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Old October 2, 2012, 07:49 PM   #5
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Join Date: July 9, 2004
Posts: 5,159
Best 1911? Tough one.

In 1911-land there are a number of true custom 1911 smiths who will build you a masterpiece...exactly what you want, whatever that is...and you will wait for a while, and pay dearly for that priviledge...but you will get what you want, and it will probably be a one-of-a-kind 1911. Price-wise, the sky is the limit in this class. You can use the same master 1911-smiths to build something less radical, but equally high quality.

One step down you will find the "semi-customs"...Baer, Brown, Nighthawk, Wilson (listed alphabetically, and not intended to indicate any preference).
In general terms, you will have some latitude in the options available, and again you will pay a fair it ~$2000 to $4000, give or take. Everyone who owns one or more of them has his favorite. A few people have one or more of each, and they may or may not be objective. A bunch more of us have had one, and look forward to trying the others, but objectively, even someone who owns one of each has a very small sample size, with the attendant possibilities that implies.

Another step down, and it gets a bit more dicey, and quite a bit more contentious. In my opinion, this includes DW, Colt, Springfield, Kimber and S&W. Here we are talking about 1911s that cost ~$1000-$1500. You will get an awful lot of opinions, and most will be based on the ownership of one 1911 of a certain brand. I have seen an awful lot of people who are exceptionally vested in their one brand, and some of the discussions tend to get pretty nasty. As a result, I tend to take these with a huge grain of salt.

When you get below the $1000 floor, there are a large number of 1911s available. I have owned several of them, and there are good ones out there (IMO). You may find some good ones...or you may not.

Once again, my opinion and experience are that when we are working below the $1000 line, I will buy a better used 1911 than a questionable new one. I would advocate meeting the current owner at a local range and test-firing the 1911 in question. Then again, that same advice applies regardless of whether it is a 1911 or any other firearm...

If you would like to see (what I consider) a fairly objective and fairly compreshesive review, take a look at this thread.

Start with post #14. This one goes on for a while, but is a good read. This guy can apparently afford to buy "one of everything" and has (God bless him). His thread covers 50+ different 1911s, and he owns each. As such, I don't believe he has a dog in the fight, and cannot see any favoritism in this post...

While my experience has not mirrored his 100%, he has owned and tested more 1911s than I have, by a factor of about 2x. And it appears that he currently owns all of them now, so he can make a timely assessment. My 1911 ownership has been one or a few at a time, over a period of 30 years, and as such, in a number of cases, his specific experiences with certain brands may be more recent than mine.
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