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I own a Wilson Stainless Protector and recently I had a chance to look over, in great detail a Novak customization on a Colt Commander frame.

The list of custom work totaled almost 1300.00 and that was NOT including the cost of the firearm.

Trigger: Wilson wins hand down.

Slide to Frame Fit: Wilson is like it is on ball bearings, smooth and without a hitch. The Novak's is rough in three places when pulling the slide back. In Novak's defense the 1300.00 did not include frame to slide fitting as a detail. There was a near new spring in both guns.

Sights: This is a personal opinion but the Wilson sights are better than any sight I have used on any handgun. They beat Novak in my opinion. I do want to state that others viewing the gun preferred the white outline of Novak's. So I guess opinions vary on sight and sight picture. For my money, the next set of sights going on any 1911 of mine will be the 463's. I intend to add them to a G26 in the near future.

Checkering: Novak's was a little cleaner and well laid out. It was 30LPI, just like the Wilson, but the Novak grabbed my hand better. Maybe the checkering had more defined points or maybe it was the difference in gripping a full sized pistol compared to gripping a compact size pistol.

For the money spent, I'd have to go the Wilson route again.

Just my opinon, but I hear so much talk about if you are gonna get a 1911 go with a complete custom job by a gunsmith, don't use the "semi-custom" producers. I think whoever had the work done on that Colt was ripped off.

For 1800.00 or more depending on actual cost of the gun they got a rough slide to frame fit, complements of Colt, and no match grade barrel like the one that is found on the Wilson.

Bottom line is that the custom smiths can say what they wish about "semi-custom" guns, but I personally do not care if 5 to 10 different smiths make my gun, so long as it's end results prove impressive. And with Wilson's warranty I think I am ready for the long haul.
 

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jrd1911,

Well spoken -- and thanks for this post.

It occurs to me that unless you are after a Full House gun from the likes of Heinie or Burns, "semi-custom" is really the way to go. While there are many excellent pistolsmiths out there who will do a great job on your old Colt, Springfield or Kimber (et. al.), this is NOT always a cost-effective solution. One can easily end up spending the same money (or considerably more) just to bring a production gun up to the same standards you would have expected "out of the box" with a Wilson or Baer.

My personal personal preference runs toward the Wilson, for exactly the reasons you have identified: their committment to customer service simply has no equal in the industry. Despite the fact that Wilson offers no express warranty on their products for for legal reasons, the manner in which they honor their "extreme satisfaction" policy is superior to anything you could ever hope to find in a competitor's small print.

Great choice on the SS Protector!

Chuck
 

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My sentiments exactly. Why buy a lower quality gun and spend a bunch of money to have Wilson or Brown parts installed and still end up with a big expensive compromise that still is not on a par with the semi-customs? Just compare the slide to frame fit and trigger on one of these "custom jobs" to a Wilson or Brown. No contest there.

Buy the Wilson or Brown in the first place and enjoy a fine custom gun from the get go.
 
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