1911Forum banner

New Elite Professional - (PART II) Novel sized Review, Comments, Critique, Service

7611 Views 45 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  Pup


Okay, maybe I'm getting a bit picky here but the depression for the center punch is slightly off center. While this photo is taken with a macro lens, I can assure you that this caught my naked eye almost immediately. I work with 4x loupes when working on teeth but this just sticks out with just a glance.


***right side***

***left side***

As you can see, if you follow the bevel from the frontstrap to the MSH/backstrap, the bevel becomes irregular on the right side; the left side shows even execution all the way through. Sure, some may say just get a speed chute and forget about it.....but for me, it's like leaving chipped ceramic on a crown b/c it's in an area no one (including the patient) can't see.


This photo shows the bottom part of the checkering on the front of the trigger guard. It extends down almost exactly to the mid-point of the arc between the front and underside of the guard. The vertical 'peaks' are just a bit off level - this takes a bit closer inspection to reveal to the eye. At first I was hoping that they could 'frame' or 'border' the bottom part with a defined horizontal cut but guess that only looks good with a 'squared' trigger guard.

Anyone out there have photos of checkering on the front of their trigger guards? I'd like to see how WC terminated the lower border on other models. Nevertheless, the checkering looks very 'cool' and I guess I really can't complain.


***view from bottom***

***view from right***

***view from left***

If I weren't a dentist who by training looks for contours, symmetry, and paralellism, this may have escaped my eyes. Looking at the first photo (view from underside of guard), you can see that some more 'rounding' is required on the pistol's right corner (left side of photo). This is verified by looking at the side views where the 'view from right' shows a very small excess of metal.


I sent Matt a file prepared with these photos and a written description of what I saw. He 'saw' what I was 'seeing' and forwarded the file to the shop forman. The response from the forman was "from his point this gun is acceptable;that it is a handbuilt weapon and irregularities should be expected." Matt also said that the Super Grades do get more finishing labor on those points, hence the price. He was sincere in expressing his discomfort with my dissatisfaction with some of the finish points but did say that "you won't see that stuff in a production gun cause that is machinery at work; not human hands."

I can probably swallow that bitter pill for the checkering job, and be okay with the MSH pin as a new one could be made (with the depression centered), and the dehorning improved at a later date if and when I need to send it back for some other service. The magwell bevel is still a confusion for me; their catalog states that their frames 'in the white' come with the magazine well beveled so I assume that this is something done by machine during the CNC milling work and I let them know that this could be a computer programming issue, but shouldn't this have been caught or seen during hand finishing? I did happen to look at a used consignment Wilson Protector at my range and its mag well bevel was perfect. Dunno but beyond some of the little extra tweaks a supergrade gets, shouldn't some of these issues have been recognized and corrected during production? In the least, the MSH pin and well bevel should be perfect on a gun of this price point or any other price point they offer.

Based on their first response, I feel like I have to live with this as according to them, my firearm is 'acceptable'. Like I said, I'm keeping the gun, it shoot better than anything I own (maybe on par with my HK mark23), sits on my hip like an appendage, and is so darn easy to shoot! But what bothers me is that there was no offer on their part to address any of these issues, lumping their response into a generic 'acceptable'. Doctors often say 'within normal limits'. I never say that to my patients nor expect that on a firearm of this price and reputation.

I did respond by suggesting some re-treatment, including re-coating the areas that need polish work but haven't heard from them since I sent my reply on Friday afternoon. Matt is darn fast with his replies so I should hear back from them on Monday.

If you made it this far through my review, I thank you for taking the time to read and listen to my comments. Like I said, I love this gun to death and it ain't going anywhere. Like Charleton Heston said, " You can have my gun when you pry it from my warm, living hands"

God Bless and Good Night.

See less See more
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Interesting information. Thanks for posting it. Wilson should know that guys like me that are in the market for a nice 1911 are reading your post. I am having second thoughs on getting a Wilson pistol now.

I had a Springfield Trophy Match that was a real nice gun. Maybe it did not shoot like a Wilson but some of details that you did not like on you Wilson were not present on my gun. I did have a difficult time with the engraving on the slide of my gun. The lettering was not even, meaning that some of the letters were deeper then the others. I just could not get used to that, looked like crap in my opinion and since I did not shoot it that much, I sold it.

I think if you spend the big bucks on quality you should get quality and when you don't it spoils the deal.

Thanks for posting your findings.

Great eye for detail....if I lived in your area and needed dental work, you'd be my choice.

I'm currently saving for a Super Grade, but this has created some doubt regarding Wilson's quality...may look closer at Ed Brown and Baer's guns. If they were to take care of these issues my faith in their product could be restored.
I shot my first Bulleye match last Thursday and a lot of guys were singing the praises of Les Baer. I have been told that their Premier II is a great gun for that. I may just go that route instead.

You certainly have a keen eye for detail!!! Personally, I see the defects you have pointed out as very minor, hand made type artistic differences. The mag well issue is perhaps a functional problem though. Maybe if I had the gun in my own hands I would see it differently. It is difficult to get a feel with just the macro photo's.

The response that you got was very similar to the initial response that I got. Adequate... Not gonna fix it... I can understand Wilson's point of view for very minor cosmetic issues, though that should be disclosed by them as an addendum to their super duper guarantee of satisfaction. It seems that they (shop foreman) tend to be unwilling to accept an expensive "redo" for such cosmetic flaws.

That being said, I think that you should have certainly been told up front about the font issue. It is most likely that you have been given an excuse for their screw up, rather than the font change the result of policy. The off center punch pin can easily be swapped out. The artistic work I could live with, but that doesn't mean that your more discriminating eye has to. The mag well, if functions perfectly, again I could live with. But all these would still be a disappointment from such an expensive gun where you are obviously paying for these cosmetic enhancements. If the gun is totally functional, and shoots like its supposed to, I would be inclined to keep it. But that is my opinion. If you are not satisfied, I would hold Wilson to their "extremely satisfied" guarantee. That seems to be one of their main claims to superior product.

When I sent my Stealth in for a defect in the rail, they sent me a new gun after initially refusing based on a photo of the defect I sent to them. It took two trips back to the shop and some tweaking on my own to get the second gun to shoot right. To give you a 'heads up', I was chastised for airing the issue on this forum. Thats right. They didn't like it... After spending over 2K on a pistol, I was chastised for seeking other opinions on what I perceived to be not just a cosmetic defect, but one which would affect the function and longevity of the frame. I didn't like that. I'm professional like you, not a child. I don't think that individual is still with Wilson, but it still stings. I have heard that there were major changes at Wilson. It would be nice to know that their customer service is moving more toward what they claim it to be. Good luck!

See less See more
Hope they take care of this for you, this is Bill Wilson's words from their web site....


"When Wilson Combat® was started we had one basic philosophy, to satisfy the customer. Back then all this meant was be courteous and deliver a custom pistol on time that was ready to use out of the box. It seemed that everyone else shipped pistols that normally needed extensive break-in or tinkering before they ran reliably. So we decided this was what would set our product apart from the others. Every pistol was fully tested and sighted-in prior to shipment. In addition, should a problem arise and a pistol was returned for adjustment, I dropped what I was doing and repaired it immediately.

2005 begins our 27th year in the custom firearm business and 30th year in the gun industry, and guess what? This philosophy still guides Wilson Combat®. Customer service is still our #1 priority. Actually, we have made our service policy even stronger. The Customer Will Be EXTREMELY Satisfied! is our guiding force. Not just satisfied as in the past, but EXTREMELY Satisfied! What this means to all of us at Wilson Combat® is treating every customer as if we were the customer. We want you to be so satisfied with the product and service you receive that you will keep coming back year after year and tell all your friends what a positive experience it is dealing with Wilson Combat®. While you may be able to find a similar product a little cheaper, I assure you, you will not find one of better quality or with better service backing it up. We are constantly upgrading the quality and features of each item so we can give you the best possible product. This also applies to the service you receive from our Custom Shop. We are doing everything we can to shorten delivery times while increasing the quality of the work and service you receive."
See less See more
I'd be happy just to be able to see a misplaced center punch mark!

(I'd like to be a fly on the wall when you discuss your new vehicle with a dealer!)
Addendum; Elite Professional review, more photos

I will be the first one to admit I am not perfect in a profession where so many of my collegues profess that "their poop don't stink." I too have an unwritten patient satisfaction policy and make every attempt to address any concerns or criticisms - my practice can't be all things to all people but I can genuinely say that patients who leave for whatever reason, usually return because I go above and beyond expectations to make everyone happy. Unless the patient has no idea what end of a toothbrush to use, I never hold them accountable for failures. Redos are a part of dentistry (and in any other customer oriented business) and I plan for them in the structuring of fees so when a complication arises, I can solve the problem w/o getting involved in a discusion on who's fault it was, etc.

That being said, I hate to air 'dirty' laundry and was hoping that I could post a stellar review on my entire experience with Wilson's Combat on my purchase, giving them an opportunity to at least leave the door slightly open to some resolution. Their response that the the gun was 'acceptable' and the results to be 'expected' left me real upset this weekend and was literally a slamming of the door in my face. My original plan was to get these issues resolved and then write an entirely glowing review of my entire experience with them, with emphasis on the efforts they made to make things right.

Based on one of your replys, I hope Wilson's Combat does not find offense to my sharing of this experience with members of this forum. I hope they can appreciate the value of discussions like these and use it as an opportunity to bring their service to a level above and beyond others in the business - without question, they have the products and capablilty to produce some of the best 1911's.

Moving forward, some other little "things that make you go uhummm..."

<safety hole show-thru with safety engaged>

I checked through every photo I could find of any 1911 out there, thumbed through Wilson Combat's color catalog and this show through is apparent in about 50% of the guns I've seen. Granted, this is probably the smoothest 1911 thumb safety I've tried, some feel that this should not be visible in a custom gun.

<serrated (not checkered) magazine release button>

Let me first say that I actually don't mind this result; the serrating actually is consistent with serrations found on the gun's other manual controls (slide stop, ambi thumb safety, hammer spur) , and is parallel to the grip angle so it actually works well aesthetically. However, back to the QC issues, I checked every photo in the Wilson catalog, and checked thru various forums with Wilson's 1911's and they all have serrated mag release buttons, not serrated. Just wondering.

<finish wear/metal show thru - hammer relief cut in beavertail>

Now, regardless of the two schools of thought on wether the hammer spur should/or should not contact the relief in the beavertail during the rearward slide movement (see thread http://www.1911forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=111850), my concern is over the consistency of the application of the Armor Tuff finish.

I only fired a total of 400 rounds prior to taking this photo and surmise manual thumb cocking about 50 times in the course of dry firing. Inspection of the contact area between the front end of the slide and rear portion of the cone bushing shows absolutely no wear, and I can only assume the forces at lock-up/battery in this area after a round is fired is greater than forces imparted by the momentum of the hammer being 'cocked' and pushed back against spring tension and subsequent contact with the relief cut.

Again, I'm sure certain areas will wear over time as no finish is impervious to wear and abrasion, but find it odd that this became apparent only after 400 rounds of use.

To be told that my issues are 'acceptable' and are to be 'expected' makes me feel that results like these are the norm and that at least half the owners of a Wilson Combat 1911 will find these very similar problems. I can only conjecture a guess that if this were the case, they would not be in business today; therefore it follows that their response is an attempt not to deal with my problems for the time being. I can only hope they will stand by their 'customer will be extremely satisfied' policy.

Sorry for the long winded reply and thanks for listening.


See less See more
I, for one, would be interested if and when you can perform this sort of examination on a Richard Heinie Custom 1911; Heine being seen by more than a few to be the Dean of American Pistolsmiths.

There are others, of course, for one - Jim Garthwaite - but their wait list is frightfully long-and a Wilson is inexpensive by comparison to their fees.
I have almost the same mark on the hammer relief cutout. As far as I can see, my checkering is perfect, though I haven't examined it with a loupe!! The mag release is checkered and I can't see the hole when the safety is engaged. After 2100 rounds, the only wear that I see is a small patch of Armor Tuff wear on the underside of the trigger guard and the hammer cutout. The left side of the trigger shoe is slightly marred from wear, probably because it was loose in the track. I just fixed that by bending the trigger bow. It's not perfect, but way better. I may order the tool to fix that better. I might also polish out the side of the trigger, but for now it doesn't really bother me. Cosmetically, the gun is what it should be. Shoots straight, reliable (now), and I'm happy (now)...

If I were in your shoes, I might consider asking for a refund if they don't address your complaints. I know that would really suck after waiting and expecting a piece of artwork. Even fully functioning, you just might not ever be really satisfied, especially with what you paid for it. Its a tough decision... I didn't have that option since I bought it from a master dealer who didn't offer refunds. Wilson would only repair or in this case, replace the defective gun. One reason to buy direct I guess if you can deal with the wait!

See less See more
Update - Customer dissatisfaction unacceptable and Wilson Combat willing to evaluate

Spoke with Matt this morning and he sincerley recognized that my issues needed further attention - he already spoke with the powers to be prior to our conversation this morning and they are willing to do their best to address my specific concerns. Like I've stated previously, this gun is a keeper and it shoots VERY well. It even ate up 100 rounds of the old-style Federal Hydra Shoks without a burp or hiccup which Wilson Combat does not recommend due to the less than ideal bullet nose geometry (i.e. not rounded like the new)

...dead balls accurate

Therefore, while I am not completely happy with the military block font lettering and the front of triggar guard checkering, I am willing to accept those issues as this pistol shoots dead on. To request a entirely new gun with new checkering and Stealth (SDS) standard print lettering or even script would risk a barrel/slide/frame combination which produces a test target I could find fault with, when compared to this one. Furthermore, I don't think Wilson Combat would even consider making an entirely new setup for me.

....Then again, all their guns probably shoot like this...or better...anyway...

So, after another 200 - 300 more rounds of a break-in, dissasembly, cleaning and check of the internals, it's going back to Wilson Combat with a description of items to be addressed. New MSH pin (with punch depressions centered), refinement of mag well bevel, re-radiusing/dehorning of trigger guard/dust cover junction and subsequent re-coating including re-treatment of the beavertail GS.

The serrated mag release button will stay as is - it visually complements the serrations on the other manual controls like the slide stop and ambi thumb safety, and even the slide top serrations.

Inquiring if this was a QC issue, I was told that the serrated mag release buttons were in production now. As for the general QC issues I have with my weapon, I was told that they were likely attributed to the fact that my gun was one of the first few produced when they decided to offer the Elite Pro as an official model (Note, elite professionals have been available as a custom item prior to their decision to include it in their product line) and the 'bugs' had to be worked out in production. While I could argue that the quality and execution of MSH pins, magwell bevels, checkering, dehorning and coatings are independent of 1911 model within a product line, the important take home message is that they are willing to address some of these issues, responding in a manner that is congruent with their customer satisfaction policy.

I will certainly post an update in the near future and for those detractors who think I have been too critical in my manner and approach, especially with these macro photos, please understand that I am a person who would rather sing praise and compliments for a job well done in a manner that exceeds the depth and magnitude of what you have just experienced, with even larger photos.

I appreciate your interest and again, thank you for listening.

See less See more
Man, I think that was the most thorough review I ever read on a forum!
Slowhand said:
Man, I think that was the most thorough review I ever read on a forum!

And I thought I was picky about my 1911s... :)

You know, I have owned and still own quite a few Wilsons, but I've never even noticed that rollmark fonts were different on Supergrade and Stealth from all other models. I'll have to check when I get home tonight.

If I were you, I'd get on the waiting list of one (or several) of extremely talented pistolsmiths that post here regularly. Do it right now, because I have a feeling this may not be your last 1911, and going this route may be the only way to achive 100% perfection you expect of a high-end 1911.
Don't get me wrong, I love the 1911's Wilson can produce. My next item I will get from them will be the full-size Tactical Elite. I will inquire if they will do their supergrade finishing touches if I paid extra for it; it would be definitely worth it for me.

After having shot my WC ElitePro (only 400 rounds), handled and caressed it daily, evaluated the ergonomics, worn on the hip and enjoyed the simple lines on this pistol, I now understand the addiction many 1911 owners have which justifies owning so many. The variety of customization available out there just makes the choice more difficult and it looks like I'll have to add '1911' to my annual expense and budget sheet! The good news is that since most 1911's generally have the same lines, I can always tell my wife I just own one, but change the grips once in a while!!

Another station heard from.

Mainspring housing pins are screw machine parts, probably bought by the gross for even a small manufacturer like Wilson; not individually made for the gun like screws on a Purdey. But yours is more eccentric than any of the half dozen I picked up at random.

The irregularities of checkering are most likely due to uneveness of the raw frame. My local 'smith machine checkers frontstraps and curses the makers for sloppy contouring that makes extra work for him on every job. CNC machining is not a guarantee of absolute precision.

The uneven magazine well bevel appears to be due to an irregularity in the broaching of the magazine well. Note the vertical lines just where the right side bevel goes astray. See above.

The hammer's overtravel is stopped by contact with the grip safety. It comes back HARD when the slide recoils, not like racking by hand. A painted surface is not going to hold up well under impact, thus the exposed steel at the contact point, even though you do not see wear at rubbing contacts... yet.

The exposed hole under the thumb safety is part and parcel of the current fad for high hand hole beavertail grip safeties. If you put on a very high beavertail, you have to swamp out the back edges of the frame to blend the contours. Then you have to cut back the thumb safety plate so it doesn't overhang the edge of the frame. Then it uncovers the hole when the manual safety is engaged because the hole HAS to be RIGHT THERE and you have reduced the size of the safety back plate that would normally cover it. The only reason it doesn't show up on all guns is the variation from piece to piece and how heavy the man blending it all in gets on the grinder. That isn't a CNC job.

Look through some American Handgunner magazines. You will see similar cosmetic flaws from every maker and customizer in the business in Ichirio Nagata's centerfold photos.
See less See more
I just gotta print this thread out! This one is a keeper! :)
Extremely well-written, comprehensive, and supported with clear photos. Bravo!

There are many schools of thought here, and as always, there is a direct relationship between price point and the level of perfection. This is not a full-house custom piece (nor are any of my Wilsons), but one still has a right to expect a certain amount of refinement when spending this much money.

Wilson's is in the business of building accurate and reliable working guns, and IMO they have few peers in this respect. I'm not, by extension, convinced that their $3k/$4k class guns are a solid value when you consider that variations like these are far too common, and worse, they don't seem to understand the problem. Well, gents, the problem is that we are spending $3,000+ and we expect a slightly higher degree of refinement. This isn't a Wal-Mart grade pistol, and we don't expect Wal-Mart grade quality control.

I remain a strong advocate for Wilson's -- and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend 95% of their products -- but let's face it: the $2,000 class pistols are really the "sweet spot" in their lineup. Once you start talking about dropping that extra grand or more, you should probably be talking to an individual pistolsmith, and not a semi-custom shop.

Either way, the Pro Elite looks fantastic -- even makes me wonder about my SDS. :)

See less See more
Good, fast, cheap-pick any two.

PS-you will be sorry you ordered trigger guard checkering in the long run.
Wow, I guess there IS something to be said for middle age and eyes that can't read anymore without help!!! My Wilsons feel so good and shoot so well that I'm afraid to look closely to see if mine have the same imperfections. I don't want the spell broken! :)
I have to add my "wow" to that review, very thorough! Like Aleko, I too thought I was picky!

I have a CQB and a Protector, both hammers and beavertails show identical wear marks as yours. Both also show some hole when the safety's are engaged.

After about 10,000 rounds and countless draw strokes, the CQB has too many other marks on it that catch your eye so I don't really notice. Actually, it's looking a good bit more business like now, unlike the relatively new Protector that still looks like a safe queen.

I know you like it, but I don't know that you'll ever be really satisfied with it regardless of what Wilson agrees to do with it. Perhaps you should ask for a partial refund and a new CQB that you won't mind banging up. Put the balance down as a deposit for a Heine or something similar. If you were to go that route, I'd be sure to discuss my expectations with the smith before he agreed to take the job. Find one that has an eye for detail like you and you'll be happy.

Then maybe I can call Wilson and buy it at a discount :D

Just kidding! I hope it works out to everyones satisfaction.
See less See more
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.