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Semi-custom 1911's?:confused:

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by P7rancher, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. P7rancher

    P7rancher New Member

    Dec 24, 2006
    I am beginning my search for a what I believe is called a semi-custom 1911.

    I am lucky to live close to Nighthawk, Wilson, and Eb Brown manufacturing facilities and will plan on visiting their locations.

    My question: What are the differences that separate these semi-custom makers? Name recognition is important only if it translates into an identifiable quality or feature difference. Why would you pick one over the other or stated differently, who makes the best gun (accuracy and reliability) and why?

    I am not able to afford a one-off custom gun and I have not shot 1911's enough to know what distinct/unique features I want on a true custom gun($4000 plus from my research). I have to trust that a semi-custom gun will have the most preferred features. My budget is around $2500 - $3000 and this is the only 1911 that I will own (promise to wife). I will likely want a Commander style gun suitable for CC or open carry on our ranching operations.

    Perhaps there are other semi-custom makers I should consider (like Les Baer) and please respond with there web sites.

    Finally, all these makers seem to have a "preferred dealer" network. Can you recommend a "preferred dealer" that will try to be competitive and earn my business? I can see how this alone could be the deal maker.

    Thank you in advance for your help!
  2. f4t9r

    f4t9r Senior Member

    May 27, 2005
    I think your visit to these places will answer alot of questions you may have.
    I would be interested in who takes the time to talk with you and answer your questions. All these makers are top of the line.
    Keep us posted on your visits.
  3. j1979

    j1979 Member

    Jul 29, 2008
    Ive heard many good things about the service and prices from this place. Semi Custom 1911's are kind of their specialty.
  4. HexHead

    HexHead Senior Member

    Dec 15, 2008
    Nighthawk and Wilson will do more custom order stuff than Ed Brown or Les Baer. I went with Nighthawk since they were able to build my pistol exactly the way I wanted it. Even Wilson wasn't able to offer the chainlink scalloping I'd requested instead of conventional checkering.
    EB (and LB) both make very nice pistols if you like their standard configuration.

    Nighthawk also has great customer service.
  5. CWL

    CWL Mentor

    Jan 6, 2003
    You've named 4 of the top semi custom M1911 makers out there. The first 3 are regarded as more SD gunmakers while Les Baer is more of a competition gunmaker by reputation.

    There probably isn't a wrong choice between any of them although right now Nighthawk is the 'hottest' by demand. Nighthawk was started by former Wilson Combat people.
  6. prelaw09

    prelaw09 New Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    this should be interesting

    I too am curious about this. I am a noob, but have shot a bit. my understanding (and take it for what it's worth) is that at this level it is basically going to cone down to style. I have shot an Ed Brown executive and really liked it. I also was lucky enough to shoot the Wilson CQB and it was very nice as well. I like the Ed Brown stuff better, but that is strictly on a cosmetic basis (I just think they are prettier). I think that any of the 4 that you named will serve you well.
  7. Lonestar.45

    Lonestar.45 Participating Member

    Sep 3, 2004
    As far as quality goes I don't think there is a lot that separates the ones you mentioned. Each have their own personality and touches, but overall the quality should be outstanding in that price range.

    However, if I were you and going to drop that kind of money, I'd darn sure think long and hard about what options you do want, what features YOU prefer. You may find you don't want an ambi safety, for instance, or that you prefer one type of grip strap checkering over another, or you don't like front cocking serrations. At any rate I'd look everything over very closely and handle as many as you can. That's a big purchase and I'd want to get it right the first time. Good luck!
  8. RH45

    RH45 Member

    Jan 3, 2004
    If I was only allowed to have ONE 1911 (heaven forbid), and it's primary intention was for carry, it would have to be similar to a Kobra Carry, except, with an aluminum frame.

    Yes, I own a Kobra Carry, but, prefer to carry either an old, Kimber Pro-Carry, .40, or, an old, Kimber, Pro-Elite .45, due to the weight differences, but, the rounded butt of the Kobra Carry is easier to hide!
  9. P7rancher

    P7rancher New Member

    Dec 24, 2006
    Thanks for the replies so far

    Thanks for the link to migunslingers.

    Any other ideas on differences? Are the different finishes really different or just called by the builder's own proprietary name?


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