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Are they necessary, probably not. Are they beautiful, accurate, well fitted, & a real pride to own? Yes. I also think a nice old military 1911 is beautiful to own. I also think a current production 1911, particularly a Colt, is beautiful also. I don't own a custom, but have shot several. I can be content with a nice commercial 1911. If someone wants one & can afford it, I say get one.
 

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IMO, its just a matter of preference and whether or not you want to spend the money on a “high end” 1911. I have two Springfield Elite models, an Operator and a Compact (bought a few months apart) because that’s what I could afford at the time. Guess what? Both ran flawlessly out of the box. The only thing I’ve done was replace most of the MIM parts for quality tool steel stuff. The slide to frame fit on both is tight and for me they’re pretty damn accurate. Like others here, I’m not a bullseye shooter so I don’t need them to shoot 1” at 25yds. I switch between the two for my EDC. Also, to echo DSK, if I had the money to spend on a semi-custom/custom I’d rather get a vintage USGI 1911 instead.
 

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I think the rule of diminishing returns comes into play here. Is there a big difference between a RIA and a Wilson, of course. Is there a big difference between a D.W. and a Wilson, not really. How about a Kimber Gold Match and a D.W. PM9, very little difference, I own both. Pride of ownership is the main reason most people buy the high dollar 1911s and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, some of those guns are actually art. My ceiling is D.W., anything nicer I don't need .
 

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Are They Truly Necessary? Maybe, maybe not, but honestly, it's not up to anyone to decide except the owner and his or her opinion.

Having some knowledge of the 1911 and how they were designed to work, I have a deep appreciation of the craftsmanship that is required for a true custom.
 
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Sometimes you get what you pay for. I am sure that the $3500-$5000 1911 has much better parts than the $600 one and will shoot better and last longer. However how much better than the $1500-$2000 1911 is it? Just like the folks who want the Lexus over the Toyota. You get a fancier car but they are really the same. To step away from 1911's a minute which I am a big fan of and shoot the best I am also a H&K fan. I recently bought a CZ TSO at more than twice the price of my H&K's. I would like to say the CZ is no better than my H&K's but it is worth the money. The trigger is superb, the fit is fantastic, and as for accuracy I did not know I was this good of a shot.
 

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Speaking of high end 1911's, has anyone signed up for the Cabot Guns gun of the month for next year? For $6000 up front and $6000 a month for all of 2021 you get a new gun each month!
 

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Truly necessary...... very little in life is truly necessary but for most folks the list of wants is long.

Will a bone stock Colt or Springer go bang every time out of the box & hit the target accurately... maybe. I’ve had bad experiences with Springfields out of the box. My old S70 colts always worked but the old GI sights never did for me, the triggers on some were ok & on others just horrendous!

Are Baer’s & Wilson’s better out of the box? Yes without question. Are they the end all be all, no. A good semi custom is a big step up over a production gun in fit, feel, reliability & accuracy. To be honest I don’t even buy production guns except as base guns & frankly I prefer to start with a Baer or Wilson as there is less for the smith to fix.

My carry guns were built by Jardine & Rogers - necessary? In the eye of the beholder but fir me after thousands of rounds in all sorts of conditions/ environments without any hiccups I know that I can rely on them which is truly necessary.

If you have the chance to pick up and fire a stock Colt, Baer & a gun built by a top tier smith side by side then you can answer for yourself what is / isn’t necessary & you can both see & feel where that extra money goes & what it produces.


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I'm tight on 1911s. Sure don't need any more. That's not a guarantee that there won't be any more however.

Every so often I read of others and their custom 1911 guns and feel a slight twinge of inclination to start down that path of 1911 ownership. There are already too many competing collecting tangents clamoring for for my time and funds so I've held off so far.
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What is the appeal of the custom, high dollar 1911? What can it really accomplish that good ol' factory Colt Government Models, the best of the 1911 clones, or the military contract pistols cannot do? I'm inquiring from a state of extreme ignorance, but I do want to know if I'm really missing out on something.
So far I’d probably only be considered as having a toe in the water: my non-production 1911 / 2011 pistols were priced in between production and the strictly custom makers’ pistols. So with that disclaimer, here’s my take:

Each of these pistols has a specific purpose not readily fulfilled by a production pistol.

One is a “race gun”, ordered when I was, effectively every month, winning my division in my local club; ready to try running with the big dogs. The division I’d been winning had strict equipment limits. So I ordered this “open gun”, suitable to playing in the open division. Poor timing ... after I’d shot it in one match, 20% reduction in my time! ... my doctors pretty much thought and had me thinking that I was dying [faster than normal] ... certainly was sick and not the drive to continue competing (now much better).

The other two are .40S&W / 10mm convertibles; intended as a sidearm while hunting. A configuration that I really like in Glock ... 10mm, add a .40S&W barrel and recoil spring; boom! done. But a configuration that I haven’t seen as a production m1911 - if there is such, confident on this forum of being corrected ...
;- j
With having read a series of positive reviews for DW custom pistols posted here on 1911forum, I saved up and ordered one in commander-size. Really like it! But almost immediately wished I’d ordered a government-size. Uhhh ... after receiving a pretty hefty year-end (‘19) bonus at work, did so. This:
 

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I guess I'd agree with the idea that a Ferrari, a Panerai watch, or an Oxxford suit are not necessary...but highly desirable. I've also owned 1911 for more than forty years. Some are still factory original (S&W1911, Dan Wesson CCO, Les Baer's) except for grips. Some were worked on by the Colt Custom Shop and Robar (miss that outfit). But I think my favorite is a 1991A1 worked on by Robar with a reliability job and Roguard coating. Certainly not my fanciest and I wouldn't call it custom, but customized. To each his own. There's a place for just about everything in this world. The 1911 can be enjoyed in its many forms and variations, factory stock or custom. My take is enjoy as many as you wish.

 

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You can go your entire life shooting the cheapest guns you can get and never know what a custom gun really is and be happy as a pig in zhit.
I can also go my entire life not letting people guilt trip me with threads like this.
 

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Quality is never a bad thing. And "guilt" is self imposed.

The word "Necessary" was in the original question.
The question is whether the extra expense involved in customs is necessary - which it is not. A good running $1000 1911 in proper tune will win a fight (if in good hands) the same as a $3000 Wilson will. Both work - because they are actually the same tool. Once basic reliability and function is in place, the rest is icing. A Chevy Suburban and a Cadillac Escallade are NOT really different trucks, at all.
Some people like icing on their cake. Some people want more icing than cake - and if you can afford it, well, at least until November 3, (fingers crossed) it's still a Free Country - enjoy what pleases you! I read something about that "Pursuit of Happiness" stuff somewhere.....
My hat is off to those that can, on a whim, send a new gun off for $1-2000 rework - at my current stage of life that is no longer a reasonable expenditure of funds. The incremental gain isn't quite enough - for Me. What I have, works - and I am happy to have it.
But it would be a dull world if we all liked the exact same thing! CC
 

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Quality is never a bad thing. And "guilt" is self imposed.

The word "Necessary" was in the original question.
The question is whether the extra expense involved in customs is necessary - which it is not. A good running $1000 1911 in proper tune will win a fight (if in good hands) the same as a $3000 Wilson will. Both work - because they are actually the same tool. Once basic reliability and function is in place, the rest is icing. A Chevy Suburban and a Cadillac Escallade are NOT really different trucks, at all.
Some people like icing on their cake. Some people want more icing than cake - and if you can afford it, well, at least until November 3, (fingers crossed) it's still a Free Country - enjoy what pleases you! I read something about that "Pursuit of Happiness" stuff somewhere.....
My hat is off to those that can, on a whim, send a new gun off for $1-2000 rework - at my current stage of life that is no longer a reasonable expenditure of funds. The incremental gain isn't quite enough - for Me. What I have, works - and I am happy to have it.
But it would be a dull world if we all liked the exact same thing! CC
I agree wholeheartedly! I still have a few Kimbers (most of my original 8 are in my sibling's hands and work flawlessly), that were well under $1k, and will win a fight in competent hands - that is the key for ALL of them no matter what strata of cost they come from. Like you said, they are the same tool. Long ago (anyone remember?) there were anti-gun laws proposed that dealt with "Saturday Night Specials"; there was no clear definition of that (intentionally methinks) primarily aimed at the low-cost guns that only the less fortunate in fiscal opportunity could afford - still their right to self-defense should not have been on the chopping block.

I agree that it would indeed be a dull world if we all liked the same thing - this, and many gun forums for discussing different tastes and desires, would not exist. We would all have nothing to talk about. Talk about dull!

Great post CC!
 
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I should go find my previous post from years ago. But, I will say again - until you own one, you will never "get it."

No, it's not "Necessary" to spend that much money to get a functioning 1911. But, you DO get something for your money. It is interesting when I see people with a Rock Island Armory or somewhat low end 1911, comparing their gun to a Nighthawk, Ed Brown, etc... There really is no comparison. Not sure why people who have the less expensive 1911s have to cut down the expensive ones to feel good about their purchase. You typically do not see the reverse, unless someone specifically asked for an opinion
Agreed. Reverse/inverse snobbery is much more prevalent than regular snobbery on almost every gun forum I frequent.
 

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Agreed. Reverse/inverse snobbery is much more prevalent than regular snobbery on almost every gun forum I frequent.
To me it is just the opposite on this forum especially. It is pretty sad that people are that way. Human nature I guess.
 

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You can fully get by with something like a Box stock Colt or Springfield.
I came to the conclusion a few years back the sweet spot in a carry 1911 is around $1800 to $2000.
So if you had a Colt or Springfield and carried it for a few years and then wanted to send it to Nighthawk and have a few upgrades done, You would be in that price range.
Another way is I recently picked up a used Nighthawk, the previous owner probably shot it a few times and it spent most of it's life in a safe.
A good clean up and a fresh spring pak and I pretty much had a like new Nighthawk that would sell for $3300 or $3400 for $2400.
So there are two ways to get to a good custom carry gun and not spend a whole lot.
 

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Most cottage industries, be it guns, cars, watches, whatever, are usually based on wants, not needs.

The customer wants the best parts available. The customer wants a skilled set of hands building it. The customer wants features that are functional and are aesthetically pleasing.

Not many people need these things. Because they want it, someone does it.

Not everyone can appreciate a product that has more time just fitting one part to it that it takes a company to assemble one gun. I could build a gun at Sig Sauer in 6 minutes. I could build 10 Sig Sauer 1911’s just in the time it takes for me to fit an ejector to one of my guns as an example.

I want my ejectors to fill in all the gaps on the back but I also want the ejector nose to sit as close to the stripper rail as possible for great ejection. Function and form. Would a drop in ejector work? Yes. Does my way look nicer and probably perform better? Yes. Do people want this? Yes.

Wants, not necessarily needs drive the custom market.
 

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Some of these statements remind me of when you have a couple of 1st graders going back and forth about whether "My dad can whip your dad." If you want a custom gun then buy one. It is just BS to say that the fact that it's "custom" from Wilson, Baer, Brown or someone else, makes it better than every other factory 1911 out there. Better than some? Yes. Better than all? NO! Besides, no matter what 1911 or 1911's you own, if you like it and the gun makes you happy, that is what matters and not what someone else thinks.
 
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