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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to purchase my first 1911. I decided I wanted a full size with high capacity. So I was looking at the Kimber, and the SA. Then I visited a local gunshop and they have a barely used KZ45 with adjustable rear sight. Seems they ordered it for a customer, and he returned it shortly thereafter due to pending divorce. They have reduced it to $875. I have seen good reviews on this pistol. My question is this, would I be better off paying a little more for the Wilson and getting reliability out of the box, or buying a Kimber or SA for less and paying to have it massaged for greater reliabilty?
 

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KZ-45

Get the Wilson. It is a far better weapon than the other two. Wilson's come with a lifetime warranty. Wilson also warrants the KZ-45 to shoot 1 1/2 inch groups at 25 yards.:)
 

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one warning, however. The KZ-45, being a high capacity 1911, only accepts the hi cap mags. and the only supplier is, you guessed it, Wilson Combat. They're 40 bucks apiece from Wilson, vs. 28 for the #47D 8rnd mag for regular 1911's. This may not affect your decision, but it turned me off the KZ-45.
 

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I almost bought one, and i'm glad I dodged that bullet. An unnamed CA swat team showed up at Gunsite with a whole slew of them that ALL had problems. After repeated calls to Wilson, they are being replaced with the CQB.
It's a great concept, but as they are relatively rare I'll never own one now. It would be impossible to figure out if they ever get them running properly.
 

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This is another example of what I call my alternative universe theory. Norman tells a story of the KZ-45 (if I read it correctly a bunch of them) not working at all. That represents one universe.

In my alternate universe, I own both a full size KZ-45 and the Compact version. Both have functioned 100%. The only problems were ammunition related (reloads in very old, used brass) and those have been limited to one each. The full size gun has digested 4200 rounds and the Compact is approaching 1000 (may be over as I've quit counting exactly).

If I found a like new KZ-45 for $875 I would jump on it and I don't need one. The adjustable rear sight would make it interesting enough to take the plunge.

I'd really like to know more about that alternate universe where a bunch of KZs didn't work - and couldn't be fixed by Wilson?????
 

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norman74 said:
I almost bought one, and i'm glad I dodged that bullet. An unnamed CA swat team showed up at Gunsite with a whole slew of them that ALL had problems. After repeated calls to Wilson, they are being replaced with the CQB.
Firsthand account? Secondhand? Rumor? It is entirely possible that a bunch of Wilsons were lemons, but it seems sorta improbable.

My only caution with the KZ-45 would be to make sure that you like the subjective feel of the thing, it is quite different from a normal 1911.
 

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Haven't heard any stories about the KZ's penchant for malfunctioning, much less a whole group at the same time. Mine both eat everything without problems. $875 is a pretty good price; don't let the cost of mags deter you, if you like the gun. Six months after you spring for the extra $80 for four extra NIB mags, you won't feel it. Mag price is a mighty sorry reason to step down to a Kimber or SA--it's not like we're talking $100/mag. i. e., You won't hear M1A owners screaming about magazine prices. 'Good' guns cost. Cruise the forums; sometimes you can find extra mags cheap(er). I have both the KZ and the KZ 45c, w/ 5 mags each. I bought all 8 spare mags in 3 different sales for an average of $28 shipped, used. (But I'm cheeep, and willing to wait to discover low-priced "used" 'finds'.) I found some of mine by posting WTB's all over the 'net.
 

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General notes-
The failure of an ENTIRE BATCH of KZ-45s was related to me by my uncle, who was the instructor at Gunsite for the course. Also, a member of my IDPA club was taking a class there at the same time, and witnesed the failures. Take it or leave it, I don't really care one way or the other. I suppose you could call up Wilson, or if anyone is interested enough I'll try and find out what CA SWAT team it was. I'd honestly be interested to know if Wilson lies about it. My uncle is retired Border Patrol, and I believe him.

As far as the magazines go, that's actually what made me not buy the gun. I wanted a 1911 and 16 magazines. At $40/mag, that's $640 in magazines. Instead I buy 8 rounders from Brownells for $15/mag, so that once I have all 16 I'll be up to only $240 in magazines. That extra $400 will be paying for training.
 

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norman74 said:
As far as the magazines go, that's actually what made me not buy the gun. I wanted a 1911 that and 16 magazines. At $40/mag, that's $640 in magazines. Instead I buy 8 rounders from Bronells for $15/mag, so that once I have all 16 I'll be up to only $240 in magazines. That extra $400 will be paying for training.
What he said. I have 12, and there's no way I could have pulled that off if I had gone with a USP or the KZ.
 

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Fliver, before you purchase that KZ from your local gunshop, check out Gunsamerica.com first. I just saw a KZ on there for $800 along with a bunch of other good Wilson deals such as a CQB Compact for $1250.
 

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Norm's correct. (Your uncle wouldn't be Tom, would it?) I was in the class w/the SWAT team. Their guns did have some issues. IIRC, they were from one batch, acquired from WC just before the guy that was building or running the KZ line got canned.

I was going to take my s/s KZ-45 with me to Gunsite for this class, but was pondering over selling some 1911s and other guns to finance a new project. I decided to bring my s/s Colt Gunsite Pistol. I brought along my Wilson Protector as b/u, since it used the same magazines (KISS). I wound up settling on using the Protector because I was futzing around w/the slim grips on the CGP, and found that I was shooting right of POA. Besides, the Wilson worked fine last month.

My WC Protector started out running just fine, hiccupped a bit the 3rd day during night firing, but then ran 100% again after I took out the CP 'buff the next morning. I replaced the recoil spring that night while cleaning. It was way shorter than my spare, having been through a 350 the month before. God knows how many rounds I shot prior to the 350. A conservative estimate would be 3200 rounds on that spring.

The SWAT guys would examine my pistol and shake their heads, perplexed at their pistols' problems. (Their discomfiture was offset by the comic relief provided by my performance with it, though.) They were even more vexed when I related that I considered MY KZ to be the most reliable 1911 I have ever owned, having NEVER had a FTF or fire since new - except for some IMI ball that makes EVERY .45 auto I've tried it in (1911, Glock, SIG) go TU... I'm going to have to try that stuff in my S&W 1937 Brazilian contract revolver.

After consulting with the SWAT Team leaders, Gunsite's instructor staff, and Corey, the Gunsmithy's head honcho, WC stepped up to the plate and hit a home run; insuring that their customers "will be satisfied." THAT is service.

I'm still having misgivings about putting my KZ on the block. I wish now that I had taken it to Gunsite. My EB Kobra will be missed, too. Maybe I can sell some other guns. I hear a CQB w/a light rail calling me, too... Maybe I can get WC to trade me a CQB w/a light rail for a KZ that has never failed to go, "Bang".
 

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Dave T said:
This is another example of what I call my alternative universe theory. Norman tells a story of the KZ-45 (if I read it correctly a bunch of them) not working at all. That represents one universe.

In my alternate universe, I own both a full size KZ-45 and the Compact version. Both have functioned 100%. The only problems were ammunition related (reloads in very old, used brass) and those have been limited to one each. The full size gun has digested 4200 rounds and the Compact is approaching 1000 (may be over as I've quit counting exactly).

If I found a like new KZ-45 for $875 I would jump on it and I don't need one. The adjustable rear sight would make it interesting enough to take the plunge.

I'd really like to know more about that alternate universe where a bunch of KZs didn't work - and couldn't be fixed by Wilson?????
I guess bizarro-world is more real than you think huh?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks all for your views/opinions. After reading these and info from other sites, I've decided to purchase the Wilson. I don't need 12 mags, so mag price isn't an issue. I negotiated a slighly lower price, and a deal for a couple additional mags. I pick it up in the morning, and will be at the range first thing Saturday.
 

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Good luck, and let us know how it goes. After the debacle at Gunsite I'm interested to know if they got the kinks worked out.

How many rounds do you intend to put through it on Saturday? I see "reviews" here all the time from folks who put 100 rounds through a gun and declare it the best pistol ever in the world, so I'm hoping you're going to put at a minimum twice that through it. Either way, when you report back be sure and let us know how many and what type you feed it.
 

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My experience is that the KZ is extremely reliable...but my sample size is a statistically irrelevant one.

Given the the bad KZ's were a multi-piece order, perhaps a bad batch of some component part was used in their assembly.

I do not doubt the "SWAT team at Gunsite" story, but would be interested in exactly what the problem with the guns was. Were they all malfunctioning in the same way? What was the root cause? What was the resolution?

Rosco
 

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Rosco Benson said:
What was the resolution?
Replacement of all the KZ models with CQBs.

I don't know the answers to the rest of your questions, but I will try to find out.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am not ready to declare it the best pistol ever, but it is definitely the best pistol I own! At least as far as accuracy. BTW, I also have 2 Glocks, a Kahr, and a S&W revolver. Here is what I shot today:
200 rounds Win 230 gr FMJ
20 rounds Cor Bon 230 gr +p JHP
50 rounds Rem Golden Saber 230 gr
20 rounds Fed Hydro Shok 230 gr
50 rounds reload round nose 230 gr
I had no issues whatsoever. My two buddies were quite impressed with the gun also. They both have 1911's - Colt and Kimber. We swapped at different times, and the Wilson has less recoil, and is lighter. I don't know if I could be happier.

I guess this must have been fate, after putting the first 100 rounds through the center of the target (approx 12") at 10 yards, I put one of those orange quarter sized stickers on the target and sent it out to 15 yards. First shot went dead center through the sticker! My last 30 rounds I shot at 25 yards and was happy to put 15 in the 12" center. Not bad for me. I think the trigger action and the sights made the biggest difference for me.

I'm anxious to put some more rounds through it. Hopefully next weekend. Thanks again all for your input.
 

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For those interested, today I was able to handle a Wilson KZ at the gun shop. It was priced $799 (used) but looked in like new shape. Too bad I already have a SA in Layaway or I would've put this one in layaway. I might still if its there after deer season. (Or if I can unload my G20)
 

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I'm glad to hear you got a good one. Keep us posted on any further developments.
 

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KZ45

I have enjoyed my KZ45, and those that have seen it are impressed. I am currently waiting to get a KZ Compact, and hope it will be as reliable and enjoyable.
 
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