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Old February 14, 2008, 08:05 PM   #1
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Best Custom Made 1911??

I'm willing to spend the bucks, but can't decide. Nighthawk, Baer,Brown or Wilson? Are there any I'm missing?
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Old February 14, 2008, 09:31 PM   #2
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Best custom made 1911

Don't forget Rock River
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Old February 14, 2008, 10:00 PM   #3
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Really, those are high-end production guns. A custom gun is one that's built the way you want it. They will allow changes, but you'll often pay twice for anything that varies from standard.
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Old February 14, 2008, 10:13 PM   #4
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I got to shoot all of them, they are all great (duh) but i liked the Nighthawk the best. I plan on getting one soon, i need to decide if i want to keep my USP as well.

They are pretty custom guns.
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Old February 14, 2008, 11:23 PM   #5
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When I got a high end 1911, I wanted one I could possibly use for defense and that you didn't have a long break in period. Baers have the reputation of being very tight pistols and requiring a long break-in. Nighthawks seemed just a bit pricey for the equivalent of a competitor's model. That left Wilson and Brown. I was able to handle both and the EB Special Forces felt better in my hand. I have not been disappointed.

You'll probably get a lot of different opinions. I would be proud to own any of the models you mentioned.

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Old February 15, 2008, 12:39 AM   #6
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why not just buy a colt and have custom work done to it??
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Old February 15, 2008, 12:57 AM   #7
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Ed Brown, IMO, the flat out best. I have a Kobra and I love it.
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Old February 15, 2008, 01:15 AM   #8
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I've had several baers which were great guns but if I were going to spend that kind of money again on a high-end, semi custom, I'd opt for an Ed Brown. As was mentioned, the baers just take too long to break in whereas the Ed browns, wilsons , NHs are perfect right from the start. It would usually take me about 5K rounds to get my baers to where I wanted them. Also the browns that I've handled seem to have a slightly better trigger and better finish than the LBs. You really can't go wrong with any of them though.
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Old February 15, 2008, 06:58 PM   #9
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Never a problem with my Les Baer PII, not one. I'm picking out my next Baer right now . I'm sure I'll be looking at my third when that one arrives.
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Old February 15, 2008, 07:28 PM   #10
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It get's blurred from custom to semi custom in the realm you're looking at. I know RRA customizes to your specs. If you want custom look at Those are real custom gunsmiths. I thought Baer, NHC, Wilson, Brown were expensive until I saw the Picasso pricing from those smiths.
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Old February 15, 2008, 07:51 PM   #11
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I own a Brown Kobra carry, a Baer monolith, and 4 Wilsons ( Protectors and CQB ) all full size guns ( some in 9mm, .40 and .45 acp ).

Hands down, for me, the best of the bunch are the Wilson's - fit and finish, durability, and they ran flawlessly right out of the box. I may add another Wilson this year myself.
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Old February 15, 2008, 07:58 PM   #12
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I have a Nighthawk Talon and love it. But they are all great guns.
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Old February 16, 2008, 09:00 AM   #13
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Brown, Rock River, Wilson.

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Old February 18, 2008, 08:56 PM   #14
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Old February 18, 2008, 09:15 PM   #15
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My Brother's got a brand new (just over 1000 rnds) Les Baer SRP.

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Old February 18, 2008, 09:35 PM   #16
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I really like Bill Wilson's and Ed Brown's pistols, however the Les Baer Super Tac might be 'the best' rendition of the 1911 ever.

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Old February 18, 2008, 09:57 PM   #17
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I believe that you get the most bang for your buck going to a custom pistolsmith and having him make you a 1911 to your choice on Caspian components and a Bar-sto barrel. Or find a used gun built by jim clark or his shop, or other shops like that.

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Old February 19, 2008, 11:19 AM   #18
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Old February 19, 2008, 02:24 PM   #19
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It depends on what you're wanting to do with your gun. If you want to shoot bullseye, get a Les Baer. They are more finicky than a carry 1911 (tighter fit) but they are tack drivers.

If you want a simple, clean 1911 for personal defense, the best of the best is Ed Brown. He started it all and to this day most of the other custom/semi-custom makers use his parts in their builds. He is the "master" of the industry.

If you look at the production numbers, Ed Brown turns out about 500 handguns a year. They are all hand built by his family. If you look at Wilson and Baer, they turn out 5,000 or more handguns a year. They are quality guns, but they don't receive the same attention you'll get with a Brown.

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Old February 19, 2008, 03:03 PM   #20
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I really like Wilson Combat. The fit and finish on my Protector is excellent, as is the accuracy.
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Old February 19, 2008, 05:17 PM   #21
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A little over a year ago, I bought a Les Baer Custom Carry from the man himself.

As stated, they come pretty tight. The first time I tried to rack the slide, I thought maybe it was welded to the frame . In all honesty, I didn't find that to be a problem, and the break in time wasn't that bad. It had loosened considerably after around 500 rounds (that was around 2 range sessions).

Thus far, it's been totally reliable, with only a few FTF's early on, and that was due to a faulty off-brand magazine.

Wilson, Brown, & Nighthawk are all great 1911's, but I'm happy with my Baer.
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Old February 19, 2008, 06:46 PM   #22
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I'll admit: I don't own a custom 1911. I haven't shot a custom 1911 (unless you count the S&W PC PD one with the tan CT grips. Thing is unreal)

Therefore my opinion should not be considered valid.

HOWEVER, I would like to pick up a custom or semi custom for my next purchase as well. I have been eying the Kimber Pro Covert II (But I am scared of Kimber reliability and people have told me that the words CUSTOM SHOP stamped on the barrel are practically a MIM lie) The Ed Brown Kobra Karry (love that bobtail, hate the slide checking) and I really like the Fusion 10mm Longslide Hunter than MtnClimbr bought. Thing's goddam beautiful.

Any suggestions, comments, advice?

If I can't make up my mind I may just buy a Sig like PlayboyPenguin's or try and find a reasonable HK USP Match (can you buy just the weight and affix it to any USP?)

Thanks for all the help (and I'd love to see more of that Fusion!)
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Old February 22, 2008, 02:45 AM   #23
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If you look at Wilson and Baer, they turn out 5,000 or more handguns a year.
It's actually more like 1500 pistols a year. No matter the number, you are correct and I think the general consensus is that Browns have the best fit and finish out of the traditional big three semi-custom shops. I myself would love to get a Special Forces, but it's just not in the cards right now.

As to the original poster I think it all depends on what you want? Accuracy, get a Baer. Want a great looking gun? Get a Brown. Is tactical your style? Take a look at Nighthawk.

Nighthawk, Baer, Wilson, and Brown are not really custom makers, they're more semi-custom. Nothing wrong with that, as I have a Baer myself, but if you really want to get a custom 1911 take a look at John Harrison, Ned Christiansen, or Jim Garthwaite among others.
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Old February 24, 2008, 04:56 PM   #24
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The BAER difference is that they are the only ones making their own slides and frames, fitting each and every part to the pistol you ordered, and test firing by Les Baer Himself before it is cleaned up and shipped to you.

Yes they are tight and yes they stay that way...and SHOOT and SHOOT and SHOOT !

I have over 50,000 rounds thru my Thunder Ranch...never a hick-up !
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Old February 24, 2008, 05:37 PM   #25
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I'm in your camp, as I have a Baer Thunder Ranch 1911 that soon will be
two years old. It has NEVER hiicuped or bobbled; not even once. You are
right, they are tight as Dicks Hat Band; allowing for much better accuracy.

FWIW, one can spend many more $$$$ on a real "Custom" 1911; but why?
In most instances, I find a person who spends that kind'a cash ($3500 or
so~!) on a truly "Custom" 1911; is nothing but a "Showman", wanting to
show his/her firearms off in front of an auidence.

With my "SEMI-Custom" Baer Thunder Ranch, I treat it as a "TOOL"; and
use it for the purposes for which it was intended~!

Last edited by Ala Dan; February 24, 2008 at 06:43 PM.
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