If you could have any pistol there is

Fellow USCCA Members:

I am turning 70 in October and I am planning to retire 12-31-20, assuming the market continues to recover. I have decided to buy myself a Retirement/Birthday present…a CUSTOM Pistol…most likely a 1911.

The question is…from which Custom Builder? Cabot, Wilson Combat, Les Baer, Ed Brown, Clarke Custom, Sean Chen…they cannot all be “THE BEST!”

Heck, I am not sure I have even listed the “best” gun builders. I looked at Jessie James too…but they are a little much for me. I plan to actually shoot this gun, a few times anyway.

What do you think? Or, is this the old “Rolls Royce vs. Bentley” argument…or actually, for us Americans…more like the Corvette Stingray vs The Ford Mustang-Shelby Cobra argument?

Whatever I decide on…I will post a picture here.


Hello brother I have always posted how I felt about having the Ed Brown Special Forces model if I could have any gun, I still stand by it. Something you may want to consider, but there is always the Wilson Combat or the Colt Defender. I know you will make a great choice.


I have a couple of suggestions for you… Joe Chambers https://chamberscustom.com/ Joe is active on a 1911 forum I belong to and is a VERY knowledgeable and helpful guy. A friend of mine was able to go to the “1911 University” Joe has and built his own 1911 under Joe’s supervision.

Another option (this is the route I am going) is to find a nice base 1911 that you like, and have it redone by a Smith. I am going with Steve Owens https://www.integrityarmscustoms.com/blank-page-2
with a 1979 full size Colt 1911. Steve is very easy to talk to and also very helpful. I am pretty sure Steve has closed his books again, but he will be taking more orders in the future. His lead time is not too long.

In the end, it is going to be YOUR gun, so go big, and get the one you want. Please post some pictures when you get it, and congrats on the pending retirement!


I’m partial to Wilson Combat, but let’s be serious…that list is all great and you should be happy with any of them.

Congratulations on the retirement! :tada:


@HenryRugerGlock ! Congrats on your retirement!

You won’t be wrong with either one :ok_hand:

I would say Wilson Combat, but only because I shot it. Nighthawk - because they are pretty, ED Brown - because they are classy, Cabot - because they say these are “the most beautiful ever crafted.”

However retirement present can be only one… so Cabot? :thinking: :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m a big fan of “Gun Guy” Bill Wilson, he’s been custom building 1911’s since he was like, I don’t know 12…
Not inexpensive, but once you hold one in your hands, you’re not giving it up. I can only dream of these, once in a while if I’m lucky enough I can hold one at the local gun shop/range. Very rare. Not many shops have Wilson Combat Handguns just lying around.
Congrats !


@HenryRugerGlock I am not really much of an expert with 1911’s but would love to own one. There are just TOO many options available. My local gunsmith is offering a “build your own 1911” class in the fall. So I am looking forward to that very much.
Happy 70th!!!


I’m partial to Wilson Combat and I LOVE my CQB… BUT when you are shopping on that league there are no bad choices and aesthetics and features play a bigger part than name.

I just think the CQB is all business and the feature list was EXACTLY what I wanted in a fighting handgun. Plus WC reputation for exceptional accuracy is real!


Wow! That’s a tough one. I’ve shot most all of the above plus more and while they are nice … (this will probably get me banned) … they are just 1911’s. Please understand I also build my own 1911’s either from the frame up or from a fully functional pistol. At the end of the day I have run my 1911’s against those listed above and my craftsmanship has acquitted itself well minus the name brand.

To the original question a blued Colt Python is my bucket list gun (I just got an LAR Grizzly in 45 Win Mag). One of the “Royal Blue” Colt offerings from the 70’s, my only quandary would be 4" or 6". I’m not a big revolver guy but those pistols are just too sexy for words with a finish you could fall into. JMHO and worth what you paid for it.




I just visited his site… WOW! But I wanted them all so that didn’t help me at all. :+1:

EDIT: @Fred_G from Steve’s gallery… this one with a black grip. OOOOOHHHHH Yeah!!!


Steve does do some nice work… He even does smaller jobs like front strap checkering. Of course, it depends on how busy he is as far as the time. Send him an email or call him if you are interested.


Thanks Johnny.

I am looking at the Ed Brown Cooper Commemorative. I exchanged emails with them today. Really friendly folks.


Oh Great! HA…just what I needed, More Choices! Both of them have beautiful weapons on their websites.

I like the idea of building my own. That looked interesting.

Thanks Fred!


Wilson Combat is my favorite, so far. But their are a number of really quality, classy options.



I live in NC. There is a community college near me that has a Gun Smithing curriculum. I on on the short list for admission to the class of 2021. They only admit new students in the Fall Semester, so I had to pass on my spot for his year’s class. I think I would really enjoy building my own 1911.

I have a number of nice revolvers. No Colt’s though. I may consider one of the new Pythons, but not as the special gun I am looking for.

Thanks for your comments.


Texas Eskimo,

See my response to Craig 6. I think a “build it yourself” course would be great!



That’s the one that has 1st place in my heart, right now! Good taste.


Scott 52,

NONE of the gun stores in my area sell these custom guns. I would LOVE to be able to check them out in person, but that seems very unlikely.


Thanks Jerzy!

Cabot guns are very very classy…no doubt. But, also the most expensive. But I like the way you think…If you can only get one, get the best one!


Just curious, are you in driving/flying distance to northwest Arkansas? I know of a couple of factory tours and shoots with WC and NHC. This year was canceled, but you might could make one next year. Usually a LOT of other 1911 custom guns brought, and almost everyone would let you handle and shoot a few.

Guncrafter Industries is certainly an experience… It is the triad of semi custom 1911’s…