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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks,

Bit of an introduction. I'm Tyler LeVick. It seems just lately that I've caught the 1911 bug, though have carried one for many years now, I seem just to have found the time for a hobby.

I'm considering an investment in a higher-end 1911 (though with reviews of the prices, Wilson is likely not to be in my range) that I intend to use as a carry gun. I've read many posts on this site about preferences with regard to Les Baer, Ed Brown, Nighthawk, Wilson, etc, as well as how they shoot and handle. I haven't seen a ton of review or opinion, in general, about Guncrafters or Carolina Armory. Carolina Armory, is, however, a company that just started up in 2015 if I'm not mistaken.

I imagine with the higher end 1911's, that how one feels and shoots is likely to be in the eye of the beholder as to which is best and is highly individualized. Now, after that little ramble, my question (s):

1. Do any of you know how or where to obtain in the information about what types (there are many types and qualities of tool steel and bar stock) and quality of steel is used in the parts of these manufacturers? I know none of these manufacturers use MIM parts or internals, but I imagine the type and quality of steel used is still very important.

2. What are your opinions about the quality of internals and barrels that are used?

3. Any of you have any extensive experience with GunCrafters or Carolina Armory?

I know 1911 questions are a dime a dozen, and I'm sure I might have missed some posts here and there, but thanks for your time!

Tyler
 

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Welcome to the forum. I know nothing about Carolina Armory, but all of the others you name are all excellent choices and, I'm sure, use quality parts and quality steel. Your bank account can tell the differences, but I doubt that you will be able to see or feel much difference among them. I compared most of these at one time, and ended up with an EB, partly because I set a limit on the amount I wanted to spend.
 

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It's a very bad bug to catch for your pocket book great bug otherwise. I unfortunately haven't had the coin to purchase a higher end model or maybe it's just the impatience.

One avenue of approach is to buy the size and caliber you want for your final product and to have it customized to meet your wants as you go. This has the added benifit of giving you exactly what you want with finished product. Most of if not all the companies you listed offer custom work to your weapon. I'm a fan however of the Wilson Combat models if I decided to purchase a new one from a botique manufacture it would probably be one of there super sentineals
 

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Although not necessarily high end from a Wilson stand point they are higher than I can afford at this time. Check out the Kimber line of 1911. A friend of mine bought a used one a few years ago for around $800 face to face. He just loves it. My old Colt Series 70 MK IV Gov't Model is my project gun in that I am trying to change out some parts to make it work better for me as well as upgrade other parts. The pistol is blue but the parts I'm adding are stainless steel. Trying to give it a reverse two tone effect. 1911s are a category of guns where imagination and money could be the only objects holding someone back.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I appreciate the replies guys. For the past several years I've been carrying an old Kimber Compact, with aluminum frame, office's size, and a 4" barrel. I've found my hands tend to appreciate a commander size frame rather than the officer's size. My dad's primary carry used to be a Kimber Aegis that he converted to a 9x23. However, I'm sure he tweaked some other things, as he was a pretty darn good pistol smith.

Cheapest I've found, actually, is Ed Brown (through customizing a base model Executive Carry). Les Baer is cheaper, but I gotta say I really like the aesthetics a bit more of the Ed Brown, GunCrafter, and Nighthawk's as well. One of these days when I've worked enough shifts to afford one those beauties, I'll let ya know.
 

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After a certain point on 1911s you are paying for finish. I don't think I would spend extra money for fit and finish on a dedicated carry gun. Not to mention, in the unlikely event you are forced to use it to defend yourself and it ends up in the evidence room. High end guns are for bbq.
 

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After a certain point on 1911s you are paying for finish. I don't think I would spend extra money for fit and finish on a dedicated carry gun. Not to mention, in the unlikely event you are forced to use it to defend yourself and it ends up in the evidence room. High end guns are for bbq.
I think people put too much thought into this. Im not saying you need to carry the most expensive gun you own, but if I have to defend myself with a handgun, I want the best gun that I have being used for it.
 

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Include Dan Wesson in your high end, tool steel small parts (no MIM), great value.
I've got a DW Valor, Les Baer UTC, and Ed Brown Special Forces, like them all.
Minor differences:
-Valor front strap checkering most aggressive.
-Scallops on Special Forces front strap
-Baer always has been and still is the tightest, absolutely no disassembly without a bushing wrench after 800+ rounds
 

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1. Do any of you know how or where to obtain in the information about what types (there are many types and qualities of tool steel and bar stock) and quality of steel is used in the parts of these manufacturers? I know none of these manufacturers use MIM parts or internals, but I imagine the type and quality of steel used is still very important.
Ask the manufacturers, and they might actually tell you. But realistically, any mid- and higher quality 1911 is going to be made with materials adequate for the job. I know the knife aficionados get fussy about their blade steels, but that's for reasons we're generally not concerned with on our firearms. I wouldn't choose a Wilson over an Ed Brown based on the specific steel alloy used for the frame or slide - that's a third decimal-place difference that won't be of any practical consequence to you, the end user. Certainly the quality of the steel is important, so a respectable manufacturer will buy raw stock that's been certified. As far as MIM is concerned, please be aware that MIM is not an indicator of quality or lack of same. I've seen far more bar stock parts broken than MIM, and if MIM as a process was lousy, it wouldn't be used in turbine disks in military jet engines.
2. What are your opinions about the quality of internals and barrels that are used?
The high-end 1911 makers choose parts they have confidence in, based on their experience. Their customers are paying a premium price for quality, so they're not going to be slipping in junk internals. If you talk to Jason Burton or Chuck Rogers or the 1911-smith of your choice, each will have his own favorite suppliers and can tell you why.

3. Any of you have any extensive experience with GunCrafters or Carolina Armory?
A friend who came in 4th in the recent Western States Single Stack Classic (trailing Rob Leatham, Nils Jonasson and his own son) uses a GunCrafters. (Robbie uses a Springfield Armory [of course - they sponsor him] and I think Nils uses an STI.) My friend says his is the smoothest-shooting 1911 he's ever had. That's as close to one as I've come. I'm unaware of Carolina Armory as yet.

I know 1911 questions are a dime a dozen, and I'm sure I might have missed some posts here and there, but thanks for your time!
A lot of the 1911 fans here are happy to share info and our experiences. Ask away!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
After a certain point on 1911s you are paying for finish. I don't think I would spend extra money for fit and finish on a dedicated carry gun. Not to mention, in the unlikely event you are forced to use it to defend yourself and it ends up in the evidence room. High end guns are for bbq.
I imagine, Stevew, that by "bbq," you mean the weapon in question would be confiscated, maybe even indefinitely. That would be the only reason for me not to carry a high-end 1911. Otherwise, I'm not sure anyone could skewer me for using a 1911 from any one of the well known manufacturers, so long as the enhancements were reasonable (i.e. bobtail grip with checkering, front night sight, ambidextrous thumb safety, etc.)
 

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I imagine, Stevew, that by "bbq," you mean the weapon in question would be confiscated, maybe even indefinitely. That would be the only reason for me not to carry a high-end 1911. Otherwise, I'm not sure anyone could skewer me for using a 1911 from any one of the well known manufacturers, so long as the enhancements were reasonable (i.e. bobtail grip with checkering, front night sight, ambidextrous thumb safety, etc.)
BBQ = barbeque gun = too nice to carry all the time.
 

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Be aware the Baer commander sized guns still use the government frame. As such, some may not "sling shot" for cycling. I have Baer and Browns. I would choose the Brown Carry models over any of your choices.

I don't worry near as much about my firearm being taken to an evidence locker as I do about my body being taken to a morgue.
 

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I wouldn't spend a moment questioning what type of steel any of the big name players are using in their 1911s - I don't think it makes a bit of difference between the good guns.

I do think that the point of diminishing returns sets in at around $1800 or so... and actually with some models, like Colt's Wiley Clapp 1911s, you can have a great quality 1911 for no more than around $1200, with Pete Single front-strap checkering, right from the get-go!

A TRP for $1200-1300 would be a good gun, once the fire control components were upgraded - but then you're into it for a few hundred more. I do love the 20 lpi front strap checkering on the TRPs! Downside being that SA uses "Loaded-grade" fire control components in the TRP.

I'm more than very well set with fine 1911's at this point in my life, but if I suddenly had none and needed to pick one up, knowing what I know at this point, I'd spend less than I have in the past, skip the expensive custom pistol smith projects, and probably go for a Colt Wiley Clapp Government (best 1911 under $1600, in my view), a Dan Wesson, or a Baer. No need to spend more than around $1800, unless you just want to.

If I could find a lightly used Brown, Wilson, or Nighthawk for a good price - one of those might be in the running - but I won't pay what they're asking for them new these days - they've gotten a bit too full of themselves -price wise- in my view.

Whatever I bought would MOST certainly have front strap checkering from the get-go! And I'd pass on any LW models - all steel please.
 
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We are LIVING in the "Golden Age" of 1911 variants. The intro models (generally) run-well & shoot-straight. The higher you move, the stiffer the competition between manufacturers. So, at the ~$1750 (and up) levels, the builders can NOT afford to provide anything BUT uber-fine firearms. Once upon a time, you bought a Colt and SENT IT to a custom gunsmith with a list of mods, then waited (and waited) months (or years?). Now? You walk into your (well-stocked) LGS, you plunk down your AE card & you get exactly what you want by the manufacturers you've already mentioned...within minutes. IMHO, it's genuinely difficult to make, in high-end 1911s, a BAD choice. So relax & enjoy shopping. :biggrin2:
 

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I've got a Ruger CMD (commander) in my avatar, it has MIM parts but was $850 out the door.
I prefer tool steel parts but can tolerate MIM at that ^ price.

BBQ: I don't do BBQ, nor do I open carry; I keep pistol(s) concealed, don't buy them to show.
I buy pistols for protection; I am carrying the Baer, Valor or Ruger - the possibility of taken as evidence is not a carry factor.

The Baer had the original 2010 night sights (all green) and the small front sight progressively difficult for my aging eyes to acquire.
I replaced them with Truglo TFO green front / yellow rear, which is not relevant to the thread...
But that bottom of the original rear sight was engraved with digits of serial number like the barrel bushing - that is a custom detail.
 
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I imagine, Stevew, that by "bbq," you mean the weapon in question would be confiscated, maybe even indefinitely. That would be the only reason for me not to carry a high-end 1911.
I carry Les Baer and I feel the cost of a Les Baer is cheap compare to my life or my love ones. But I don't think them as a barbeque gun. One has way over 100,000 rounds through it. And yes I shoot them and carry them. This is my Concept VI.
 

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For years, I wanted to hold and inspect some of the models the OP mentioned. I was finally able to do at Palmetto State Armory a few months ago. Wilson, Baer, and Nighthawk were the flavors available. Without shooting any of them, I have to say the Nighthawk was the most impressive in feel and finish, for me. Emphasis on the "for me" part. Finding an example of all the higher end semi-custom makers will be tough, but is possible. Most of my purchases have been based on opinions from folks I believe and trust are accurate. With that said, after handling those guns, I still prefer the custom builds on a good base gun.

Keep reading, OP, and if you find yourself in Columbia, SC on I-26, stop by PSA and look at as many as you can. I was a bit overwhelmed by their 1911 selection.
 

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Hey folks,

Bit of an introduction. I'm Tyler LeVick. It seems just lately that I've caught the 1911 bug, though have carried one for many years now, I seem just to have found the time for a hobby.

I'm considering an investment in a higher-end 1911 (though with reviews of the prices, Wilson is likely not to be in my range) that I intend to use as a carry gun. I've read many posts on this site about preferences with regard to Les Baer, Ed Brown, Nighthawk, Wilson, etc, as well as how they shoot and handle. I haven't seen a ton of review or opinion, in general, about Guncrafters or Carolina Armory. Carolina Armory, is, however, a company that just started up in 2015 if I'm not mistaken.

I imagine with the higher end 1911's, that how one feels and shoots is likely to be in the eye of the beholder as to which is best and is highly individualized. Now, after that little ramble, my question (s):

1. Do any of you know how or where to obtain in the information about what types (there are many types and qualities of tool steel and bar stock) and quality of steel is used in the parts of these manufacturers? I know none of these manufacturers use MIM parts or internals, but I imagine the type and quality of steel used is still very important.

2. What are your opinions about the quality of internals and barrels that are used?

3. Any of you have any extensive experience with GunCrafters or Carolina Armory?

I know 1911 questions are a dime a dozen, and I'm sure I might have missed some posts here and there, but thanks for your time!

Tyler
I would check out the 1911 forums
but at around 1500 bucks the 1911s go from MIM to tool steel. Never heard of California Armory,I would personally never buy a gun
from California as I try to support other states that are pro gun when it comes to gun shopping. I would stick with reputable brands
if for nothing but resale value alone . Investing in a micro brand or start up company will cost you in the long run
LesBaer,Dan Wesson,Wilson are all fantastic 1911s
 

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I would check out the 1911 forums
but at around 1500 bucks the 1911s go from MIM to tool steel. Never heard of California Armory,I would personally never buy a gun
from California as I try to support other states that are pro gun when it comes to gun shopping. I would stick with reputable brands
if for nothing but resale value alone . Investing in a micro brand or start up company will cost you in the long run
LesBaer,Dan Wesson,Wilson are all fantastic 1911s
It's Carolina Armory, not California Armory. :wink:
 
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