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  #1  
Old 11-28-2019, 11:04 AM
Soren001 Soren001 is offline
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Stan Chen question

I have been thinking about adding a high end 1911 to the herd. I presently have my SA TRP's, DW Valor, NHC Falcon and WC CQB & Hackathorn. I'd been thinking about a GI Hellcat, but I am also interested in a Stan Chen to finish off my collection. I know it's a long wait...no big deal. I'd like to hear thoughts on the quality of fit, finish and function.
thank you,
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2019, 12:28 PM
STORM2 STORM2 is offline
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I suggest you call Stan and visit about the wait and cost.
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2019, 12:54 PM
Soren001 Soren001 is offline
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I already know about that. Just wanting to hear from some owners.
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  #4  
Old 11-29-2019, 04:21 PM
Austin_TX Austin_TX is offline
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Hope to be able to answer your question within the next couple of years.

No Chen has ever been resold in any public forum. Of course there aren’t many to begin with, but that still says something.
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2019, 09:17 PM
Soren001 Soren001 is offline
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Yes, you have a point.
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2019, 09:32 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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Certainly a fine, superbly-crafted 1911. Worthy of collection; prized by many seeking superb hand-craftmanship and uniqueness.

Whether it has any functional superiority over 1911s built by WC, EB, etc., might not be so easily demonstrable. Also, at some point in time, an individual 1911 builder will retire; and after that time, it is possible that owners of those 1911s might not have the same access to service. For those who put thousands of rounds through their 1911s, the builder's service policy/capabilities years after the sale can assume some importance.

But then again, the questions I've mentioned above might be irrelevant and of no concern to collection-oriented buyers in this rarified segment of the 1911 market.

From your question, I sense that you might wish to acquire one of these exquisite 1911s. If so, go for it, but do so without expecting more than can be delivered. It's still a 1911.

----

For someone seeking a superb build by a smaller volume (boutique?) builder, Forum member Alchemy Custom deserves consideration. Stan Chen's 1911 have a certain name recognition cache among many 1911 enthusiasts, and justifiably so; but there are other options for those seeking a fine custom build that you won't find at the local gun store. So...it all depends on what the buyer desires and prioritizes.
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Last edited by chrysanthemum; 11-29-2019 at 10:33 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2019, 11:06 AM
FNISHR FNISHR is offline
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Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
Certainly a fine, superbly-crafted 1911. Worthy of collection; prized by many seeking superb hand-craftmanship and uniqueness.

Whether it has any functional superiority over 1911s built by WC, EB, etc., might not be so easily demonstrable. Also, at some point in time, an individual 1911 builder will retire; and after that time, it is possible that owners of those 1911s might not have the same access to service. For those who put thousands of rounds through their 1911s, the builder's service policy/capabilities years after the sale can assume some importance.

But then again, the questions I've mentioned above might be irrelevant and of no concern to collection-oriented buyers in this rarified segment of the 1911 market.

From your question, I sense that you might wish to acquire one of these exquisite 1911s. If so, go for it, but do so without expecting more than can be delivered. It's still a 1911.

----

For someone seeking a superb build by a smaller volume (boutique?) builder, Forum member Alchemy Custom deserves consideration. Stan Chen's 1911 have a certain name recognition cache among many 1911 enthusiasts, and justifiably so; but there are other options for those seeking a fine custom build that you won't find at the local gun store. So...it all depends on what the buyer desires and prioritizes.

Well said. A Stan Chen would be a work of art, but then again so is the Alchemy Prime I've invested in. A reasonable wait, and a bargain at the price.
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  #8  
Old 12-01-2019, 09:58 PM
JOHNGUM JOHNGUM is offline
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Custom 1911

hey- another alternative since you already understand 1911's. Fusion firearms will allow you to customize your build by them to your hearts content! You would love their pistols!
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2019, 07:32 AM
rellascout rellascout is offline
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Originally Posted by JOHNGUM View Post
hey- another alternative since you already understand 1911's. Fusion firearms will allow you to customize your build by them to your hearts content! You would love their pistols!
Not even in the same realm as a Stan Chen 1911. That is like saying you can pick the some options on your new Kia Stinger vs building a Ferrari F8 Tributo. They are both sports cars which can drive fast but in the end are very different animals. The Stan Chen is a functional work of art. They are precision machined and assembled by Stan. They are not mass produced kits guns put together off a build sheet. It is worth looking at his website and reading about his philosophy and process.

http://www.chencustom.com/philosophy



Now to the OPs question if you have the means and have the time go for it. I have seen his work. Never shot one. I have seen his parts. They are excellent and well thought out. Like all things high end the law of diminishing returns is kicking in. IIRC his guns start at about $9,000. It will cost you as much as 2X-5x what off the shelf semi-customs cost. I am talking about Ed Brown, Les Baer, GI, Wilso, Nighthawk etc. You have to ask will the gains in performance and in aesthetics be 2X-5x what the semi-customs bring to the table. Only you can decide that. There are so few of his pistols out on the wild and they are certainly never sold in the open market. They are a rare breed.

As others have pointed out you can get a one of a kind bespoke pistol from a lot of smiths for less than Stan Chen and with a shorter time frame but only you can decide what you want. I have been on John Harrisons wait list for over 4 years and I will be lucky if my number will come out before he retires but it did not cost me $1000 to get on that list. As I am sure you know his book has a wait time measured in years and is for the most part closed. I assume if you have spoken to him you know how it works. This is pretty common for guns like Burton, Harrison, Yost etc.... they are craftsman and can only complete so many guns a year at the level people expect.

I will leave you with this thought.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV2Y2kIUkIs
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Last edited by rellascout; 12-03-2019 at 07:56 AM.
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2019, 07:43 AM
STORM2 STORM2 is offline
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Originally Posted by rellascout View Post
Not even in the same realm as a Stan Chen 1911. That is like saying you can pick the some options on your new Kia Stinger vs building a Ferrari 488. They are both sports cars but in the end are very different animals.
Stan is gonna love this!
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2019, 08:30 AM
rellascout rellascout is offline
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Originally Posted by STORM2 View Post
Stan is gonna love this!
LOL Edit the statement to a Ferrari F8 Tributo. Trying to stay current.




vs

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  #12  
Old 12-03-2019, 10:20 AM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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Originally Posted by rellascout View Post
Not even in the same realm as a Stan Chen 1911. That is like saying you can pick the some options on your new Kia Stinger vs building a Ferrari F8 Tributo. They are both sports cars which can drive fast but in the end are very different animals. The Stan Chen is a functional work of art. They are precision machined and assembled by Stan. They are not mass produced kits guns put together off a build sheet. It is worth looking at his website and reading about his philosophy and process.

http://www.chencustom.com/philosophy



Now to the OPs question if you have the means and have the time go for it. I have seen his work. Never shot one. I have seen his parts. They are excellent and well thought out. Like all things high end the law of diminishing returns is kicking in. IIRC his guns start at about $9,000. It will cost you as much as 2X-5x what off the shelf semi-customs cost. I am talking about Ed Brown, Les Baer, GI, Wilso, Nighthawk etc. You have to ask will the gains in performance and in aesthetics be 2X-5x what the semi-customs bring to the table. Only you can decide that. There are so few of his pistols out on the wild and they are certainly never sold in the open market. They are a rare breed.

As others have pointed out you can get a one of a kind bespoke pistol from a lot of smiths for less than Stan Chen and with a shorter time frame but only you can decide what you want. I have been on John Harrisons wait list for over 4 years and I will be lucky if my number will come out before he retires but it did not cost me $1000 to get on that list. As I am sure you know his book has a wait time measured in years and is for the most part closed. I assume if you have spoken to him you know how it works. This is pretty common for guns like Burton, Harrison, Yost etc.... they are craftsman and can only complete so many guns a year at the level people expect.

I will leave you with this thought.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV2Y2kIUkIs
I think most knowledgeable 1911 enthusiasts will find very little -- or nothing -- to disagree with in these thoughts. IOW, +1911.

In regards to fit, finish and aesthetics, and a minutely close inspection, it would be difficult to come close to a Stan Chen build. Some other builders do superb work in these regards, but still, in a minutely detailed examination by a person with more expert eyes than myself, I'd place my bets on the Stan Chen.

For combat-purposed functionality, probably competition use as well, I personally think I would give equal grades to a WC or EB. The machined from barstock and hand fitted fire-control parts in these guns will each (obviously including Stan Chen) perform flawlessly. So will the barrels and barrel fit. It's difficult to get better than flawless functionality. If the user of any of these fine 1911s loses in a SD encounter, or a competitive event, it won't be due to the gun.

Somehow, however, I'd venture a guess that few people buy a Stan Chen 1911 for combat-purposed use. Also that few owners of Stan Chen 1911s subject their gun to the expected bumps and bruises of practical shooting competitions. The acquisition is probably more about the craftsmanship, the asthetics, and the ownership of a rarified gun. "Safe Queen" doesn't have any negative connotations to me, so I see nothing wrong with a pristine, super high-end example of a 1911 build in a 1911 enthusiast's collection. If a buyer is already mentally "locked into" the Stan Chen name and craftsmanship (which is deserving of its reputation), it is likely that nothing else will do. But if not so committed in advance, I think a similar pride in ownership can be attained via a few other builders, including my prior mention of Alchemy Custom.

Good discussion. +1911 to the contributions in this good thread. And carry on with any further input.
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Last edited by chrysanthemum; 12-03-2019 at 03:43 PM.
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2019, 12:12 AM
ranger ranger is offline
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"finish off my collection" I don't know about that. I keep thinking I have, until I find something else.
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  #14  
Old 12-04-2019, 01:18 AM
Dddrees Dddrees is offline
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Originally Posted by rellascout View Post
Not even in the same realm as a Stan Chen 1911. That is like saying you can pick the some options on your new Kia Stinger vs building a Ferrari F8 Tributo. They are both sports cars which can drive fast but in the end are very different animals. The Stan Chen is a functional work of art. They are precision machined and assembled by Stan. They are not mass produced kits guns put together off a build sheet. It is worth looking at his website and reading about his philosophy and process.

Now to the OPs question if you have the means and have the time go for it. I have seen his work. Never shot one. I have seen his parts. They are excellent and well thought out. Like all things high end the law of diminishing returns is kicking in. IIRC his guns start at about $9,000. It will cost you as much as 2X-5x what off the shelf semi-customs cost. I am talking about Ed Brown, Les Baer, GI, Wilso, Nighthawk etc. You have to ask will the gains in performance and in aesthetics be 2X-5x what the semi-customs bring to the table. Only you can decide that. There are so few of his pistols out on the wild and they are certainly never sold in the open market. They are a rare breed.

As others have pointed out you can get a one of a kind bespoke pistol from a lot of smiths for less than Stan Chen and with a shorter time frame but only you can decide what you want. I have been on John Harrisons wait list for over 4 years and I will be lucky if my number will come out before he retires but it did not cost me $1000 to get on that list. As I am sure you know his book has a wait time measured in years and is for the most part closed. I assume if you have spoken to him you know how it works. This is pretty common for guns like Burton, Harrison, Yost etc.... they are craftsman and can only complete so many guns a year at the level people expect.

I will leave you with this thought.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV2Y2kIUkIs
In my opinion once you get to semi custom you're more than aware or should be of the type of things your spending that extra money and comfortable doing it. If not the first one should help greatly. Granted you may not be willing to go bespoke such as myself but you should already be aware that level of craftmanship, detail, design, finish, and to some extent slightly better material is what your paying for. If your return is diminished in some fashion and your experience is not enhanced in some way than I strongly suggest you go with the cheaper costing option you are more comfortable with. Your expectations are the important thing and whether they are being met. Basic functionality can be found for much less although I can see some thinking reliability at the semi custom level maybe better.

Personally I am just much more comfortable at the semi custom level for a number of reasons and have been for more than just guns. Cost is just but one factor.

Last edited by Dddrees; 12-04-2019 at 03:00 AM.
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  #15  
Old 12-04-2019, 05:02 PM
rellascout rellascout is offline
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In my opinion once you get to semi custom you're more than aware or should be of the type of things your spending that extra money and comfortable doing it. If not the first one should help greatly. Granted you may not be willing to go bespoke such as myself but you should already be aware that level of craftmanship, detail, design, finish, and to some extent slightly better material is what your paying for. If your return is diminished in some fashion and your experience is not enhanced in some way than I strongly suggest you go with the cheaper costing option you are more comfortable with. Your expectations are the important thing and whether they are being met. Basic functionality can be found for much less although I can see some thinking reliability at the semi custom level maybe better.

Personally I am just much more comfortable at the semi custom level for a number of reasons and have been for more than just guns. Cost is just but one factor.
The biggest misconception in 1911s is that full custom guns cost more than semi custom guns. This cost less than most Wilson Combats or Guncrafter Industries. I think that reliability is higher in semi-customs over most production guns but I don't think that they are more reliable than single smith bespoke pistols. For me it is more about getting the exact pistol I want. Nothing more and nothing less. That is what is missing in a lot of the off the shelf custom world. If there is the ability to customize the gun it is only within their universe. This can be a good thing or can be a bad thing. Personally these days once I am past a certain price point I want a truly bespoke pistol. YMMV













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Last edited by rellascout; 12-04-2019 at 05:07 PM.
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  #16  
Old 12-04-2019, 07:17 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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^^^^

A classically beautiful 1911.

+1911 for sharing.

In these top tier categories, I'll guess that most buyers and most builders probably have laser-focused priorities and views of what makes the perfect 1911 for them. There will be subtle and perhaps even some not-so-subtle differences on both the builder and the buyer sides.

I'm more functionally oriented, but still desiring fine aesthetics, with a focus on parts crafted of the best time-honored materials and fitted so as ensure longevity and reliability. E.g., no substituting for the best hand-fitting (by a master 1911 pistolsmith) of machined from barstock small parts. I also greatly value a long term relation with the builder such that work could be done on the gun many years in the future. Wilson Combat's SuperGrades hit a sweet spot for me. But I also enjoy looking at what master pure custom builders such as Stan Chen create. Stan's 1911s (not to exclude others) are obviously masterpieces; and they fill a rarified niche in the 1911 market. I totally "get" -- and appreciate -- their appeal. I wish there were more Stan Chens around these days.

Some people weigh cost into the equation, attempting to find a value point that suits them; others do not consider cost ... it just doesn't matter to them. An individual's bank account probably has some effect on these considerations.

Just a couple examples of areas where those desiring super high-end 1911s have subtle differences in priorities.

The key is to find the right match.
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Last edited by chrysanthemum; 12-04-2019 at 07:34 PM.
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  #17  
Old 12-04-2019, 10:07 PM
Soren001 Soren001 is offline
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Thank you for all the input. If I only had one 1911, it would probably be my old CQB. It isn't fancy, but it shoots dead on. I want that one collection piece to end my pursuit.
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:22 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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^^^

Go for it.

I can kind of sense that it's what you want

And you have enough experience with 1911s to know what you want.

Hopefully one day while we're all still here it will arrive and you can share photos with us.

Merry Christmas.
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  #19  
Old 12-05-2019, 12:03 AM
Dddrees Dddrees is offline
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Originally Posted by rellascout View Post
The biggest misconception in 1911s is that full custom guns cost more than semi custom guns. This cost less than most Wilson Combats or Guncrafter Industries. I think that reliability is higher in semi-customs over most production guns but I don't think that they are more reliable than single smith bespoke pistols. For me it is more about getting the exact pistol I want. Nothing more and nothing less. That is what is missing in a lot of the off the shelf custom world. If there is the ability to customize the gun it is only within their universe. This can be a good thing or can be a bad thing. Personally these days once I am past a certain price point I want a truly bespoke pistol. YMMV













I guess you could count me as one of those that thought they did cost more. But then again as I mentioned cost was not the only factor, and at this point I am more comfortable elsewhere (Semi Custom). Haven't been at this long but considering what I have done previously on other things I doubt I ever would.

Anyway very interesting thread and look forward to what others may have to say as well.
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  #20  
Old 12-09-2019, 11:09 PM
Austin_TX Austin_TX is offline
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Originally Posted by chrysanthemum View Post
For combat-purposed functionality, probably competition use as well, I personally think I would give equal grades to a WC or EB. The machined from barstock and hand fitted fire-control parts in these guns will each (obviously including Stan Chen) perform flawlessly. So will the barrels and barrel fit.
You would be shocked how often semi-custom 1911s have poorly fit barrels, WC and EB included.

Just Google "The Barrel Fit Challenge" and set aside some time to read a long, eye-opening thread.
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  #21  
Old 12-10-2019, 09:27 AM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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You would be shocked how often semi-custom 1911s have poorly fit barrels, WC and EB included.

Just Google "The Barrel Fit Challenge" and set aside some time to read a long, eye-opening thread.
A fair point. And I'm not at all shocked. This is reasonably well known among long-time 1911 enthusiasts who critically review different 1911s for fit quality. E.g., when one searches for the worst examples among 1,000 guns, it's easy to find photos of uneven wear on lower barrel lugs and VIS. Sadly. Of course, there are also those guns that are "within our specs", but which raise a question of exactly how good the outer limits of those specs really are. With some builders (but not those I mentioned), the answer is not so happy either...e.g., "if it breaks during warranty period, we'll fix it" hardly leaves a buyer with a good feeling.

I think it's also fair to mention that not all semi-custom 1911s are equal, in terms of how many (frequency) such guns leave their shop.. E.g., I prefer the WC SG builds over the base builds, as they are built by the best pistolsmiths in shop (also rewarded as such) without time constraints. But they cost considerably more. More often than not, the buyer gets what he pays for.

The person(s) who actually fits the gun together is always key. No substitute for knowledge, skill, and dedication of sufficient time for the task. Knowledge and skill are obviously critical. But sufficient time is often an under-appreciated factor. I wouldn't want to receive the last guns built at the end of a long workday (or workweek) by a pistolsmith working under tight time/quota restraints. Debating on the side of the Stan Chen 1911, these uncertainties about who built your 1911 and under what constraints disappear entirely. But there are also other master pistolsmiths in the world, including the best of those working under the roof of WC, EB, and a few others... but to the buyer of such guns, one likely has little control over which pistolsmith(s), by name, actually put the gun together. With Stan Chen, you know who built it and that it was built without compromise. The "x" factor (of uncertainty) goes away.

There's also the matter of service policy years down the road. Huge differences exist in this realm. Those builders who have a perpetual service policy, such as WC, are likely the same as those builders who send the fewest "mistakes" out of their shop. They know what they're building; as do those who don't have a sterling reputation for service after the sale.

For SD/combat-purposed functionality, I confess that I'd still take a WC or EB in my holster with total confidence. Certainly so with the specific guns I've carried for years. Carrying a Stan Chen 1911 would not increase my confidence level, although I'd surely have extreme appreciation for the exquisite craftsmanship evident in any of Stan's masterpieces. With any gun, even one of these I've mentioned here, I'd still want to fire more than 1,000 rounds on the range and inspect the small parts and lower (and upper) barrel lugs, etc. for anything that looked abnormal.

Returning to the OP question of how does the Stan Chen compare, I think it's fair to say that the best examples (not the worst) of other top tier builders might have a similar level of fit-for-function quality; but I would not expect these other builds to surpass the Stan Chen build. IOW, the buyer of the Stan Chen 1911 is getting a 1911 that's fitted together about as well as a 1911 can be built; there's no reason for any hesitation or second guessing of the prospective purchase in that regard.

You've made a good point, which I agree with and which has added further refinement to the many excellent comments within this thread. With my comments above, I'm not disagreeing in any way; I'm only adding additional thoughts of mine.

+1911 for your input
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Last edited by chrysanthemum; 12-10-2019 at 01:55 PM.
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