Need custom shop advice

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by LiberalGunGuy, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. LiberalGunGuy

    LiberalGunGuy New Member

    Dec 14, 2017
    I have a Dan Wesson A2 in blued steel that I’m finally ready to have customized but I could really use some advice and suggestions from the more experienced 1911 owners out there.

    Do any of you have suggestions for a quality custom shop that does great work? This is my first 1911 (I know, a Dan Wesson for my first 1911, go big or go home right?) and I don’t want to have it ruined by shoddy work. I’m hoping to find a place with fair pricing (not too high, but also not too low because of course you get what you pay for) and a reasonable turn-around time (I’d rather not have to wait over 6 months to get it back *if I can help it*).

    I have a basic idea of the work I want done (and it’s nothing crazy), but I’m also hoping that after I find the right custom shop I’ll be able to speak with a gunsmith to advise me and also help me fine-tune my modifications list.

    I’m considering just sending it to Dan Wesson, but they are limited in what sort of work they do. From other posts I’ve made that involved custom stuff I’ve gotten the suggestions of Evolution Armory and Nighthawk Custom. I’ve also looked up Wilson Combat and gone over their ala carte options (although it seems like they’re over-priced).

    So as I said earlier, if you kind folks have any suggestions for custom shops I would greatly appreciate it. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the places I’ve already mentioned (as well as your views on how they stack up against each other).

    Thanks so much!

    I posted this on the 1911 Forums as well. I’m sure there’s community overlap, but I figured I’d cover all my bases.
    PewPewPtwang likes this.
  2. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    Talk to @Steve Owens. He runs Integrity Arms and has extensive experience doing custom work on Dan Wesson 1911's.

  3. azngotskills

    azngotskills Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2012
    With most quality 1911 gunsmiths, waiting times of 6+ months is typically the norm for machining, blending, etc. If it is just installing/fitting parts, it’s definitely shorter and within your time frame. There is a saying “pick two: time, cost, quality” out of those it’s gonna cost your somewhere and I rather cost me in waiting time.
    LiberalGunGuy likes this.
  4. gun_fan111

    gun_fan111 Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2014
    Looks like you’ve done your homework. I only have personal experience with custom work from Alchemy, but would not hesitate to send anything to NH based on my experience with their product.
    LiberalGunGuy likes this.
  5. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
  6. azguy1911

    azguy1911 I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now

    Oct 22, 2015
    so you want cheap, fast and well done :o.o:

    All kidding aside it's going to be 3-5 months at Wilson, Alchemy, Evolution or Nighthawk and the work will be perfect and the price "is what it is".

    Maybe if you detailed your ideas or the work you desire would could help more ;)
    41 Charlie and LiberalGunGuy like this.
  7. boatdoc

    boatdoc Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2015
    I vote for Steve Owens. check his work in the threads on our forum. stellar work
    FredZ and LiberalGunGuy like this.
  8. LiberalGunGuy

    LiberalGunGuy New Member

    Dec 14, 2017
    I didn’t realize the average wait times were that long. I suppose it’s better than no wait at all (because then you’d have to wonder “why don’t they have any work?”). That is a great saying lol.

    I tend to do a lot of research before I make these sorts of decisions, if only to not screw things up and be kicking myself afterwards. What’s NH?

    I googled Integrity Arms and it came up with a California-based company that appears to do AR custom work, no mention of handgun work. Is there more than one Integrity Arms?

    Lmao, I know, right? I’d also like a toilet made out of solid gold. But yeah as you probably can tell, I’d like to find a shop with “fair” pricing, and reasonable lead times. If 6 months is normal (sounds that way) then I guess that’s how long it’ll be.

    What I know I’d like to have done:

    - Full beavertail grip safety, fitted and blended (it came with an abbreviated beavertail grip safety)
    - Commander hammer
    - Flat 25 LPI mainspring housing, fitted and blended
    - Fiber optic front sight (I prefer Dawson Precision, partridge style...if possible), .100 wide
    - Plain black rear sight (leaning towards Heinie Slant Pro), .125 wide notch
    - Replace the ejector, blend to flush with the back of the slide
    - Replace the extractor, blend to flush with the back of the slide, tune
    - Install a Harrison Extreme Service trigger and tune the trigger pull to #3.5 to #4 with no creep/minimal over-travel

    What I am considering having done (depending on cost):

    - Slightly bevel the magazine well
    - Fully undercut trigger guard (it comes slightly undercut
    - 30 LPI high cut front strap checkering (dependent on if I got the trigger guard fully undercut)

    I hope that helps (and sorry for the long post).
    TangoWhiskeyFoxtrot likes this.
  9. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    The Integrity Arms I was referring to is based in Ohio. It's a small business run by Steve Owens. I'm not sure if he has a website.

    Just send a PM to @Steve Owens.
    FredZ, FWoo45, boatdoc and 1 other person like this.
  10. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    @LiberalGunGuy Here is a link to a photo gallery here on the forum, I haven't gotten a website up and running yet, but working on it. Doing individual quotes and if you would like to speak in person feel free to call me at 419-305-4121 I currently have 2 A2's in my shop, with the next one in line being one of them. I have done a number of Dan Wessons and what you see listed on this thread is my most recent works. I do have a FB page but nothing there any different then here. Thank for all the plugs guys much appreciated. Call me if you like, if no answer leave a brief msg and call back number and I'll get back with you asap..

    Phone: 419-305-4121
    FredZ, FWoo45, boatdoc and 1 other person like this.
  11. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Fred ValorII 006.JPG Fred ValorII 022.JPG Fred ValorII 011.JPG Fred ValorII 009.JPG Here is a Valor that just shipped out to Florida this morning.
  12. azguy1911

    azguy1911 I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now

    Oct 22, 2015
    Steve did some simple (I'm funny saying simple, I couldn't do it with 10 years of training) work on my Wilson Combat Stealth, add a magwell, safety, slide-release and he was amazing to work with and called me at least 3x's to make sure he was proceeding correctly. The blending of the magwell was perfectly done.

    If you want serious 'hands on treatment" I'd vote Steve cause the big shops you are just a number.
  13. WWB

    WWB Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Supporting Addict

    Apr 11, 2015
    ^^ Yep I agree..
    my Valor from Steve/ Integrity Arms
  14. LiberalGunGuy

    LiberalGunGuy New Member

    Dec 14, 2017
    Thanks for taking the time to drop in Steve. I was just looking at your follow-up post of the Valor, that is some gorgeous work! I’m going to take a look at the link you posted now.
    I’m actually not on Facebook (I got tired of all the data breaches and deleted my account) but I would definitely like to give you a call later this week to speak with you about possible mods and what it would cost. I want to “make this gun my own”, but I also want to be careful not to go overboard (another reason my list of what I want done keeps changing...its so easy to get carried away...I’m trying not to enter the territory of full-house custom costs...for now haha).
  15. A45GUNNER

    A45GUNNER Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2012
    I've had Steve work on one of my pistols and it came out really nice His turnaround time is good right now but he's starting to get busy. His communication is very good and you will probably not get this with a big name smith. You won't be disappointed if you go with Steve
    FredZ and Steve Owens like this.
  16. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    Dave at Evolution Armory customized my Colt LW Commander (38 Super). I couldn’t be more pleased, and hope to do some additional projects together in the future. Best of luck, and be patient. The journey can be as pleasurable as the destination.

    F89A7E6A-249F-4EFF-8D88-CA18583552FD.jpeg 3DA637EB-9AC5-428D-BDAD-56ED3F829E01.jpeg D3594625-0146-4D3F-A219-FF595686C8D2.jpeg F544EC76-9D2E-4AB8-86CB-175E1B773F07.jpeg
  17. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    Very Nice. Love the HP cuts Behind the dust cover.. Concealment grip safety looks great on these commander pistols as well. Just enough, but not too much.. Choice of grips also compliments the build very nicely..
    41 Charlie likes this.
  18. mbacker_99

    mbacker_99 Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2017
  19. Integrity Arms

    Integrity Arms 1911 Pistol Smith

    Mar 20, 2017
    This pic always gets me. The finish looks ICE BLUE... Love the color....
    kwkid55, FredZ, 41 Charlie and 2 others like this.
  20. Badabing11

    Badabing11 I gotta have more cowbell

    Sep 6, 2015
    I’d recommend @Steve Owens Look at his pictures thread and check out the precision of the alignment of his ball cuts on the slide. I’ve never seen better.

    My guess is he is getting a lot of action, I can’t speak for the wait time. But I can speak for his fine attention to detail and perfection.

    If you want something like a custom bushing and plug set, barrel cut and reverse crown, new sights or different trigger, Dan Wesson shop can turn that work around quickly. But their selection of custom options is somewhat lesser than Steve’s.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
    FredZ, Steve Owens, WWB and 1 other person like this.

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