Glock vs 1911, which is better? (Part II)

In part I, I wrote that it’s pretty fruitless for shooters to compare a Glock or a 1911.  I haven’t changed my opinion, but since people will continue to pose this loaded question—which is better a Glock or a 1911?—here’s my take on it and what I’d choose by category:

Concealability

concealing glock 29

Showing off a concealed Glock 29 (photo: Haus of Guns)

Glock wins this category hands down.  Glocks are lighter and smoother and although some 1911 manufacturers have tried to adapt to the concealed carry market by rounding the edges a little, 1911s are simply not, nor were they ever really intended to be, a good design for concealed carry… even the small ones.

Law enforcement use

police glocks

Kansas cops train with Glocks. (Photo: Lara Hasting)

Glock. Most cops use them because they work.  Period.  Under stress, not having an external safety to release is better for trained LEOs.

Military use

While the U.S. military started out with a 1911 and many people want our fighting boys and girls to return to this epic handgun, I still think a striker fire gun is best for the troops.  So the point goes to Glock.

uk military Glock 17

The UK military recently chose Glock 17 pistols over their legacy Browning Hi-Powers.

But really, the issue isn’t the secondary weapon–it’s that the military needs a better pistol training program!

Caliber

Both the 1911 and the Glock come in several different calibers, so I can’t in all honesty provide a hard and fast opinion here, except to say that the .45 in a Glock has a large handle that might not be good for people with smaller hands.  Also, when it comes to the better pistol caliber, my thoughts are no secret.

Round count

Glock.  Even in a double stacked 1911 mag, you still get more rounds with the Glock and more rounds in a gunfight are a good thing.  That should have been number 21 in my 20 rules for winning gunfights.

Display and open carry

open carry picnic

With his handsome Colt 1911 pistol in his holster, a York, PA carrier grills burgers for an open carry picnic. (photo: Chris Dunn).

The 1911 by far.  There’s no doubt the beauty of my and most 1911s far outdoes the bland tactical black of the run-of-the-mill Glock.  I break out my 1911 when I want to look handsome.

Reliability

Glock.  Quality and reliability varies depending on the specific manufacturer of the 1911, and some examples, to put it politely, may not be so great.  I, for one, would never spend my money on an inexpensive or “cheap” 1911, because when it comes to this handgun design, the quality really needs to be there to ensure it functions reliably.  Also, I know that there are some 1911s that don’t feed well when using .45 JHP rounds.  Other than that, reliability largely depends on operator maintenance.

In any case, whenever a new generation or a new model handgun comes out, I wait for a year to see how it performs and what may need replacing before investing.

Cleaning and upkeep

cleaning a glock

Glock pistols require the user to depress the trigger to disassemble, which is something shooters need to be aware of. They are however widely regarded as easier to take apart than a 1911.

Glock–you just have to be careful not to shoot yourself in the hand since it requires you to pull the trigger to take off the slide.  My 1911 is a pain to take apart.  Granted it’s a Kimber Custom Gold Combat II, and does not disassemble like a normal 1911, but that was my point in the last category–there are a lot of different 1911s out there, each with their own peculiarities.  Besides that, you have to lube a 1911 more than the Glock.

Price

Glock.  Sure, the saying goes, you get what you pay for, but Glocks are more affordable.

Everyday practicality

dirty glock still fires

Glocks don’t get the “perfect”reputation for nothing.

Glock.  I’m speaking about carrying a gun for self defense and tactical use.

Overall best

Who can really say? It depends on you and how you plan to use the gun.  Your preference.

If you like to look fancy and are okay on spending some serious money for a good gun with a lot of history, buy a 1911. If you are going to practice and train regularly, and you are okay with carrying fewer rounds than a Glock mag holds, than a 1911 is good to go.

It comes down to personal preference.  I love my 1911, but I carry my Glock a lot more.  The trigger is awesome and the striker action virtually doubles what the 1911 single action did years ago and while the ergonomics are slightly angled more than any other gun—specifically more so than the original 1911—this “piece of plastic” is my choice.

The views and opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.