By Vic Laboy
If you look at any discussion, forum, or firearm page, you will find the age-old argument between what is better: 1911 or Glock. Whether you are a fan of the all steel, single-action configuration, or the double-stack, polymer frame, these two platforms are arguably the most common, sought after, and debated in the industry. When comparing the two, it’s virtually apples to oranges; however, their names and reputations have been held on high over the last few decades. Despite the love-hate relationship one might have, you can’t help but appreciate both iconic weapons.
Benefits to the Glock
These days it is common to find a wide selection of Glock models available at your nearest gun store. From competition ready Glock 34 with a compensated slide and barrel to the more easily concealable Glock 19, it is rare that at least one Glock isn’t in the store’s display case. In addition to the variety and availability, there are a few attributes that separate Glock from the 1911. For example, the Glock 19 is significantly lighter in weight when compared to its solid steel competitor. When field stripped, the polymer lower weighs close to nothing when placed against the steel slide. This makes the weapon easy to carry as the only true weight of the pistol comes from the slide, although some additional weight comes with a fully loaded magazine.
Another benefit to this model is the simplicity of the weapon. When performing a basic field strip, you can break down this handgun without the need for tools, and it may be completed by almost anyone, anywhere, at any time. What really sets this apart from not only the 1911, but many pistols on the market, is the interchangeability of parts. As a result, most local and federal police departments carry the Glock as their chosen sidearm. This is crucial as if you are in an engagement and run out of ammunition. The officer to your side can toss you their magazine to be inserted into your weapon and continue the fight. The battle-tested and proven reliability of the Glock pistol has earned its name among the crowd as a safe-action pistol.
Benefits to the 1911
When speaking of battle-tested, it is hard to denote what the 1911 has not only endured but accomplished as well. “Talk to me when your pistol has won two world wars.” This is a common statement thrown into almost every argument for what makes the 1911 so much greater than the Glock. Placing opinions aside, there are key attributes that set this pistol apart from the Glock. Even though this is a heavyweight, lightweight bout, there is no denying that one includes certain features that are preferable against the other model.
For example, aside from the steel body and slide, a popular feature of the 1911 is the manual safety, as well as the traditional grip safety. If this is not properly disengaged, the firearm will not fire. The safety must be fully depressed into the body to fully engage the trigger and drop the hammer. An added benefit to the single-action firing system is the drastically lighter trigger weight. This allows for more rapid follow-up shots as it is far easier to squeeze a 4.5lb trigger in rapid succession in comparison to a 5.5lb or 6lb trigger weight. Lastly, the ultimate fan-favorite feature is the caliber of the weapon. While there are a variety of options available, from .22LR, to 10mm, the 1911 is predominantly available in .45ACP, staying true to its roots.
The Downside to Each Platform
Despite the sea of benefits between the two, you cannot please everyone and these seemingly “perfect” pistols come with flaws of their own. One of the most common complaints against the Glock is the thickness of the grip. It prevents those with smaller hands from gaining a proper grip and affecting their shot. Another common trait that most are not too keen on is the frontward cant found on most models. Once you are used to the straight, up-and-down positioning of a VP9, or P226, you may find the barrel to be slightly raised at first when acquiring your front sight alignment.
For fans of the 1911, the two greatest disadvantages are the weight of the pistol, as well as its low-capacity. Typically found in 7+1 capacities, you are only given 8 rounds of .45ACP to work with, which is not the most ideal for defensive carry. “If I need more than three rounds, I don’t need the gun.” I would argue this is the wrong mindset to have, and it cannot be justified with a larger round as no amount of training will prepare you for the moment. Once your adrenaline kicks in and you begin firing or missing rounds, this leaves with you less ammunition to defend your life with.
To touch on the second disadvantage, the heavier weight of the 1911 platform may render you unable to properly conceal the weapon or carry comfortably on your hip. No one wants to carry a concealed handgun that is only pulling on their waistline, and it deprives you of the element of surprise. In short, no matter how perfect you think your Glock 19 with a Streamlight TLR-1 HL is, or how your Kimber 1911 is superior to the puny, lightweight, or dare we say “plastic” pistol, both models include flaws that may turn a first-time buyer away towards a different platform.
Which Should You Trust?
At the end of the day, the love-hate relationship between the Glock and 1911 is set aside and as both have proven to be reliable in a firefight. From the Remington Para 1911 with custom slide serrations, stippling, and G10 grips, to the “tacticool” Glock 17 with a WML, fiber optic sights, and Taran Tactical baseplate, we are all one family who appreciate the other and enjoy a day at the range. Once the differences are set aside, both pistols are enjoyable to shoot, and they are well-trusted amongst law enforcement, special forces/military, and concealed carry holders across the nation. If you are a 1911 fan, or would like to build your tactical loadout, visit our site for available inventory, or come see us at our retail store in Arlington, Texas. In the meantime, keep those loyalties strong!