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  #1  
Old 05-08-2007, 09:44 PM
full-auto full-auto is offline
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Comparing the S&W, Springfield and Kimber 1911's - my next purchase




I've been on a 1911 buying spree lately. I'm still in the market for another high end 1911 besides the EMP and Sig GSR I've purchased in the last couple of days. For my next 1911 I've been considering the following:

S&W1911PD
Kimber TRE/RL II
Springfield TRP
Springfield Operator

Now, I've gone into this without any preconceived notions about any of these pistols. I've read good and bad stories about all of these guns (including my new Sig GSR which so far I love). I've decided to judge each on it's own merits and first hand experience.

I'm not too far along in this process since I just started this quest on Sunday. Here's where I am.

S&W1911PD: Very interested in this pistol. So far I've only seen a two in person that aren't the PD models, but close. I really like the SC Commander I handled tonight. Too bad the pics I took at the shop didn't turn out (too dark and it's a black gun).

What I like:
- The SC is VERY light weight.
- Well finished, no plastic parts visible.
- Nice action (slide to frame fit)
- Nice trigger (crisp, light)
- Factory mags seem pretty nice. They have bumpers on the floor plates and seem well finished.
- Marking are well done and tasteful.

What I don't like:
- Full length guide rod.
- Finish seems a little easy to damage, lots of marks on the display model.
- Safety not real positive on the two I handled, I like a very positive click.
- The external extractor looks kind of small compared to the massive claw on my GSR. I know S&W's external extractors are hailed as the perfect example of how it's done... the GSR has twice the surface area. We'll see... this won't hold me back.

It's still in the running, I want to see the PD model before deciding. I noticed that between the two guns I handled that the over all fit and finish varied ever so slightly. If I were to buy one, I would want to handle the exact gun I was going to buy before getting it.

Kimber TRE:
I've ruled this gun out. The price is $1,100 at my shop (which is negotiable) but having just paid $900 for my GSR, from what I see in the fit and finish the GSR is far better finished with higher quality parts used. Here's why I've ruled the Kimber out:

- Plastic main spring housing. ***? This is a premium 1911 and they use a plastic main spring housing? Here's a pic:

- The markings on the slide look like some kid in a high school shop class etched them with a Dremel tool. Here's another pic. Look how the letters vary in size, are crooked and basically look awful.

- Although I couldn't get a picture, the gun had all sorts of machine marks inside the slide. If they thought it wasn't visible from the outside, they simply didn't finish it. I expect more from a top of the line gun.
- The magazines were worse than original military contract 1911 magazines! For $1,200 you would think you could at the very least get two high quality magazines with your gun.

- It had a full length guide rod, something I don't want in a 1911.
- The trigger was creepy, kind of heavy.

The Kimber, like all 1911's, felt pretty good in my hand. I liked the added weight of the rails in the front. But no matter how many good things I mention, they simply won't out weigh the really bad qualities I've outlined above. I've ruled this gun out completely.

I haven't seen the Springfields yet, I'm hoping they get an Operator in next week. They have one on order. I won't make my mind up until I handle these final two pistols and get a chance to compare them.

So, I'm down to the S&W, TRP and Operator.
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  #2  
Old 05-08-2007, 10:06 PM
F16DCC F16DCC is offline
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Just my opinion here, but the Kimber TLE/RL II should not be compared to a Springfield TRP. I would compare the Kimber Gold Combat (one of the top of the line models) to the TRP. Even though I am a die hard Kimber lover, I would pick a TRP between that and a TLE... I dont know anything about the Smith.

The TRP is probably the nicest and highest quality out of your choices IMO...
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Last edited by F16DCC; 05-08-2007 at 10:27 PM.
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  #3  
Old 05-08-2007, 10:38 PM
full-auto full-auto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F16DCC
Just my opinion here, but the Kimber TLE/RL II should not be compared to a Springfield TRP. I would compare the Kimber Gold Combat (one of the top of the line models) to the TRP. Even though I am a die hard Kimber lover, I would pick a TRP between that and a TLE... I dont know anything about the Smith.

The TRP is probably the nicest and highest quality out of your choices IMO...
Yeah, I know the TRP is in the $1500 range is hand fitted. I'm hoping to see one here soon in person.

Right now I am very impressed with the Sig GSR. The fit, finish, quality of parts and even magazines is superior to other guns in its class.
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  #4  
Old 05-08-2007, 10:38 PM
cbecker33 cbecker33 is offline
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Why not look at Dan Wesson, they make a great pistol!

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  #5  
Old 05-08-2007, 11:43 PM
ambluemax ambluemax is offline
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[steps up on soap box] Just because its plastic doesn't mean it is an inferior part. Not all plastics are created equal and some in fact are stronger and more durable than metal. My dad has worked with designing and selling plastic parts to replace metal ones his entire carrier and preaches that to me aaaaalllll the time. Do your research before you write it off because its plastic. Had JMB had access to such materials in 190(?) when he was designing the pistol, there's a good chance he would have seriously considered using them in his design. I'm not saying its good or bad in this case, but I am saying that is a lame excuss to rag on a pistol because of a manufacture's choice in material- just like those people who won't "trust" a 1911 with mim parts. Believe it or not material technology has evolved in the last 100 years, JMB used the best he had to work with for his application at the time and Kimber uses what they belive to be the best material for theirs. And that's all I have to say about that.

Now I've really opened up a can of worms, sorry it bugs me but I will say no more, I couldn't resist.

[steps off soap box]

Springfield sings to me the best, but you really can't go horribly wrong with any of your canidates. Look at them side by side and buy the one that stands out when you hold it.
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  #6  
Old 05-08-2007, 11:46 PM
Ironcross Ironcross is offline
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Out of the choices listed I'd go with the Springfield TRP.
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  #7  
Old 05-09-2007, 12:02 AM
full-auto full-auto is offline
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If plastic main spring housings were revolutionary, I suspect Les Baer, Wilson Combat, Springfield, S&W, Sig and others competing in the market place would also be using it. The plastic main spring housing on the Kimber looked terrible as you can see from the pic. The color was way off, I could tell it was plastic from a distance. When I looked at the bottom and saw the uneven color and molding marks, I was completely turned off. It may be strong as the best metal housing, but it looks terrible and this is just as important in a top of the line pistol as function.

This coupled with the low quality magazine just screams "cheap"... not something I expect from a $1,200 premium handgun. Would you want that housing (pictured) on your $1,200 handgun?

That's my complaint and I'm sticking to it.
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  #8  
Old 05-09-2007, 12:54 AM
chesster chesster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PANZER-1
Out of the choices listed I'd go with the Springfield TRP.
Ditto.
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  #9  
Old 05-09-2007, 05:34 AM
45caldan 45caldan is offline
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Ever heard of Colt?
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  #10  
Old 05-09-2007, 07:34 AM
.45ist .45ist is offline
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+1 on the Dan Wesson!
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  #11  
Old 05-09-2007, 07:41 AM
full-auto full-auto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45caldan
Ever heard of Colt?
Yes and I have a couple.
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  #12  
Old 05-09-2007, 07:55 AM
mitrod3 mitrod3 is offline
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I have owned or currently own the TLE II, TRP and S&WPD and have fired the Springer TRP Operator enough to know it well.

If you are talking about the Springer "TRP" Operator and not just their Operator, go for it. Their TRP Operator is one of the finest out of box guns I (and a number of the folks at the range) have handled. Otherwise I would say go with the TRP from the list your have up here. My own TRP is one of the best shooters (stock gun) that I own.

I take it you are going for combat sights and not target sights? The TRP Operator has adjustable combat sights instead of the fixed ones on the other guns.

Wesson does make a good gun, just make sure you get the sights you are after.

Colts are fine also, but none of mine have ever the matched out of box accuracy of any of the four guns (really good accuracy on each) you listed, but again, a combat gun doesn't need to be a super precision shooter.

Good luck and good shooting to you.

Last edited by mitrod3; 05-09-2007 at 08:01 AM.
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  #13  
Old 05-09-2007, 08:24 AM
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Thanks Mitrod.

As a side note, so far this is the 1911 to beat:







Notice how clean the lines are, how even in the slide serrations the machining is beautiful. Even the markings are uniform, tasteful and well executed.

I'm hoping the TRP will be as nice or nicer (I don't know that would be possible though!). The S&W comes very close, but it just doesn't display the same level of craftsmanship in my opinion.
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  #14  
Old 05-09-2007, 08:27 AM
mitrod3 mitrod3 is offline
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That's one very nice looking weapon you have there. Enjoy.

Can't speak to the lines and beauty of my TRP but the function and accuracy is as good as I need and desire on a weapon.

Be safe, shoot well.

Last edited by mitrod3; 05-09-2007 at 08:48 AM.
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  #15  
Old 05-09-2007, 08:35 AM
surjimmy surjimmy is offline
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A custom 1911 builder told me a TRP is the best 1911 off the shelf. The plastic main spring was the reason the Kimber was turned down by our local Police for their Tac-Team.
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  #16  
Old 05-09-2007, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surjimmy
A custom 1911 builder told me a TRP is the best 1911 off the shelf. The plastic main spring was the reason the Kimber was turned down by our local Police for their Tac-Team.
One of our local sheriff's works at the gun shop where I buy my firearms. He was telling me that they are getting rid of their Sig 229's in .357 Sig in favor of a .45 ACP handgun for standard issue. They've decided to do this after two shootings where the hollowpoint of the .357 Sig round failed to expand and bullets exited the perp and lodged themselves into a wall. They are concerned about the liability of over penetration so they're moving to .45's to avoid future problems.

They've been evaluating several platforms and Kimber submitted a TLE for testing. They too didn't like the use of plastics and the fact the TLE they were given had several malfunctions. Not only that, but Kimbers pricing to the department was $1,200 per pistol when he can buy them cheaper though the gun store!! They have ruled Kimber completely out.
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  #17  
Old 05-09-2007, 10:34 PM
moonshade moonshade is offline
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Well, I would say definately the Springfield or S&W, but I can't really give a definiative answer as to which. I can say that I have an S&W SC commander which the PD replaced. For a base pistol, I like it. You were talking about scratches on the ones at the shop. Were they blue/matt finished? Mine has the stainless slide & it wears well. The extractor is a little narrower than the one on your Sig, but I have only had a few ejection issues & that was during breakin. It even fired Federal FMJ-SWC MATCH without an issue. All the PDs I looked at & my SC have a definative "click" when the safety is engaged/disengaged. If the ones you looked at didn't & were scratched, I would check another dealer's inventory. I haven't shot a TRP & only have a SA Ultra Compact, so I can't say much on the TRP. However, between my Ultra & the XD I had, I definately give the SA high marks. (Getting ready to get another XD here soon. Kicking myself for selling the other, but had to recoup funds from buying 2 1911's).
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Old 05-10-2007, 01:35 AM
surjimmy surjimmy is offline
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I bought a Springfield NM on the advice of my friend who builds 1911's. Have not been sorry, he's done $150.00-$200.00 worth of work on it and, all I can say is HOLLY COW. One thing he did that I never heard of is crowning the barrel to 11 degrees, it's to make it more accurate. I can't shoot this gun to it's pontential. The sad story it's going up for sale for funding of another gun that I can't pass up, but the next 1911 rest assured will be a Springfield and the next and the next...etc....When I was in the USMC we had 2 shooters in my unit that was in the President's Top 100. For those of you who don't know that's about the best in the country. Almost all of the competition shooters had Springfields and had them custom fit for their needs. That's saying something for Springfield. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm sold on Springfield.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:44 AM
Slvr Surfr Slvr Surfr is offline
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Im sure SW is probably the cheapest price wise of all the guns you listed. Bang for buck you cant beat them. I have not ever shot a TRP. I own a Loaded my self, and I dont think it compares to the TRP.

If you plan on packing the gun go with the SW Scandium in a commander size. I think it gives the best of both worlds being shootability, and reliability. Its also only 28oz empty.
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  #20  
Old 05-10-2007, 08:31 AM
brainiac brainiac is offline
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I currently own a TLE and two S&W 1911SC's, all are very fine pistols and extremely accurate, with zero failures. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either one. For all-around shooting pleasure and fun the TLE is my favorite handgun ever, but the commander-size 1911SC shoots just as well and is a superior carry pistol because of its light weight. Last gun show I was at (couple of weeks ago) you could get a carbon black TLE for $770 and a S&W 1911SC for $800.
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  #21  
Old 05-10-2007, 09:26 AM
DWspecialist1911 DWspecialist1911 is offline
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It's hard to go wrong with any of your choices. But there are several things I feel need mentioned. As far as the Kimber, the plastic MSH is not a big deal at all. It works great. DOn't like it, just swap it out with the style of your choice. The mag question, most guns ship with questionable quality mags. Again, just use your mag of choice. And $1200 is way too much for the gun mentioned. As far as Sig goes, they can be nice, but most of them need a little or a lot of "tweaking" to run right. Do some reading on the Sig forum for lots of known "issues". And talk about a cheap mag, wait until you try out those Checkmates that now come with Sigs.

TRPs are very nice, but do still use as much MIM as a Kimber, and should be compared more against a Kimber Gold Combat, as mentioned earlier. Smiths
seem to make a nice 1911, and the light weight is sure nice. But they also seem to have their share of cosmetic issues, and many seem to have a very light thumb safety. Read enough reports about EVERY gun companyand you would be afraid to buy anything. I always just examine the gun I plan to buy and make my decsion from what I find. Good luck.
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  #22  
Old 05-10-2007, 09:41 AM
full-auto full-auto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glocker1911
Do some reading on the Sig forum for lots of known "issues". And talk about a cheap mag, wait until you try out those Checkmates that now come with Sigs.
I have done some reading on the Sig forum and I find very little posted about the Gen 3 Sig GSR Revolutions that bad. The reports you're talking about come from 2004-2005 with the first run guns. Just like S&W's first run guns, which had all sorts of major issues, which have since been cured for the most part.

A friend of mine recently purchased a S&W1911PD which was acting oddly when the trigger was pulled and released. He took it apart to find this MIM part which was horribly out of spec:



That's the disconnector... look at that HUGE casting flaw.

People read things about the GSR's dating back to 2004 and to this day make comments as if the gun hasn't been through 2 major revisions since the early problems. Searching the Sig forums returns very little negative info on the current generation of GSR's.

My local dealer has sold 22 GSR's this year and not one of them has come back. They sold quite a few of the early ones in 2004 and many of them did come back for repairs (shipped to Sig).

It's funny how Kimber has many more problems with current production guns than Sig currently does, and S&W is still putting parts in their 1911's like the one pictured above yet people still comment on 3 year old news on no longer produced handguns.

Last edited by full-auto; 05-10-2007 at 09:47 AM.
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  #23  
Old 05-10-2007, 09:52 AM
DWspecialist1911 DWspecialist1911 is offline
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Sorry, I didn't mean to insult your favorite gun!

BTW, yes a lot of SIgs problems were with the earlier guns, but there are still issues with current Gen Revolutions as far as feeding and extraction issues being reported. And although they don't use MIM, a few of the parts on the ones I've had, mainly the grip and thumb safety, looked downright awful, with mold marks and "lines" visible in them. As I said, Sig does make some nice 1911s, but I wouldcarefully check one before buying it.

Yes Kimber does have a lot of issues with current production. Their going back to an internal extractor should help a lot of that. And to be honest, I personally would only consider owning a pre series II Kimber myself (in fact I do, a Gold Combat).

To me, Sig is in exactly the same boat as Kimber series II 1911s. If you get a good example of either one, you will have a great 1911. If you get a "problem" one, it may never run right. And the bad part is that it is hard to tell the difdference between the "good" and the"bad".
"
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  #24  
Old 05-10-2007, 09:58 AM
full-auto full-auto is offline
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Yeah, I agree that with just about any 1911 maker you're going to have to carefully inspect the gun before buying it. That is a shame, but it's the way of the world. I've wanted a S&W 1911 for a while now but every one of them I've handled so far had some visible imperfection that kept me from taking it home.

I've also heard about lots of horror stories with 1911's from just about every manufacturer including S&W, Springfield, Kimber, Colt, Dan Wesson, etc.

For being one of the worlds most respected and reliable designs, it seems that almost every manufacturer has trouble making a consistently good one.
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  #25  
Old 05-10-2007, 10:21 AM
jonesy_26 jonesy_26 is offline
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I think the reason every maker has some kind of issue is that the 1911, while inherently a robust design, has A LOT of moving parts. The more parts you have in any mechanical system, the more chances you have for something to fail. And with tolerances getting tighter industry wide, when one part is out of spec, the system as a whole tends to not tolerate it, and there are failures. With tighter tolerances, there is also more need for break-in and the parts to wear naturally and seat themselves together.

I have a Kimber Pro carry, and had a few FTF's in the 1st 100 rounds. Now after about another 100, nothing. Its running fine.
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