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Ok, I have drooled over them in many a gun rag. I have coveted them as I hear people talk about them. But....

Is it worth the money???

One of those Ed Brown, Les Baer or Wilson Combat custom 1911's run for close to and exceeding $2000. I am but an engineer, and cannot afford that kind of cash. I did scrape and save to buy myself a nice Kimber, and not having shot a true custom can say the Kimber was worth the $900 I paid for it. But is one of those customs truly twice as nice as the Kimber?

I am not trying to be sarcastic, I am trying to justify buying one or not buying one. Obviously if the gun works that well, and is that inherently accurate and reliable it would become my new daily carry. Anybody who has dropped the mortgage on one of these things please let me know.
 

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Depend if it is to you .. i dont think one you turn me into Rob letham i dont think i could shoot better than my springfield loadeds can ..

Do i want one you bet
 

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Chris - I have to be guided I think by ''perceived'' value. If I truly felt that another grand spent would give me a true extra grand's worth of shootability I'd consider it, maybe!

My only truly profligate expenditure was my R9 and I can see where the cost comes from, knowing as I do the manufacturing aspect and immense R&D that preceeded its release.

Otherwise - I think my main criterion is reliability plus ideally a ''smooth everything''!! Each to his own I guess but I have gotten close to finishing my buying (note, I said ''close to'' LOL) - and cannot conceive now of spending two gun's money on just one.

Now, if I was given one - well - I'd just suck it up I guess :biggrin:
 

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For CCW? No. Not unless you can afford a couple or three, in the event you ever have to use one. If it's for fun & pride of ownership, yeah, I would say so.

I love the feel and handling of the customs, but for something I'm going to use, I'll spend half the cash, and maybe another couple of bills, and let a "no-name" smith, whose work I know to be excellent, add a few bells and whistles to a semi-custom (like your Kimber).
 

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Well now I just happen to have a few of these and I love 'em.

I have a Wilson Tactical Elite built on an STI 2011 frame, a matched pair of Les Baer Thunder Ranch Specials and a Rock River Arms single stack 1911 that was custom built to my specs right down the the serial number.

The thing I like most about them other than the reliability and accuracy is how precise the the tolerances are. When I sit around the house dinking with them I'm impressed that these aren't just handguns.....they are precision bullet launching instruments.

I wouldn't trade any one of them for all the tea in China. But that's just me. To each their own.
 

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My hope is doen the road is getting a Ed Brown commander size 45 but figure its will take me a few years to get but then on secong thought a Novak tuned Browning HP sound good too. But it a hope and dream. I have to agree with ACPARMED opinion. I have shot several custom built guns over the years and yes I still have my custom S&W models 58s but family responsibities ugh college bound kids has stopped me from doing much else. I have been tinkering with the idea to just build my own 1911 style pistol just to keep me busy. Decisions.
 

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Okay I'll put it to you this way.

I cannot fathom most expensive handguns, save a competition race gun or a hunting gun. I aspire to own someday a 1911 and maybe a SIG of some sort, but they're not high priority things. They seem to cost too much for what they offer to me; they're excellent guns but not so good values imao.

But the fact remains that some people will not be happy with anything less. A friend of the family considers anything less than a tweaked Kimber 1911 to be a piece of crap that will fall apart or else explode and kill you at any given moment. This includes every handgun I own, including the XD which withstood a 20,000 round torture test early in its career.

It's very fortunate for him he's loaded to the gills (he's a Class 3) because he'd be unarmed otherwise and even though I don't agree with his assumptions about Glocks, Sigs, etc. he doesn't deserve to be unarmed for it.

Now to me a $3000+ rifle or shotgun makes perfectly good sense. So it's all priorities.

However I can see why some custom work could be highly desireable. I can't find a single 3" revolver barrel in a tri county area.
 

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What would the reasons be to put $2K or more into a CCW ?? If I were rich you betcha I'd own 'em. Probably even for CCW.--------
 

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The folks that make the custom guns are extremely talented. They have achieved their measure of notoriety because they are extremely good at what they do. They can put a handgun together & assemble the parts like they are building a fine watch. They have made a name for themselves and are thus able to charge whatever the market will bear.
You are buying the handgun coupled with the name of the highly regarded builder & the firearm will hold it's value or increase in value over time. They will be THE highly collectible handguns of the future. That being said there are many other lesser known custom smiths who will charge somewhat less money to perform the identical precise work. You will not be purchasing the same high investment value but, you will get a Super Fine handgun out of the deal.

Other shooters just want a known fine handgun "made" & assembled by a known and "above reproach builder" of Best Reputation & they have the money to spend & since it's their money they should be allowed to spend it on whatever firearm they want or need or think they need.

Some artists can dribble paint on a canvas and create a piece of art that looks exactly like a Jackson Pollock painting but, it wouldn't BE a Jackson Pollock. If you want a genuine Jackson Pollock painting then you need to pay the Jackson Pollock price.
So is a Jackson Pollock painting worth 75 thousand dollars?
I guess it is because in 20 more years it will probably be worth 90. So if a person wanted to enjoy owning a Pollock painting and have it in their home for 20 years & then make money selling it then it sure is worth the 70. Does that mean that everyone will run out and fork out the big $$$ for a J. Pollock painting.
Nope!...but, if you could afford one it would be a worthwhile purchase.
 

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Tho I agree with you QKS, the reason I have mine is the simple pleasure of owning and carrying such a fine piece of equipment. I have been around guns for my entire life, and I mean inextricably attached to, for one reason or another. I'm in my 50's now and I've only obtained these fine specimens in the last 5 years. I figured I was due. :smile:

I enjoy disassembling them and examining the precise machining, the tolerances. As was mentioned they are like a fine swiss watch. That's the part I've come to enjoy. (Other than shooting them of course) I just wish I'd had the chance to have them when I was younger and my eyes could make the most of them

As far as resale value, yes, they will appreciate in value, but that isn't why I wanted them. They will all go to someone else when I croak, with the exception of the Rock River. I intend to be buried with that one. :biggrin:
 

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Euclidean said:
However I can see why some custom work could be highly desireable. I can't find a single 3" revolver barrel in a tri county area.
How about a 4 inch 686 Smith Round Butt gun?
:biggrin:
 

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I first want to say that I'm not critical of people that own or dream of owning a high end handgun. I'm in the latter crowd. My one high $$$ weapon is strickly for competition. I shoot it,clean it,insure absolute functioning, and put it away for several more weeks. Guess that my main point is that FOR CCW PURPOSES the weapon that we need to be carrying has to be ::: as powerful as we can handle-- fairly accurate(IMO the distance that we will be shooting will be CLOSE,not the 15-25 yds that some of those training facilities seem to think that we will be shooting at)--fairly small--the highest capacity that YOU think that YOU will need)--absolutely reliable. As long as our choice of CCW fits into these parameters the rest is of no consequince. The name brand dosen't matter.The color of weapon doesn't matter. Revo,auto,DA/SA,DAO, numbers on price tag,all don't matter. I have competed against some old,(almost)rusty,clanky,cheap sighted,cheap gripped,weapons, that were downright FUGLY. I should have been sizeing up the shooter instead of worrying 'bout the looks of his weapon. It is the SHOOTER that beats you. And it will be us and our tactics that will beat the BG not our choice of weapon.---------
 

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Amen RSSZ!

It is the man, not the machine.
 

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Thinking on it,----- If I wuz rich and/or willing to spend say $3K on a carry weapon,I would go see(walk into the shop) of one of the famous 1911 smiths/builders and have a weapon built completely to my specs. I feel that would be the way to go if you really want a "this is mine,one of a kind,speciality weapon, for CCW. That would be as good as building your dream home IMO.--------
 

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And I have to admit, seeing a custom made 1911 with the screws on the end of the barrel so you can attach your silencer is just COOL, and with the silencer it's even cooler...

I think if the gun laws were different customs would be even more desireable.
 

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Well, as in all things; a custom gun is worth what you are willing to pay for it. Some people are willing to pay more than others. Heck, some people even like red heads.

For some poeple it is worth the extra $ to own something with a very polished fit and finish, and to appreciate maybe some fine engineering and manufacturing savvy.

For others, a gun is just a tool, and as long as it performs to expectations, that is all that matters, and it is not worth the extra $ for a custom gun.

How many of you would purchase a genuine forged steel hammer manufactured with tolerances to .0001" , a custom cocobolo handle with inset markings and logos for $200 if one were available? Probably not many, because after all, you're just gonna pound nails with it.

I recently bought an Ed Brown SS Kobra Carry, but then again I saved for a couple of years to afford it. It was worth it to me, but might not be worth it to you.
 

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My thoughts on this are exactly the same as acparmed. I have a Kimber TLE II and really like it. It has been a reliable and accurate gun. I also have a Nighthawk Enforcer. Both are full size (5") 1911's that at first glance look almost alike. Look closer and the tolerances and "feel" of the Nighthawk are noticeable. Shoot it and it becomes even more noticeable in the trigger (much smoother), accuracy, control and even recoil. And, although it does make a difference in each of these areas, much of the joy in owning it in working the action and admiring the workmanship. That being said, I would trust the Kimber with my life the same as the Nighthawk. :wink:
 

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In my opinion (FWIW), the analysis can be broken down pretty simply. First, of course is utility. Assuming that for practical - practical, not bench - purposes, most of us are not going to be able to shoot up to the additional potential a truly custom pistol offers. If you are, then go for the custom.

Second, what do you want to get out of the gun - do you want a utility weapon, or an heirloom that you consider as much a work of art as a tool, and something that you want to pass on to future generations so that your grandkids can handle it, see your initials on it, and enjoy something of the inherrent qualities you see in yourself? Then, go for the custom.

If you are in neither category, then I'd suggest going custom would be a waste of money.

And hey, I'm speaking from experience! I am attaching two photos. One is my daily driver, a pre Series 80s LIghtweight Commander that's bone stock inside (just added sights, low-ride thumb safety, a drop-in Wilson beavertail, and slim grips). It has never been touched internally by a gunsmith, and it is UTTERLY reliable. The other photo is a Kimber I bought new from Clark Custom Guns and had them do an accuracy job on. I carry the LWC, and I don't carry the Clark. Why? Well, the full-size Clark is heavier to be sure, but the main reason is that I have supreme confidence in the stock LWC, and that is not matched by the Clark.

Best,
Jon
 

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Sorry! Double posted, New guy. :rolleyes:
 

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To me they are worth every penny! The semi-custom's are the Wilson's, Baer, Brown, Nighthawk, RRA, etc. are all very well made very clean looking guns free of MIM and plastic parts, FPS, and free from the high production levels of Colt, Kimber, Springfield, etc. Thus will be free from defects or problems 99.9% of the time and will also hold their value with only a small percentage of loss from new. Read the 1911 forums! the high production guns are the ones with all of the problems the semi-custom's are as I said 99.9% free of problems.

So to me yes they are that much better. As I said no MIM small parts, no FPS, they have match barrels, Kart barrels, 1.5 guarentee, the slide to frame fit is supreme, the Mags are of the highest quality, the finishes are outstanding ,the trigger pull's are like butter, the springs are the best, like Wolff!, the grips are high quality wood, or Aluma grips, and you can have the gun built to you specifications to exactly what you want.

I bought A Kimber Ultra CDP because I like the size and looks of it for a summer carry gun and I have had problems with it from the day I bought it. FTF and it would jam up on occasion. That to me is not a reliable carry gun.

So instead of shipping it back to Kimber it went straight to Otto Matyska, my local gun smith that is a master of the 1911. I had Otto not only fix the feeding and jamming problems with a complete reliability tune, polish the breech face, lowered ejection port, had to realign the barrel to feed properly, etc. I also changed out all of the MIM and plastic parts, Wilson grip safety, dropped the FPS, new Ti firing pin, added thinline Aluma grips, dropped the ambi safety for a tactical, changed to Wolff springs, bought Tripp Cobra mags, and now the gun is absolutely flawless! The only way I will carry one.

Doing this cost me plenty, I could have bought a semi-custom and had enough left over to buy a bunch of mags and ammo and took my girlfriend out to a very nice dinner, easy! for what I paid for the gun and to have it custom. But I liked the gun's size so I made it my Kimber Ultra Custom, replaced all the junk that Kimber use's to cut the cost down, you know the important stuff that makes the gun work properly to get a 100% reliable CCW gun that I have 100% confidence in now.

I also have a full custom Ted Yost Ti Carry being built as we speak on a Caspian titanium frame. The gun will cost me about $2,300.00 out the door and will be everything I have ever dreamed of in a gun and more! built to exactly what I want from my wish list, also worth every penny.

The problem with this as you said is, they are expensive and I will not be able to have a dozen or more of these custom gun's nor would I want to spend that kind of money for that many expensive gun's. My goal is to get 5 of these elite gun's that will be everything I will want or need in a 1911 and a CCW.

2 almost down and three to go, 2 Nighthawk's are next on the list, the Predator II and the GRP Recon and the 5th I am undecided on yet.

TI.
 
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