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Tiers of Quality

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Pukindog12, Mar 5, 2013.

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  1. Pukindog12

    Pukindog12 Member

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    Tiers of Quality

    When I hear or read of gun manufacturers of semi-autos in my mind I automatically lump them (maybe foolishly) into a group quality wise. I don't consider this gun snobbery as all funtioning, reliable, and safe guns is better that a stick. But, OTOH, some guns are better quality wise than others. Here is what I consider the best on down.

    1st tier:
    Walther
    H & K
    Beretta
    Sig
    CZ
    Browning

    2nd tier:
    S & W (if revolvers were included this would jump one tier)
    Ruger
    Kahr
    Bersa
    Stoeger
    Glock
    Springfield
    Makarov
    Canik
    Colt
    Caracal
    FN Herstal
    Sarsilmaz
    Grand Power
    Boberg
    Girsan
    Kimber
    Magnum Research
    BUL
    Rohrbaugh
    STI
    Steyr

    3rd tier:
    Star
    Astra
    Tanfoglio
    Arcus
    Daewoo

    4th tier:
    Kel Tec
    SCCY
    Hi Point
    Diamondback
    Taurus
    Rock Island

    5th tier:
    Jennings
    Lorcin
    Davis
    Jimenez

    These are just the ones off the top of my head. I am sure I forgot some. And in my limited experience I've shot/handled about half the list which makes this list somewhat speculative. But one can get a decent idea about quality by reading or talking to people provided the sources are numerous. I am sure people will aggressively disagree with me and so be it. But this is how they stack up quality wise in my feeble little mind of which is subject to change.

    How do they stack up in your lists?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Well, this is likely to end in a flame fest.

    I sure would stack them differently. Very differently. (None of Tier 1 would be in Tier 1, for example.) Not much point in writing that all out though -- it's all too subjective. Even "quality" is so subjective as to be of very limited value as a descriptor.

    Just line them up by cost. That's at least something fairly concrete to hang your hat on. You'll get no consensus on any of the rest of it.
     
  3. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    I agree with Sam, particularly on rating by cost. Alternately, if doing levels like the OP, I would only have three tiers.

    The first tier would include everything from "semi custom" 1911s like Ed Brown, Les Baer, and Dan Wesson, on through Glock, Ruger, Springfield, SIG, CZ, S&W, etc.

    The second tier would include KelTec, Kahr, Bersa, RIA, Taurus, and the like. I wouldn't even bother with anything in this tier - not because they're all completely worthless, but because there are so many affordable guns of superb quality in the first tier.

    Third tier would be guns I wouldn't recommend to anyone unless they were looking for a novelty paperweight. Everything in your tier 5, plus many from 2, 3, and 4.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  4. NWcityguy2

    NWcityguy2 Member

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    The first irony is that Browning is above FN Herstal.
     
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Stoeger, Bersa, Colt, Rorbaugh, STI, and Sarsilmaz don't belong in the same group together? Say it ain't so! :eek:


    ;)
     
  6. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    Sam hit it on the head...and Bobson elaborated on it a bit.
     
  7. Pukindog12

    Pukindog12 Member

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    Yep. I sure brainfarted on that one. :eek:

    Like I stated "in my feeble little mind"! :p
     
  8. bds

    bds Member

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    < Getting a big bag of popcorn >

    I think this thread is gonna get interesting :D
     
  9. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    Me too. I certainly wouldn't put an STI Edge, Eagle, Grandmaster ... never mind.
     
  10. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Member

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    I'm curious -- what was the RATIONALE behind the original list? And, the definition of quality needs some 'splaining.

    It doesn't seem based on experience with or ownership of the guns so ranked. I've probably owned guns from a least half of the gun makers listed, and clearly have a different appreciation of what's good and what's important.

    Some of the gun makers cited aren't gun makers but importers, and quality there varies over the years. (Gun Test Magazine used to downgrade guns if they weren't beautifully finished internally, even though some of the areas cited had nothing to do with the gun's functionality. I gave up on that magazine years ago.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  11. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

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    You really have to qualify what "quality" means to you.

    I'd put Glock into the higher tier 1. Sure my G23 feels terrible, but it's a gun, not a sofa. And it is one of my most reliable, fastest, and accurate pistols. (Custom sights) For whatever reason, the compact Glocks (G23,G19) and fullsize Target Glocks (G34, G35, G21 longslide) work so darn well for me that they get bumped to a higher grade. No matter how much I hate it, if my G23 is hitting a Gatoraide bottle at 30yards as well as my custom $2k+ 1911's, that's a good, good feeling.

    I thought Tiers were an obsolete term because everyone has a different idea of "quality". Collector quality differs greatly from a soldiers type of quality. "Look it's pretty" vs. "I'm alive, they're not." Anytime I shoot a IDPA course better with my G23 than my 1911, I notice. Gun could be a complete junk pile, but if it's winning trophys........

    My take (I'm only going to list pistols I often recommend):

    Tier 0:
    Ed Brown
    Wilson
    Dan Wesson

    Tier 1:
    Colt
    Glock
    Walther
    H&K P7, P9

    Tier 2:
    S&W M&P
    Kahr
    Springfield
    Ruger
    H&K USP
    Sig (old models)

    Tier 3:
    Cheaper 1911's: Kimber, Springfield, Rock, Rem, SIG, STI Spartan etc. etc.
    Beretta
    Sig (late models)


    Anything less, Tier 4, isn't worth mentioning IMO.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  12. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    That is the major flaw in the list...that you would try to rank any gun you haven't personally shot, much less handled. Ideally you would have shot the gun in excess of 500 rounds to form an opinion.

    It is pretty funny that you would rank a Browning and FN differently..and also to have the Rock Island 2 tiers too low

    Of the ones you have in tier one, the only one that might belong would be the H&K...and that is just based on function as opposed to price
     
  13. ku4hx

    ku4hx Member

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    Impossible to assess the list without understanding you objective acceptance criteria for each tier. I own a number in several of your chosen examples: Browning, Ruger, Glock and etc.

    What I've decided over the years is that if you shoot them all, they'll all eventually end up in the same functional tier. The ones that immediately shoot well seem to stay that way and those that don't are worked on in various fashions to achieve fully functional status.

    Then there are the "show pieces" ... the collectibles. These few are to look at only.

    With that in mind, my guns fall into only two tiers: the shooters and the lookers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  14. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    After looking at the "Tiers" I'm too confused as to even venture into the rationale behind those rankings. I just know what I like in terms of the quality I have experienced with different manufacturers, as well as their price point, and pretty much go with that as my measure of quality.
     
  15. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    S&W, Glock, Colt, Makarov and Kimber need to be oved up to 1st teir, CZ down to 2nd teir.

    That would leave Ruger, CZ, Springfield, Bersa and FN in the 2nd teir, everything else drops down. Anything below 2nd teir doesn't matter.
     
  16. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    It's just a gut feel list. Some input from owning some and mostly from reading the internets. Most gun owners I've encountered have a list in their own mind. Maybe these gun owners would never write it down in such a manner, but we all have our own experience and bias. It's the OP's opinion as he clearly states. My "list" is different, but neither would be wrong nor worth arguing about.

    I do agree "gun manufacturers" is a misnomer. Maybe separate lists for designers and manufacturers. Importers change so much, a list of those guys is kinda nutty. :D
     
  17. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    I'm surprised jmr40 let CZ stay as high as tier 2.

    The entire exercise is subjective. While there's no doubt a Les Baer or Wilson Combat 1911 is a very fine firearm, many of us would rather own a much less expensive gun and a very reliable 15-tr-old pickup truck than a single handgun for the price of both.
     
  18. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    I try to keep life much more simple than this. While you do USUALLY get what you pay for, it certainly isn't guaranteed. I tend to file them into two columns: "IS" likely to do the job I need it to, or "IS NOT". I really think that this kind of ranking is overthinking it.
     
  19. RBid

    RBid Member

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    Being wired to value practicality above all else, I think ku4hx nailed it. If a firearm is functional and accurate enough to allow a shooter to do what he needs to do, then I don't care if it's a Bersa or a Nighthawk.

    I can and do appreciate fine craftsmanship, but fit & finish mean jack & squat if it doesn't run.
     
  20. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    I think people forget there can be various models within each manufacture's line. The higher end CZ pistols have won several World IPSC Championships and they are very popular.
     
  21. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay Member

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    lists such as this partly fall apart when one factors in that quality often changes over time; as machines are used too long quality may suffer during that time period...or a 'new' model is rolled out with some flaws and the entire brand is percieved in a poor light.

    but we mostly agree on the very top and the very bottom tiers.
     
  22. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Not a guy whose life was saved by the Jiminez he was carrying.
     
  23. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Ok but....even the guy who successfully used the Jiminez to save his life, do you think he was saying; "Yep. They laughed at me, a cheap gun is all you need."?

    Because if it was ME, I would be thinking; "I was a fool for getting a cheap gun assuming I would never need to use it, and if this ever happens again, I will want something a LOT more effective and reliable." But what the heck do I know?
     
  24. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    The Jiminex guy goes out and gets himself a Glock?

    mlj, I agree with you. He thanks his lucky stars the thing fired, then he rethinks his strategy. But I bet he never sells that Jiminez.
     
  25. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    He can make a lucky medallion out of it. :D
     
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