VBOB Mini Review - Compared to my Nighthawk, Wilson and Brown

VBOB Mini Review - Compared to my Nighthawk, Wilson and Brown

This is a discussion on VBOB Mini Review - Compared to my Nighthawk, Wilson and Brown within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hey Guys, As some of you know, I'm a 1911 guy. I've owned a number of them and recently settled on Nighthawk as my 1911 ...

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Thread: VBOB Mini Review - Compared to my Nighthawk, Wilson and Brown

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    VBOB Mini Review - Compared to my Nighthawk, Wilson and Brown

    Hey Guys,

    As some of you know, I'm a 1911 guy. I've owned a number of them and recently settled on Nighthawk as my 1911 of choice. I bought a lightweight Talon II bobtail because I couldn't take the wait any longer on my Nighthawk Heinie PDP Commander which is still about three months out.

    Well I noticed there was some play in the slide to frame fit in the front so I called Nighthawk and they sent me a shipping tag via email the same day I talked to them about sending it in. It's not a big deal, just something I'd like not to be there. So, after my Ed Brown experience, I am so pleased to own the Nighthawk that I hated the idea of being without it for a few weeks so I went and grabbed a VBOB so I could still carry a bobtailed Commander.

    On to the gun. This thing is built like a tank. I would never have considered a CBOB, but after checking one of these out, I decided to give it a try. It's similar to the Ed Brown with the way the bobtail is contoured, the beavertail and the thumb safety. The beavertail is thicker and just as comfortable as my Wilson or Nighthawk and much more so for me than the Executive Carry. The bushing is EGW I believe and a good bit thicker than normal. The thumb safety is much like the Brown. it's thick, is slanted to the side and is angled so it lays level instead of slightly up like most. It snaps on and off with authority and not much travel. It's very comfortable in hand.

    The gun is forged as opposed to being a cast frame like the CBOB. It's all stainless steel and has a bead blasted finish, which will soon become IonBond. It's nowhere near as flawless of a finish as Ed Brown's bead blasting, which looked almost like Hard Chrome. It feels a little less smooth to the touch, but I really don't care. It's not a show piece and it'll be getting dirty real soon.

    The fit is perfect for my tastes. There's absolutely no play, but it can easily be taken down with no tools. It's not Baer tight. There's absolutely no play when it's locked up. The barrel fits tight and although it's a "match" barrel like all the other nice 1911's, the case does not fit too tight inside the bore yet it is extremely accurate for me, almost on par with the Nighthawk which has been my best shooting 1911 to date. The feed ramp is polished along with the inside of the slide where the barrel hood makes contact.

    They used a standard 18 lb recoil spring and a 23 lb main spring. Along with the squared firing pin stop, this is my preferred set up and gives the best perceived recoil. Shooting rapid fire strings was easy and enjoyable. The initial take-up is short and smooth and then the trigger breaks very clean with no creep. It's a little heavier than my other 1911's. I like my triggers at a crisp 3.5 lbs and the VBOB averaged 4.5 lbs. Again, it's fine for a defensive gun and as long as it's clean, that extra pound is not a big deal. I can tweak that if needed just to have all my 1911's with similar triggers. One thing I noticed is that although it's smooth, it's not as smooth as the Nighthawk. Nighthawk, in my opinion, has one of the best triggers on the market, but the VBOB is a good bit better than other guns in it's price range, especially those from Kimber or Springfield. The reset is also above average, but a step sown from the Nighthawk.

    It's nicely dehorned and instead of being rounded, it has more of an angle along the bottom of the slide. Working malfunction drills, I never hit a sharp edge and that's what matters to me.

    The sights are Heinie Straight 8's with the ledge. They have a wider rear notch with a subdued yellow tritium vial with no outline in the rear and a green tritium with a bright white outline up front. I prefer these sights on my guns. They make for very quick acquisition and are easier to see than most during rapid fire. And for me, they're just as accurate as a three dot set up.

    The 25 lpi checkering on the front strap and main spring housing is sharp and similar to Browns. It takes a little getting used to coming from some other 1911's, but I like it. Coupled with the VZ thin Diamondbacks which is basically like a sheet of needles, it can take a while to get used to. I prefer a standard size stippled wood or lightly textured Micarta or G10 like the VZ Gatorbacks. But, this is no big deal seeing that for $50 to $100 you can get a set of whatever you want.

    The black extractor on a stainless gun is something Brown does as well. Apparently they use a carbon tool steel since it's stronger than stainless. I don't really care as long as it doesn't rotate.

    Magazines snap in place with a good shove. I never load a magazine gently, so this is never an issue for me. They drop free very quickly and smooth. Mag changes are the same as a full frame gun and having less material behind the magwell makes no difference to me.

    There's something about the bobtail that points very well for me and gets me right back on target with no effort. I find it points better and faster than a standard 1911. A few months ago I'd have said I'd never buy another bobtail, but I'm glad I gave the Nighthawk a try, it's led to two great new guns this month.

    As expected, it ate everything I fed it. 200 rounds of White Box, 100 rounds of Federal HST and 100 rounds of Winchester Ranger T-Series (not SXT). 25 yard groups were better than expected and was on par with all the other high end 1911's. I averaged 3" to 4" groups from a rest at 25 yards. At 10 yards I had no trouble keeping plate size groups as fast as I could fire and fist sized groups as fast as I could fire at 3 yards.

    I'm sure I left some stuff out, but I hope this was somewhat helpful to anyone looking at the VBOB. It's a wonderful gun and if you don't want to spend the money on the next tier of 1911, go for it, you won't be disappointed. it's a big improvement over the CBOB from what limited experience I have with that gun. It's not quite as refined as a Nighthawk or similar level of gun, but it's every bit as accurate and comfortable to shoot as the others. It's just some of the small details that aren't quite as nice, but that won't make a difference while your shooting at the range or competition, while you're carrying it or God forbid, if you are forced to use it to defend your life.

    If I left anything out, feel free to mention it. I'll be posting more pics later today when I can spend some more time on it. My Nikon D3's are at Nikon Professional Services, so I have to bust out the ole Canon 5D. I hope someone out there finds this helpful!



    Some comparison pics - Sorry about the dirt, they haven't been cleaned since the last trip to the range








    Last edited by jonconsiglio; June 24th, 2010 at 12:35 AM.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    Nice pistol and thanks for the nice write up. Newbie to the 1911 platform and trying to soak up all the info and insight I can.

    Congrats on the new addition.
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." Thomas Jefferson

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    Senior Member Array Snowman23's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting. I love hearing comparisons between DW's and the pricier 1911's. One thing though...you mentioned that CBOB's were "cast"...the frame may be, I'm not sure, but the slide is Forged on my CBOB. I've only had mine for about 3-4 months now, it's my first and I've got the fever. I've really come to love Dan Wesson 1911's simply from my experience with mine and great reviews like this. Part of why I like them so much is the price point and quality. I think it's great that someone makes a high quality product for half the price of the custom shops. I do remember you posting a little while ago "bobtails are just not for me"...there was a pic of your EB in that thread, I kept thinking to myself how pretty that gun was with the dark slide and how someone could part with it. I get a chuckle when you appologize for pic quality from your Cannon as opposed to your D3. Your pics are always awesome...composition does not come from the camera, but you know that. I had a Valor and a VBOB in my hands the other day and it was SOOO hard to walk away with out one of them. Thanks again, you've officially solidified my faith in DW's and strengthened my desire to buy another.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments guys! I know, I got spoiled with the very high ISO quality from my D3's. Those pics are in pretty low light and I had to use a higher ISO. I shot some of them with a Nikon D80 as well...

    I'll be taking some more pics today of the VBOB. I don't go past 1600 ISO with the 5D and I prefer outdoor natural light images, but don't mind using a light or two. I can't believe how used to shooting at 3200 and 6400 with ease when just 5 years ago I was shooting with a 1Ds that couldn't even go to 1600 (I think it maxed at 1250) then a 1Ds Mark II that didn't even handle 1600 that well.

    I didn't mean to imply the slide was cast on the CBOB, I should have mentioned that. I went back and fixed it. I am very glad I gave bobtails a second chance! I still don't miss the Brown, there were things about it just not for me, but it sure was a beautiful gun!
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array pirate's Avatar
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    I have been preaching loudly about the DW 1911's for a few years now, glad people are starting to hear, and appriciate these great guns!
    When I leave the home port:
    S&W 642 Airweight, Ruger SP 101, Colt Detective Spec., CZ RAMI, Kahr PM9, Kahr CW40, S&W Model 10-7, Glock 30, 19, and 26, Browning Hi Power, CZ82, Colt Commander, Dan Wesson PM7, Ruger LCP

  6. #6
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    Nice pistols you have there. Congrats.
    "The Second Amendment: America's Original Homeland Security"

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array TJK68's Avatar
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    I have a CBOB and love it, great shooter.

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    Ex Member Array Don Glock's Avatar
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    thanks for the writeup.

    although, i disagree with you in that you believe they are worth what they cost.

    i looked at a VBOB a couple days ago. that should be a $1,250 gun, tops. they were asking almost $1,600 for it.

    but then again, i'm not a DW guy.
    Last edited by Don Glock; June 23rd, 2010 at 11:45 PM.

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    Senior Member Array DUNDEM's Avatar
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    I like the VBOB I was considering trading my two kimbers for one but not sure, may just wait until I purchase a polymer and then trade em for a Special Forces, Kobra Carry, or maybe a T3. Thanks for the wrtings and very nice photos.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    I paid WELL under $1,600 for it...
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    Senior Member Array 1911PKR's Avatar
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    Great comparison and great pics to boot. I'd love to trade my CBOB for a VBOB and cash.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Glock View Post
    ...but then again, i'm not a DW guy.
    You know, until the moment I bought it, I never thought I would be either. I just needed something like the Talon II until it came home. It's built like a tank. I trust the parts on the Nighthawk, but I'm almost tempted to have them use the DW thumb safety on my PDP. I like their grip safety, so I won't change that, so the thumb safety might look odd as thick as it is.

    I'll send it out for Hard hat or IonBond once the Talon gets back.. After that, it goes to beater duty (after another 1,000 rounds or so) with the HK45 and 226.. I NEVER thought a Commander, let alone a bobtailed Commander, would go on beater duty.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    Member Array YFZsandrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1911PKR View Post
    Great comparison and great pics to boot. I'd love to trade my CBOB for a VBOB and cash.
    how about your CBOB... throw in that little kimber, and a ham sammich... now you're talkin'!
    COTEP member and 1911Forum reject

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    Awe man... I keep finding guns to put on my "wish list" and they keep bumping the others to the bottom!

    2010 Dan Wesson VBOB just went to the top!
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

    "A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
    judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
    superior skills."

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Oh, don't get me started about those lists! I'm very pleased with this gun. Comparing it to my $3,000 Nighthawk, I have to say it's very close for less than half the price. The safeties and bushing are very rugged which I like. Now, I prefer the trigger and the finish of the Nighthawk (and probably a little of the allure, which sounds ridiculous, but hey, it is what it is!) and I have of feeling their warranty is a little better (awesome actually) but I've only needed that once for all of my 1911's. I can't say enough good things about this gun and think anyone looking for a bobtailed Commander should at least check one out. I won't be giving up my Nighthawks, but this gun definitely fills a need as opposed to a want.

    Now, I don't care for stainless guns but there wasn't a black one there. It's already showing some rust in the South Texas humidity, and that's after being properly treated with Militec-1 and wiped with a Tuff-Cloth. No big deal, just irritating. I imagine once I have it IonBonded (or Hard Hat or DLC), it'll be even higher on my favorites list ad I own some serious guns.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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