S&W PC1911… Still King of the Hill


When it comes to handguns, I’m always looking for something better.  And by better, I mean more accurate.  Sure, there are many different ways to measure firearm value.  Concealability, capacity, ease of use, reliability, and other criteria come to mind, and I have pistols that perform each of those functions superbly.  My primary obsession though is small groups.  I think this comes from growing up shooting varmint rifles and always looking for the right load that could shrink three shots below 1/2 MOA.  Maybe it’s because, by nature, I’ve always gravitated toward what I consider precision-focused past times (shooting, golf, billiards).  Or, it could be because I have several firearms that do the same thing without much distinction from one another and accuracy is a key differentiator.  Whatever the reason, it is what it is.  

Nearly three years ago, I began my search for a highly accurate 1911 that wouldn’t require me to send my kids to a coal mine for extra income.  I looked at Les Baer, Springfield’s TRP, Dan Wesson, and a host of other handguns.  Then, a fairly newer model from the Smith & Wesson Performance Center peaked my interest.  A couple articles and some positive range reports sealed my decision, and shortly thereafter I was the proud owner of a full-size PC1911.  I immediately knew a few things handed to change.  For one, the ambidextrous thumb safety was mushy and didn’t inspire confidence by “clicking” into place.  And, being a righty, I view the starboard side lever as an unnecessary protrusion.  The grips, while handsome, were also way too thick for my liking.  Similar to all 1911s I own, the trigger was begging to be replaced by a Greider short solid unit.  A short while later an Ed Brown single side safety, a new trigger, and a set of Custom Outfitters G10 grips (which feel wonderful in hand, by the way) were new additions to my PC1911.  This pistol immediately impressed me by being one of the only 1911s I’ve owned that didn’t require me to tinker with the pull weight.  As well, it proceeded to outshoot all my other handguns.  A SIG Nitron Rail 1911 that has since come and gone from my collection came close but couldn’t keep up in the end.  My Kimber Custom Target was woefully outclassed.  And, even my new slick as glass Dan Wesson Specialist isn’t quite yet doing what the S&W does in my hands.  An EAA Witness Elite Match, while not a 1911, recently joined my stable and may show some promise.  The Kimber was recently upgraded with a tight fitting EGW bushing which, after the first range trip, seems to have had an immediate impact on shrinking groups.  But, the good ole’ PC1911 continues to be my “go to” when I want to see what I can really do.  The picture in this post is from last weekend and represents a 5 shot group from offhand at 50 ft using cheap Wal-Mart Perfecta ball ammo.  While I know many of you can do better than this, 1″ at this distance for me is a pretty good showing.  

Maybe I’ll find something someday that unseats this pistol in terms of accuracy, but my “don’t wanna go over $1,500” rule for a handgun may limit that pursuit.  Which, at this point, is just fine.  I think I’m done trying to find something that can top my PC1911 as King of the Hill for awhile and will enjoy it for what it is: the best in my stable.  

Note:  the stock magwell funnel was replaced recently with an Ed Brown unit.


About martowski

Garden-variety professional with one too many hobbies.
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5 Responses to S&W PC1911… Still King of the Hill

  1. Ang says:

    Hello, I also have a PC1911 but I can’t quite get it to shoot as accurate. Are you still using the factory black post front sight or switched to something else? Also did you had to adjust the rear sight much when you first got the gun? My was shooting way low so I had to move the rear sight up quite a bit. I’m actually thinking about trading my PC1911 for a Dan Wesson Specialist. Has your opinion on the Specialist changed at all after putting more rounds through it?
    I appreciate your time and any info you can provide.

    • martowski says:

      Hello! Yes, I am using the factory front sight post. I am sure I had to make some slight adjustments to the rear sight, but I don’t recall it being excessive or anything other than some small tweaks. Regarding the Dan Wesson, I haven’t had it out much lately so I can’t really say if it’s doing anything different in my hands at this point. I will say that it is certainly a fine 1911 and very tight; I’m sure mechanically it is capable of much more than what I am able to squeeze out of it in terms of accuracy. While I love my PC1911 and it’s my favorite handgun, the DW isn’t a slouch by any means and I intend to spend more time with it as I’m sure I’ll get better with it as well.

      • Ang says:

        When I first got my PC1911 it was really accurate, then I replaced the black post front sight with a Dawson Precision fiber optic front sight and the accuracy went to hell. I realized the front sight wasn’t set dead center and have since fixed that. Hopefully I can get the accuracy back to where it use to be. Thank you for answering my questions and looking forward to following your blog.

  2. martowski says:

    Good luck, I hope it all works out well. I was looking at my PC1911 again and the rear sight is raised up a decent amount, but not anything I even noticed and certainly within the range of what could be expected.

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