Dan Wesson Valor or Les Baer


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hellishot
July 15, 2014, 03:02 PM
I had a chance to handle both the Valor and Premier II model, and I love both of them. I like the duty coat on the Valor but at the same time I like the aesthetics of the Les Baer. The sights on Valor is a plus but I like the adjustable rear sights too. The pricing is very similar around $1700. Valor is not as tight as the Les.

What I am saying is that I am conflicted on which to buy. I been reading around but I need to hear some recent experiences with either firearms.

How has the bluing on the Les Baer hold up over the years?

Thanks in advance.

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JTQ
July 15, 2014, 03:08 PM
Les Baer blueing is a known weakness. Most owners actually love how their guns quickly show holster wear. I do to.

I'm not a fan of adjustable sights on a 1911. The sight cut on the slide is different and if you ever want something else on the gun, you will be very limited in your options. I know what they are (so the folks don't have to let me know), and while they may be fine sights, I think they look terrible. I prefer fixed sights on 1911's.

Here is a TRS at 30,000 rounds http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=451456

critter
July 15, 2014, 03:26 PM
LB is my vote.

Olympus
July 15, 2014, 03:43 PM
It really depends on your intended use. The Baer is more of a target setup while the Valor is a combat/defensive setup. One will be better suited than the other more than likely.

In terms of build quality, I think they both very competitive with each other. Accuracy will likely go to the Baer if the gun has the 1.5" guarantee.

Personally, I just don't like the fact that Baer bluing is so mediocre. You're building a top tier pistol and the customer is paying a reasonably high price, I'd want a finish that held up a little better. I can fully attest to the Duty Treatment on the Dan Wesson though. That's a finish will be tough as nails for a LONG time and likely won't show any wear at all. Mine haven't yet.

JDR
July 15, 2014, 06:26 PM
I have the DW Valor in Black Duty Coat, I bought it lightly used for quite a bit less than new, and I recommend it highly

RussB
July 15, 2014, 06:48 PM
There is no wrong choice

1858
July 15, 2014, 07:56 PM
I have a Valor and a V-Bob. They were far from perfect out of the box and even after sending the V-Bob slide back to DW to fix the rear sight it's still messed up. That said, the Valor is a decent pistol once I fixed the burrs inside the frame, thumb safety and magazine release. The sights are excellent and I really like the Duty Coat. I'll most likely sell the V-Bob. I have no experience with Les Baer products but that blued finish is enough to dissuade me from ever buying a LB 1911. I like stainless steel frames and slides with some form of salt nitride finish. I have three Ed Browns that are vastly superior to the DWs in almost every respect, but the one area where the DWs win out is the Duty finish.

RussB
July 15, 2014, 08:00 PM
Reckon you never saw the burrs in a Les Baer gun...?


Burrs aren't always bad, and a tight slide to frame fit isn't always good

JH225
July 15, 2014, 11:46 PM
Personally, the choice is easy.

Both brands are built to high standards, both brands generally garner positive comments. The deciding factor is the well known lack of customer service offered by Baer. If I have an issue with my Dan Wesson, I know it will be addressed quickly and with a smile. If I have an issue with a Baer, it may very well be addressed with a nasty attitude and a frown.

JDR
July 16, 2014, 09:41 AM
Like every used gun I get, my DW Valor was tuned up by my gunsmith, and now it's a tremendously accurate and reliable range gun. I had an issue where the gun would (occasionally) fail to lock back on an empty mag, but that was solved when the slide stop was refitted. I have not yet owned a production 1911 regardless of cost that couldn't use some tuning or tweaking to get it to run the way I want it to, that is the nature of these beasts!

GZOh
July 16, 2014, 12:45 PM
As RussB said "There is no wrong choice" here!... Both are excellent, quality pistolas... and if you can get either NIB in that $1700 price range, it's your call.
I own several 1911 DWs (along with my Colts) and they have ALL been dead-accurate, flawless shoots right out of the box.
For me, the DWs have been an 'uber-quality' 1911 at a 'reasonable' price. Their slide, frame and barrel are all forged steel and hand-fitted, and almost all parts are DW made with no MIM. Fit and finish on my Valor has been A+ and after 500+ rnds, it has been flawless and extremely accurate.
Regarding DW Customer Service... A+.... their Duty finish (tho I have SS) is again A+... Fit and finish A+++.
I have never owned a LB but have had the opportunity to shoot several at the range, and have been impressed (however, the Monolith was about $2500).
LB has a reputation for making quality, super-tight 1911s... but this 'tight-ness' thing can be excessive and taken to an extreme!!
Both of my Colts are not quite as 'tight' as my Valor... but both are dead-accurate shoots!!
Good luck in choosing... my vote is for the VALOR!!

BTW: Here's a pic of the fit on my Valor... Honestly, not sure how much 'tighter' you gotta get then this!!

http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/qq112/geezeepix/c83b2aa2-1fce-4df3-9429-c7e992a833a3_zpsc2c0ac17.jpg (http://s439.photobucket.com/user/geezeepix/media/c83b2aa2-1fce-4df3-9429-c7e992a833a3_zpsc2c0ac17.jpg.html)
http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/qq112/geezeepix/valor004_zpsaa29d0dd.jpg (http://s439.photobucket.com/user/geezeepix/media/valor004_zpsaa29d0dd.jpg.html)

Cooldill
July 16, 2014, 01:09 PM
Like others have said, there is no wrong choice BUT I would handle both again and see which one feels the best. One will call out to you!

If it were me, I'd go with the Valor. I just LOVE the classic lines of the gun and think it's just so nice!

Ankeny
July 16, 2014, 01:16 PM
I have owned both. I shot many tens of thousands of rounds through my PII when I was using it for L10 in USPSA. The blueing took a hike so I had it hardchromed by Tripp. The build quality on a Dan Wesson can be hit or miss (I had a V-Bob that was a miss), but the same can be true for any maker. Like folks have said, either is a great gun. It is really up to you as far as which you like better from a subjective point of view. If I were looking for a pistol for USPSA competition use I would get the Baer.

1858
July 16, 2014, 02:22 PM
I own several 1911 DWs and they have ALL been dead-accurate, flawless shoots right out of the box ...
.... Fit and finish on my Valor has been A+ and after 500+ rnds, it has been flawless and extremely accurate.


Regarding DW Customer Service... A+....

Given your glowing DW report and your use of the word "flawless" I have to wonder how you'd know anything about their customer service.

Olympus
July 16, 2014, 03:08 PM
I definitely would not consider DW quality to be "hit or miss". That, TO ME, implies you take a gamble with their guns. My experience is that you'll almost certainly get a "hit". I've owned and currently own many DWs and I've never found a single problem with any of them. Sure, everyone turns out lemons, but don't believe their guns are "hit or miss". Now, RIA, those guns are hit or miss! I've owned many of those too, with over 50% having significant problems that needed manufacturer attention.

Both DW and Baer are great choices.

Robert101
July 16, 2014, 03:12 PM
Here is my limited view. I've only handled a couple of L. Baers and both were very good shooters and quality made. My DW Pointman 7 in 10MM is a fine 1911. The DW did have to make a return trip to DW for refinement as I had some FTF issues. DW customer service was good. In consideration of the above and the same sales price I would opt for the Baer.

GZOh
July 16, 2014, 03:14 PM
When I define 'flawless' I simply mean that with 'break-in' and all shooting thereafter (using various types of .45 ammo- ie. Federal, Winchester, S&B, HPs, etc) I experienced NO/ZERO malfunctions, fail-to-fire's, fail-to-eject, battery issues, etc.... or simply put, a gun that performs with ZERO issues... that IMO is Flawless!
Regarding Customer Service I rate this by CS 'attitude' in dealing with customers, their promptness in returning calls/emails, their desire to 'fix' a problem and 'make it right' without placing blame or 'deflecting' the issue, handling shipping costs, turn-around time, and actually fixing the problem. Regarding my DW CS experiences... on my first DW (Heritage) I was not used to the 'tightness' of the bushing and never experienced that difficulty removing a NIB bushing. Called DW, was told to send the gun in (emailed a FEDEX label) and in ONE week gun was returned, with a letter of explanation and a phone call... polished, loosened-up, perfect! Second was an infrequent magazine-eject issue (CBob)... same as above, sent gun in, week+ later, back and working properly! I have also had many phone-in questions re: proper break-in, lubing, finishes, etc. that were ALL thoroughly and very courteously answered. In all my years of shooting, the only two-or-three other companies that have provided me with this high level of CS has been Springfield Armory, Colt and S&W!
Hope this clarifies and answers your question.

1858
July 16, 2014, 03:30 PM
GZOh,
Yes, thanks for the detailed explanation. I wish that both of my DWs were good to go out of the box and I also wish that the rear sight issue on the V-Bob was resolved to my satisfaction but it wasn't. I had to wait months before DW could even look at the slide due to their buidling burning down. I realize that those were very unusual circumstances but they have no excuse for shipping two $1,800 pistols that had numerous manufacturing defects including excessive barrel movement in lock up.

The build quality on a Dan Wesson can be hit or miss

Based on my sample size of two I agree with this statement. If you visit Dave Severn's website you might come away with the conclusion that he agrees with it too. Now that I've resolved all of the issues with the Valor it's a good pistol but at $1,800 there shouldn't be any need to resolve anything. Just my opinion based on my experience.

GZOh
July 16, 2014, 03:54 PM
1858... Sorry about your DW issues and the time taken to fix 'em.
Trust me, I'm not a DW employee or commissioned salesman, but my DWs have been great and all my dealings with DW have been nothing short of positive!
As you and I know, ALL quality manufacturers can still have their occassional 'lemon' (check some of the posts for Ed Brown and LB)...
maybe its 'luck-of-the-draw' or I've just been fortunate, but have owned many SIGs, CZs and BHPs, and have never had any issues. And I do agree, nothing pisses me off more than spending good dollars (ie. $1000+) and not getting a quality/dependable gun!! And yes, Dave S does a great job selling quality guns!
I guess what it boils down to is, when you do get that quality/dependable pistola you appreciate it and thank the 'Gun-Gods' for gracing you!!

browningguy
July 16, 2014, 08:47 PM
For a similar price there is no doubt I would get the Baer.

JudgeHolden10
July 16, 2014, 10:41 PM
I've no experience with the Les Baers, but my Valor shoots really well. I've shot 450 rounds through it with no problems. And the sights on it (Heinie Straight Eights) are my favorite of all my handguns.

vba
July 17, 2014, 09:00 AM
No experience with DW but do own a Baer PII and Monolith. I'm quite pleased with both pistols. They have not seen anything but my reloads in the ~10 years I have owned them and I honestly don't remember one malfunction in all that time.

SDGlock23
July 18, 2014, 01:27 AM
I've had four Valors and highly recommend them. I think that for the price and features they can't be beat.

ifit
July 18, 2014, 05:44 AM
Gzoh that's a beautiful classy 1911, that's what drew me to the DW line of pistols. Which I picked up my Heritage couple days ago. I know it's not a valor but someday may move up:) What surprised me of my DW other than build quality is it's accuracy, some pics of the first shots through my DW...they are accurate. These were shot sitting with a front bag, if I really took my time the 25y group I know would be tighter
http://i1243.photobucket.com/albums/gg544/sr16ve2/imagejpg1_zps110d636c.jpg

GZOh
July 18, 2014, 06:22 AM
Congrats ifit on your new Heritage (my first DW)... real nice shooting!
You'll find that other than a couple appearance and finish differences, it's the same gun as the Valor...
And Yes, they are VERY accurate pistolas!!
The only negative to this whole 'DW thing' is... as they say, "these babies tend to multiply"!
A companion for my Valor...

http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/qq112/geezeepix/cbob012_zps4bc30b11.jpg (http://s439.photobucket.com/user/geezeepix/media/cbob012_zps4bc30b11.jpg.html)

johnmcl
July 18, 2014, 09:28 AM
Hellishot,

Let me share with you my experiences on Les Baer 1911s.

As JTQ pointed out, the bluing on the LB frames is pretty darn weak. I saw holster wear using a kydex holster within weeks of acquisition. Keeping in mind that this gun is a shooter, and not a safe queen so what I perceived was the migration from a new gun to a comfortably used gun. I like the look.

Olympus makes an assertion that Les Baers are a target gun. That's really only true for the specific target configurations. While I'm no fan of adjustable sights on a defensive gun, that Premier II will run with the best of them right out of the box. The point made later in this thread of fixed sights giving you more after market flexibility is spot on. On my defense LB I swapped out the night sights for a black 10-8 wide sight, then installed a Dawson Precision fiber optic front sight. Such a configuration move on a Premier would be problematic.

The perspective on service with a bad attitude from Baer is not mine. I have called into Baer a few times with questions on the gun. Three times Les Baer called me back to ensure that all things were good. He spent an inordinate amount of time explaining approaches, strategies, and fixes. The other people in the service department were just as responsive and accurate. In short, I find them just fine on the service perspective.

Value is a subjective metric. From my point of view, the LB defensive gun I have is worth every dime I have in it. If you're after a true recommendation, get the LB and don't look back. This is one gun that will be an heirloom.

HexHead
July 18, 2014, 09:41 AM
If you can get a Baer at Wesson prices, grab it. LBs are the equal to a Wilson or Nighthawk. Those that think a DW is in that lofty group have spilled CZ Kool Aid all over themselves.

GZOh
July 18, 2014, 10:12 AM
Hex agree with you totally!... If you can get a NIB LB at the same price of a DW, go for it!
I think anyone who has shot or held/inspected a Nighthawk, Wilson, LB, Ed Brown can immediately see the quality and attention to detail these pistolas offer! Racking some of their slides is like 'a warm knife thru butter'.... and they shoot just as well!
However, most of these pistolas are in the $2500-3500 price range, so you ARE paying for that quality.
Now, pushing the DW 'kool-aid' aside, DW offers a line of pistols that are VERY well made, with hand-fitted forged-steel frames, slides and barrels, parts that are mostly DW made, and NO MIM. You can get a basic Heritage for about $1100 and their 'best' Valor for about $1500.
So what they are offering is that 'middle ground' between the production SAs and Colts, and the true top-line pistols mentioned...
And if $$dollars are not an issue, every 1911 lover should own one of these and try their 'kool-aid'!

Olympus
July 18, 2014, 12:42 PM
I was not trying to imply all Baers were target models, only the model that the OP was comparing to the Valor.

ifit
July 18, 2014, 03:55 PM
Well said Gzoh, heck I got my brand new Heritage for $1042:)
For those curious on what u get for your money here's a great video on the heritage complete detailed and stripped review of each part. the Valor I bet is also worth every penny. And the a Heritage is DW enttry level 1911

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krjPZ0IXZQE

NWcityguy2
July 18, 2014, 05:04 PM
I've run close to 30k rounds through my DW, been a bit since I did a primer count, so I'll pitch in my knowledge. But first off I'll say if it was my choice, I'd get the DW because it is a stainless gun with the option of a durable black finish if I wanted it.

Comparing the brands, both can and do put out lemons. My DW had several problems out of the box. For starters it wouldn't go to slide lock with the magazines DW supplied me with. I could shoot a full mag without it going to slide lock and manually rack the slide over and over again without it going to slide lock. It also had major feeding problems with any bullet profile other than FMJ with a short OAL. The barrel bushing fit the barrel so tight that it would pull the barrel forward too soon and cause a 3 point jam. It also gave me light strikes on primers.

Now does DW have an excellent customer service dept? It depends how you look at it. They have a very responsive customer service dept. Keith will personally answer your emails in a very timely manner and is more than willing to have your 1911 shipped back to him so it can be looked at. I sent mine back after going through the "break in" period and still having all the same problems. He replaced the firing pin spring with a reduced power spring, solving one of my three issues, and sent the gun back to me. I ended up solving the feeding problems by sanding down the end of the barrel and replacing the slide stop with one meant for a 38 super. Still to this day my gun is picky about what magazines it will slide lock on. Not all DWs are like mine in this regard though.

But OTOH Baer will put out a lemon as well. My friend, who is rich and owns multiple guns from every brand mentioned here so far, got a 38 super from them recently. I think it was the Stinger. The gun came from the factory without even so much as a test fire. It had feeding problems out of the box. After sending Baer a video of it malfunctioning they sent him some new magazines for the gun, which was ironic in a way. Last I heard he sent it back the Les Baer for service as well.

When comparing the models themselves, they are essentially the same gun function wise. One isn't a tactical gun with the other being a target gun. They are both 1911s with parts built to virtually the exact same dimensions. Both are going to be expected to feed modern defensive ammunition and SWCs. Both use a single stack 45acp magazine. A $40 rear sight, whether it be a target sight or a tactical sight doesn't define what $1500+ gun is. The Baer does come with a 3" accuracy guarantee, which the DW doesn't. Does that mean something to you? Maybe, maybe not. The Baer is made from a steel that rusts easily with a blued finish that is legendary in how quickly it wears off. All DW guns are stainless, which is a big plus in my opinion, and if you get a finish it is very durable. When I bought my DW they were also using a Ed Brown beavertail safety that allowed a higher grip on the gun. I think they are still offering that, be it made by DW or Ed Brown still. It is nice but not a game changer.

When people start talking about Browns, Wilsons and Nighthawks being "worth" something over a DW or a Baer, I have to wonder how exactly. Is it more durable? No. More reliable? Depends on the individual gun but the answer is no when comparing one brand to the next. More accurate? No. Reliability, accuracy and durability are the heart and soul of a handgun. The $1000 or more price difference is in the name and some gunsmithing options that don't come close to justifying the cost. If someone wants to pay the price difference that is up to them, but there isn't a quantifiable way to say those guns are better than the guns the OP is looking at (unless they are stainless).

GZOh
July 18, 2014, 06:05 PM
A solid "Amen, Brother"...

As NW stated...
"Reliability, accuracy and durability are the heart and soul of a handgun. The $1000 or more price difference is in the name and some gunsmithing options that don't come close to justifying the cost. If someone wants to pay the price difference that is up to them."

Couldn't have said it better myself!!

.

fedlaw
July 18, 2014, 06:43 PM
My 1911 experience is limited to Kimbers, Springfields and Les Baers. IMHO, Kimbers are accurate, but not 100%. The Springfields, 1 reliable, but not super accurate; 1 fairly accurate, but not reliable. The Les Baer, reliable and accurate. When I got the LB, I could have gotten any 1911. I chose the LB w/1.5" guarantee in part because of the test target: 9/16" group. I shoot Bullseye in competition and have gotten a 1.4" group @ 50yds, offhand, so I believe the test target. Incidentally, I do carry the LB, day in and day out, and am very satisfied with my choice. The LB is the only one that has not been back to its maker or been smithed (so far.)

1858
July 18, 2014, 07:04 PM
When people start talking about Browns, Wilsons and Nighthawks being "worth" something over a DW or a Baer, I have to wonder how exactly. Is it more durable? No. More reliable? Depends on the individual gun but the answer is no when comparing one brand to the next. More accurate? No. Reliability, accuracy and durability are the heart and soul of a handgun. The $1000 or more price difference is in the name and some gunsmithing options that don't come close to justifying the cost. If someone wants to pay the price difference that is up to them, but there isn't a quantifiable way to say those guns are better than the guns the OP is looking at (unless they are stainless)..

And your experience with "Browns, Wilsons and Nighthawks" is what exactly? You make many claims but based on what? Do you own any of the semi-custom brands you mentioned?

Otto
July 18, 2014, 07:32 PM
Neither...
If you're going to spend that kind of money, have one built by a master gunsmith. Choose a good base gun like a Ranger Officer or use a Caspian frame and slide. You'll want a Kart barrel and a decent ignition system like a Cylinder & Slide. But match grade parts are worthless if not fitted right, so finding the right smith is absolutely critical. As nice as DWs or LBs are....at the end of the day, they're off-the-shelf mass produced guns.
IMO, the only way to compare the quality of one gun over another is to shoot it in a Ransom Rest.

NWcityguy2
July 18, 2014, 08:20 PM
And your experience with "Browns, Wilsons and Nighthawks" is what exactly? You make many claims but based on what? Do you own any of the semi-custom brands you mentioned?

I shoot against "Browns, Wilsons and Nighthawks" at USPSA and IDPA events. When I'm the better shooter, I score higher in the rankings. I'll also handle them and compare them after the match if I'm interested. There's no magic in those higher dollar 1911s.

1858
July 18, 2014, 08:22 PM
So no real experience then, just opinion. I have two DWs and three EBs so my observations are based on actual use and ownership.

NWcityguy2
July 18, 2014, 08:28 PM
You should disagree with the points I'm making instead of attacking me as the source.

tarosean
July 18, 2014, 11:25 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by NWcityguy2
When people start talking about Browns, Wilsons and Nighthawks being "worth" something over a DW or a Baer, I have to wonder how exactly. Is it more durable? No. More reliable? Depends on the individual gun but the answer is no when comparing one brand to the next. More accurate? No. Reliability, accuracy and durability are the heart and soul of a handgun. The $1000 or more price difference is in the name and some gunsmithing options that don't come close to justifying the cost. If someone wants to pay the price difference that is up to them, but there isn't a quantifiable way to say those guns are better than the guns the OP is looking at (unless they are stainless)..

And your experience with "Browns, Wilsons and Nighthawks" is what exactly? You make many claims but based on what? Do you own any of the semi-custom brands you mentioned?

I actually own examples from each and will agree with him/her, for the most part..

The extra money is definitely seen in the fit/finish (dehorn, lines, options, etc.).. My Bear shoots as good as my more expensive handguns, just don't look the part of a high dollar firearm.. Which matters nothing to me, as I treat them all like my Glocks....

ROBBY.1911
July 19, 2014, 12:05 AM
which one turns you on when you look at it and handle it? i hate to say that we are all so shallow, but cool guns are just that--COOL. SATISFY YOUR AESTHETIC PREFERENCES AND BE SURE THAT BOTH WILL SHOOT UNDER TWO INCHES AT 25 YARDS.:D

obx-shooter
July 20, 2014, 11:37 AM
This is timely. I was just talking to a distributor about special ordering a LB Premier II yesterday. I'm a form follow function guy ... pretty is as pretty does. My old service Sig P226 shoots better than my Kimber or my Colt Gold Cup... and that just don't seem right. I'm thinking no fwd serrations, strong side safety and short trigger ... and the "inch and a half" so when I miss the bullseye I know it's me not the gun... :)

jdmb03
July 20, 2014, 11:16 PM
I say LB.

george burns
July 22, 2014, 07:32 PM
I have found like in all forms of competition and sport. It's the person not the appliance that makes the difference. Just because you can afford an Indy car, doesn't make you a championship driver. If you are winning every event you enter with a decent gun, then you probably should have a better one. If you can't take one of the top 3 places, every time you participate, then it probably isn't the gun that is going to make the slightest difference.
It's kind of like watching the Bentley pull up and the chauffeur get out, open the trunk, "Boot", and hand the old gentleman his 100,000 shotgun. Then watch a kid with a Plymouth Valiant pull up smoking with oil, and shoot the pants off him with his 200 dollar used gun.

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