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Cost of Les Baer Accuracy is Reliability

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by Baron-von-Glock, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. I have some experience with Les Baer pistols over several years (probably 5-10K rounds through them), which have been fantastic in the accuracy department and very good in the reliability department. I have lots of great experience with Baer's AR-15s, but that's a different story.

    Reliability in a pistol, for me, is the be-all-end-all. Accuracy is secondary but very, very important to me. I mention these to highlight my biases.

    I own: Two Wilson's, one Springfield Pro, a Baer TRS, a Baer SRP, two Ed Browns and a RRA 1911 (as well as lots of other 1911s less relevant to this conversation). I have shot a few more of each of the brands above.

    In my hands, the Baers are perhaps a shade more accurate than everything else I own with the possible exception on the Ed Browns. However, in addition to slightly annoying takedown because the barrel bushing is so darn tight, my 20 years of shooting leads me to believe that Baers are also the least reliable of the $2,000 handguns. That is, there is a trade-off of slightly lower reliability for slightly higher accuracy.

    Does anyone else have the same or a contrary opinion? No need for specific examples here: you can have a perfectly reliable HiPoint for 50,000 rounds (really) and you're full-custom 1911 can jam on every mag (really, everyone who's had the good fortune of owning lots of guns knows it happens). You are welcome to provide examples, but they aren't necessary.

    I'm more interested in your general impressions over many guns and a long time if you have them to share. Thanks. Baron.


    Dec 20, 2002
    I've had my Baer .38 Super for just over a year now. Like you say, uncanny accuracy.
    I did get failures to return to lock up, it would stop about 1/8" out of battery, until I found the problem. There was a nasty burr where the extractor hole passes through the breach face. I sanded the burr away and I have not had one failure since.
    Accuracy is still better than anything I've ever owned and I've had about nine months of trouble free shooting. I used some lapping compound on my bushing and twisted it back and forth until it got a little easier to deal with. Now I can just barely twist it with my fingers if it's oiled properly.
    I had a $1,000 Springer 9mm that I could never get to run right, and an $800 Kimber .45 that refused to feed hollowpoints, so I'm pretty happy with the Baer.
    Of course being chambered in .38 Super might have something to do with it, my other .38, a newer Colt, was completely trouble free, but didn't have the Baer's accuracy.

  3. I've had many 1911s that didn't run right. Every one shorter than 4" hasn't functioned reliably for me. I had a ParaOrd P16-40 Limited (full size) that ran perfectly for thousands of rounds, even though Para has a lackluster reputation for reliability. I would have it today if there were fixed sights for it. I can't stand big, target-style adjustible sights on anything, and the limited series didn't have them at the time, at least. I had two shorter Paras that wouldn't feed and a Colt Defender that wouldn't feed. A 1911 that won't run is a financial black hole waiting to happen.
  4. TonyT


    Mar 14, 2009
    I have a friend who swears by his Les Baer when he is not swearing at it when it comes to the reliability issue. I for one believe one can achieve the requisite accuracy without having to put up with the reliability issue and have opted for SA trophy Match or my S&W 945 (horrors it's not a 1911). Both guns have been totally reliable and supper accurate. I use the S&W 945 with a Docter optic for bullseye pistol shooting.
    A number of people have made disparaging comments on the ParaOrdnance pistols. I only have experience with the wide body variations and My PO18-9, PO16-40 and PO14-45 have been totally reliable with a wide variety of handloads and very accurate. In my opinion PO produces some of the most accurate barrels in the business.
  5. JK-linux


    Mar 5, 2009
    I think sometimes we 1911 folks get wrapped up in the modularity and customization of our pistols. We think of what could be done to them rather than what should be done. A modern pistol of any manufacture should at the least, be reliable. Regardless of brand, price, etc... If it proves not to be the case, it needs to be sent back to the manufacturer to correct the issue. Once it's reliable, then the fancy stuff can be added assuming reliability isn't compromised. Most 1911's I buy are bone stock and get grips and sights added, and a long trigger if needed - that's it. Pre Series 80 Colts and the SA GI types get barrel throating, feed ramp polish and a lowered ejection port. Much more than that is fortunately not needed by me for defensive carry. Once we start talking tighter frames, match bushings, tighter barrels and the like, we get into very subjective waters of what you should realistically expect from the pistol. A race car is fun to drive on a track with a pit crew and a sponsor, but not on a lonely stretch of desert or snow-blown highway with no help and no experts to baby it along. Just because a gun cost $2000 and is made by Mr. X, doesn't mean it will be all things. Reliability is commonly the trade off from minute accuracy increases, we all know that.
  6. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed JAFO

    Feb 28, 2001
    I would say don't draw conclusions from isolated incidents. Les Baer 1911s are as reliable as any other 1911, if they weren't I wouldn't have bought one. :supergrin: As with anything mechanical things can be out of spec or need adjustment. If you have any 1911 that doesn't run 100% you should have it looked at, it might end up being something simple.
  7. gconan


    May 1, 2000
    I have found out to jettison the Baer magazines that come with the gun's and get Wilson Combat/Chip McCormic magazines right away.
  8. GVFlyer

    GVFlyer Senior Member

    Sep 9, 2008
    Somewhere in the air.
    I have been shooting full size and Commander length Les Baer pistols for years. Mine have been more accurate than my other 1911s from semi-custom 1911 manufacturers and equally reliable.

    I have had bad luck with a Kimber Pro Raptor II and sold it to a guy who thought he wanted one - even though I told him it would only fire ball.

    In addition to the Les Baers, I have had exceptionally good luck with Sig Sauer 1911s, Colt and Wilson Combat pistols.
  9. MD357


    Jul 13, 2008
    My Baer currently has been 100% no more or less than the rest of my semi-customs. :supergrin:

    I carry mine from time to time and It's run all sorts of JHPs aswell including HST, Ranger, GD, DT, some old Hydra Shok, Golden Sabre. Even put about 500rds of Wolf through it. No problems, however I used good mags.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
  10. Don-wayne


    Jun 15, 2008
    All four of my Baers have been 100% reliable and two are 1 1/2 guns. My Wilson Protector 5'' on the other hand was not. Every manufacturer will have some less than perfect guns but my Baers arent one of those.
  11. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    My SRP has been 100%. My Concept V has had twoe FTF over the years I've onwned it, but certainly not bad at all.
  12. Substance-P

    Substance-P Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    I've run a variety of ammo through my two TRSs without any issues whatsoever. In fact, they are in a select group of my completely trouble free pistols.
  13. Ruggles


    Jun 13, 2005
    I had a Baer TRS Comanche that was great with FMJ and crap with any and all JHPs I tried. Not sure if that was related to it's tightness but I can say the gun was way tighter than it needed to be IMO. I prefer my 1911s to be a bit looser than Mr. Baer makes em.
  14. Screaming .357G

    Screaming .357G 598ci big block

    Oct 16, 2001
    My Les Baer TRS is the most reliable 1911 I have ever owned. Feeds and extracts anything no matter how its held,what brand or type of ammo. I can't say enough good things about the TRS I have.
  15. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    I've had two Baer 1911's, one 4.25" Concept VII and one 5" Premier II with the 1.5" option. Both have been very reliable. I had one malfunction with the Concept VII before I decided that I really prefer a full sized 1911 even for carry and sold it. My 1.5" Premier II has still not had a malfunction, and I've had it for 7 or 8 years now.

    The only 1911's I've had consistent problems with are compact Colts and wide body Para's. Every other 1911 I've owned has had less than one malfunction per 1000 rounds fired. I generally buy 5" models, feed them with Wilson 47d mags, and very rarely have any malfunctions.

  16. Sometimes, we have the answers right there under our noses. :supergrin:

    Seriously, I haven't shot the Baers, so I really can't comment to their reliability. My EB KC, on the other hand, has been uber-reliable. Shoots better than I can, so what's not to like?

    HAIL CAESAR Senior Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    In my shop
    I give Brown a lot of things, but gun per gun they are not as accurate as Baer's.
    I have a Baer with thousands of rounds threw it and it has never failed outside the first 50 rounds.
  18. willowofwisp


    Jul 28, 2009
    I don't agree with this....i have put 350 rounds through my Baer premiere II this far and i have only had one fail to return to battery which was caused by a very high primer..

    HAIL CAESAR Senior Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    In my shop
    Yes, I have had a 800 plus rounds a day through numerous Baer's and they never had a problem. I did add oil on the rails at noontime.
    Maybe I have been around the only Baer"s in existence that can only get past a box of ammo because they are so tight.:whistling:

    Well I better get back to the Dillon to make more ammo for the jamming Baer's.:rofl:
  20. Are you LB owners finding the 5" to be more reliable than the Comanches? Are the Comanches even tighter than the full size?