Torn between 1911's


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giggitygiggity
May 4, 2012, 01:13 PM
I am looking to buy a 1911. Kimbers are nice looking pistols, but I've heard a number of complaints about quality control. Colts seem to hold their value and have a good reputation. I'm looking at the Colt Combat Elite and the Colt XSE models. Out of these two models, which one is better?

What 1911 is best? Things that I am interested in include reliability, accuracy, fit/finish. I am open to suggestions and insight.

I don't have a budget, but I honestly cannot believe that what makes one pistol worth $3000 and another worth $1000 is worth the extra 2 grand. Please correct me if that extra money is well spent, but I can't imagine how it could be.

With that being said, I'd like my 1911 to be $1200 or less. However, if I need to spend more for a high-quality pistol, I will do so. Thanks.

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smalls
May 4, 2012, 01:23 PM
Honestly with just a few more bucks you're in Dan Wesson territory, and IMO, you're better off than a Colt.

Frankl03
May 4, 2012, 01:31 PM
Kimbers are nice Guns and if you have problems they will take care of you. You get good features for the money.

I had a Kimber Tactical custom II which was a great gun. No problems at all. Sold it to fund another project.

I have a Springfield Loaded which I like allot! Great customer service!

MachIVshooter
May 4, 2012, 03:10 PM
Between Kimber and Colt, it would come down to what I was looking for. I have a Mk IV stainless .45 and a Kimber Stainless Target II 10mm. I like them both.

If you're after a more classic 1911, the Colt owns it. But, IMO, if you want something more contemporary, I'd go with Kimber.

Steve CT
May 4, 2012, 03:27 PM
Everyone's "Best" 1911 is going to be a pretty big playing field. With $1200 to work with, I'd find the Dan Wesson model that fit my needs.

tekarra
May 4, 2012, 06:11 PM
With the price you stated, I would look at a Dan Wesson.

Mr.Revolverguy
May 4, 2012, 06:35 PM
Guys Dan Wesson has raised the price in my area there isn't a Dan Wesson for less than $1600.

mesinge2
May 4, 2012, 07:04 PM
I have a Colt Combat Elite and a Kimber TLE II and while I like my Kimber; if I had to choose just one of them I'd pick the Colt.

allaroundhunter
May 4, 2012, 07:15 PM
I would take either a Colt XSE or a Dan Wesson if I was near that price range (preference would be for Dan Wesson).

orionengnr
May 4, 2012, 08:12 PM
For $1200 I would look at used DWs and (if you get lucky) a used Les Baer.

BYJO4
May 4, 2012, 09:20 PM
Colt and Kimber are both good. If I were to spend more, I would look for a good used Baer (assuming I did not want to spend the money for a new one).

giggitygiggity
May 4, 2012, 09:35 PM
What makes Dan Wessons better than other 1911's?

wyocarp
May 4, 2012, 09:47 PM
Dan Wessons are made to very tight tolerances and yet function very nicely. You won't buy a new one for $1200. The colts aren't as tight yet they fumction and shoot nicely. Kimber makes some pretty firarms but I don't agree with an earlier post that Kimber takes care of their customers well. Colt isn't much better but Colts are nice handguns and it will always be a Colt.

TonyAngel
May 5, 2012, 12:14 AM
If I was in the market for a new 1911, I'd take a look at the STI offering as well.

cyclopsshooter
May 5, 2012, 12:16 AM
Colt XSE, Combat Elite, or Dan Wesson

MachIVshooter
May 5, 2012, 12:20 AM
Dan Wessons are made to very tight tolerances and yet function very nicely

They were also $700 guns until CZ took over. The guns haven't changed, just the price. Some companies charge more because their products are worth more. And some companies charge more because it creates the illusion that their products are worth more *cough*HK*cough*

When I bought my Stainless Target II, I considered the Razorback 10mm that was $100 less than the on-sale Kimber. The Kimber is a nicer gun, IMO.

Fremmer
May 5, 2012, 12:27 AM
How about buying a nice older colt, maybe something from the 60s or70s?

Steve CT
May 5, 2012, 12:47 AM
There was a time that DW 1911's were very undervalued in the 1911 market, things have swung to the point where a fair number of sellers overvalue them. GunBroker has several very nice DW 1911's right now at $1200 +/- a few $$$. There are many good quality 1911's out there, in the $1200 (and slightly higher) range, it's hard to beat a DW.

HisSoldier
May 5, 2012, 01:05 AM
Honestly with just a few more bucks you're in Dan Wesson territory, and IMO, you're better off than a Colt.

You will not be unhappy after buying a DW. I got rid of my Mimber after buying my first DW, there is no comparison.

cyclopsshooter
May 5, 2012, 01:15 AM
Mimber That gave me a chuckle. Never seen that before... how long has it been in the colloquial?

Snowdog
May 5, 2012, 03:52 AM
I have a (1st series) Kimber Classic Custom and a Twin Pines (RIA). One cost me $800 and the other less than $300, both new-in-box. Both work great though the RIA does feed SWC slightly better. The Kimber is a tad more accurate, possibly due to the amazing trigger.

Personally, I would never spend over a grand on a 1911 but that's just me. I won't spend a over a grand on any firearm and I'm perfectly content.

If you don't have a budget, then your options are nearly limitless. I would probably look for a gently used Series 70 Colt if I were in the market for a 3rd 1911.

RH45
May 5, 2012, 08:13 AM
With a 1,200 budget, if I couldn't find a nice, used Les Baer, I'd buy an STI Trojan.

atomd
May 5, 2012, 09:17 AM
With Kimber and Colt you get stupid stuff like a plastic mainspring housing. I know the part isn't a high stress wear and tear part but cmon...it's a 1911. That's like putting hub caps on a Bugatti. You also get unnecessary safeties (depending on which series). The fitting isn't as nice as a DW either for the kind of money they are asking for them.

The DW uses a lot of Ed Brown parts and none of them are MIM. I know that whole thing is a big debate but let's face it...MIM is cheaper...and so is plastic. If you are using a process/part only to save money in that area, what other areas are you using a cheaper part/process in? The whole idea just seems "cheap" to me on a gun costing over $1000. The factory seconds coming from DW have less cosmetic flaws in them than some of the Colts and Kimbers I see new on the shelf. If you are releasing guns with cosmetic flaws in them, what other flaws are you letting get by also?

My first pick would be a lightly used Baer or Brown..depending on what you like for features (hard to find used though). Second would be DW.

Quoheleth
May 5, 2012, 09:56 AM
If it were me with a $1200 budget, I would get a Springer Loaded and a couple cases of ammo for range time. Currently I own and frequently carry a Springer Mil-Spec.

But, to the OP's choices, Colt.

Q

stevekozak
May 5, 2012, 09:56 AM
Get a Ruger ST1911, and buy a bunch of ammo with the price difference!! 1911's are no fun if you can't feed them!! (or any other gun for that matter).

smalls
May 5, 2012, 11:17 AM
Guys Dan Wesson has raised the price in my area there isn't a Dan Wesson for less than $1600.
I'd like my 1911 to be $1200 or less. However, if I need to spend more for a high-quality pistol, I will do so
Emphasis added by me.

See also:
http://www.gunsamerica.com/972175544/Guns/Pistols/Dan-Wesson-Pistols-Revolvers/1911-Style/Dan_Wesson_45_Heritage_45_ACP_Stainless.htm

http://www.gunsamerica.com/978992040/Guns/Pistols/Dan-Wesson-Pistols-Revolvers/1911-Style/Dan_Wesson_CZ_USA_RZ_45_Heritage_SS_45_ACP_Night_Sights.htm

http://www.gunsamerica.com/910156242/Guns/Pistols/Dan-Wesson-Pistols-Revolvers/1911-Style/DAN_WESSON_POINTMAN_GUARDIAN_DUCE.htm

http://www.gunsamerica.com/903071291/Guns/Pistols/Dan-Wesson-Pistols-Revolvers/1911-Style/CZ_Dan_Wesson_RZ_45_Heritage_Razorback_45_ACP.htm

That's just ONE site I looked on. They can be found, and apparently quite easily for way under $1600

PT92
May 5, 2012, 12:01 PM
Wow I wish I had the cash on hand to even consider this territory:D. I haven't made a >$1k firearm purchase in 5+ years (but I do serious research now and select more frugal yet reliable products). No doubt I would love to pick up a Kimber though.

-Cheers

KTXdm9
May 5, 2012, 12:26 PM
If it were me with a $1200 budget, I would get a Springer Loaded and a couple cases of ammo for range time. Currently I own and frequently carry a Springer Mil-Spec.

But, to the OP's choices, Colt.

Q
Ding ding! OP, no interest in Ruger or SW?

cwolfs69
May 5, 2012, 03:13 PM
springfield arms or the kimber, only way to go.

giggitygiggity
May 5, 2012, 07:26 PM
I said I'm open to all suggestions, but I was mainly looking at the Colt XSE and the Colt Combat Elite.

Someone mentioned that the accuracy between the Colt XSE and Colt Combat Elite are the same. However, my understanding is that the Combat Elite has a NM barrel whereas the XSE does not so I would think that accuracy would be in favor of the Combat Elite. Also, I heard that the slide to frame fit of the XSE had some rattle in it. Can anyone validate or dismiss these rumors? Thanks.

Stealth01
May 5, 2012, 07:39 PM
Look, you said you really didn't have a budget... GOOD, I'm tired of "I want the best but I don't want to spend more than $XXX"! If you want the best then pay the bucks and buy a Wilson Combat! You don't believe there is a difference between a $1,200.00 1911 and a $3,000.00 1911... then you've never handeled a Wilson! I enloy and carry my Kimber Raptor Ultra but I love my Wilson's!! Go find one and fondle it!!

Kimber:
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/m512/kengallagher/magwell.jpg

Wilson's:
http://i1129.photobucket.com/albums/m512/kengallagher/guns1.jpg

RickMD
May 5, 2012, 07:40 PM
Also, I heard that the slide to frame fit of the XSE had some rattle in it.

Slide to frame fit has little or nothing to do with accuracy in a 1911 style handgun. The frame is merely a fire control mechanism. The barrel and its relationship to the slide determines accuracy.

giggitygiggity
May 5, 2012, 10:58 PM
I know that the slide to frame relationship does not dictate accuracy. However, I like a solid frame to slide relationship so that the pistol feels solid and is cosmetically appealing.

1. Does the XSE have a NM barrel? Is the Combat Elite more accurate?
2. How is the slide to frame fit in the XSE and Combat Elite?

sleepyone
May 5, 2012, 11:58 PM
good luck finding the XSE. I just went to the Fort Worth gun show and they only three alloy frame XSEs; one 5" and two 4.25".

All of my LGSs are out too and have none available to order from Colt. Gun Broker and Guns America have them, but I like to check my guns out before dropping a grand.

RickMD
May 6, 2012, 12:40 AM
However, I like a solid frame to slide relationship so that the pistol feels solid and is cosmetically appealing.

I think you would be best served by going to a LGS and evaluating them in person. Accuracy can vary as much between the same model of pistol from the same manufacturer as it can from pistols of different manufacturers. All these guns are mass produced and have built in tolerances. Some are more accurate than others. No manufacturer I know of guarantees a specific degree of accuracy unless it's one of the high end semi-custom makers and those are going to set you back at least $1000 - $2000 over your budget.

Any of the recommendations made by the previous posters are good, solid, moderately priced 1911's. A $1200 1911 isn't going to be a piece that 1911 aficionados ooh and awe over. If you've ever been to a highly competitive bullseye match you'd have see tack driving $5000+ 1911's that rattle like a bucket of bolts and look like they've been run over by a bulldozer. Apparently you're looking for a "barbeque gun" and the only way to select one to your liking is to visit a dealer and handle them.

Skylerbone
May 6, 2012, 01:10 AM
They're both nice pistols IMO. I can refute the rattle claim and no, the XSE does not have a NM barrel. The fit isn't as refined as a DW but then there's a $200+ gap between the two. I snapped a few pics of my XSE before having some work done, note there are multiple styles of beavertail that shipped with this (and other XSE) models.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163994&stc=1&d=1336277274

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163995&stc=1&d=1336277274

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163996&stc=1&d=1336277319

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163997&stc=1&d=1336277319

ms6852
May 6, 2012, 01:24 AM
For the money you are talking about got Springfield. I have two and couldn't be happier.

rikman
May 6, 2012, 01:26 AM
With that budget ... I'd get a Sig 1911... Crazy bang for your buck! I have Les Baer,Wilson,SA PRO,Kimber Super Match and I'm very impressed with my Sig for under $1k.


Sent from my iPhone 4s using Tapatalk

buckhorn_cortez
May 6, 2012, 01:39 AM
Apparently you're looking for a "barbeque gun" and the only way to select one to your liking is to visit a dealer and handle them.

What bizarre conclusion. He only asked what guns were available for a specific budget - your projecting the remainder based on your prejudices.

For $1200, there are a number of quality guns avaliable: Colt, STI, SIG, Smith and Wesson, Springfield, Dan Wesson (if you look carefully) and Kimber all make guns in that price range that are good quality and will work.

The difference you're going to find is some guns will have cast frames, while others will have forged frames. Some will have MIM parts while others won't. You can search the forums and find all of the arguments for and against cast / forged / MIM, etc.

The problem for you is finding out what you want and are willng to accept in how the gun is built, and if it's important to you, how it looks.

For the money, the Dan Wessons are still one of the best buys in a 1911. They use a forged frame, the parts that they make are bar stock, and the parts they buy are high quality like Brown, Greider, EGW.

The other side of the purchase is manufacturer support if you need it. Springfield and S&W are literally no questions asked - they'll email a shipping label and instructions. The other manufacturers are generally good, and will get the gun fixed - you can find all of the horror stories you want about any manufacturer but I wouldn't take that as anything but one person's experience with their gun and a manufacturer. This even includes Wilson Combat who are generally acknowledged as having the consistently best customer service of any gun manufacturer - which only points out that no one is perfect.

I'd look at all of the guns from the manufacturers recommended in this thread, and you'll find one that fits your budget and aesthetic preferences. I also wouldn't rule out less expensive 1911's like the Ruger, and guns made in the Phillipines.

If it was my $1200, I'd look at Springfield, Colt, S&W, STI, and SIG. If you can spend a little more money, I'd get a Dan Wesson Valor or VBOB, or look for a used Les Baer.

cyclopsshooter
May 6, 2012, 01:51 AM
Some XSE pistols do have national match fittings (for what its worth... CNC vs hadnfit) the Rail Gun and Combat Elite are both XSEs and NM. My Combat Elite BARELY beat out my XSE Combat Commander. I wouldnt get too hung up on the NM.

You will learn to appreciate a bit of rattle because it goes hand in hand with reliability.

http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp233/wrc376/IMG_1501.jpg


http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp233/wrc376/IMG_1541.jpg

lono
May 6, 2012, 02:03 AM
I have 6 1911s from 6 different makers. My most recent one is a Dan Wesson. I have to say that it is my favorite one. The Dan Wesson is the best 1911 at that price point IHMO.
Note: the gun was a little over $1400 but I could not believe how much better the DW was.

Rock185
May 6, 2012, 02:07 AM
giggity, the 1911s I own are the best. Seriously though, we are fortunate to have so many quality 1911 type pistols available. Just simply because I'm am old guy, I've had the opportunity to sample quite a few makes and models over a period of a lot of years. IMHO, Colts are most always a good choice. I have owned Governments, Gold Cups, Commanders and a Custom Shop "Special Combat Government". Since you mentioned slide-to-frame fit, all my Colts rattled a little or a lot, including my Special Combat Government. I have seen nothing that indicates Colts barrels, whether marked "NM" or not, are machined, fitted or perform any differently. Were I looking at Colts, I would not care one bit if they were marked NM or not. My experience with the Springfields ( a Trophy Match and a Loaded Target) have been mixed. I have had very good luck with the Kimbers. My Kimbers and Springfields were fitted more closely slide-to-frame than most all of my Colts. I have owned Les Baer, Wilson, Rock River and customs built on the Colt chassis. The Baers fit tighter than any other type I've owned. They do not rattle when in battery, but are probably seldom found, even used, for $1200.00 or less. The smoothest, most closely fitted 1911 type production pistol I've yet encountered is the Dan Wesson. The barrel/slide/frame fit, and overall smoothness is the best of any production 1911 type pistol I have ever handled. Try to handle a DW if possible. Mine doesn't rattle at all. I have just ordered another one. I never owned a DW before, and don't own stock in Dan Wesson, Honest. I'm just a long time 1911 guy that is very impresed with what DW is building...ymmv

RickMD
May 6, 2012, 02:27 AM
What bizarre conclusion. He only asked what guns were available for a specific budget - your projecting the remainder based on your prejudices.

Incorrect. The OP asked which of two model Colts were more accurate. The simple answer is there's no way to tell when you buy a stock gun out of the box and I believe that I clearly stated that. Secondly, the OP is apparently very, perhaps overly, concerned with slide to frame tolerances as referenced in his post. Since tight slide to frame tolerances have little to do with function or accuracy and indeed can degrade the former, I can only assume that he is looking more for aesthetics than function, hence the BBQ gun comment.

I've owned or own all of the guns that you've referenced and shot competitively for many years. The most accurate 1911 stock gun that I ever owned was a pre 70 Series Gold Cup National Match that rattled like the aforementioned bucket of bolts.

If I have a prejudice it is that I find only well functioning and accurate guns interesting.

MTD
May 6, 2012, 02:40 AM
The SR1911 is ~700/800 new and the DW Heritage is ~1200 new. They look, feel and shoot great.

Skylerbone
May 6, 2012, 03:59 AM
I find it a bit disconcerting that so many seem to equate close tolerances with reliability issues. Now taking a 1911 that suffers from poor geometry and welding up the rails certainly won't improve things but SA's Professional Model proved to plenty of people what a "tightly fit" pistol can do. Beyond that example it is noteworthy that most "BBQ" semi-custom and full house boutique customs from names such as WC, Ed Brown, Les Baer, Rogers Precision, Harrison Custom, etc. are dually noted as reliable and "tight".

To further the discussion about rattling Colts: the switch to CNC several years ago has allowed a tightening of tolerances. This ain't your father's Colt (I checked my dad's Colt and found mine was better fit-true story). There was zero in-battery barrel movement, zero vertical slide movement, negligible lateral slide movement. Barrel hood was over-cut (common) bushing was a slight interference fit, lower lug to slide stop engagement was fair. Replacement sights are available with the standard Novak Low-mount rear cut and both Dawson Precision and Novak offer front sights as well.

Aside from the poorly fit grip safety (replaced with a Baer) and a loose plunger tube (replaced with a Harrison HD) there was really nothing more needed for a very comfortable everyday shooter and I have no regrets in my purchase.

I certainly wouldn't shy away from Colt nor would I dismiss the likes of DW or STI as two (still) outstanding values. Lastly, a NM barrel means very little on a production pistol short of a semi-custom. Without correct fitment its accuracy potential cannot be achieved.

And for fun, I give you my father's Colt (the one on the left of course):

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=135128&d=1296282226

MachIVshooter
May 6, 2012, 01:57 PM
And for fun, I give you my father's Colt (the one on the left of course):

You mean the other left?

funnelcake
May 6, 2012, 03:49 PM
Last I checked Midway, they had two factory Colt, 5" replacement barrels listed. One marked NM, the other not & the same price. Since they're all narrow hood now, have the dimpled feed ramp, and are stainless - makes you wonder...

I bought one to replace a sewer pipe in an early post-war National Match pistol & it shoots great. All recent Colt barrels I've seen used lately have shot extremely well. Plenty of quality 1911's out there, but if you want a Colt, do not be dissuaded.

Funnel

Skylerbone
May 6, 2012, 04:17 PM
I did say for fun;-). Thanks M4S for correcting that, to the left is a CW9.

Browns Fan
May 6, 2012, 08:28 PM
I must agree that if I was looking for another 1911, Dan Wesson would be my first choice. Smith & Wesson E-series would be my second choice.

orionengnr
May 6, 2012, 10:00 PM
You will not be unhappy after buying a DW. I got rid of my Mimber after buying my first DW, there is no comparison.
Speak for yourself. After owning about 25 1911s, (including about eight Kimbers, all of which work just fine, thank you) I bought a Dan Wesson 10mm CBOB about two years ago.

I was, and am, very unhappy with the way this pistol performs. DW wanted nothing to do with it. I damn near got banned from the 1911 forum for relating my experiences and subsequently expressing my displeasure.

Almost two years later, after spending a good bit of money and with the help of a very good 1911-smith, this thing finally works as it should have.

I carry a Kimber daily and will never buy another DW 1911 or any other DW product.

I just bought an S&W E-series 1911. Two hundred rounds so far, perfect.

tomrkba
May 6, 2012, 10:59 PM
I have had great luck with Colt XSE pistols.

The Springfield pistols I have owned required trips back to the factory for tweaking.

I also really like the Dan Wesson pistols.

Paul7
May 7, 2012, 05:57 PM
I just bought a Dan Wesson Valor on Gunbroker for $1,350 delivered.

tuj
May 7, 2012, 06:00 PM
I would strongly consider looking at the used market for a semi-custom or full custom gun. I bought a used Les Baer PII 1.5G for around what you are looking at.

1KPerDay
May 7, 2012, 06:16 PM
Dan Wessons are made to very tight tolerances and yet function very nicely. You won't buy a new one for $1200.
I did... less than $1200 out the door, actually. Dan Wesson Heritage RZ-45 Razorback. The Colt series 70 stainless next to it felt like a piece of crap by comparison. I intended to buy the Colt but walked out with the DW.

I should mention that my DW went back to the factory (on their dime) for warranty work, slide stop jammed slide partway back, locked up the pistol. No problems in several hundred rounds since getting it back.
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/th_f26b4503.jpg (http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/f26b4503.jpg)
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/th_bca1b4e7.jpg (http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/bca1b4e7.jpg)

vids for any interested

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylAbq2ieCfs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzhPudEfdfI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl9pZulaIM

460Kodiak
May 9, 2012, 10:55 AM
I just bought a S&W "E" Series 1911. All stainless, no rail, no ambi safety, but it shoots straight and is a beautiful gun. The price was $825, and you seem to get a really nice 1911 for that price. I'd expect to pay closer to $1000 for the fit and finish.

I did have a few reliability issues, but I'm pretty sure that's a magazine issue and not a gun issue. I bet some Wilson mags will fix the problem, which I would have bought anyway for what ever 1911 I had bought.

Check them out.

gym
May 10, 2012, 12:37 AM
I go with the E series also.

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