|02-27-2004, 07:21 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2002
custom 1911 vs. top of the line limited production
This thread is directed towards the guys who have a stable of limited production guns, and how many have substantiated to add a custom to their line up. I currently own 2 Wilson's (Compact CQB, and Classic), and they are awesome guns. If you do have a custom how did you justify the expenditure and wait? The custom 1911 market is pretty incredible, and there is alot to learn, in addition to the logistic challenge of not only choosing a custom smith, but the wait involved to get it in your hand. All involved who have indulged in the custom market have stated the wait is worth it, and I am sure they are right.
It's like this, Ed Brown's Classic Custom when it comes the fit, finish, and features is as close to a custom a limited production gun can get (in my opinion). The Wilson Super Grade also closes the gap, but in both of these scenarios there still is a gap.
I have an itch to add another 1911 to my line up as all of us probably deal with in one way or another. By the looks of seveal threads I have read, I am not the only one who truly appreciates the 1911 as several of you really have an inventory of guns you own.
In conclusion, this thread is about the top of the line "Limited Production" vs a "True Custom", and how you decide which way to go. I know it's a personal decision based on several factors, but wanted to put this thread out to see how anybody else has dealt with this decision.
Please feel free to add any other pertinent feedback on any other manufacturer you think is worthy for discussion as I know Wilson and Ed Brown are not the only ones producing "quality" 1911's.
Thanks again, and I really enjoy this forum.
|02-27-2004, 04:52 PM||#2|
Join Date: Mar 2001
I am running short on time this evening, but wanted to answer...quickly.
I believe my Jardine / Valtro is as nice a semi-custom as can be had. Reliable (totally), tight, solid as a rock, very accurate. Have owned a couple of the pistols you mention and they were great guns. John's well, it is just better for me.
Full custom? Have several. What immediately pops to mind is one from Dane. It is akin to comparing a super sweet 911 to a built 911. Both are terrific, both are fast, both will get you into mucho trouble The built car though......well, it is just *right*. Faster, handles better, etc. It is turning a solid 8 into a 9.5-10 if done right. Same with the custom I have from Dane. It feels like he took a mold of my hand and poured a pistol into it. Bring it up and it is right on.
Pretty vague, eh? Sorry about that. It is hard for me to articulate. Look, if you just want a gun that is dirt simple and reliable? Glocks, Sigs, etc., have that nailed---and I really like those pistols. But in the hands of a 'smith that cares, pistols almost come to life....
|02-27-2004, 06:34 PM||#3|
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Tucson, AZ
I look at it this way: A handgun is a tool.....However, there
are different quality levels of tools. One you buy in the
bargain bin at the grocery store for $1.50, you probably won't
be too satisfied with it's performance. The next you pick up
at your local department store, not much better even if it
does come with a warranty. Then you step up to Sears,
figuring this will be a good purchase, it does everything you needed, and probably will for your lifetime. And then there
is tool Mecca.....Grandpa, the tool and die makers' toolbox!
Now here is a product that has already lasted his lifetime,
your sire's lifetime, will last your lifetime and most assuredly
your children's lifetime if not longer, and will work every single
time, very well (even if it didn't have a warranty).
Thanks for reading my rambling.... 8)
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|02-28-2004, 03:35 PM||#4|
Join Date: Jun 2002
I'm sure some people will disagree with me on this, but I really think that the practical differences between a high end semi-custom pistol and a true one-off full custom is very slight. The full blown custom gun can obviously be built to your exact specifications where as with a semi-custom you might have to live with a feature you didn't particularly want or do without one you did want. The full custom pistol might be a bit smoother due to more time spent on hand fitting. The custom gun might be a little better in the cosmetics department, with more time spent of the final finish.
I think a big part of owning a full custom gun is simply the pride of ownership, having a one on one relationship with the pistolsmith, knowing you have something exclusive that not many other people have. But it's probably not going to shoot any better or last any longer than the semi-custom gun.
So how do you decide? That's an individual decision. If you have the money, the patience, and a love of fine things, then you're a good candidate for a full custom 1911.
|03-05-2004, 03:22 AM||#5|
Join Date: Dec 2001
I would have to agree with harrydog that the differences between a semi-custom and a full custom gun are going to be very slight. In terms of accuracy there probably isn't going to be that much difference either. Meaning if someone was to shoot a semi custom gun and then shoot a custom gun, the custom gun isn't going to make that person a more accurate shooter. Yes things such as a better trigger may help a little but it will not correct bad form. I guess my point is that I see it as a status symbol with guns that people purchase. Like the difference between a Lexus and a Volkswagen. Both are great cars but one car will not make a person a better driver. I prefer the more practical approach and purchase a good production gun and use the money saved to buy ammo.
|03-05-2004, 08:04 AM||#6|
Join Date: Feb 2003
I agree with Harrydog. I've have/had both full blown custom and high end limted production. I could not find a difference in quality. I was fortunate that the items I wanted on my pistols were exactly the same as offered by the high end limited production. So I bought two...
|03-05-2004, 08:14 AM||#7|
Fact is, the guns that are being described here I would assume are Brown, Wilson, Valtro, etc....NIB examples of all of these makers cost more or at least cost as much as buying a custom gun.
Making the comparison between custom and semi custom with the analogy of Lexus vs. Volkswagen is less than interesting. By the way a full house custom gun will make 99% of the people a better shooter right out of the gates.
Unless you own several of have handled several examples of the guns built by the smiths, shot them, and or carried them I think it is nearly impossible to compare a Valtro with a full house gun built by ANY of the smiths here, or any good smith who is making a living at it. To say you might have to deal with a feature you didn't want is certainly "settling" if you are paying 2500.00 for a semi-custom gun. If they only had a lime green Volkswagen left when you went to go buy your car, would you buy it becuase you didn't want to wait, and it a a few nice features? JMO
|03-05-2004, 09:25 AM||#8|
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Issaquah, WA
For the vast majority of 1911 shooters a high end production 1911, like the Brown, Kimber, LB or Wilson will be more than enough gun. The reality of 1911s will tell you that 99% of what a 1911 will ever be required to do can be done with a GI example from Springfield or Colt.
An educated comparison between a production gun from any maker and a full custom gun from any of the better makers today will highlight the differences very quickly.
You might be unable or unwilling to acknowledge those differences for whatever reason but they are there, none the less.
At some point most balk at the money charged for a custom gun. Hard for me to justify a $4000 1911 in my own mind. I can't justify a $7000 1911 no matter who built it. I know what it takes time wise to build an exceptional 1911. That doesn't keep people from buying $7000 1911s. But then $3000 is more like the number we are talking with the production guns mentioned. $3000 will get you an exceptional blaster from any of the reputable custom makers.
High end 1911s are first and formost want items, not need items. In times past a Rolex was a need item as a durable and reliable watch if your life depended on the correct time. In a similar time frame a custom 1911 from the likes of Colt or any of the early makers up to Swenson were also need items if you were forced to rely on your 1911 for personal defense.
Times have changed. A Casio G shock will do many things to include keeping reliable time all for less than $50. A Kimber classic will out shoot and handle, any factory custom Colt ever made until recently.
The problem with forums is....well...... the answers. ops:
Everyone has an opinion. How that opinion is formed is always the question.
Here is a little look inside the custom smith industry. A few years ago most everyone (builders and buyers) said Kimber products would end the custom smith industry. I laughted and started rebuilding Kimber guns. Later on so did everyone else working. I suspect there are more smiths in the business today than there were 10 years ago and I know any one that is good at building a decent 1911 is a lot busier.
So if the custom guns aren't any better than the off the shelf Wilson or Brown why are custom smiths so busy? Let me answer tthat for you? The guns...done correctly are easy to improve upon. That includes a Colt, a Kimber, a Wilson, a LB or Brown.
The only real way to answer this question for yourself is by seeing and being able to handle several custom 1911s from the better makers. But for the knowledgable eye it is a quick answer.
But you seem to have already answered the question
|03-05-2004, 08:00 PM||#9|
Join Date: Dec 2001
A fully customized gun will not make anyone a better shooter. What does is practice and more practice. Just like any other tool the tool is only as good as the person wielding it. I don't see any need to give anyone a recommendation to purchase a custom gun. Of course, it's probably a status symbol to have one but nothing more. I stand by my analogy of the automobiles. A more expensive car doesn't make you a better driver and neither does a more expensive gun make you a better pistoleer.
|03-05-2004, 08:42 PM||#10|
Join Date: Sep 2001
There are details in custom guns will never be found in anything that can be bought off the shelf. If these details matter to you, then you may want to look into a custom gun. If you could care less about the details, then a custom gun will be harder to justify.
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