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  #1  
Old 03-06-2011, 09:16 PM
jumpminow jumpminow is offline
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Ed Brown vs Wilson Combat




Fixing to make a major purchase of an Ed Brown Classic Custom or a Wilson Combat Super Grade.

Any opinions?
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  #2  
Old 03-06-2011, 09:29 PM
tocohillsguy tocohillsguy is offline
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Originally Posted by jumpminow View Post
Fixing to make a major purchase of an Ed Brown Classic Custom or a Wilson Combat Super Grade.

Any opinions?
Both are fine pistols. Ed Brown makes the same quality pistol from top to bottom. The only differences are features and finish. Wilson claims different grades from excellent to something more than excellent. The Super Grade will cost you more than the Ed Brown. Wilson will also do more custom work. Ed Brown is more limited in its offerings. Some people think the Super Grade is worth the up charge. Others don't. It's a good problem to have. If you can afford either, then I say get the one that's really going to satisfy your itch. Also, the search function is your friend. Lots of posts such are yours.
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2011, 09:29 PM
DKRanger22 DKRanger22 is offline
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Heck of a first post!

Ed Brown's are a thing of beauty, but few 1911's compare to that of a Wilson Supergrade. If you have the coin, go for the Supergrade.
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  #4  
Old 03-06-2011, 09:38 PM
sqeeler sqeeler is offline
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i would definately go for the wilson , much better service over the years for me anyway
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  #5  
Old 03-06-2011, 09:47 PM
corvette4595 corvette4595 is offline
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I've got both (WC Tac Supergrade and an EB Executive Elite) so I thought I'd chime in. First off, both are excellent pistols and will serve you extremely well. Really, the better comparison would be a Wilson Classic or any of the non-Supergrade line versus and EB Classic. In this comparison, I think the quality of parts and fitting is equal. My EB EE is extremely accurate, one of the most accurate that I personally own. It's super reliable and the way that EB finishes their stainless guns is better that any other mfg from an ascetics standpoint.
The Supergrade is fit better than any Wilson, Nighthawk, Les Baer, or Ed Brown that I've ever had and it should be for that price point. I would be disappointed if it wasn't....
So, I'd recommend buying either. If you want to spend the extra money on the SG, you won't regret it. If the prices were exactly the same, I'd without a doubt take the SG. But, that's not the case so you need to decide if the extra money for the SG would be worth it to you. Is the cost of the SG worth $1000 more? That's the million dollar question and honestly I can't answer that even though I have both.....
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  #6  
Old 03-06-2011, 09:48 PM
FN in MT FN in MT is offline
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What a sweet dilemma!

I got bit by the hi end , quality 1911 bug a few weeks back after firing a Wilson CQB Elite, shot it again on Friday. After a few weeks of immersing myself in all things 1911.... I'm also stuck on that "Brown or Wilson" issue.

The current plan is to buy a new Kobra Carry, sans the "Kobra Carry" on the slide and 10-8 sights from Jerry Hammond. Wait the ninety days and be happy.

After the Brown is ordered I'm going to look for a used, but not abused Wilson a full sized gun to use for matches and target shooting.

I think decent 1911's are like potato chips, Ya just can't have one.

FN in MT
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  #7  
Old 03-06-2011, 09:51 PM
corvette4595 corvette4595 is offline
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Originally Posted by jumpminow View Post
Fixing to make a major purchase of an Ed Brown Classic Custom or a Wilson Combat Super Grade.

Any opinions?

You ought to also post this in the Wilson forum.
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  #8  
Old 03-06-2011, 10:05 PM
Hex Screw Loose Hex Screw Loose is offline
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Here is what I know, don't know if it will help.......

Anyone that says anything other than both are outstanding guns should be shot with the gun that he criticized.

I'm talking to Hammond about buying an Executive elite that is more or less a Custom Classic with 10-8 tactical sights.

I recently sold an older Supergrade.

My problem was not with the gun. It was made by two master smiths, one of whom is now in charge of the dept., or so I was told, and the other is at Nighthawk. It was very tight and functioned beautifully. Trigger was a thing of beauty.

Ron Phillips, once a master smith at Wilson and now in charge of R&D, I'm told, when he was on his own, between gigs at Nighthawk and Wilson, could make a hand fit, 1911, for $2400 and make a profit.

What is the difference between that gun and the Supergrade you'd buy. "Bullet proof parts," which is the mkt. term for cryogenics, plus "armor tuff," instead of blueing.

I think that Wilson is a company in transition. It is being run by Bill's son and they are expanding what they sell and the reps. are up-selling what they make. Of course, that is one man's opinion.

Ed Brown does not help his own case. He states on his web site that all his guns shoot the same. You pay for features, and finishes, although I'd like to think that they spend a little extra time on the Custom Classic, but I don't think they do, other than had polishing the sides.

Critics of Ed Brown guns say they machine everything-although when you make your own parts, you have the opportunity to make everything to fit.

Personally, I'd think that they'd be surprised just how much hand fitting there is compared to a Wilson, described here, as perfection. They are allowed to go slow on a Supergrade, they have their most experienced smiths and a special dept. To be fair, Wilson reps. claim that there is a lot of extra hours of hand fitting. My question has always been, does it really make it better or do they reach diminishing returns? I don't know the answer.

Of course, like I said, your extra $1500 will get you frozen parts and a coating. There is more hand fitting and they take their time to get it right according to Wilson, which begs a question that nobody on the Internet asks: why aren't they taking time with their other guns.

You are going to get an outstanding gun, no matter which way you go. In my opinion, the Custom Classic is prettier, has equally good parts, a slightly better sight, and is made by smiths with the same kind of experience and expertise.

The Wilson will have a lighter trigger, a coating, and you'll pay a premium because you were shopping in the frozen food section or because the parts were laying next to Ted Williams' head in the cryogenics lab.

In terms of accuracy, you could play William Tell with a 1911 with either.

Not only do I not have anything against a Supergrade, I think they are wonderful guns; but somewhat over-valued guns.

I think the Custom Classic is truly beautiful and under-valued.

I do challenge you to get both and give me the one that you don't like.

Last edited by Hex Screw Loose; 03-06-2011 at 10:14 PM.
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  #9  
Old 03-06-2011, 10:21 PM
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Hammond Hammond is offline
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Welcome aboard and look forward to you becoming a valued contributor to the forum.

Well you certainly are looking at two of the finest 1911s out there and either one will no doubt make you very happy.

Each manufacturer has things that I believe make a strong case for each of them, and things I think they could do better.

In the end however they are both of the type of quality that taste and value come into play.

Taste is a subjective thing and of course there is no right and wrong answer for that, each of us has our own.

When it comes to value, that is a different story. Wilson no doubt would have to be considered more expensive as far as gun per dollar spent. There are several legit reason for this (such as options, number of offerings, etc.), but in the end, they cost more.

In higher end guns there tends to be diminishing returns as far as 'quality' of gun per dollar spent. In other words to wring out that last little bit of fit and finish tends to cost more and more for less overall improvement.

So we will assume for arguments sake that the Supergrade raises the bar just a bit over the Brown CC (by any standard an outstanding 1911), but at what cost, $1,500 or so? Is it worth this?

That is a question only each individual can answer, some will say no way, others would believe it to be money well spent for the return.

Either will serve you well, but which will be the better value to you?
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Last edited by Hammond; 03-07-2011 at 01:40 PM.
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2011, 10:45 PM
OMCIV OMCIV is offline
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I can't add anything to what Hex and Jerry have already said other than to agree wholeheartedly with their input. I myself am in the exact same boat and after having spent months going back and forth on every little thing, I'll be getting a Brown with the exact options I want ... first.

I plan to get the Supergrade next but when it came down to a choice (at least for the first very high end 1911) Brown just had a better "feel" about the company, value, etc.

That is really personal preference thing, but I would encourage you to read some of what Greyson has posted concerning the Quality to Price ratio in Brown's pistols (his SHOT post has some of it). The value is unmatched IMHO.

I think that for the money, nobody would deny (and as they ^ both mentioned) that there are diminishing returns on the Supergrade. It won't stop me from getting one, but it's always the exponential curve.

The only thing that would sway me to the Supergrade first is that they offer it in 10mm, but that's a whooooole nother topic.

Both fantastic, good luck in your decision!
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  #11  
Old 03-06-2011, 11:14 PM
38 Super Fan 38 Super Fan is offline
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The Supergrade is just awesome. Outside of a true custom from say Heirloom, Liebenberg, Morris etc., you just can't do better.
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  #12  
Old 03-07-2011, 12:00 AM
moredes15 moredes15 is offline
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I owned them both at the same time and was able to make a side-by-side comparison. I've still got the Super Grade.

My Wilson is an older version with the older Bomar-type rear sight, which I much prefer to the huge sight they've got now. When I had them, they were about $900-1000 apart--of course, the Wilson was higher. The Brown Classic Custom is more value for the money strictly because it's "less" gun for less money--Wilson gets 'closer' to perfection at exponentially more cost beyond where Ed Brown decided to end the Classic Custom's level of custom craftsmanship. (kinda like sayin' "that's enough customizing on that race car"--he coulda done more, but he didn't, and that, in my opinion is why the Brown CC is "cheaper".)

My SG is blued over hard chrome; I wouldn't have it any other way unless I decide to Ion Bond the upper half. Paint, no matter how it's touted, is still paint. The difference between my two specimens was fit and finish; while the finishes were almost apples-to-oranges, the fit was harder to evaluate--everything was just that little bit better--ever so slightly smoother, tighter, "crisper", by maybe 5-10%. The one feature where the Wilson completely outclassed the Classic Custom was the trigger. I have inspected and dry-fired LOTS of '11's that were customized by true "custom smiths"--Hoag, Clark (both jr. and sr.), Chow, Starks, Yosts, Christiansen, Burtons, Harrison, and Brians. A couple of these gunsmiths' trigger jobs come close to the Super Grade, but I have not yet found its' equal anywhere. It is the cleanest, crispest trigger anyone (who's tried) has ever dry-fired. Very little creep and no backlash to speak of; so good that a benchrest-rifle competition friend giggled when he dry-fired the SG, and he doesn' shoot handguns. He's used to a 14oz. trigger, and guessed (as I did) that the SG was a 2lb-12oz to 3lb trigger. A Lyman electronic gauge showed it was 3lb-14oz, which amazed us both.

In the end, I sold the Classic Custom, not because it wasn't excellent but because I only wanted one 5" specimen, so one had to go. My financial situation allowed me to keep a sample of artistry beyond function. However, I made the decision knowing I'd never have to carry it; the trigger is too scary for CCW and more suited for competition and bullseye. If I were forced to keep a carry gun then I might have kept the Brown. Actually, though, I probably would have sent the upper for an Ion Bond coating and adjusted the SG's trigger.

Last edited by moredes15; 03-07-2011 at 12:03 AM.
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  #13  
Old 03-07-2011, 01:32 AM
sjd78 sjd78 is offline
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Personally I would go with the Brown CC. I wouldn't spend the extra coin for a slight if any difference on the Supergrade. If I was going to put out that kind of cash I personally would have a pistol worked over by one of the top smiths and really have something super!
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  #14  
Old 03-07-2011, 02:23 AM
pbubsy pbubsy is offline
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No matter which way you go you'll be happy. The only way you can go wrong is by NOT getting the one you REALLY want. That being said, I'd get the Brown AND a CQB
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  #15  
Old 03-07-2011, 05:06 AM
2495893 2495893 is offline
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I have a dear friend who has the SG and I have two Browns. He's convinced his gun is worth the extra dollars (BIG dollars). I have shot his gun on many occasions and, frankly, I cannot see the extra value... although it has a certain amount of eye-candy appeal my Kobra and Special Forces do not. It certainly is no tighter or accurate than my Browns.

Best advice? Go with what pleases you - neither is a wrong choice.
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  #16  
Old 03-07-2011, 05:18 AM
birdhunter birdhunter is offline
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Have Both

I have the great fortune to own an Ed Brown Executive Target and two Wilson Supergrades. I also own a Wilson RDP. It's not a Supergrade, but has more options than normally come on a Supergrade.

I didn't buy the Custom Classic because I thought the highly polished slide would show minor scratches and wear too much.

The Ed Brown and the Supergrade Wilsons are very fine guns. Both brand guns shoot far better than I do and both have been ultra reliable.

To my eyes, the Supergrades are better finished internally than the Ed Brown. The Wilsons are tighter. The Ed Brown is MUCH easier to rack.

The Wilson Armor-Tuff is a care free surface. The Ed Brown is stainless and needs to be cared for appropriately.

What would I buy at this point?

I'd like to acquire a 4.25 9mm with a full size grip. Wilson makes one and Ed Brown does not. If both did, then I would have a tough decision.
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  #17  
Old 03-07-2011, 06:48 AM
Houser Houser is online now
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Originally Posted by birdhunter View Post
I have the great fortune to own an Ed Brown What would I buy at this point?

I'd like to acquire a 4.25 9mm with a full size grip. Wilson makes one and Ed Brown does not. If both did, then I would have a tough decision.
You probably do know that EB will eliminate the bobtail on its carry models for a couple hundred bucks, but just in case you did not...

I like pretty as much as the next guy, but when it came to choosing a 1911 to use and carry I went with the EB and have no regrets with the choice. After some debate, I stuck with bobtail this time on my Executive Carry, but if I was ordering a second more personalized piece I might eliminate it myself and add a few more cosmetic bells and whistles, mostly for my own preference for traditional aethetics since the bobtail works fine for me other than less versatility swapping stocks between guns.

EDIT: After rereading your post, I find myself guilty of the same affliction which I often notice on the internet, which is lack of reading comprehension. You also specified 9mm, which of course EB does not offer in a 4.25 inch gun and probably will not offer anytime soon, so you of course are correct. I apologize for my knee jerk response.
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Last edited by Houser; 03-07-2011 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:11 AM
osageshooter osageshooter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jumpminow View Post
Fixing to make a major purchase of an Ed Brown Classic Custom or a Wilson Combat Super Grade.

Any opinions?
I have one of each. They are both the "high art" form of Brown and Wilson. I spend a lot of time deciding on which Brown or Wilson to buy next. As to the exact guns mentioned, I have determined that I don't favor one over the other. Both function flawlessly. Both have incredible finish. Both are among the most accurate guns of any handgun, of any caliber, I own. If I close my eyes and really try to feel a difference, I might say I find the trigger on the Wilson to be slightly closer to perfect than the Brown. However, there is no difference in group size. This is really trying hard to find a difference.

I guess looking at the prices, I would have to say that Brown delivers more value in this high end model. Value being a personal assessment. I got a steal deal on the Wilson. It was on a consignment sale at my local gun shop. I offered $2400 on a $2800 ask. So, my Wilson was a superb value. If you are like me and buying new, I would say you can't go wrong with the Brown. For that matter, in my opinon, both are worth the price.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:06 AM
CQBCarry CQBCarry is offline
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Had a CQB back in the day. Loved it. Finances were tough and sold it. Recently purchased a EB KC and I love it. Awesome gun (see my other posts for range report). I still plan to own another CQB when I can swing it. Both are great guns made by great folks.
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  #20  
Old 03-07-2011, 09:09 AM
m1ke50 m1ke50 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jumpminow View Post
Fixing to make a major purchase of an Ed Brown Classic Custom or a Wilson Combat Super Grade.

Any opinions?
have you looked at briley? just another option...

http://www.briley.com/
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  #21  
Old 03-07-2011, 12:44 PM
phideaux2003 phideaux2003 is offline
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Hex and Jerry nailed it. Can't elaborate on that anymore.
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  #22  
Old 03-07-2011, 07:36 PM
radomowski radomowski is offline
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Originally Posted by DKRanger22 View Post
Heck of a first post!

Ed Brown's are a thing of beauty, but few 1911's compare to that of a Wilson Supergrade. If you have the coin, go for the Supergrade.
Really? Why?
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  #23  
Old 03-07-2011, 07:49 PM
corvette4595 corvette4595 is offline
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Really? Why?

Having a Supergrade and other Wilsons, Baers, Nighthawks, and Browns, I would agree. These guns are built to a higher level of craftsmanship. You can't see the difference by merely looking at them but once you closely examine the fit and finish, it's pretty noticeable. I'd have a hard time justifying that my Supergrade is worth $2000 more than my Executive Elite but it is built to a higher level.
You really have to compare them in hand. That being said, I absolutely love my Executive Elite. For the money, it's as close to unbeatable as they come.

Last edited by corvette4595; 03-07-2011 at 07:51 PM.
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  #24  
Old 03-07-2011, 09:32 PM
KyJim KyJim is offline
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I cannot add much to what others have written. I can tell you that I own two "standard" Browns and am getting a third. I love them. I also own a Wilson Defensive Combat which is a discontinued model that was just a notch below the Super Grade models. It was about $1,000 higher in the 1998 catalog than the CQB. I got mine for a very good price with about 100 rounds through it.

The finish on the Wilson is absolutely superb and, as Mordes15 says, the trigger is "scary." Yet, in the end, I like shooting and carrying my Browns more than my Wilson and am still impressed with the nice fit and finish of my Browns.
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  #25  
Old 03-07-2011, 09:39 PM
Emerson Emerson is offline
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I've owned several Wilson's and one Ed Brown. (As soon as EB makes a .38 Super I'll own two) I prefer the Brown to the Wilsons but its a personal choice. Either should serve you well.
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