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Are high end 1911s worth the money?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by epijunkie67, Oct 9, 2012.

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  1. epijunkie67

    epijunkie67 Member

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    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.
     
  2. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    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.
     
  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    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.
     
  4. Oldnoob

    Oldnoob Member

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  5. atblis

    atblis Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  6. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    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.
     
  7. jim243

    jim243 Member

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    A personal opinion, yes they are.

    Jim

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    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.
     
  9. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    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.
     
  10. 340PD

    340PD Member

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    Depends how much you lust.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    Or this:

    [​IMG]

    and this:

    [​IMG]

    for about the same price as the above.

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

    tuj Member

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    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.
     
  13. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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


    Great Idea...

    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.
     
  14. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Thats not a high end 1911.

    This is a high end 1911!

    [​IMG]

    rc
     
  15. tuj

    tuj Member

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    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.
     
  16. plexreticle

    plexreticle Member

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    Low budget or not, I've never seen a firearm go down in value long term unless it has been misused and abused.
     
  17. bdejong11129

    bdejong11129 Member

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    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...
     
  18. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    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.
     
  19. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    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
     
  20. Tophernj

    Tophernj Member

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    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
     
  21. Tophatter

    Tophatter Member

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    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.
     
  22. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    Are Ferrari's or Lamborgheni's worth the money?
     
  23. 76shuvlinoff

    76shuvlinoff Member

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    Do you have money? Then probably yes.
    Are you maybe less funded? Then not so much.

    ....and possibly bitter about it? Then hell no!!
     
  24. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

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    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.
     
  25. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    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.
     
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