Is the DW Valor really worth the money?


August 13, 2012, 12:07 PM
I have been eyeballing a DW Valor for months now and I have done a lot of online research but I am still not sold on it.

I know there are a lot of people who love Springfields however I have rented a couple and the groups and my sore palm left a bad enough taste in my mouth that I don't even remember the models and decided to just stay clear of Springfield 1911s altogether.

In contrast I saw an SR1911 at a dealer and knowing how hard they were to come by didn't hestitate to purchase one. I like Rugers and there is just a novelty about 1911s. My first trip to the range with it was mind blowing. Fresh out of the box, no cleaning or sighting with the 7 round mag, my first shot was a flier but the next 6 shots I rapidly took out 5 targets of different sizes in 6 seconds at 25 yards. I have had a love affair with CZs for a few years now but I have never even achieved this with those. The speed and accuracy was amazing. Dealers and tell me the SR1911 is a nice entry level 1911 but I honestly wonder have they even fired one and how much better could a higher priced 1911 possibly be? I mean how much better could say a DW Valor be in comparison? I am not knocking higher priced firearms or their manufacturers. My questions are because my knowledge and experience with 1911s is quite limited.

Granted the DW Valor has a forged frame, tool steel small parts, hienie straight 8 ledge sights, the tightest slide to frame fit of any 1911 I have ever handled, and would fill the gap between my love of CZ firearms as well as my new 1911 addiction. Their limited production run gives me comfort that the quality is likely top notch. I see where the cost comes from but is how it performs worth the extra money?

I know the answer will vary from person to person due to different styles, tastes and philosophies so I will say my income is limited and I lean more to practical purposes in a firearm than fashion. I will not be using a Valor as a carry weapon and don't want a display piece. As a range/duty weapon is it justifiably $800 better than a SR1911? I feel the rented Springfields in the same price range as the Valor were not. The ranges that rent firearms near me only have the typical Kimbers, Springfields and Colts for renal.

Would the $1500 I am saving for a Valor be better spent on a Springfield M1A? Perhaps a CZ 97b and a Para P14-45? Any and all opinions will help and are appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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August 13, 2012, 12:22 PM
If it makes any difference with the Springfields I was using range ammo that was likely reloads and with the SR1911 I was using 230 grain Winchester Ranger T. Maybe the ammo really makes the difference as +P does seem to help with accuracy and recoil in my CZs but I would prefer to think Springfields aren't picky eaters.

August 13, 2012, 01:45 PM
Its all about fit and finish for the most part. DW makes some gorgeous 1911's and are probably worth the price. They are made with better parts and are most likely put together with better care than a Ruger.

With that said, pick which ever gun you like. Personally, I wouldn't spend the money on a DW when I already have a RIA 1911 Match that can do exactly what the DW does at half the price. Then again, my 1911 is a tool. If I wanted to look cool on front of my friends, I would certainly get a DW or even a Kimber.

Rio Laxas
August 13, 2012, 01:57 PM
I have had a Dan Wesson Valor for about a year now and I really like it. I have and have had quite a few different government models, and the Valor is my favorite. For me, it has all of the upgrades I want for shooting comfort without the additional things I do not want. I did change the grips out to full size grips instead of slim line.

When it came to buy, I was looking between the Valor and the Les Baer Ultimate Tactical Carry with no front serrations. I contacted Dave Severns of Severns Custom to make the purchase because I wanted his advice and because he carries both. He recommended the Valor. Since purchasing it, I have run about 3000 rounds through without any hiccups (except for some aftermarket magazine issues). The duty finish has held up to every day carry.

August 13, 2012, 02:13 PM
Hunterdad, I have heard very positive things about the RIA 1911s but all I see on their site is promotions about their new polymer 1911. I think their traditional one has been discontinued. Does the RIA use a full length guide rod or a traditional guide rod and plug? Does it have a firing pin block?

Almostfree, thanks. Most the reviews I have read only state initial range reviews of maybe a couple hundred rounds. Good to know the Valor stands up to duty and carry use.

August 13, 2012, 02:24 PM
all I see on their site is promotions about their new polymer 1911try again, that isn't Rock Island Armory, I think that's Rock River Arms, or something like that.

I get the impression that you're a new-ish shoter or new to the 1911 concept. If that's correct, I highly doubt that you're in need of the refinements a DW offers, you should get something affordable and spend the balance on ammo and gear ... after a couple thousand rounds, decide which upgrade features you want.
And I'm not trying to be condescending, I'm not in need of the refinement a DW offers, although their guns do tend to be a bit more visually attractive, I think most people are buying them as "status symbol" items, not because they're limited by "lesser" guns.

August 13, 2012, 05:09 PM
At $1000-$1200 they were the best deal going IMO. Now, no. They are a fine 1911. In time, I think they will appreciate more though as the brand reputation approaches Baer. Until then, I'd get a Baer for 2-3 bills more.

August 13, 2012, 05:11 PM
Is the DW Valor really worth the money?

I would say yes if you get a good one ... see below for an explanation.

I contacted Dave Severns of Severns Custom to make the purchase because I wanted his advice and because he carries both.

Smart move!! I have a Valor and a V-Bob that I ordered sight unseen through my LGS and both had a number of issues. They are for the most part excellent pistols made of quality components, but unless you can handle, inspect and compare a number of them before you buy I would suggest that you order from Dave Severns. He goes through each pistol carefully before he sells them ... at least, that's what he states on his website.

I would have no problem ordering an Ed Brown (from Ed Brown) sight unseen based on the three that I have but I wouldn't do that again for anything from Dan Wesson.

el Godfather
August 13, 2012, 05:23 PM
In so many words, YES.

Cannot even compare 97b or para 14 to it. They are double stack which is diiderent category. 45 in 1911 single stack, and then you build on that. Rest is just a filler.

August 13, 2012, 05:29 PM
i bought a used/unfired 2009 black valor for $1050 almost 3 yrs ago. it was the first and only used valor that i have ever seen in a gun shop. my gun has the adjustable rear sight--it works but wasn't a preference. i replaced the rear sight with a 10-8 performance which is easier for my geezer eyes to focus.

the weapon has never burped. i shoot reloads fmj and cast with no issues. fit and finish is great and i've put 3+k rounds though it. it's not my first 45 but i traded a fine trp to make this one mine. it's a range gun but i would not hesitate to carry it if i had the inclination.

the only new valors i've seen since my purchase have been stainless steel. if i were in the market today, i would check other high end pistols like ed brown or baer if the difference was $1-200.

August 13, 2012, 05:58 PM
I got a SS Valor on GB for $1,350 shipped, it is well worth it. Has never failed me, accurate, great trigger, has night sights and front strap stripling, and has less recoil than other 1911s.

Hold one up to a new Colt, the Colt will look like a piece of junk.

Rio Laxas
August 13, 2012, 07:05 PM
Smart move!! I have a Valor and a V-Bob that I ordered sight unseen through my LGS and both had a number of issues. They are for the most part excellent pistols made of quality components, but unless you can handle, inspect and compare a number of them before you buy I would suggest that you order from Dave Severns. He goes through each pistol carefully before he sells them ... at least, that's what he states on his website.

I did knowingly pay more to buy it from Severns Custom than I knew I could get it for online. With the inspection he did and the help he gave me in selecting the pistol, I am glad that I did buy from him. He has a really great thread on 1911forum comparing various 1911 pattern pistols including the Valor:

I do have a DW CBOB from the first or second run after they were bought by CZ and it has given me its fair share of issues. So I was a bit hesitant on the Valor, especially given the price difference. However, the Valor has been trouble free and a joy to shoot.

August 13, 2012, 07:20 PM
Is the Colt "junk" because it has more recoil??? Curious statements.

In the price range of the Valor I would prefer a Les Baer but the difference would likely be closer to $500-600. At that price however I can buy an $800 Colt and have $1,000 worth of custom work done including reliability work and test firing. If the pistol in question were a Heritage I would say it's a far better value than the Valor but always buy what you prefer if looks and price are the only difference.

August 13, 2012, 07:36 PM
Best 1911 I've had, and I've had them all.

August 14, 2012, 05:32 AM
Bigfatdave, you are correct sir. I had RIA and RRA confused. I was introduced to firearms at the age of ten. I am now only thirty. I only really became a gun owner and enthusiast in the last four or five years. My experience with 45 acp and 1911s is very limited. There is so much to learn about firearms that I feel I have barely scratched the surface. So I take absolutely no offense to your comment.

I agree that a person of my skill level probably doesn't need a high end 1911 or competition pistol. From a conversation I had at a local FFL yesterday I probably wouldn't even notice the differences between a SR1911 and a Dan Wesson. I also don't just follow the flock or buy what is fashionable and popular. If I did I would already have an AR-15, a Beretta 92 and an AK-47. My personal preferences would dictate a SR 556, a CZ 75 SP-01 and a VZ 58 Sporter to fill those niches.

Shmackey, that's a lot of 1911s! I will take you at your word but would greatly appreciate it if you could elaborate more on why a Valor is better than brand X or Z. How did you come to your conclusion? For myself I am looking at the Valor because it has most of the features I want in a 1911 and if I chose to customize the Valor, it would probably need the least amount of upgrades as it has most of what I desire already.

Some folks have recommended Ed Brown or a Bear. The models I have seen do not have the features I am looking for and cost a bit more. If I went that route I feel I might as well go with a Nighthawk Custom. I have also had STI recommended and from what I have read their frames are cast. I don't think cast framed firearms are a bad thing at all. I just think if I am gonna pay $1,500.00 or more for a pistol it should be forged.

I have read that double stack magazines aren't as reliable in feeding but I can't help the thought of having 15 rounds of 45 acp in a comfortable grip and a steel frame. I am not a fan of polymer pistols. Especially when most cost about the same as steel ones or more. Double/stagger stack mags never have been an issue in 9mm or 40 S&W so I fail to see why 45 acp seems to suffer so much from this.

August 14, 2012, 08:04 AM
I was at the candy store yesterday fondling the $700-1500 1911s. Some may find this offensive, but IMO Ruger is not high quality. They make good guns, but lack the fit and finish of their slightly higher priced competition. They sell a lot of guns by virtue of being less expensive than the top shelf brands and being higher quality than the Taurus's/RIA's.

My money went to the DW Heritage over the Colt Combat Elite in the $1100 made in USA with modern amenities and forged frames. Ruger was appealing only in price. This being said I am too cheap to shell out another $3-400 for the Valor, which IMO does not justify it's additional expense.

August 14, 2012, 02:16 PM
Im a CZ fan. Naturally a DW fan. I shot the CCO,loved it. Also shot high priced Kimber and Springfield Raptors. Didnt care for the kimber at all. Fit wasnt right,nore was the Raptor. The Kimber jammed on me. I rented the Kimber and Raptors,so thought maybe just dirty. I checked,and was pretty clean. Seen a guy there shooting the CCO. Fit was great,shot great. All around better quality. And the CCO was $300 less

August 14, 2012, 02:25 PM
For myself I am looking at the Valor because it has most of the features I want in a 1911
The models I have seen do not have the features I am looking for and cost a bit more.

What features are you looking for/want?

August 14, 2012, 04:14 PM
I don't know what kind of "features" a 1911 is supposed to have. Assuming you don't want a double-stack game gun or a 2" bullseye gun built by blind monks, I suppose you could say there are two broad categories: "modern" 1911s with swoopy beavertails, checkering, and extended thumb safeties; and "retro" 1911s with GI safeties and standard sights.

The real difference between a $500 1911 and a $1500 1911 comes down to quality of materials and quality of workmanship first and foremost. Given those two variables, there are four possible outcomes:

Cheap parts thrown together
Cheap parts assembled well
Good parts thrown together
Good parts assembled well

Let's assume the OP isn't interested in the first one. I put RIA in the category of "cheap parts assembled well." That comes from first-hand experience. I didn't expect much from RIA, but they're pretty good.

This is where some people get offended, but I would also put Kimber and Springfield in the same category. Until you get to their custom shop stuff, the internals are usually junk. But their frames and slides are excellent, and they build enough 1911s to know how to put the things together most of the time. (Note: This also applies to S&W, which is the 1911 maker I recommend to most folks looking to spend under a grand. They typically run great.)

"Good parts thrown together" is unusual; if a builder is going to use expensive guts, they'll typically assemble them well. The occasional lemons that sneak out of every high-end factory fall into this category.

"Good parts assembled well" applies to the usual suspects: Wilson, Brown, Baer, Nighthawk, and all the custom smiths working on Colt base guns. It also applies to the DW Valor. In this category, you can expect top-shelf parts (no MIM, minimal if any investment casting), hand-fitting, and impressive accuracy. Considering that there's not a lot of "feature" difference between any modern 5" steel 1911, there's not a lot to differentiate the offerings from these makers. One of the few differentiators is metal finish. Baer turns out mostly blued guns. Wilson mostly coats their guns. The Valor is done in Duty Treat (not the older Duty Coat), and it's probably the best gun finish out there.

If you took a Wilson CQB and blued it, took a Baer PII and chromed it, took a Brown EE and Duty Treated it, and took a DW Valor and blued it, you'd start to get very confused about which was which. :)

August 14, 2012, 06:35 PM
Tarosean, the features that made the Valor stand out (in no particular order) and why are;

That it is under $2,000. Most forums I have lurked I have seen people say it's one of the best semi customs without moving on up to a Nighthawk or Les Bear. I'm not entirely convinced of the Valor being that much "better" than a cheaper firearm so why go all out?

From what I have read STI uses cast frames now days. As I said, I have nothing against this. I love my GP100 and my SR1911 but for the rprice being forged seems to justify it a bit more for me.

I like the Heinie ledge sights. To me it seems like a tactical decision should an arm become injured and you need to rack it single handed.

By the same token I should also desire and ambi safety but I have read that they break more often than single sided safeties. Nighthawk Custom also voids warranty on guns with them because of this.

It has has no firing pin block. A safety I feel is unecessary and it also improves the trigger pull.

It has tool steel small parts. To my understanding most guns will likely outlive the regular firearms owner if taken care of. To me this is just added reassurance that I will less likely need to replace those parts. I am not even interested in competition shooting. I shoot maybe 250 rounds a month. That's about 3,000 rounds spent a year. I also practice with expensive hollowpoint ammunition because I noticed more pressure and recoil in it verses ball amunition. My philosophy is that a person training with a 22lr adaptor or ball ammo is going to be completely unprepared when they fire a higher pressure self defense round in a critical situation. So I practice with the same ammo I intend to use.

I like the lack of slide serrations on the front end. This doesn't always bother me but in some holsters I have noticed front slide serrations and railed frames seem to offer more resistance when drawing. I don't consider this snagging exactly but I am sure those of you more experienced than myself know what I am talking about.

I believe part of the resaon 1911s have been around, loved and reliable as they are for so long is because the trigger, recoil plug and internal extractor limit the debris that can get inside the gun especially if it is dragged through mud and sand. This is also why I like the gas piston of the SR 556 over the gas impingment of the AR-15. So a recoil plug over a full length guide rod is a must for me in a 1911 at this time. The Valor has a solid trigger with no holes or cutouts. So it gives a little extra reassurance of less places for grime to build up.

I would probably go with the stainless model. It is $300 cheaper and if I choose to have it coated I could get whatever finish I wanted with the money saved. I personally loved the hot blued finish my dads old 70's Colt revolvers had but blued guns now days aren't truly blue. Sometimes I like stainless and other times I like blued but stainless is easier to clean and maintain here in Minnesota because our summers are humid and our winters are just as wet.

I do like the long upswept beavertail grip safety. Not that I have ever suffered any slide or hammer bite but it just looks pleasing to me.

I do like the ramped barrel in the CCO. I have read the debates on ramped verses unramped barrels. It seems to me that the difference isn't a big one as far as feeding is concerned from what I have read. I have seen firearms where the ramp goes to the magazine follwer or above and I have seen where the ramp ends well below the magazine follower. I have also seen where the ramp just sticks out at an angle from the throat of the barrel as well as like on the CCO where it looks as if it is cut and blended into the inner curve of the frame. I think I can tell from this wich ramped barrels will likely have the feeding issues. To me having the extra case head support would be ideal but not a must if I have to choose.

Things I would change are an arched mainspring housing to better fill my palm and a mag well that is more beveled like you see on some higher end 1911s. I am not sure what they are called but it is not the funnel style. Nighthawk blends them so it doesn't increase the length of the grip.

I'd also get some nice coco-bola wood grips. I like the reddish-brown color on either stainless or blued and they just feel great to me.

I might smooth out the front strap alltogether or see if a gunsmith could do the chainlink pattern like on the CCO. Sometimes front strap checkering bothers me. Other times it doesn't. I'd have to shoot it first to see if it is going to be an issue. I have very dry, rough hands.

I might also have the front of the trigger guard checkered because my grip preference is to put my weak hand index and middle fingers there and the lack of a squared/combat trigger guard sometimes causes them to slip down the curved trigger guard. Basically I want the ergonomic frame of a CZ and the rest 1911.

I am looking for a full length duty pistol. Maybe a commander size. For carry I have a CZ P-01. It is as light or lighter than most popular polymer guns and I like having a full grip than smaller pocket pistols. In Minnesota the weather makes concealability easy more than half the year. If I found that I liked the Valor enough I might go with a VBOB or CCO.

I don't care if I can make 1" groups at 75 yards. That seems a little unrealistic in a self defense duty weapon to me. If I can rapidly aquire and hit a silhouette in the head or chest with double taps under 50 yards that's fine with me.

My question really was based on getting input on performance. I understand a Valor is going to have a more quality fit and more quality parts. But how will it perform? To those of you who have been able to answer that I thank you. The SR1911 sure isn't a work of art. But for those who have actually spent range time with them they are a pleasant surprise in just how great an affordable firearm can be. Just like fans of the RIA 1911 love them and I don't think it has much to do with being cheap. As I said, the models of Springfield I rented and were recommended to me by the man at the range/gunshop were horrible for me. Sore palm where the bump of the backstrap dug in and accuracy (or the lack thereof) that was all over the place. These were not issues for me in the SR1911. So please do not misunderstand me. I am not bashing Springfields and do not mean any offense. I actually respect Springfield because for their polymer XD line they offer a lot of accessories with their firearms to make it a better deal over a lot of poly guns that just come with the gun and charge you as much as a steel one. Though I do appreciate any and all imput and recomendations because I know my knowledge is limited and more experienced shooters might think of things that I wouldn't.

I threw other firearms I am interested out there because if a DW isn't going to be worth my while I was hoping to gain insight on those as well. A high capacity 1911 style Para is comfortable and I am aware that users have feeding issues with them. Though I don't understand why because those same issues don't seem to be common in other calibers. I also hear wonderful things about Sig Sauer and if I recall correctly they have a high capacity 45 but they are kind of ugly to me. One man told me to check out a Sphinx 3000. They look neat but not exactly what I am looking for though close.

August 15, 2012, 05:25 AM
^ have you looked a the Ed Brown Special Forces? It already has that chain link pattern plus some of the options you like. If you look hard enough you can find it a few bills under MSRP.

August 15, 2012, 08:53 AM
If you like the STIs, and there's a lot to like about them, I'd suggest calling Brazos Custom and asking about specific models. Many are forged frames and honestly an investment cast frame would not bother me but Brazos can give you the specifics and a great price if you buy.

Crazy Carl
August 15, 2012, 02:59 PM
Can't speak to the Valor, but do have both a CBOB & a PM-7. Both are amazing guns & the CBOB is just magical in my hands. Absolute laser beam.

Both are fitted very tightly, but I've gone over 1000 rds w/o cleaning the CBOB & it has never had a malfunction that wasn't due to a glitch with my very first batch of reloads.

I had a Wilson Combat CQB Compact when I bought the CBOB. After shooting them side by side, the Wilson went bye-bye. The Wilson was truly a fine pistola, but the CBOB just felt & worked better for me.

Do gotta say I'm jonezin' for a CZ97. Got to fondle one recently & loved it.

August 15, 2012, 03:53 PM
Tarosean, thanks for recomending the Special Forces. Read a couple reviews. Sounds like a sweet POA. I will have to do more research though and weigh the cost of what I would have done to the Valor verses what I would have upgraded on the Special Forces. Awesome though. I will really consider this choice.

Crazy Carl, I haven't fired the CZ 97 either. I have handled a couple though and I hear a lot of people say the grip is big. I don't understand what they are talking about because it is pretty much the same as a 1911. I'm 5'8". Double action trigger reach is a bit long, single action reach is quite comfortable. I hear they are accurate though some reports say they are picky eaters but not all. CZ has outstanding customer service though so if I did get a lemon I wouldn't hesitate to send it in. I bought a P-01 in OD green this last spring with the ten round California approved magazines and I called to ask if I could exchange them for the standard fourteen round mags with rubber base pads. They said no problem and it was a total of 3 days from when I sent the ten rounders in that I received the fourteen round mags.

August 15, 2012, 04:41 PM
Tarosean, thanks for recomending the Special Forces. Read a couple reviews. Sounds like a sweet POA. I will have to do more research though and weigh the cost of what I would have done to the Valor verses what I would have upgraded on the Special Forces. Awesome though. I will really consider this choice.

The standard 5" EB Special Forces is a good alternative to the Valor. The finish on the Valor is superior, but overall the SF is worth the extra $300 to $400 since you won't find a rough edge on the outside or inside and everything will work right out of the box. EB offers 10-8 sites which are similar to the Heinie sites, and the EB sites won't fall off like they did on my V-Bob.

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