ease of cleaning/tinkering, aftermarket parts, accessories; all of these are open to interpretation and/or rely on assumptions. This comparison is not meant to favor one pistol over the other, but merely to provide a direct comparison of physical characteristics of the two firearms.

I'd like to thank Weerd Beard for suggesting this comparison and for providing the specs and pics of his 1911SC. Blame him if you want to get into the holy mother of all opinion wars as to which of the two guns is a better platform... *g*

That is all.


Weer'd Beard said...

I actually thought the glock would be heavier because of the added cartridges. But then again in your configuration you only are rocking one extra round.

Also I must add that my 1911Sc is rocking a pair of Chip McCormick Slim Carry grips that make it carry a LOT better, and make the grip frame only about 0.1" wider than the slide.

also I have a commander-length guide rod in the gun which means it tips the scales at 2oz lower than the factory weight of 28oz without mag.

Great post!

Kris said...

I don't think this is a valid comparison to look at a sub-compact Glock versus a mid-sized 1911. A better comparison would be something like this Glock compared to a sub-compact 1911 like the Kimber Ultra Carry II.

Ross said...

Of course, you forgot the most important thing - the 1911 has been in continuous use for almost a CENTURY, three-quarters of that as the main sidearm for the world's best military... and would likely still be in use as such had not the Pentagon pantywaists decided that we needed ammunition parity with troops who use the wimpy Europellet.

OK, that should fan the flames enough.

Weer'd Beard said...

Kris, we need to make it fair for the Glock! ; ]

Firehand said...

For me, the real 'makes the difference' is the grips; I just don't like the Glock on that. I've fired them, they're good pistols, but I like the 1911 much better on that.

tom said...

Friend of mine works at the local SOT/FFL as a salesman and does instruction.

We argued about it millions of times but he actually convinced me, a card carrying member of the JMB Society, that GLOCKS make more sense for average people, most especially ones that don't practice. I hated to admit it but he was right as rain and I still never have owned a GLOCK, just fixed a lot of them.

They work without much knowledge, they are comfy, they ignore neglect, and they make good guns for purses and nightstands, almost like a revolver, though I'd still give a revolver better points on neglected reliability.

I will carry a 1911 forever because that's what I grew up on, walking uphill to school both ways and eating dirt because I liked it, but most people haven't spent as much time as some of us have with 11s. Suarez lets me register for courses and play 1911 and AR vs AK and GLOCK and I'm always told I'm wasting talent with lesser equipment :-)


Jay G said...


I wonder if it would have been dead-even had I used the 10 rounder? Hmmm.

[Jay makes mental note to try again tonight for S&Gs]

You know what else I should have done? I should have chucked my Gold Cup on the scale to see what a full-sized, all-steel 1911 weighs. Just for curiosity's sake.

Can you tell I like having a postal scale? :)


There are many possible responses to that criticism.

First off, I run what I brung - I don't happen to have a micro-1911 handy, nor know anyone close by with one, so getting something similar in size would be problematic.

Secondly, I'd argue that when one says "1911", the Government model is what comes to mind, not the Springfield EMP. Now, granted there, a full-sized Glock might be more apt under this criteria, but I'll refer to #1 again - I don't have a model G21. Yet. :)


Heh. You will notice that my only Glock is in the very manly .45 ACP caliber, of course... That's the only chambering that could get me to buy one of Gaston's plastic fantastics... Well, maybe 10mm too...


I'm in 100% agreement there; in fact, I swapped out the Hogue wraparound monogrips on the 1991A1 for the walnut just because it looked better for the picture. Okay, and the walnut grips are thinner for the size comparison as well.

There's simply no argument that the 1911 is more customizable, IMHO...

tom said...

My regular carry is a Micro-1911 that's been super customed by me. It gets a lot lighter as you empty the mag too, but it's a hell of a lot harder to conceal than the new plastic guns, just in my field experience. 3" barrel with 9 rounder. .45ACP. But it took a lot of work to make it not noticeable and comfy and I had to make some parts myself to suit me...Plastics vs 11s is like .223 on deer. You'll run into people that will fight that argument forever, but my friend convinced me that for a newbie that hadn't had a 1911 around since he was 7 (being me) and he's younger so his version of mil was Ber 92s, the GLOCK ie easier and simpler than 11s or 92s, and for the occasional shooter, either one of those ugly things or a XD or a revolver is probably a better bet if you ain't gonna practice and get to know yer girl.

FWIW, if it was an issue, the micro 1911 gets a lot lighter as the 185s zoom away :-)

Bet you're gonna have a hell of an argument here but I ain't in it. Just an "outside observer" that smiths.

Jay G said...


I'd be lying if I said I didn't think of the controversial nature of the comparison... ;)

I'm a fan of both platforms. The Glock is a solid, rugged, reliable gun that will digest anything I put into it (except lead, of course) and requires minimal maintenance. The 1911 is an accurate target pistol that's fun at the range and capable of amazing accuracy.

They both have their place.

As for the micro-1911s, I want so very badly to like them, but every time that I start thinking about one for concealed carry, I realize that my G30 carries more rounds in a more durable firearm. The gun is unaffected by sweat, simple to keep in top running form, and dirt-simple to operate.

Bottom line, for me, is that a 1911 isn't a carry gun, so I see no need for a super micro compact version.

No matter how incredibly cool I think they are...

Weer'd Beard said...

I'm with you on that last bit, Jay. I just can't find any love for the Micro-1911s.

I carry cocked-and-locked damn near every day, but I'd feel a lot different carrying cocked-and-locked in a pocket. That means you're carrying in some sort of belt or shoulder holster.

Well I can already conceal a Commander-sized 1911 damn well that way, so why not carry a bigger and easier to shoot 1911?

A J-frame or a small plastic DAO mouse gun is a much better option IMHO...espeshally when Kahr makes one in .45....

tom said...

Jay made the point my SOT/FFL made. I did not dispute it. But I grew up on 1911s so I have an EXCUSE! Second best to me would be a S&W in .41...which you don't see flying of the shelves either.


Jay G said...


Exactly. While I think the micro-1911s are REALLY cool-looking, I've heard too many horror stories (Para Warthog?) about the reliability - or lack thereof - to trust it as a CCW piece.

Now, once the new S&W compact becomes MA compliant...

Tom, that is 100% understandable. If the 1911 is what you're comfortable with and can shoot well, then it is ABSOLUTELY the right gun for you.

tom said...

I spent about a grand on parts I didn't make myself and did so many spring swaps I could do them in my sleep tonight to make my 3" work well. Cooler Texas weather, I carry a tweaked Kimber Custom. No night sights, nothing extraneous and Virgil's Cobra Mags (which also feed the compacts and Dan's and stuff). Interesting thing to keep in mind...if you have to shoot somebody your gun is going into evidence, even in Texas, and so I don't carry stuff that isn't spendy except my time.

Many people don't think about that.

Till the case is over it's their's, not your's. You cant has it! Sis is married to an elected constable and he drilled that in my head.

The best carry gun probably isn't worth losing to the state for a year. Carry something good enough.

For the same reason, I like 185s in the compact 11 and 230s in the Commander and full size. Good enough and make sure it works. RELIABLE.

But it'd be a lie if I didn't say I spent years perfecting these girls and the ones under glass at the store, some are better than others but micro 11s are generally not reliable with somebody who isn't stout wristed. GLOCKS and revolvers work most every trigger pull.


Mikael said...

"ow, granted there, a full-sized Glock might be more apt under this criteria, but I'll refer to #1 again - I don't have a model G21. Yet. :)"

I've shot one, it's a large brick, and that's about how it handles. Stock sights are subpar, trigger is crap(but you're used to glock triggers, so YMMV). Weighs less than a metal full-size, but it's bulkier. The Beretta 92FS I shot just before it was positively sleek in comparison.

HK_USP_45 said...

WTF I don't understand the point of this comparison. You're comparing the dimensions and weight of a sub-compact to a full size pistol.

This is like comparing a M249 to a Remington 700. Or a Ford pickup truck to a Toyota Corolla.

Hmmmm....let me go compare the dimensions of my FNH 5.7 to my Ruger LCP.

Jay G said...

It's a Glock vs. 1911 thread. What more need be said?

Weer'd Beard said...

It's also my Day-to-Day cold weather carry piece compared to Jay's Day-to-Day cold weather carry piece.

Both happen to be in .45 ACP, and both happen to be of a much lauded/hated pedigree.

What's not to love about the comparison?

Plus I was curious to see how my Iron which I love a lot, compared to Jay's which I think is a pretty kickass piece.

ZerCool said...

Here ya go, one more:
1911A1, steel frame, Government, with 7 rounds of 230gr .45ACP.

jimbob86 said...

"Bottom line, for me, is that a 1911 isn't a carry gun, so I see no need for a super micro compact version."

.... the Important Words in there being "for me".......

...Otherwise, I'd have to either disagree, or have you prove to me that my EMP is the exception that proves the rule.

wv- "spackin" as in "Wuz spackin th' day when all guns wuz steel... dem wuz th' good ol' daze...

Jay G said...

That's why I put those two very important words in, jimbob...

A lot of it, too, is that living in MA my options are SEVERELY limited - the only micro-1911 style guns available new are the Para WartHog and the... Oh yeah, that's the only one.

Now, OTOH, when S&W comes out with their ES compact 1911, I may be tempted to give that a shot...

NMM1AFan said...

Glocks are fine if you have big hands, if you have smallish hands or short fingers not so much. I have the same problem with DA/SA guns, I just can't reach the trigger in DA mode.

I used to own a Model 20, it didn't fit me and I couldn't shoot it well.

Ross said...

Well, Jay, I have two full-size 1911s and a Para P12 (compact hi-cap 1911). I also have a Glock 22, just because I got a good deal on it and I felt like getting one since I seem to shoot them well - every time I borrowed a Glock, I tore out the centers of the targets - but it seems to be turning into a safe queen. Maybe I'll bring it to the Pumpkin Shoot on Saturday.

But for everyday carry, my 637 and my Kahr K9 are what I look to.

However... I have to say, professionally, I don't care - I'll sell any dealer any gun I can get my mitts on. I gotta say, I've got one guy down in Missouri that every time I call, he buys another two used G21s. I'm gonna be sorry when we run out of them...

tom said...

The real problem with compact 1911s is getting a correct balance between springs, loadings, and using GOOD magzines with a good feed into the barrel, various forms of ramping all work.

JMB designed it around 230grain hardball in the size he designed it. You get more leeway with longer slide action regarding short cycling, or the opposite-battering of the hardware than you do with a faster short slide-short action.

I've got a favored Semi-Kimber/Semi-Tom Full size that will eat anything that has .45ACP on the headstamp, so far (I will qualify that I haven't had a misfeed but it could happen). Compacts I've played with, you either end up tailoring the gun to the ammo or the ammo to the gun, bit of both perhaps. Once you have that sorted they are reliable, or have been for me.

One other thing. People like 1911s because of all the drop in upgrades you can do...Put a Skeleton target hammer in a stock Micro-Compact Springer. You either have to relieve the grip safety to clear the hammer without making a hand biter out of it or buy spendy gun specific parts. So it significantly limits "drop in" type upgrades.

Just some random thoughts from somebody who's been building such beasts for twenty years or so. FWIW, if one chooses to buy a "gunsmith frame kit" to do up their own, Para leaves more meat on everything as to frame dimensions, giving you more options in your final build. It also means it isn't a "grab some punches, a screwdriver, and a bushing wrench" project. Machining and bench metal work will be involved.

Nothing wrong with compact 1911s, put they are more finicky than their bigger brothers in set up and feeding.