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  #1  
Old 07-20-2017, 03:28 PM
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Is there a Point of Diminishing Return 1911 wise.

It's a economic concept I ran into in college. The idea is that as you spend more for something you get higher quality, but there comes a point where the return you get in quality begins to diminish even as you spend more money.

Speaking about 1911 guns from stock manufactured to full out custom, where is YOUR point of diminishing returns, even if you can't really afford to get up to that point right now.

Leaving aside the mostly or entirely cosmetic or aesthetic changes, many of which can cost a great deal, at what point in dollars do you think that PoDR is reached?

Just curious. For me, it's probably around $3000 even though I don't have but one gun, not to mention a 1911, that rises above that line.
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Old 07-20-2017, 03:43 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is online now
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Having handled a $6000 supergrade thinking there would be little difference over my "normal" CQB elite or BW carry.......

Yeah no. There is a true night and day difference and simply pulling the side back 1/2 of an inch made my guns feel sub-par. I won't go into the precision and beauty of the frame and chamfering as it's just gonna make me look down on my own guns. There is truly something ethereal and sublime on a gun that no expense is spared and every attention is given.



Kinda like a crate engine you buy from say.....blueprint vs a hand made masterpiece. One you personally oversee every single step and have machined to perfection, then every single part is hand inspected and measured and made perfect. Add in the fact that you KNOW every single fastener and bearing is perfectly assembled since YOU put every single one in the engine and hand TQed everything with a freshly calibrated snap on digital wrench.

The other is only cleaned, bored and maybe align honed if you buy a high dollar engine and who know how well the bolts were TQed and if the correct fastener lube. It may or may not have perfectly matched gaskets for the port size and it won't have a full deep port match. It's not bad, it WILL make great power......but it will NEVER be on the level of a fully prepped, master built engine.

Last edited by Striker2237; 07-20-2017 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 03:46 PM
bdavis385 bdavis385 is offline
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I've got two Springfield RO in 9mm, totally factory with a touch of trigger work on the OEM components. They should almost as good (accurate) as my Springfield Pro, and my Heinie gun. Both of those custom guns are north of $3,000 and the ROs are about $900. Nothing I own is as smooth as the Heinie (9x23 Commander). Getting the lines straight, the round truly round costs but certainly fall into the realm of Diminishing returns. I have little attachment to the Range Officers, but a great deal with my full custom guns. By the way I don't own a gun that is not reliable.
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Old 07-20-2017, 03:50 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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I use the following analogy all the time. Compare a Ford Focus, a Toyota Camry, and a BMW 6-Series. All do the same thing and are reliable enough to get to to work every day. The guy with the Camry will say there's nothing the BMW can do that his car can't, until the day comes when he wins the lottery and buys a Bimmer. Then he'll never want to go back.

The Focus is a Springfield Mil-Spec, the Camry a Dan Wesson, and the BMW a Wilson Supergrade. Most of us will be perfectly content at the price point of the Dan Wesson, but if we had the money we'd go even higher. I don't think it's a point of diminishing returns because technically even the lowly Springfield will do whatever we want a handgun to do.
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Old 07-20-2017, 03:50 PM
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I don't know if I could set a price. But my starting point would be the cost of buying a stainless Caspian slide and frame that were hand fit to each other and have whatever machining options Caspian offers, plus the cost of a Kart barrel and high quality small parts.

I would guess such a custom pistol would come in for under a $1000, but that's with some of my labor. If the pistol were to be finished instead of stainless or I didn't want to do any of the assembly work, add the shop rate. You're still under $1500 at that point.


The problem really is that the cost of a Wilson or Brown isn't the retail cost of parts and labor, but the luxury cost of a brand name item. It is very difficult to say how much extra someone ought to feel comfortable paying to have "Wilson" stamped on their slide vice a non-branded custom made of nearly identical components. But it is a real value, since name brand luxury items have an intangible value that remains on resale.


I'm not a "brand" person, so my threshold is going to be lower than brand loyalty people. When I decided I wanted a .308 military rifle 20 years ago, I was perfectly happy to pay less than 50% for a Springfield imported Greek made SAR3 rather than pay for the nearly identical HK marked German product. I understand that this would not have been acceptable trade for many people, regardless of the actual quality comparison.



For many products, price is largely based on intangibles like brand or market. Many products sell better when the price is higher.
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Old 07-20-2017, 03:51 PM
havanajim havanajim is online now
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Well, in practical terms, yes, I do believe there is a point of diminishing returns. However, in emotional terms, and this is a very emotionally-involved hobby, it's a whole different story. For me, I think the absolute 1911 ceiling is $2k, although, I don't have anything at that price point at the moment, as I've been quite content with what's available below that point. However, I'd be willing to stretch for that 'right' one that forces me up in price for whatever reason, should it ever appear. Bear in mind, I'm not much into 'customization' or adding on, so my ceiling is low by default. For others, $2k may just be the starting point. Again, lots of emotion involved in this decision making, so it's beyond subjective in nature from the get-go.

Last edited by havanajim; 07-20-2017 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:00 PM
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Just have to ask yourself is it worth it? Some people think folks are crazy to spend the money on a watch such as a Rolex or Panerai. Then there are others that feel the aforementioned brands are no big deal and can appreciate a Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Minute Repeater Tourbillon.

Personally I prefer the later but settle on the former in the example above lol....
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:02 PM
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I've found the older you get the more attention to detail and workmanship you appreciate.
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:07 PM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is offline
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I believe there is a Point of Diminishing Return in regards to the 1911... I don't know where it is for me.
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:17 PM
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The oddity in this topic is that we accept that an all steel, .45 caliber, 8 round 1911 pistol could range in price from $350 to $6000 because of who constructed it.

That's the equivalent of Honda offering a 3 liter Accord in versions ranging from $22,000 to $400,000.


Fred Craig asked me if I wanted to buy a Merc M-11 he was doing a limited run of. I couldn't see spending the $4000, but I considered it because the pistol is entirely different and unique - you can't buy a cheaper version. Before I would spend a large sum on a more refined version of a common firearm I would be looking at something much more custom than what is typically done to a 1911. At the end of the day, all non-Colt 1911s are clones.
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:33 PM
SChief454 SChief454 is offline
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I think you have to approach it from the standpoint of what the craftsmanship is worth to you. Decent 1911's in most price points are more accurate than most shooters. In my case I have 1911's from $800.00 to $4000.00. I carry and shoot them all and they are all more accurate than I am. I do however very much appreciate the craftsmanship and smooth functionality of the higher end pistols. The level of customization would be an important factor. Two of my guns are built to my specifications and they look and feel it. Would I pay more than 4K if I had the means...yes if the craftsman could provide me with a unique product his time and effort is worth a premium.
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:35 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is online now
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Originally Posted by Handy View Post
The oddity in this topic is that we accept that an all steel, .45 caliber, 8 round 1911 pistol could range in price from $350 to $6000 because of who constructed it.

That's the equivalent of Honda offering a 3 liter Accord in versions ranging from $22,000 to $400,000.


Fred Craig asked me if I wanted to buy a Merc M-11 he was doing a limited run of. I couldn't see spending the $4000, but I considered it because the pistol is entirely different and unique - you can't buy a cheaper version. Before I would spend a large sum on a more refined version of a common firearm I would be looking at something much more custom than what is typically done to a 1911. At the end of the day, all non-Colt 1911s are clones.
Not true. The high end guns have a totally different set of materials and often unrivaled dimensional accuracy to say nothing of the unique options and exclusive features. There are also many differences in accuracy as well as reliablity and durability and ergos.

The accord analogy is semi-accurate. If you buy a stock one sure, but if you tub it and convert it to race level suspension, brakes and rework the entire driveline it very well can cost and is justified costing $400000

Colt 1911s are literally nothing more than a name, regaurdless of that fact I still am considering one simply to say I have one. They are TOTALY behind in materials, finishes, accuracy, reliability, fit, features and configurations.
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:45 PM
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Striker2237 View Post
Not true. The high end guns have a totally different set of materials and often unrivaled dimensional accuracy to say nothing of the unique options and exclusive features. There are also many differences in accuracy as well as reliablity and durability and ergos.
What sort of materials do you think the finest 1911s are made of? Specifically, what sort of forged steel will you find in an extremely expensive gun that you wouldn't find in an Imbel?

I make knives, so I'm pretty up on the different steels available to make tools out of. Are you saying the finest $3000+ 1911s are made from some of the newest shock resistant powdered steels or something like that? It seems like most every 1911 I've seen is made of basic 4140 or equivalent.


Korth is supposed to use some more specialized steel that requires grinding rather than milling, but I haven't heard anyone else doing that.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:05 PM
havanajim havanajim is online now
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Originally Posted by Striker2237 View Post
Not true. The high end guns have a totally different set of materials and often unrivaled dimensional accuracy to say nothing of the unique options and exclusive features. There are also many differences in accuracy as well as reliablity and durability and ergos.

The accord analogy is semi-accurate. If you buy a stock one sure, but if you tub it and convert it to race level suspension, brakes and rework the entire driveline it very well can cost and is justified costing $400000

Colt 1911s are literally nothing more than a name, regaurdless of that fact I still am considering one simply to say I have one. They are TOTALY behind in materials, finishes, accuracy, reliability, fit, features and configurations.
Well, yes and no. The materials argument, in my opinion, is no longer as valid as it once was. There's nothing wrong with the materials that Colt, SA, SIG , S&W, etc., etc., use. The numbers in active use bear that out. I think we'd know about it if any materials were truly inferior (I'm not talking about interweb BS here). They are also generally on par in both accuracy and reliability.

The finish, fit and feature argument is the more valid one... and the one with more of an impact on price... and the one that makes this entire debate so subjective. For example, some folks want a glorious royal blue finish and are willing to pay for it. Others are content with a good, utilitarian, yet extremely effective, parkerized finish. Some folks demand ball-bearing operation, while others are content with factory fit. Some want precisely executed checkering, while others are fine with a smooth front-strap. None of these examples do anything to make the gun any better in the accuracy or reliability department but they do help determine price point. Same goes for any number of other price-driving, yet truly cosmetic features.

Bottom line is that each of us have a personal diminishing return point, based on countless factors that only you can decide for yourself and which you'll likely never get others to agree with. But little of that has anything to do with questionable reliability or accuracy of well made, yet mass-produced pistols.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:17 PM
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If cheap prices were important to everyone all would be driving old VW's. You can rebuild one in a day. But some prefer a little refinement and actual hand fit quality, not some guy in the Phillipines reaching into a bin for a part that doesn't properly fit.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:55 PM
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1911s are man jewelry. They are worth whatever you pay for them as long as your money gets you what you want and you love them. Ask your wife at what point a diamond arrangement reaches the point of diminishing returns.

I know Glock guys love their guns because they have as much personality and soul as a Stanley framing hammer. I imagine in that arena, you could reach a point of diminishing returns real quick.

But, 1911 guys are not like that. We form relationships and expect more from real guns. No price range on that. Let your desires and your wallet take you as far as you need to go to be happy and proud.

Depends on how you evaluate things.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:16 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is online now
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Not true. The high end guns have a totally different set of materials and often unrivaled dimensional accuracy to say nothing of the unique options and exclusive features. There are also many differences in accuracy as well as reliablity and durability and ergos.
What sort of materials do you think the finest 1911s are made of? Specifically, what sort of forged steel will you find in an extremely expensive gun that you wouldn't find in an Imbel?

I make knives, so I'm pretty up on the different steels available to make tools out of. Are you saying the finest $3000+ 1911s are made from some of the newest shock resistant powdered steels or something like that? It seems like most every 1911 I've seen is made of basic 4140 or equivalent.


Korth is supposed to use some more specialized steel that requires grinding rather than milling, but I haven't heard anyone else doing that.
S7 S6 tool steel for many of the internal parts and the frame and slide steel are forged far more consistently. There is a huge differnace in the same type of metal depending on how it is finished and prepared. Many engine connecting rods are 4340 but the heat treat and forging process allow the premium offering to withstand much more. The geometry also plays a massive role in any machine as to how durable/long lasting it is going to be. Any imperfections stack up and lead to worse and worse function that only accelerates wear in a device.


Let me put it this way. You can buy China made connecting rods and cranks or you can pay 4x as much for a US brand like Crower or Molenar. Now on paper all of the above use the same grade of steel, I can also say on paper (hard evidence) the China made parts will blow up far before the the US stuff.

Last edited by Striker2237; 07-20-2017 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:19 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is online now
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Originally Posted by Striker2237 View Post
Not true. The high end guns have a totally different set of materials and often unrivaled dimensional accuracy to say nothing of the unique options and exclusive features. There are also many differences in accuracy as well as reliablity and durability and ergos.

The accord analogy is semi-accurate. If you buy a stock one sure, but if you tub it and convert it to race level suspension, brakes and rework the entire driveline it very well can cost and is justified costing $400000

Colt 1911s are literally nothing more than a name, regaurdless of that fact I still am considering one simply to say I have one. They are TOTALY behind in materials, finishes, accuracy, reliability, fit, features and configurations.
Well, yes and no. The materials argument, in my opinion, is no longer as valid as it once was. There's nothing wrong with the materials that Colt, SA, SIG , S&W, etc., etc., use. The numbers in active use bear that out. I think we'd know about it if any materials were truly inferior (I'm not talking about interweb BS here). They are also generally on par in both accuracy and reliability.

The finish, fit and feature argument is the more valid one... and the one with more of an impact on price... and the one that makes this entire debate so subjective. For example, some folks want a glorious royal blue finish and are willing to pay for it. Others are content with a good, utilitarian, yet extremely effective, parkerized finish. Some folks demand ball-bearing operation, while others are content with factory fit. Some want precisely executed checkering, while others are fine with a smooth front-strap. None of these examples do anything to make the gun any better in the accuracy or reliability department but they do help determine price point. Same goes for any number of other price-driving, yet truly cosmetic features.

Bottom line is that each of us have a personal diminishing return point, based on countless factors that only you can decide for yourself and which you'll likely never get others to agree with. But little of that has anything to do with questionable reliability or accuracy of well made, yet mass-produced pistols.
So you mean to tell me that a normal 1911 can be shot as fast and accuractly as a fully checkered, undercut, high beavertail, bull flange barrel, high end sighted, and perfectly ballanced (action timing) 1911 with unflinching accuracy and reliability?

Guess I must have missed something.....
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:15 PM
havanajim havanajim is online now
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Originally Posted by Striker2237 View Post
So you mean to tell me that a normal 1911 can be shot as fast and accuractly as a fully checkered, undercut, high beavertail, bull flange barrel, high end sighted, and perfectly ballanced (action timing) 1911 with unflinching accuracy and reliability?

Guess I must have missed something.....
Yes.
And no, you haven't missed anything. I've seen it done more than once, and in real life too, not on Youtube. What allows that to happen is a person's skill with a gun, not necessarily any particular gun. The things you describe would only become telling at the very pinnacle of shooting ability, if even there. Full checkering, beaver-tail, and bull-barrel are not necessary in the true sense of the word. Nice? Perhaps. Necessary? No. One can argue that better sights do offer a return on the investment, but that's not an expensive add-on and it's not limited to higher end guns. Unflinching accuracy and reliability can be had in just about any incarnation of a 1911 - that's also not limited to any particular 'high-end'.

Again, we need to strip the emotion from these types of comparisons. A $4k+ 1911 is a beautiful thing to behold; a work of art. But as I've said before: it is a much 'nicer' firearm, but not necessarily a 'better' firearm. And that's where personal tastes come in. Some folks want the 'nicest' possible, cost be damned. Others are satisfied with 'good', even 'great', and have no need to venture beyond that. Luckily for us, there's enough variety out there to satisfy all!!!

Just my 2-cents...
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:24 PM
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That's hard to say. I truly enjoy my Combat Commander. But my Executive Carry has the lord's own trigger. Not to say the Colt has a bad one, but I CAN tell a difference.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:32 PM
Slow bullet guy Slow bullet guy is offline
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The diminishing returns will be different for everyone. If the 1911 looks good, shoots more accurate than I can and is as reliable as a 1911 can be, then anything after that point is a bit diminishing. I'd be willing to spend up to 2,000 if I had the money and the gun had exactly everything I wanted and nothing I didn't want. That is a pretty slim criteria and will likely never be met. I can find something wrong with anything.

My Cheverolet Cobalt is paid for and has 230,000 miles on it. If it were a BMW, it would still have 230,000 miles on it and possibly not paid for. The BMW is diminishing for my simple needs.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:33 PM
Busa Dave Busa Dave is offline
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Originally Posted by Striker2237 View Post
So you mean to tell me that a normal 1911 can be shot as fast and accuractly as a fully checkered, undercut, high beavertail, bull flange barrel, high end sighted, and perfectly ballanced (action timing) 1911 with unflinching accuracy and reliability?

Guess I must have missed something.....
If you only knew.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:47 PM
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I use the following analogy all the time. Compare a Ford Focus, a Toyota Camry, and a BMW 6-Series. All do the same thing and are reliable enough to get to to work every day. The guy with the Camry will say there's nothing the BMW can do that his car can't, until the day comes when he wins the lottery and buys a Bimmer. Then he'll never want to go back.

The Focus is a Springfield Mil-Spec, the Camry a Dan Wesson, and the BMW a Wilson Supergrade. Most of us will be perfectly content at the price point of the Dan Wesson, but if we had the money we'd go even higher. I don't think it's a point of diminishing returns because technically even the lowly Springfield will do whatever we want a handgun to do.
My work truck is a mercedes sprinter. That pos is in the shop more than my e250 ford ever was. Every time there I see a lot of broken mercedes cars as well.
Think you need a different analogy. If wilson made their guns like germans make their cars you all would not be happy.
The post calling top end 1911 man jewelry was spot on. We can argue steel fit and finish all day. Bottom line you bought it because you like it.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:51 PM
LostintheOzone LostintheOzone is offline
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I've never paid more than a thousand dollars for a 1911. I'm happy with those.

If I had a Wilson I doubt I would shoot it anymore than the ones I have. For me it's more about how much I shoot and less about what I shoot. I would rather spend the money on ammo. If you shoot once a week like I do the cost can be considerable.
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