6 Reasons The 1911 Is The Worst Carry Gun Ever

6 Reasons The 1911 Is The Worst Carry Gun Ever

For some reason, the 1911 hangs on. Some people insist that it’s all they would trust their life to and that it’s the greatest handgun ever made.


Some people hear the ramblings of older shooters. During times of shortage of handguns, the proliferate nature of 1911 manufactures may make it a more readily-available choice of pistol.

At the time of its invention, it was a technological leap forward. Today? It’s aggressively obsolescent, and there is almost no tangible benefit to using one if a more modern alternative is available.

If you were thinking of getting one for use as a carry gun, here are 6 reasons why it’s a terrible choice.

The 1911 Is HEAVY

A Gov’t frame 1911 weighs 38 to 42 ounces unloaded. Add 8 rounds of 230-grain hardball to it – 1 oz = 437 grains – and you’re now up to 42 to 46 oz. That’s almost 3 lbs of gun and ammunition.

Lugging one around is miserable. And I know – I carried one for the better part of 2 years until I got wise. Longer-term users report back and hip problems from toting one in some cases.

It doesn’t matter how good your belt is; you feel gravity fighting you every time you stand up.

The 1911 Is Huge

The standard gun is 8.5 inches long and 5.5 inches tall. That’s enormous. Sure, the slide is slim but with the grips and controls, it’s barely any narrower than modern service pistols.

If you’ve ever carried one inside the waistband, it takes up an enormous amount of space and makes sitting down awkward.

1911 Capacity Sucks

The standard 1911 holds 7+1 or 8+1 (depending on magazine) if chambered in .45 ACP and 9+1 or 10+1 if chambered in 9mm, which improves the gun’s capacity from laughable to merely pathetic.

The original 5-inch gun is larger and heavier than a Glock 21, the full-size Glock pistol in .45 ACP. If .45 is your thing, the Glock 21 holds 13+1 of it.

The Officer or CCO variants only make matters worse; 6/7+1 in .45 ACP and 8/9+1 in 9mm.

Sure, you can say “something something 2011” but precious few double-stack 1911 pistols are realistically good carry guns (have you ever seen an STI 2011 in person? they’re HUGE) and most are prohibitively expensive.

You Don’t Need A 1911 To Shoot Accurately

A person could raise the objections of “Two World Wars” and competitive shooters using 1911 pistols.

For starters, small arms are rarely the deciding factor in armed conflicts and those top flight competitive shooters aren’t running factory guns from their local gun store, but heavily tuned custom pistols.

And plenty of world championship pistol shooting has been done with Glocks, CZs, Tanfoglios and other makes/models. Point being, while a person can shoot one very accurately…you don’t need one to do so. That comes from putting in the reps.

You’ll Spend More On A 1911…One Way Or The Other

It isn’t that you have to buy a hand-fit, match-grade 1911 to get one that’s reliable; there are some factory guns that are. But if you try to “save money” by getting a cheaper import…chances are you’ll need to do some fettling to get it there.

Extractors needing a tune-up, feed ramps in need of a polish, the installation of some decent sights, a spring kit – oh, and don’t forget those Wilson Combat magazines you’ll need to buy, too – and so on will all cost you, especially if you have a gunsmith do the work.

Chances are that if you get a budget gun, you’re going to end up spending enough in tuning it up for you to have just bought a good one to begin with. Is it guaranteed? No, but there’s a good chance.

The 1911 Is Not For Newbies Or Casuals

Another hitch when it comes to 1911 pistols is that they are not for newbies or casuals.

A 1911 pistol has to be maintained – especially lubricated, and frequently – to run reliably. Everything inside the gun is metal; it has to run wet.

To become proficient at running a pistol with a manual safety that has to be used, you have to train with it. A LOT.

In other words, running a 1911 requires more commitment than other pistol platforms in terms of care and training. It isn’t ideal for the total newbie or the guy who just buys a gun, loads it, and throws it in the nightstand.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for Alien Gear Holsters, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. He also contributes a bi-weekly column for Daily Caller. In his free time, Sam enjoys camping, hunting and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.
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Steve S.

Funniest thing I’ve read all day! You have a future in fiction, Sammy!


It’s so awful that after 109 years it’s still the standard against which the others are compared.


this is one veteran that had a failure to stop with a 9mm model 39, switched back to a .45, never had the same problem, when live matters you make your own choices and live or die with it!

Old Jarhead

True on every count. But my 1911 will always be my go to gun for many situations. Compared to many others I have shot, very few can come close to feeling as good in my hand as my 1911. But I don’t even try to conceal that handgun. I do have a mouse gun for that.


Sounds like one persons opinion, I have carried a 1911A1 for 40 years, and will continue to carry one for the rest of my life.

Silence DoGood

“You Don’t Need A 1911 To Shoot Accurately”

Not sure if this is a nonsequitur or a Straw Man argument. Maybe it’s both. But at least in its ambiguity it escapes critical analysis, which is all that spares it the ignominy of the other five points.


The 1911 isn’t for me, for some of the reasons listed above, but it’s none of my business what anyone else likes and carries. This article feels like pure clickbait.


Any firearm needs to be taken care of! Keep them clean and oiled even wheel guns are no exception. My 1911 Sig is very concealable, comfortable and reliable. Would not want to be on the receiving end it!

Will Flatt

Lemme guess, you’re a Glockboi.

Glock snobs hate everything that’s not Glock but 1911’s especially!! You can take your opinion and put it in the circular file!


“… and you’re now up to 42 to 46 oz. That’s almost 4 lbs of gun and ammunition.”

Last time I checked 1 lb. = 16 oz. & 3 lbs. = 48 oz. Therefore 42 to 46 oz. is almost 3 lbs. – not 4 lbs!

Luke McCoy

The article has been edited to show 3 lbs instead of 4.


Thank you! I realize it was just a minor error/typo but for a moment I almost felt like asking, “When did 1911s start putting on the nearly Colt-Walker weight?”

I’m 73 and my every day carry gun is a Government Model and my ‘Sunday go to Meeting’ gun is a Lightweight Officers ACP – both are 80 Series 45s.


Every time I hear, or read, a complaint about safeties on handguns and all the training one needs to operate them, I am amazed that tens of thousands of hunters never fail to disengage the safety on their long guns each year. Shooting flushing game can be as quick as any training or competition. And I seriously doubt any “train” to disengage a safety.

Referencing the need to lube the pistol, I have yet to find a firearm that was self cleaning and/or self lubricating. If the author is aware of such a shotgun, please share that info as it would be a great upgrade to any waterfowl gun of which I am aware of.

Old 1811

Let’s see . . . 3-pound gun that carries 7+1, so if I carry 2 spare mags, I get 22 rounds. If I use 8-round mags, I get 25 rounds, vs . . .
2-pound gun that carries 17+1, so if I carry 2 spare mags, I get 52 rounds. Sure, it’s a smaller caliber, but in modern JHP loadings, there’s no difference in effectiveness between the Two-World-Wars-winning .45 and the Two-World-Wars-losing 9mm. And if you want to up it a little bit, go to .40. Two rounds less per magazine, so you’re still getting 46 rounds vs. 25.
I carried 1911s, 4-inch K-frame .357s, Berettas, Sigs, and Glocks for a living over the course of 30 years, and the only gun that caused nerve damage when I was wearing it was the 1911. (I could feel the numbness in my opposite hip.)
Time marches on. You don’t drive a Stutz Bearcat or fly in a Tin Goose to see the kids, do ya?
(And I’m not even getting into the times the military wanted to dump the 1911 and replace it with something more modern, but was thwarted by money issues.)

Barko Loungee

In my state, we’re limited to 10 round magazines, so the capacity argument is mostly moot. I carry two spare mags, so I have 22 rounds at my disposal.

It’s true that a .45 demands training and practice, but I’d make the assertion that carrying any gun demands training and practice.

I cannot conceal any double stack plastic pistol. All of them print when carried in an IWB holster. My .45 is thin, and fits right into the space above my hips. And since I carry a Commander, I worry less about barrel length.

And like others have stated, it fits my hand like a dream.

And finally, Glocks are butt ugly. You can tell that a geek engineer designed them. They make Dogs Playing Poker look like fine art.

Auric Gold

Worst carry gun EVER? That’s surely an exaggeration. I’m sure 100 years ago a 1911 was among the better carry guns. I had a couple show up at the range with a 2-shot derringer as their “concealed carry gun.” For a lot of reasons that I won’t bother repeating here- but quickly became apparent on the range– it was a far worse carry gun than a 1911. But to be fair, it did conceal easier than a 1911 and was probably more comfortable to carry. There’s nothing magical about .45 ACP; there’s nothing wrong with it either. There are no magic bullets, and it’s a decent round and I always found it pleasant to shoot. But I agree, as a carry gun– a gun your life may depend upon– it’s not the best choice because of it’s limited ammo capacity for a firearm of its size, and the thumb safety. Those are two features of a 1911 that are detrimental, and avoidable with more modern gun designs. When you life is at stake you want to keep the number of things that can go wrong to a minimum.

Bob Lawrence

Finally somebody who says it like it is.


You should add, “Southpaws are out of luck.” as one of your reasons.

BTW, I’ll stick with my Glock, thank you very much.

Christian S.

How do you guys have the article and also have another one named “3 reasons the 1911 is a great carry gun”?

Bob Lawrence

1911’s look great, feel great, and when they work reliably, they are great. However, many have jamming/FTF problems, especially with hollow point rounds, that require a gunsmith’s custom work and tuning. Also, they’re low capacity compared to other pistols. When they jam at the range, no problem. When they jam during self-defense, it’s a big problem.

John Doe

These are common myths started by people who have little to no experience with the platform. A bone stock Springfield Armory Mil-Spec is very reliable and feeds hollowpoints well. It is one of the entry level and budget based 1911 pistols. Most any 1911 made during and since the 1980s doesn’t require any kind of custom gunsmith work to be reliable. Buy it,take it out of the box and go to work. A well maintained and properly lubricated 1911 that was built properly is just as reliable as anything modern. You can go over 1,000 rounds without cleaning if you are using high quality lubricants and clean your pistol otherwise. They take abuse and rough handling better than modern polymer pistols. The first time you use your plastic pistol for a club you are going to bust something.