Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Which Jay Stirs The Pot...

Okay, so there's some dustup over micro-1911s not being reliable. A certain instructor, handsome devil though he may be, has offered to refund the full course tuition for anyone that takes his intensive handgun course if they take it with a micro 1911 and it performs without a flaw. While I would love to take him up on that offer, I can't commit to a training course in the immediate future.

What I can do, though, is an approximation. I'll bring my Colt 1991A1 Compact to the range with me next chance I get. I'll run as much Tulammo steel-cased 230 grain .45 ACP as I can through it in one session, with the goal of running 500 rounds through it without cleaning/lubing/spit-shining it/any maintenance whatsoever. Oh, sure, it's not a thousand rounds shot in a weekend, but it's more than enough shooting to see if the miniature 1911 will have problems.

So, we'll see if this:

Can run as well as these:

Why, you ask, am I doing this? Well, there are several reasons:

1. I'm genuinely curious. I've owned the Colt for two and a half years now and never had a bad experience with it at the range. I honestly think it can handle the stress.

2. If it works, I get to prove that there's at least one micro-1911 that can handle a lot of rounds without stoppages or failures; if it doesn't work, I learn something about my Colt and I get to shoot it a lot.

3. I am an unabashed fan of the 1911 platform. I know that polymer handguns are all the rage, and I have myself a few of 'em (including a revolver, even), but I love me some 1911 goodness.

4. Um, hello? I wasn't about to let the drama llama slip by without at least catching a quick ride! Why let all the other bloggers have their drama fun?

So, that's the plan in a nutshell. Over the span of a range trip (or, most likely, two), I'll run 500 rounds through my Colt 1991A1 in an attempt to break it. Along the way, I'll refrain from cleaning, lubricating, or in any way, shape, or form performing anything resembling maintenance. While it's not the same as taking it to an intensive pistol class, it's a reasonable facsimile thereof. I will meticulously document the round count and *any* issues that rise during the course of the shooting.

I'm going to try to run this over Memorial Day weekend. I've already got one range trip scheduled with Brad_in_MA; I might have to schedule a second trip to finish the torture test, but I'll muddle through it. I know, I know, the sacrifices I make in the name of science... I'll even front the cost of the ammunition - although if there's a friendly ammunition supplier out there that would like to sponsor the test (ahem), there's a spot on the sidebar for another MArooned supporter...

So, place your bets on how the Colt 1991A1 Compact does!

That is all.


Anonymous said...

Jay, I ran my Glock 19 for a 5 day course and 2600 rounds with out cleaning, lubing, or wiping down at the US Training Center.

The only hiccups were due to me riding the slide stop.

I would expect any of my guns to make 500 rounds in a session and I'm not sure it really gets to Rob's issue.

Shooting 200 rounds through it on 5 different range trips gets closer.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

That Colt doesn't count, Jay. It's a compact, not a sub compact.

Robert said...

I thought he agreed to let the wager stand for any 1911, not just the tiny ones.

Jay G said...


Interesting. I thought the major issue was the stress put on the gun from shooting a lot of rounds at one time. Five trips of 200 rounds each sounds almost too easy... :D


I thought the deal was anything shorter than Commander-length was no good.

Although I do see that he specifically called out the 3" models, and my 1991A1 is 3.5"...


See above. Maybe my Colt is too big?

On that note, though, it occurred to me that I have a Glock 30, a Sig P250 Subcompact, and the Colt. All are about the same size. I could do a comparison shoot... :)

Tam said...

FWIW: While I wouldn't personally buy another Officer's-size 1911, plenty of good pistolsmiths will do custom work on those, but not on the 3" Kimber/Springer/Para/Etc, due to the difference in reliability. You get down to the 3" guns and you're looking at recommended recoil spring replacements every ~250 rounds. That's four recoil springs for a two-day pistol class...

Balloon Goes Up,

"The only hiccups were due to me riding the slide stop."

That's because it's a Glock. If you ride the slide stop on a 1911, it's because it's an antiquated POS and you should have bought a Glock. ;)

Jim22 said...

You know there are at least two problems with the 1911's. First is the reliability problem with ball ammo. I have owned at least eight full size 1911's, from a Remington Rand military surplus to a Colt Gold Cup. None would go 500 rounds without a failure.

The second is their reluctance to digest open point ammo. They are more reliable with ball but still not 100% HP ammo is worse. Some brands will not work at all. It depends on your gun which it will like.

I don't criticize your fascination with the 1911. But, there are many guns which are more reliable. I think reliability is the foremost consideration for a defense gun.

Randy said...

The two problems are ball ammo and Hollow points? Isn't that like saying "this car's only two handling problems are turning and stopping"?

Old Windways said...

What exactly is the issue with FMJ ball ammo? I thought that was the one thing 1911's did flawlessly.

Wally said...

Jay, you run the test and I'll crunch the data to build a reliability model out of your results.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm......Having just had a failure with a Commander model which had functioned flawlessly to that point, I'm very interested.

I did run it considerably past the round count recommended by the manufacturer to swap out recoil springs, though.

Anonymous said...

You know of you are doing this in the name of science then you must replicate your results in order to validate the same. This of course means if your pistol breaks you must fix it and try to break it again to see if the results come out the same. Just saying.

On another note, CCI/SPEER/BLAZER makes ammo for short barrel guns. Would be interested to know the outcome when someone uses that one in this test.

Angus McThag said...

He's manned up and offered to refund tuition?

It was just recompensation for ammo just the other day.

Did he remove the operator error weaseling from his offer too?

Seems to me that he's most cheesed off that people are bringing guns he doesn't want to teach people how to operate.

Still, if I need 2,000 round reliability out of my handgun, the days of colander hats are well upon us. How much damn ammo do you carry on you when you carry? Bet it's well below 10% of 2,000 rounds.

A fight where I need 2,000 rounds sounds like a rifle engagement, and the need to carry concealed has evaporated like a fart in the wind.

Don M said...

One equation for reliability estimates assuming a constant hazard rate, and an 80% confidence (you accept as customer, being wrong one time out of 5)

Mean Rounds between Failure (80% lower confidence level, that means that

MRBF(80%LCL)= 2R/(chiinv(0.2,2*f+2)
R is number of rounds
f is number of failures
0.2 is the significance, to get the 80% lower confidence level
Chiinv is a function in excel.

Of course if you want a 50% LCL (you are high half the time, and low half the time) you change the significance to 0.5

Don M said...

That is MTBFR=2R/(chiinv(0.2, 2 x f + 2))

Don M said...

signif Fails Rounds MRBF
0.2 0 500 310
0.2 1 500 166
0.2 2 500 116
0.2 3 500 90
0.2 4 500 74

Don M said...

sig F R MRBF
0.2 0 500 310.6674673
0.2 1 500 166.9834707
0.2 2 500 116.8489158
0.2 3 500 90.66107985
0.2 4 500 74.39392621

Skip said...

Lessee, I gots 4000 rounds through a 5" Kimber with SWC, ball, hp's all copper, lrn, and who knows surplus.
Not one belch, hiccup, or fart.
Carry it ever' day, shoot it twice a week, and I must be doing it wrong.
All the bloggers tell me a 1911 Kimber is a POS and ya can't carry it.
Is it me or the bloggers?
Still on my hip.

Sailorcurt said...

My first thought was pretty much what Angus said:

Did I miss a war somewhere nearby?

Small guns are for concealed carry, not battle. I don't know about anyone else, but I find it difficult to conceal 2000 rounds of ammo on my person and even if one could conceal it, I'd think the size of the gun you're concealing to discharge the 2000 rounds through, would be a pretty minor detail.

I'm not defending tiny 1911's per se...I don't own one. I just don't get what the fuss is about.

If that's what someone shoots well and finds comfortable to carry, and they want to take classes to learn to employ it more effectively...I guess if this guy doesn't want them spending their money on his training, they should simply find a different trainer to give their money to.

Problem solved.