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Discussion Starter #1
Gents,

I've heard these terms applied to Wilson's latest offerings without a great deal of standardization, and I just want to make certain that I understand where things really stand.

For example, I've got a '99 vintage Classic two tone that is rollmarked WILSON COMBAT SERVICE GRADE (see photos at http://www.1911forum.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001442.html ).

Using this as our starting point, let's establish that SERVICE GRADE refers to a $1,800 (retail) sidearm. The SERVICE GRADE class would thus include the CQB, Protector/Protector Compact, Sentinel, Classic and Classic Longslide.

The next step up would be to what folks like to call the CUSTOM GRADE, such as the Stealth, and Tactical Elite. Retail price points here are in the neighborhood of $2,800.

At the top of the heap is the SUPER GRADE class, which consists of the Classic Super Grade at $3,500. So far, so good.

What then, are we to call the so-called "budget" Wilsons, such as the Millenium Protector, KZ-75 and .22 Classic? I've recently heard some folks refering to these as the new "service grade," but this would seem to be incorrect ... at least according to traditional usage.

Did something change, or am I still in the ball park here?

Chuck
 

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I am anxious to hear the concensus on this also. I too own a two tone Classic. From the Wilson website however I see the the Millenium Protectors as well as the std. Protectors have the "budget" parts, while the stainless and two tone Protectors, CQB, Classic and Super grade Classic all use fairly identical parts sets.


[This message has been edited by MPower (edited 12-09-2000).]
 

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In 1998, the Service Grades and the Super Grades were differentiated by who built them. A quote from the 1998 Wilsons catalog:

Service Grade: "Each pistol is hand-built by our skilled technicians for smooth handling & reliable functioning with all types of popular ammuition. All of the Service Grade technicians have been individually trained and are supervised by our master pistolsmiths."

Super Grade: "The Super Grade demonstrates unequaled accuracy and reliability with virtually flawless cosmetic detailing. Every year our pistolsmiths are honing their skills and improving methods to produce the world's finest 1911 auto. The Super Grade reflects the time and experience of Wilson's master pistolsmiths."

Since then, I think this has changed. When I bought my Protctor, Frank (I think it was Frank) from Wilson's told me that most all of the pistols are now being done by the pistolsmiths; the techs are builing the shotguns and AR style guns.

[This message has been edited by tetley (edited 12-09-2000).]

[This message has been edited by tetley (edited 12-11-2000).]
 

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My new 2-tone Tactical Elite has no grade designation on the slide. One side reads "Wilson Combat", the other reads "Tactical Elite".

To me, this is a "Remarkably fine crafted pistol from experienced craftsmen", but there's not enough room on the slide for it!
 

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The Millenium would be a Service Grade.
The Tactical Elite would be a Custom.
The guns are listed by grade in their catalog.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ricky T,

I follow your logic, but I don't believe that the 2000 Master Catalog has the answers any longer. Aside from the Classic Super Grade, I can find NO mention of these specific grades anywhere within its pages -- that's what caused my confusion in the first place.

Assuming that this document contains the definitive word on the subject, it appears to me that Wilson has discontinued the use of these familiar monnikers, referring to the entire lineup simply as "custom pistols." Yes, the models are still listed from high to low in terms of retail price, and yes, the word custom is still being thrown around quite a bit, but the proper nouns SERVICE GRADE or CUSTOM GRADE are nowhere to be found. They aren't in the table of contents, they aren't listed in the custom handguns introduction, and they are absent from the product pages.

I would agree that a Stealth or Tactical Elite would be a CUSTOM GRADE, and a Classic or Protector would be a SERVICE GRADE under the old system, but evidently that system has been discarded or significantly downplayed. Thoughts?

Chuck
 

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Chuck,
I agree with your explanation. You're right, the catalog wouldn't be the definitive word to go by. I don't know why Wilson doesn't explicitly list what gun is in which "class" or "grade". Maybe just a marketing strategy to make people think there is no "quality" difference between each model, just different option of jewelry and furniture.
That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
 

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It does get confusing between the paperwork shipped with the gun, the sales information and the gun inscription. I would like to say though they are great guns! I have a Wilson Combat Classic(thats what it says on the gun)the paperwork says Service Grade Classic? I also have Wilson Combat(thats what it says on the gun) the paperwork says Combat Master Grade) Both of these guns are a treasure to me. Living in CA will eliminate many of Wilsons fine guns from being purchased because of new restrictive laws next year. I had a KZ45 on order since last May and unless it gets to a testing lab designated by the CA laws it too will be history.
 

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I don't have much to add to this thread except that I too am waiting for my gun, a Rock River Arms Limited Match that is going to beat the California deadline by little under two weeks, but only by some fancy footwork and diligence. What struck me about this thread is that I've been without a gun for the last couple of months. I have missed it, but I have also made it a point not to go to the gun stores and look at things because I didn't want to make the wait so much longer by wetting my appetite.

For the first time, the pangs of missing have really hit me wile looking at these guns in this thread. I almost got a Wilsons before they recommended Rock River to me. Yes, Wilsons recommended it!...They are extraordinary people and felt that I'd be happier at this point with the RRA. My next .45 will most likely be a Wilsons if that day ever comes -- I'll have to leave California first though.

Anyway...I'm pineing away now thanks to these great pics -- thanks
. Enjoy your beautiful guns, they are soooooo fine...soon, I hope, I'll be back to normal


Talk to ya later guys,
Galileo
 

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Galileo:
Please elaborate on why Wilson Combat recommend RRA to you instead of trying to sell you one of theirs?
 

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Fellow Californian's do not despair !! It is my understanding that Wilson's has submitted four pistols to be CA certified as "safe". They are the CQB, M-Protector, KZ-45 and the Protector. Let's hope it's true...

Good shooting,

Dean
 
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