Gunner’s Journal

The 1911 Worlds Finest Handgun!

A Little About Me

I’m a retired Police officer and college professor. I spent 28 years as a police officer. I have been assigned to our SRU team, Street Crime Unit, Intelligence, Patrol and as an investigator. I am also a certified police firearms instructor.
My second job was teaching computer science courses at a local college when we lived in Illinois after my initial retirement. I was still working part time as a police officer.
My primary hobby is shooting. I also have a strong interest in history and computing. I also love to read.
If you find anything on my blog you would like more information on please comment and I will email you ASAP. I enjoy helping fellow shooters out whenever possible!

111 Responses to “A Little About Me”

  1. Hey, Gunner…great site! Jeff Soyer at Alphecca turned me on to you. I’ll get a link up to you on my site.

  2. Gunner said


    I appreciate the kind comments.Thanks to you also Jeff!


  3. Ed said

    Hi, Gunner. I’m amazed at the similarities between us. I too am a retired police officer; just under 30 years. When I retired I started a tiny computer consulting company and did that for several years. Love to collect guns, shoot and read. Heavily in to computers. Still active with my agency’s Critical Stress Intervention Team. Loved the job, but been retired for 16 years this coming February. Love that too! 🙂

  4. Phil said

    Hi Ed,

    I tried to reply to your email and it bounced.Got another email address?


  5. Mick Olson said


    I am another LEO that has a similar background as you. I just hit year #29 in the business and I am thinking of retiring at the end of this year. I am on my third (and final) agency. I started out in a small town muni PD (18 sworn) and then moved on to the local Sheriff’s office (200 sworn). I spent 16 years there and was assigned to the Firearms training unit, Field Evidence unit, SWAT, and Criminal Invest. I eventually promoted to Sgt. and did a tour in the Custody division, then back out to patrol and finally ended up supervising a Probation Enforcement Narcortics Team. I transferred to the local DA’s office as an Inspector and I am now currenlty assigned to a Computer Crimes Task force as a forensic examiner. My agency just changed their firearms policy and is allowing single action semi-autos for duty use, so I have purchased the SA LW Champion for my EDC. Thanks for the great site and all the info!


  6. Brian said


    Great site! Been in LE for about 15 years and love to shoot. Got a 1911 and was wondering were I could get a set of the grips you have a pic of with the 1* logo on them. Any info would be great. Thanks

  7. Gunner said

    The MilTac grips are available with the 1* at Just ask for Craig and he will take great care to give you what you want. A great guy and a company with some fine products.


  8. Gunner said

    It looks like we all have common interest and some of us are so close in experience it’s spooky:-)

    Take Care,

  9. EW said

    Hey Phil,

    Looks like the blog is really taking off now, buddy! Have fun with it.


  10. Gunner said

    Hey Eric,

    Will do my friend!

  11. Dion..ops144... said

    where in IL?

    thats where i live..

    sw burbs of chicago.

  12. Sam Hunt said

    Hi Phil. Gotmy RIA Tactical this week. Took it to the farm today & shot it for awhile. I like most things about it, the sights are fine, the trigger measured 5lbs, but seems to be a little more than that. I put a set of Hogue grips on it. I like the palm swell kind & run them on all of my 1911’s. I will add a magwell & work on the trigger a little, but other than that, I’ll leave it pretty much like it came. For awhile anyway. It is as accurate as any 1911 I’ve ever shot & preformed like it should today. I’m impressed with my new pistol. Talk to you later, Sam

  13. Jerry Johnson said

    Am also a retired LEO. This sounds like a great fraternity to be a part of. Look forward to being a participant.

    Jerry Johnson

  14. Gunner said

    Jerry it really is! Welcome to the club:-)


  15. Gunner said

    Hi Jerry,

    I did put some instructions on the post for the Kimber Pro Carry II. Check this link and see if I need to be a little more clear in my explaination.


  16. Great website. Also retired, Air Force, MWR officer . Second career, federal employment. My field is recreation services. Like yourself I enjoy collecting guns and shooting. 1911 Lover, Needless to say, time just go’s by to fast. Presently working with the city of Maitland, Fl, athletic dept, part time. Keep in touch, Vince

  17. Gunner said


    Thanks very much I appreciate your comment. Man do I ever know what you mean about time passing to quickly. Once you hit 50 or retire life picks up speed way to fast:-)
    I’ll keep in touch.

    All the best,

  18. Michael Lane said


    I stumbled across your blog in a somewhat unrelated Google search, but once I got to looking around I quickly realized that I had darn-near struck gold. I have not yet entered the 1911 world as I’m still torn between entry level weapons like RIA and SA’s 1911A1, and higher end SA 1911s and Kimbers (I’m totally smitten with the Kimber Custom II Eclipse). But, your site is loaded with 1911 info and it should help me with making a decision.

    I wanted to let you know that I found your blog to be very informative, and I’ve bookmarked it as a regular haunt. I also wanted to throw a website address at you and if you find it worthy enough, maybe you could put it in your list of links. The site is called and it is quickly becoming the voice for folks here in Georgia who want changes in our very restrictive carry laws. I encourage you to visit the site and see what we are doing in Georgia.

    Michael Lane

  19. Gunner said


    I am genuinely honored by your comment on the blog. Helping people find their way around the 1911 world is the main reason I started the blog. I got kind of tired of seeing erroneous information on some of the gun forums and wanted to give out some information I’ve gained since starting my own journey with this fine gun back in 1976.

    Anyway, I am very glad you are enjoying the blog and finding it useful. You have my email now so if you have any questions in the future don’t hesitate to contact me. There are several folks who I email with pretty regularly that have just started with the 1911 so I really do mean it when I say let me know if you have any questions.

    A few links for you: (the best price on RIA’s)

    All the best,

  20. Gunner,
    I know this is a 1911 blog and I first want to say I am an active shooter. I own a pistol(XD9) and a shotgun(REM870). I have stumbled onto your website by accident by looking for rock island armory info.

    I live in North Carolina, I am a young white southern male and I attend my local community college. I have a very seroius question to ask you and any other law enforcement officials present.

    Mr. Gunner, I am a Law student and I want to be a Cop. I want a failed marriage, a drinking problem and professional regrets. I WANT THE LIFE. I want it more than air. In August, I will graduate with an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and that very month I will sign up for the North Carolina Basic Law Enforcement Training Course. I want to be the very best cop I can be. I want to get cats out of trees for old ladies then chase down a serial rapist. I want to serve my country and my people solving crimes is just icing on an already good cake. In December 08, I will graduate from BLET. My question to you and your readers is after BLET should I enlist in the military and get more education or go straight to a department and get more education? I really need some wisdom on this decision and would appreciate any that you give.
    Matt O’quinn

  21. Gunner said


    I’ll be very happy to answer your questions. Rather than post the answer here I’ll just send you an email. Please bear with me it may take a couple of hours to answer but you will hear from me by this afternoon.


  22. songmaker said

    I read your H&K USP Compact 40 caliber analysis. Fantastic! You commentaries are absolutely wonderful.

    I already own the H&K USP Full size 40 caliber, and I love it. I now wish to purchase the H&K USP Compact 40 caliber w/stainless steel slide.

    Could you please tell me where I could find one?

    Thank you so very much!


  23. Gunner said


    Thank you very much I appreciate your comment! They are great guns for sure. As far as finding a USP stainless it’s pretty much luck finding one since they stopped making the stainless slide version. Some guys have purchased the regular blue model then sent the slide off to Virgil Tripp to have it hard chromed which looks just like stainless. The way I got mine was pure luck running across one that was being traded in while I was there. Now that’s lucky! Another way and probably the best way is to check the gun auction sites like Gunbroker and Guns America.

    Good luck,

  24. Fred S. said

    I want to thank you for posting your video on disassembly and assembly of the 1911. I have a Colt MK IV .380 that was given to me and started the process of cleaning it. Without a manual it was hard because of my limited experience with weapons but your video made all the difference in the world with putting it back together. Thank you for your website.

    Fred S.
    USAF MSgt(ret.)

  25. Gunner said


    It’s my pleasure sir. I’m very glad you found the videos helpful. I’m always trying to provide reliable information for the benefit of fellow shooters.
    If you ever have any questions please feel free to email me. I check my mail several times a day.

    All the best,

  26. Luciano Segurajáuregui said

    Great Site, congratulations from MĂ©xico!!!!!!

    The information that you provide has been very helpful.

  27. Gunner, just out of curiosity, what was your response to Matt O Quinn’s question? A couple of my LE friends and I were just wondering.
    Thanks, Charlie

  28. Greg said

    Extremely interesting site. As a guy who went from Glock nut to newly minted 1911 HUGE Fan I like everything about the site. I just last week purchased a Kimber Custom II. Put 250 rounds, 20 silver tip Winchester hollows. Almost ran from the range smiling! Also recently purchased a Springfiled GI stainless. Already dropped a beaver tail and new combat hammer. After shooting the Kimber. I think I need a new trigger and ramp sights. Can’t really think of anything else it needs. Can you? In any event…great resource you have here. Thank you. Straight and often. Greg

  29. Gunner said


    Thank you very much! I’m very glad you are enjoying it. Welcome to the 1911 club! Once you start down that 1911 path you never go back. They are just fantastic guns. That Kimber you bought is a very good one. They are certainly one of the most accurate brands out there. It’s enough to make you smile once you shoot one and start getting the bug:-)
    The Springfield you bought is a nice one also. Wilson makes a nice trigger that requires very little if any fitting. Novak makes the best sights in my experience. They are also real good about installing them and returning your gun within a week. You can also send the slide only to them and save some bucks in shipping. Really that’s about all you need to do. You could get a trigger job done but that’s about the only other thing you really need. Like Jeff Cooper said all you need are sights you can see and a good trigger.
    Again thanks for your comment. It really means I’m doing what I set out to do and that’s help fellow shooters!

    Take Care,

  30. sam hunt said

    Hey Phil!
    My computer took a dump awhile back. It’s top notch now, but I lost all of the people in my address book. Send me yours again so I can contact you!

  31. Gunner said

    Sam—email sent

  32. Jimmy said

    Hey guy! Great site! But I’m writing in response to your posting on the Obama qoute. I’m a young man in my mid twenties so maybe their is something i’m missing. Don’t criminals and shady figures get weapons of all types at will. Don’t most robberies and street gang violence and that such thing happen with already illegal or stolen firearms! I don’t think your local blood or crip is gonna go down to the gunstore and get his mac-10! Then you have us: law abiding citizens that have the right to protect what is dear to them! I am not a violent person, I have walked away from fights, even while getting hit. But! If you come in to my home, uninvited I will lay you FLAT! I will protect the innocent babies and the women I love sleeping under my roof without a moments hesitation! So, with Obamas words, what are we to do? I guess we are to be out gunned. No! There is a different answer. I say tougher or different screening process, then allow qaulified individuals access to better guns. Fully auto and the like. I live in California and the gun laws are pretty strict here. Good thing I don’t live in L.A. were the common street thug has a Uzi tucked in his pants. Scary! Law abiding citizens with minimal firearm schooling could combat these growing problems. Yes! Our way of thinking is a little off. But, maybe in my few years their is something I’m missing!
    P.S. Great site! Can’t wait to learn so much about my FAVE gun the 1911

  33. Gunner said

    Hi Jimmy,

    Thanks for the great comment. I do agree with a lot of what you said.
    I want to take some time and answer your comment at length. We have a house full of folks for Thanksgiving today so I’m a little overwhelmed with people right now.
    I’ll try to email tonight or tomorrow when things are back to normal.
    I’m sure glad you enjoy the blog!!!


  34. Gunner said


    You know that’s the problem with gun control. People just don’t get it. By people I mean politicians and those who don’t shoot or have no experience in the real world.
    You hit the nail on the head. Criminals don’t go out and buy guns they steal them, buy them on the street or along the border they even go down to Mexico and buy them down there and bring them back. Something you never hear about are guns that are smuggled into the country from overseas and come through Mexico.
    With the gang MS13 they are nationwide and in south and central America so they bring them in and use them or sell them.
    So, the problem as always isn’t your average citizen that enjoys shooting it’s the criminal who will always have guns no matter what the laws are and the honest citizen is the victim.
    Politicians give in to the hysteria everytime there is a shooting or some group gives them a ton of money for the campaign they are running with promises to ban the evil guns.
    As I’m sure you know the states who have concealed carry have had crime rates fall to all time lows. Common sense should prevail but often it doesn’t!

    Glad you enjoyed the blog!!!

  35. Art Fisher said

    Years ago I was a follower of Elmer Keith, in that I read what I could about him. I believe he owned one of the first model 29’s, .44 mag, and tested it for S&W. Had you ever met or worked with him?


  36. Gunner said


    No I never had the pleasure. He was gone before I got to know some of the old pistoleros. I sure would liked to have picked his mind:-) I have all his books and read them over from time to time. He was the one who took the old S&W 44 and boosted it up to near 44 mag velocities and did indeed talk S&W into making one on the old three screw N frame and you know the rest of the story.

    Kinda like Bill Jordan who fathered the model 19. I did get to meet Bill and have his book”No Second Place Winner” which he autographed for me. It’s a treasured possesion!

    Thanks for the comment!


  37. Doc Wesson said

    Enjoying your Blog!

  38. Gunner said

    Good deal I’m glad to hear that!


  39. George said


    I am writing you today because I have written a short, basic e-book on reloading and would like for you to publish links to it on your blog. I can also give you a free text copy for review if you want. Thanks for your consideration.

  40. MOE said

    Hi Gunner,
    Have been lookin all over for a Daly high power (NIB). No luck . I have found a good used but no new. can you give me an idea where I may find a new one? Much appreciated, MOE

  41. DJ said

    I am have just purchased a new RIA- 1911 45mm subcompact. As I am a female, I wonder if you might have any suggestions or recomendations for sights and grips to enhance my newest purchase- (I also have a subcompact glock-9mm, a s&w 9mm, a ruger p-95 in 9mm, Bersa- firestorm-.380. I am hoping to carry this RIA instead of the baby glock- which is a bit small for my hand- but is idiot proof. Thanks for your site- it is very informative- I’ll be sure to bookmark it…

  42. Gunner said

    Hello and congrats on the new 1911! One thing that may help you would be these thinner grips depending on your hand size.

    Also if you have the Tactical model you can purchase sights from Novaks and have the slide back in one week. If it has standard government sights(the small ones) Novak can do a slide cut to fit the sights. Some of the RIA’s have the tactical sights already. RIA made sure that the slide cut is a standard Novak slide cut which makes it easier to purchase sights. It’s also cheaper to send in the slide only and have Novak do the work.
    I hope this helps you:-)


  43. DougT said

    Hello Phil,
    I stumbled upon your site while researching for a RIA 1911. I wanted to add to the discussion about 1911 grip panels with something I discovered recently. I have a set of wood grips that I took off my A1, roughed up the surfaces a little bit and sprayed over them two coats of the DupliColor Truck Bed Liner. These turned out great and served a few of purposes: to protect the wood, improved the looks with the black color, and provided a little recoil absorption of the powerful .45ACP
    Anyways, just wanted to offer this little discovery to your audience.

  44. Ernie Stein said

    I just read your artical about the Kimber Pro Carry II, I just bought a used one in Stainless that per s/n was manufactured this year. Would you recomend to just change the extractor and the slide release with Wilson parts, just be preclude any issues with these parts? I also use only Kimber mags. so I think that will be on the safe side.
    Thank you for your time, Ernie

  45. Gunner said


    Hey you may have a good one so I’d leave the factory parts in for now. There could be some warranty issues if you change parts now. I agree that forged parts as Wilson makes are much better than MIM parts Kimber uses but the warranty thing is a consideration. So if it works ok I’d just leave ot as is unless you have a problem with it. The stainless guns don’t seem to have as many problems as the other finishes for some reason. If you need new mags or just want more buiy Chip McCormick mags. They make all the mags for Kimber so you get the same mag much cheaper!.

    Best of luck,

  46. MATT SARAC said

    Dear Sir
    I loved your efforts in this blog. I am a holster manufacturer and i would like to be listed in your blog please. I make hand made holsters. Thanks

  47. Harold DeJonge (Dutch) said

    Are you Eric Little with parents names Donna and Dave? Sister Val?

  48. Gunner said


    No Erik is a friend of mine. We got together through my blog and talk about holsters. I love his work as you can tell by the review of his holsters. I’m a retired police officer also.

  49. Lester Coats said

    Sir I have a Rock Island garand Serial # 90434. I would like to have some help finding any history about this weapon.

    Thank You

  50. Lester Coats said

    Sir I have a Rock Island garand Serial # 90434. I would like to have some help finding any history about this weapon. Sorry I forgot to tell you that it was made in 1903.

    Thank You

  51. Gunner said


    I’ll be glad to see what I can find. I do know that is a low serial number which would put it in the late 1930’s early 1940’s. The Garand was created after the Springfield 03-A3 which is a bolt action rifle from WWI. The Garand is a semi auto that replaced the 03-A3. The Garand was not around in 1903.

    Take care,

  52. shaun said

    I work for Pilgrim Films and were casting a brand new show about Marksmanship for History Channel! I saw you had a gun blog and was wondering if you could post are casting notice for your viewers to read. The prize on the show is $100,000. Also if you had a email list or newsletter and could blast out the casting notice out would be very helpful. Thanking you in advance! For more info check out or give us a call.

  53. Robert cook said

    Hi Gunner,I just wanted to say hi and comment on the RIA pistols,first of all I am a former army infantry soldier,I was with the 2nd battalion,32nd infantry regiment,7th infantry division,and my old regiment is currently with the tenth mountain div. in afghanistan,I also have taken defensive pistol courses at frontsite and had tactical shotgun training with a navy seal friend of mine.I love the RIA pistols,they function flawlessly and and are a great deal,I just purchased the compact tactical,I also have an argentine colt,that is a great shooter.The only complaint that I have is that the duracoat finish wears off way to fast,RIA should address that issue,but otherwise a great pistol and I plan on buying a few more,thanks gunner.

  54. Gunner said


    First thanks for your service to our country. My son is a Captain in the Army and is on his second tour in Iraq.
    I appreciate your comment on the RIA and I couldn’t agree more they are great pistols. I’ll forward your concerns over the finish to the US RIA office. They always like to hear feedback from owners.

    Take care and a Merry Christmas,

  55. Robert cook said

    Hi Gunner,thank you for the reply,it was entirely my honor to serve my country,you are very welcome,and please tell your son to watch his six while he is in iraq,I have a few friends that are younger than me,that have served in iraq and afghanistan,respectively,its a brotherhood,I assume that you know what I mean being a police officer,its almost the same thing.I am thinking of having my RIA compact re finished,if the duracoat really starts looking bad after extended usage,I like parkerizing in green or grey/black,do you have any other suggestions as far as a re finish? if and when it comes to that point.thank you and have a very merry christmas.Robert

  56. Gunner said

    EMail sent Robert

  57. AJ said


    I’m a police officer and carry a P220 on duty. I purchased a P6 as an off duty weapon from a co-worker because it functions the same as my P220. I had repeated failure to feeds and had it sent back to Sig. They said the failure to feeds were a result of the gun being designed to fire ball ammo only. Their gun smith improved the feed ramp and said it functions fine now. I am waiting for it to be shipped back to me. Hopefully no more malfunctions.


  58. Gunner said


    Yep I have heard that many times for the same reason. Most any gunsmith worth his salt can change the ramp angle to feed hollowpoints without any problem. I was lucky enough to get one that fed hollowpoints without any malfunctions.
    Anyway it should be reliable when you get it back. Good choice though!


  59. Angry Mike said

    Great blog. Came across it when I was searching for Rem 597 stocks. I have a 597 that is space-gun ready. I am in the service and my gunsmith came up from Quantico. We put a Jerry Miculek 223 comp on my barrel and locked in the receiver. Tack driver at any range. Went to a simmons 16x scope from Great deal and good enough for a .22.


  60. Gunner said


    Thanks very much I’m sure glad you enjoy the blog:-) Wow you did get a great gunsmith. I always envied those who can use some of the best gunsmiths on the planet those in the military! Opitcs Planet is where I get my optics most times. They have a good selection and prices. Thanks for your service. You may have seen the blog video with my son on it. He’s a Captain in the Army.

    All the best,

  61. John M said

    Just found your site researching AR15’s. Looking at purchasing a new carbine in the next two years. Have always been Colt loyal but some of the other brands look good for less $$. I wonder if consumer reports ever rated AR’s LOL. Anyway, if you have any idea’s about non colt brand AR’s I’d like to hear them. Specifically Olympic Arms, Rock River, and DPMS. Thanks
    John M


  62. Gunner said


    Well one officer to another I’ve never run into a bad AR unlike some handguns. Of course I just bought the CMMG in the M4 configuration and that’s my second one in that brand.
    I have to say though that if I wanted the best I’d go with the Rock River. It has all the military spec extras many don’t have like chrome lined barrels, match single stage triggers that are still heavy enough to be safe for duty use, very good rail systems as well as choices of calibers like the newer 6.8SPC. The Rock Rivers also come in a blue hard case as well.
    If you look at my latest CMMG though you’ll see the extras. This rifle came with all you see except the optics for $850. Now that includes a forged aluminum upper and lower, Yankee Hill rail system, VLTOR Clubfoot stock, Troy front and rear BUIS, Tango Down pistol grip and a 14.5 inch barrel. To me that’s a good value.
    One thing I can’t see though is spending over $2000 on a Ruger or S&W Ar15. I can’t justify the cost with what you get other than the name brand.

    Happy Shooting,

  63. Steve Raleigh said

    I really enjoyed your article on the s&w model 25-5.I own the 4 inch version.It was a georgia highway patrolmens gun from the 60’s.It is very accurate,fun to shoot and I got to take a 285lb black bear with itin maine which put me in the record book.I reload 250 grain jhp’s for hunting.I have taken deer and a russian boar with it.I have gotten some crazy looks and comments from guides but I don’t care I love the gun and caliber.Thanks for a great article.Steve

  64. Gunner said


    Thanks very much I’m glad you enjoyed it:-) Good shooting and congrats on getting the record breaker!


  65. Joyce said

    the website that I belong to is I think that you might be interested in it. It was created by a former Marine and a current police officer. the creator just wants to educate the american people….I hope that you will check the site out…thanks for your time

  66. Walter Lipman said

    Thanks for the Browning Hi Power manuals. I decided to leave a little something for both the effort and your bandwidth, because I appreciate both the effort, expense, and ongoing work to maintain something of this nature.

    Again, thanks!

  67. Gunner said


    Your very welcome! I’m always glad to help anytime I can. I may have told you but that’s why I started the blog in the first place. After all these years of shooting and instructing I wanted to give something back to those who share our sport.
    I appreciate you leaving something for Steve so that he can pay for the great owners manual listings he maintains.

    All the best,

  68. Kurt Carstens said

    I read with interest your review of the H&K USP compact, in .40S&W. Regarding the #1 trigger/fire control version, does that particular version allow one to carry the pistol in double action mode without the safety applied? In other words, is the pistol intrinsicaly safe to carry in D/A mode?


  69. Gunner said


    Thanks for writing. Yes the H&K USP is very safe carrying it in DA mode even with the safety off. You can however apply the safety in double action mode.
    It is one of the safest DA pistols made.

    Take care,

  70. Enjoyed your website. My GGGrandparents early settlers in Macoupin County ILL. I live in Hendersonville TN, raised mostly on the old IU campus Bloomington IN. Im an artist, paint people, make altar pieces, have made Federal Period flintlocks many years. Do some hand engraving and gold and silver inlay. My father on the board of Olivet, Kankakee (spelling) at one time. Enjoy reading about fireamrs, Thanks

  71. Top Shot now casting season 2!
    If you are skilled with a pistol, rifle or any other firearm, you could win $100,000 in prizes on season 2 of History Channel’s hit competition show TOP SHOT. Producers are looking for anyone with mind-blowing shooting skills and a big personality to take on exciting physical challenges with multiple guns and mystery projectile weapons.
    It doesn’t matter if you’re a professionally trained shooter or a self-taught, average Joe (or Jane!). As long as you’re in good physical shape, have mastered a firearm and can adapt to new weapons and demanding physical situations, you could be America’s next “Top Shot.”
    To apply, email with your name, city/state, phone number, a recent photo of yourself and a brief explanation of why you should be on the show. Deadline to apply is August 12, 2010. For more information, visit and click on “CASTING” or call 818-478-4570 for more information TODAY!
    * Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, a resident or citizen of the United States and reasonably proficient with shooting and marksmanship

  72. Gunner said


    I’ll go ahead and post this email then write up a front page announcement like I did for season one. Great Show!


  73. Greg Weber said

    Hello Gunner,
    I recently discovered your website while doing research on my next handgun purchase. Congratulations on a terrific site. You present practical and useful information in a clear and understandable manner. I am really enjoying exploring your site. Keep up the good work!
    I currently carry a 9mm Kahr K-9, but I’ve gotten the itch to get something new. With the price of ammo being what it is, I have to wonder if it would be wise to stay with the 9mm and pick up a S&W M&P or a Springfield XD. What I really want, however, is to move into the “1911 club”. I have shot the rental 1911s at the range and love them. With that in mind, I would appreciate your input on a couple issues. Keep in mind that the 1911 will serve as my ccw gun, as well as my range pistol. I feel that guns are for shooting,not for keeping in the safe. That said, this new gun will need to be both reliable and sturdy.
    My first question is whether it would be better to go with something in the $700-$1000 range, such as a Colt or S&W, or go with an entry level model like the Rock Island Armory Tactical or a Taurus PT1911?
    Secondly, within each of these two groups of 1911s, which makes/models would you recommend?
    Please remember that I’m looking for something that I can shoot the heck out of at the range, but is reliable enough to use as a carry gun.
    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this subject.
    Greg W.

  74. Gunner said


    Thanks very much for your comments they are much appreciated. I was just getting ready to turn in for the night. I have a long day tomorrow:-) Since the reply will take some time I’ll get the info together and send an email by tomorrow afternoon.
    I can get a bit long winded but hopefully it will answer all your questions and if not email me with whatever you need!

    Talk with you tomorrow,

  75. Russ Blanck said

    Phil: we crossed paths almost two years ago after your review of the CD High Power and the discussion of modifications you made to it. I am having some work done on my gun and would appreciate being able to visit with you again if you have the time. Thanks. Russ

  76. Kristen said


    Season 1 was a hit, and Season 2 is on its way. Now it’s your turn to take a shot at Season 3! If you are skilled with a pistol, rifle or any other firearm, you could win $100,000 in prizes on the third season of History Channel’s electrifying competition show, TOP SHOT. Producers are looking for anyone with unrivaled shooting skills and a big personality to take on exciting physical challenges with multiple guns and mystery projectile weapons.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a professionally trained shooter or a self-taught, average Joe (or Jane!). As long as you’re in good physical shape, have mastered a firearm and can adapt to new weapons and demanding physical situations, you could be America’s next “Top Shot.”

    This season, we’re also looking for MARKSMEN PAIRS: Husband/Wife, Father/Son, Co-Workers or Siblings. If you and a close friend or relative are excellent shots, we want to hear from you both!


    To apply, email with your name, city/state, phone number, a recent photo of yourself and a brief explanation of why you should be on the show. Deadline to apply is February 1, 2011. For more information, visit and click on “CASTING” or call 818-478-4570 for more information TODAY!

    * Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, a resident or citizen of the United States and reasonably proficient with shooting and marksmanship.

  77. Leon Harris said


    I came across your site on Google and I would love to submit a guest post for your review. I have a couple topics that I think your readers would really enjoy.
    – The Importance Of Glocks To American Gun Owners

    – The Future Of Extended Magazines

    Please let me know if either of these work for you and I will get started!

    Warm Regards,

  78. laris breaux jr said

    hey gunner. thanks so much for the 1911 dissembly video. a close friend lost everything he and his family owns in a house fire. as they were digging through the ashes he found his kimber stainless II 1911. he brought it to 2 local gunsmiths and they would not touch it with a ten foot pole. i told him to soak it in transmission fluid till i got home from my boat job. when i got to see it it was not so damaged by the fire but had been laying in wet ashes and gook for almost a month before they could stomac going into the ruins. i soaked it in gasoline and freed it up and dissembled it and buffed all parts and had not yet removed the firing pin and extractor. with your video i will be able to complete that and reasemble it and return it to as close to new condition thanks and god bless you and your family and thanks for you service to your community. laris breaux, gulf breeze fl.

  79. Gunner said


    I can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. This is why I started the blog in the first place to help people. This really humbles me that these videos actually helped someone who has had a real life changing tragedy.
    I certainly understand the feeling of loss they must be feeling. My dad was older when I came along and had some guns he held pretty dear. One was a Colt single action that Will Rogers gave him way back when. When his brothers house burned he lost that gun and a bunch of others. I have a idea of what he must have felt.
    Your one heck of a friend to take this project on. I remember an article by a fellow gun writer about two years ago who’s house burned and he was able to bring several 1911’s back to life with a lot of work. I wish I could remember the article since it might be of help. It was amazing when he posted the before and after pictures.
    It sounds like you have the situation in hand but of there is anything I can help with let me know.

    All the best,

  80. wld4tahoe said

    Dear Phil,
    Found your site and love it! i’m new to shooting, always been afraid & decided to face the fear and become familiar with guns. I just bought my first gun S&W .357 4″ and love it, although I’m not good at it yet, but continue to practice. I feel silly asking at the gun shop, but is there a good site you recommed to learn about cleaning my gun? also, what’s your opinion of the trijicon night sights? I’m having a hard time with low light conditions at the indoor range, and seem to have a hard time aiming and making good groups (I say is the front sight, not me!). I do better with a .22 target pistol, and have no problem during normal light conditions. Don’t want to spend lots of $$ until I become more knowledgeble/proficient,so I’m looking for expert advice. I really do want to become proficient before I buy my dream gun, a 9mm 1911, so I have a ways to go. Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your great site!

  81. Gunner said

    email sent:-)

  82. Dan K. Evans, PhD said

    How can I register to receive this blog via email? I have a small collection of guns (long guns, revolvers and semi-auto). I very much enjoyed your presentation on the Sig 225. I now have one and have just recently had it serviced at Sig Service Plan. It looks so good! Thanks for your published information. Dan

  83. Gunner said


    I took care of it for you. You should get an email shortly to confirm the subscription. I tell you what that Sig is a wonderful gun and a real bargain!


  84. Gunner said

    email sent

  85. Brad Thomas said


    I am an old newbie trying to become a competent shooter for pp/hd, carry;
    I currently have a 22 for target work, and am on the verge of purchasing a 9mm for target work, pp/hd, carry; I have not been able to try the guns, so I am up in the air between the Glock 34, the S&W M&P Pro 5″, and the SA XDM. I want the best accuracy I can get. Any thoughts?

    I expect to make another purchase later on for a gun offering more stopping power, such as a used Desert Eagle 357 Mag or .45 ACP (whether 1911, or something like the XDM).

    Do you have any thoughts on how the Desert Eagle (Magnum Research) compares with the 1911? I think the Desert Eagle is an intriguing gun, and have read that the 357 Mag shoots much like a .22.

    Thanks for your knowledgeable input, best to you,


  86. Gunner said

    Hello Brad,

    Thanks for writing! Well sir to get right to the point my first choice is the Springfield Armory XDm. It has a match barrel and is the most accurate of the three guns you listed. Here’s a review.
    I really like this pistol a lot! Accuracy is very good, safety features are excellent. It handles well and is very comfortable and does have the interchangeable backstraps for the grip. Number two choice would be the S&W M&P. A very good pistol indeed and would also serve well.
    Here we go on the Glock–simply don’t! I don’t like Glocks in the least. The so called safety on the trigger is anything but. I still get police newsletters even though I’m retired and the number of accidental discharges is frightening. The grip angle is to severe, no manual safety like the other two. The slide is blocky and thick. It’s not very accurate. My biggest concern is safety. I had to carry one on duty and we had several discharges in the car, inside the PD when taking the gun out to lock in a gunsafe in the jail.
    Here is a prime example: This should not happen no matter what holster you use. Several companies had to redesign holsters because of this.

  87. Brad Thomas said

    Phil, thanks for the super-prompt information. It’s a huge help. Best to you,


  88. Gunner said

    Glad to help!

  89. Jeff said

    Phil, First off thank you for answering all my questions,and never steering me wrong. Question for you. I end up buying a Sig 556 swat patrol. It has the shorter quad rail and gas piston piston rod system. I wanted the Swat classic, It has the longer quad rail & gas piston. B4 buying the rifle I purchased the Trijicon Tri-Power, followed by a 3x Aimpont. I have not fired it yet. Reason being with the Sig 556 rifels as you know there parts are only interchangable with sig parts for the most part. Recently they released the Sig 516 which is your basic AR platform and u can interchange with dif. makes&models. My dealer never told me anyhing about the sig and what they had coming out. Basically I got a good deal on the rifel and figured I could make it my own by adding what I wanted. Not happening. My question 2 you is I want to get rid of my 556 what AR would you recommend.Or would you go with A scar, ACR. I know I just wrote you a book. So when you get a chance I would appreciate it. Thanks again. Oh one last thing I was thinling about trading evrything in even the optics with the gun to get the right weapon. I know Im probley going 2 take a lost but thats what u get when u dont do research. Thanks again

  90. Ben said


    My name is Ben and I’m working with History to help spread the word about their new Civil War film, Gettysburg, produced by Ridley and Tony Scott.

    I recently came across your site and I thought you might be interested in the film and potentially letting your readers know about it as well. Not a lot of people have heard about the film yet so we are really trying to raise awareness at the grassroots level. It airs on History Monday, May 30th, at 9pm and you can watch the trailer below where I’ve also included a brief summary of the program.

    Lastly, if you are interested in posting I can offer you some items for your time as well as for your readers if you wanted to do a giveaway. I have logoed History t-shirts, notebooks, and Ogio messenger bags (happy to send you pics of these).

    Thanks for your time and please let me know if you have any questions, need more material, or if you are interested in posting as we would really appreciate it.





    (Embed Code: <iframe width="640" height="390" src=" ” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>)

    Summary: Gettysburg is a 2-hour HISTORY special that kicks off a week of History programming commemorating the 150’th anniversary of the Civil War.

    Executive produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, this special strips away the romanticized veneer of the Civil War. It presents the pivotal battle of Gettysburg in a new light: as a visceral, terrifying and deeply personal experience, fought by men with everything on the line. Compelling CGI  and powerful action footage place viewers in the midst of the fighting, delivering both an emotional cinematic experience and an information packed look at the turning points, strategic decisions, technology and little known facts surrounding the greatest engagement ever fought on American soil. 

    The special begins in the high stakes summer of 1863, as the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia crosses into Pennsylvania. Trailed by the Union’s Army of the Potomac, Lee’s 75,000 strong army heads towards Harrisburg, converging instead near a quiet farm town, Gettysburg.  Known then only as a crossroads where ten roads running in all directions converge like a wagon wheel, this small town would become site of an epic battle between North and South.  For three days, each side fought there for their vision of what America should be.

    In collaboration with highly esteemed Civil War historians, HISTORY combed through hundreds of individual accounts of the battle to find the unique voices of struggle, defeat and triumph that tell the larger story of a bitterly conflicted nation. 

    In keeping with recent FTC rule changes, we request that you provide
    full disclosure to your audience in regards to your relationship with
    our brand. Please make clear that you were contacted directly by
    History who asked for your participation in the ways
    outlined above. In addition, please disclose fully any materials
    and/or products we have shared with you as part of this initiative.
    Your honest and transparent participation is truly valued. We look
    forward to working with you again on future initiatives.


  91. alex r. said

    It’s good to know that someone is honest and knowledgeable about what they do and love to share it to those who are willing to learn. Thank you and God bless.


  92. Gunner said


    Thank you very much I certainly appreciate it! I’m always willing to answer questions:-)

    God Bless!

  93. Terrance F. Evans said

    I will not hesitate to go to you for an answer.

  94. Gunner said


    I’m always around to help!

    Take care,

  95. laris breaux said

    hey phil, laris here i first told you the story about the kimber burnt in the fire that i rebuilt. a quick question about my 1911, i have a colt combat elite and i find the trigger awefully stiff. i bought the 3.5# upgrade kit from brownells any thoughts before i install it in my colt. it has the mainspring, trigger spring, hammer, sear and release included. thanks laris

  96. I landed on your excellent blog site as a result of searching for just the right 1911 9mm pistol for me. Even though this blog is very “dated”, you gave me better insight on the Kimber Pro Carry II than any other information I’ve found over the past few days and lots of wasted time in searches. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, experience and expertise. Please keep me in the loop regarding this Kimber.

  97. Gunner said


    I’m glad the review helped! Yes I haven’t kept up with it like I want to and made a decision to keep more up to date content. I write professionally on other sites so it takes me away from my own blog.
    Feel free to contact me anytime at all. This website has several articles as does this one

    Happy shooting!

  98. Derek Ford said

    I’m a 24 year officer and current swat commander and a 1911 nut! My gunsmith speeks highly of the rock island frames and slides but says the rest is junk. A good base for a build. He says as they are they will work fine for someone that doesnt shoot alot. I’m not questioning your opinion of the weapon, I would just like to hear more specifics on the rock from you. There has to be a reason they sell for so cheap.

    Thank You, Derek Ford fellow law enforcement bro.

  99. Gunner said


    Sorry it took me awhile to get back to you. I was gone this weekend. I usually answer comments within an hour. Anyway, to answer your question. The gunsmith is correct that they are also a good base for a build. I imagine what he is talking about is the old thing about internal MIM parts. Almost 100% of the guns made today have MIM parts especially since the quality has improved over the last several years. Sig is one company that has no MIM parts at all but it’s one of the few 1911’s that don’t.
    I’m not sure what he considers shooting a lot since that is such a subjective term. I have about 4,000 rounds through one 45acp Rock with no parts problems or functions problems. Again I’m not sure if he would consider that a lot. My 9mm Tactical has right at 2000 rounds fired also no problems. It’s still pretty new. I do know the sear, hammer and other critical parts are not MIM. If a person wanted to make sure they can certainly change the few critical parts out for Wilson parts without to much time or money spent.
    Why are they so cheap is pretty straight forward. They are made in the Philippines where wages paid are very low compared to the USA. In addition too that the company believes in selling quantity at a lower profit than fewer guns at a higher profit. That’s pretty much true for any gun maker over there. I know the folks at corporate here in the USA as well as a friend who is a supervisor at the main plant in the Philippines. I do know very few of these guns have problems requiring repair. Arnel the gunsmith here in the US is someone else I speak with from time to time. They do bend over backwards to take care of any customer concerns. Say for instance you wanted a 9mm Tactical that would also fire 38 Super. Arnel will talk to the customer and do the work charging a reasonable amount so you have a 1911 that works well with both calibers. I’m in the process of doing this now through Arnel. I can do the work but Arnel insist on doing it himself so he knows it’s right. He’s just like that—–very particular about the guns he sends to customers.
    I hope this answers your questions and if not feel free to write again.

    Take care brother!

  100. Jim said

    Hi Gunner-

    I came across your site and I just wanted to tell you it’s awesome. I’m currently an IDPA shooter finishing up the Police Academy and was considering getting a 1911 upon graduation as a gift to myself. I saw the RIA 1911 in 9mm and to be honest I was slightly cautious but you’ve helped ease my concerns.

    For the money and the options it seems like a great gun!!

    Once I graduate the academy I’d like to get into some cyber security training for myself, any suggestions on certifications?courses?Books?

    Thanks for your time and the great site, I’ll be watching.


  101. Alan Butterworth said


    Like many folks, I found You by Googling Rock Island Armory and I’m having a hard time leaving Your site. I’m looking at a barely used Rock 45 and I wondered if the Lifetime warranty is for the original buyer only or if it follows the gun? The seller is so close to retail that the warranty situation could really be a deal breaker. I appreciate all the Great information and common sense that you are so willing to share because Your Lifetime of Service has given You insights that We average Joes don’t normally have access to. Thank You and all Your LEO Brothers and Sisters for that Service and the Concern & Caring that You continue to Share.
    Sincerely: Alan B.

  102. Gunner said

    Hi Alan,

    You know most people never send in the warranty card so it may be in the box. You might check with the seller. Anyway, from what I’ve seen they take care of the warranty even if you aren’t the original buyer. They have the best customer service in the industry.
    I’m very glad you’re enjoying the blog and feel free to ask questions anytime. I’m going to be gone a few days but most of the time I’m on any question the same day I get it. I’m glad to share any information I have:-)
    I appreciate your comments very much. It sure is a rewarding if difficult calling.

    All the best!

  103. Gunner said

    Hi Jim,

    I’m out for a few days but I’ll get back to you as soon as I get home and I can suggest some sources to help you out.

  104. Alex said

    Hello! Phil, thank you for your faithful response to all of us who are in need of honest answers. My ST/Middy is needing a red dot or something:)…. Short on cash, what you think about Mueller red dot or vortex. Also considering a Nikon P-233 3×32 BDC scope, God bless and have a safe week-end.

  105. Gunner said


    You are very welcome:-) This is a no brainer for me considering a good red dot for a reasonable price. The Vortex is about the best buy. Take a look here then search the Internet for the best price. The Strikefire has a screw in 2X magnifier as well.

  106. Hi Gunner I just came across your great site while researching articles on Militec-1. I am a Vietnam vet and been around firearms since i was a kid in Alaska. Just bought a Taurus 1911 in .45 My first 1911. I really appreciate the information i have gleaned from your site. I became so impressed with Militec -1 and the company that i became a dealer here in Oregon. I hope you don’t mind if I refer people to your site when my website is up and running, Best regards
    David Sayers

  107. Gunner said


    Glad you like the blog! By all means feel free to refer people here when your website goes up.

    That Taurus 1911 is a good one!

  108. John Poe said

    I as that you went to rookie school with Don McGuire, so did I what is your name? I’m John Poe I went from UALR to Jacksonville p.d. Where I retired as a lieutenant.

  109. Lee Hickerson said

    are perfect. Or will be when I get the courage to take mine down that far. So here are my questions. Do you have any experience or opinions on the Para Ordinance line or on Frog Lube. A friend in Georgia swears by the lube but I can’t find it in Charlotte and I wonder if it’s worth chasing.

    Oh by the way, no cop here, retired or otherwise. Retired from the national canoe club in 95 and finally got my first firearm this year.

  110. Lee Hickerson said

    Top got cut off. Should have read Found you while searching for info on cleaning and lubricating my Para Expert. The dismantling videos ……

  111. eng said

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