Quantcast

Custom Built 1911s. Who builds the Best?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Michael A Ferber, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Michael A Ferber

    Michael A Ferber Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    235
    Les Baer, Nighthawk, Ed Brown, Wilson Combat? An interesting question with, I'm guessing no right answers. Hopefully an interesting conversation! :)
     
    Jinx0760 and Beach Bum like this.
  2. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    15,048
    Location:
    Happy Valley, UT
    Many people would argue that none of the ones you list are true customs. I'm not touching this one...
     
  3. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2018
    Messages:
    1,409
    None of the above.
     
    CoalTrain49 likes this.
  4. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,396
    Yeah, I agree that the listed builders are not really true custom. Having said that, I will tell you I shot an Ed brown the other day and was totally sold. That trigger was incredibly fine, like nothing at all except that it breaks. Makes me wonder whether just getting his parts and having them installed in my cheapie 1911 could yield anything similar.
     
    qwert65 likes this.
  5. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    6,966
    I suspect that would have much more to do with the skill and approach of the person doing the installing than the parts.
     
    Mn Fats, bds, bk42261 and 3 others like this.
  6. rpenmanparker

    rpenmanparker Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2018
    Messages:
    2,396
    Yes, I tend to agree.
     
  7. rskent

    rskent Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,336
    Location:
    The land of blue sky and sunshine
    OK, then who? The guys listed may not be true custom guns. But off the top of my head I can’t think of any better. And didn’t they all start out by making custom guns?
     
    TreeTopFlier and Mn Fats like this.
  8. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    6,966
    Depends on what you're looking for. If you don't care about concealment and care even less about traditional looks, the practical gamer-oriented makers that seem to be at the top of the heap right now include Shay Akai, Matt Cheely, and Adam Nilson (Atlas Gunworks). But each of them kind of have their own style.
     
  9. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    9,330
    Location:
    The Land that Time Forgot
    That actually made me LOL.

    This is like the thread a little while ago asking about top end guns, but a price limit of $2000 was set and none of the listed guns were actually top end.

    They all make very nice guns though from what I hear. I own none of them so I won't even offer an opinion.
     
  10. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,658
    I haven’t felt any slicker than SVI’s offerings. They cost more than the ones you listed but I didn’t see a budget, just “best”. Every part of their pistols except for springs are machined from billet and it’s hard to describe how smooth they are.
     
    ArchAngelCD, Walkalong and ATLDave like this.
  11. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,411
    Location:
    MINNESOTA
    I don't know who builds the best, but I was bitterly disappointed with my Baer P2.

    I had been shown one of the older Baers built in Illinois before they moved to Iowa. Beautiful gun, nicest 1911 I had seen to that point.

    So I saved up and ordered a Baer P2 in 38 Super, around $1900 at the time. It came from the new factory in Iowa.

    The blueing was so thin it wore through around the grip within 2 weeks.

    The extractor hole in the slide was ovaled out by the drilling process, from my machinist training it looked like they used an off center bit and/or an excessive feed rate (drilling speed). You could wiggle the extractor hook and see the back end move back and forth. That also left a huge burr at the breach face that reduced reliability. I removed that myself, but it should have been found at the factory. It was obvious.

    The front sight was cockeyed, you could see the right side of the blade from the rear of the gun. Of course it was blind pinned in place, so no way to replace it without a trip to the factory. The rear sight blade was poorly molded (yes molded). The top corners of the notch were rounded instead of square, and not the same on the left as the right. Pretty obvious the sights were some poorly made MIM crap.

    It was accurate, well fitted and had a good trigger, but the corners they cut with the finish, the drilling, the sights left me very disappointed.

    I'll never spend that much on a pistol again. I was more satisfied with my $850 Colt Super.
     
    Michael A Ferber likes this.
  12. Michael A Ferber

    Michael A Ferber Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    235
    Thank you for your response, very informative!
     
  13. tark

    tark Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,693
    Location:
    atkinson, ill
    I'm not goin' anywhere near this....I'm not exactly unbiased......
     
    Beach Bum, Old Dog, WC145 and 3 others like this.
  14. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,411
    Location:
    MINNESOTA
    To be fair, my Baer was fitted better than any gun I've ever owned. Slide to frame was perfect, it had obviously been fitted/lapped. Barrel/bushing to slide, again perfect.
    I think the move to the new plant forced them into some cost savings measures.
    It was also ~ 10 years ago, so maybe things have improved.

    Can't believe everyone is so afraid to voice an opinion on what they like, or don't.

    If you've spent that much money on a gun, you should tell the OP about your experiences instead of worrying about ruffling a few feathers.
     
    vba likes this.
  15. tarosean

    tarosean Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    6,364
    Location:
    TX
    Well if I won the lotto.

    The likes of

    Jeremy Ried
    Ct Brian
    Stan Chen
    Ted Yost
    Lou Biondo
    Chuck Rogers
    Chris James
    Joe Chambers
    Brandan Bunker
    John Jardine
    Jason Burton

    Would likely make me go broke quickly.
     
    WC145, wahsben, Buzznrose and 6 others like this.
  16. drk1

    drk1 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
    Messages:
    123
    There is a "right" answer - Cabot. But Cabot's guns are not "custom". They don't start with something else and try to tinker with it to make it better. They just make the best.
     
    Beach Bum likes this.
  17. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    24,995
    All I have is an elderly Pachmayr, a discontinued STI, and some solid guns from a local shop.

    Of the name brand small manufacturers I have seen, a Nighthawk was the slickest, but I know a shooter who has one good one and one dud.
    Wilsons I have seen were sound and consistent. Especially the Colt, a beauty and a hundred yard .45.
    A Baer in town is not great, but I don't think it is getting the ammo it needs.

    The only SVI I have seen and shot was very fine, a true custom a step ahead of the boutique companies.

    I have been impressed with what I have READ of Accuracy X.

    I've seen a lot of glorious pictures from Tarosean's list but never on the range.
     
  18. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    21,132
    Location:
    northern california
    The first two names that come to mind are Ned Christensen and Stan Chen
     
  19. WVsig

    WVsig Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,021
    henrylaugh.jpg

    There is no right answer. The whole point of a real custom gun is the bespoke nature of the build. It is picking the right smith for you, to do the work for you based on you. The prefect custom for me is not the prefect custom for you. Also use comes into play. What is the intended purpose for the gun. Form should follow function on a truly custom build. A perfect bullseye pistol is not the same a gun game race gun or a concealed carry piece. The only perfect custom is the one you want and you build IMHO.
     
    qwert65 likes this.
  20. tarosean

    tarosean Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    6,364
    Location:
    TX
    Thats it in a nutshell.

    Sure you can spec a gun out with a couple of the ones listed but its not quite the same thing.

    Ol Les make you sign a non disclosure agreement? :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  21. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Messages:
    3,944
  22. tarosean

    tarosean Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    6,364
    Location:
    TX
    :what: They had to acquire a real gunsmith just to get them to run instead of look pretty.
     
  23. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    25,131
    Location:
    Northeast PA, USA
    Still no answer on which semi-custom maker to buy from.
     
  24. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    24,995
    The answer is all of them. Seems like lots of people have assortments of expensive pistols.
    Unless you are one of those guys who posts "I am getting my first Brand X." He has his mind made up.
     
  25. JDR

    JDR Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Messages:
    1,232
    I’ve had the chance to shoot a bullseye gun that had been built by Evolution Gun Works, back when they still built comp guns. This was a Colt Series 80 frame & slide and everything else on it was custom fitted & non OEM Colt. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the fact that the owner wouldn’t sell it to me. To this day I think it’s probably the best shooting pistol I’ve ever shot. It wasn’t the prettiest thing to look at but in the hands of a good shooter to do it justice it could darn sure shoot dime groups at 25 yrs.

    To me the best custom built 1911’s are built by the pistolsmiths who may not necessarily be well known by collectors or speculators. These craftsmen earn their reps by word of mouth by building fantastic guns for comp shooters who already are great shooters, but are just that much slightly better with a gun that is set up tweaked & tuned for the guy shooting it.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice