Larry Vickers: Shoot a Glock, But Buy a 1911
Jon Stokes 07.17.15
I’m not hating on Larry Vickers, but I had to chuckle a little bit when I saw the news of the almost $4,000 Wilson Combat Vickers Elite 1911 over on TFB. I follow Vickers’ page on Facebook, and one of the posts he made that stuck with me was something to the effect of, there is no 1911 vs. Glock debate anymore, Reall, just get a Glock or similar polymer framed handgun, but probably a Glock. A handgun is a tool, so get one that just works and doesn’t require much care and feeding, at least, so goes the argument. (Note: For what it’s worth I personally don’t yet own a Glock, but I do own something comparable.)
Vickers talked about how he sees a lot of new shooters come through his shooting and armoring classes fired up about the 1911 because a modern 1911 is indeed an amazing thing to shoot. But it requires more maintenance than a Glock, and by the time they fight and fiddle with it they end up selling it and buying a Glock.
But it’s not like this is news. In interviews and in his FAQ on his website, Vickers’ standard line is that unless you want to learn to be your own 1911 armorer and maintain the gun yourself, you’d be better served with a Glock, which is what he carries most of the time. If you really have a passion for the 1911 platform, then buy a Wilson Combat.
Which brings us to the new WC 1911, which is built to Vickers’ specifications. There’s no doubt that if I were going to buy a $4,000 1911–hahaha okay, I can’t even write that line with a straight face. I am not going to buy a $4,000 1911 any more than I’m going to buy a diamond-encrusted iPhone case.
Believe me, I get the appeal of some high-priced man jewelry, but no way. I have my own weaknesses (like BMW and custom knives), but I thankfully never acquired a taste for the $4K+ 1911 flavor of Kool-Aid. It’s powerful stuff, though.
At SHOT show one year I had a rep at the Wilson Combat booth confide to me that if he were in a two-way range type of situation, he’d rather have his WC 1911 than any carbine. He told me this while we were looking at one of the then-new Wilson AR-15s. I acted like what he was saying made perfect sense to me, but internally I was thinking, “Wow, the fantasy world that this man apparently lives in is considerably more forgiving than the fantasy world that I live in.”
Like I said, the high-end 1911 Kool-Aid is powerful. Shopper beware.
Edit: It looks like I’ve stirred up some fanboy rage. Whatever. I started the article saying that I’m not hating on Vickers, and it should be clear that I get the appeal of high-priced bling, which is exactly what this gun is. Oh, wait, you say you actually carry your kilobuck 1911 in case you need to shoot a bad guy with it? That I do not “get”, and I’m totally comfortable saying that if you’re concealed carrying an expensive and/or irreplaceable weapon then you’re out of your gourd. As in you’re totally nuts.
I don’t know what state you live in, but here in Texas the state mandates classes before you can get a CCW. I’m not advocating for putting more roadblocks in front of law-abiding gun owners, but I will say that one of the benefits of such classes is that they at least inform you of some basic realities of defensive gun uses (DGUs). One of these realities is that if you shoot a bad guy with your carry gun, the cops will take your weapon for evidence and you may never see it again, even if you’re later found to be in the right.
Along with affordability and low maintenance, this post-DGU reality is no doubt another reason that Vickers recommends that people who want to carry buy a “shooting appliance”, like a Glock (which he likens to a “lawnmower”, as in it’s a replaceable, straightforward, single-purpose tool, and that’s all). If you shoot a two-legged predator and the cops take your G19, then you can just go get another one; but if the cops take your $5,000 Wilson Combat Supergrade, then you’re gonna be crying all the way to the gun store to pick up a cheap Glock to replace it.
So to sum up, people who buy a $4,000 1911 are not any crazier than I am — they’re just crazy for different gear than I am. But people who carry around that uber-expensive gun in case they might have to shoot somebody with it? That’s mental, unless the amount of time and money it would take them to replace that particular piece is immaterial to them because they’re so rich and so patient.