High $$$ 1911's vs. Dan Wesson

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by BCD 45, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    Man, there are a bunch of beautiful 1911's out there and it's really cool to talk about and show off the Guncrafter's, Wilson's, Nighthawk's, & others. But my question: Is a custom 1911 that cost $3000+ a better range shooter and carry gun than a DW? Is it going to be more reliable than a $1500 DW? All in all and $ for $, is a full custom gun just a better 1911 except for looks and prestige than a DW?

    I'm trying to justify spending $3500 over spending $1600 for a 1911 that will be my range gun and sometimes carry gun. Thanks guys,

    Jim D
    razorbacker likes this.
  2. brucebulluck

    brucebulluck Member

    Nov 23, 2018
    It took me 3 months to pull the trigger on a Nighthawk and I could not be more pleased. When I listed the features I wanted on my “dream gun” and priced them they all came out with similar pricing. I think you could get something close to you build specs at DW if you don’t mind the wait and it surely will be much more than $1500. Going through a dealer or off the forum will save you some $ rather than straight from the manufacturer.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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  3. k38

    k38 Active Member

    Aug 4, 2014
    Jim, this comes up frequently. I'll give you my 2 cents. I have 3 DWs, 3 Wilsons, 1 NH. The DWs are plenty reliable, plenty accurate. I shoot my DW Valor as well as my Wilson CQB. But. . . the semi-customs (DW is a high end production gun) have a certain refinement that the DWs lack. Is this important in a practical sense? Nope. In my experience, fit is slightly better with the semi-customs, triggers are slightly better, same with finish. I'd opine that you get 95% of a semi-custom with a DW at 1/2 to 2/3 the cost. If you go with DW you won't regret it. But the semi-customs do have a certain panache.
  4. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019

    I wasn't thinking of having a DW built, I was thinking about buying a DW Commander SS Specialist for $1600 versus having a $3000+ custom made or buying one already made and for sale. Thanks,

    Jim D
  5. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019

    I truly understand a "certain panache."

    Jim D
    k38 likes this.
  6. TheCollector

    TheCollector Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2018
    I will echo k38 in regards to "this question comes up frequently" and giving 2 cents.
    If I tried to justify every dollar spent on a gun based on specific feature checked boxes, I wouldn't buy half the guns I do. I'll only speak for myself when I say I buy different priced guns because they satisfy different criteria. The most important criteria I have is ...... I just want it.
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  7. boatdoc

    boatdoc Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2015
    I would start with a DW PM series gun or a specialist . if you want to customize it-- send a PM to Steve Owens.

    anothe r option i s to buy a Les baer. play with it for a while and then get it customized if you really want to pretty it up. LB guns are labor intensive. possibly mor e labor in one than the other 4 makers put in these days( as they are kitted guns with less fitting used)--IMHO

    the semi customs ar e great. I love the ones I have bought . They are now priced close to 4 grand though. That said, I am very picky about options. I want what I want. so ordering from one of the 4 semi custom gun makers made sense to me.. So doe s buying DW guns.

    I am a hopelessly addicted owner.. but a happy one( and cash poor) :)
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  8. bobo3020

    bobo3020 Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2014
    Notice you are not starting the comparison with a DW vs a Ruger. They will both go bang reliably, however the DW is probably 3x more than the Ruger. I assume you already appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail the DW will deliver in comparison.

    Similarly the DW and the NH/WC will both serve the intended purpose. If you appreciate the refinements and more importantly want to pay to own them. Make the jump!

    Look at the classifieds and you can likely compare $1k DW to $2k semi. Closes the gap a bit to make your decisions even harder!

    Good luck and don’t think you can go wrong as long as you find a pistol you enjoy shooting.
  9. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019

    A man or gal should get what they want if funds permit. Congratulations to you for this. I'm not a jealous person and I love seeing guys/gals getting beautiful guns if they can afford it.

    I'm sorry that I brought this subject up again, I didn't know it had been discussed many times. I'm still a new dummy and just got my 1st 1911 ever 8 weeks ago. Thanks,

    Jim D
    UBOATDOC likes this.
  10. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    If there is a difference in reliability or accuracy, it's going to come down to how well the gun has been fit. DW Specialist uses a lot of the same high quality components used in semi-custom builds.
  11. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    Thank you Bobo,

    I just last week bought a DW Valkyrie Commander .45 from John on the classifieds. It will be here Friday.

    Jim D
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  12. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019

    Thank you.

    Jim D
  13. knedrgr

    knedrgr Low capacity, low tech...

    Aug 15, 2011
    There's a big difference when you're talking about "custom" 1911. You have 1) semi-custom, and 2) full-custom.

    Semi-custom is basically a model that's sold by some of the main manufactures you'd listed. And you're able to slightly change (ie mix, match) a few different options. Sort of like buying a model house in a development different options. Therefore, these are basically production guns that has some "customized" options for the owner.

    A full-custom is a 1911 that's hand built by a gunsmith, which aren't on your above list, and you can spec out exactly what you want. Think of working with an architecture to draw up a custom home and have a builder construct it. It's a one-off 1911 that's make for the owner. And these will have a buy-in price of roughly $6000+.
  14. bobo3020

    bobo3020 Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2014

    Shoot it and enjoy! Thing I love about this addiction is you can always sell one to fund another (at least partially :D)
  15. WWB

    WWB Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Supporting Addict

    Apr 11, 2015
    I would say that right there about sums it up IMO
  16. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    I don't do drugs unless it's a prescription but I've known a lot of people on drugs. Damn this might be more addictive than full blown drugs. I'll probably wish that I had never seen this site before it's over if it gets over.
    KNEDRGR, thank you for explaining semi & custom. Thanks.

    Jim D
  17. stlgecko

    stlgecko Gecko Lives Matter

    May 24, 2014
    Reliability comes down to each individual pistol, not brand specific. You take a chance/risk when you buy any of them. A $1500 DW might be just as good or better than one particular Nighthawk, or Wilson, but maybe not. You won’t know if it was worth it to spend more until you do so and try it out. Basically, results vary.
    MDP likes this.
  18. Jollyroger1

    Jollyroger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2015
    I’ve come across few Dan Wessons that really did anything for me. Haven’t been impressed by several in person.

    One Heritage that was worked over by Stan Chen really stood out and I liked it, but I think it was more because of Stan’s awesome ProTrac treatment.

    I’ve seen one or two in pictures on here that I’d like to handle and shoot but for the most part, I’d rather pay more for a Wilson, NHC, GI. Haven’t owned a GI yet, but all those guys in that small Arkansas triangle really know what the hell they’re doing - and they do it well.
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  19. samuse

    samuse Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2013
    I've had plenty of both and my experience is that yes, there is a definite reliability and quality advantage to the higher end 1911s.
    Glock2740, SCS1911, boatdoc and 2 others like this.
  20. MDP

    MDP MP Custom

    Jul 22, 2016
    You only know what your level of awareness is at the present time. What I’m saying is unless you’ve owned production, semi-custom, and full custom and probably more than one of each to compare you’ll never truly know.
    gps man and WC145 like this.

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