One of the most recognizable and well-known guns in the world is the American iconic 1911. For generations, the 1911 pistol has been on the side of the American military and law enforcement thanks to its versatility, excellent performance in self-defense as well as target-shooting, and of course, the old-school, straightforward design.
The 1911 pistol is truly a badass among the other models and stands tall even when in competition against other notable brands like Savage of Smith Wesson. Overall speaking, 1911 pistols are known as being reliable, accurate, versatile ad hard-hitting.
However, when it comes to buying a 1911 pistol, one will come across numerous different brands. All these brands’ claims are the same, relying on this pistol’s century-long history and quality. But, not all 1911 brands provide a good pistol; there are some brands that completely miss the point of the building and having 1911, so their versions are far from good-quality, reliability, and accuracy.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll talk about those brands and why you should avoid their 1911s at all costs. But, we’ll also mention some of our favorite 1911 brands and talk about why you should check them out. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
The 4 Worst 1911 Brands To Avoid
Northern Industrial Corporation, also known as Norinco, is a Chinese state-owned defense corporation known for its manufacturing of civil and military products. The corporation also takes part in domestic civil construction and military defense projects, which makes it the world’s largest defense contractor.
Norinco exports their military small arm and is generally known for some of the highest quality products, like the M305 (Norinco’s version of M14 which they used from the captured Americans during the Vietnam war and made replicas thanks to reverse engineering).
However, Norinco didn’t stop with the copying of American arms. That is why they of course decided to make their own ‘version’ of the 1911 pistol. They used the same method of taking away these pistols during wartime, which is what they did during the Vietnam and Korean war.
Norinco made their own 1911s until 2003 when the Bush administration sanctioned China for selling their arms to Japan. That is why the date of production of the Norinco 1911 can be a real issue. Some of the other, major disadvantages of this Chinese replica of 1911 include;
- Cheap build quality
- Tends to break
- Inability to fix the gun if it’s broken
- Hard to find spare parts
- Norinco is not willing to service and import new 1911s
- Not recommended for concealed carry or duty gun
Norinco 1911 isn’t worthy of your money and time. This gun shoots fine, but other than that, it isn’t really known for its reliability and accuracy. There are far better 1911s on the market to look for, so for now, make sure to skin the Norinco 1911.
So, what would be a good alternative to a Norinco 1911? Well, basically any other American 1911 would do just fine.
If the Norinco 1911 doesn’t speak to you, which we hope it doesn’t, we then recommend you check out the Remington R1. Remington is one of the first companies to build 1911s to help out Colt with their production during wartime. The R1 pistol is everything you would want a pistol to be; high-quality, reliable, upgradeable, versatile, and of course, accurate.
Kimber is an American arms-manufacturing company that specialized in the production of law-enforcement tactical pistols and rifles as well as lethal self-defense products. Now, Kimber is known for producing the coolest-looking 1911s.
If you have ever seen a 1911 gun in a movie, chances are it is made by Kimber. The reason these specific 1911s are used as a movie representation of a 1911 pistol is because of the flashy design and the tactical use of the pistol in the scenes.
However, it seems that, when it comes to anything else other than the flashy design, Kimber 1911s aren’t really good pistols. When you buy a 1911, you’re looking to get a reliable, accurate, and hard-hitting unit, that also looks good. However, if the looks are all that matters, then you might as well go for a Kimber. But, before you do, make sure to check out these numerous disadvantages of a Kimber 1911 ;
- Overpriced for its class and quality
- Bad value gun
- Below-average build quality
- Difficult and unreliable loading
- Struggle loading ball ammunition
- Issues with blunt-nosed and hollow-point bullets
Now, there are all the issues that make a gun unreliable, unsafe, and inaccurate. By investing your money in a Kimber 1922, chances are you’d be better off throwing away the money. Generally speaking, other than the flashy design, Kimber 1911s are no good for a serious gun owner, so we surely recommend you avoid Kimber firearms and 1911s especially.
Now, what would be a good alternative to a Kimber 1911? Well, if you’re looking for a pistol that very well combines flashy design as well as reliable, powerful performance, then we recommend you check out the Ruger SR1911.
Well, this is the pistol of the professionals. Here are some of its advantages and reasons you should check it out;
- Superior accuracy
- Replaceable checkered G-10 grip panels
- Checkered backstrap
- Crisp trigger pull
- Adjustable over-travel stop
- The oversized beavertail grip safety
- Extended thumb safety
Now, these are the advantages and features of a truly good pistol. The Ruger SR1922 has an overall improved, positive manipulation, superior accuracy, reliable loading and so much more. It is made out of stainless steel, which makes it look and feel outstanding.
Rock Island Armory
Rock Island Armory is the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the United States. It has manufactured and produced military equipment since the 1880s. Rock Island Armory also manufactures field gear, small arms, artillery, grenade launchers, etc. Moreover, it provides manufacturing logistics and base support services for the army.
So, with all this history and reputation, why is the Rock Island Armory 1911 on the list? Well, initially we didn’t plan on including this 1911 model on the list. However, considering all the downside to this pistol, as well as owners’ reviews, we concluded that this isn’t a good pistol after all.
So, what are the actual disadvantages of a Rock Island Armory 1911? Well, the most common issues with the 1911 pistol include;
- It isn’t an all-American pistol
- The 1911 is made cheaply in the Philippines
- Mediocre fit and finish
- Issues with reliability
- Frequent need for gunsmith fixing the 1911
- Issues with accuracy
Alongside the issues with the actual 1911 pistol, we have to point out another thing that bothers us when it comes to Rock Island Armory, and that is the issue of heritage. The RI Armory tries to sell their products claiming the all-American heritage when, in fact, they build their products in the Philippines. This wouldn’t be an issue if their products were built to be high-quality, but they simply went across the ocean to save money and build cheap products.
So, what would be a good alternative to a Rock Island Armory 1911? We recommend you check out the Springfield Armory 1911 model.
Now, this is a pistol built to last you a lifetime. It is versatile, available for tactical and practical application, and its whole design and performance are based on the traditional M1911. Here are some of the advantages of owning a Springfield Armory 1911;
- Smooth shooting and excellent performance
- Accuracy and reliability
- Forged-steel slide, hammer-forged barrels, and forged frame
- Built for a lifetime service
- Refined, durable, and strong
There is simply no better 1911 than the Springfield Armory model when it comes to reliability and accuracy. This is a gun that is built to last and retain its quality over the years with almost no need for additional work or fixing. This is a gun worthy of your money, so make sure to check it out.
Llama Firearms was a Spanish arms manufacturing company that was established in 1904. It has operated successfully until the late 1990s when to company declared bankruptcy. The sales were simply too lower to keep the company running, despite the rescue efforts in the early 2000s. However, Llama guns and arms are still around, especially their 1911s.
Now, why is this, now a non-existed company on this list with its 1911 model? Well, we had to include it because the Llama 1911s are still around and sold as super affordable 1911 pistols. Now, when buying a gun, it is important to look at both the value and the price of the unit. In some cases, affordable 1911s perform well but the Llama model is, put simply, pretty bad. Here are some of the main disadvantages of owning a Llama 1911 gun;
- Cheap build quality
- Issues with reliability and accuracy
- Issues with the slide and the barrels
- Far from the true 1911 standard
- Below-average performance
Some old-school Llama 1911 owners would say that this gun is perfectly fine. But, for a modern gun-owner, there is simply too much this pistol lacks, and too much that you’d have to compensate. There are some major disparities in the frame being uneven, the barrel being off, and the lack of good-quality material to make this gun reliable and accurate.
So, what would be a good, affordable alternative to a Llama 1991? We surely recommend you check out the Taurus PT 1911.
This is a bit more refined take on the classic 1911, which is simply incredible for the price. With this 1911 model, you’ll get both, the affordability and the quality, so the value is surely there. Here are some of the main advantages of owning a Taurus PT 1911;
- Hammer-forged and machined
- Single-action trigger
- Short, 5-pound pull trigger
- Accuracy and reliability
- Taurus Security System (complete disabling of the gun)
- Affordable (attractive price for all Taurus 1911 models)
The Taurus PT-1911 is a really good gun. For the price, you’re getting a high-quality, reliable, safe, upgradeable unit, which is truly an excellent deal. This gun is especially recommended if this is your first 1911. It is perfect for training, and since the gun is very forgiving, you’ll have a great time getting your shooting technique right.