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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What's the difference?

Custom: adj
1. Made to order.
2. Specializing in the making or selling of made-to-order goods: a custom tailor.


Okay, so how can something be "semi-made to order"? In my eyes either it's custom or it's not, there is no gray area. Someone please enlighten me as to what the gray area is, that I'm obviously oblivious to.


And as far as Fusion goes I ordered my Fusion a few weeks back and everything on/in it will be exactly the way I ordered it (made to order). Which category do you believe Fusion falls under, custom or semi-custom, and why?


*edit* Okay, upon further reflection I think I can understand where the term "semi-custom" could have come from. I own a Springfield GI that had some parts added to it by a gunsmith in Louisiana, then I sent it off to Springfield's Custom Shop to have more extensive work done to it, so I guess now it would technically be semi-custom, because I had custom features added to a production gun. But still, by definition, aren't Fusions custom, not semi-custom?
 

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If you want to play semantic's than I suppose you could call them "custom". But let's be honest here, Fusion's are a nice production gun that you get to pick the option's on. No where near the quality of a true custom from one of the pro smith's that frequent here. So I guess i'd say semi custom, but again I think the "other" (Baer,Brown,Wilson, RRA before they stoppped) semi custom shop's out there make a higher quality product. I do like Fusion's and don't want to come off as bashing them, but i'd take a Baer any day of the week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you want to play semantic's than I suppose you could call them "custom". But let's be honest here, Fusion's are a nice production gun that you get to pick the option's on. No where near the quality of a true custom from one of the pro smith's that frequent here. So I guess i'd say semi custom, but again I think the "other" (Baer,Brown,Wilson, RRA before they stoppped) semi custom shop's out there make a higher quality product. I do like Fusion's and don't want to come off as bashing them, but i'd take a Baer any day of the week.
Explain to me what makes a gun a "true" custom, because I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. If you get to select everything you want on and in a pistol, how is that not custom?

As far as Baer is concerned. It's a nice pistol, I've owned one. But it's very rough around the edges (not to mention sharp around the edges) and seriously lacks refinement for something that costs so much. And their customer service is on par with companies like Kimber and Taurus-terrible, even when Mr. Baer himself answers the phone.
 

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If you want to see a true custom go up to the gunsmithing thread and look at the stainless Caspian Dave Erickson just built. That's a custom pistol. If you want to play word game's because "you picked the part's" then I guess it's custom to you.
 

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If you want to see a true custom go up to the gunsmithing thread and look at the stainless Caspian Dave Erickson just built. That's a custom pistol. If you want to play word game's because "you picked the part's" then I guess it's custom to you.
So the woman "picked" the frame, slide and other miscellaneous parts and the gunsmith built it? Considering I can ask Bob to make a 1911 with any parts available, either his own or ordered, I don't see how this is different. A true custom would be someone machining their own frames, slides and all other pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
So the woman "picked" the frame, slide and other miscellaneous parts and the gunsmith built it? Considering I can ask Bob to make a 1911 with any parts available, either his own or ordered, I don't see how this is different. A true custom would be someone machining their own frames, slides and all other pieces.
That's the way I see it too. If you're picking every single part that's going to go on or in the pistol, then having a gunsmith build it for you, how is that not a custom gun?

up1911fan said:
If you want to see a true custom go up to the gunsmithing thread and look at the stainless Caspian Dave Erickson just built. That's a custom pistol. If you want to play word game's because "you picked the part's" then I guess it's custom to you.
I don't see a difference between me picking every part for a pistol and having someone at Fusion put it together and me picking every part for a pistol and Dave Erickson put it together. Care to elaborate a bit on how one is custom and the other production/semi-custom?

*edit to add* Just checked out that Dave Erickson, yes, it is absolutely gorgeous, but my points still stand.
 

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Well I had my Baer sent to John Harrison for further customization, does that make it a "custom"? :biglaugh:
 

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Explain to me what makes a gun a "true" custom, because I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. If you get to select everything you want on and in a pistol, how is that not custom?

As far as Baer is concerned. It's a nice pistol, I've owned one. But it's very rough around the edges (not to mention sharp around the edges) and seriously lacks refinement for something that costs so much. And their customer service is on par with companies like Kimber and Taurus-terrible, even when Mr. Baer himself answers the phone.
Never thought of my Baer as rough around the edges.:confused:
 

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If John Harrison rework's your Baer then yes it's a custom. Fusion isn't a custom shop, they make a lot of part's and assemble them. Look on gunbroker, there's plenty of Fusion's already built. True custom pistolsmith's have backlog's measured in month's or year's.They don't have a dozen stock pistol's on GB. I said I think Fusion make's a nice pistol for the price, but the refinement as you put it doesn't compare with the other's I mentioned earlier. Hell they don't even blend the Wilson style magwell to the frame. It's a whole lot of little thing's that make a true custom a custom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, "custom" isn't measured by the true definition as posted above, but by things like rarity, price, and refinements?

So, by that theory if I went out and mined some oars and completely built a gun from scratch, that happened to look like a piece of crap, it wouldn't be "custom"?

The way I see it, custom isn't about how much it costs, or how many are made. The difference between custom and production is with a custom pistol you have it EXACTLY THE WAY YOU WANT IT. Production comes as every other pistol of the same model.

I was a little confused coming into this, after reading some of the responses I'm way more lost as to why people see some things as custom and some as semi/production.
 

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Fusion isn't a custom shop, they make a lot of part's and assemble them. Look on gunbroker, there's plenty of Fusion's already built.
I don't get your point. Bob builds some guns to have in-stock for customers who don't want to wait 4-7 months for the build time, so this automatically does not make them a custom shop. Pretty thin.

I can call Bob and have take any of his basic configurations and change them to my liking.

If I want a different frame, he will build it.

If I want different sites, he will build it.

If I want a different trigger, he will build it.

If I want a different hammer, he will build it.

If I want a different finish or any combination thereof for the different parts using different colors, finishing and coatings, he will build it.

If I want different slide top serrations, he will build it.

Let's put it this way, Bob is very accommodating, and if it can be done, he will build it.

Tell me, how is this not a custom gun?

A smith is going to take parts from column A, column B, column C and column D and build you a gun, so how is that any different than what Bob is offering.


True custom pistolsmith's have backlog's measured in month's or year's.They don't have a dozen stock pistol's on GB.
The CCO I just ordered is going to take 6-7 months to build, so by you own admission, this must be a custom gun.


I said I think Fusion make's a nice pistol for the price, but the refinement as you put it doesn't compare with the other's I mentioned earlier.
I agree, but they are also a whole lot cheaper. If I pay $4K for a Pistol Dynaics gun, it better be more refined than a $1600 Fusion.

Hell they don't even blend the Wilson style magwell to the frame. It's a whole lot of little thing's that make a true custom a custom.
Your right, but guess what, he will if it is ordered that way. When I ordered my first two Fusions, I asked Bob about blending the magwell. I felt for the extra money it was going to cost to have that done, the cosmetics of something that was not seen was not worth the extra dollars. I opted to have a different option added for the cost of blending the magwell.
 

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"It's a semi-custom gun, so naturally it will be more money than an off the shelf production gun. $1K more, must have loaded it up pretty good, because I know what my CCO build is going to cost and it was only $300 more than a DW CCO and has everything I wanted that a DW does not offer.

Bottom line, you can have it their way with a DW or your way with a Fusion. "-Red5



That's from another post, but you even stated it's a semi custom and not a custom build.
 

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That's from another post, but you even stated it's a semi custom and not a custom build.
Still didn't answer my question. If I can take any the sum of many different parts and build it the way I want, how is it not a custom gun.

What differentiates a Custom Gun from a Semi Custom Gun. It can't be just a smith, because that is who builds the guns for Fusion. Not some assembly line worker.
 

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My thought.....

I posted a thread about this myself recently.

http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=249297&highlight=words+custom

My current feelings are that Brown, Bear, Wilson, Nighthawk etc are NOT "semi custom" guns. They are semi production guns that you get to pick the options on. These folks will build to order but they will also build for stock and there is always plenty of stock. Much smaller operations, more care taken, higher quality Vs standard factory guns but not custom in any sense of the word.

To me a Volkmann could be considered a "semi-custom" gun. You place an order and Luke builds the gun. Yes, I am sure that he has made and sold some pistols that were not directly ordered but try and find a new one available for immediate sale. Possible yes, but difficult. Here you will get a lot more say in the options, you get to talk directly to the maker (and not the makers staff) but the bones of the gun are still pre determined. "Standard" models are made from "standard" parts. You can customise, but not completely create. "Semi-custom".

True custom, to me, means built per order and with 100% customisation from the ground up. The to-be owner will pick and chooses everything, Whether the owner, his smith or Billy big balls 1911 artisan builds it the result will be a custom gun. There are no "standard" models to choose from, and each build can be considered to be as close to being a one off as anything that is commercially built can be (ie something not built by a man in his shed). Fusion would count as being "custom", but as you have seen "custom" itself has its own scale & tiering.

For me the scale goes...

Standard Production - Standard commercial products
Semi Production - Lower volumes & high quality than above
Semi Custom - Built per order, lower volume than SP, more personalisation, more exclusive
Custom build - Built from scratch from full owner specification by........???
Custom build by a Master Smith - The whole nine yards, and of course opinions will vary as to who is actually the "best" if there is such a thing.

Does any of this matter? Probably not, and I hope not to spend too much longer worrying about it. Enjoy your new pistol :)
 

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I like these quotes by Matt Del Fatti re custom...

---------------------------------------------

"I have always been and we will most likely remain a small custom shop. When I say that, I mean that I design and make the patterns for the articles I build. Changing designs to meet each customer's need, requires that I hand cut most items. I use the best quality leather available and continue with each step in the process until the holster or other item is complete. If you buy a holster from me, it is made by me specifically for you. It does take longer to do it this way but it's the only way I know to provide the design flexibility necessary to provide a product that addresses as many of your needs as possible."

---------------------------------------------


"If the '70s were the right time for change in the holster business, the police locker room was the place. John Bianchi was a cop who took to making holsters for his compadres, mostly because he worked out of his garage and his holsters were cheap.

Matt Del Fatti, a retired deputy sheriff who is now the oneman in the one-man shop of Matt Del Fatti Leather, was also a '70s cop who took up the awl and needle to make duty rigs in his garage. "Cops," says the good natured ex-deputy who now makes holsters full-time, "as a general rule are fairly cheap."

Del Fatti retired from the Clark County (Wisc.) Sheriffs Office as the Chief Deputy after 28 years behind a badge and now devotes himself to a custom holster business specializing in concealed carry rigs.


When asked to succinctly describe the one thing setting his custom leather apart from other makers, Del Fatti deadpanned, "Custom. True custom. Not custom-because-that's-good-marketing custom, but actual, true custom."

A lot of so-called custom shops don't truly make one-of-a-kind, special order holsters. They have a menu of options--choice of color, material, rake, with or without thumb snap--but very few actually tailor make a rig just for one customer.

"That's not what I say I am, that's what I do," Del Fatti insisted. 'The only reason I have a brochure is because people need a starting point."

Del Fatti can make anything -- that's the definition of custom -- so if you want an ostrich skin shoulder holster for your Broombandle Mauser, call Matt."
 

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I guess we at Fusion have moved more and more into the full custom category. We do have standard packages, but we basically work up a custom bill of materials, “quote” for each job and we can use just about any parts the customer may want. We try to make suggestions to keep costs in line and we have been working with so many parts that are generally available, we know what will make up a good recipe for a great pistol. So, I guess you can say we have moved to the more full custom, than Semi..:)



 

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Fusion is a "custom" shop 100%. You get a gun built from scratch EXACTLY how you want it.

That being said, there are different grades of "custom" builds. Place Fusion where you want in that class but they are without a doubt a "custom" shop.

Personally, my two Fusions have been top notch pistols and I couldnt be happier.

This arguement can go on all day as to what is "custom" and what is not--just my two cents.......
 

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I posted a thread about this myself recently.

http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=249297&highlight=words+custom

My current feelings are that Brown, Bear, Wilson, Nighthawk etc are NOT "semi custom" guns. They are semi production guns that you get to pick the options on. These folks will build to order but they will also build for stock and there is always plenty of stock. Much smaller operations, more care taken, higher quality Vs standard factory guns but not custom in any sense of the word.

To me a Volkmann could be considered a "semi-custom" gun. You place an order and Luke builds the gun. Yes, I am sure that he has made and sold some pistols that were not directly ordered but try and find a new one available for immediate sale. Possible yes, but difficult. Here you will get a lot more say in the options, you get to talk directly to the maker (and not the makers staff) but the bones of the gun are still pre determined. "Standard" models are made from "standard" parts. You can customise, but not completely create. "Semi-custom".

True custom, to me, means built per order and with 100% customisation from the ground up. The to-be owner will pick and chooses everything, Whether the owner, his smith or Billy big balls 1911 artisan builds it the result will be a custom gun. There are no "standard" models to choose from, and each build can be considered to be as close to being a one off as anything that is commercially built can be (ie something not built by a man in his shed). Fusion would count as being "custom", but as you have seen "custom" itself has its own scale & tiering.

For me the scale goes...

Standard Production - Standard commercial products
Semi Production - Lower volumes & high quality than above
Semi Custom - Built per order, lower volume than SP, more personalisation, more exclusive
Custom build - Built from scratch from full owner specification by........???
Custom build by a Master Smith - The whole nine yards, and of course opinions will vary as to who is actually the "best" if there is such a thing.

Does any of this matter? Probably not, and I hope not to spend too much longer worrying about it. Enjoy your new pistol :)
I would have to agree with Carrots definition of build methods. When you say "Custom Build" do we really mean, "Custom Build by a Master Smith" that constructs "one off" works of art? These types of Smiths are usually a one man operation that make one of a kind guns such as the on in the attached photo. At least thats what I consider a "Custom Build"
Hope this makes sense. See attached photo
 

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OK................I read this whole thread and my brain fried. :confused: :scratch: :mummy:

I intend to go shoot my whatever the hell they are (actually production, semi-custom and custom build (yep, have one of those one of a kind built by a smith who builds one of a kind)) and just leave it to you all to figure out what is what is what and why.

Oh, and just for the record, I don't know what my FUSION is, in regards to all the defining that is going here at the moment, but it sure is extremely well built, functions great and shoots very darn straight.

Oh no, I just realized I had my smith (the custom build one of kind guy) custom fit a Kart barrel into my FUSION. What the heck do I have now? Is it a modified semi-custom? A modified custom? A semi-custon/custom? A custom/custom? Oh my, where is the blooming aspirin?

Good luck to all.
 

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What's the point of this thread? Who the hell cares what maker someone else has or chooses to shoot, what they call it, he said/they said, etc.?

And by the way; it's really not that hard to figure out the difference in a true custom or semi; so again, this thread puzzles me.
 
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