Rate the top 4 semi-custom builds [Archive] - Glock Talk

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GOOFA
10-06-2012, 11:45
We've kicked this around for years, but in light of price increases and the current economic situation, how would you rate the top 4 mfrs. of semi-custom 1911's?

Guncrafter

Wilson Combat

Springfield Custom

NightHawk

bac1023
10-06-2012, 12:12
In no particular order...

Springfield Custom

Wilson

Guncrafter

Les Baer

glock2740
10-06-2012, 12:17
I would rate the top 4 IMO and in no certain order as:
Guncrafter
Wilson
Brown
SACS

Tie for fifth:
Baer
Nighthawk

Although I would classify all 6 of the above mentioned to all be in the same class, with all worthy of owning. I own some of each. :cool:

38 Super Fan
10-06-2012, 12:43
All great shops for sure, when economics are figured in, Baers are hard to beat IMO.

PlasticGuy
10-06-2012, 21:26
In no particular order, based a good blend of price/quality/uniqueness:

Les Baer
Nighthawk
Springfield
Wilson

bac1023
10-07-2012, 02:35
All great shops for sure, when economics are figured in, Baers are hard to beat IMO.

:agree:

R0CKETMAN
10-07-2012, 04:43
All great shops for sure, when economics are figured in, Baers are hard to beat IMO.

True words Cody

None mentioned so far are built like a Baer...none:wavey:

faawrenchbndr
10-07-2012, 06:00
I would rate the top 4 IMO and in no certain order as:
Guncrafter
Wilson
Brown
SACS

Tie for fifth:
Baer
Nighthawk

Although I would classify all 6 of the above mentioned to all be in the same class, with all worthy of owning. I own some of each. :cool:


I would agree with this,.....assuming price was not a factor.
I have owned a Brown, Wilson, Baer, & Guncrafter.
The GI is by far the best semi-custom when pricing is a consideration.

bac1023
10-07-2012, 06:11
True words Cody

None mentioned so far are built like a Baer...none:wavey:

I feel Guncrafter and Springfield Custom build them tight like Baer does.

I hear what you're saying though.

faawrenchbndr
10-07-2012, 06:21
All great shops for sure, when economics are figured in, Baers are hard to beat IMO.

Never cared for the way Les cares to finish his 1911s.
Bluing is nice, but prep work is sub-par........IMO

Officer's Match
10-07-2012, 06:50
True words Cody

None mentioned so far are built like a Baer...none:wavey:

I agree. My list, in order, would be:

1. Les Baer
2. SACS
3. Wilson Combat
4. Ed Brown

I've no doubt Guncrafter would be on there (displacing EB - don't know where GC would rank) if I ever get around to owning one.

bac1023
10-07-2012, 06:54
Never cared for the way Les cares to finish his 1911s.
Bluing is nice, but prep work is sub-par........IMO

The standard finish on Baers is not up to some of the other semi-customs, but the build quality is awesome.

HexHead
10-07-2012, 06:54
Again, no particular order...
Nighthawk
Wilson
Baer
Brown

On second thought, I'd say in that order.

bac1023
10-07-2012, 07:12
Again, no particular order...
Nighthawk
Wilson
Baer
Brown

On second thought, I'd say in that order.

Wow, Nighthawk first?

HexHead
10-07-2012, 07:25
Wow, Nighthawk first?

Yeah, I've got one I ordered direct from them in 2008, to my specs. I've yet to see anything nicer.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/misc/DSC_0022-2.jpg

bac1023
10-07-2012, 07:32
Nice.

I've got one from 2007 and one from 2008. They are great 1911s for sure.

glock2740
10-07-2012, 07:49
The GI is by far the best semi-custom when pricing is a consideration.
I agree. :cool: They cost a little more than most Baer's, but you get your money's worth. Plus, Alex is hands on.

glock2740
10-07-2012, 07:54
Never cared for the way Les cares to finish his 1911s.
Bluing is nice, but prep work is sub-par........IMO

The standard finish on Baers is not up to some of the other semi-customs, but the build quality is awesome.
I agree with both statements. I think Les is more about the performance than the aesthetics. Might be why he can turn them out for less money.

bac1023
10-07-2012, 08:10
I agree with both statements. I think Les is more about the performance than the aesthetics. Might be why he can turn them out for less money.

Exactly

MD357
10-07-2012, 08:19
Take you pick....

Baer, SACS, Brown, Wilson, GC... you're splitting hairs.




























Nighthawk. Sorry, they've just gone downhil IMO. I don't understand asking big boy money for a 1911 and slapping a Kimber ambi-safety on it.

faawrenchbndr
10-07-2012, 08:32
I agree with both statements. I think Les is more about the performance than the aesthetics. Might be why he can turn them out for less money.

Very well stated

bac1023
10-07-2012, 08:42
I wish Unertl still built 1911s. They were awesome. :cool:


http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc398/cutillo_2011/025-1.jpg

http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc398/cutillo_2011/027-1.jpg

HexHead
10-07-2012, 09:21
Nighthawk. Sorry, they've just gone downhil IMO. I don't understand asking big boy money for a 1911 and slapping a Kimber ambi-safety on it.

Not an issue for me, I won't have an ambi safety on a pistol I carry. In any event, if you order custom built they will put on whatever safety you want. At that price point, I'm not going into a LGS and buying one off the shelf.

MD357
10-07-2012, 09:35
Not an issue for me, I won't have an ambi safety on a pistol I carry. In any event, if you order custom built they will put on whatever safety you want. At that price point, I'm not going into a LGS and buying one off the shelf.

I'm eluding to an example of their mentality. Why put a sub-par ambi on a $2500+ 1911? Why pay that much for a Remsport frame and slide with shyty checking, sometimes with no undercut? What parts do they honestly make? Sorry they just don't measure up for the price they want. Nice guns...... but for the money you might aswell be lookng at a DW.

When the competition is making their own stuff and charging the same amount it's a no brainer.

bac1023
10-07-2012, 10:04
You bring up some good points, MD. Both my Nighthawks were built years ago. They both have ambi safeties, but strangely, only one uses the Kimber version.

glock2740
10-07-2012, 10:10
Not an issue for me, I won't have an ambi safety on a pistol I carry. In any event, if you order custom built they will put on whatever safety you want. At that price point, I'm not going into a LGS and buying one off the shelf.
:agree:

38 Super Fan
10-07-2012, 10:14
Never cared for the way Les cares to finish his 1911s.
Bluing is nice, but prep work is sub-par........IMO
They definately don't put finish as their biggest priority, but more important for me is that the build quality is there, and they're hundreds of dollars cheaper than everyone else on the list.



I have owned a Brown, Wilson, Baer, & Guncrafter.
The GI is by far the best semi-custom when pricing is a consideration.
I need to get my hands on a No Name. :cool:

faawrenchbndr
10-07-2012, 10:28
You do have a very valid point.

glock2740
10-07-2012, 10:51
I need to get my hands on a No Name. :cool:
Yes you do. :thumbsup:

bac1023
10-07-2012, 10:56
I need to get my hands on a No Name. :cool:

:thumbsup:

faawrenchbndr
10-07-2012, 11:05
.......
I need to get my hands on a No Name. :cool:

Yep,........:whistling:

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c341/faawrenchbndr/7c47e987550d7ac5f7aa4313438d296e.jpg

38 Super Fan
10-07-2012, 11:44
Jeez, talk about peer pressure.

bac1023
10-07-2012, 12:06
Jeez, talk about peer pressure.

That's what this site is all about, Cody. ;)

Short Cut
10-07-2012, 12:16
I find it intersting what has changed on this list. ~10 years ago it was pretty solidly Wilson, Baer, Brown. Springfield Custom Shop and Guncrafter Industries are now on everybody's list who owns one.

faawrenchbndr
10-07-2012, 12:19
Jeez, talk about peer pressure.

You know I HAD to do it. :embarassed:

38 Super Fan
10-07-2012, 12:54
:rofl: I guess I've dished out my fair share of peer pressure too.

GOOFA
10-07-2012, 13:34
Never cared for the way Les cares to finish his 1911s.
Bluing is nice, but prep work is sub-par........IMO

I agree. My experience is LB bluing is just adequate. My PII after 2000 rounds still requires a bushing wrench and the slide release still a PITA.

bac1023
10-07-2012, 13:51
:rofl: I guess I've dished out my fair share of peer pressure too.

Yes you have.

... and what goes around comes around, my friend. ;)



:rofl:

bac1023
10-07-2012, 13:52
I agree. My experience is LB bluing is just adequate. My PII after 2000 rounds still requires a bushing wrench and the slide release still a PITA.

You have to go with stainless or hard chrome when buying a Baer, in my opinion.

MD357
10-07-2012, 15:43
I agree. My experience is LB bluing is just adequate. My PII after 2000 rounds still requires a bushing wrench and the slide release still a PITA.

It's crazy that a 1911 builder actually builds them to be shot. Weird.

faawrenchbndr
10-07-2012, 15:49
It's crazy that a 1911 builder actually builds them to be shot. Weird.

Yep,......:cool:

GOOFA
10-07-2012, 17:49
I agree. My experience is LB bluing is just adequate. My PII after 2000 rounds still requires a bushing wrench and the slide release still a PITA.

It's crazy that a 1911 builder actually builds them to be shot. Weird.

And your point is?

MD357
10-07-2012, 18:44
And your point is?

Was the sarcasm too thick? :cool:

GOOFA
10-07-2012, 19:07
Was the sarcasm too thick? :cool:

Simply put, when I put out $2000 for a 1911 such as my Les Baer I would like my bushing to perform similar to other 1911's costing hundreds less to hundreds more. I'm not the only one to experience this. The same goes for the slide release, Les will tell you it's normal and that you need to purchase one of his Pachmayer widgets to insert the slide release without damaging the frame. I have 1911's ranging from $550 to $3500 and they do not exhibit this. Also, I've seen finishes much better than LB on 1911's that cost less.
I think LB is one of the best semi custom 1911's for the price as far as performance for the dollar goes, but I don't appreciate the insanely tight bushings and I shouldn't have to eff with the slide release for a $2000 1911.

Ruggles
10-07-2012, 19:16
I prefer Wilson overall and have a new one on order right now. I just prefer the overall combo of quality, build choice, customer service and reputation. The two I currently own have no complaints from me.

I think Brown builds the best looking 1911 bar none. Great quality as well. I only have 1 Brown but would buy a second without hesitation.

The Baer I had was a 4 1/4" TRS, to me it was not as well built or reliable as the Wilson or Brown 1911s. I have read that Baer <5" have issue so that might be the reason mine had issues. It was built overly tight IMO. I would buy a Baer again but only a 5" model.

Never had a GI or SF Custom but have read great things. :)

MD357
10-07-2012, 19:54
Simply put, when I put out $2000 for a 1911 such as my Les Baer I would like my bushing to perform similar to other 1911's costing hundreds less to hundreds more. I'm not the only one to experience this. The same goes for the slide release, Les will tell you it's normal and that you need to purchase one of his Pachmayer widgets to insert the slide release without damaging the frame. I have 1911's ranging from $550 to $3500 and they do not exhibit this. Also, I've seen finishes much better than LB on 1911's that cost less.
I think LB is one of the best semi custom 1911's for the price as far as performance for the dollar goes, but I don't appreciate the insanely tight bushings and I shouldn't have to eff with the slide release for a $2000 1911.

Again, Baer builds guns to last and to be shot. I remember a thread of a guy that had over 25K through his on another forum and yep the bluing had worn but it wasn't rusting. Maybe Baer doesn't care about the finish because he figures many won't even wear through the most fragile of finishes. Just curious....How about yours? Please post pics of yours after 2K rounds.... I'm curious as to how bad it really is. I will say that Baer does offer different finishes and they ARE as cheap if not cheaper than other semi-customs when you walk out the door.


Accuracy is what you get for that tightness that gives you so much trouble. Dunno what to tell you if it bothers you that much. Would you agree that they are some of THE most accurate stock 1911s out there? Hopefully the basics of how 1911s work relay that you can't have something for nothing.


To put it simply, I'll listen to criticisms that (insert brand here) is not accurate, reliable, etc. But the comments about finishes and worrying about breaking nails when you strip it crack me up.

38 Super Fan
10-07-2012, 20:07
Yes you have.

... and what goes around comes around, my friend. ;)



:rofl:
:animlol:

mleroux21
10-08-2012, 00:01
I would rate the top 4 IMO and in no certain order as:
Guncrafter
Wilson
Brown
SACS

Tie for fifth:
Baer
Nighthawk

Although I would classify all 6 of the above mentioned to all be in the same class, with all worthy of owning. I own some of each. :cool:


I agree!!!

R0CKETMAN
10-08-2012, 03:51
Simply put, when I put out $2000 for a 1911 such as my Les Baer I would like my bushing to perform similar to other 1911's costing hundreds less to hundreds more. I'm not the only one to experience this. The same goes for the slide release, Les will tell you it's normal and that you need to purchase one of his Pachmayer widgets to insert the slide release without damaging the frame. I have 1911's ranging from $550 to $3500 and they do not exhibit this. Also, I've seen finishes much better than LB on 1911's that cost less.
I think LB is one of the best semi custom 1911's for the price as far as performance for the dollar goes, but I don't appreciate the insanely tight bushings and I shouldn't have to eff with the slide release for a $2000 1911.

Perhaps learning an alternative disassembly/assembly method would help....no "widgets" required:supergrin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJhPari7dpc&sns=em

Rinspeed
10-08-2012, 05:01
Simply put, when I put out $2000 for a 1911 such as my Les Baer I would like my bushing to perform similar to other 1911's costing hundreds less to hundreds more.





If the bushing tightness bothers you that much it's a very simple fix.

Officer's Match
10-08-2012, 05:36
I find it intersting what has changed on this list. ~10 years ago it was pretty solidly Wilson, Baer, Brown. Springfield Custom Shop and Guncrafter Industries are now on everybody's list who owns one.

Well, sort of... My SACS is from 1991 and it is as Brian mentioned "Baer-tight". 'Course that could be because Les ran SACS at that time.

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e131/sly250r/Springfield/SAesm9-1.jpg

GVFlyer
10-08-2012, 05:55
Using the marginal utility, iTunes descriptor - in this case not how often I play the tune, but how often I shoot the gun:

1. Wilson Combat.
2. Ed Brown
3. Les Baer
4.Nighthawk Custom.

I have to agree with the others who have stated that Les Baer offers best value.

I know that this doesn't count, but I find that I shoot this hard chrome Colt .38 Super more than any of the above listed guns.

http://i444.photobucket.com/albums/qq166/GVFlyer/xm813/ColtSCG-1.jpg?t=1318031668

tsmo1066
10-08-2012, 09:54
In no particular order...

Springfield Custom

Wilson

Guncrafter

Les Baer

Out of curiosity, why would you not place Ed Brown in your top 4?

NEOH212
10-15-2012, 03:54
Take you pick....

Baer, SACS, Brown, Wilson, GC... you're splitting hairs.

I agree 100% About the only difference I've seen between these manufactures (aesthetics aside) are the levels of refinement. All shoot very well, are super accurate and dead nuts reliable.


Nighthawk. Sorry, they've just gone downhil IMO. I don't understand asking big boy money for a 1911 and slapping a Kimber ambi-safety on it.

I must say I'm disappointed with Nighthawk. I've handled and shot a few of them and I'm just not impressed. The fit and finish on the ones I fired wasn't what I'd expect on a gun with that kind of price tag.

They also didn't seem to be the most reliable and that's something I would not tolerate in a gun that costs over $3,000.

The Ed Brown I once had never malfunctioned once through the several thousand rounds I ran through it. That's not counting what the previous owner fired out of it.

Nighthawk makes some nice stuff but IMHO, they are not on par with Wilson, Brown or any of the other big boys. They a high end production gun with a custom price tag with Kimber reliability, fit and finish.

In other words, they have a long way to go before I'd drop the coin they are asking for.

I know that comment will piss some people off but that was my experience with two separate guns from Nighthawk.

Sorry.

SpringerTGO
10-15-2012, 09:21
Wow, Nighthawk first?

You guys have heard my gripes about Nighthawk so I won't recite them again.
Let's just say after my experience with Nighthawk I would rate them just below Kimber.

bac1023
10-16-2012, 21:41
You guys have heard my gripes about Nighthawk so I won't recite them again.
Let's just say after my experience with Nighthawk I would rate them just below Kimber.

Ouch!

20South
10-16-2012, 22:02
Wilson
Guncrafter
Springfield
Baer

glock2740
10-16-2012, 22:35
I agree 100% About the only difference I've seen between these manufactures (aesthetics aside) are the levels of refinement. All shoot very well, are super accurate and dead nuts reliable.




I must say I'm disappointed with Nighthawk. I've handled and shot a few of them and I'm just not impressed. The fit and finish on the ones I fired wasn't what I'd expect on a gun with that kind of price tag.

They also didn't seem to be the most reliable and that's something I would not tolerate in a gun that costs over $3,000.

The Ed Brown I once had never malfunctioned once through the several thousand rounds I ran through it. That's not counting what the previous owner fired out of it.

Nighthawk makes some nice stuff but IMHO, they are not on par with Wilson, Brown or any of the other big boys. They a high end production gun with a custom price tag with Kimber reliability, fit and finish.

In other words, they have a long way to go before I'd drop the coin they are asking for.

I know that comment will piss some people off but that was my experience with two separate guns from Nighthawk.

Sorry.
The Lady calls it likes she see's it. And I agree with her. :cool:

SpringerTGO
10-17-2012, 09:36
Ouch!

Bac....
At least Kimber didn't accuse me of lying, their 1911 had the features they promised, and I didn't have to read about what parts they supply that they don't warranty.

Tophatter
10-18-2012, 07:01
I've only shot Baers, Nighthawks, and Wilsons, so those are my only basis for comparison. All three impressed me. I own a Baer, a Custom Carry with the 1.5" guarantee. The finish is starting to wear a little, but frankly, I think a worn blued 1911 looks a hell of a lot better than one that stays murdered-out for its lifetime. It's also not nearly as tight as a non-1.5" gun; that seems to be a common report.

It has been the most reliable gun I've owned. It's gone 2000 rounds without cleaning, ate everything it's been fed, and failed exactly zero times since I bought it. It doesn't have the cosmetic appeal of a Wilson or a NHC, but that works for me. The gun just runs.

devildog66
10-22-2012, 11:44
All are superb quality but everything can break and that is where WC is superb. No questions - great weapon and unmatched customer service.

SpringerTGO
10-22-2012, 12:01
All are superb quality but everything can break and that is where WC is superb. No questions - great weapon and unmatched customer service.

Very good point.
Isn't customer service a major part of what we are paying for with a custom build?
Springield bent over backwards to treat me well when the ambi safety broke on my TGO1. They paid shipping both ways, bought a Wilson Bullet Proof Safety, and took care of the install within a few days.

Nighthawk????? Even though I was told their safety is as reliable as Wilson's bullet proof safety by their rep, the owner accused me of lying about those conversations, and said they don't warranty ambi safeties.
It would be laughable except the joke is on me for buying a $3000 1911 from such a jerk.

devildog66
10-22-2012, 12:04
Very good point.
Isn't customer service a major part of what we are paying for with a custom build?
Springield bent over backwards to treat me well when the ambi safety broke on my TGO1. They paid shipping both ways, bought a Wilson Bullet Proof Safety, and took care of the install within a few days.

I had also heard the same about SA customer service but have no direct experience with them. Though I loved my loaded lightweight 1911.

Clutch Cargo
10-22-2012, 12:07
I agree. My list, in order, would be:

1. Les Baer
2. SACS
3. Wilson Combat
4. Ed Brown

I've no doubt Guncrafter would be on there (displacing EB - don't know where GC would rank) if I ever get around to owning one.

I agree, Ed Brown is one of the elite.

broncobuddha1
10-22-2012, 14:43
Not on par with Wilson or Brown but I woud think DW before Springfield.

Rinspeed
10-22-2012, 15:36
but I woud think DW before Springfield.




The mention of SA are of the Custom Shop which is a couple steps up from a DW.

faawrenchbndr
10-22-2012, 15:43
Not on par with Wilson or Brown but I woud think DW before Springfield.


Do you put a Cadillac above a BMW M3?

glock2740
10-22-2012, 18:31
Do you put a Cadillac above a BMW M3?
That depends. Does the Cadillac have a big ole set of longhorns on the hood?...:whistling:


:rofl:

bac1023
10-22-2012, 18:59
Not on par with Wilson or Brown but I woud think DW before Springfield.

I'd put Springfield Custom above Ed Brown and at least on par with Wilson.

MD357
10-22-2012, 22:05
Do you put a Cadillac above a BMW M3?

I'll take a CTS-V 7 ways till sunday over an M3 or M5. :supergrin:

broncobuddha1
10-23-2012, 08:35
Depends. Are you over 65? Me neither.... M3. :supergrin:

Not real familiar with SAs Custom Shop stuff.

And unfortunately, I've never had the opportunity to shoot a Wilson or Brown. Maybe someday. Though I'm very happy with my 10mm CBOB.

Wyoming
10-23-2012, 20:58
You have to go with stainless or hard chrome when buying a Baer, in my opinion.

I am glad to you have such praise for Les Baer. I just bought one last weekend off of Gun Broker in stainless steel. Mailed everthing off Monday and will have to wait. As you know I don't get to see the selection of guns that you can find locally so I have to take my chances with Gun Broker.

BTW, it doesn't have any idiot marks.:whistling:

ca survivor
10-24-2012, 07:17
All great shops for sure, when economics are figured in, Baers are hard to beat IMO.
:agree:

bac1023
10-24-2012, 13:33
I am glad to you have such praise for Les Baer. I just bought one last weekend off of Gun Broker in stainless steel. Mailed everthing off Monday and will have to wait. As you know I don't get to see the selection of guns that you can find locally so I have to take my chances with Gun Broker.

BTW, it doesn't have any idiot marks.:whistling:

Awesome

Which model is it?

BTW, I use Gunbroker all the time and never had a bad experience.

Officer's Match
10-24-2012, 17:49
The mention of SA are of the Custom Shop which is a couple steps up from a DW.

Yes, a couple of Usain Bolt steps.

wrx04
10-24-2012, 17:53
I'll take a CTS-V 7 ways till sunday over an M3 or M5. :supergrin:

FAIL:tongueout:

Wyoming
10-24-2012, 19:54
Awesome

Which model is it?

BTW, I use Gunbroker all the time and never had a bad experience.

It is a Les Baer Concept V Stainless for $1425.25 in excellent condition.

bac1023
10-25-2012, 04:59
It is a Les Baer Concept V Stainless for $1425.25 in excellent condition.

Very nice. I've got the same gun.

The Concept V only comes stainless, actually.