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Let's talk 1911's

Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior MemberPosts: 2,260 Senior Member
I'm sitting at my computer working and I'm bored out of my skull. I dread turning on the TV as I can't take any more election nonsense from either side. My son comes in and says dad I want a 1911, what do you recommend and what are the price ranges? The last half of his statement opened up a can of worms. I said I think you can find a new one stripped down for as little as $600 and take it up to over $6K. BTW, his look on his face was priceless. Now he can break my 70's series Colt down to every pieces part and put it back together quicker than I'll ever be able to, so he understands what's under the hood! So they dialog started.

I have a 70's series Colt 1911 Commander I bought from a customer whose grandpa passed away. They didn't believe in guns and wanted to get rid of them all. I asked how much and he said would $125.00 be too much. I said $500.00 would be a good starting point. He then said he wasn't in it to make money only get rid of the guns. I wrote him a check sight unseen on the spot. At lunch he went and retrieved it. It was in great condition and it just didn't feel right, I felt like I was stealing it from him. He insisted, we shook hands and the deal was done! This was back in 97 or 98. I gave it a cleaning and a little oil and off to the range I went. After 100 rounds it's started to jam about every other shot or so. I called my local gunsmith who did most of the pistol work for the Dallas PD. He said bring it by.

When I got to his place he had a complete Wilson Combat kit ready to be fitted and installed. Within a minute or so he had it torn down to every component. He put everything he wasn't planning on using into a baggie and gave it me. All that was left sitting on his bench was the frame and slide. Everything else was the Wilson Combat barrel and pieces parts as I called them. He said he had some fitting to do and it would be couple of days. A few days later he called and said come get it and bring a check for $600. He guaranteed it would never jam. It's only jammed once on me. One weekend I shot almost 1500 without a single issue. The man is a master smith with pistols.

Sorry back on topic. We went onto Les Baer and Wilson's websites to check out their 1911's. The average price for one is around $3K on their websites. He said minus the frame and slide, what on earth are they doing for $3K and even $5K. I said it's all in what you want and how much you're willing to spend. His comment was it's not like these guns are guaranteed sub MOA at 25 yards, it's a .45 for heavens sake. Then we went onto the Kimber website and I said if I was to buy a new one I'd give Kimber a lot of consideration. He really liked the Kimber's. I told him to look around as there are many many 1911 manufactures out there.

Our conversation kept going back to $3 to $6K for a 1911. He said I know what's under the hood, why so much and is there a real difference.

With that last statement is there a real difference in a $1K verses a $3K to $6K 1911, I'll open it up for discussion? Besides the prices differences, what are your likes and dislikes when it comes to 1911's?
Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

John 3: 1-21
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Replies

  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 24,621 Senior Member
    :popcorn:
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
    )O(
  • earlyearly Senior Member Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    I ain't payin' 3k for a 1911 pistol. Not today not tomorrow not ever. I don't begrudge the guy that does but I ain't him. I'm not an invester.

    My old boring sedan gets me there. A $600.00 to $700.00 pistol will shoot better than I can and function like God's own sunrise.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,484 Senior Member
    I'm with him, I don't get it either. My 6-700 dollar 1911s shoot better than me, I can't see one costing 5K making ME better.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,887 Senior Member
    Yes, there is a pretty big difference, but you reach diminishing returns VERY quickly. I'm sure Enzo will be around in a bit to explain.
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    The two 1911's I built from a pair of consecutive-numbered Parhump (Phiillipines) frames and Ebay parts kits go bang every time I squeeze the trigger, hit where they look, and don't jam. I've got MAYBE $400.00 in each one of them. That extra $600.00 will buy a LOT of practice ammo! By the time that's all burned up, I'll bet they will be as slick-working as most of the high-dollar guns.
    Jerry
  • gunner81gunner81 Member Posts: 546 Senior Member
    I bought a RIA 1911 a few months back & I wont spend any more for one. I realize it's not the best but it goes bang every time I pull the trigger and as a bonus it hits dead square in the bullseye
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    If he wants a basic "GI" 1911 plenty to choose from.

    If he wants some bells and whistles get one like SA Loaded model or a Dan Wesson (now owned by CZ USA) like my Pointman 7.............never needed or desired to do anything else to it. Good trigger, match bbl and 70s frame. I dunno what all CZ offers under the DW line now. The had a model called a Patriot that was a step up from mine.

    Then next I guess would be the high end and custom ones.

    Used to be folks would buy a Colt standard and add stuff and have it worked on to feed bullets other than 230 FMJs like C/T/HPs or buy a Gold Cup which was set up as a Softball (light) load shooter and change springs for hardball loads. They ain't cheap these days.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,645 Senior Member
    I have a tough time figuring out how a platform that had all it's major design work completed over 100 years ago can be worth 3 to 5 K,...I guess that it all boils down to where you are in this world financially and how much dollars actually mean in your life. All of my everyday 1911s together didn't come to 3K.....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,407 Senior Member
    Some Les Baers have an 1 1/2'' at 50 yards accuracy guarantee................... Some are 2 1/2'', and some are are 3''.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • Elk creekElk creek Senior Member Posts: 6,949 Senior Member
    Fwiw I love my SA range officer. Great trigger,good sights (not great for duty) the pistol has yet to disappoint......save the thumb safety had sharp edges when I first got it.
    Aim higher, or get a bigger gun.
  • Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior Member Posts: 2,260 Senior Member
    I'm glad it's not just me not wanting to spend big $$$ on a 1911. Y'alls thoughts are some of the same ones I gave my son!
    Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

    John 3: 1-21
  • NCFUBARNCFUBAR Senior Member Posts: 4,324 Senior Member
    Well, I will say I love my Hillsdale Les Baers but I think the LeClaire stuff has slipped. Personally I'd take a $1400 Springfield TRP over a $2100 Les Baer today and spend extra $700 on reloading supplies.

    Dollar for dollar if I were to buy a full size today is go CDNN and a Para Black Ops ...

    https://www.cdnnsports.com/para-usa-1911-45acp-black-ops.html?___SID=U

    It comes with ... IonBond coating, night sights, beavertail etc for $690 plus shipping and your FFL fees which would still likely be a total under $800 all said and done.
    “The further a society drifts from truth ... the more it will hate those who speak it."
    - George Orwell
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 25,834 Senior Member
    My 1911s span a somewhat broad spectrum of cost and performance. They all go bang, have proven reliable, and do what they were intended to do.

    You must ask yourself, what do you want this gun to do? What features do you like, dislike, want on the gun? What task are you wanting it to perform? What will be your intended usage for the gun?

    The answers to these questions will determine the gun best suited to your needs and the price you will need to pay for the gun.

    I will say, as the relative cost of my guns went up, the end result and performance increased as well. Define your end result and performance standards, then go from there.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,692 Senior Member
    I'll probably wind up with a grand in my Colt when I get it done. About half of that will be in the finish: NP3+. The rest will be giving it what I need to make it up to my needs:
    beavertail safety
    lowered and flared ejection port with extended ejector
    fit a new strong-side safety as the current one is... rough

    All of that's a few bills. It already has good sights, courtesy of the previous owner. Novak adjustables.

    In the end, with purchase price, I'm looking at $1500 for a firearm that is functionally just as good as my $600(used) Springfield loaded that I put about an additional benjamin into.

    Is one better than the other? No. But it'll be mine. And it'll perform how I want it to. Truth be told a Loaded Springfield, Rock Island Rock Series, STI Trojan, or any other similarly "enhanced" model with beavertail, decent safety, good sights, and enlarged ejector port is good to go. As long as it's reliable. To me the more expensive ones are subject to the law of diminishing returns, not unless you want a certain maker or country of origin. Or you want additional accuracy, a rail, etc.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    I have a few 1911s that some would consider expensive, but I paid well under $2k total, with mods, for each of them, including my custom Hatfield CCO. I've shot a Wilson, and I'm sorry to say I didn't really see or feel the extra $3k. My Hatfield easily kept up with the Wilson, and I think I'm in that for around $1700 all told.

    Wow, I'm agreeing with Pierre twice in one week! But yeah, I don't see paying gonzo bucks for one.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    LMLarsen wrote: »
    But yeah, I don't see paying gonzo bucks for one.

    Although Jason Burton could twist my arm...
    HPJB1.jpg
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,395 Senior Member
    I have an expensive Custom Colt's Gold Cup that was customized in the early 80s by a guy named Ikey Stark of Sports West in Denver. Ikey was pretty much a household name in early IPSC circles. He wasn't an Armand Swenson, but he made competition guns. It's served me well and is very accurate.

    That said, I have to bargain 1911s, one a Philippine Armscor Compact that's about 12 years old and the other an ATI Commander size. Both are bargain priced. Both shoot equally as tight as the customized Gold Cup.

    I won't spend big money on a custom pistol any more. I do wish I'd have mortgaged my home and bought an original Swenson back when he was making them.
    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • Farm Boy DeuceFarm Boy Deuce Senior Member Posts: 6,083 Senior Member
    LMLarsen wrote: »
    Although Jason Burton could twist my arm...
    HPJB1.jpg

    IF I had the money, this guy or Doug Turnbull might get a check from me. But that is based on looks alone.
    I am afraid we forget sometime that the basic and simple things brings us the most pleasure.
    Dad 5-31-13
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,767 Senior Member
    The following speech isn't new to the long-standers here. I keep thinking I should just bang out the gist of it in a Word doc to cut & paste when it comes up.

    If you're playing the NRA Bullseye match game, you need an expensive, fitted, tuned, pocket-size sniper rifle.

    If you're not, then you don't.

    My acid test is to ask "what is this tool for?" A 1911 that's decently fitted within the tolerances Uncle Sam arrived at a hundred years ago is capable of shooting tighter than 99% of the people that ever pick it up, and it will run. . .and run. . .and run. Building the gun "better" than that is likely to take away some of your reliability and is certain to jack up the price, and for what?.

    No bones about it, the $3,000 pistols Springfield Custom turns out for the FBI SWAT teams, or the works or Les Baer or Bill Wilson are the modern workmanship equivalent of a 17th Century katana, but again, what's it for? Yes, these works of art can hit a silver dollar from half a football field away. . .when they're locked in a vise - they aren't likely to be delivering that level of performance when fired in the dark, on the move, with a quart adrenaline involved, from ten feet or less.

    Hey, if you want a Ferrari, buy a Ferrari, but let's pour out the Kool Aid that says putting fixed tritium sights on an NRA Match pistol makes any kind of sense. It's a better combat pistol if you build it like a combat pistol and keep the marksmanship unit silliness out of the equation.

    The Phillipine Rock Islands do what a 1911 was intended to do. A thousand bucks should do it if you want some refinement. $1500 if you want to show off. Beyond that Match pistols or showing off.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Bigslug wrote: »
    The following speech isn't new to the long-standers here. I keep thinking I should just bang out the gist of it in a Word doc to cut & paste when it comes up.

    If you're playing the NRA Bullseye match game, you need an expensive, fitted, tuned, pocket-size sniper rifle.

    If you're not, then you don't.

    My acid test is to ask "what is this tool for?" A 1911 that's decently fitted within the tolerances Uncle Sam arrived at a hundred years ago is capable of shooting tighter than 99% of the people that ever pick it up, and it will run. . .and run. . .and run. Building the gun "better" than that is likely to take away some of your reliability and is certain to jack up the price, and for what?.

    No bones about it, the $3,000 pistols Springfield Custom turns out for the FBI SWAT teams, or the works or Les Baer or Bill Wilson are the modern workmanship equivalent of a 17th Century katana, but again, what's it for? Yes, these works of art can hit a silver dollar from half a football field away. . .when they're locked in a vise - they aren't likely to be delivering that level of performance when fired in the dark, on the move, with a quart adrenaline involved, from ten feet or less.

    Hey, if you want a Ferrari, buy a Ferrari, but let's pour out the Kool Aid that says putting fixed tritium sights on an NRA Match pistol makes any kind of sense. It's a better combat pistol if you build it like a combat pistol and keep the marksmanship unit silliness out of the equation.

    The Phillipine Rock Islands do what a 1911 was intended to do. A thousand bucks should do it if you want some refinement. $1500 if you want to show off. Beyond that Match pistols or showing off.

    :win: :win:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,647 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    I have a tough time figuring out how a platform that had all it's major design work completed over 100 years ago can be worth 3 to 5 K,..

    Yep. And there is no reason for a mechanical wristwatch to cost $25,000. But that is the starting place for some of the high end watch lines.

    At a certain point it stops being a place for function, and becomes functional art. It's in the craftsmanship, the artistry and the extra micron of accuracy, functionality and precision. Will I ever buy a Maybach or Ferrari? No. Even if I could afford it, they don't fit me and I don't desire one. But it makes me happy that they exist.

    Will I ever own a $3,000 1911? Probably not, but it makes me happy that they exist!
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,998 Senior Member
    I for one have always thought 1911 were way over priced, I don't own and have never owned an actual 1911, my only type 1911 is a Argentine Ballaster-Molina, I bought 25 of them, arsenal re-finished for $125.00 each, kept some for myself and kids. I have never had a feeding or extraction/ejection problem with them, I can mix and match HP, ball, SWC, etc. Setting them up in a Ransom Rest, accuracy was on par with several Colt 1911s, the only parts interchangeable with standard 1911s are the barrel and mag. The only thing I did to them is polish the feed ramps and make new grips.

    In short I'm happy with what I have and there is no way I'd spend $1000.00 on a 1911.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 25,834 Senior Member
    Keep in perspective that some of you will spend more on a house, car, truck, TV, vacation, tool, RV, boat, motorcycle, tummy tuck, butt lift, or stereo system than I would EVER consider necessary for my needs and wants. So, before berating someone as showing off because they paid more for a gun than you ever would...............take a look in your garage, livingroom, tool shed, back yard, or bedroom before you go poking about ones excess.

    If you live in a van down by the river.........by all means............bash away at my choice of firearms.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,887 Senior Member
    If I hit the lotto it would be hit or miss on whether or not anybody ever saw me again...
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 22,256 Senior Member
    With all the hand fitting and craftsmanship that goes in the Baer, Wilson etc. I understand their price point and have no problem with folks who want to buy one.

    With that said, with MINOR modifications, my Rem 1911R1 (~$700 total) and my Para Expert Commander ($499.63 out the door) do precisely what I bought them to do. The Rem is probably making a trip to Robar, and eventually the Para's probably going somewhere for a "better" rear sight, but otherwise, they're good for what I bought them for.

    If I won the lottery, would I spend the $3-6K on a high end?? Honestly, I can't say, but I'm doubtful.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,812 Senior Member
    The 1911 is the great American pistol, like the Colt SAA is the great American revolver. Every gun nut has to have one. For me, a $900 off-the-shelf Springfield Loaded Champion fit the bill, perfectly. I shoot it well and it looks good - end of story. Not being obsessed by the design allows me to carry perfectly functioning plastic, Glock-like pistols that make more sense for a person like me, for personal protection.
  • earlyearly Senior Member Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    For what a marriage gone bad has cost, I could have had more high priced bobbles than an Arabian king. :p
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    early wrote: »
    For what a marriage gone bad has cost, I could have had more high priced bobbles than an Arabian king. :p

    :yikes: :yikes: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    I think what happens to some 1911 buyers especially back in the day......is they bought a standard GI type model and weren't real happy with it even though it did what it was designed to....that is fire 230 grain Hardball ammo into 3-4 inches @ 25 yards. Some were better than others outta the box.

    So first off, feed ramp polishing and maybe trigger work/new sights.

    These days plenty come with that stuff fixed already and plenty more with bells and whistles, the sky is the limit.

    I still think a a parkerized basic/standard GI 1911 in flap holster and few extra mags is plenty to get the job done whether in the house or out strapped on for most of us. Even with hardball 230 grain ammo, one of the few semi-auto calibers (if not the only one) that can claim that honor.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • 104RFAST104RFAST Senior Member Posts: 1,281 Senior Member
    1911,s seem to fit my hand perfectly and all are a pleasure to shoot no mater the manufacture or caliber. I have had several over the years,even had a Korean version
    that I regrettably sold. For me,I,m a little old to continue buying 1911's just to have them but, if I ever lost all self control anything north of $1000 better be purrrdy.
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