tree

Right off the bat, Bill’s Custom Automatics does it right. I opened the custom case to find the Master Grade 1911 well presented and six Wilson Combat magazines, each inside their own little foam home, with numbers etched into them for easy performance monitoring. Bill’s Custom Automatics had polished the feed lips on each magazine. But wait, there’s more! Included in the case: extra fiber optic inserts, both red and green, for the Dawson Precision Front Sight. Now how much would you pay? Don’t answer . . .

The Master Grade 1911 case also contained the recommended lubricant and tools for takedown and disassembly. Other than ammo, for which they made recommendations and provided sample targets, Bill’s sent the gun and everything needed to shoot and shoot it. Outstanding!

case

When I contacted Bill’s about the review, I told them I was interested in a 4″ or 5″ daily carry model. They sent everything I mentioned I like in a gun. I prefer the Dawson Fiber Optic Front site. This gun sports it. I don’t like an ambidextrous safety on my carry guns. This one doesn’t have it. I like an aggressive grip. This gun has a skate board tape-like material on its handles. I usually don’t like hard chrome or mirror polish on a carry gun. The Master Grade 1911’s entire finish is a Black Salt Nitride done by H&M Metal Processing.

I said I preferred a gun that’s zeroed at 25 yards. I was shooting within half an inch of that as soon as I lined up the sights. I like a flattened top on the slide. This one’s slide is just that, disappearing under the sights even under the glare of an overhead sun. Heine Slant Pro rear sight? Thank you very much. The customer’s priorities are priority number one. Bill’s Custom Automatics nailed it.

slidesight

The Master Grade is built on a Caspian frame and slide. Bill’s Custom Automatics says they’re fit within .001 to .002 on the frame, measured from an in-battery fitting. The trigger is set to three pounds, but I would have guessed less. The parts and modification list supplied goes on for a couple of pages. It includes the S&A 220 beavertail grip safety, Ed Brown flat mainspring housing, extractor, trigger, mag release, thumb safety, Wilson Combat extra power firing pin spring, one piece guide rod and spring cap, Dawson precision firing pin, EGW slide stop and barrel bushing, Cylinder and Slide Ultra-Light fire control group, hammer, sear and disconnect with a 19lb mainspring and lightened three-leaf sear spring.

And it goes on a bit more after that. For a custom build of this magnitude, I’d expect to wait a year. Let me rephrase. My experience with quality gunsmiths has left me to expect a year or more for builds or significant modifications. They had this gun done in two months. Barely 60 days for a truly custom-built gun.

The fit of the gun is what a gun of this quality – and yes price – should be. There was no play in the slide to frame fit, no slop in the barrel. There are no sharp edges where there should not be, no tool marks anywhere, and the everything comes together so nicely that a person who was not familiar with the 1911 would have a difficult time telling where one part started and another stopped.

The finish fits the Master Grade’s overall “working gun” theme; it’s completely unadorned save the Bill’s Custom Automatics’ medallion in the scales. You will find high mirror polish – inside of the gun. I don’t own anything as highly polished and shiny as the Master Grade’s feed ramp and breech. The whole gun is done so well it’s hard to not believe that Bill’s spent the just as much time on what you couldn’t see. When I pulled the trigger, it showed.

Sometimes I shoot well, sometimes not so well. Lately I’ve been shooting well. Much of that is due tot he fact that I’ve been shooting with, and against, a long time friend, a Navy Seal who has been operating operationally for about 14 years. When it comes to fast fire with pistols, I rarely outshoot J. He knows that (and I hate him a little for knowing that). After my first string of six magazines in fast fire with this gun, shooting at 15 yards, I saw fear in his eyes. Folks, this is a $6,000 pistol. That’s what $6,000 buys you: fear in the eyes of the mighty. It is so worth it.

Moving back to 25 yards using the dueling tree, we timed each other. We shot from the word “go”, drew, fired eight rounds, reloaded, fired eight more rounds, assumed the low-ready position and called time. (It only counts if all sixteen 5 1/2 inch plates fully moved over.) I was averaging mid 10 second times with the Bill’s Custom Automatics Master Grade 1911. His best was 11.23 with his EDC. That may not seem fast to many of you but I’m not Jerry Miculek and neither are you. Again, this was standing at 25 yards, not seven.

This gun shot so well that, at 15 yards in slow fire on paper, I made a game of shooting through the hole caused by my first five-round group to shoot another target behind that one for the last three. When you have to come up with stupid games like that, you’re into serious fun.

I spent about 400 rounds shooting this 1911 in fast fire and another 100 in slow fire or at the bench. At seven and 10 yards standing, I was nailing the plates about as fast as I could pull the trigger. That front site/flat top really helps, but there’s also something about the action of the gun that made it so.

Frankly, the Master Grade 1911 seems kinda lazy to return to battery. I don’t know any other way to explain it. It doesn’t slam home at all, but it’s right there in battery and ready to send another round by the time the sights fall back down. It’s not in a hurry, but it’s right there when it needs to be. I have to admit, that surprised me. Every time I released the slide forward on a new magazine, I thought surely it had not fully gone into battery. I even stopped to clear what I thought was a failure to return to battery twice. But it was there, right there fully in battery ready to fire, every time.

That brings me to reliability. I put through 400 rounds of Winchester white box 230gr FMJs through the gun without any malfunctions. Then I shot another hundred rounds of Remington Golden Saber 185gr Hollow Points, Winchester PDX1 230gr Hollow Points, and Hornady 185gr XTP rounds, also without issue. None. I think that makes this one of only two handguns I’ve reviewed now with no issues ever, and the first in .45ACP.

That doesn’t surprise me. Unlike most manufacturers, even the good ones, Bill’s Custom Automatics doesn’t fire a few magazines through it and call it a day. This gun had 500 rounds put through it before they shipped it, using 12 different rounds, using five different shooters, as well as Ransom Rest testing. That was all done, with no malfunctions, all before shipping the gun to me. Welcome to my new standard of quality control.

frontbag

Where this gun really shined for me: off the front bag. Seated at a table, shooting off the front bag at 25 yards, the worst shooting ammunition I had (Winchester PDX) delivered a 2 inch group. Shooting the Remington Golden Saber yielded consistent one inch groups. Or less. In fact, my best group with this round was 3/4 of an inch.

Bill’s Custom Automatics sent me 10 different targets from their Ransom Rest firings. I abhor the Ransom Rest. I understand the necessity of it, the repeatability that a solid mechanical rest provides is vital for a serious builder. But it is absolute witchcraft to set up and I tip my hat to anyone willing to spend the time to do it.

The targets they sent me were seven shot groups off the rest at 25 yards. Bill’s measured both the vertical and horizontal spread of each round. The cheap PMC bronze 230gr FMJ measured at 1” horizontal and 1.3” vertical. The same Remington HP that shot so well for me off the bag shot 1”X1” on the Ransom Rest. And this is a carry gun, with all the reliability I would require of a gun to save my life. What’s not to love?

groups

This gun is so awesome you forget the gun is there. There was no fighting the gun, no guessing on a slack or gritty trigger, no fiddling with your grip. It’s just BANG BANG BANG BANG, and the sights falling right back down every time. The gun times itself, I don’t have to drive it. It feels like the gun just disappears and leaves a bright shiny red dot in the air in it’s place. Instead of all that other stuff, I can just think about my target. A moment of zen. A joy.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Appearance * * * * *
Black Nitride polished out to a 600 grit wet sand on the finish. The pistol is completely de-edged and hand sanded. The slide is labeled, but simply, as are the scales on the handles. It is exactly what it was supposed to be, and perfectly executed.

Accuracy * * * * *
One inch groups off the bag, one inch groups on the rest, and ragged holes standing. I can’t beat that.

Reliability * * * * *
I’d love to test the ultimate reliability of this pistol. But I think I could only do that with tens of thousands of rounds over years. That’s what I think it will take for this thing to fail.

Overall * * * * *
This is the first 5-star rating I’ve given a gun. Note: I looked for reasons to dislike it. At $6,000 I wanted something to be imperfect. But I can’t, cause it is. Bill’s Custom Automatics is the current smith for Jessie Duff. Even if you’re not a pro, this gun makes you feel like one.

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68 Responses to Gun Review: Bill’s Custom Automatics Master Grade 1911

  1. “Now how much would you pay? Don’t answer . . .”

    I had to immediately go look at the price, then read the remainder of the review after this statement and I still dont know how much I would actually pay.

    Great story about your buddy with the Trident, now youve got me curious as to what his EDC is.
    Sure sounds like one hell of a pistol, even though I can almost guarantee I wont ever get a single pistol worth that much, by all means more power to anyone if they do. Oh the travesty for something like this to sit in an evidence locked getting beat up and potentially rusted.
    Im eventually holding out for something with the words Browning Machine Gun in the round for that price though 🙂

    “This gun has a skate board tape-like material on its handles.”

    Gotta have grip tape, talon grips, stippling or something on every holdout blaster I own and carry (none are 1911s). I can only imagine the fun time that would be some slick grips and a wet or bloody hand.

  2. Wow great gun. I have always been a fan of a custom quality built 1911, but on a firefighters salary, the closest i will come to owning one of these is to read great reviews like this one. Well at least you have pics posted to drool over.

  3. Very nice gun but for that money and in light of current circumstances, I’d rather spend it on half a dozen AR’s and their ammo.

    • Or $1000 to buy and tune the off the shelf pistol of your choice and $5000 worth of training and ammo. That’ll make you a much better shooter than buying a $6000 gun will.

      • Correct. There is a small audience of people who can afford something like this. But only a small audience will appreciate it anyway.

      • “Something is worth exactly what someone will pay for it. No more, no less.”

        Bingo, RF.

        That concept is difficult for some folks to understand.

        Back in ‘Pawn Broker Days’ I had to tell customers that on at least a weekly basis.

        Usually I had to follow with:

        “I don’t care what you paid for it, I care how much I can sell it for.”

        • I often have to use the “I know what the book says [or what it says on the ‘Net], but you still have to find an actual person that will pay that, and you won’t find one here” variation.

      • Question: Who in their right mind would pay $300,000 for a Hunot LaFerrari watch?
        (standard commenter) That’s &^&%%&*^* STUPID!!!!!!! OMFG my $15 Timex is a better watch!
        Answer: Someone who understands and appreaciates craftsmanship and quality, just like any nice pistol, rifle or shotgun.

        Can’t wait to see the comments Robert when you get to review a Holland & Holland shotgun with matched barrels. People will talk about how their double wide and five years of pad rent cost less than that. 😀

  4. Tim Thompson of Bill’s Custom Automatics built this gun. Bill of Bill’s Custom Automatics, is Tim’s father. Bill is one of a few left of a breed of real men. Tim is my ex business partner. Tim and I opened Thompson’s Gun Works in Anchorage in 1993. Tim has since gone on to do some highly advanced work in not only the 1911 market, but in building custom long range rifles as well. Thanks to TTAG for spotlighting his excellent work. Well done, Tim. I have (4) twenty year old 1911’s that were built by Tim in Anchorage that still run perfectly. They sure aren’t as pretty as the Master Grade shown here, though.

  5. Why would anyone these days want a 1911? For the money, you could have a Glock 41 for both hands, plus a back-up Glock 36 for both hands for when your primary Glock malfunctions. Plus a whole lot of Glock magazines, two drop-leg holsters, and a Glock hat to wear to bed or in the shower when you aren’t carrying your Glocks.

        • Technically, Georgia is in Asia, being on the south side of the Caucasus mountains. But culturally, it generally gets lumped in with Europe since it’s Christian, even if everything else about the place is not really all that European (the language is related to nothing else other than some other languages in the immediate vicinity in the “Kartvelian” language family, just for instance).

    • Never understood this sentiment. I carry a Glock and have owned many. However, they are far from the most satisfying to shoot. Shooting a nice 1911is waaaaay more enjoyable than any of the plastic fantastic guns out there.

    • You’ve never shot a 1911, have you? I mean, look, I could understand asking “Why carry a 1911? Glock 21s exist.” But, the reality is, the 1911 is an amazing design that shoots better that most modern pistols ever can dream of. There’s a reason why bullseye shooters shoot 1911s in all the centerfire stages. There’s a reason why, 100 years later, people still love this gun, still shoot this gun, and still carry this gun to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

      Sure, they’re hard to make well. And expensive to make well. And when they go awry- usually from poor QC- they can be unusable. But, if made to spec, there are few pistols in the world that point as well, hit targets at any distance as well, and work as well as a 1911. If you gave me a 1911 and said, “prepare to defend yourself”, I wouldn’t feel at all defenseless.

      • What if you didn’t know who had made the 1911 in question? You’ve alluded to many of the potential issues; too many of them aren’t made right; require a long break in period even if they are, etc. Would you trust just ANY 1911?

        If I had to guess, you probably didn’t mean to imply you would, but you phrased it as a blanket statement.

        If I had a choice (under those circumstances) between a properly lubed but otherwise new in box (and randomly selected) 1911, and a (properly lubed) new in box randomly selected Glock… I’d pick up the Glock without hesitation, even if I knew IT only had 7+1 in it as well. The likelihood of a randomly chosen 1911 to be a piece of junk, excuse me, “to just need a little bit of tuning” is what I meant to say, out of the box is way too high.

        Now if it’s this make and model versus a Glock, that’s a different subject

        • That’s kind of a false dichotomy there. What if it were “any springfield 1911” or “any Wilson Combat 1911” or “Any Sig Sauer 1911”, etc.

          You’re comparing an “open source” platform at large to a single firearm manufactured by one manufacturer.

        • So a random 1911 from a random manufacturer vs a specif manufacturer? Yeah, that’s a reasonable comparison.

    • Q. Who, at any time, does not want others to have individual tastes?

      A. Statists, collectivists, socialists, communists, fascists, and generally jealous control freaks (but I repeat myself).

  6. Nice review. And good for you for shooting a pistol at some distance. I don’t understand the fixation with short-distance that’s so common.

    • Self defense practice and a fixation with pistols being good only for defending one’s life and no other purposes. Unlike in the military and such, as a civilian it’s expected that if you’re firing a gun in self defense you’re likely very close to your attacker. If the person is 50 yards away there’s slim chance that they are truly an imminent threat to your life, which is often the legal requirement that must be met in order to use deadly force against another person. So the standard for practicing self defense shooting is basically from point blank range to 7 yards out.

      • I know that’s the rationale. I believe practicing at 25 and even 15 yards will help any aimed shooting at closer distances. I believe practicing at longer ranges even helps close-in point shooting. Longer ranges are very effective for finding flawed technique that gets hidden by blasting away at stuff right in front of you. Whatever it is, if you can do it at 15 yards, it’ll be a piece of cake at 5.

    • 25 yards with a handgun isn’t particularly short really.

      And thats as muchdistance as my indoor handgun range goes to.

  7. I’m sure there are folks that can afford this gun, BUT, to list it as a “carry” gun?? If you had to actually use it in a gun fight, and it was “confiscated” By, you know who, what do you think your chances are of ever getting it back.
    My guess is that it would probably disappear in a pile of paperwork, or get lost in a “boating accident” somewhere.

    • I don’t personally understand this argument. If a gun saves my life I’m happy to pay as much as I can afford for that gun and if I’m in a scenario where I need a gun to save my life I want it to be the BEST gun in my collection in terms of reliability and my ability to shoot it well completely and totally irrespective of its price. Give me forewarning about needing to defend myself with a gun (but no ability to avoid the scenario) and I’m damn sure not grabbing the cheapest one in the safe just in case it gets held as evidence.

      Additionally, it would be my sincere hope and intention that any self defense shooting I am hopefully never involved in is so incredibly cut-and-dry as justifiable self defense that there is no arrest or confiscation of the firearm, etc etc. It is not usually done automatically but only done if circumstances indicate that a review is necessary because criminal charges might be filed. IF I am in a situation where criminal charges might be filed, $900 or $6,000 for a gun that’s going to be held in evidence is my last damn concern in the world. I have legal fees that will bankrupt me to worry about and/or years in prison, etc etc etc. Losing one expensive firearm either won’t happen or won’t matter.

      AND… if I’m in a really horrific scenario where I’m in the news like George Zimmerman, you think I want my Kel-Tec or other cheapie throw-away photographed and shown on the news next to my photo? Hell no! I’d gladly freaking pay the additional $5,810 for this 1911 to have it in the photos and in evidence instead. My real-world preference would be that it’s my HK P7. GZ was partially excoriated for carrying that little “saturday night special” and blah blah blah. Possible change in public opinion and/or jury opinion from having something classy would be WELL worth the $$$ to me. I’d WANT my nice gun in evidence. Nice gun, nice guy 🙂

      • The thing is, this gun is no more reliable than a G21 and carries fewer rounds. So unless you plan on taking headshots at 25 yards for self-defense, you’re not gaining anything by paying 10x more.

        So if you honestly believe that you can buy jury sympathy by carrying a fancy gun, go right ahead. Considering most people know nothing about guns, it is a fantasy argument.

        • Jury sympathy, I hadn’t thought of that point. If all the jurors, at your trial (hopefully there wouldn’t be one) that owned firearms, If most of them had weapons they had paid a few hundred at the most for, I don’t think it’s going to set well if the price you paid for your EDC piece were more than their salary for a couple of months.

          Jeromy S.
          You are right about your life being worth the price of your firearm, but after 25 years of marriage, my wife has whittled me down to the value of a Taurus 380. Last week I think it was more like a Raven, or Jennings (used).

        • You’re gaining accuracy at 25 yards. Pulling the trigger on a GLock at 25 yards to get good hits and a squared away 1911 is two different sports entirely.

          Is it practical to say that 25 yards is criteria for carrying a guN? Not really, but you can’t guarantee any of the situations where you would need to deploy it.

          So yeah, 13 rounds is more than 8, but I would argue that the effective distance for a 1911 is appreciably longer than a Glock before all the shooting left and low starts to catch up. You can point to 3/3/3 but that also basically invalidates the argument for more ammo.

          That said, despite the heavy weight, a 1911 carries easier (for me) than my G17.

        • Glocks and 1911’s ($6k custom or cheap RIA) are more accurate than most shooters even slow-fire situations. And there is no shooter in the world that can use the extra small fraction of accuracy in a self-defense situation. Even Jerry Miculek doesn’t get cloverleafs during speed shooting.

          Accuracy in any non-target handgun is a gimmick. And there are much better target handguns out there.

        • The rest of what I wrote is me being long-winded as usual and just thinking out loud. The only relevant point to all that blabbering was: “…if I’m in a scenario where I need a gun to save my life I want it to be the BEST gun in my collection in terms of reliability and my ability to shoot it well completely and totally irrespective of its price.” …could be a Glock, could be a Kel-Tec, could be a $6,000 1911, could be my aforementioned HK P7. But the chance of it being temporarily or permanently held as evidence plays exactly a 0% factor in my decision on what I carry for self defense.

        • @Yee

          Accuracy is more than just mechanical accuracy potential, trigger refinement also helps. It’s the reason competition shooters buy $1400 guns and immediately drop 100-200$ on a trigger job. The easier and more repeatable a quality trigger press is the more accuracy you can exploit downrange. At 25 yards in a hurry it can mean the difference between a A and a C/d or a 0 and a -1/-3. Most shooters alive can exploit quality triggers.

          Bone stock Glocks do not have quality triggers.

        • Like I said, accuracy beyond what is commonly seen in any good quality polymer handgun above $400 is a gimmick. Hair triggers are nice and useful for a target or competition gun, but hardly necessary for a carry gun. In fact, it can be a liability. One youtube celebrity shot himself in the leg practicing quick draws with a 1911. Light triggers typically don’t do well in drop tests either.

          Anyways, to each his own. Just don’t cry about the cops losing your $6000 custom gun in a evidence room mix-up.

  8. Wow. I’ve gotta say, it’s nice to know that such things exist. I am one to appreciate nice things and even spend too much on them occasionally. Even though this is far beyond what I imagine my 1911 budget will ever support I tip my hat to the manufacturer for their pursuit (and apparent success in) uncompromising quality.

    • “Well, at least this $6000 gun works.”

      Yep.

      Cabot knows how to work metal. They just don’t fully understand gunmaking.

      Psssst! Cabot? Buy one of these and dissect it.

  9. EDC gun? Like to see it after DGU. Police property clerk takes Dremel tool to it. Engraves case number and initials on frame and slide. Tosses it on shelf and lets it rust out. After a year and 5k more with lawyer (just to get it back) you get back de-mil’d formerly nice gun.

  10. Tim is a close friend of mine. I drop in the shop frequently to talk about projects, check on parts, have word done, etc. I had the pleasure of watching this gun go from nearly start to finish. I was on hand to take pictures of it before the actual photographer made it to the shop. I got to handle and dry fire this pistol just as I have with many of them, including ALL of Jessie Duff’s (title winning) pistols. This is by far one of the finest pieces to come off of Tim’s work bench. I asked about the price. I was willing to pay it. Tim declined and stated that he is intent on giving this one to his father. (Who is also a really great man) People can balk at the price, that’s fine. I’ve been in there and handled enough firearms to see where most of the money goes. The rest that I’m not sure of, Tim takes the time to explain it, often at a level that I can barely understand. At any rate, having them build you a pistol to keep is having a family heirloom build by a master craftsman. I’m proud to be his friend and I’m always proud to run his guns.

  11. Nice 1911, though the rollmark is a bit much. I’d have asked for a sterile slide. Bill’s needs to come up with a recognizable logo and apply it behind the rear serrations, a la Wilson Combat.

  12. At least in this case, the gun is actually better at running than ones one tenth its cost.

    A LOT of people piled on the Cabot because they couldn’t imagine why anyone would spend six grand on a handgun. I piled on the Cabot solely because it was a jam-o-matic POS that had the gall to ask $6K.

    This one doesn’t have that issue. Am I going to buy one? Nope. It’s not worth it to me. That’s not sour grapes; I could actually afford this if I really desperately wanted it, but I don’t.

    Nevertheless, I can see how it might be worth it to someone, who chases perfection in a firearm a lot harder than I would. Thiere is value here, greater value than in a Glock or even a CZ (though it’s not ten times the value at ten times the cost; there’s still some diminishing return here). It’s most assuredly not a non-functioning piece of junk (like the Cabot was) and if you want one, and it’s worth that kind of money to you, go for it!

  13. $6k seems like a lot but for a 1 off, custom built gun that is built to your specifications and tastes that performs flawlessly…. it makes me wish I had that kind of cash to buy one.

  14. I shot a friend’s Clark Custom .38 wadcutter when I competed in falling plate matches back in ’99. We had to go to the Wannemacher OKC show to find Colt mags. I had to get special lead 9mm loads, though per the rules for my Belgian HiPower. That 1911 was far superior to my HiPower for that type of competition.

    That same HiPower got me a 1st in stock service pistol that year. Belgian and Portugese HiPower prices were about the same, around $500 depending on condition. I’m not sure what that Clark 1911 was worth back then, but I did not need a custom firearm for defense. I had a Series 70 9mm with a that Briley did a trigger job on, but the accuracy was a pathetic joke compared to the Browning at IDPA match ranges. I did not need to spend a lot more money on something that I had already.

    6 grand was about getting into legal full-auto money last time I checked. I have spent way more than that over the years. My $299 new all steel mil-spec Sarsilmaz CZ-75 clone lets me have “condition 1” for matches, and DA “condition 2” for home defense in the nightstand. Tarus 92s and CZ-75 clones are all I know of that allow C1 and DA. The “backwards” safety works extremely better for my short thumb.

    I will not criticize someone for getting something if they have the means as long as they are not making a house payment for the credit debt on it alone. Did that with cars in my youth.

  15. Nice gun-and as an antique and art dealer I echo RF’s sentiment. I’ve sold art for thousands of $ and it was only worth what people were willing to pay(which is why auctions are a great way to dispose of stuff)…and how many firearms get a perfect score on TTAG?

  16. That’s a sweet gun. For every extra grand above the price of a good quality M1911, you get maybe 1/8″ of additional accuracy. Which illustrates the law of diminishing returns very dramatically. And no, it’s not a ripoff. It takes big money to squeeze that much accuracy out of such an old platform.

  17. For everyone who complains first and foremost about the cost of this pistol, I ask “have you ever seen a Yugo run in the Daytona 500”? Sure, this pistol is clearly not for most of us. But, wow, what an honor to be one of the best there is. Hats off to Bill’s Custom Automatics for getting Jon Wayne Taylor’s first ever 5 star review.

    • Yugu? Did I hear someone mention Yugo!
      A bit off the subject, but when I read the Consumers Report article about this P.O.S., they said it was the worse car they had ever tested!

  18. Thank you all for looking at this review. I realize the price on this pistol is serious. I would like to tell you that this particular gun is a Master Grade gun from scratch, my best and takes over two weeks just to build. We do work on production guns and build other grades of custom 1911’s that are less expensive. After 24 years I realize I can only build so many, and I value my work and time. I also take the work I do on my clients guns with the highest level of gravity.
    This review has been a blessing and I am thankful to all of you and TTAG for this opportunity!

    • Awesome gun Tim. I am holding out on a 1911, I promised the wife it would be my final pistol purchase, looking for another Arcus and a stainless cz 75 first 🙂 If I win the Mega millions I would be glad to purchase a similar model. If I am able to hide a few grand for a 1911 I will be sending you a check and a request.

    • A FULL custom firearm that takes two weeks for a business with overhead to build using quality materials and very expensive machinery….. $6000 seems fair.

      When you factor in the reliability, finish quality and the fact that it will likely outlive every car or piece of furniture you’ll EVER buy to be passed down(or confiscated) when you’re gone… It sounds like a pretty damn good price for those who choose to afford it.

      Awesome 1911.

  19. Not only are the guys at Bill’s Custom Automatics good at what they do, they are also good people. I carried a Springfield 1911-A1 on duty for about 15 years that was modified by Bill’s Custom Automatics from recommendations Bill considering my financial constraints (under $2000 including the firearm at the time). I used this same firearm to shoot competitively for several years and after multiple thousands of rounds fired through it, it still shoots as good today as it did when I got it. I carried it because I knew that when I needed it, it would perform as it should. I had so much faith that in their work that I got a Springfield Champion modified by Bill’s as a backup. I would still carry them on duty today except for the policy constraints of a new department. Great work by great guys, it’s hard to beat.

  20. The pistol aside, what a nicely-written review. “Fear in the eyes of the mighty.” Good stuff.

  21. I have a Tim built 1911 custom done to my preferences. It was clearly a few generations back in his work and by far the finest handgun I will likely ever own. Just had it out last week end. I had over 12,000 rounds on it the first year of ownership. I realize others put far more down range annually than I. I was learning how to shoot. I gave Tim my 8 round cloverleaf target (25 yds standing) very early and let him know it is a joy to own and shoot. That it was a gift from my friend Claudia makes it even more a treasure. I enjoyed watching Tim build it. Caspian frame and slide, carbon fiber stocks, Bo-Mar sights, perfect 3 lb. trigger, Bar-Sto match grade bull barrel, etc. As tight as a Swiss bank vault.
    Over two decades of a gem to shoot. Still makes smile every time at the range and is a comfort knowing it will be my best shooter in defense. I may not win a gun fight but it never be for a short coming of the handgun. Not sure how someone can add all that up and say it is not a bargain. As for the question using the money for training, I spend that as well, from solid local instructors to the nationally known. I think of it as life insurance for my family and friends. When I bring the Tim built 1911 it always get attention with a wide range of guessing who built it. This from a then local Alaskan gunsmith. Claudia enjoys shooting as well. With any other woman I might worry she would change her mind on the ownership she loves it that much.To my good fortune she actually went with a Seattle Detonics handgun completely customized by Tim. Thank you Tim for family heritage firearms. Best handguns from a great friend and the best gunsmith I will ever know. Paul

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