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1911 --Best quality makers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Strykervet, Jun 13, 2011.

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  1. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

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    Been looking at getting a 1911. I am your typical Glock guy, I have most of them, and I shoot them well. They are great tools that work when you need them. But they are ugly as sin, and as one who appreciates fine tolerances in machinery that works like a Swiss watch, I'd like to get something fine after my current projects are wrapped up.

    I have my eyes on the Ed Brown Executive Carry. I also like their Custom model (and their 100yr. anniversary model is SWEET --but for $7000, I'd frame it, not fire it).

    I've compared this pistol to a S&W 1911 and the Smith wasn't even close. The Ed Brown is a spectacular piece of machinery. I was surprised, as I thought the Smith would have been fine piece, and perhaps it was, but the difference between the two was night and day.

    My question to 1911 savvy shooters is, which manufacturers are the best ones to go with? I am looking for fit and quality of machinework. Reliability and such must be a given for the price (any $1500 - $2500 pistol better be).

    And I'll rephrase this. If I were to get only one 1911, and a fine one at that, who should I look at? I know of Ed Brown (who I am leaning towards) and Wilson. Who sets the standard for 1911 construction?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    In order of price I like these factory pistols:
    Dan Wesson 2010+
    Les Baer, especially the monoliths.

    Each needs some minor changes to get me really excited.


    Extra High quality:
    Ed Brown
    Wilson

    I like the Fusion Kits as well. And any DW or LB tuned and refinished by Severns custom.




    I ommitted the also very good Nighthawk, STI, and SVI because those dunces can't deliver a 1911 to my local shop without billboards ingraved in it as big as my head.
     
  3. surjimmy

    surjimmy Member

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    Les Baer, he even answers his own phone.
     
  4. JROC

    JROC Member

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    When I think 1911's I think of Colt. They are the original maker of the gun, and the are very good 1911's. Sure you can get a fancier 1911 than a Colt, but the high Colt guns are still very nice pieces, and much cheaper than Wilson, Ed Brown, etc. Plus they hold their value better than others. You can get a nice 100 yr anniversary Colt right now, and I would love to pick one up. I have a Colt Combat Elite, and its is a very good gun. JMO There are a lot of nice 1911 out there though.
     
  5. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Unless I were a hardcore, gotta have the best, getting paid to shoot competitor, I'd skip the "best" and get one of the "betters"....I'd get a Springfield Loaded or Range Officer and keep $800 to $1700 bucks in my pocket.
     
  6. Manta77

    Manta77 Member

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    Check out the Colt XSE....I have a stainless 100yr edition. It's one fine piece. Flawless from day one.
     
  7. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    Buy a new Colt send to Wilson . Have a trigger job Wilson barrel installed Less money and will do the job.
     
  8. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    If you have $2,500 to spend on a 1911 you really can't go wrong with an Ed Brown or a Wilson Combat. Personally, I don't feel any urgent desire to buy a Wilson after shooting a friend's CQB, but they are excellent 1911s. I have a Special Forces and Special Forces Carry, and the attention to detail leaves me wanting nothing and I'm a picky bastard. Perhaps the only subjective change I'd like to make would be to swap the sights from the standard three dot Trijicon night sights to Heine Straight Eight night sights. Don't forget that Ed Brown 1911's are semi-custom so you can add/delete features. I requested a Maxi-Well and extended mag release on my Special Forces so that those parts would have the Gen III coating. I plan on a Kobra and Kobra Carry this year.

    If you want to go to high end production, the Dan Wesson Valor and V-Bob are decent pistols but don't expect anything close to Ed Brown in terms of the attention to detail. I got tired of listing all of the issues with my Valor and V-Bob. I've slowly managed to fix most of them but at $1,800 and $1,900 a piece, I shouldn't have to. I would tell anyone considering a Valor (with black finish) to spend $300 more and buy a Special Forces or Kobra with the Gen III finish ... absolutely no doubt about that one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  9. Apocalypse-Now

    Apocalypse-Now Member

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    Springfield Armory Custom shop, then Wilson.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  10. soapboxpreacher

    soapboxpreacher Member

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    Eddy, Danny, Les and Wilson!
     
  11. 918v

    918v Member

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    Springfield Custom.
     
  12. 0to60

    0to60 Member

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    First thing one needs to be aware of is that the 1911 is a more expensive product to produce than a Glock. Glocks are (IMO) a truly remarkable product in that a TON of quality can be produced for dirt cheap. In order to match Glock levels of quality in a 1911, you're gonna have to shell out some cash. How much? Unfortunately, I don't know. My only experience has been with a $650 Springfield and honestly, its not a high quality gun. It functions fine, but the finish is garbage and I'm not impressed with its durability and wear so far (750 rounds).
     
  13. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    If time is on your side I'd suggest looking into custom builders and make some calls. You've developed a reasonably generous budget and while many of the above suggestions fit your criteria just as many do not. You may even get lucky if someone has a used pistol in stock ready for you final modifications.

    Another option would be auction watching. A few more names for you: RRA (Rock River Arms, NOT the same as RIA), Harrison Custom, Severns Custom, Jardine Custom, Clark's Custom, Nighthawk and Volkmann.

    If you are discerning about workmanship then semi-custom or used custom is what you want. Best of luck in your hunt.
     
  14. Jed Carter

    Jed Carter Member

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    Nothing wrong with an Ed Brown... Or Wilson Combat, Les Baer, Highthawk Custom. Was the S&W a Performance Center 1911? They are really good shooters, hand fit, I would not overlook a deal on one. I may be the only one, 1911 prices are just plain stupid. $200 pistols going for $500... $2000 pistols going for $5000. I left Colt off my list for a reason, they "used" to make some of the finest production 1911s. Get what trips your trigger, but beware, bet you can't get just one.
     
  15. Winkman822

    Winkman822 Member

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    Wilson, Volkmann Precision (formerly Volkmann Custom), Nighthawk, Ed Brown, and Les Baer, in that order, are at the top of the list.
     
  16. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    For a carry gun in a 1911 I would go with the Clark Meltdown on a Commander. Full size for mostly range I would lean towards a STI 2011 like the Eagle 5.0.
     
  17. Apocalypse-Now

    Apocalypse-Now Member

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    who's "Danny"? :eek:
     
  18. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed Member

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    ....... :D
     
  19. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Danny-as in Dan Wesson?
     
  20. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    If you don't have very specific requirements I'd say just get the Ed Brown. That's what I'd do.

    If you do have very specific requirements then a custom job might be your best bet, but even with the "big name" guys it's very much a case of buyer beware...I got hosed by a guy who was allegedly among the best because he'd expanded his shop and given my job to a FNG instead of doing it himself.
     
  21. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    So true.

    My 1911's that are compareable to my Glocks cost 2-3 times more. My experience with Kimber/Springy/Colt clearly shows, for me at least, that low end 1911's don't even come close to a Glock 23/22/35.

    <$1000 1911's are rust prone, come with terrible magazines, may or may not feed HP ammo well, and have a grip safety set up way too conservative making "retention position" shooting hard, sometimes, for many shooters.

    Tennifer is hard to duplicate. Melonite and hard hat treatments are very expensive.

    I have to spend a ton of time on a 1911 fitting the thumb safety and sensitizing the grip safety and it's still not as fast out of the holster as a stock Glock.

    My Glock 23 with everything fixed up proper totals out around $800.
    A DW VBOB fixed up to do the same job ,for me, would run $2000-2200.

    Fixing up a 1911 gets expensive fast. Everyones tastes are different, plenty of skilled shooters running box stock 1911's. But if your benchmark is a Glock, that's a steep challenge for an old rusty 1911.

    So keep in mind that not every Wilson out there is a super expensive exotic model. Sometimes it may be better to go straight to the EB or W, rather than fix up a LB, DW, or especially a Colt.





    But when it's all said and done, a 1911 custom fitted to your hands and style is priceless. There is an "X factor" with 1911's, an unquantifiable coolness from the look, solid feel, and awesome trigger that other more modern guns can't touch.

    The trick is to know exactly what you want in a 1911 before you buy one. You have to do your homework.

    Some times a factory gun can get really close to what you want. I only had to swap sights, and the mag release to get my DW V exactly where I need a 1911 to be. (give or take the time I spent sensitizing the grip safety and cutting the thumb safety paddle)

    If I also wanted a flush crown, slide top serrations, etc. I would have just ordered a custom Fusion, Ed Brown, or Wilson.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  22. Magoo

    Magoo Member

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    I think the bases are pretty well covered. The top guys are the top guys.

    But just to add:
    I had a Springer refinished with what the guy called "atranite" or "antranite", which is supposedly comparable to tennifer/melonite. My pistol shows no sign of rust and everything else around here rusts if not stored with a coat of oil. He charges ~$125 (If I remember right) and has a lifetime recoat policy of $25 if you muck it up.
     
  23. DRYHUMOR

    DRYHUMOR Member

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    Have you considered getting one built, how you want it, for the most part?
     
  24. The Wiry Irishman

    The Wiry Irishman Member

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    Don't forget about about SVI. My SVI makes my Les Baer seem like a Phillipino gun.
     
  25. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed Member

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    Tennifer, melonite, atranite, hard hat are all the same finish but it's not really a finish, more of a treatment. More specific it's salt bath nitriding and has been used in other industries for a very long time.
     
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