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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been wanting to get a higher end 1911 and am curious as to opinions on which has the best reputation. I am looking at Les Baer, Ed Brown, Wilson, and Nighthawk. Do any of these stand out about the others, for build quality, customer service and overall feel? Thanks for any help.
 

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Don't forget Springfield Custom Shop. I am very happy with the two Professionals that I own. The Custom Carry may be an option and built to your specs.
It may be a longer wait than the others,but they have great products and service. Wilson also has some of the best 1911s and service.
 

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Don't forget Fusion Arms. While they haven't been around has long as the others, there product looks as good as the others. The reports on their guns are stellar.
 

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Isn't asking this question like asking which female to marry? Or man if you are a female.

I have been thinking this one through for a long time. I have the $$ in the bank but keep wondering is company X better???

Let's not forget that there are some custom builders out there who will build what you want or take an existing gun and make it what you consider "perfect". I found a person and I have been just checking around to see if that smith is the person I want to build the gun. I also probably will be sending an older used Colt I have off to get refreshed and upgraded. That gun will most likely go to Springfield.
 

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Well, I am definitely not one of the more experienced here, but I will chime in anyway! All of those have outstanding reputations. If at all possible, go put your hands on each one and see how they feel to you. I just bought a Wilson. A store I used to do some part-timing at had a Brown, Nighthawk, and Wilson on the shelf. Something about the Wilson just felt better in my palm. The trigger felt much better to me, also. And just about everyone who has had to deal with Wilson's customer service says they are second to none. That being said, one of the others may feel better to you. It's going to be hard to go wrong with any of them.


To some other folks: This person's thread isn't a place to have your pissing match.
 

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To some other folks: This person's thread isn't a place to have your pissing match.[/QUOTE]

My apologies to the original poster.
 

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I removed the garbage you two just left in this thread. Let's try it again and help the original poster, without the attitude.
 

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I have been wanting to get a higher end 1911 and am curious as to opinions on which has the best reputation. I am looking at Les Baer, Ed Brown, Wilson, and Nighthawk. Do any of these stand out about the others, for build quality, customer service and overall feel? Thanks for any help.
You listed off four fine makers with very good reputations. I have handled guns by all of them and owned a WILSON CQB. But I would also say, check out FUSION. Great bang for the buck and making a fine name for themselves in the market.

Whatever you end up with. Enjoy that 1911.

Be safe, shoot well. :rock:
 

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Here's what I would do as I own high end 1911s and have some experience with them..

Find a clean unmodified Colt Gold Cup or Combat Commander. Your choice... Send it to Wilson Combat (my choice) or to any number of great custom gunsmiths.. Put $1000 into the gun in mods... In the end you will have a HIGH END custom that you made YOURS....

Here's my example.

 

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Frank V. has a good idea. Not a bad way to go. I have used a couple of the brands you mentioned. I bought a Wilson CQB and have no regrets. It feels perfect in the hand, and shoots better than it should. I am seriously considering ordering a Wilson Supergrade to exactly my specs. All that being said, I would be happy with a firearm from any of the semi-cistoms, or high end product from some like SA, Kimber, or DW.

But the best advice was offered up earlier...handle them all, and shoot them if you can, and buy what works best for you. Whatever way you decide, you will have made the right choice.
 

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Any top shelf semi custom will be great. Its splitting hairs and personal preference. Try to browse as many photos or handle as many as you can. Decide what you like and what you don't. Let that start narrowing your list. Write these things you want and don't want down and do a comparison. At the end of the day you might buy a cheap 1911 and send it in to be customized if you can't find a "perfect $2k pistol."
 

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Those are all good and you should just find the one you want among them. I'd also look at Colt's custom work, like the Special Combat Government. Having a local, talented gunsmith build your own custom on Caspian or similar parts is also a route you could take. Not liking the "semi custom" maker offerings like you listed, that was the route I took and am very happy that I got more quality and finish for my dollar.
 

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If you want to limit the spending to, say, under $1500, take a good look at Dan Wesson.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
If I were to go with getting a base model pistol then and get it modified, what modifications should I get. Also which models make good starting points? I have a SW1911 stainless and a Kimber Classic Gold Match, would either of these work or is a Colt Series 70/80 the way to go? My budget is around $2k
 

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If I were to go with getting a base model pistol then and get it modified, what modifications should I get. Also which models make good starting points? I have a SW1911 stainless and a Kimber Classic Gold Match, would either of these work or is a Colt Series 70/80 the way to go? My budget is around $2k
If it were me, I would opt for a Colt Series 70 as the base model.

As for the modifications, that is where it gets personal. Some of the mods that I think are a good start are a reliability package, a good trigger job, and good visible sights. If it is to be carried, I like a de-horn job as well. I have rather large hands and my stock Colts often gave me hammer-bite so I like a good beavertail in combo with a commander style hammer. After that, the sky is the limit and it comes down to personal taste and ergonomics.
 

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If I were to go with getting a base model pistol then and get it modified,
Well, this route is frequently more expensive than just shopping for the gun you want, or ordering a "semi custom" that way. Between the Colt Custom Shop, springfield, and the semi-custom makers, you can spec what you want and have them do it at bench rates you will be hard pressed to find from a very competent gunsmith.

Everything beyond barrel/bushing/frame fit and the trigger job is candy. The basic design of 1911 works. What type of sights, hammer, trigger, MSH, slide stop and thumb saftey you get is really down to taste. None make a dramatic change in the function of the pistol and have their performance pluses and minuses, as well as aesthetics.

I have gone the completely custom route on three guns, and many other production guns with incremental mods as you described. I can get just as much shooting satisfaction out of one of my bone-stock (original) Series '70 guns as out of the high-dollar custom ones. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to have any specific modification or accessory - it's all really taste and unless you know why you are spending money on something, it may well not be worth it. Try to find a post from moderator dsk and read his signature line.
 

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I have been wanting to get a higher end 1911 and am curious as to opinions on which has the best reputation. I am looking at Les Baer, Ed Brown, Wilson, and Nighthawk. Do any of these stand out about the others, for build quality, customer service and overall feel? Thanks for any help.

Springfield PRO- great gun and customer service. Possible long wait time to get the gun.
Wilson CQB- great gun and customer service
Ed Brown- great guns
Les Baer- great guns

Personal experience with EB and LB is that they make comperably (sp?) good guns with the biggest difference being athestics. Their Customer Service is not at the level of Wilson, but that's not really a big deal, as they both know how to make guns and will in the end back their product if need be. Just might need to pound salt for a while to get them to listen.

All the above are nice guns and you would be well served to buy from any one of the companies. In the end, pick the one with the look and features you want, the company -for the most part- being a moot point.
 

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Kolhoznik, I don't have experience will all the pistols you listed in your original post, but noodle around on this board and you will find many, many positive comments on each production shop.

But before you make your decision, get your hands on a Wilson. If you are like me, you will compare everything else against the Wilson trigger. They are just unbelievable.

You can find a great gun already to go for around $2K by any of these makers. Here is my own experience:

Years ago I bought a base Series 80 Colt and got a full-house treatment by a well-respected smith shop. The gun cost me about $800 and I put another $2500 into it. It is a simply gorgeous gun. I wish I could tell you how it shoots, but I have never fired this beauty. I just couldn't bring myself to do it and this reluctance has only deepened over time. Yes, I am nuts, I freely admit.

I recently got a nice Colt XSE LtCdr and again went the customization route. I paid $900 for the gun and another $1800 for a well-respected smith house to work it up. It is a beautiful carry piece that shoots perfectly. I love it.

About a decade ago, I was in a sweet little gun shop where I put in an order for a Wilson CQB Compact, which dinged me for $1800. It is a great carry gun and shoots very, very nicely. I never felt a need to do a single thing to the gun. It is perfect for me.

After placing my order for the CQB/C, I was grazing the used gun case and spotted another Wilson. It was a 5" Millenium - sort of a base Wilson no longer offered - which was used. The gun had about 100 rounds through it and the original owner complained about untimely wear of the protective coating on the gun. It had been sent back to Wilson's for re-treatment but the owner was still unhappy with it, so there it was for a consignment sale. I snapped it up for $900. I never saw the wear the original owner complained about. It too has that sweet Wilson trigger and shoots like a dream. I have never had a single modification made to this gun and don't feel the need to.

So there you have my own experiences. I like to get some base models and work them up, but I also like to get the semi-customs and just leave them alone. I actually spend less money on the semi-customs than the base guns that I have further work on. I am thrilled with each and every one of these guns (along with some others :biglaugh:) and wouldn't dream of getting rid of any of them.

As others have mentioned, the 1911 quest is highly personal. I have also found it to be an absolute blast. It is not cheap, and I will always have a thirst for "just one more gun", but in the end it is highly satisfying.
 

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If I were to go with getting a base model pistol then and get it modified, what modifications should I get. Also which models make good starting points? I have a SW1911 stainless and a Kimber Classic Gold Match, would either of these work or is a Colt Series 70/80 the way to go? My budget is around $2k
Base Gold Cup or Gold Cup Commander.
Wilson fitted match barrel and bushing.
Wilson Hardcore fire components and trigger job to 3 pounds
Wilson Hardcore beavertail blended to frame
Gold Bead Front sight with dovetail cut in.
Refinish of slide and frame
Extended Mag release
Extended Thumb safety
EGW small radius firing pin stop
Two Piece guide rod.

If you find the base gun on gunbroker for $800 or so your DREAM custom pistol won't top out over $2000

Here's mine..

 
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