Are high end 1911s worth the money?


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epijunkie67
October 9, 2012, 10:09 AM
Quick opinion question. Are the higher end 1911s (Kimber, Dan Wesson, etc) worth the money they cost? Are they that much better than guns in the $500-600 range?

I ask because I've kind of been itching for a "pretty" 1911. The only 1911 I have right now is a Springfield GI model. Great gun but I'm kind of thinking something with nice grips, 4" or 4.5" barrel, and a nice finish. I know that Kimbers are great looking guns and I'm sure the quality is good as well. But there are a lot of other nice looking pistols from other makers that run several hundred dollars less. If they are of equal quality then I could put that money into other upgrades like night sights, custom grips, or nicer holsters.

Basically, I don't mind paying extra money if the item is worth it but I don't want to pay an extra $500 for something just because of the name if it's not any better than the cheaper model.

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Kyle M.
October 9, 2012, 10:25 AM
With 1911's you get what you pay for kimbers, dan wessons, and sigs are some of the better ones. Unless you wanna spend $2500+ for a brown, wilson, or baer. Some of the cheap ones work fine but the more you spend the better fit and finish you get. From personal experience I've found sig to be the best closely followed by kimber.

jmr40
October 9, 2012, 10:40 AM
Dan Wesson and Kimber are not high end 1911's. They are mid-priced.

Depends on what you want to do with it. Most guys who want a 1911 just like the idea of owning a 1911 and the budget guns are made for them. The manufacturers know the average 1911 is not shot that much and they are made with that in mind. For the average guy they work well enough, don't give any problems and are reasonably accurate.

The problems show up down the road after a few years of hard use. They don't hold up as well, because they weren't designed for long term hard use. If you actually plan on a lot of shooting, yes the mid-priced and higher end guns are worth the extra costs.

Another thing to consider is long term value. A $500 budget gun will only go down in value with time. A $700-$1,000 gun may take a slight drop in value, but will only go so far and given time will appreciate in value.

Fifteen years from now a $500 budget gun may bring $250. The $1,000 gun may bring $1,200. Which is the more expensive in the long run? I've seen this happen, in fact I've sold quite a few guns for more than I paid.

Oldnoob
October 9, 2012, 11:24 AM
This guide will help you gauge 1911 price.

http://www.1911addicts.com/showthread.php?511-Buyer-s-guide-for-all-you-1911-addicts

atblis
October 9, 2012, 11:42 AM
Fifteen years from now a $500 budget gun may bring $250. The $1,000 gun may bring $1,200. Which is the more expensive in the long run? I've seen this happen, in fact I've sold quite a few guns for more than I paid.
I'd have to disagree. I don't think any decent gun loses half it's value unless condition has been seriously compromised. A $500 gun very well may sell for $500 15 years from now. $500 may not be $500 anymore though.

mljdeckard
October 9, 2012, 12:08 PM
As stated above, Kimber and DW are not high end.

There are a few things to consider. My dad wanted a bare-bones 1911 to start with. He bought the Springfield G.I. or Mil-Spec, I'm not sure which. So, he shoots it with my Kimber, and says; "Wow, your trigger is a lot better than mine." I explained to him, that a match trigger is an upgrade. Then he didn't like the low sights. I showed him that not only are sights an upgrade, his slide does not have dovetail cuts for sights, if he had it cut to take them, he would have to have it re-blued as well. If he upgrades the trigger and replaces the sights with tritium something or other, he will pay more than I paid for my Kimber.

I think that the law of diminishing returns kicks in for 1911s at about $1100. You can pay more, but the investment will not be proportionally represented in actual improvement. I shot a Nighthawk at a rental range, and no question it felt cool with the machined alumagrips, but for the life of me I have absolutely no idea what it is supposed to do that my Kimber won't do for more than three times the money. Resale is entirely irrelevant to me, I don't sell guns.

jim243
October 9, 2012, 12:17 PM
A personal opinion, yes they are.

Jim

http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt284/bigjim_02/IMG_1224.jpg

Skylerbone
October 9, 2012, 12:50 PM
Epi, consider what it is you really want. Are you a 3 Hi Points kinda guy or a 1 Glock 17 type. If you buy a nicer 1911, will you still shoot and enjoy your current 1911?

A good percentage of custom 1911 builds start as the very pistol you already own. Now you could trade up to a Dan Wesson and have a very decent shooter. Price wise, I'd say you'd be out ~$850 + your Springer for something like a Herritage.

Another route would be to customize what you have. If you're considering a $1,000+ purchase, consider investing in what you already have. Pick the sights you want, the thumb safety you want, the slide stop, trigger and magazine catch you prefer. I'd wager you could have the rails welded up and refit to match tolerances, add a match barrel and bushing, change sights, add a beavertail grip safety, a better thumb safety and swap the hammer/sear/disco for a match set with a sub-4 lb. pull for even money. That buys you an ergonomic tack driver that don't look bad. Want "pretty"? Spend another $400 to have it completely dehorned and blued...or Ceracoated...or hard chromed, your pistol, your way. Sell the take-off parts and buy a nice holster.

Vern Humphrey
October 9, 2012, 02:27 PM
I agree that Kimbers are mid-priced and excellent weapons. Mine is a Custom Classic (MKI) which, despite its name, is a basic pistol. It has a heine-style rear sight, dovetailed front sight, beavertail safety with "speed bump" and lowered and beveled ejection port -- all of which I consider highly desirable features. It doesn't have tritium sights, rails and so on, whcih I consider unnecessary.

I consider it a good value and would rather carry it than a lower priced model.

340PD
October 9, 2012, 02:55 PM
Depends how much you lust.

http://i163.photobucket.com/albums/t320/gnystrom_photos/EdBrownKobraCarry.jpg

Skylerbone
October 9, 2012, 03:41 PM
Or this:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=163560&d=1335626816

and this:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=162486&d=1334018136

for about the same price as the above.

*Cow skull, pool table and accessories not included. *

tuj
October 9, 2012, 05:01 PM
First off, I would not consider Kimber 'high-end', just like others have mentioned. It's not that their pistols are bad, they just aren't as good as some of the semi-customs.

I have a Les Baer PII with 1.5" guarantee. Meaning from a mechanical rest, the gun will put 10 shots of premium ammo into a 1.5" group at 50 yards. If you play games where accuracy is involved, such as bullseye, getting a gun with this degree of testing is worth the money you pay for extra fitting, testing, etc. If you never shoot beyond 15 yards, then it's probably not worth it.

I also have a 'low-end' 1911, an STI Spartan. It's actually a great gun. It's not as accurate at distance as the Les Baer, but its certainly not inaccurate and can still outshoot me at 50 yards off-hand.

The biggest differences between the two guns are the level of fit and finish on the Baer, which is outstanding, and the triggers. The Spartan trigger isn't bad, in fact it's quite good for a $600 gun. But the Baer will adjust safely down to very low pull weights if one wants, and has a nice clean break.

tarosean
October 9, 2012, 06:04 PM
Kimber 'high-end', just like others have mentioned. It's not that their pistols are bad, they just aren't as good as some of the semi-customs.


They remind me of those kit car Ferrari's and Lamborghini's.. Look the part but filled with junk...


Another route would be to customize what you have.

Great Idea...

Are high end 1911s worth the money?

If your talking the semi customs like Wilson, Nighthawk, Brown, etc. I personally think so. Granted, Ive never shot a 6-8k true custom made one yet. So my opinions may change.

rcmodel
October 9, 2012, 06:19 PM
Thats not a high end 1911.

This is a high end 1911!

http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j219/rcmodel/EdBrown.jpg

rc

tuj
October 9, 2012, 06:26 PM
If you want a true custom, check out pistols by:
Jerry Keefer
Greg Derr
Joe Chambers
and of course, (his waiting list is longer than his remaining lifespan probably), Ed Maskai.

plexreticle
October 9, 2012, 06:51 PM
Low budget or not, I've never seen a firearm go down in value long term unless it has been misused and abused.

bdejong11129
October 9, 2012, 07:43 PM
Did anyone actually read the post? The OP did not state that Limbers and Dan Sessions were High End, he said higher end. This is to mean higher than the basic entry level 1911 that most new shooters would gravitate to.

Now, given that my interpretation is that you are talking higher end than the basic rock island then yes a Kimber, Dan Wesson,p and STI are most definitely worth the cost premium.

I have had a basic rock island in the past and while it was very good for the money it was definitely not made the same as even the basic Kimber Custom which is only about 250-300 more. I also have a lower end Dan Wesson, the heritage and while it is a very nice gun, I am unable to shoot it any better then my Kimber Custom. This is not due to the gun but due to my current shooting level.

I would not purchase another inexpensive 1911 again only because it just does not make sense to do so. For the added money even on the Custom I get a match barrel, tighter fitting of most parts and a much better overall feel of the gun. It is tangible, you can feel that it is much tighter and I can shoot it much better.

Pm me if you want a DW, my heritage is going to go soon.....

Disclaimer-this is my opinion and yours may vary...

Steve C
October 9, 2012, 07:49 PM
The way I look at you should buy the gun that fills your needs at a price you can afford. Guns are relatively cheap compared to the cost of ammo. The relative "value" of a higher end firearm is relative to the shooter and not an absolute.

If you are involved in games and competition then get the gun that will allow you to compete at the level you participate in. Buying a $2K+ bullseye gun for self defense and informal target shooting is a foolish waste of money as would buying an inexpensive gun made in the Philippians to compete at masters level competition.

If you want a 1911 for general shooting and self defense that will retain or increase value then buy a Colt, all others are just clones. If you want something that fits a tight budget but is a base platform that can be upgraded as your interests and skill level change then get a Norinco, Colt or Springfield. No need to buy all the "bells and whistles" without knowing what you may want or need in your gun as they can be added later.

Deaf Smith
October 9, 2012, 08:41 PM
Are high end 1911s worth the money?

Depends on how much money you have Kemosabe.

I've got a Dan Wesson C-Bob, made when DW owned the company and a Kimber Gold Match, first gen. Both shoot like rifles.

BUT, I pack a Glock. Programming computers for a living so I do have enough money to buy some good toys and the 1911s are fun to shoot. But again, I pack a Glock (and sometimes a J .38.)

A Glock will do 99 percent of what the 1911 will do, so it's up to you to decide if that 1 percent is enough to double, tripper, or quadruple the price of the gun.

Deaf

Tophernj
October 9, 2012, 08:44 PM
I have a Kimber. I love it.

That being said, my buddy has a Kobra Karry, Ed Brown. Is it worth the money, two and a half times as much... yup.

C

Tophatter
October 9, 2012, 08:58 PM
If I were looking at Kimbers or Dan Wessons, I'd save up a little more and get a Les Baer from Crazy John. I picked up a 1.5" guarantee Custom Carry from him for about $300 more than I would have paid for a Valor, and it's worth it. Jebus, is it worth it.

Otherwise? Get a Colt. Series 70, Series 80, XSE, whatever. Shoot it like hell and smith it up slowly as you go along so it gives you exactly what you want and nothing that you don't.

TonyT
October 9, 2012, 08:59 PM
Are Ferrari's or Lamborgheni's worth the money?

76shuvlinoff
October 9, 2012, 09:05 PM
Do you have money? Then probably yes.
Are you maybe less funded? Then not so much.

....and possibly bitter about it? Then hell no!!

BYJO4
October 9, 2012, 09:07 PM
As with anything, you get what you pay for. If you will only shoot the pistol a limited amount, a less expensive firearm probably makes sense. But if you really intend to take up shooting as a regular hobby, you want something that will wear well and shoot with acceptable accuracy. You mentioned Kimber as an example. This is a mid range pistol that provides you durability, reliability, nice accuracy, and good trigger for a reasonable price. Depending on your ability, appreciation for workmanship, and budget, you can later move to ture semi custom guns such as Baer, Brown, and Wilson.

Skylerbone
October 9, 2012, 09:39 PM
I've got a Dan Wesson C-Bob, made when DW owned the company and a Kimber Gold Match, first gen. Both shoot like rifles.

Might want to fact check. Mr. Wesson's descendant never made a 1911 that I am aware of, Bob Serva was the owner who started production of those.

Back on subject, a Hi Point will do much of what a Glock will do cheaper and either will do much of what a nice 1911 will do much cheaper. The two I pictured above were re-worked by Rob Schauland of Alchemy Custom Weaponry and he knows a few things about both Springfields and Les Baers, having worked for SACS and as a final inspector for LB. The difference is that he is free to choose the best parts on the market, not what Les Baer or Bill Wilson or any single vendor offers. My pistols contain parts from Storm Lake, Kart, John Harrison, Greider and Cylinder & Slide. Sure I could have bought a Brown or Nighthawk but I know at the end of the day my 1911s are built to rigorous standards, are phenomenally accurate and they are dependable. This winter, they're both getting a facelift.

SlamFire1
October 9, 2012, 09:43 PM
As a target M1911, this Les Baer Wadcutter is outstanding. It is worth the price if you want an extremely accurate match pistol.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Pistols%20various/ReducedLesBauer.jpg

Deaf Smith
October 9, 2012, 11:20 PM
Might want to fact check. Mr. Wesson's descendant never made a 1911 that I am aware of, Bob Serva was the owner who started production of those.

Back on subject, a Hi Point will do much of what a Glock will do cheaper and either will do much of what a nice 1911 will do much cheaper. The two I pictured above were re-worked by Rob Schauland of Alchemy Custom Weaponry and he knows a few things about both Springfields and Les Baers, having worked for SACS and as a final inspector for LB. The difference is that he is free to choose the best parts on the market, not what Les Baer or Bill Wilson or any single vendor offers. My pistols contain parts from Storm Lake, Kart, John Harrison, Greider and Cylinder & Slide. Sure I could have bought a Brown or Nighthawk but I know at the end of the day my 1911s are built to rigorous standards, are phenomenally accurate and they are dependable. This winter, they're both getting a facelift.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Wesson_Firearms

The company was founded in 1968 by Dan B. Wesson. Karl R. Lewis. But Serva bought the company. He then made 1911s. But happily this was before CZ got the company (and thus my C-BOB was per-CZ.)

Deaf

GLOOB
October 9, 2012, 11:30 PM
A high end 1911 is like an expensive pool cue. It shows you're serious about your sport and can afford to spend a little more or a lot; the sky's the limit. And it might even be more accurate.

But the best pool players will beat you with any stick.

I guess it depends what you plan to do with it. Even just as a safe queen, an expensive 1911 will be worth it for some.

medic_guns
October 10, 2012, 12:20 AM
I owned a les baer but sold only because I did not like the shortened grip of the Stinger model (officer grip). Yes, a custom gun is worth the money.

jfrey
October 10, 2012, 12:38 AM
As some have mentioned, and I will again, high end 1911s are made by Baer, Brown, Wilson, and Nighhawk - not by Kimber. IMHO Kimber is way over priced for what you get. That's been my experience. Why pay $1500.00 for a Kimber when you can get a real gun by Baer for $300.00 more. It just doesn't make sense to me. I would take a Springfield over a KImber any day. Maybe not as pretty but more robustly made and will last longer.

Hit_Factor
October 10, 2012, 12:47 AM
I would take a Springfield over a KImber any day. Maybe not as pretty but more robustly made and will last longer.

You took the words right out of my mouth, can't agree more.

I sold the one Kimber after learning what a good 1911 is. Now I own several Springfields, several STI, a Baer Ultimate Master, and a very high end SVI IMM.

Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk 2

Detritus
October 10, 2012, 12:56 AM
IMHO Kimber is way over priced for what you get. That's been my experience. Why pay $1500.00 for a Kimber when you can get a real gun by Baer for $300.00 more. It just doesn't make sense to me. I would take a Springfield over a KImber any day. Maybe not as pretty but more robustly made and will last longer.

I have to agree with this.

Kimbers Used to be worth the asking price. back before the advent of the "Series II" changes. No firing pin block, better fit and finish and a price not too far above (and sometimes the same or lower than) a similar Springfield.

But now the most basic "Custom II" variant is is going for as much as the "Royal" was back when i first started looking at them. they've got a Firing pin block safety added in, and the guts have been cheaped out on. frankly if you can stand the looks the STI Spartan is a better built gun for less cash.

than again I don't know of many production (mass produced, non Semi-custom) 1911s regardless of price that I would keep stock. they ALL have concessions to cost etc that I'd be change in short order.

ljnowell
October 10, 2012, 01:06 AM
than again I don't know of many production (mass produced, non Semi-custom) 1911s regardless of price that I would keep stock. they ALL have concessions to cost etc that I'd be change in short order.

So far I havent found much to change on my Sig GSR Revolution. I'm the guy that usually tinkers with everything, including my glock.

Detritus
October 10, 2012, 01:24 AM
So far I havent found much to change on my Sig GSR Revolution. I'm the guy that usually tinkers with everything

SIG is one of the reasons I say most production 1911s. The only things I'd change on the SIG made 1911s i've been able to handle come down to ergonomics or personal preference.

I prefer Arched MSHs because they make the gun point better for me, and I don't particularly like the blockier slide profile most of their 1911 line has. Not to say i'd pass up A spartan (http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/1911-spartan.aspx) or Scorpion (http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/1911-scorpion.aspx) but overall my tastes run more toward the traditional.

el Godfather
October 10, 2012, 01:40 AM
To answer OP's question- Yes.

ljnowell
October 10, 2012, 02:38 AM
SIG is one of the reasons I say most production 1911s. The only things I'd change on the SIG made 1911s i've been able to hadle come down to ergonomics or personal preference.

I prefer Arched MSHs because they make the gun point better for me, and I don't particularly like the blockier slide profile most of their 1911 line has. Not to say i'd pass up A spartan or Scorpion but overall my tastes run more toward the traditional.

Yeah, to be honest, I was never big on the slide shape of the Sig 1911. I was looking for a trade a couple weeks ago though, and when it was offered I realized that it was a pretty good deal, even if I just wanted to trade it off later on, so I went ahead and did it. After putting a few hundred rounds down range with it I have to admit that it really grew on me. It feels like any other 1911 in the hands, and I think its just a little heavier because of the slide, but it sure shoots like a dream.

I cant fault someone for saying they prefer the traditional lines of a 1911 slide, I always have too.

bdejong11129
October 10, 2012, 07:39 AM
I am not sure where sone are purchasing their Kimbers but the Custom can be found for 700 and some change all day long. So for a few hundred over the very low end guns you get a higher (Note the use of higher and not high end as the OP did).

So for a higher end nice looking gun you can gobthat route and stay well below the entry price of a Dan Wesson or les bear.

Series 80 guns are not the devil, if you really do not like the firing pin block them just remove it. However, I as stayed before a good shooter will beat you with allmost any gun.



Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2

OilyPablo
October 10, 2012, 08:47 AM
Kimber 1911's are not high end. They are just over priced. No they are not junk, but I have four friends who have bought Kimber 1911's and they have had issues (4 of 4, small sample but wow) - solved now but my Colt, Sig and Ruger never had any issues. Dan Wesson is lower-upper crust. I would say at $1500+, more than my DD M4V3, that's a lot cash for a 1911.

Would I pay $4500 for a Wilson? Totally subjective. I will when I hit the big one!

Simple question. Tough answer. You can have a fully functioning 1911 for under $1000 or you can have a fully functioning 1911 for $5000. One just is so much nicer to touch and brag on. (And I will bet a tad more accurate on a paper target)

MCgunner
October 10, 2012, 09:46 AM
Not to me, been there, done that, bought the T Shirt. But, it's a free world, knock yourself out. :D Mine were cheap, not the high end stuff. I can't ride the damned thing to work, ya know. :rolleyes: Start getting up to 5K, I start thinkin' about motorcycles, not guns.

ljnowell
October 10, 2012, 11:15 AM
at 50 yds, since nobody can deliver better than that sort of accuracy, under real pressure, with real loads, anyway. So I don't pay more than $500, ever, and try for $400, used, private party sales. I'd rather spend the money on wheelweight lead and bulk reloading components, and the time is better spent at the range, on the timer.

Really? I notice you put "under real pressure." Why would that matter? Not all guns are bought with the intention of being used as a self defense gun, in fact, I would bet less than 10% of the Les Baers sold with the 1.5" package are bought for defense purposes. My latest 1911 was bought solely with the purpose of competing with it. I have a glock that will shoot 6" groups that I use for defense.

To say that no one can shoot those groups is silly, read about bullseye shooting.

tuj
October 10, 2012, 11:40 AM
At Perry this year, the top slow-fire score was 195-9X (20 shots). The X ring on the target is 1.695" and the 10-ring is 3.36". If your gun can't shoot a 3" 10-shot group from a mechanical rest at 50 yards, you are fighting an uphill battle in the bullseye game.

ljnowell
October 10, 2012, 11:48 AM
At Perry this year, the top slow-fire score was 195-9X (20 shots). The X ring on the target is 1.695" and the 10-ring is 3.36". If your gun can't shoot a 3" 10-shot group from a mechanical rest at 50 yards, you are fighting an uphill battle in the bullseye game. I shoot 25 yard bullseye in a league, and if you cut that 6" in half to 3" thats what it takes to be competitive. I think a lot of people just make the assumption that becasue they can't shoot that well, no one can.

Mike OTDP
October 10, 2012, 11:54 AM
Very true.

As for the high-end 1911s, I'd say that the really high-priced production guns (Wilson, Brown, etc.) are not worth the money. You're better off to get a lower-priced gun and let a high-end gunsmith work it over. I think it would be cheaper.

mljdeckard
October 10, 2012, 12:59 PM
My Custom II was $630 NIB, several years ago. I think they are about $720 now.

theshephard
October 10, 2012, 02:58 PM
I think the answer is yes, but if you're budget minded just get one (read on).
Kimber is 'higher' end in that from a mechanical rest (that is to say, objectively) you'll notice better accuracy and a much, much nicer trigger than the 'lower' end 1911s. The contrast between these two levels is greater IMHO than the difference between a Kimber and a Wilson.
For this reason alone - eliminating the equipment as much as possible from the equation of 'how good a shot am I' - it's worth owning a good quality 1911.
That said, whether Kimber or Baer, don't think you'll be taking it out into the boonies with you. As other posters have mentioned, condition is everything when it comes to retaining value. If you buy a high-end handgun, unless you light your cigars with Benjamins, you should take it to the range or competition yard for fun, but do your utmost to protect its condition/value.
For the woods and slogging through the grime, etc, you'll be better off accurizing a solidly built gun for a lower price, based on your knowledge of what a 'good' gun should feel and shoot like from shooting your higher end gun.
Make sense?

1858
October 10, 2012, 03:03 PM
As for the high-end 1911s, I'd say that the really high-priced production guns (Wilson, Brown, etc.) are not worth the money.

And your experience with Wilson and/or Ed Brown is what exactly?

mljdeckard
October 10, 2012, 03:33 PM
The reason I would say so, is that I have shot the higher end guns, including Wilson, Les Baer, etc, and I have no idea what it is they are supposed to do for more than three times the price. Better? Somewhat. THREE TIMES BETTER? I don't see how. The Nighthawk I shot at the range, with a $2700 price tag, jammed on me.

surjimmy
October 10, 2012, 04:05 PM
I use to tell a friend of mine, "Man I can buy 3 guns for what you paid that". All he would say is "You sure can". This went on for years, then I traded for a Les Baer. After I shot it, I called him. All he said was know you know. There is a difference in the Customs and Semi Custom over the off the rack guns. Are they worth the cost, I would say some. I think Baer is the best buy out there, but if you look and aren't in a hurry. You can pick up a custom from some of the Master GunSmith's out there. About 8mo ago I got a Yost-Bonitz off Gunbroker for $1000 in EX condition. My Friend I mentioned earlier is selling a Colt done by Novak Customs for $1700. If you sent your pistol to them, it would cost you over $3000 and a long wait.

Derek Zeanah
October 10, 2012, 04:09 PM
To a large degree it depends on your financial situation and what you value. You can buy a new Subaru with all wheel drive for under $20,000. Is a new Mercedes all wheel drive vehicle worth the significant premium? Well, it depends. Both will get you where you need to go safely, but there are some advantages to the Mercedes that many will value over the Subaru.

For others, the Subaru is plenty, and a 1980 Jeep CJ that they can maintain themselves is an even better buy.

It all depends on what you value and what you're willing to pay for. This isn't a question with a boolean answer that's valid for the population as a whole.

jim243
October 10, 2012, 04:20 PM
Value is subjective, you can buy 1911's for $350-$500 range, or $600-$750 range, or $700-$1,100 range or $1,200- $1,500 range, or $1,800-$2,800 range.

So high end is realitive to each persons budget and grouping depending on features and price. Sometimes you are paying for better quality parts, sometimes for the features that are on the 1911's. Higher end will have both extra features and better quality parts.

You will have to decide on what YOU can afford and purchase the "Best" you can with what resources you have. Yes, it is nice to have unlimited funds, but car payments, house payments, food and clothing come in play here and you should stick within your budget untill you win the Lottery, then you can get the "Higher End" stuff (LOL)

Jim

rugerdude
October 10, 2012, 08:01 PM
Everyone wants the best, which is fairly natural if you're spending your hard-earned money, but many times I feel that people don't consider how much they are REALISTICALLY going to shoot the thing. Most people can't REALLY appreciate the difference between a Sig 1911 and a Nighthawk 1911. I certainly can't.

As with anything, 1911's embody the law of diminishing returns. $400 will get you a useable 1911, while an $800 1911 will be much nicer but still only one gun. As the price increases, the quality increase becomes much more subtle.

For me, there is absolutely no reason that I would pay more than $1200 on a 1911. MAX. To make full use of the extra time and work put into a higher end gun I have a lot to develop as a shooter first.


Don't let it be about the gun, instead let it be about what you can do with it.

Get a Ruger, Kimber, or Springfield Loaded and take a REAL class and you'll be light-years ahead of the guy who just went and bought a Nighthawk because he heard they were the best, and you'll still have spent less money!

buckhorn_cortez
October 10, 2012, 11:45 PM
Most people can't REALLY appreciate the difference between a Sig 1911 and a Nighthawk 1911. I certainly can't.

So what you're doing is projecting your inability to evaluate the difference between guns onto everyone else? Or, do you have a formal study you can point to that supports your contention?

I don't think it's all that difficult to discern the differences in fit, finish, handling, and performance between different manufacturers' 1911's. All you have to do is handle them, shoot them, and critically assess what is different between them. Doesn't seem all that demanding to me.

As with anything, 1911's embody the law of diminishing returns. $400 will get you a useable 1911, while an $800 1911 will be much nicer but still only one gun. As the price increases, the quality increase becomes much more subtle.

Not really - if you know what to look for and have handled finely made 1911's the differences are immediately noticable - to the point that when people make statements like that it only points out their unfamiliarity how and what to look for in 1911's.

For me, there is absolutely no reason that I would pay more than $1200 on a 1911. MAX. To make full use of the extra time and work put into a higher end gun I have a lot to develop as a shooter first.

That's a fine philosophy for you, but hardly a guide for everyone else...you'd be surprised at what a better tool can do for helping you develop as a shooter. And please, don't give me the over used "put the money in ammunition" dreck. The cost of ammunition will far outstrip the cost of the gun if you shoot a lot - no matter the initial cost of the pistol.

I've shot more ammunition than the cost of my Wilson Supergrade in the past year, and I couldn't get out as much as I wanted.

OilyPablo
October 10, 2012, 11:50 PM
I can easily tell the difference. But that's not the question.

mljdeckard
October 11, 2012, 12:01 AM
Nope. I'm with post #53 entirely. I think there is a certain point where people start to feel like they paid so much for a gun, it MUST be better than everything else. The Emperor's New 1911 Syndrome.

You can say a more expensive 1911 is better. It's VERY difficult to prove that it is proportional to the cost.

Skylerbone
October 11, 2012, 12:58 AM
Just so everyone is clear, cost does not, dollar for dollar account for "higher quality". Take that $400 example, say a RIA. Made with ok parts, but assembled with cheap labor. That $700 Kimber has a considerable amount of its asking price going to US labor and US (New York, to be exact) taxes. Produce it in the PI and the price can come down but then it's viewed as just another cheap foreign knock-off.

On the subject of labor, consider those who assemble a given product. A 15 yr. old in Brazil, an assembly-line worker in Maine, a gunsmith in Iowa, a Master Gunsmith in Arkansas. If your life depended on it working right when you need it, whose 1911 would you choose? Here's my partial list of persons whose services I seek that I do not bargain shop for: doctors, lawyers, investment brokers, mechanics and gunsmiths.

FWIW, I consider my firearms to be more than just tools. I do not shoot thousands of rounds year after year as practice for one possible encounter, I actually enjoy it! As for carrying, I've got a few rifle scopes that cost more than a Kimber. Hard to hunt without taking to the woods.

Vern Humphrey
October 11, 2012, 11:05 AM
The reason I would say so, is that I have shot the higher end guns, including Wilson, Les Baer, etc, and I have no idea what it is they are supposed to do for more than three times the price. Better? Somewhat. THREE TIMES BETTER? I don't see how. The Nighthawk I shot at the range, with a $2700 price tag, jammed on me.
You're absolutely right.

For example, you can get a hunting knife at Wal Mart for $20. Of you can get a Randall for $800. Is the Randall "better?" Yep.

Is it 40 times better? Nope.

tuj
October 11, 2012, 11:14 AM
It's VERY difficult to prove that it is proportional to the cost.

Very few things involving performance are linear in terms of cost / performance. It's usually exponential, or another way of saying each $500 increment you add brings less return than the previous $500.

1858
October 11, 2012, 11:34 AM
For example, you can get a hunting knife at Wal Mart for $20. Of you can get a Randall for $800. Is the Randall "better?" Yep.

Is it 40 times better? Nope.

Which one would you have for the rest of your life? Which one would a grandson have 50 years from now? Which one would make that grandson think about his grandfather who's been dead for 30 years? I think a Randall is 1,000 times better.

Detritus
October 11, 2012, 11:40 AM
Very few things involving performance are linear in terms of cost / performance. It's usually exponential, or another way of saying each $500 increment you add brings less return than the previous $500.

And for those unaware of why this is..

The amount of work, care and attention to detail involved in each step-up in quality/performance follows the same pattern. 1911s are alot like high quality optics in this regard.

$400 to around $800 1911 the differences are usually in materials and labor costs, ie mostly non-US labor, lowest bidder internals, short cuts taken to speed production.

$900-1500 will typically get you fewer production short cuts, better internals/small parts (but not always), and more care taken in fit and finish.

$1,500-2,000 is a grey area that may or may not give a buyer anything. sometimes you get improved fit and finish or top of the line mechanicals out of that $500 but many times this is the realm of "Hood ornament syndrome"

$2k and above is where in my veiw you truly start seeing exponential growth in the amount of work/care/attention to detail, and the attendant cost to the customer, compared to quantifiable improvement in the gun itself.

Vern Humphrey
October 11, 2012, 11:55 AM
Which one would you have for the rest of your life? Which one would a grandson have 50 years from now? Which one would make that grandson think about his grandfather who's been dead for 30 years? I think a Randall is 1,000 times better.
That's relevant only if you want it as an heirloom. As a tool, the Randall isn't all that more functional or stronger than the Wal Mart Special.

A carry gun is the epitome of functionality -- you carry it for what it can do, not for aesthetics.

1858
October 11, 2012, 11:59 AM
A carry gun is the epitome of functionality -- you carry it for what it can do, not for aesthetics.

While function is the most important variable with any object or system designed to save lives, function and aesthetics are not mutually exclusive. Ask anyone who hunts dangerous game with a Biesen rifle.

Vern Humphrey
October 11, 2012, 12:28 PM
I didn't say function and asethetics were incompatible, I said function is the prime consideration in picking a defensive weapon. If you want to spend a couple of thousand dollars more, spend it on ammo and practice more.

Bozwell
October 11, 2012, 12:34 PM
From a practical point of view, no, they aren't worth it. But that can be said for any luxury purchase. Just like a nice car, it can still be "worth it" in the sense of the enjoyment you get out of it. This is particularly true where you're in a financial situation where you don't have to sacrifice a lot to purchase the luxury item.

Personally, if and when I do get a 1911, I'll probably get a semi-custom like an Ed Brown, just so that my only 1911 is a nice example of one and because it'll be a babied range toy anyways. For a carry gun, I wouldn't choose a 1911 to begin with - I don't trust the reliability of the less expensive ones, and I don't relish the thought of holster wear after dropping $3-4k on a gun. But for a good looking gun for punching holes in paper and to look at and admire? Sure, I could see myself getting one at some point.

Skylerbone
October 11, 2012, 12:38 PM
While function is the most important variable with any object or system designed to save lives, function and aesthetics are not mutually exclusive. Ask anyone who hunts dangerous game with a Biesen rifle.

Amen to that!

Threads I've seen:

My new Kimbers going back.
Help! New SR1911 Galling!
FTF New Springfield.
Reverse Plug Cracked on New ATI.
New E-Series Back to S&W...Again!

Threads I've yet to see (and suspect I never will):

My Chambers Custom Broke Today.
My Rogers Precision Won't Feed Hollow Points.
Disappointment With My Harrison Custom.
Clark Custom Can't Hit a Barn.

1911 guy
October 11, 2012, 12:47 PM
Depends what you expect from a higher priced 1911. I have cheaper pistols that are accurate and reliable. The higher cost goes into better fit and finish, better tolerances and often higher quality components. It's a case of the "little things" adding up over the entire pistol. If that's worth it to you (and I feel it often is for most people) then step up some in price. If you're interested in function only, lower prices might suit your needs well. I own a smattering of both, ranging from $350 guns to a $2,000 gun. They all serve the purpose they were intended for.

I'll compare the polar ends of my own collection, a Charles Daly bought new for under $400 and a custom built Springfield that ended up right about two grand. They both function fine. The S.A. is a little more accurate. It has a much better trigger. The sights are exactly what I wanted, not a standard factory offering. The bluing is deeper and resists corrosion better. Also resists holster wear better. The S.A. slide is forged, the C.D. is cast. No machinging marks on the S.A., small ones on the C.D. Barrel is hand fit on the S.A. and not on the C.D. Same with barrel bushing. Checkering on the MSH is a little fuzzy on the C.D., sharp and clear on the S.A. S.A. frame is milled and drilled absolutely square, the C.D. would be a nightmare to work on due to being "almost" square.

You get the idea. I like the C.D. for what it is. I like the S.A. for what it is. Sorta like the Ford Festiva Vs. Corvette argument. What do you want from it?

Derek Zeanah
October 11, 2012, 12:57 PM
For a carry gun, I wouldn't choose a 1911 to begin with - I don't trust the reliability of the less expensive ones, and I don't relish the thought of holster wear after dropping $3-4k on a gun. But for a good looking gun for punching holes in paper and to look at and admire? Sure, I could see myself getting one at some point.There's some element of self-fulfilling prophecy here. Remember that the original 1911's submitted for the Army trial all went 6,000 rounds without a single malfunction.

On a lesser scale, I took a brand new $450 Rock Island Armory 1911 to Gunsite and ran it for 1,200 rounds without cleaning it (well, 6 drops of CLP hardly counts as "cleaning") and didn't experience a malfunction that wasn't related to screwing up a manipulation or failing to insert a magazine all the way.

That's not to say that I was completely happy with it -- new grips and a different safety made a huge improvement, as did having the on-site gunsmith lower the trigger pull by about a pound. But the design is solid if you have a well-built copy.

And it's that last part that can be a problem. There are a few models (Sig, S&W, others) that use an external extractor rather than the original design. These work really well if designed properly (as evidenced by all the other handguns out there with external extractors that function reliably and have for decades) but cause issues if not. But saying a 1911 is a reliable design is like saying a straight-six or a V8 is a reliable design -- lots of them are, but build quality and the proprietary things a particular manufacturer does can completely void the accuracy of that statement for your particular instance of the design.

My point, though, was this: you don't need to buy a $3,000 custom 1911 in order to find one that's acceptable for defensive purposes. I've got S&W and Kimber Commanders that are perfectly reliable and work well for carry. I've got the aforementioned full-sized RIA that I trust completely, though it's a full-sized pistol. I've got a Kimber full-sized that is reliable enough for carry, but I don't like target sights on a carry gun. I've also got an American Classic (supposedly better built quality than an RIA) that has never run though a magazine without a malfunction.

The 1911 is a solid design. There are solid implementations out there. There are also some that are significantly lacking. There's a strong negative correlation between cost and the likelihood of getting a lemon. But you don't need to spend that sort of money to get a good one. I'd expect any new RIA, Kimber, Springfield, etc gun to run well out of the box. If it doesn't, then the company should make it right.

If they don't, then that's an issue with the company in question, not the overall design.

rugerdude
October 11, 2012, 05:45 PM
So what you're doing is projecting your inability to evaluate the difference between guns onto everyone else? Or, do you have a formal study you can point to that supports your contention?

I don't think it's all that difficult to discern the differences in fit, finish, handling, and performance between different manufacturers' 1911's. All you have to do is handle them, shoot them, and critically assess what is different between them. Doesn't seem all that demanding to me.

Note: I said "REALLY appreciate" which implies experience with several models side by side or over time to compare and contrast features and to have shot enough rounds out of each to identify performance improvements with X model etc.... Do you honestly think that this sounds like "most people?" I also include myself in to this group to make sure that it is not taken as "I'm holier than thou because I have the money/time to play with high end 1911's" ;)

Not really - if you know what to look for and have handled finely made 1911's the differences are immediately noticable - to the point that when people make statements like that it only points out their unfamiliarity how and what to look for in 1911's.

I'm not talking about "noticing" I said very specifically "REALLY appreciate" which goes far beyond simply noticing. The benefits of a hand fitted barrel and bushing are not READILY APPARENT to someone who wants to set the gun on their nightstand and forget about it until it's needed. Also your statement helps prove my point because you first qualify your response with "if you know what to look for and have handled finely made 1911's" This is not the majority of shooters, and is most likely not the OP if he's posting this thread.

That's a fine philosophy for you, but hardly a guide for everyone else...you'd be surprised at what a better tool can do for helping you develop as a shooter. And please, don't give me the over used "put the money in ammunition" dreck. The cost of ammunition will far outstrip the cost of the gun if you shoot a lot - no matter the initial cost of the pistol.

But that's just it "If you shoot a lot." Did you ever stop and think that maybe not everyone has the time and money to buy a Wilson Supergrade AND shoot its worth in ammo every year? Lots of people have a budget and have to sacrifice one way or another. In my opinion it is all too often about getting the nicest hardware without enough concern for actually improving as a shooting in order to get the bullets to go where you want them to. I'm not giving YOU anything, I'm giving it to the OP, whom I bet isn't shooting $2,000 worth of .45 ACP a year.

The worth of the gun is clearly a very subjective matter and ties in very closely to its intended use. Clearly those who shoot many rounds per year find the higher end guns to be worth the cost, whereas someone who wants a home defense gun or plinker and also wants to be able to pay rent for the next few months might find that he gains very little by buying anything more than a basic Springfield. Like it or not, the latter guy is much more common than the former, and it doesn't matter how well the slide mates to the frame and how even the checkering is if he's going to shove it in a sock drawer.

rugerdude
October 11, 2012, 05:49 PM
I also can't help thinking of the business card scene in America Psycho

"Just look at that deep, even finish....the tasteful thickness of the slide serrations.....Oh my God, it's even got adjustable night sights!"

Peter M. Eick
October 12, 2012, 09:52 AM
To answer the original posters question, I would say first that DW is not high end. Midrange at best. I have DW's and yes they are nice but not high end.

I buy high end Baer's. I have dabbled in midrange DW's and low range Colts and now regret buying the Colts. I would not go below a Colt in quality and go back and forth if I should put any more money into fixing up the Colts.

The problem with buying a high end gun like a Baer (I have 5 now) is that it makes the lesser guns seem cheap and poorly made.

So is it worth it to buy Baer's over say Colts? Yes to me. I like the quality, and accuracy of the Baer. It is more reliable, accurate than the Colt and better made.

The real question is it worth blowing good money after bad to fix up a low end gun like a Colt? I have not decided that one yet.

Let me build on this point.

http://eickpm.com/picts/lb1_012112.jpg

50 shots, 15 yrds offhand, first 50 shots from my Baer.

http://eickpm.com/picts/ss_bag_052812.jpg
http://eickpm.com/picts/ss_barrel_2.jpg

Trust me I don't have a picture of the first 50 shots out of my Colt Super Stallion which is a Gold Cup Colt in 38 Super. Look at that barrel and guess what sort of shotgun pattern it tossed?

So do you want target level quality and accuracy, along with reliability or do you want shotgun level accuracy, doubling of the shots due to the steel trigger and a crappy barrel of the Colt? Both guns costs nearly identical price. You decide.

Hangingrock
October 12, 2012, 10:22 AM
If one requires a MSRP of $2500.00 to produce a non-problematic extended service life functional design then there is basically some thing wrong. The polymer framed striker fired pistols while not considered esthetically pleasing are functional in the extreme and functionality has a beauty all of its own.

ku4hx
October 12, 2012, 10:34 AM
They are to me, or were rather. When I was competing the final cost of the build was determined by where you had to start to get to where you wanted to be. For many yearly shooters low end may be just fine, but if you are going to require a great deal from your gun, you'll be best served buying the highest quality.

It all depends on the gun's purpose and what "value" means to you. For me, there is no limit when buying a defensive weapon I believe I need. For weekend plinking and dirt clod bustin' I can see spending a whole lot less.

Skylerbone
October 12, 2012, 11:25 AM
If one requires a MSRP of $2500.00 to produce a non-problematic extended service life functional design then there is basically some thing wrong. The polymer framed striker fired pistols while not considered esthetically pleasing are functional in the extreme and functionality has a beauty all of its own.


Diamonds have a beauty all their own too, after much assistance from a master cutter. Some will choose a cubic zirconia and feel it's a bargain. A 1911 doesn't require an MSRP of $2,500 to function reliably, that sort of money buys the design and a lot of wants. A Glock does not require an MSRP of $2,500 because injected polymer doesn't require forging or machining. Funny that more polymer goes into a Plano pistol case and its MSRP is about $8.00 Even with all the extra cost including well paid Union labor, I can buy a new Colt for under $800, that's less than some polymer framed competitors charge. Solo cups are functional, Swarovski has a bit more panache.

As for Colts being low end pistols not worthy of modifying, have a look at what top pistolsmiths use for builds. If yours is doubling Peter you should contact Colt and mention the accuracy woes as well. At half the price of a Baer you've got plenty of budget to do as you wish with it.

FMF Doc
October 13, 2012, 12:18 AM
It depends on what you are using it for. If it is a BBQ gun, then it is worth it if you like people to stop, stare and drool over custom engraving and a $2500 price tag. I you are going to be betting your life, and the lives of others on it as part of a tactical team, then the $3200 Knighthawk Customs GRP Recon might be worth it to you. If, however, this is just going to be a nightstand gun, probably never really needed, and even then probably at 20ft of less, or a range gun just for fun, then you can get it done with a RIA MilSpec in the price zone you are looking at. Half the question is how much is is worth it to you (cool facor). The other, how much performance do YOU really need. Odds are, a $375 ATI GI model is more accurate than the person shooting it.

357autoloader
October 13, 2012, 12:38 AM
I have had quite a few 1911s. Now, I have one.
Ed Brown Kobra Carry.
Hopefully I'll find the time and money for more.
But since I only have one, it'll do. :)

EddieNFL
October 13, 2012, 01:33 PM
As a tool, the Randall isn't all that more functional or stronger than the Wal Mart Special.

Interesting opinion.

intercooler
October 13, 2012, 01:42 PM
I only have my one Dan Wesson which I paid $1,100 for it. Still kind of pricey compared to those in the $600-$700 range but worth it. The fit (way tight to a stupid throw it down the range extreme) and finish are great! I just wouldn't spend $6,000 on a 1911 unless it could whistle Dixie. This 1911 is accurate accurate and no issues. What would another $5,000 buy me but lining someones pocket to the utmost?

Rexster
October 14, 2012, 06:18 PM
I do not regret spending the money to purchase my Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special, back around the year 2000.

I want to add my voice to the chorus, and assert that Kimbers are NOT high-end! They do like to advertise like they are high-end. I am not familiar with DW.

gringolet
October 15, 2012, 02:17 PM
check and see if you have a gunsmithing school anywhere close.
I live in Oklahoma...we have Murray State College with a really nice program..many of our grads end up in federal service or with arms companies...
find a school and go to the armorer's class first..then to the custom classes, often offered in levels...
AND THEN, you will ber able to build your own 1911.
Murray Statre College used to offer summer courses...stay in local dorms...
can get NRA "grants" or "scholarships" too...and take courses in a variety of machine tool classes thru accuring rifles, 1911, etc..check it out at MSC and the local gunsmithing school nearest you!!!

daybreak
October 15, 2012, 08:07 PM
With 1911's you get what you pay for kimbers, dan wessons, and sigs are some of the better ones. Unless you wanna spend $2500+ for a brown, wilson, or baer. Some of the cheap ones work fine but the more you spend the better fit and finish you get. From personal experience I've found sig to be the best closely followed by kimber.

Gross, Kimber high end? Nay.

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