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The Beauty & the Beast

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by 50GI-Jess, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. 50GI-Jess


    Jun 23, 2010
    Hi Guys,
    I think it was legendary mr. J.Cooper who once said " The true beauty of a 1911 is on the inside" !
    We live in a time with more manufactures than the 1911 A1 than ever. Now it has turned into a "beauty" contest, and a company like Kimber, comes out with new models almost 2-3 times a year. Nothing wrong with that and more power to them.
    Cosmetic changes and new names, does not change the basic mechanics and function of the 1911 design. I see a lot of threads here, asking about what basic upgrades one would need on a GI type out of the box 1911.
    It all depends ! Is it a wallhanger or a life saver ?

    If it's a life saver, you would most likely want to have a "reliability" package done to it first. Especially if being on a budget, and can't afford a full custom job. Remember that outside cosmeticts, have never won a gunfight, but reliable firearms has.

    Ok, I understand how the firearms trade works. A first time gunowner walks into a gun shop looking for a 1911, that he/she just saw in a action movie.
    More often than not, he/she is going to select a model that looks kick a.. on the outside, not being conserned about the quality of the inside.

    See what I'm getting at ! It cooks down to priorities here. I personally think, that if any customer pays $ 2.000 + for a custom 1911, 4 things should be "a must have" for that price.
    1. Reliability
    2. Accuarcy
    3. Ergonomics
    4. Cosmetics

    And in that same order, depending on how much money one has to start out with. In other words, go with a reliability package first. That may save your life, so you can save up more $ and work your way down the list later.

    Just some thoughts, that I hope will help new 1911 owners getting started on the right food.

    Jess Christensen
  2. No argument with the priority list, but from years behind the counter, few first-time buyers come in looking for a gun they saw in an action movie.

    In fact, most are very interested in the opinions of the boob behind the counter, thinking they should be an "expert". Unfortunately many are steered to the gun with the best margin, or the slow seller, rather than one with the best chance of achieving those priorities. Other times they are steered toward the gun the boob likes best, regardless if it might be best for a newbie.

    Internet forums are almost as bad as the counter-help, at times.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010

  3. Hokie1911

    Hokie1911 >

    Dec 26, 2003
    NE Ohio
  4. Ruggles


    Jun 13, 2005
    Good OP. The maze of 1911s is a scary, expensive and complex one when you first enter it!

    I would maybe suggest switching number 2 and number 3 as practical accuracy is hard to achieve if the ergonomics are not right regardless of the mechanical accuracy of the gun. I could easily go either way on the order as they are both important!

    The biggest problem 1911 folks have these days is how the Hell to choose from all that is offered to us in 1911 utopia. I went to a restaurant yesterday and I was HUNGRY! Looked at the menu trying to decide what I wanted to devour for 5 mins. Moaned and groaned like a little girl about how I could not decided and then wised up and realized if that was my biggest problem then I was doing pretty good that day :)

    That is the same train of thought that I see on the forums sometimes......"I can not beleive so and so is coming out with a 1911"......"did you see those rollmarks????"....."that new brand model A from so and so looks too much like model B from so and so..........if those are the biggest issues facing the 1911 world then we are doing pretty darn well.

    I say the more the merrier, I wish more folks would make 1911s it could only help the consumer in the long run IMO.
  5. glock2740

    glock2740 Gun lover.

    Jun 19, 2008
    NW Ark.
    Very true words indeed. Good post Jess.
  6. 50GI-Jess


    Jun 23, 2010
    Hi all,
    Yes Ruggles, thats a very strong point and observation about accuracy and ergonomics. In fact, I think more users are better served with correct ergonomics than competition level accuracy for self defense. Also, I read somewhere than less than 1 % of gunowners, actually get involved in organized competition shooting. On top of that, the vast majority of gunfights take place within 10 to 30 feet or so. So in one way, I don't really know why so many folks are so accuracy oriented conserning carry guns. Then again, it's nice to have - and never have any use for it...than not have it if needed. Also, on a true custom piece, it should be considered mandatory for that hefty price.

    Another thing ! CMG's comment about retail sales, brought up some old memories of mine. I used to work the floor in a big gun store out west in a bigger city, where competition between gun shops was pretty fierce.
    Like any other business everything boiled down to higher sales rate and making money. So one day older Ms. Johnson in her 80's walks in wanting a handgun for protection. Even though she's never fired any firearm before, one of the younger hot shot sales associates, gives her a choice between a Glock 23 or Kimber Ultra Carry in 45.
    Trying to copycat the associate, she can't even rack the slide or understand how it works etc. To make a longer story short, I ended up selling the older lady a slightly used S&W mod.65, which she could operate and understand. Also being low on money, she paid around $ 375 ammo included, and went happy on her way.
    I got fired shortly hereafter, but It makes me sleep better at night knowing Ms.Johnson is protected with something thats works for her. Money isn't everything, when you sell "life insurance"
    Later guys.
    Jess Christensen
  7. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
  8. drc767

    drc767 Navy CSAR

    Dec 30, 2007
    I agree. I often see posts to the effect of "What is the difference between a production, semi-custom and custom 1911"? and "How can you justify the price of X Brand 1911 when I can buy a Y brand for much less"? Reliability, on any weapon, should be of primary importance. Unfortunately, for some, I think Cosmetics come first. I have seen more people who would choose to live with an unreliable weapon because they think it looks cool. Interestingly enough, reliability and accuracy is probably the easier two of the list to attain, and certainly the less expensive to achieve to a good, qualified pistolsmith. The craftsmanship and talent it takes to change the ergonomics and cosmetics of a 1911 is much more labor intensive and more expensive. That, too me, is where the rubber meets the road with the custom level 1911. The "big boys" in the custom 1911 trade are not only world class pistolsmiths, they are artists, machinists, engineers, ect....They are able to tie all four of these elemets together to create a one of a kind work of art that is also reliable and accurate. But deservingly so, it comes with a price.....
  9. 50GI-Jess


    Jun 23, 2010
    Hi again,
    There use to be a time when custom ment just that. In the early 80's, there was probably only about 25 real custom 1911 businesses in the world...that really worked.
    Today everything says custom, tactical, SWAT, denfense etc. on it. Even shoes and pocket lights an so on.
    Also being into firearms full circle, building, carry, former navy, IPSC, IDPA, Bianchi etc.
    I have the luxury of meeting nice folks from everywhere and all walks of life. I listen and learn from what I see and hear like everyone else.
    Today gunowners very seldom show up on the range with a complete II-WW 1911 unmodified, or Colt or SA right out of the box, like they use to do 25-30 yrs ago. We now have a lot more to choose from. Quality has risen sky high in 1911 market, the marketing competition is fierce and beneficial for new guy on the block starting either CCW or competition shooting.
    One thing that hasn't changed, is the confusion among a lot of the first time 1911 owners. They can't understand why their new "custom" 1911's jams up sometimes. 9 out of 10 times, it's ammo or magazine related, which they understand pretty quick. But that 1 time out of 10 is where the problem sets in. They simply have a hard time understanding that their new XXXX model priced at $ 995 to ? fails them, when it's a brand new custom gun.

    Then someone on the range always brake the "news" down for them, and it's always a very sad looking person who recieve those news. "So does that mean I still have to put $2-300 into this gun, before I can rely on it ? " But i thought etc. etc. "
    And believe me, when shooting competition or taking an CCW class, you do notice the slightest hick-up your gun may have.

    As always, you get what you pay for....most of the time! And custom does not mean the same anymore, only to confuse and sadden a lot of new buyers. The 70-80's are gone, and so is the true meaning of custom.

    Just my opinion....

    Jess Christensen