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So as with all 'vs' posts, this one proves to be the same. All of "addicts" eventually tend to favor a particular brand. And that has come truly only one way...through personal experience. You can take all this feedback and use it to form your own conclusions, but don't take the recommendation of others solely when basing your decision. Ultimately, it will lead down the road to disappointment.

You're likely going to need to try a few different guns before you find the one that just does it for you. Trust me, I've been down this long road and it's cost me a lot of money. I've had Baer, NHC, ACW, Cabot, Brown and Wilson. I was going to order a Volkmann as well. But the honest truth is, the best guns for me are Wilson's. I sold everything else to buy more Wilson's. Does that mean they make the best gun out of all of the above? Probably and most definitely not. But they offer the best combination of features, build quality and performance that suits me best.

Now I'm only branching out to other brands if they can offer me something that Wilson can't. So I'm trying another NHC because they offer a 2011 platform and Wilson doesn't. That being said, if I don't like the NHC, I'll sell it.

Some of this is trial and error on your part. You have to decide if you're willing to experiment and spend the money. If you can experiment without spending the money, even better. But keep in mind, you might love a gun at first only to dislike it later on. Happened to me.

But once again, you can't base your decision solely on our opinions. I've had several guys tell me "Nighthawk builds a better gun than Wilson." Well in your eyes maybe so, but not in mine. For some above Volkmann is the clear winner. But again, you're finding some that say they're just 'meh'.

The truth is any custom gun from a big name will perform well, be beautiful, and be more accurate than you. Some like the exclusivity of owning a brand where are only a few are built. I'm not in that boat. I don't care if 1 million people own Wilson's. If it suits me best, that what I'm sticking with.

So in short, you will have to figure out what gun is right for you. We really can't do it for you. But hopefully, we can guide you with information that you deem helpful.
Really well said. It is what fits the individual.
 

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Volkmann all day. Both brands are fantastic products with amazing customer service, but I will always support small business first.
Nighthawk is still a small business, it's just more than 1 guy. I mean they start as a small shop with 3-4 guys from Wilson. Now they employ nearly a hundred. They now make all their own parts as well. They're the epitome of a small business success story.
 

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I'm done buying guns, I'm just a bystander now
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You're likely going to need to try a few different guns before you find the one that just does it for you. Trust me, I've been down this long road and it's cost me a lot of money. I've had Baer, NHC, ACW, Cabot, Brown and Wilson. I was going to order a Volkmann as well. But the honest truth is, the best guns for me are Wilson's. I sold everything else to buy more Wilson's. Does that mean they make the best gun out of all of the above? Probably and most definitely not.

Now I'm only branching out to other brands if they can offer me something that Wilson can't. So I'm trying another NHC because they offer a 2011 platform and Wilson doesn't. That being said, if I don't like the NHC, I'll sell it.
Interesting, I'm slowly liquidating all my Wilsons and will probably only have two a year from now, they are great but I'm slowly going the ACW, Volkmann, Benchmark Precision, smaller shop route. I'll keep a Nighthawk or two and my Kobra Carry, Stinger and GI as I want one from each semi-custom but new builds will either be small shops or full customs like @Integrity Arms @Karl Beining Yost, Burton, BEC or a CT Brian
 

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So as with all 'vs' posts, this one proves to be the same. All of "addicts" eventually tend to favor a particular brand. And that has come truly only one way...through personal experience. You can take all this feedback and use it to form your own conclusions, but don't take the recommendation of others solely when basing your decision. Ultimately, it will lead down the road to disappointment.

You're likely going to need to try a few different guns before you find the one that just does it for you. Trust me, I've been down this long road and it's cost me a lot of money. I've had Baer, NHC, ACW, Cabot, Brown and Wilson. I was going to order a Volkmann as well. But the honest truth is, the best guns for me are Wilson's. I sold everything else to buy more Wilson's. Does that mean they make the best gun out of all of the above? Probably and most definitely not. But they offer the best combination of features, build quality and performance that suits me best.

Now I'm only branching out to other brands if they can offer me something that Wilson can't. So I'm trying another NHC because they offer a 2011 platform and Wilson doesn't. That being said, if I don't like the NHC, I'll sell it.

Some of this is trial and error on your part. You have to decide if you're willing to experiment and spend the money. If you can experiment without spending the money, even better. But keep in mind, you might love a gun at first only to dislike it later on. Happened to me.

But once again, you can't base your decision solely on our opinions. I've had several guys tell me "Nighthawk builds a better gun than Wilson." Well in your eyes maybe so, but not in mine. For some above Volkmann is the clear winner. But again, you're finding some that say they're just 'meh'.

The truth is any custom gun from a big name will perform well, be beautiful, and be more accurate than you. Some like the exclusivity of owning a brand where are only a few are built. I'm not in that boat. I don't care if 1 million people own Wilson's. If it suits me best, that what I'm sticking with.

So in short, you will have to figure out what gun is right for you. We really can't do it for you. But hopefully, we can guide you with information that you deem helpful.
To take your analysis one step further, some guns look better to one person than another. Some guns feel better than another, etc. I love my Nighthawks, Cabots, and Guncrafters (let's just say I'm very fond). I like my Les Baers, but not as much as the others. I dislike Kimber, but some folks swear by them. IMHO, I think Cabot makes magnificent guns and I've seen others here say they wouldn't own a Cabot, never, ever. I even saw one guy sell a Cabot to buy a Wilson (can you believe that!), but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some folks like blondes, others red heads, others brunettes; some people like Ford while others like Chevy. BTW, if you decide to sell your Nighthawk let me know, I like your taste :)
 

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To take your analysis one step further, some guns look better to one person than another. Some guns feel better than another, etc. I love my Nighthawks, Cabots, and Guncrafters (let's just say I'm very fond). I like my Les Baers, but not as much as the others. I dislike Kimber, but some folks swear by them. IMHO, I think Cabot makes magnificent guns and I've seen others here say they wouldn't own a Cabot, never, ever. I even saw one guy sell a Cabot to buy a Wilson (can you believe that!), but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some folks like blondes, others red heads, others brunettes; some people like Ford while others like Chevy. BTW, if you decide to sell your Nighthawk let me know, I like your taste :)
Sold a Cabot to buy a Wilson!?!?!? What’s wrong with that guy???

He sounds like he has a real problem. Lol.
 

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Interesting, I'm slowly liquidating all my Wilsons and will probably only have two a year from now, they are great but I'm slowly going the ACW, Volkmann, Benchmark Precision, smaller shop route. I'll keep a Nighthawk or two and my Kobra Carry, Stinger and GI as I want one from each semi-custom but new builds will either be small shops or full customs like @Integrity Arms @Karl Beining Yost, Burton, BEC or a CT Brian
It’s just one of those things. I just like the way Wilson builds. The biggest factor to me is consistency from them. I know what I’m getting due to experience.

Smaller shops have their niche and they build amazing guns. But I think some of them draw higher prices simply due to exclusivity.

And rebuilding other brands just isn’t my preference. I respect what those guys do no doubt, but their is no appeal to me having a Colt or a Dan Wesson customized. I prefer all new components.

One other aspect is that I’ve been told “no” on certain requests from many shops. Nothing outlandish mind you. And I get it, they’re weren’t set up for the tooling to do what I was wanting. I completely understand that. The only thing Wilson told me “no” on was blue Armor Tuff about 4 years ago. Well, a year later they started offering it.

All that being said, I’m a little neurotic in my tasteand what I consider acceptable in form and function. Lol

But every now and then, I give something new a try in the quest to find perfection. And while I’ve found some great guns along the way, they just weren’t ones I wanted to keep long term.

I have been parting ways with a few Wilson’s as of late, but it’s to buy some newer Wilson builds with Leupold Red Dots.
 

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Exactly, it's obvious these 2 gunmakers aren't going to compete in the bullseye world, it's what you want in taste. On Volkmann's website he says he starts with carbon steel, that suits my needs. His work is very classic looking. The right kind of steel for a 1911 is carbon for many reasons. If NHC started milling carbon instead of SS, it wouldn't be a contest. They offer so much more when it comes to customization and even if you like a basic frame they will make any slide design off their line that you like. You want a different barrel than theirs, they'll do it. $100/hr I believe is what they charge for custom fine tuning work.

Anyways, if you can convince NHC to do an all carbon or at least carbon slide, you'll have a lot of options to choose from.
 

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Exactly, it's obvious these 2 gunmakers aren't going to compete in the bullseye world, it's what you want in taste. On Volkmann's website he says he starts with carbon steel, that suits my needs. His work is very classic looking. The right kind of steel for a 1911 is carbon for many reasons. If NHC started milling carbon instead of SS, it wouldn't be a contest. They offer so much more when it comes to customization and even if you like a basic frame they will make any slide design off their line that you like. You want a different barrel than theirs, they'll do it. $100/hr I believe is what they charge for custom fine tuning work.

Anyways, if you can convince NHC to do an all carbon or at least carbon slide, you'll have a lot of options to choose from.
Simple, send them a base gun in carbon steel and pick the options you want
 

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Nighthawk is still a small business, it's just more than 1 guy. I mean they start as a small shop with 3-4 guys from Wilson. Now they employ nearly a hundred. They now make all their own parts as well. They're the epitome of a small business success story.
I totally understand that. I still prefer the one-man operation. Ben at NH has fantastic customer service, and they offer a ton of options. I hope they continue to grow. My money would still go Volkmann.
 

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Exactly, it's obvious these 2 gunmakers aren't going to compete in the bullseye world, it's what you want in taste. On Volkmann's website he says he starts with carbon steel, that suits my needs. His work is very classic looking. The right kind of steel for a 1911 is carbon for many reasons. If NHC started milling carbon instead of SS, it wouldn't be a contest. They offer so much more when it comes to customization and even if you like a basic frame they will make any slide design off their line that you like. You want a different barrel than theirs, they'll do it. $100/hr I believe is what they charge for custom fine tuning work.

Anyways, if you can convince NHC to do an all carbon or at least carbon slide, you'll have a lot of options to choose from.
Frame and slide material is also my only real hang up with NHC. The double stack frames they get are carbon though.

I asked for a carbon slide on a DS gun but they said no as they are only reserved for the VIP models.

They say they get the same tolerances and finish using stainless and it’s easier to machine the parts.

Seemed an odd answer to me when everyone else is doing primarily carbon...
 

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Silly question, which volkmann is the right one? There are 2 websites.
Lukevolkmann.com and volkmannprecision.com

Logos look the same.
 

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"Vs" threads are fun to read and always start entertaining conversations. However, there really isn't a right answer. What criteria are we comparing? Accuracy? With what ammo, at what distance, benched or offhand. Or maybe "reliability", which is even harder to pin down. What ammo, how many rounds, how many rounds between cleaning...we all know the drill.

There is a definite difference, good and bad, between truly small shops and the bigger "semi custom" (can o' worms) companies. You may or may not have more options, you may or may not get a better price, you may or may not like the end result. But whenever there are fewer people involved in the production, the end result will always cost more. The classical economic model says that's because the little guy is inefficient and lacks economies of scale. The fans of said shops will say it is superior but scarce in the marketplace, so demand far outpaces supply. They are actually both right.

There are a couple of well known, well respected gunsmiths out there that routinely post pictures of their projects online. I am amazed at many of them, and some truly blow me away with the creativity, skill and attention to detail. And surprisingly, in some cases I wouldn't want them to build me a pistol. It's nothing personal, they do amazing work and are probably amazing people. The look simply doesn't grab me, where someone else's does. Kinda like how I prefer redheads to brunettes, and brunettes to blondes. All have cost me dearly and proven frightening, but you gotta go with your gut! :)

My advice would be to really look at the various offerings and decide what you like and what you don't. Finish, sights, frame and slide materials and treatments...the list of things to consider is long. Then look to find who builds what you like and now you have a great question to ask a forum like this. "I'm thinking of buying X model made by X maker. Does anyone have any feedback?"

And then you can start another great type of thread, where people come out of the woodwork to tell you their own personal horror stories or sing their praises. And some who have never even owned the gun you're asking about will tell you that you should really buy something completely different from someone else. That's what makes America, and this forum, great. 😄
 

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Frame and slide material is also my only real hang up with NHC. The double stack frames they get are carbon though.

I asked for a carbon slide on a DS gun but they said no as they are only reserved for the VIP models.

They say they get the same tolerances and finish using stainless and it’s easier to machine the parts.

Seemed an odd answer to me when everyone else is doing primarily carbon...
They use carbon frames on small runs. I got in on a run once for a build and was able to get a frame, got stuck with a SS slide though.

They do not use carbon slides however unless something has changed. Not wanting to or knowing how to machine high carbon steel properly is what I was told the reason was that they choose SS. I'm not a machinist, but apparently SS is easier to CNC and mill. Does that sound right to anyone? Like I said, it's just what I was told by someone in the biz. The machining marks were pretty bad on the inside of the frame. I was surprised because I thought carbon was "softer" and easier to machine, but like I said, apparently it's different when you're machining high carbon steel. The tooling is different, feed and tool speeds etc. Any machinists in here that can confirm SS is easier to CNC than high carbon steel?
 

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It's historically been more difficult to machine stainless. But, if you are a shop that works with stainless regularly, you'll find that you have trouble with 4140. Likewise, if you're used to running 4140 and switch to 416, you'll have problems. Feeds, speeds and tooling knowledge play the biggest role in the "old wives tale" of which one is easier to work with.

From my perspective, I'd much rather "work" carbon steel. That's why ACW has zero stainless frames/slides. I don't believe in it for an all steel gun. I also think that nitriding either material only amplifies the drawbacks of either one. If you have a poly gun, nitride the world but for an all steel gun, there are certain components that nitriding degrades metallurgy to a degree that really kills the whole project.

They use carbon frames on small runs. I got in on a run once for a build and was able to get a frame, got stuck with a SS slide though.

They do not use carbon slides however unless something has changed. Not wanting to or knowing how to machine high carbon steel properly is what I was told the reason was that they choose SS. I'm not a machinist, but apparently SS is easier to CNC and mill. Does that sound right to anyone? Like I said, it's just what I was told by someone in the biz. The machining marks were pretty bad on the inside of the frame. I was surprised because I thought carbon was "softer" and easier to machine, but like I said, apparently it's different when you're machining high carbon steel. The tooling is different, feed and tool speeds etc. Any machinists in here that can confirm SS is easier to CNC than high carbon steel?
 
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