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Thread: What makes Wilson Combat 1911's so freakin' expensive?

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    What makes Wilson Combat 1911's so freakin' expensive?

    I'm new to 1911's, but why are Wilson Combat's so expensive? Is it brand recognition? I can understand superior craftsmenship and performance, but that only takes the price up so far? What is it about these gun's that makes people willing to pay thousands of dollars for them?

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    Short answer: the marketplace.

    (I'll let someone else give the long answer. )

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    After the cost of all the parts, it's the hand-fitting, mostly - you're paying a master craftsman to hand-fit the slide to the frame, etc, etc, etc.

    Some folks are perfectly happy with a Swiss Army knife and never see the point of owning an Alan Elishewitz custom knife, as one example - handmade shoes instead of store-bought as another
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    All Wilson 1911's are custom built pistols. When you order from Wilson you have a myriad of options to customize your 1911 exactly as you see it in your mind. You also have their lifetime warranty, their service, should you ever need it, is second to none. In my opinion they build the finest 1911 pistols on the market. Why does a Porsche cost more than a VW?
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    The same reason some people drive Fords and some people drive Cadillacs)

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    All Wilson 1911's are custom built pistols.
    Actually they're "semi custom" unless you manage to order a true custom.

    The reason why Wilson's cost the way they do is because of the honest American-wage man-hours put into fitting the pistol properly.
    If you buy one, you will get a signed 'checklist' of every step done to create that pistol as well as every step done to test the reliability & accuracy of it. Every person who worked on the pistol will initial and sign the the "checklist", in addition, you will get a target showing a nice cloverleaf pattern fired into it from 15 yards.

    Standard pistols don't get close to that amount of time and attention. Oh yeah, then there's the mark-up because of the brand !
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    Wilson Combat does spend a lot of time, effort, and energy in building a fine pistol.
    They are expensive but of the ones I have shot were well worth the money.
    From my cold dead hands.
    If it ain't a Colt it is a copy.

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    It's a degree of fit and finish (but not necessarily function) exceeding what one might find from a more mass-produced pistol.

    My box-stock Colt Gov't and Wilson 1996 A2 were both absolutely reliable...but the Wilson was more accurate by far.

    Cadillac v. Chevy analogy is a good one.
    Xerxes sent forth a herald offering simple terms “Lay down your weapons, and you will be allowed to live.” Leonidas responded with the only answer a free citizen can give to that question:MOLON LABE, "Come and get them".

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    The long answer made short - people are lined up to buy a reputedly good firearm and join the exclusive club that says they own one.

    Like Nike. I don't see why I have to pay extra for a swoosh. It's marketing.

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    No, comparing a Wilson to a Nike is total bullcrap. Nike shoes are made of a few cents' worth of rubber, plastic and other artificial substances (not even real leather anymore), assembled in Thailand or China by unskilled labor paid a few dollars a day, not per hour.

    If you really believe that, with a Wilson, you're paying strictly for the name, and that it's all just marketing, you just don't get it.

    Not a 1911 guy, are you?
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    Check out Nighthawk's prices!

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    Check out Nighthawk's prices!
    Well, Nighthawk offers a military discount. That's something.

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    It's the magic 1911 pixie dust that makes them cost so much!!

    Seriously, I really don't get the prices on 1911's!!

  14. #14
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    Sheesh!

    Wilson Combat guns cost the prices they do because they take many hours to hand-fit and build each pistol. This is done in the USA and the smiths are paid American wages.

    What part about that is confusing?

    How much do you earn? Are you worth it?
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    I have two, one new full-size CQB bought "off the shelf" from a local Wilson Premier Dealer, and a full-custom build bobtail based on the Elite Professional ordered through the same shop. The custom build took 107 days from order to delivery.

    The people I spoke with at Wilson's while deciding what I wanted on my custom order were extremely patient and helpful. After explaining the pro's and con's of the features I was considering, they were even happy to accomodate things I wanted that were not on their list of available options.

    The result was a gun built exactly as I wanted it, expertly fitted to my hands. I shoot it better than any other pistol I own. For me, it was worth every dollar.

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    May I point you to a review I wrote for the m1911.org ezine on two expensive Wilson Combat pistols.
    http://ezine.m1911.org/WCHunter_frame.htm
    From my cold dead hands.
    If it ain't a Colt it is a copy.

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    What does a skilled gunsmith cost an hour to really fine tune a firearm?
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    Could It Be..

    Quote Originally Posted by CWL View Post
    The reason why Wilson's cost the way they do is because of the honest American-wage man-hours put into fitting the pistol properly.
    ...that the 1911 design requires that much "fitting" to meet the standards of today's customers for "properly"?

    Recall that the pistol was designed to function reliably with ball ammo on a battlefield, not as a target pistol. And, no one designing a pistol today would use a swinging link or a cut lug-and-groove locking system.

    (There are those who argue that the reason that so many companies make so many variants of the 1911 is that they don't have to pay royalties for the design.)

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    As others have mentioned, all that hand fitting and attention to detail is going to bump the asking price exponentially.

    And also, as others have said, we need to call a spade a spade. While I love shooting and admiring 1911s, the truth is it is a finicky platform that from an engineering standpoint is very outdated, and has been eclipsed in this regard by countless designs.

    I liken it to 79-04 Mustangs. I love the cars (they just keep going without fail) and have a blast racing and experimenting with them. But you know what? That chassis was outdated in 1978 when it made its debut as the Fairmont. As a consequence, even the 99-04s need quite a bit of 'correcting' to really be ready to excel (safely) at the racetrack.

    I <3 1911s as much as any gun nerd, but if I must fight, give me a CZ 75.
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    Wilson's cost more simply because of the way they are built. They machine frames and slides to their own specs and every single part that goes into the gun starts out oversized and must be hand fit. Hand fitting takes time - time is money - and they pay their people what they're worth. Bill Wilson still builds pistols the old way - he handbuilds them. No mass production pistol manufacturer does that.

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    You get what you pay for.

    I have never seen a 1911 more consistent than my Wilson Combat. The trigger break is crisp, and that pistol puts rounds exactly where it is pointed. Handmade weapons can be absolutely supreme, and Wilson is an excellent example.

    IMHO.
    ..fsa

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    reason #1: cachet
    reason #2: quality parts and workmanship
    reason #3: price acceptance in the market place for the product
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  23. #23
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    Wilson builds guns more suited for competition. A lot of people buy them for carry or safe queens too.

    Guys like Bill Wilson, Les Bear or John Nowlin were all competition shooters. They were set on building 1911's that were more accurate and more reliable than even the factory Gold Cups or National Match guns made by Colt.

    Look at it like this, Nowlin had 7 out of 10 guns that were in the finals of the Bianchi Cup one year. Their guns start out at around $7K . If you want to compete on that level you need to get the checkbook out because it aint cheap.

    Anybody can buy one of the factory hopped up guns from Colt or Springfield that will serve the recreational target shooter or CCW citizen well.
    Brandon

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    Red face Wilson Combat

    Quote Originally Posted by hanno View Post
    Well, Nighthawk offers a military discount. That's something.
    Nighthawk are the best I think they better than Wilson combat the look is unbelievable compare to Wilson combat the craftsmanship is
    out of this world i would use it on Hillary if i didn't have a life lol

  25. #25
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    they are spendy because they are pretty much hand made. I got this one back in 2011. First trip to the range, I ran 500 rounds of hard ball through it, as fast as I could load magazines. Not a single failure.
    To this date, after many thousands of rounds later, still no failures. Accurate, reliable, and darn cute.
    Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.....
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