1911 vs. Glock &#8211: The Complete Comparison Guide

| Last Updated: December 22, 2020

Which is better, a 1911 or a Glock? This is a hot debate topic among gun owners and enthusiasts today. Keep in mind that while you have the ability to form your own opinion, it is important to know some of the features and attributes of each gun. At the same time, you'll also be considering some of the downsides.

Regardless of which conclusion you arrive at, you're about to learn what each gun is, how they function, and why people choose to side with the 1911 or the Glock.

What is the 1911 Best For?

The 1911 got its name from the year it came into existence. This pistol is also known as the “Government”. The reason for this was it was the standard sidearm used in the United States military throughout most of the 20th century.

Soldiers from World War I to Vietnam relied on this weapon as their go-to sidearm in combat situations. Over the years, variations of the 1911 were made. One of them was the caliber .45 M1911. This model was introduced in 1940 and remains as the formal designation of the 1911 as of today.

The use of the 1911 is common in law enforcement and the military. However, civilians are able to own 1911s and use them as concealed carry guns. Aside from self-defense, the 1911 has also been used by competitive and target shooters.

1911 Variants

There are four variants of the 1911 currently available. They are the M1911, M1911A1, M1911A2, and the M15 Pistol. We'll be breaking down each one of the variants and explaining how they differ from each other. We'll also list both the advantages and disadvantages of each 1911 pistol. With that in mind, here are the following variants:

M1911 

First, we take a look at the standard 1911 itself. The trigger pull is clean, crisp, and weighs in at approximately four to four-and-a-half pounds. The pull weight is light and will give you the advantage of getting a shot off quickly.

Ergonomically, it’s comfortable thanks to narrow grip circumference. The grip itself is easy to handle thanks to patterns like the checkered design pattern.

1911 Springfield Armory (Source)

Accuracy-wise, you’ll be able to hit your targets dead-on at about 50 yards out with some variants. The weight also serves both an advantage and a disadvantage.

At a weight ranging from 38 to 43 ounces, the weight is ideal for competitive and target shooters. As for the disadvantage, this applies to those who are in combat situations as they have to bear the extra weight. Despite this, it has proven itself to be a reliable pistol in combat situations in the years it was used by the US military.

M1911A1

The long, smooth-faced trigger is shorter compared to the M1911. What also differs from the M1911 is grip safety tang is lengthened to protect the shooter’s hand from getting in contact with the hammer spur. This will prevent the shooter from injuring their hand because of the hammer while firing.

The hammer spur was shortened (but was later changed to flat-sided). The front side on the M1911A1 is much larger, which will, in turn, give you a better aim and a more accurate shot. The grip on the M1911A1 changed from a diamond-pattern wood grip to full checkering, which means you'll have a better grip on the A1 compared to the 1911.

M1911A2 

The M1911A2 is considered more of a civilian designation as opposed to a military designation like with M1911s and the A1s. To begin, the A2 pistols will likely have a high capacity magazine, which means that you’ll have a capacity of about 15 or more. As it is custom with high capacity magazines, that means you’ll be able to reload a lot less than compared to a smaller capacity magazine of six or eight rounds.

Competitive shooters will more or less benefit from a high capacity magazine. The main disadvantage, of course, is the time it will take to reload a magazine. This can be alleviated by carrying spare magazines, especially if you're in competition mode.

M15: Pistol 

The M15 1911 became the standard sidearm for the U.S. Army in the 1970s. These were originally designed to replace two Colt 1911 models. This was the preferred sidearm for military officers, especially those in the United States Army. The comparisons of the M15 are rather similar to the M1911A1.

Despite these being no longer produced, they are still used by some longtime officers in the military. In fact, for this reason, this pistol earned the name of "General Officer's". One of the main advantages of the M15 is the barrel length. At approximately 4.25 inches, it is short enough to ensure that you will quickly draw it from your holster so long as the pistol itself doesn't snag.

What is the Glock Best For?

The Glock burst onto the scene in 1979. It was invented by Gaston Glock (hence the name, the Glock). The pistol has a frame made from polymer and is a short-recoil, lock-breech semi-automatic pistol. This became the standard sidearm for law enforcement and military in Austria in the early 1980s. This became their top choice after it performed very well against other guns that were vying to become the new go-to sidearm. Today, it is the sidearm of choice among law enforcement, armed security forces, and the military in nearly 50 countries.

Like the 1911, the Glock isn’t just used for military and law enforcement purposes. Owners include those who have used them for competitive shooting, target practicing, and self-defense. This is a popular firearm for those who conceal carry or open carry.

The Glock’s slide has a spring-loaded claw extractor and a sheet metal ejector that is attached to the housing of the trigger mechanism. The striker firing mechanism is equipped with a spring-loading firing pin. The firing pin is cocked in two stages that powers the pin itself. The trigger is a two-stage trigger that has increased trigger pull, a feature that was added per the request of most law enforcement personnel in the United States.

GLOCK 17 Gen 4 Pistol (Source)

Glock Models

The Glock is available in five different models. They are the Glock 34, Glock 22, Glock 26, Glock 17, and Glock 19. Each model has its differences in features and also its own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re in the market for a Glock, you should consider these five models and choose one that fits best for you. With that in mind, here are the models explained in detail:

Glock 34

One of the distinct features of the Glock 34 is the extended barrel. This also has long slide dimensions and has a long distance between both the front and rear sights. This Glock has become a fixture among law enforcement tactical teams.

One advantage of the Glock 34 is the accuracy. That’s because the site radius is 1” longer compared to such models like the 17. Since the barrel is extended, that may come at a disadvantage, especially when you’re in a situation where you have to draw your gun.

Glock 22

The Glock 22 is a versatile model in terms of barrels. You can swap barrels with other Glock Models. Some of the other models will not have the ability to do that. When you’re firing the 22, you’ll feel like you’ll have more control over it when compared to firing other Glock models. One of the most noticeable disadvantages of the 22 is that it may be considered too big by concealed carry standards.

Glock 26 

As mentioned, the 22 may not be the ideal Glock if you conceal carry. With that in mind, if you’re looking for a model that would be easier for concealed carry, that’s where the Glock 26 comes in. This is a compact, high capacity, easy to handle, and highly reliable model. Since it’s high capacity, you’ll be able to get more rounds. This is perfect for the competitive shooter or for target practice.

Since it’s high capacity, it comes with both an upside and downside. The upside is not having to reload after every few rounds fired. The downside is that loading your clip to capacity may shorten the lifespan of the spring in your magazine. So that is why it’s important to load it ⅔, or at max ¾, of the clip to ensure that the spring doesn’t wear over time.

Glock 17 

The 17’s barrel is measured at 14mm. So, it’s slightly longer compared to its 19 counterpart. The sight radius is about 6.5 inches, which makes it easy to get off accurate shots every time.

This is a model that is preferred by law enforcement officers in nearly 40 countries. This is a high capacity model with a magazine capacity of believe it or not...17. One major disadvantage is the 17 is that it is not a model that would be good for concealed carry.

Glock 19 

Finally, we take a look at the 19. This has a shorter barrel than the 17, measured at 102mm. If you have a shorter barrel, drawing it from your holster will be much quicker compared to other models.

This is lighter in weight when unloaded, but the recoil weight is one pound heavier versus the 17. This is one of the more concealed carry friendly versions of the Glock. The disadvantages will apply more to target shooters as this is considered to be a Glock used solely for home and self-defense.

1911 vs. Glock

Now that we got to know the models and variants of both the 1911 and Glock, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty. We're going to compare the 1911 and the Glock in a few different categories. We'll determine which of the two has the better design, caliber, range, and reliability. With that said, let's get down to brass tacks:

Glocks vs 1911 (Source)

Design 

The 1911’s design consists of an all metal, single action pistol that relies on a firing pin. Typically, the metal used for 1911s is steel. Since this is a single action, it will rely on a hammer. The hammer must be cocked before you apply pressure on the trigger. The barrel lock up will consist of barrel lugs and slide lugs. The barrel length of a typical 1911 will measure to approximately five inches. The grip angle is measured at 18 degrees and weighs an average of 38 ounces.

Meanwhile, the Glock has a slide and barrel that are both made from steel. The frame itself consists of polymer with metal inserts included for added toughness. The barrel is linkless and has a rectangularly shaped breech that locks into the ejection port. There is no bushing present at the muzzle. The grip angle of a Glock is 21 degrees. The overall weight is 24.9 ounces.

Caliber

Both the 1911 and Glock come in a handful of different calibers. However, each has chambered various rounds in their models over time. For the 1911, they are more compatible with rounds like the .22 round rifle. Other rounds include a 9mm Parabellum, 10mm auto, and a .38 super among many others.

The Glock also is compatible with some of the various ammo that can be chambered with the 1911. More specifically, the .22 long rifle and the 10mm auto. However, other rounds that can be fired with a Glock include 40 S&W, .45GAP, and 9mm rounds, to name a few.

Effective Range 

As mentioned earlier, a 1911 can accurately hit the bullseye on a target from about 50 yards out. However, there are some models of a 1911 that have effective ranges from 25 to 30 yards out. The Glock has an effective range that is said to be measured between 50 to 55 yards. This was measured using various models like the Glock 17 and 18 and their “C” variants (i.e.--17C).

However, the effective range for each gun might be a matter of dispute between owners and enthusiasts alike. While we’re going by what is measured through the use of some of the variants and models of each gun, some 1911 and Glock owners will claim to have hit the bullseye of their targets either beyond the supposed effective range of slightly below it.

Reliability 

Both gun types are the most reliable handguns out of the many that are available. And of course, both have long been fixtures among the law enforcement and military circles. The 1911s were mostly designed for the military. The standards of interchangeability and strict quality control were among the two things that stood out in what made the 1911 great, especially in times of combat. The U.S. military continued using the 1911 until the mid-1980s when most military personnel began to carry Berettas.

Unlike the 1911, the Glock never had any reliability issues to speak of, due to the fact that it was made from one manufacturer. Plus, the designs have become more advanced over the span of a few decades. However, it's not free and clear of all issues.

One of the chief issues that faced the Glock was the number of unsupported barrels. Another was the cartridges it had the ability of firing. For example, high-pressure cartridges, such as the 40 S&W, posed such an issue. The ruptured head of the cartridge would not only cause damage to a gun, but it would also injure the shooter.

However, this can be blamed by human error for the most part. More specifically, people would often make modifications to their guns among other tasks. Yet, such an issue would also occur even with no modifications made. Not only that, but shooters experiencing this have also used factory ammunition that was considered good in quality.

Conclusion

Are you "Team 1911" or are you "Team Glock"? No matter what side you're on, you're a huge fan of a pistol that is proven to be reliable, durable, and has an unmatchable performance compared to other types of pistols. Whichever you choose, be sure to use it for the best-intended purposes and always take great care of it to ensure that you can be able to use it for as long as possible. 

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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