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Old 09-26-2010, 14:13   #26
bac1023
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 87,368
Custom


Its time to discuss some of the best guns in the world, 1911 or otherwise. These are the full custom builds by some of the top 1911 smiths and custom builders. Custom guns are guns built for one person by, in most cases, one person. Its hard for me to really recommend my guns in this section to anyone, because your tastes and preferences are most likely different. What I can do is show you what I ordered and who I ordered from to give you some ideas. I own five of these masterpiece 1911s and will discuss each. As it stands, I have three scratch built customs and two that started life as new production Colts, one on a Series 70 and the other a WWI reproduction. More specifically, I have a build by Paul Liebenberg at Pistol Dynamics, George Smith and team at EGW, Ted Yost at Heirloom Precision, Mark Morris at MCP, and Brandon Strayer and team at Infinity Firearms. For those interested, there is plenty of information to be found on the web about the smiths I mentioned here, as well as others. I researched several magazine articles posted online and read a great deal of material on these individuals and shops before placing orders. I will add that as incredible as these are, they’re also quite expensive and certainly not necessary to experience the greatness of the model 1911.





Pistol Dynamics Signature

The first gun I'll discuss here is my Pistol Dynamics Signature. Paul Liebenberg is the owner of this company and the custom smith doing the work. Before starting his own company, Liebenberg worked for Pachmayr as well as starting the Performance Center at Smith & Wesson. He is a true master of his trade and incredible quality and workmanship of this pistol is evidenced as soon as you pick it up. This gun was ordered in 2007 and completed two years later. To ensure I got the build right, I spoke to Paul for a good hour when placing the order. It’s built on Liebenberg's in-house frame and features many Liebenberg exclusives. This certainly qualifies as having all the "bells and whistles". When I talked to Paul about my specs and preferences for this gun, no stone was left unturned. I will list the build sheet for this and all my customs, but the features on this Signature include a ball and "Browning" cut slide, Pistol Dynamics rear combat sights with a gold bead front sight, ambi safety, PD match grade barrel, magwell, 30lpi checkering on the front strap, mainspring housing, and trigger guard, a serrated rear of slide and top of slide, a high cut frame, a two piece guide rod, and a flush crowned barrel. The mainspring housing is slightly chamfered to eliminate the sharp edge (much like a rounded butt). Virtually every part is built in house. Two standouts to mention are the beavertail and bushing. The beavertail is a forged and machined part, not cast like just about every other beavertail in existence. It has a very unique look and a great feel. The bushing and front sight work together in what's called an ISS system, whereas the sight is slid into a linear dovetail and the bushing secures it in place. Another subtle custom flair to this gun is the mag release. Paul cuts the end of it on an angle facing your thumb for easier access. All of these features and more can be read about in detail on the website. The external extractor is a Liebenberg standard on his scratch built pistols. According to him, he gets substantially enhanced extraction and ejection over the traditional internal extractor. Truth be told, I never minded external extractors and since this is a signature pistol from Paul, I wanted it included. As far as slide marking is concerned, this 1911 features "Pistol Dynamics 45ACP" on the left side of the slide and the signature engraving on the rear of the right side. Both are tastefully done. Finally, the entire pistol was finished in matte hard chrome with black micarta grips made especially for this style of magwell. 2007 prices had this build at about $4800, but prices have gone up since. At the range, this gun is incredible, being both very tight and exceptionally smooth at the same time, which is no easy feat. I love everything about it and would recommend Pistol Dynamics to anyone looking for a full house custom from one of the world’s best. After all, you only live once, right?

The following are the gun's build specs.

Date: 12/01/2007 This quote valid for 14 days (updated 12/04/07)

o Chassis
• PD 1911 frame assembly
• PD 5” slide assembly w/ external extractor
• 17° cocking serrations
Included

o Accuracy
• Match grade slide to frame fit
• PD Signature Match grade barrel, crowned, 45 ACP
• PD solid ISS match bushing
• Stainless guide rod and plug – full length
• Wolff spring kit
Included

o Sights
• Front sight, PD ISS serrated ramp with gold bead
• Rear sight, PD Fixed
Included

o Trigger group
• Competition ignition system includes PD hammer, sear, disconnector and sear spring
• Long Aluminum trigger w/overtravel stop
Included

o Safeties
• PD custom machined beavertail
• Extended ambi - thumb safety
Included


o Custom metal work
• Custom slide-on Mag well, includes dedicated PD grips
• Front strap, hand checker 30 LPI
• Flat mainspring housing, hand checker 20 LPI
• Mag catch extended (.050”), rake and checker
• Sight, line rear 40 LPI
• Slide, line rear 40 LPI
• Slide, flat top and serrate 40 LPI
• Slide, Browning and ball cuts
• Checker trigger guard 30 lpi
• Carry bevel package
Included

o Magazine
• 2 – tested Wilson magazines
Included

○ Finish
● Hard Chrome entire pistol
● Signature engraving
Included



This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 41.0oz

Slide: Forged carbon steel

Frame: Forged carbon steel

Country of origin: United States

Approximate 2010 street price: $5000-$5500

http://pistoldynamics.com/index.html


The SHOT ShowCase













Infinity single stack


The next custom build I'll speak about is from Brandon Strayer and the folks at Infinity Firearms. I have thought for years that this company built some of the most innovative handguns in the world, whether it be a 1911 or double stack. As a custom gun builder, Infinity produces more than most, maybe 300 or so guns per year. That’s small time compared to a semi-custom shop like Baer or Wilson that ship 2000-3000 guns annually, but considering every Infinity is custom built off of customer supplied specs, its impressive. The Infinity customer uses a program called the Gunbuilder (now Gunbuilder II) to design his or her dream 1911. The options are virtually endless, hence the name. Mine is a standard carbon steel, single stack 1911, chambered in 45ACP. The barrel is one of the best in the business. It’s a Schumann Ultimatch AET bull barrel, with the Infinity exclusive titanium nitride coating, which gives it its gold color. Other features I specified include an ambi safety, “SV” hammer, Triglide trigger, a serrated slide top, Infinity front and rear target sights with a red fiber optic, a panel cut slide, and 30lpi front strap and mainspring housing checkering. The gun is finished in Infinity’s exclusive Jet-black Infinicoat. The grips are wood with the Infinity logo up and down the back. As you can see from the build specs, Infinity allows you be specific about every detail. Furthermore, there is a special instructions section to allow you to give other direction in addition to the Gunbuilder’s options. I spoke to Brandon for a while during the ordering process and he was as helpful and knowledgeable as they get. Between the 2lb Triglide trigger, tight fitting, AET barrel, and rigid bull setup, this is the most accurate 1911 I shoot. It goes without saying that I think extremely highly of Infinity and would not hesitate to recommend one of these sleek, competition-bred 1911s to anyone. All this quality does come at a considerable cost, however. My build, which is very basic by Infinity standards, ran just under $4000 in early 2008. Prices have risen a good bit at Infinity since that time, so you’re probably looking at a cool $4500 for this build today. Leave off the Infinicoat and AET barrel, and you would probably be at $4000 or slightly under. Still, if you’re going to buy a full house gun like an Infinity, why compromise?

The following are the gun’s build specs.

Design Name: bac3
Template Name: 1911 Govt. Length Pistol - Single Stack
Last Updated: 08/07/08
Quantity: 1
Special Instructions: The entire gun is Infinicoat Jet Black. However, please leave the AET barrel bronze. Also, the grip safety, ambi safety, trigger, hammer, and guide rod are to stay silver or stainless. Please do not coat these parts. I want them to stand out. Brandon, please include the new wood grips with the logo that you mentioned. Thanks for everything. Brian
AET Barrel Option: AET
Barrel: Plain Barrel
Barrel Length: 5
Barrel Style: Non-Bushing Style (Cone/Bull Barrel)
Caliber: 45 ACP
California/ Massachusetts Resident: No
Compensator: No Compensator
Dust Cover: Standard (all)
Dust Cover Fluting: None
Frame Material: Carbon Steel
Frame Style: Traditional (1911 single stack) Round Trigger Guard
Front Sight: Red Fiber Optic .100 wide x 1.5mm
Front Slide Cut: 20 lines per inch
Grip Length: Checkered Rosewood (Traditional frame only)
Grip Safety: Stainless Steel
Grip Surface / Finish: Checkered Front strap (Traditional)
Guide Rod: Stainless Steel
Gun type: Government (5 inch)
Hammer: Triple Xcelerated SV
Hammer Finish: Silver Finish
IPSC Modified Division Infinity IMM Special®: No (typical)
ITI Rail cut: No Rail Cut
Mag Well: No Magazine Well
Magazine Catch: Steel, 4-40 tap
Magazine Release Button: Small Blued Stainless-This option requires 4-40 magcatch.
Mainspring Housing: CS Flat
Panel Cut: Yes
Pistol Finish: Infinicoat Jet Black
Radial Flute: None
Rear Lightening: No
Rear Sight: Infinity® Rear Sight Absolute Target Zero
Rear Slide Cut: 20 lines per inch
Slide Lock Pin: Steel - 4140
Slide Material: Carbon Steel
Slide Profile: Round Top
Slide Racker / Lightening: No
Stirrup Cut: Yes
Strut: Steel
Thumb Safety Material: Stainless Steel
Thumb Safety Style: Ambidextrous Tactical
Top Rib: 30 lines per inch
Trigger Base color: Silver
Trigger Bow: Stainless Steel
Trigger Insert Color: Silver
Trigger Insert Style: Curved Medium
Triglide System: Yes



This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 39.0oz

Slide: Forged carbon steel

Frame: Forged carbon steel

Country of origin: United States

Approximate 2010 street price: $4500

http://sviguns.com/1101.php?indx=3


The SHOT ShowCase










Yost Retro Custom

Next we have a retro custom build from none other than master pistol smith Ted Yost at Heirloom Precision. Heirloom Precision is a small custom shop run by Yost, Steve Bailey, and Jason Burton. All three do outstanding work. Compared to the two previously discuss custom 1911s, this one is very subdued, which is exactly how it’s meant to be. This custom started life as one of Colt’s now discontinued run of WWI reproduction 1911s. After Yost got done with it, there is nothing left untouched and most parts are replaced with superior parts that were either built in the shop or outsourced. This gun is constructed from the best components available, but still retains much of the classic styling. Having said that, there is nothing about this gun’s feel that even remotely reminds me of the Colt it was before. The barrel is Kart and the sights are Yost retro, with the front sight using the gold line. 30lpi checkering is done on the front strap and mainspring housing and the ejection port is slightly lowered, but not flared. The gun was bead blasted and blued and retains the original gun’s roll markings, albeit they are completely smoothed and deburred. The wood grips were sourced from Hogue and look very nice on this build. Speaking of grips, Yost inscribes his name underneath the right grip panel to not take away from the clean, classic looks. I only shot this gun about 20 rounds so far. While I love it, I always gravitate towards the enhanced 1911s when it comes to range time. Retro custom conversions start at $4195 not counting the base gun. In this case the base gun sold for about $900, so you’re talking just over $5000 for one of these builds today. They were about $500 less back when I bought mine.

The following are the gun’s build specs.

Build Sheet, Colt WWI s/n: 2508WMK ,
Tighten frame and slide, 1911, steel, labor only
Bevel magazine well, 1911, hand filed, labor only Checker front strap @ 30 lpi, Government and Commander (includes Hi-cut & truing of front strap), labor only
Hand checker mainspring housing @ 30 lpi, including MSH
Premium Quality 1911 trigger job, includes Yost tool steel sear and aluminum trigger
1* back end treatment, labor only
High-cut & bob hammer to prevent bite, labor only
Supply and install plunger tube, new barstock steel, staked
Stock screw bushings, part only
Supply and install factory Colt serrated slide stop, blue
Supply and install Colt style thumb safety, dehorned
Supply and install Kart barrel w match bushing
Complete 1911 dependability package - Wilson Bulletproof extractor, tune ejector, polish feed ramp and throat barrel, polish breech face, chamfer firing pin hole, ream chamber if necessary
Lower ejection port, labor only
Supply and install Yost Classic Retro Sight Package - Yost rear, Silver brazed ramp front
Gold line inlay for ramp front sight (front sight not included), labor only
Dehorn complete pistol, labor only
Satin matte bead blast & blue complete pistol, 320 polish slide flats, labor only
Polish frame flats, labor only
1911 Grips-Hogue
Novak 8-round magazines and Pistol rug
Detail frame, straighten lines, etc., labor only
Cost of gun including mods: $4495.00



This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 38.6oz

Slide: Forged carbon steel

Frame: Forged carbon steel

Country of origin: United States

Approximate 2010 street price: $5000

http://www.heirloomprecision.com/inf...nversion.shtml


The SHOT ShowCase










Evolution Gun Works

The fourth custom 1911 I’m going to review is a build from Evolution Gun Works. Unfortunately, getting a custom gun from them is a thing of the past. George Smith, who owns the company and started it building 1911s, no longer takes custom orders. Today, he only makes parts, which, in fact, are some of the best in the world. Since the company is only a 15 minute drive from my house, I’ve been there a couple of times. This gun is built on a Caspian frame with a magwell and plunger tube being part of it. In fact, it’s the same frame Nighthawk uses for the previously reviewed Enforcer. The barrel on this EGW is 4”, making it a quarter inch shy of commander length. The barrel is a Storm Lake bull barrel and the lockup is extremely tight, as you can imagine. As with any of these custom guns, there is absolutely no slide to frame movement either. The rear sights are Novak, with a fiber optic front. Obviously, this gun is loaded with EGW internals, which are very high quality. The hammer used is the same one EGW builds for Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center models, called the Koenig. It has a unique look to it. The trigger is a flat EGW “E” trigger, but without the E-shaped cutout and the black finish is called E-Treat. I find the finish terrific. It has the same feel and consistency as Black T, but just a shade or two lighter in color. The checkering is very nicely done at 30lpi on the front strap and the arched mainspring housing is serrated. The grip safety is the outstanding Ed Brown part. The grips are beautiful double diamond, but I’m not certain which wood is used. The grain looks a lot like cocobolo, so that's what I'm leaning towards. This gun was not built for me, but rather for the owner of my local shop. He ordered it and it took three years to get done, as George was finishing his orders off a long waiting list. During that time, the owner bought a new custom carry gun, and being he knows what a 1911 fanatic I am, decided to sell the gun to me brand new for $2500. Dealer cost to him was almost $3000, so I got a great deal. Had I bought it from EGW personally, it would have cost $3300 or so. This is one of the last guns to come out of EGW. Naturally, there are a couple things I would have done differently if I ordered it, one being a standard front sight. I like fiber optics, but not on a barrel this short. I also would have gone with a flat mainspring housing, but I also like arched. Being that it’s a one of a kind build that can’t be replaced, I’m not changing a thing.

The following are the gun’s build specs. (Basically just the bill from EGW)

Package gun - $2800
Koenig Hammer - $40
Checker front and rear 30lpi - $200
E-Treat entire gun - $235
Dealer discount – ($400)

Total - $2875

Package Details
Fit and blend beavertail
Front and rear sights
Rear serrations
4lb trigger job for carry
EGW internals (Hammer, sear, disconnector, strut, ejector, extractor, slide stop, pin set)
Ed Brown thumb safety
Carry bevel pistol (dehorn)
Fit bull barrel
Test fire


This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 38.8oz

Slide: Forged carbon steel

Frame: Cast carbon steel

Country of origin: United States

Approximate 2010 street price: Unavailable

http://egwguns.com/


The SHOT ShowCase










Morris Tactical Elite

The last custom 1911 I’m going to discuss is my latest build, a Tactical Elite by the great Mark Morris of Morris Custom Pistols (MCP). Like the other top custom smiths I’ve written about already, Mark has been in the business for many years and introduced the Tactical Elite in 1994. In fact, shortly thereafter, Massad Ayoob bought one and wrote a great article for Guns magazine. Mark is a one-man show and someone who takes great pride in his work. Likewise, he told me several times that nothing leaves his shop until he is 100% satisfied of how it turned out. I believe Morris produces only about 10 to 12 guns per year at most. When he takes on a project or two, he posts them on his site, waits for them to sell, and then gets the specs from the buyer. It must also be stated that Mark is one of the most personable people I’ve ever spoken to in the gun business. I wanted this particular gun to be a bit more subdued and clean in appearance in comparison to my previously discussed Pistol Dynamics and Infinity. Likewise the specs are geared towards creating a simple, yet elegant custom 1911. This build started life as a new production blued Series 70 Colt. It was a good example as well, as Mark only selects the best from his supplier. All the custom reliability and straightening work aside, I went with 30lpi on the front strap and mainspring housing and 40lpi serrations on the back of the slide to match the sights. The top of the slide is also serrated. The barrel is a Morris stainless match barrel and is step crowned for protection. The standard GI setup is present up front with a smooth plug that Morris builds himself. The trigger I went with is my new favorite style, the short solid aluminum variety, and the sights are all black Morris TKO. In my efforts to keep this gun as clean as possible, the sights are classic black on black and free of dots or beads. Along those same lines, I did not want an ambi safety included on this build. The grips were initially going to be the Morris Alumagrips, but I changed to the milled tulipwood thin grips from Ahrends, pictured on the sight. Of course, Mark threw in a set of Alumagrips anyway and I love them. As with my Liebenberg, this gun is finished in terrific looking matte hard chrome, which is done by the same company who does the chroming for Les Baer. However, its also done to a higher degree of quality and not in the same batch as the Baer pistols. Likewise, it looks nicer than the chrome on my Baer SRP. As far as slide markings are concerned, they’re, again, simple. First we have the standard Series 70 Colt roll marks on both sides of the slide, which have been completely cleaned up. After that, the custom markings are the yin-yang logo on the right rear of the slide and “Morris Custom” on the left dust cover. Obviously, the gun purposely lacks some of the features of my Liebenberg, but the parts fitting and blending is the best in my collection. I got the opportunity to put a few rounds through this beauty recently and it shoots unbelievably well.

The following are the gun's build specs.

- Tighten slide to frame fit

- Remove factory mill markings

- Fit S&A grip safety and highly modified mainspring housing. Blend completely into frame.

- Fit and smooth Ed Brown thumb safety

- Front strap and mainspring housing checkered 30lpi

- Chamfer mainspring housing and bottom of frame for snag free carry.

- Fit Morris stainless barrel, throat and polish. Step crown barrel for protection.

- Fit Ed Brown ejector and extractor

- Machine in Morris TKO rear site and dovetail Novak front sight.

- Back of slide serrated 40lpi to match TKO rear sight.

- Fit short aluminum match trigger

- C&S hammer, sear for the trigger group. Change the angle of the seat engagement for a very clean break.

- Top of slide serrated

- Ejection port lowered and flared

- Chamfer the firing pin hole, polish the breach face and disconnect race for reliability.

- Complete dehorn to remove sharp edges.

- Bead blast the slide and frame flats to 400 grit

- Entire gun finish in matte hard chrome by Terry Wolford.



This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 39.0oz

Slide: Forged carbon steel

Frame: Forged carbon steel

Country of origin: United States

Approximate 2010 street price: $7000

http://morriscustompistols.com/


The SHOT ShowCase
bac1023 is offline  
Old 09-26-2010, 14:14   #27
bac1023
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 87,368
Discontinued


Now I’d like to discuss some 1911s that are no longer available and haven’t been for some time. These are guns at various price points that can be found on the used market, albeit a couple may be a bit difficult to find. I have a strong attraction to rare and/or hard to find 1911s and, due to that, did not want to leave these completely out of the guide.





Colt Gold Cup National Match

I’ll start by talking about a true classic from yesteryear. This is a pre series 70 Colt Gold Cup National Match. In its day, it was probably the best 1911 you could buy. Its got the old royal blue finish, which is one of my favorite finishes of all time. The gun itself is void of the “Gold Cup” marking and is only labeled as such on the box. These guns were produced from 1957 to 1970, with mine being born in 1967. In 1970, the Series 70 Gold Cups were introduced. Its difficult to report on this Colt, because it hasn’t been shot since it put rounds through the test target six years before I was born. Still, I felt it prudent to bring it up because I have shot old Gold Cup National Match 1911s in the past and can say that they’re a real pleasure to shoot. There’s just something classic and nostalgic about them and they fire with utmost accuracy. This is and always will be a safe queen for me, but wouldn’t hesitate to buy another in “shooting” condition. In typical Gold Cup National Match fashion, it has a GI style thumb safety, hammer, and grips safety, with a wide adjustable trigger. The rear sights are Elliason adjustable target sights and give a great picture. The top of the slide is raised, flattened, and serrated and the ejection port is lowered and flared. Up front, you’ll find a standard GI setup and a unique inward angled recoil plug, which I always thought looked great. The front strap and mainspring housing are vertically serrated and the grips are classic checkered walnut with gold Colt medallions. I think the old Gold Cups were some of the most beautiful 1911s ever built.

This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 37.4oz

Slide: Forged carbon steel

Frame: Forged carbon steel

Country of origin: United States

Approximate 2010 street price: $2000


The SHOT ShowCase










AMT Hardballer

Next we will discuss a 1911 that was questionable in terms of quality, but somewhat iconic, in my opinion. That would be the AMT Hardballer. I bought this gun simply to have an example of the first full stainless steel 1911 built. Modeled after the Colt Gold Cup, the Hardballer shares its appearance, but certainly not its quality. Like the Gold Cup National Match, this gun has a GI style hammer and grip safety, a wide adjustable trigger, a raised, flattened, and serrated slide top, and vertical serrations on the front strap and mainspring housing. The ejection port is lowered, but not flared, unlike the Gold Cup. The grips are fully checkered walnut and the sights are adjustable. Strangely, the slide serrations are vertical, while the Gold Cup’s are angled. I find that odd since the Hardballer is really the only Gold Cup clone ever produced. You would think the serrations would match. As far as quality issues are concerned, the Hardballer suffered from serious galling problems, due to the softness of the stainless steel used for guns in the early 1980’s. Shoddy slide to frame fitting probably made the galling even worse. In addition, Hardballers were known for their heavy triggers and its not uncommon for them to be 8 to 10lbs in weight. As far as my gun is concerned, I don’t shoot it. Its an early model that’s only been shot at the factory. I’d like to keep it pristine and, more to the point, I really have no desire to bring it to the range. It’s a nice looking 1911 and that’s about it. I paid $600, if I recall correctly.

This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 37.0oz

Slide: Cast stainless steel

Frame: Cast stainless steel

Country of origin: United States

Approximate 2010 street price: $500-$600


The SHOT ShowCase










Valtro 1998A1

Next up is a rather special 1911 in the Valtro 1998A1. These guns were introduced in 1998 and built on a limited basis until 2004 or so. The Valtro was the brainchild of master 1911 smith John Jardine. They were produced in Italy and inspected and “tweaked” by John during importation. Jardine also built some full house customs using a Valtro for a base. Its hard to classify the Valtro in stock form. The website, which has been frozen in time since 2003, calls them “near custom” production guns. I personally would rank them, from a quality standpoint, just a half notch below the popular semi custom guns built today, such as a Wilson CQB. Prices were between $1200-$1500 in 1998, which wasn’t cheap for the time. Today, due to the rarity, you’re going to pay about $5000 to get a pristine one. In fact, one sold in Gunbroker last year for over $4500, I believe. That’s if you can find one, I haven’t seen one for sale anywhere since then. Not many have them in the first place, and those that do, don’t sell. As far as the gun itself is concerned, its decked out with all the modern options you see today, including an ambi safety, a 30lpi checkered front strap and mainspring housing, a flattened and serrated slide top, a very high hand frame cut, and a full length guide rod. The finish is a high luster bluing and the gun features an attractive French border around the slide and a recessed slide stop. The Valtro also has a slight “melt job” on the sharp corners, which gives it a unique look. The grips are classic looking double diamond checkered walnut with Valtro medallions and the sights are adjustable target style. Slide markings are well done and my gun has the smaller text, done on the later guns compared to the model pictured on the website. I like the smaller markings better. Specifically, the left side simply states “1998 A1”, with the Valtro logo before it. The right side states “Custom 45ACP”. Overall, I feel this is a beautiful 1911 with a certain exotic flair. Its not one you really ever see. In fact, this is the first and only Valtro I’ve seen in person. I bought it still unfired from a fellow GT member for $4500 earlier this year. I have not had it to the range yet, but plan to some day. Value on these keeps increasing.

This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 39.6oz

Slide: Forged carbon steel

Frame: Forged carbon steel

Country of origin: Italy

Approximate 2010 street price: $5000

http://valtrousa.com/photogallery/ticevaltro1.html


The SHOT ShowCase










Unertl Ordnance DLX


Unertl Ordnance’s bread and butter was the high end firearm optics business and they supplied military branches with top notch rifle scopes for many years. They also built three top tier 1911 models, before folding and going out of business completely. These models were the UCCP, DLX, and MEU-SOC. The UCCP or Unertl Concealed Carry Pistol, was a commander model. The MEU-SOC or Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable was a railed full size government model. The DLX or Deluxe is basically the MEU-SOC without the rail, and that’s the model I have. Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot about the Unertl line, other than they’re top quality 1911s in every way. This gun has all the bells and whistles, including 24lpi checkering on the front strap and mainspring housing, an ambi safety, a magwell, a lanyard loop, and a high frame cut. The bull barrel setup of this gun gives it the tightest front-end lockup of any 1911 I own, equaled only by my Infinity. The frame to slide fitting is also rock solid with no movement whatsoever. Grips are a hard black rubber, which I don’t care for aesthetically, but give a nice firm grip. The extractor is the external type, with a heavy-duty look to it. The combat style night sights are unique to Unertl and give a terrific sight picture and it comes with my favorite trigger type, the short solid aluminum. The frame is Caspian, but I heard they were forged. This 1911 is certainly one of the best shooters I own and I’ve taken it to the range dozens of times now. Its one of my favorites and it’s a real shame they aren’t available anymore. Its also very difficult to find them on the used market, but if you do find one, I highly recommend you give it serious consideration. For the most part, prices are $2000-$2500, depending on condition. I haven’t seen one for sale in quite a while now, to be honest.

This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 41.4oz

Slide: Forged carbon steel

Frame: Forged carbon steel

Country of origin: United States

Approximate 2010 street price: $2000-$2500


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Detonics ServiceMaster

The last 1911 I want to look at in this guide is another older model, in the stainless Detonics ServiceMaster. Detonics has changed ownership a couple of times and has been in and out of business. What they did mange to do throughout all that was build quality 1911s. This pistol was state of the art back in the day and built for carry when there really wasn’t a whole lot of choices in a commander sized 1911. I find this gun a great shooter and very reliable. The ejection port is cut lower than most on the Detonics. This 1911 utilizes a bull barrel setup that locks up well and possesses a tight frame to slide fit. The barrel itself is step-crowned for a unique look. The single sided safety is GI style and the magwell is nicely beveled. The top of the slide is flattened, but not serrated and the rear of the slide is scalloped. This was done to make the hammer easy to cock during the days when it was more common to carry with the hammer down on a loaded chamber. The steel mainspring housing is checkered, but the front strap is smooth. There is a high cut radius under the trigger guard and between it and the beavertail; my grip on the ServiceMaster is comfortable. The sights are simple GI style, though slightly larger for a decent sight picture. I love the vertical serrations and the handsome rosewood grips with the Detonics logo. The slide roll markings are extremely well done with “Detonics USA ServiceMaster” on the left side and nothing on the right. The short solid aluminum trigger (my favorite style) tops off what I consider to be a beautiful commander. A Detonics ServiceMaster in like-new condition, such as this one, will run about $1000.

This 1911 uses no firing pin safety.

Unloaded weight: 38.8oz

Slide: Forged stainless steel

Frame: Cast stainless steel

Country of origin: United States

Approximate 2010 street price: $1000


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Conclusion


First I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to read this guide, whether it be in full or in part. I'm hoping that all of you found it and will continue to find it useful for basic information about the 1911s you may be considering. I will continue to update this guide as I finish off my 1911 collection in the future, as I do plan to purchase a very select few additional models in 2011 and beyond.

I'll also add that, as basic as the information is, I'll be happy to add further detail about any particular model in question if asked. I had to limit the initial entries in order to keep the size of this guide in check. Therefore, if you need extra info or have a question either post it in this guide or send me a PM.

Having said that, there are limits to this report and those limits are based on my collection. I mentioned this in the introduction. As you may or may not have noticed, you didn't see any railed models listed here. I’m not a person that cares for or has use for a railed 1911. Due to personal preference, you also don't see calibers other than 45ACP or frames smaller than full size. For this reason among others, and as I also mentioned in the intro, this guide is meant to be interactive. I would really like and appreciate some entries from our many experienced members. Following my format is certainly not a requirement. In fact, someone else may have a better system for posting information of this type. The bottom line is that I don't want this to be Brian's 1911 Buyer's Guide; I want it to be Glocktalk's 1911 Buyer's Guide. Several opinions are certainly far superior to one.

Finally, here are some thoughts on the 1911 "food chain" as a whole. While everyone is capable of building a lemon, the saying "You get what you pay for" holds a great deal of weight in the 1911 world. The difference in craftsmanship, fit and finish, and durability, as you climb the scale is vast. However, the price of admission does not need to be high. If you want a good range 1911 for the price of a Glock, the entry level enhanced category is the place to start looking. If you want something classic and authentic looking, pick out a GI replica. If you want to one-up your buddy at the range, check out the high-end production guns. If you want a state of the art, top tier model, figure out which semi-custom is for you and order it to your liking. If you want one of the best money can buy, talk to a top smith like the individuals mentioned here and get on the waiting list.

The point is that there's something for everybody in the 1911 world and I encourage those without one to give it a try. You won’t know how you feel about the platform until you get some extensive trigger time. I'm plenty confident you'll be happy you did.

Below you’ll find a family picture of all my 1911s. There’s no need for a legend because they’re lined up in the exact order they appear in this guide, starting with the top left corner and working left to right, top to bottom. Enjoy.

Thanks for your time.

Brian


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Old 09-29-2010, 17:58   #28
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Official GT 1911 FAQ and Resource Thread

The purpose of this thread is to selectively harvest the vast and great information from the GlockTalk 1911 members so it is in one place. The hope is that this will serve as a primer for those new to the 1911 platform as well as a reference for the old salts. Each post is a new topic in and of itself, so searching this thread might even be a good idea. Due to the nature of forums and the fact that my intent is to not copy and paste, but place the actual posts of members in this thread, a few old threads may go away. If you see a post or think of a topic that you beleive is worthy of inclusion in this thread, send me a PM and I will review it.

In order to keep it clean and not become unweildy, this thread will remain locked.

ENJOY!
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:52   #29
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SIG C3 review

I had been looking for a "non-Kimber" 4" 1911 for about a year and tried several, finally settling on the SIG C3. I already have a Kimber Tactical Ultra, which, with thin grips, I really like, so thus no Kimber. I wanted match quality, but total reliability. Night sights did not matter but I wanted a light weight. Why a 4", because I wanted one.

Here is the SIG link: http://www.sigsauer.com/Products/Sho...&productid=165

Here we go.

I've seen it billed as a 6+1 and a 7+1 pistol, mine came with 2 magazines which each held 7 rounds. The overall fit and finish was pretty good. There are a few gaps on the rear at the slide rail interface, but I have to realize this is not a hand fit pistol. I got the Nitron frame finish and the coating was very high quality, we will have to see what the durability is into the future. Overall, the pistol looks excellent. The lines, while not classic, are distinctive and sleek. They have slightly narrowed the slide making this the thinnest overall 1911 I now own.

The trigger was better than I expected and I don't plan to do anything to it, and I am a trigger snob. It broke clean with very little creep or overtravel. Almost perfect for a carry piece.

The grip, for me was decent. IMHO, this should have come with thin grips from the factory. The grips are rosewood pebble texture and provided a good purchase. The MSH was checkered and looks just like my FS Kimber and DW. The front strap was, for me, checkered a little too sharply, especially for the edge meeting the middle finger. 10 magazines or so would not be an issue, but 500 rounds would probably make you bleed. The slide release was larger than need be IMHO and I might change that out but the safety was thin and about perfect. I'll likely go with a set of Ergo's for carry, or maybe VZ, thin in either case. While I would like to subdue the front strap checkering, I probably wont.

Take-down was simple and I could do it with no tools. The barrel busing was not overly tight and all of the internals did appear to be the touted match quaility tool steel parts. As compared to the Kimber Ultras and Pros, WAY easier to take-down, clean and reassemble. The slide release pops in and out of the detent very nicely (avoiding those frame scratches). Internal machining and fit was very good.

The sights are Novak 3 dot night sights. To me, the rear spread of the dots, and the notch itself, are too thin. I will likely change out the rear for something with a wider notch and no illumination. I'll also have to figure out if I need a lower rear due to the next sentence...

First magazine out of the box, 25 yards, shot into a 3" group, but about 5" above the POA. I was not about adjusting sights this time out, but that seems a tad high to me. This was repeated through with 6 types of HP ammo and 3 types of ball, 200 grain and 230 grain. Running some of my low power 200 grain ball at 700 fps, I had about 25% fail to go into battery after firing. When I used normal velocity 200 and 230 grain ball, it ran 100%. The same with 200 and 230 grain JHPs. Yep, it fed HS, Nosler, Speer and Remington JHPs with not a single malfunction. I fired right at 200 rounds total. One magazine for full power 230 JHPS with 0.2 second splits on a 25 yard target printed into 7", but still about 5" above POA. I used Wilson, Metalform, CMC and SIG facotry magazines.

All in all, I am very impressed. Fortunately, my three gripes are all easily fixed. However, I think with a little careful consideration, they would have seen the benefit of a wider rear sight notch and thinner grips. When you spend $1k, you want it right, and overall, they did.

2nd image is field stripped, D & A takes like 2 minutes! 3rd image is the top of the front strap where it cut into my middle finger. 5th image is the Sig in the middle, full size custom on the left and the Kimber Ultra Tactical on the right.
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:23   #30
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TGO-1 vs. Trophy Match vs. Loaded pics.

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional, just a guy with a camera and guns. I reserve the right to be wrong.

Well i had the day off today (actually worked all day yesterday until 4am today) and decided to finally take some pics of the 3 different level's of guns Springfield sells. i guess i could've borrowed knedrgr's mil-spec to add to this too, but i didn't, so

I used the TGO-1 form the Custom Shop, the Trophy Match and the Loaded for this comparison. They are visually similar guns (target & FO sights, magwells, and flat triggers) but are different levels of guns that Springfield produces. This thread is just to show the differences that one is getting for the money that they are paying. I frequently post the Springfield vs. Springfield article when someone wants to know the difference between the Trophy Match, Loaded and mil-spec. I'm a visual type of guy, which also shows that i grew up in Missouri (the "Show Me" state) and thought pictures can show the details better than words.

The TGO-1 is a Custom Shop gun which less than 200 have been produced. The last one i've seen for sale was made 6/25/2010 and was number 150. It's a really tight gun and is the tightest gun that i own.
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The Trophy Match is "high-end" production gun. what's this mean? It receive's more attention to fitting, but not as much as a semi-custom.
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The Loaded is a production gun. Most people buy guns in this category. The parts are mass produced and has less attention to fitting than the other 2 groups.
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:30   #31
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The outward appearance of the guns is pretty much the same at first glance.
The main difference is the TGO-1's finish and lack of FCS.

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from the shooter's perspective the look similar as well.
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the TM's slide is serrated on top
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:37   #32
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taking a closer look, you can see the difference in fit. you can see that the Loaded's extractor isn't flush with the back of the slide (and slightly clocked) and the slides to frame fit also vary. I should note that the Loaded was tighter when it was new, but after thousands of rounds it has loosened up a little. The Trophy Match was bought used (don't know the round count) and is slightly loose as well.

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TGO-1
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Trophy Match
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Loaded
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:42   #33
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The beavertail fitting is nice, and they are similar, but you can see that a little more care was taken with the TGO-1 with the blending at the top. These photo's where taken with the GS depressed. you can also see how the GS (where the web of your hand goes) is blended with the frame.

TGO-1
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Trophy Match
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Loaded
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I added a magwell to the Loaded, but the TGO-1 and Trophy Match had them as standard parts. You can see the difference in the blending and what a drop-in magwell would look like.

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Old 10-15-2010, 12:53   #34
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Pulling the slides off, you can see the different detail's taken between each one.
I have the most rounds through the Loaded, and the wear shows.

Loaded, Trophy Match, TGO-1
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:55   #35
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An interesting note is that the Loaded didn't have the last 3 digits scribed into the barrel. I'm not sure if this is true on all the Loaded's or if it was because it was a ramped barrel.

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There are other little details that were on the TGO-1 such as the digits on the slide stop, bushing and even the barrel link pin.

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The TGO-1 has a "hidden leaf cut" for the rear sight, while the other 2 didn't.

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Old 10-15-2010, 13:01   #36
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Lastly is barrel fit. It should be no surprise that the TGO-1 locks up tight, while the TM & Loaded both have slight side to side movement when locked up.

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I didn't take pics of the internals because the Loaded has been swapped and the Trophy Match has been worked on. I hope to make it to the range this weekend, but since the TM and Loaded aren't stock guns anymore it won't be a good indication of how they came from the factory.
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Old 10-15-2010, 13:20   #37
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oops... i forgot the Slide by Slide pics.

Trophy Match
Loaded

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Trophy Match
TGO-1

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Loaded
TGO-1

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Hi-Res photo's can be found HERE
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Old 10-16-2010, 14:25   #38
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someone on TOS asked for pics of the "bow tie" area.

Loaded
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Trophy Match
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TGO-1
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