Any advice about getting a custom built 1911?

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by Dutchboy, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Dutchboy

    Dutchboy Member

    Jun 5, 2010
    I've owned a variety of handguns over the years, but never a 1911. Now, a local gunsmith, who seems to be a skilled and decent guy, is going to start manufacturing 1911s in his own shop. That seemed like a good reason to finally get myself a 1911; so I signed up to be on his waiting list.

    That was a few months ago, and he's about ready to start the process. I assume he's going to buy rough frames, slides, and other parts. And he will do the fitting and finishing. He will be the official manufacturer of the pistol, per the BATF; so I assume he must be doing quite a bit of work.

    I'll be able to make some decisions about what I want, what I don't want, and what I'm willing to pay. But, those details have not been discussed yet. It's a new process for him, and I've never done anything like this before either.

    Any advice from someone who's done this before?

    What sorts of "options" should I consider for a 1911?
    What questions should I ask in advance?
    How does this "custom build" process usually get done?
    What kind of pricing should I expect?

    I plan to use the gun for carry, but I still want a full size 1911. I would like something that's traditional, out of respect for the 1911 design. But, it doesn't need to be be a GI clone. Accuracy is great, but reliability is more important to me. I expect this pistol to be a clean and solid gun that works for a living, not a collectable that rests in the safe. It will be fed a steady diet of reloaded ammunition.

    Thanks for your help in making this 1911 a success.
  2. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Custom. That's the word. When he builds a custom pistol everything will be included. It will be ramped, ported, and accurized, and of course there will be a trigger job done as well. About all you need to consider are the sights, what kind. If you are not sure, ask your custom pistol smith.

  3. muddober

    muddober Active Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Carson City Nevada
    Dutchboy, you ask very good questions, however some things are just cosmetic and others really make a difference on functionality. If you are left handed an ambidextrous safety is almost a must. A beveled magazine well is a must. A beaver tail grip safety is a must. A dove tailed front sight is a must and me personally I like green fiber optic over any thing else. An extended King style safety is a must. The gun should be ported and polished feed ramp. Decent grips that help you hold the gun is a must, smooth ivories and fancy smooth woods are cool by not worth a dam on a gun that you may have to defend your life.

    Now as to things that are really cool but add little to funtionality. I just last week got back my Kimber that I sent to Nighthawk for some custom work. It already had most of the above utilizing a Pacmyer grip that has finger grooves ahead of the front of the magazine well (cost $30.00). I had those grips removed and checked the front of the mag well and add gator back grips. I had them checker the back of the slide, and grove the top of it. They added a rear night sight and completly refinished the gun in a two tone black and green. I also had them put their long aluminum trigger replacing the long plastic one. Total cost was $1,012.00 which included the shipping. All of this on a gun I paid $600.00 for years ago. If you bought a Wilson with all this stuff it would cost $3,000.00 plus. Just my opinion I would make no accomodation for a flash light, to me having a flash light on a gun would be like wearing a hat with a small speaker screaming shoot here, shoot here.

    I will post some pictures in a few minutes.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  4. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    Ron, the guys at Nighthawk did a great job.
  5. muddober

    muddober Active Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Carson City Nevada
    Thanks Sam and I agree. I never heard of Nighthawk until someone here on the forum mentioned them. We are going to shoot it today along with some other guns, I know this gun shoots good as I have already put several thousand rounds through it before sending it to Nighthawk.

    I will report back with some pictures of targets, but only if they are good.:D

    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
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