The 4 Best Custom 1911 Makers

Posted by Ed Strange on Feb 8th 2024

In the world of firearms, few handguns hold the reverence and legacy of the 1911. As a symbol of American craftsmanship and ingenuity, the M1911 has endured generations as both a revered military sidearm and a cherished piece of civilian weaponry.

And for those seeking to make their 1911 a more personal piece of equipment, the world of custom 1911s provides a whole lot of options for doing just that, allowing shooters to get not just a great all-around 1911, but the best 1911 for their specific needs.

Today, we're going to explore the best custom 1911 makers. As we do so, we'll uncover the skilled artisans and gunsmiths shaping the landscape of personalized firearms, as well as the options that they offer.

Whether you're a seasoned collector, a competitive shooter, or a passionate enthusiast, the world of custom 1911s holds endless possibilities, so let's dive right in.

Best Custom 1911 Manufacturers

1. Wilson Combat

Wilson Combat is one of the best-known custom 1911 makers on the market and for good reason; Wilson guns consistently provide stellar quality with excellent customer service. Wilson offers the flexibility of either ordering a fully custom-built 1911 or enhancing your existing one.

For existing handguns, they offer a variety of custom options including custom engraving (hand and laser), Armor-Tuff and other finishes, and True Zero Optic System installation to give your pistol a personalized touch.

On the other hand, if you want to build a 1911 from scratch, the Wilson Combat Custom Gun Builder is an easy way to get an estimate for your dream gun. Specify frame type, optics, barrel, slide, trigger, thumb safety, mag release, magwell, and more to get a precise estimate and easily place your order if you're happy with your results.

2. Springfield Armory

The Springfield Armory Custom Shop offers incredible products and premium craftsmanship, but unfortunately they only do custom handguns and don't customize existing 1911s. For new 1911s, they have four models available for you to choose from.

So if you have to choose between models with fixed features, you may wonder what makes these 1911s custom? Well, every major component in these models is individually hand-fitted for the best possible accuracy and reliability. This makes the custom models heads and shoulders above standard models, even the high-quality ones that Springfield Armory produces.

Not convinced? Springfield Armory's custom 1911s are used by military, law enforcement, and serious competitive shooters around the world, providing some extra assurance of their quality.

3. Les Baer

Unlike Springfield and Wilson Combat, Les Baer only does 1911s and that specialization shows in the quality of their work. They offer not just an unrivaled selection of custom pistols and customization services for 1911s that they manufacture, but also custom parts.

The option to order custom parts is especially handy for shooters on a budget, since you may be able to order a part and save some money by doing the install yourself. Available parts include slides, feed ramps, frames, barrels, sights, grip screws, and more.

As for services, options include slide serrations, checkering of the trigger guard, servicing the action, replacement of the safety, trigger installation, sight installation, and more.

Les Baer has an extensive list of options with excellent price transparency, so you have an accurate idea of how much your customization will cost going in. Whether you're after a fully customized 1911 or specific parts to upgrade your existing firearm, Les Baer provides a comprehensive range of choices.

4. Nighthawk Custom

Nighthawk Custom doesn't create custom 1911 pistils, but they will modify your existing 1911. And, unlike most other brands, they'll actually modify 1911s that they didn't manufacture themselves, including 1911s from major brands like Ruger, Colt, Dan Wesson, and more.

This is especially nice since while Ruger, Kimber, and Colt have their own custom shops, Dan Wesson has closed theirs. In addition, while Ruger, Kimber, and Colt's custom shops put out incredible quality work, their options are more limited than some others, which is why they didn't make it on this list.

As for their customizations, options are plentiful. They'll add sights, a new safety switch, and replace your trigger or guide rod. They'll also swap out your barrel, tighten up your slide, and perform various reliability services.

In addition, you can have them add serrations, checkering, or stippling to various parts of your 1911, including the trigger guard, slide, grip, the spring housing. Finally, they can add a variety of custom finishes as well as custom engraving to the slide and dustcover.

Like with Wilson Combat, Nighthawk Custom has an easy, convenient form that you can fill out specifying exactly what work you want done, making reviewing your options and ordering the services that you want incredibly easy.

Custom 1911 Grips

One of the easiest and most accessible ways to customize your 1911 is by swapping out the grips. Upgrading the grips not only enhances the visual appeal of your firearm but can also contribute to a better grip and improved handling. Whether you're looking to enhance the visual appeal or improve the feel of your firearm, changing the grips can make a significant difference.

This DIY customization option allows you to tailor your 1911 to your unique preferences without the need for professional assistance.

When it comes to custom 1911 grips, Wicked Grips stands out. What sets Wicked Grips apart is not just the quantity of our selection but the quality and uniqueness of each grip that we offer. Our grips are crafted with attention to detail, ensuring durability and a precise fit.

Regardless of your budget, Wicked Grips offers options that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences. From classic and understated designs to bold and intricate patterns, there's something for everyone in our collection of 1911 grips.

Our diverse range includes materials such as wood, aluminum, and G10, allowing you to choose a grip that not only complements your aesthetic preferences but also meets your performance requirements. All of our products are designed and manufactured in the United States from US-sourced materials.

And, if you want something not in our standard selection, we're happy to make that happen for you too. We can create artwork for you or use customer-supplied artwork (copyright-free or with permission from the owner of the artwork) to create a set of grips that are truly one of a kind.

And while you're at it, check out our selection of 1911 grip screws, spring plugs, and compensators to find the perfect accessory to go with your new grips.

Parting Shots

In the world of custom 1911s, the choices are plenty. Whether you go for a fully custom-built masterpiece or enhance your existing 1911, these makers and gunsmiths pave the way for a personalized and satisfying shooting experience.

In the end, whether you choose to order a fully customized 1911, enhance your existing firearm, or simply swap out grips to add a personal touch, the beauty of customization lies in the freedom to tailor your firearm to your desires.

As a go-to option for those seeking personalized grips, Wicked Grips offers an extensive selection that caters to a variety of tastes and budgets. Our unique designs and quality materials provide shooters with the opportunity to add a personalized, distinctive touch to their 1911s, turning a classic into an individualized masterpiece.

And don't forget the option to incorporate your own artwork or an original piece of art created for you by a Wicked Grips artist for a truly unique set of grips.

Remember, there's no right or wrong way to customize your 1911 (as long as it's safe to use). The right choice for you just comes down to personal preference. So, find the perfect 1911 that aligns with your precise, individual tastes and requirements, and get started on your customization journey!