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Old January 3, 2013, 01:39 PM   #1
geetarman
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So what am I missing?

I went over to the LGS this morning making my rounds and noticed the evil black rifles ( some ) had come back as well as some 30 round ProMags for .223.

Anyway, I went by the pistol case and saw an Ed Brown .45 there and asked to see it.

The gun is a new Special Forces .45 with a soft side case. I racked the slide and checked out the trigger ( sweet ) and felt for any shake in the slide ( very little ) and overall workmanship.

No question the gun feels GOOD. The list price is $2500 plus or minus a little.

My question for those of you who want to voice your opinion is: What is better about this gun than a Dan Wesson Valor for about $750 less?

I know there are some strong opinions and I would like to hear them if you can speak softly.

No question it is a nice gun but I am trying to see the justification for such a jump in price.

I know with guitars, you sometimes have to spend quite a bit more to get a little better fit, finish or intonation.

Is that what is in play here?

I don't own a "custom" gun of any kind. I see Ted Yost from time to time testing his creations over at my LGS and he truly makes, crafts is probably a better word, some REALLY nice guns and you will pay dearly for them.

I am not interested in guns with ornate engraving and such but I would really like to learn more about the allure of Wilson/Baer et. al. custom guns.

One of the ROs at the LGS has a Wilson custom 9mm that he carries daily and shoots in competition.

Maybe some of you can bring me up to speed.

Thanks!
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Old January 3, 2013, 02:54 PM   #2
RickB
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Quote:
I know with guitars, you sometimes have to spend quite a bit more to get a little better fit, finish or intonation.
That's pretty-much what it is. Each incremental improvement costs more, and so you find a "production custom" pistol like the Ed Brown giving you a bit more performance than a gun costing half as much, and probably the same actual performance as a gun costing twice as much.
The whole idea behind the "production custom" is that you get the kind of hand-fitting and finishing that you do with a true custom, but applied to a limited menu of options.
If you are the 90th percentile customer who is satified with one item from column A and one item from column B, then the production custom is a great option. If you have specific wants and needs - sights, safeties, finishes, etc. - then you may have to go custom.
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Old January 4, 2013, 09:08 AM   #3
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I have owned a few Ed Brown pistols and like them very much. As for your question comparing it to a DW Valor, you would be paying for really nothing more than the name. Ed Brown pistols are fabulously finished aesthetically, but are not a "hand built" pistol in the sense of true hard fit lockup, frame/slide lapping and such. They are tight as compared to a "regular" production gun, but so is a Valor. Don't get me wrong, I loved my Browns, but I put Wilson Combat and most especially Les Baer well above EB in the bang-4-buck category. For the price you inferred on the Valor, you could have a Baer Premier II, a pistol I personally consider to be of higher value than even the Special Forces due to the true pistol smith hand fit type of build Les Baer Customs does.
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Old January 4, 2013, 11:39 AM   #4
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I think you need to call Mr. Brown and tell him to correct his web site.

"All the engineering, precision manufacturing, and hand-fitting the Brown family is famous for is included"

www.edbrown.com/specialforces.htm
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Old January 4, 2013, 01:33 PM   #5
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Its fit and finish primariy ...and to some extent the quality of the internal parts.....but mostly its the quality of the labor / where its likely a pretty well trained gunsmith was responsible for fitting the various parts in the gun ...vs just an assembly line operation.

From companies like Ed Brown, Wilson Combat, Nighthawk etc...you just have more hours in the gun to make sure the gun meets or exceeds their specs.

Personally I think Wilson Combat and Ed Brown are #1 and #2 in the semi-custom 1911 world.../ I have one Ed Brown a Kobra carry 5" that is a very nice gun ..quality workmanship, nice gun.../ however, I have three Wilsons - a CQB in .45 acp and a pair of Protectors one in 9mm and one in .40S&W ( all 5" guns )....and all of them are better guns than the Ed Brown - and I really prefer Wilson's people to deal with / but there is nothing wrong with an Ed Brown either.

Wilson combat warranties their guns - for the life of the gun ...even if you buy them used.../ even for things like extractors ( that I broke on one wilson after about 40,000 rds...)...they paid shipping both ways, etc...all free...

Yes, the Brown you saw is probably worth what they want for it ...( and since its in inventory, you won't have to wait 3 - 6 months for it to be built as a custom order...) if its specd the way you want it ...I'd say buy it....but at least look at the offerings from Wilson Combat ...before you buy. Wilson will virtually do most anything you want done to one of their guns...and the Armor Tuff finish I have on my CQB, my primary carry gun, is a really durable finish.
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Old January 4, 2013, 03:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
I think you need to call Mr. Brown and tell him to correct his web site.

"All the engineering, precision manufacturing, and hand-fitting the Brown family is famous for is included"

www.edbrown.com/specialforces.htm
Not saying they aren't extremely nice or well built pistols, just that they are not tight in the way all Baer's and most Wilson's are. Which frankly is fine for most as any Ed Brown pistol is very likely to be considerably more accurate than it's owner will be. As is the Valor the OP mentioned. In fact, I've seen ransome rest tests showing the Valor to be more accurate than many "semi-customs".

My point in my previous post is that Ed Brown 1911s are not hard fit like a Baer or Supergrade Wilson. The statement you reference from the Ed Brown web site is sufficiently ambiguous as to be accurate.
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Old January 4, 2013, 03:36 PM   #7
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Its only my opinion ....and I only have one Les Baer....a 5" gun, a Monolith model, in 9mm that I special ordered new in around 2001...or so ....but to me Baer makes his guns too tight.../ requiring far too much break in time.../ to the point where its way past aggravating.....where all of my Wilson's ran virtually 100% new, right out of the box !

and while my one Baer - is accurate /and runs well now ...its nowhere near the gun that my one Brown or any of my Wilsons are ( and none of my Wilsons are super grade models )...

Maybe my experience is not typical ...I know Les Baer has his followers.../ but that gun has just never been one of my favorites ( and Baer's blued finishes are really soft ) - so that Baer is set aside to be a birthday present to one of my adult sons - when he gets his act together a little more ( and I'll include 3 Wilson Combat ETM 9mm mags with it )...
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Old January 4, 2013, 05:00 PM   #8
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Wow, a mono-9, that must feel like a BB gun. I'm too old, but I'll let ya' call me son if it'll get me that Baer.
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Old January 4, 2013, 05:22 PM   #9
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You're not the first person to ask..... / but that boy, has given me 2 grandsons...so I have to keep him ....

Handguns - Nov 2009 003.jpg

The Baer Monolith is at upper left - at top .../ but my all stainless Wilson Protector 5" in 9mm is - 2nd from bottom on the right its a 9mm as well ...that's the 9mm that the kids will have to wait until I'm dead before any of them will get it / its my primary practice and range gun ...( I put at least 8 boxes a week thru it )...only 7 yrs old now / and a little over 40,000 rds thru it now...

My primary carry gun - is the blued wilson CQB at the bottom ...with the Armor Tuff finish on it..../ its about 9 yrs old ...and that one has about 20,000 rds thru it probably....very good gun !

My Ed Brown isn't in the photo ...because I've already given it to my older son...( but it is an all stainless, 5", bob tailed, .45 acp )....

the other 2 guns in the photo ----is a Kimber Gold Combat Stainless II ( 5" ) custom shop gun, in .45 acp ....and the top one on right, is a Kimber Tactical Pro II model, 4", alloy frame in 9mm ..../ but I'm not a big Kimber fan anymore....although both of those guns run well and have been solid as well ...its just compared to my Wilson's - those other 1911's just don't get shot much ...so its better to let the boys have them ( I'm only 62 ) but too mean to die anytime soon !....

Couple of better photo's of the Les Baer Monolith...( my photo skills are crummy ) .....

Les Baer monolith 9mm.jpg

Les Baer Monolith 9mm 1911.jpg

If you have a chance to shoot a Baer Monolit ...take somebody up on it ....but in these photos you can almost see the steel thru the blued areas on the side of the slide...and see how thin it is / how it slopped over into the engraving on his logo ...stuff like that, that still aggravates me whenever I bring the gun out of the safe...

my 30 yr old son...that will get the Baer one of these days...is the one that put the "stupid " scatch on the slide - by not being careful when he was putting the slide stop back in the gun after he cleaned it ...I could have it refinished ( but I'll let him do it ) ....but I'd send it to Wilson Combat - and let them go thru the gun, clean it up, and put a Black Armor Tuff finish on it like my CQB ....and I may do that, if I'm feeling generous...but then, he's the one that scratched it, so its been a useful lesson to him every time he shoots it ...he's reminded....

Last edited by BigJimP; January 4, 2013 at 05:43 PM.
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Old January 4, 2013, 07:14 PM   #10
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Nice pistols sir. I too am a fan of hard chrome:



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Old January 4, 2013, 07:20 PM   #11
BigJimP
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Thanks...very nice guns you have as well !!

( I've never had a hard chrome gun....may be something I need to seriously consider )....but I'm about to blow my birthday budget on a new Freedom Arms large frame in .475 Linebaugh probably ..../ birthday is next week ...and my wife says I'm too hard to buy for - so just buy whatever I want...Ok ...
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Old January 5, 2013, 01:51 AM   #12
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My bad Jim, thought the mono was HC, but I guess it was just the reflection in the pic.
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Old January 5, 2013, 12:11 PM   #13
BigJimP
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I think Baer calls that finish T chrome....which I've never undestood ?? - but the flats are blued ...and the rounded areas are alledgedly some kind of a matte chrome..../ but he has another finish he calls a hard chrome...

Yes, my photos are not too good ...sorry ...
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Old January 5, 2013, 06:07 PM   #14
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OK, now I get it. I think it looks great!
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