What Wilson Combat thinks of MIM parts in 1911s...

This is a discussion on What Wilson Combat thinks of MIM parts in 1911s... within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Although Wilson Combat no longer uses MIM, it's not because of failures or deficiencies of MIM as you will see from this article. I took ...

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    What Wilson Combat thinks of MIM parts in 1911s...

    Although Wilson Combat no longer uses MIM, it's not because of failures or deficiencies of MIM as you will see from this article. I took the liberty of highlighting some salient points:

    "The 1996A2 is the base gun for all our models. On the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) log books, it will say 1996A2 no matter what the model is.

    In 1996 we first came out with our own guns. The first ones said 1996A2 on one side and on the other it said whatever the model was Protector, CQB etc.

    Note: On the right side of my gun is imprinted: Wilson Combat.
    On the left side of my gun is imprinted :1996A2 .45 cal auto.

    We also sold a basic model called the 1996A2. It was very close to a CQB, but did not have checkering or serrations on the front strap and had rubber panel grips. It came in Parkerize or blue and later was available in hard chrome frame/black Polymer top or in all Polymer (forerunner of our Armor Tuff.) (Then) At this time our Protectors & Classics were marked Service Grade. Later this name was dropped (about the time we started the CQB.) You might still find CQB's or some of the other models marked 1996A2 or Service Grade.

    Also, to clear up another question, the CQB and carbon steel Protectors are identical except in color and that the Protector comes with a full length guide rod and the CQB comes with a short guide (this is now a steel short guide rod. Originally it was in polymer to work as another form of buffer, but was being knocked because people did not understand the principal. We here, including Bill Wilson still use the polymer type.)

    The short guide is used in the CQB because ordinally designed for the military, a long guide rod is a little harder to disassembly/reassembly in a field environment.


    This year (2002), we have dropped the carbon steel Protector and Protector Compact. The customer can now order the CQB/CQB Compact in all black, all grey (new color Armor Tuff), all OD Green, or Black over Green or Black over Grey. And if desired, a full length guide rod. Because of this, there is no need for the carbon steel Protectors, however we will still make the all stainless steel and Black over Stainless steel Protectors.

    I hope this helps everyone to understand our products and some of the reasons behind them.

    Frank Robbins Wilson Combat

    One other thing I forgot to address. MIM parts. A company that I will not name gave the MIM parts a bad name because they had a bad batch of MIM parts. This was many years ago. Since then remarkable things have happened.

    MIM parts are extremely dense and very exact. They are much less prone to wear and breakage than a factory Colt, Spfg. etc. part. This is why we use them in our CQB's, etc. Although not quite as hard as our tool steel parts, they will last a very long time. This is why we can still quarante our total gun, including the MIM parts, for life.

    The tool steel parts are actually overkill. The MIM parts last for life (I know of one gun that has over 100,000 rounds thru it and the trigger pull feels the same as it did when new) therefore I guess you could say the tool steel parts lasts for a lifetime and .


    We use the tool steel parts in our full custom guns. (These are the ones that cost from $2800.00 up) Our full custom guns, Stealth, Tactical Elite, Super Grade and Tactical Super Grade, are not for everyone because of price. They are intended for someone that can afford the very best we can do.

    They [tool steel] actually won't last any longer, shoot any straighter or be more dependable than our CQB's, Protectors and Classics, but we spend many extra hours in fitting and prepping them for a perfect cosmetic handgun as well as a great shooter. And because of this, we use the tool steel parts that take longer to fit.

    Again, all of us guys here, including Bill Wilson use the very same MIM parts in our guns. And we shoot a bunch! Once installed and fit, no one can tell the difference in the feel of the trigger pull with either type of parts.

    Ok, I'm done with my book. Hope this helps too. Just didn't want you all to believe everything you read from self appointed experts.

    Frank Robbins Wilson Combat"
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    Member Array WonderBra's Avatar
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    Thanks Tangle! It appears that the MIM scare is completely unwarranted now days. Will need to have this handy to respond to the MIM snobs.
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    Unfortunately the Internet is the ideal catalyst for such Tomfoolery such as the endless MIM discussions.

    MIM is used in aircraft engine parts. It's used in the car you drive daily. It's used everywhere including in Sig, HK, Beretta, etc. Just about every major manufacturer uses MIM somewhere in their firearms yet when it comes to 1911's people get all bent out of shape and scream bloody murder if they find a MIM part.

    I have MIM in my favorite 1911's and I honestly don't care nor do I give it a second thought. I don't worry about the MIM in jet engines when I board a flight and I don't worry about the MIM crank shaft in my car when I drive to the grocery store.

    The company he won't name is Kimber by the way. You can thank Cohen (the former CEO) for that debacle. The man wrecked the reputation of Kimber by buying the absolute cheapest/lowest quality parts he could find to maximize profits. Now that's he's moved on, hopefully Kimber can recover. Unfortunately for Sig, Cohen has moved into their CEO's office and is now working his magic on their reputation by doing the exact same thing... outsourcing low quality, dirt cheap parts to his corporate buddies overseas to maximize profits.
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    Not a MIM parts are created equal just like not all tool steel parts are created equal. A quality part the meets or exceeds spec are good to go. Just understand the spec!!!!!
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    Many weapons manufacturers use MIM parts, including Glock. I just don't see the big deal.

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    thank you Tangle and...MilitaryArms said some rightful things. when we remark on a product it behooves us to include when it was made as well as the make and model, be it a car or a gun.
    parts that go into its assembly change over time. good can become not so good and than there are instances where changes are made and the product becomes good again.
    as consumers we must shop with knowledge based more than on price and current advertising. specifics from different points in time are worth knowing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryArms View Post
    Unfortunately for Sig, Cohen has moved into their CEO's office and is now working his magic on their reputation by doing the exact same thing... outsourcing low quality, dirt cheap parts to his corporate buddies overseas to maximize profits.
    Thank you for that info! I was wondering why Sig's QC post 2005 was going down. Ugh. That makes me sad.

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    I have posted here several times about the unfounded bias against MIM parts, but I doubt I changed any minds. It's refreshing to see someone from a respected corner of the gun industry lending credence to the fact that MIM parts aren't worthless just because they're MIM.

    Tangle, thanks for posting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryArms View Post
    The company he won't name is Kimber by the way. You can thank Cohen (the former CEO) for that debacle. The man wrecked the reputation of Kimber by buying the absolute cheapest/lowest quality parts he could find to maximize profits. Now that's he's moved on, hopefully Kimber can recover. Unfortunately for Sig, Cohen has moved into their CEO's office and is now working his magic on their reputation by doing the exact same thing... outsourcing low quality, dirt cheap parts to his corporate buddies overseas to maximize profits.
    So he's the one who encouraged Kimber's Customer Service motto "We don't care!"

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    Agreed, "That Company" (cough, cough, Kimber, cough) did give MIM a very bad name. Unfortunately, I personally had to deal with just how crappy their MIM could be and have been skeptical of the MIM parts in their firearms since. I do hope they are cleaning up those and other issues in future guns.

    For a little while it DID taint my opinion of MIM in general (especially since I was hearing negativity about MIM from other people I respected) but after a little more research I did learn that not all MIM is created equal and you can't condemn a whole tree for a single rotten apple.

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    Senior Member Array MilitaryArms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderBra View Post
    Thank you for that info! I was wondering why Sig's QC post 2005 was going down. Ugh. That makes me sad.
    Historically, I've been a big fan of Sig firearms. When I first got into the whole internet thing back in the 1990's, I used the handle "Sig" on our local dial-up BBS'es (I just dated myself). But, like you, I've noticed that Sigs quality has slipped considerably over the last few years. I wrote a blog post about it a little while ago.

    Military Arms Blog: What has happened to Sig?

    Cohen has manufacturing friends in Israel that produce small parts for him at very low prices. This allows him to come into a company like Kimber or Sig and cut production costs substantially. But in return we, the consumers, get poorly made parts that fail or are out of spec. Before Cohen took the helm at Kimber, they were known for producing some of the best 1911's on the market for very fair prices. After Cohen got done with them, those of us who are 1911 aficionados wouldn't touch a Kimber 1911 with a 10 foot poll. Highly respected gunsmiths like Hilton Yam and Larry Vickers said they didn't recommend Kimber 1911's as they had "fleas right out of the box". That's a big step backwards for Kimber, all thanks to Cohen trying to maximize profits for share holders at the expense of the consumer.

    Now we're seeing the same thing at Sig.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryArms View Post
    Historically, I've been a big fan of Sig firearms. When I first got into the whole internet thing back in the 1990's, I used the handle "Sig" on our local dial-up BBS'es (I just dated myself). But, like you, I've noticed that Sigs quality has slipped considerably over the last few years. I wrote a blog post about it a little while ago.
    Don't feel bad. I used to run a BBS for a few years before the Internet.
    I must have more 1911's. Someone donate me a Springfield EMP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oaklands View Post
    Don't feel bad. I used to run a BBS for a few years before the Internet.
    Yeah, I did too. I had a 24 line Major BBS system while I was in college and a 56k leased line for passing email and allowing TCP/IP connections for those that wanted to surf the web using... MOSAIC! :) Ahh, the good old days. We were such pioneers. :D
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    Interesting about the whole MIM thing---I believe a couple of my pistols have some MIM parts---two Kahr CW9s and my Springfield "Loaded" Champion stainless 4" 45---all seem to work just fine. They used to say the same things about Ruger's "cast metal" pistols and revolvers---and we can see how well they work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    Agreed, "That Company" (cough, cough, Kimber, cough) did give MIM a very bad name. Unfortunately, I personally had to deal with just how crappy their MIM could be and have been skeptical of the MIM parts in their firearms since. I do hope they are cleaning up those and other issues in future guns.

    For a little while it DID taint my opinion of MIM in general (especially since I was hearing negativity about MIM from other people I respected) but after a little more research I did learn that not all MIM is created equal and you can't condemn a whole tree for a single rotten apple.

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