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Sidearms & Scatterguns 1911 - what would you spend $1000 - 2000 on if you had the cash

M198gunner

LtCol
Full Member
Minuteman
Jul 27, 2012
274
0
CONUS Southeast
Looking to pick up a 1911, I have zero time with them. Have been reading about what to look for in the barrel and bushings.

I like the single stack look with a 5-6 inch barrel. What would you choose in the $1000+ range and the $1500+ range and why? I will use if for carry and shooting drills, no competitions. Want something that performs out of the box and does not require upgrades.

Sorry if this has been asked before, looking for current info. I have looked at a lot of Kimbers, STI and custom builders. Just to many options.
 
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with that money:
dan wesson specialist,valor, run as they are use money for ammo
springfield trp .. find a used one( 1000+-) send it back to SAI and have parts upgraded as you like.. maybe replace MIM trigger,sear etc and have them tune it a little
maybe a used ed brown, wilson or ?
 
DSC02488.jpg


A post by Ned Christiansen on another forum- Ned is one of the best 1911 gunsmiths in the world, and i'd love to see someone debate that point
Friend Rob's Operator, round count now in the mid-to-high 80K's. This gun has held up extremely well-- the only MIM part to break was the plunger tube and that was at over 80K. 95% of rounds fired through it have been cast SWC handloads...... pretty hard for an individual to get a round count like that on factory fodder
 
One cannot beat a Kimber for price and accuracy. I have owned 10 of them over the years. 10? Every time someone would shoot one of mine they wound up buying it. We currently own two Stainless Target models. All of my Kimbers have been superbly accurate. About the only thing needed is a trigger job. If a 3-4 lb trigger works for you then a trigger job is not needed. Both of ours are competition guns. I set the triggers at 1 1/2 lbs. A friend of mine made the most telling statement about Kimber quality. He said, "If I had known how good these Kimbers were I would have never bought a Les Baer".
I had the opportunity to work on a friend's Night Hawk the other day. I must admit they really build a nice gun. One of my shooting buds is the Night Hawk factory shooter. Matt did OK at the IDPA Nationals - 1st Master.
Forgot to mention. There is nothing wrong with MIM parts. The above mentioned friend, that made the Les Baer statement, had me examine two of his Kimbers for wear along with the Les Baer. Both Kimbers had well over 50,000 rounds through them. No parts needed replacing. The MIM sear and hammer had held up just as well as the forged Les Baer parts.
 
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Les Baer, STI, Dan Wesson for that price. I absolutely hate current production Kimbers with a passion

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk 2
 
Used to shoot 3-Gun and have built several 1911's. Mine were built with a minimalist approach concentrating on function and effectiveness. I currently own no handguns, but if I were to buy one it would be for exactly what you have in mind, and I would go directly to the Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer. No frills, just cut straight to the chase.

I agree with your views about the information overload; and I personally think the functionality and accuracy are in the things the Range Officer's configuration concentrates upon, and in the shooters themselves. While the rest of the 'cool stuff' many makers offer can often be justified, I also think they result on a lot of people ending up with more gun than they need, and maybe more gun than they can use to its full potential.

IMHO simpler is better, and the Range officer strikes pretty much the perfect balance with cost vs options/value. That its price (still?) falls beneath your targeted price point does not mean anything with reference to getting what you need. That extra moolah buys a lot of ammo, and may even pay for a decent handloading capability.

Greg
 
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I bought an STI Lawman 5.0 earlier this year. Have roughly 1k through her and she has been an absolute dream to shoot. The trigger stands out to me as being particularly nice and crisp. The only issue I've had was the factory and Chip Power Mags I bought would hang up on the first round of a fully loaded 8rd magazine. That was only the first range trip though and since I've worked the springs and lubed em up, they've all been flawless.

My other option when I bought mine was a used Springfield TRP. Excellent option and with Springfield's custom shop, you can have just about anything you want done to it.
 
Personally I would buy a GI or OA WWII, buy $1000+ worth of ammo, off the shelf or reloading, trigger time is more important than the tool. As time goes, find a 1911 smith and have it tricked up like you want, not what the off shelf gives you. You do not want upgrades, famous last words for someone getting their first 1911!!

They all perform out of the box with good magazines like wilson or mccorrmick, use grease, make sure you get plenty of rounds down range, do not get excited when you get it home and make a rookie mark, I prefer a piece of electricians tape, some like a business card, some are good enough but I place a piece of tape just in case.

If it doesn't run right out of the box then the roll mark on the side or the label on the box means nothing.

But if you must:
Range Officer
MC Operator
TRP
E series, I hate the look but first 3 shots out of the box at 15 yards touched and stayed that way unless I got stupid that I did with #4 but very accurate out of the box.
 
Personally I would buy a GI or AO WWII, buy $1000+ worth of ammo, off the shelf or reloading, trigger time is more important than the tool. As time goes, find a 1911 smith and have it tricked up like you want, not what the off shelf gives you. You do not want upgrades, famous last words for someone getting their first 1911!!

They all perform out of the box with good magazines like wilson or mccorrmick, use grease, make sure you get plenty of rounds down range, do not get excited when you get it home and make a rookie mark, I prefer a piece of electricians tape, some like a business card, some are good enough but I place a piece of tape just in case.

If it doesn't run right out of the box then the roll mark on the side or the label on the box means nothing.

But if you must:
Range Officer
MC Operator
TRP
E series, I hate the look but first 3 shots out of the box at 15 yards touched and stayed that way unless I got stupid that I did with #4 but very accurate out of the box.
 
I'd try to find a used Wilson Combat. A used Wilson is still 5X better than 80% of the new 1911's
 
Jared, what do you hate about the current Kimbers? I don't particularly like the Swartz safety, but that can be adjusted to the point it does not present a problem. I do like my 9mm Kimber. What is really nice is you can install a .40 barrel. Kimber uses the same breech face for 9mm and .40.
 
All,

Input is appreciated. Based on current post above and PMs I think I am going to look heavily at the Springfields and Wilsons, what models would you recommend and why?

BigJoe29, that pistol looks fantastic. Something with the worn finish that says "F-Ya".

All, thanks again.
 
In MY personal opinion and experience, the fit and finish was sub par. Not to mention QC. It seems as if you get a lot of lemons from them. I am not bashing the whole line, but I personally just do not like them, for what you are paying for, you could get an STI or a Baer. I have had quite a few friends who have all had problems with them. Feeding issues, (we tried all sorts of different mags and ammo), problems with the safety like mentioned, and loose grip safety fit. I am sure there are a lot of great running Kimbers out there, but like I mentioned, I just don't care for them, and would rather pay a few hundred more for a Baer.
 
Wow Jared, I have never experienced any of those issues. Guess I got "lucky" 10 times. None of my shooting buds have had any of those issues either. The only thing I have ever had to "adjust" was the extractor on a couple of mine. They would extract just fine, but I like a little more tension on the rim. Took all of 5 minutes to fix that. All of mine would feed 200 gr SWC and 230 ball without a hitch. I have built dozens of 1911s in the past, but decided it was just not worth the time and effort involved to continue to do so. Sure there was the pride thing that I could say "I built this from scratch".
BTW a Les Baer is a lot more $$$ than a few hundred. The cheapest LB is the PII. It runs almost $2,000. A Kimber Stainless Target is a little less than $1,000.
Not trying to start anything here. Just saying I have experienced the exact opposite of what you said you experienced.
I have been "playing" with 1911s for well over 35 years.
 
Wow Jared, I have never experienced any of those issues. Guess I got "lucky" 10 times. None of my shooting buds have had any of those issues either. The only thing I have ever had to "adjust" was the extractor on a couple of mine. They would extract just fine, but I like a little more tension on the rim. Took all of 5 minutes to fix that. All of mine would feed 200 gr SWC and 230 ball without a hitch. I have built dozens of 1911s in the past, but decided it was just not worth the time and effort involved to continue to do so. Sure there was the pride thing that I could say "I built this from scratch".
BTW a Les Baer is a lot more $$$ than a few hundred. The cheapest LB is the PII. It runs almost $2,000. A Kimber Stainless Target is a little less than $1,000.
Not trying to start anything here. Just saying I have experienced the exact opposite of what you said you experienced.
I have been "playing" with 1911s for well over 35 years.

Like I said, just my own experience with them, and my preferences. And I am pretty sure you can find Baers for a lot less than 2k..

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk 2
 
I own Nighthawk, but that's out of your price range unless you can find used. I'd stay away from Kimber. They do a great job marketing; I'm not thrilled about their quality.

For the vicinity of $1000, I would look at Springfield, STI (a little too race-gun-ish for me), Dan Wesson.

If you could find a used Ed Brown, Wilson, or Nighthawk in that price range, I'd jump on it. I thought I remember seeing a used Ed Brown Special Forces on here not too long ago.
 
I'm a 1911 guy and love them. Always have and always will. That being said if I had your kind of cash to spend I would go with a fusion firearms bobtail commander. Fusions are second to none on quality and it's a full custom rig built to your specs. That being said I am currently running an SAR K2. 13+1 rounds of 45acp with a 4.25" barrel runs locked and cocked and because of that has the best trigger I've shot in a high cap rig.

I don't think your going to go wrong with either.

Good luck,
Merritt
 
One cannot beat a Kimber for price and accuracy. I have owned 10 of them over the years. 10? Every time someone would shoot one of mine they wound up buying it. We currently own two Stainless Target models. All of my Kimbers have been superbly accurate. About the only thing needed is a trigger job. If a 3-4 lb trigger works for you then a trigger job is not needed. Both of ours are competition guns. I set the triggers at 1 1/2 lbs. A friend of mine made the most telling statement about Kimber quality. He said, "If I had known how good these Kimbers were I would have never bought a Les Baer".
I had the opportunity to work on a friend's Night Hawk the other day. I must admit they really build a nice gun. One of my shooting buds is the Night Hawk factory shooter. Matt did OK at the IDPA Nationals - 1st Master.
Forgot to mention. There is nothing wrong with MIM parts. The above mentioned friend, that made the Les Baer statement, had me examine two of his Kimbers for wear along with the Les Baer. Both Kimbers had well over 50,000 rounds through them. No parts needed replacing. The MIM sear and hammer had held up just as well as the forged Les Baer parts.

No parts needed replacement after 50k rds? Not even the extractor? Don't believe that for a second. My factory Kimber extractor failed at the 6k mark.
 
Looking to pick up a 1911, I have zero time with them. Having been reading about what to look for in the barrel and bushings.

I like the single stack look with a 5-6 inch barrel. What would you choose in the $1000+ range and the $1500+ range and why? I will use if for carry and shooting drills, no competitions. Want something that performs out of the box and does not require upgrades.

Sorry if this has been asked before, looking for current info. I have looked at a lot of Kimbers, STI and custom builders. Just to many options.

Google and then contact Salt Dog LLC, he will build you a nice AND very reliable 1911. When you talk to him about your build, tell him what you will be using it for so when he fits it, he fits it for your needs.
 
I love my colt rail gun. It's in your price range. I don't think I saw that one mentioned. It's probably the most reliable 1911 I have ever owned.
 
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For me I would go with "buy once, cry once" and get a Nighthawk. You won't find a better "factory" gun. I've owned Kimber's and Ed Brown's. Once I bought my Nighthawk AAC Recon, I sold the others. Next one for me is the NHC T4.
 
Saito, guess I will have to bow to your obviously superior 1911 knowledge. BTW I replaced the extractor on a Night Hawk recently with less than 5,000 rounds through it. Tip broke off. I suspect the owner had been dropping the slide with a round in the chamber. One of our Kimbers is at the 40,000 round mark. Easy to figure - 7000 x 8 lb jug of Clays = 56k grains. 56k divided by 4 gr per round = 14k rounds per jug. Just emptied the 3rd jug into the Dillon power thrower last week. Still shooting just fine. Slide to frame and more impotently barrel to slide fit are still tight.
Duh, I just noticed the OP had a $2,000 upper limit. In that case get the LB Pll. I am obviously a Kimber fan due to the quality/accuracy per dollar ratio. However the LB is in a class by itself. I did hear one thing several years ago that raised a question. A friend said LB had started using Kart EZ Fit barrels. Not sure I like that if it is true. I only used regular Kart barrels in the ones I built. Fred makes the best 1911 barrel period. The AMU only uses Kart barrels in the guns they build. Both of my AMU built guns had Kart barrels - ball and WC. Unfortunately cancer got the armorer that taught me how to build 1911s about 15 years ago.
 
Les baer,Springfield trp or trophy match, dan wesson in that order.

I also hate production kimbers. They just do not shoot as well for me as far as
Group size.
 
Springfield TRP, mine has been great for thousands of rounds.
 
Wow,

Never new 1911s had such a fan base, but based on the number of builders I should have suspected. I am looking hard at the Springfields to enter the 1911 arena with. Looking at the Range Officer or TRP. Will go with what I can get the best price on. Figure I will use the saved money to buy ammo and get time behind the frame to ensure I like it. Reading on the Springfield seems like it will be easy to have it customized later should the desire come calling. If it is anything like the AR15 it will come calling and use up even more of my money.

All opinions are greatly appreciated. I am truly new to this so will be reading a lot as the 1911 seems almost as customizable as the AR 15 platform.

Will be exciting to see what I can do with this platform.
 
I'll put in another vote for the TRP or TRP operator. They are great performers out of the box and the mim parts are easy to replace if you ever decide to. I think you'll find almost general acceptance that for duty use 1911's the TRP is your first stop. I wouldn't even consider Kimber unless it was one of the older guns. There are way too many horror stories.
 
If it was me my first choice would be to try to find a used Wilson for 2K. My second choice would be the Springfield MC Operator. TRP is a good option but the front strap checkering is way too sharp for my liking.
 
Wow,

Never new 1911s had such a fan base, but based on the number of builders I should have suspected. I am looking hard at the Springfields to enter the 1911 arena with. Looking at the Range Officer or TRP. Will go with what I can get the best price on. Figure I will use the saved money to buy ammo and get time behind the frame to ensure I like it. Reading on the Springfield seems like it will be easy to have it customized later should the desire come calling. If it is anything like the AR15 it will come calling and use up even more of my money.


1911's can be an addiction. They are just so damn pretty, rugged, badass, and sexy all at once. Nothing beats a good sidearm.

Want to start the addiction?? 1911Forum - Powered by vBulletin
 
My first 1911 was an SA Loaded LW Operator. Great pistol, and have had no complaints. I upgraded to a Les Baer Thunder Ranch with the 1.5" group at 50 yards guarantee. Now it's damn near all I shoot. I love my LB.
 
you can't spend too much .....

I keep telling my wife that when it comes to any guns and she just never agrees. However, I cannot complain as she rarely ever says no.
 
Sig 1911 Fastback. Some cringe at the Sig because among other things it has an external extactor. But given the internal extractor is probably the most problematic issue with John Browning`s original design, it is IMHO a needed upgrade. But i will qualify my opinion by stating i am not a 1911 fan. I love watching the antique cars driving by on a Sunday, a 1911 is a Model T, fun to look at, but IMHO anything currently on the Ford showroom floor is a better car.
 
I'm not a 1911 guy, but I did have an Essex frame, 70 series Colt slide and Bomar sight rail (the big solid one piece deal) I picked it up at a Nashville gunshow for $500 in the 90's. It had some custom work done and needed to be refinished, but any changes I made to it had to be custom fit with a file and worked out. That said, were I to get ANY 1911, I'd make sure to get it how I want it and get a good one.

Were I to get one today, it would almost certainly be an Ed Brown. There is, or was, a guy on here with their SF version for sale. I kinda like the looks of one of their (match?) models personally, but I sure wouldn't bitch about that one, and certainly not for what he's selling it for. They have a wait time on the build, and they cost more than $2000. They only make high end pistols. This one's either mint or damn near it. If I could afford it and really needed it, I'd snatch that one up in a heartbeat. Doubt you'll find one better for the price he's selling it at. It's almost a shame to shoot one, they look that nice.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Ed Brown 1911's are supposed to be among the best made. I'm of the mindset that I'd rather have one great 1911 than a bunch of good ones. But I only have Glocks and Smiths, so take that for what it's worth. Not really a pistol guy to start with --rifles are a different story. Pistols just have to work.

Kimber uses plastic parts in their 1911's I understand, which killed it for me (regardless of how important those pieces are). I don't mind plastic pistols, just not a 1911. They do look nice and I'm not knocking 'em, just I think for the money for the higher end ones are probably worth it in the long run.

Take it easy, and good luck with the search.
 
Can't go wrong with the TRP.

However, for 40%-50% less money, I would recommend the STI Spartan. Granted, at the range, I'd rather be seen with a Kimber, Springfield, Wilson or Les Baer ... but the STI shoots well and you won't get as upset when your 1911 eventually gets dinged.
 
If you buy from Crazy John, you shouldbe able to get a Les Baer for under $2k with the works. I bought one with 1.5" guarantee, hard chrome finish, and night sights for $1, 750 new a couple of years ago. I know they are more expensive now, but they can still be had for under $2k. I would also buy a Dan Wesson Valor in a second.

For those suggesting a Wilson... great guns, but you will have a hard time finding one for under $2k used. The resale value is just too high on Wilsons. Even Ed Browns are hard to find used in that price range.