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NeilM
04-27-2012, 8:26 AM
Hi guys. I'm in the market for a custom 1911.

Wanted to get everyone's opinion on their fav custom 1911 handguns.

Baer, Wilson, Ed Brown, Nighthawk, etc.

Use is for home protection and target/range shooting.

Budget is $1700 - $2200.

Many thanks in advance.

9mmepiphany
04-27-2012, 8:53 AM
You can't get a custom 1911 in that price range...custom guns usually run $4k+

The manufacturers you've named offer high end production guns that are available for about that.

In the high end production range, it becomes a matter of which you like the look or features of best. I think the Springfield Armory Professional is a great value in this range at about $2500.

I think the Best Buy in this range would be the Dan Wesson Valor (if you want to go SSE) or a Dan Wesson CBOB and use the extra funds to add any features you'd like. What you are giving up over your named makes is name and final finish

Chumpmenudo
04-27-2012, 9:20 AM
I bought a Dan Wesson PM7 last year, and quite like it. I got it gently used for much less than retail, but even full retail is cheaper than your price target, and its a very well made gun that shoots beautifully.

Best,

Chumpmenudo

NeilM
04-27-2012, 9:20 AM
many thanks 9mm. Much appreciated. This is the type of feedback I'm looking for.

230grjhp
04-27-2012, 9:22 AM
At your price point you can get a very good used gun from any of those brands you mentioned. Or you can shop around for a brand new Springfield loaded and send it to Springfield's Custom Shop to get the stuff you want done to it. I did it to my Springfield 1911 Loaded Target and came back just as good as my Wilson Combat Protector, in my opinion. My total investment $925 (gun plus shipping and DROS) for the gun plus $1,155 for the work done by SACS (SA Magwell blended to the frame, action job with tool steel sear and hammer set at 4 lbs, full internal deburr, front night sights, match barrel and bushing, tighten slide to frame, fully prepped extractor).

Rivers
04-27-2012, 9:43 AM
Or look at Springfield's TRP (http://www.springfield-armory.com/armory.php?version=27). These are built in the USA. About $1550-1600 retail if you can find one. I bought one last month and can attest to very nice build quality. Very tight, accurate out of the box, etc. Trigger seems around 5#, hopefully that will lighten up with some more shooting. If not, that's easy enough to tune for personal tastes.

tacticalcity
04-27-2012, 9:48 AM
Ignore 'em man. Have to hassle everybody over semantics.

You asked about 1911s between $1700 - $2200 range. The brands you mentioned are all great. It is a question of finding one you like and that meets your needs for the budget.

People are going to tell you their Springfield, or Kimber or whatever is the way to go. But in my opinion, you are better off with a Wilson Combat, Nighthawk, Ed Brown or Les Baer. I'm sure the other guns are nice and wonderful. But the brands you asked about are the way to go.

Moto4Fun
04-27-2012, 9:49 AM
In the price range you are talking about, I wouldn't consider a Springfield. Not that they don't make nice pistols, but you are in a price range where you can have something from one of the "gurus". Personally I would be shopping for a Nighthawk or a Wilson, pre-owned. That might blow all of your budget, but you shouldn't have to do any modification. If you want something that you can hand pick the components, then by all means, by a SA Loaded and send it off to the custom shop, but in the end you would just have a really nicely customized Springfield Loaded.

NeilM
04-27-2012, 9:53 AM
great input guys! Many thanks again.

skosh69
04-27-2012, 9:53 AM
For your price range, I haven't seen any "new" Nighthawks, Ed Browns or Wilson's, but you can get the Les Baer or Dan Wesson new for that price.

Bottom line, I like your style, go for the best you can get or go home!

Canyon Sports in Martinez has a few Wilson's and Nighthawks if you want to check them out.

keenkeen
04-27-2012, 10:08 AM
In the price range you are talking about, I wouldn't consider a Springfield. Not that they don't make nice pistols, but you are in a price range where you can have something from one of the "gurus". Personally I would be shopping for a Nighthawk or a Wilson, pre-owned. That might blow all of your budget, but you shouldn't have to do any modification. If you want something that you can hand pick the components, then by all means, by a SA Loaded and send it off to the custom shop, but in the end you would just have a really nicely customized Springfield Loaded.

I tend to agree with this approach, I would however suggest starting with an SA GI or Mil Spec as the base gun if you are having much work done. That way you are not paying for upgraded parts that you going to change anyway.

As an example here is what just under $3k will get you in work from the SACS:

List of parts fitted (Non SA parts supplied by customer NOT SACS):
-Wilson Bullet Proof extractor (2, one a spare)
-Wilson Bullet Proof grip safety
-Wilson grip bushings and screws
-EGW thumb safety
-EGW bar stock plunger tube
-EGW melt barrel bushing and plug
-EGW flat trigger with solid fit overtravel stop (no screw)
-EGW firing pin stop (2, one a spare)
-EGW hardcore slide stop (2, one a spare)
-10-8 u notch rear sight
-10-8 mag catch/release
-same match barrel as the Professional model
-same ignition components as the Professional model
-Ed Brown barstock firing pin
-Gold bead front sight
-Nighthawk black g-10 golfball grips

Labor done:
-front strap given "golfball" treatment
-Professional magwell fitted and blended with guns magwell (added an internal lanyard loop and "golfball" treatment to match the front strap)
-extreme carry bevel
-tighten slide to frame fit
-french border (breaks up the rounded, ball bearing look of the gun)
-ball cut slide
-flush cut barrel crown (17 degree)
-entire gun Ionbond DLC coated

So add to that the cost of the non-SA parts and the original base 1911 (GI or Mil Spec) and you are around $4k plus or minus.

Start with a SS gun and you can know the Ionbond costs off of the labor (a big chunk)

Freq18Hz
04-27-2012, 5:40 PM
You can't get a custom 1911 in that price range...custom guns usually run $4k+

The manufacturers you've named offer high end production guns that are available for about that.

In the high end production range, it becomes a matter of which you like the look or features of best. I think the Springfield Armory Professional is a great value in this range at about $2500.

I think the Best Buy in this range would be the Dan Wesson Valor (if you want to go SSE) or a Dan Wesson CBOB and use the extra funds to add any features you'd like. What you are giving up over your named makes is name and final finish

This is 100% incorrect.

You can definitely get a custom 1911 for that price.

-Freq

Arkangel
04-27-2012, 8:39 PM
Nighthawk or Wilson

My dream duty 1911 is a GRP recon, one day....

Gress
04-27-2012, 8:44 PM
This is 100% incorrect.

You can definitely get a custom 1911 for that price.

-Freq

It all depends on what you call a custom.

Q619
04-27-2012, 9:23 PM
I tend to agree with this approach, I would however suggest starting with an SA GI or Mil Spec as the base gun if you are having much work done. That way you are not paying for upgraded parts that you going to change anyway.

As an example here is what just under $3k will get you in work from the SACS:

List of parts fitted (Non SA parts supplied by customer NOT SACS):
-Wilson Bullet Proof extractor (2, one a spare)
-Wilson Bullet Proof grip safety
-Wilson grip bushings and screws
-EGW thumb safety
-EGW bar stock plunger tube
-EGW melt barrel bushing and plug
-EGW flat trigger with solid fit overtravel stop (no screw)
-EGW firing pin stop (2, one a spare)
-EGW hardcore slide stop (2, one a spare)
-10-8 u notch rear sight
-10-8 mag catch/release
-same match barrel as the Professional model
-same ignition components as the Professional model
-Ed Brown barstock firing pin
-Gold bead front sight
-Nighthawk black g-10 golfball grips

Labor done:
-front strap given "golfball" treatment
-Professional magwell fitted and blended with guns magwell (added an internal lanyard loop and "golfball" treatment to match the front strap)
-extreme carry bevel
-tighten slide to frame fit
-french border (breaks up the rounded, ball bearing look of the gun)
-ball cut slide
-flush cut barrel crown (17 degree)
-entire gun Ionbond DLC coated

So add to that the cost of the non-SA parts and the original base 1911 (GI or Mil Spec) and you are around $4k plus or minus.

Start with a SS gun and you can know the Ionbond costs off of the labor (a big chunk)

The custom shop did all that but the grips :p they told me to source my own. Funny since they did everything else I asked for. How's the gun serving you?

OP: I have/had a gun from each of the semi custom 1911 mfgr's out there (excepting NH) and can honestly say that out of them all, the greatest bang for the buck so far has been with the Ed Brown SF. I believe I paid $2100 for mine. Worth every penny IMO. It was $450 cheaper than my Wilson CQB and matches up to it very well in every respect. The only thing superior in the Wilson is that I believe they have the best extractors out there but everything else is equal: fit/finish/quality/materials/performance. Brown will have a few more cast parts on the gun than Wilson (though not on the brand new examples which are all bar stock parts) but they're all of the highest quality and are parts which are used by some of the greatest 1911 smiths out there so it goes without saying that they're top notch.

Another worth looking at is the Springfield Pro. It's a very nice gun but will have either a premium price attached to it in many cases or is something that you'll have to order in advance and wait on for quite a while. Mine ended up taking somewhere around 18 weeks.

keenkeen
04-27-2012, 9:54 PM
The custom shop did all that but the grips :p they told me to source my own. Funny since they did everything else I asked for. How's the gun serving you?
OP: I have/had a gun from each of the semi custom 1911 mfgr's out there (excepting NH) and can honestly say that out of them all, the greatest bang for the buck so far has been with the Ed Brown SF. I believe I paid $2100 for mine. Worth every penny IMO. It was $450 cheaper than my Wilson CQB and matches up to it very well in every respect. The only thing superior in the Wilson is that I believe they have the best extractors out there but everything else is equal: fit/finish/quality/materials/performance. Brown will have a few more cast parts on the gun than Wilson (though not on the brand new examples which are all bar stock parts) but they're all of the highest quality and are parts which are used by some of the greatest 1911 smiths out there so it goes without saying that they're top notch.

Another worth looking at is the Springfield Pro. It's a very nice gun but will have either a premium price attached to it in many cases or is something that you'll have to order in advance and wait on for quite a while. Mine ended up taking somewhere around 18 weeks.

It's been great...don't get to shoot it as much as I would like but it's still at/near the top of the rotation.

jcaoloveshine
04-27-2012, 10:00 PM
Les Baer is best bang for buck under $2000 for semicustoms.

Base accuracy of 10 shots into 3" at 50 yards. Add $300 and it shrinks to half.

Why get a factory 1911 when you can get a semicustom in the same price range? What's cool is that Les answers calls to, got to talk to him myself when I needed to replace a tritium insert.

Of course, SA Operators are great guns too. I just feel like Baers are better buys for the price.

I've seen used GRP Recons go for $2200 as well. Just gotta hunt around.

gatesbox
04-27-2012, 10:09 PM
Les Baer is best bang for buck....

Base accuracy of 10 shots into 3" at 50 yards. Add $300 and it shrinks to half.

3" groups of 10 at 50 YARDS????? Add $300 and you get 3MOA from an iron site 1911???

I must go shooting with you sometime master Yoda...Seriously

Cyc Wid It
04-27-2012, 10:25 PM
CJ's got a sale on now for 1.5" guarantee Baers... would fit nicely in your $1550-$2250 range depending on what you want. He's good on shipping to CA too.

NorCal Einstein
04-27-2012, 10:28 PM
I just got a price quote on new Les Baer 1911s and for right around $2,000 you can have a in-stock Custom Carry with 1.5" guarantee or order and wait for a Thunder Ranch Special with 1.5" guarantee (cash price). Don't know what other Baers are in your price range, these are just the 2 models I'm personally looking at.

As with the other high-end manufactures, you're getting a hand fitted gun and Baer guns are extremely tight fitting guns from the factory. I have yet to find a Baer owner here or 1911forum who doesn't like their Baer. I've read too many posts where these 1911 high end hoarders say their Baer is the favorite in their collection, and one of the better values. It's for this reason I'm pretty much set on a Baer.

Now that isn't saying manufactures like Wilson Combat, Ed Brown, Nighthawk and the Springfield Professional don't make awesome pieces as well. Some of these are just in the next rung up the price ladder.

What I'd like to know from the guys recommending you buy a cheap production gun and send it into the custom shop: If someone has $2,000 to spend at once, what is the benefit of buying a cheap gun and sending it into a custom shop to get it on par with the offerings from the higher end manufactures? I see this method would work if someone just didn't have all the money to drop at once, so they complete their 1911 in "steps", but I don't understand the rational behind buying something and then sending it straight back to get a end product on the same level as guns from say Wilson, Ed Brown, Nighthawk, even Baer. I'll probably catch flack for this, but I'm genuinely curious here...

jcaoloveshine
04-27-2012, 10:29 PM
3" groups of 10 at 50 YARDS????? Add $300 and you get 3MOA from an iron site 1911???

I must go shooting with you sometime master Yoda...Seriously

You mean Master Les? I can't shoot even close to my gun's potential, but he ransom rests them and each one he makes has to shoot 10 shots into 3" at 50 yards, and that's MAXIMUM.

The 1.5" guns are even more accurate, no idea how he does it.

Of course, Wilsons are 1.5" at 25 yds guaranteed and the NHs come with targets with dime sized groups at 15 yards, so I'm sure the gun will outshoot the owner 99% of the time unless you're some crazy bullseye competitor.

NorCal Einstein
04-27-2012, 10:31 PM
3" groups of 10 at 50 YARDS????? Add $300 and you get 3MOA from an iron site 1911???

I must go shooting with you sometime master Yoda...Seriously

Les Baer will guarantee their guns for 3" at 50 yard or 1.5" at 50. The gun is able to achieve that kind of accuracy, the shooter is a different story. I believe you get the test fire target from Baer when your gun gets delivered in the famous plain brown box.

Cyc Wid It
04-27-2012, 10:37 PM
I just got a price quote on new Les Baer 1911s and for right around $2,000 you can have a in-stock Custom Carry with 1.5" guarantee or order and wait for a Thunder Ranch Special with 1.5" guarantee (cash price). Don't know what other Baers are in your price range, these are just the 2 models I'm personally looking at.

As with the other high-end manufactures, you're getting a hand fitted gun and Baer guns are extremely tight fitting guns from the factory. I have yet to find a Baer owner here or 1911forum who doesn't like their Baer. I've read too many posts where these 1911 high end hoarders say their Baer is the favorite in their collection, and one of the better values. It's for this reason I'm pretty much set on a Baer.

Now that isn't saying manufactures like Wilson Combat, Ed Brown, Nighthawk and the Springfield Professional don't make awesome pieces as well. Some of these are just in the next rung up the price ladder.

What I'd like to know from the guys recommending you buy a cheap production gun and send it into the custom shop: If someone has $2,000 to spend at once, what is the benefit of buying a cheap gun and sending it into a custom shop to get it on par with the offerings from the higher end manufactures? I see this method would work if someone just didn't have all the money to drop at once, so they complete their 1911 in "steps", but I don't understand the rational behind buying something and then sending it straight back to get a end product on the same level as guns from say Wilson, Ed Brown, Nighthawk, even Baer. I'll probably catch flack for this, but I'm genuinely curious here...

A fully built custom gun from the right smith is on a completely other level... even compared to a Wilson Combat supergrade. For example:

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/19092010/16541150001.jpg

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/19092010/12363770381.jpg

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/19092010/13005358581.jpg

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/19092010/13005358682.jpg

http://www.louderthanwords.us/mediumfoto/picts/ulfls/19092010/11550085193.jpg

Diminishing returns? Probably, but they hold their value.

SiegeX
04-27-2012, 10:51 PM
I just DROS'd a SS Dan Wesson Valor and it was the best $1300 I could have spent on a 1911.

Q619
04-28-2012, 3:47 AM
It's been great...don't get to shoot it as much as I would like but it's still at/near the top of the rotation.

Good to hear! That's one hell of a gun!

KandyRedCoi
04-28-2012, 5:39 AM
brand preference aside if its for HD/SD get one with a rail.

ap3572001
04-28-2012, 7:40 AM
Hi guys. I'm in the market for a custom 1911.

Wanted to get everyone's opinion on their fav custom 1911 handguns.

Baer, Wilson, Ed Brown, Nighthawk, etc.

Use is for home protection and target/range shooting.

Budget is $1700 - $2200.

Many thanks in advance.

Budget 1700-2200.00

Home protection and target shooting.

Here is what I would do (and did few times)

Get a clean , series 70 used FULL size Colt .

Send it to Novaks or Cylinder and Slide. Get decent ADJUSTABLE sights, trigger job, Bar Sto barrel, buy few Wilson SEVEN round magazines and You are good to go.

kongvu
04-28-2012, 7:43 AM
Cyc Wid It....

Who built that? Love the checkering/serrations on top of the slide. Unique! Yes full customs are on another level. Most of the time I think we should just tell them the basic overall look you want but let them give it their own unique flavor cuz I can't even think up some of the things they come up with.

I like the simple but elegant look of yours.

Cyc Wid It
04-28-2012, 2:02 PM
Cyc Wid It....

Who built that? Love the checkering/serrations on top of the slide. Unique! Yes full customs are on another level. Most of the time I think we should just tell them the basic overall look you want but let them give it their own unique flavor cuz I can't even think up some of the things they come up with.

I like the simple but elegant look of yours.

Not mine, but it has always caught my eye. That was a collaboration gun by CT Brian and David Erickson.

L84CABO
04-28-2012, 2:10 PM
Hi guys. I'm in the market for a custom 1911.

Wanted to get everyone's opinion on their fav custom 1911 handguns.

Baer, Wilson, Ed Brown, Nighthawk, etc.

Use is for home protection and target/range shooting.

Budget is $1700 - $2200.

Many thanks in advance.

Those aren't really custom makers. They're realy semi-custom. Which isn't to say they don't make fine products. Wilson, for example, will build a gun with the features you want...or don't, but only within the bounds of the parts they offer...which is their parts. If you wanted to use a non Wilson barrel or a trigger other than Wilson's, you probably won't be able to get it.

And again, this doesn't mean they don't make fine products. You still get a hand assembled, hand fit pistol by outstanding craftsman. How good those craftsman are is completely subjective. And some offer different levels of this craftsmanship such as the Wilson Super Grade line.

A true custom gun, however, is probably going to run more in the $4K - $5K range or more.

But back to your question, there are really no bad choices in the makers you've listed. And you'll probably be happy with any of them. Spend your time trying to understand the difference in build philosophies between them. And see if you can rent any of them. Some ranges do have them in their rental case. Also spend some time researching the customer service reputation behind these mfgs.

Or you can just save yourself a lot of time and buy a Wilson :D Sorry, couldn't resist. I think their wait time right now is up to a year or year and a half. Might be a factor in your decision making.

Good luck!

NiteQwill
04-28-2012, 2:28 PM
Among semi-customs.

You can't go wrong with Baer (TRS or CC), Wilson (Supergrade or CQB), or Ed Brown (Kobra of SF).

The best value would be Baer, hands down.

For the amount spent on SSE a Duty Black DW Valor, you'd save money by getting a Les Baer.

DW's otherwise are GREAT guns for the value (if you can find one decently priced).

Otherwise, I'm a custom, no frills guy. My 1911s have been built using SA carbon steel frames, the rest tossed in the trash (or sold) and sent off to the SA Custom Shop, O'hara, and Severns.