The reason why I am considering a high end 1911 is my previous experience with them. I once owned four different 1911s.

  • Colt Combat Commander
  • Kimber Pro Carry II
  • Kimber Ultra Carry
  • Kimber Eclipse Custom

Two of them, the Ultra Carry and the Eclipse were decent for being range guns. They fed and shot FMJ reasonably well, but could be picky when it came to feeding HP ammo. I consulted people that I respect on the subject, and was given a lot of conflicting advice. They told me to break the pistol in for 500 rounds and that would fix it. It didn’t. I was accused of “limp wristing” by people who hadn’t even watched me shoot. I was told to change ammo, because some 1911s are finicky. I was told to lube them more, and was also told to lube them less. Other advice was change the springs, get more gunsmithing done, and tons of other things. At the time, I just couldn’t find a place for a handgun that cost a kilobuck but wouldn’t give me 100% reliability out of the box that is required for a carry piece and saw no point in pouring money into a gun in order to make it shoot reliably when there were so many guns that cost a fraction of a 1911 that worked fine right out of the box.

That was a decade ago. Now I have several dozen handguns and have sold several dozen more because they didn’t suit my needs. I am set for the handguns I need now I am buying handguns that I want. What I want is a handgun that looks sexy, and the 1911 does. Not in a tactical or badass way, but in a way that offers clean lines. I just like the way that they look. I also want it to be reasonably reliable, and I constantly hear from 1911 fanbois about how accurate and reliable their 1911 is, if you get the right gunsmith to work it over. So now I am assuming that the custom made 1911s from a top quality gunsmith with a reputation for making the best is gong to fit that bill.

So I want to try the Ed Brown. Still, spending 4 grand on a pistol only to have it not be what you want is a bit painful, so I am looking at trying out a cheaper version for now. I misspoke before, I am not looking at an Ultra Carry, I am looking at an Ultra CDP or a Pro CDP. I don’t like the Rapide. It looks like Kimber’s attempt to make the 1911 look like a Glock. All of the unreliability of a 1911, with the looks of a Glock. The worst of both worlds. To compound the problem, they even make them in 9mm.

Sure, the Ed Brown is expensive, but that is the benefit of having a job that pays well and a wife who is understanding of your odd, expensive hobbies. At least she knows my money is going to guns and geeky stuff and not to a mistress. Not only that, but I need to have a Bar B Que gun for the unlikely event that open carry is ever legalized in Florida.

Categories: Guns


Brass · January 7, 2023 at 8:15 am

I’d give the higher end Springfield Armory 1911s, like the Operator, a try. They also have their own custom shop.

Jerseygirl Angie · January 7, 2023 at 8:18 am

Consider a CZ-75 . I’ve found it reliable, accurate and ergonomic . Basically , it’s a Browning Hi-Power chambered for 9mm . Unless you are dead-set on a .45 , I think that you’d be quite happy with this handgun .

Anonymous · January 7, 2023 at 11:37 am

Pretty happy with my Tisas M1911A1, Series 70 clone. No rail but very inexpensive, 250 round break-in with only 3 misfeeds early in the process with 230 Gr. FMJ. No problems with anything since but I’ve never tried bargain ammo ever. For what it’s worth.

dave in pa · January 7, 2023 at 12:51 pm

take a look at rock island armory, for the money. they make a damn good 1911. I have 2 of them and they work better than the kimbers I had/tried in the past. Dan Wesson makes a very good 1911 too. a while back I picked up a Springfield SA-35 in 9mm
their version of the old Browning hi power. I like it a lot !
shoots better than the hi powers I own in the past and it is a solid gun. so far it has shot everything I tried with no problms
cast bullets, reloads FMJ and holow points better than my old ones ever did. so I think they did something with the feed ramp
I also run my guns a bit on the “wet” side of things. use a lube made with heavy oil and light grease. might be a bit messy but I never had a problem. never tried the CZ yet, but a friend of mine has one and swears by it. it is his carry gun now.
my carry gun is a old German made Sig Sauer 226 in 9mm, I owned it for close to 33-4 years now and other than replacing some springs, it has never fail to go bang when I wanted it too.
but it is not a 1911. not as accurate as one either. but that is not why I carry it. 2-3 inch groups fast at 25 yards is good enough for what it for. like anything else in life, for what it is worth.

    Matthew · January 7, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    I’m with you there too Dave. I really like my new BBR 3.10 though I only have 50 rounds through it. I had a single misfeed during the first 10 rd mag but after that NOTHING.

    Also found that the Para Ordinance P10 Warthog 13 rd mags will function with very minor Dremel work to the retention slot and found a guy in Texas that will 3D print a custom sleeve to mate these mags to my BBR at a very reasonable price.

    Also used custom Pearce mag extensions for the Warthog 10 rd mags on the RI 10 rd mags with minor mods that allow that last finger on the grip.

    So yeah, Rock Island 1911 fan.

Just a Guy · January 7, 2023 at 2:43 pm

I can’t argue with any of the comments above ,,,,, all good ideas and recommendations,,,,, I too like the 1911,,,,,, got my first in 1972. A Colt Series 70 Government model,,,,, worked OK,,,, but had some faults. Various people worked on the pistol and it got a little better. Then came the desire to try and “combatize” the gun,,,, make it into something that the current crop of Pistoleros would shoot at the Southwest Leather Slappers in SoCal and AZ.The more I changed things to try and make it cool and tactical,,, the more finicky it became. Bought a lot of Colts and spent a lot of money before I bought my first Ed Brown. Haven’t looked back. Drove out to the Ed Brown Shop in MO and met Mr. Brown,,, he gave me a tour of the facility and when finished we sat in his office and I told him I wanted to get one of his 5″ Government Models,,,, Executive Elite in carbon steel. He said wait a minute,,,, went into the shop and came back with exactly one of those,,,,, he said here it is,,, this one is yours,,,, but it has to go to the FFL / gun shop for you to have it,,,, Boy Howdy,,,, love at first sight. There have been about 6 more since that day ,,,, two Commander sized and at least 4 Government sized. In either Stainless Steel or blued carbon steel. Can’t say enough about his workmanship,,,, outstanding! The pistols have exactly everything I want in a carry firearm,,,, and nothing I don’t. The only thing better than the craftsmanship of his 1911’s is the customer service. I guess I liken it to being part of the family at that point. A note of caution,,,, if something should ever need fixing on the Ed Brown pistol,,,, don’t EVER let another gunsmith work on it,,,, send it back to Ed Brown,,, it’s their pistol and they will make it right. Oh yes,,, I still have all of my Ed Browns,,, while the Commander sized is sexy,,,, my EDC is the 5″ Government Model. And yes,,, I still do have my original Series 70 Colt,,,,,,, owning a 1911 is a love affair that’s hard to break,,,, and buying an Ed Brown 1911 is like eating peanuts,,, it’s hard to stop once you start. Life is short,,,, drink good whiskey and / or wine,,, eat the best steaks, read good books and watch old movies,,, Love the one you’re with and get the 1911 you want …. life is short.

    dave in pa. · January 7, 2023 at 8:28 pm

    I also own a old gold cup in stainless steel. got that as a gift
    years ago. anyway, it started having some problems and I took it to a smith I knew. he called me the next day asking what in the hell I was shooting thru it ? well, fmjs, hollow points, plus p ammo
    whatever. I was told this is a target gun. meant for 200 grain wadcutters. and ALL of the springs had cracks in them.
    so, I stopped by and we talked about it. he ended up replacing all the springs with stronger ones and replaced a few parts inside. gave it a nice matt black finish afterwards
    great shooter now. bit on the heavy side. and the rear sight is a problem as that spring keep cracking (?)
    so, yes it is a target gun somewhat still, but it will handle just about any ammo you can find to shot thru it now.
    it a bedside gun now a days.
    but if you want a good shooter out of the box without breaking you bank account, look at the Springfield sa-35. Mecgar makes very good magazines for it too. cheaper than the Springfield ones
    I think they the same mag really. using a rest, I can hit a 12 inch paper plate all day long at 75 yards with it. problem now is finding a good holster for it that I like.

AC47Spooky · January 7, 2023 at 3:16 pm

Just an opinion but maybe the Kimber 1911s are a bit overrated. I have NO personal experience with any modern 1911 but maybe look into the Springfield Emissary. Or the Ronin series …

Jonesy · January 7, 2023 at 3:40 pm

Kimber makes some decent stuff – I’ve had 3 so far and ended up keeping the Pro Carry TLE II. It’s been my primary carry gun for the past 15 years. A comment on the reliability out of the box thing – people shit on 1911s because in some instances they do need some breaking in. My now very broken in Kimber had an issue well past 500 rounds where it wouldn’t always return to battery in full. I fixed it with a higher power Wolff recoil spring. I’ve never looked back and it hasn’t hiccuped since then. I also use top end mags, Wilson combat and Tripp Research cobra mags, and recently, when my 8 round Wilson mags got a little tired, I replaced the guts with tripp research springs and followers, and went down to 7 round capacity for reliability. No issues whatsoever.

DM, if you’re looking at a Kimber, but maybe want something in between that and the high end stuff [Wilson, Ed Brown, Les Baer, and ($$$) Nighthawk Custom etc], take a good look at Dan Wesson. I have the Valor from a few years back and I can say that it feels, looks, etc like a much more expensive gun. They do recommend a break in, but I have had zero issues after 300 rounds or so. I couldn’t justify more $ and I feel completely satisfied I got what I paid for. My 2c…

Elrod · January 7, 2023 at 7:57 pm

Gun Jesus has a 20-minute video comparison on the original P-35 and the new FN High Power, looks pretty interesting. Better than the Springfield PA-35? I dunno, certainly more spendy. FN were the folks making the original P-35 so maybe they have the inside track on “improvements.” I don’t know if Ian did a comparison between the P-35, the SA-35 and the new FN version, I’d like to see that though.

RE: CZ-75s. the SAR K2 is a CZ-75 clone in 45ACP, 14+1. It’s a Turkish make-over of the CZ 97 with some small improvements. Weighs about the same as the 97 – which is an ounce more than a steel 1911 – holds 4 more rounds in the mag than the 97.The CZ design has some advantages – DA/SA trigger – and the SA is pretty darn good out of the box, about 4 lb 5 oz with some take-up and fairly crisp with a little bit of creep, the two I’ve looked at are about 10 lb 4 oz and 10 lb 8 oz DA, but the CZ-75 design in SA will never be a 3.5 lb glass rod like a worked-on 1911. Both were quite accurate, which what the 97 was famous for – and CZ-75s (and their clones) can be carried cocked-and-locked just like a 1911. Seems holsters are in short supply, though, it’s fatter than the 75 so 75 holsters won’t work, and aftermarket stuff hasn’t caught up yet for stufff like sights.

Southern NH · January 7, 2023 at 8:41 pm

I prefer the 1911 also. I bought the rock island and love it. A gunsmith I knew said the rock islands never seem to need any work done, but the kimbers usually do. That may just be the owners personal preference for certain features or improvements.

PPSh-41 · January 7, 2023 at 11:56 pm

Once outshot a buddy with a Llama 1911 while he had a Colt Commander at an unheated range that used to be a bowling alley.
The almost universal 8 round mags, skeletonized trigger and hammer, stopping power, big frame/slide for mounting gadgets, all are features.

Bad Dancer · January 8, 2023 at 7:56 am

It is truly hard to beat the look and function of a good 1911 and this is coming from a glock guy.

Rather than high end my facination is the other end of the spectrum the Tisas 1911s seem to be coming in like a sleeper car preforming far far outside of their price range.

We seem to be in a 1911 renaissance with entry level pistols from Ruger, Smith and Wesson, and Tisas preforming like smithed on guns from yesteryear. Rock Island hits outside its weight class too but doesn’t make “purdy” guns.

I’d give someone elses kidney for a blued commander sized 1911 in 10mm with a bobtail cut grip and buckeye burl grip scales.

Comments are closed.