This came up in another thread on another forum and I think it deserves it's own thread. It is a very long winded and self indulgent post so forgive me. A member in another thread said that he was looking for a semi-custom 1911 because he felt he could get more for his money than he would with a Colt 1911. My reply to this was that the word "semi-custom" is actually misleading. Almost as much as the word "custom" is misleading. A gun is either custom made or it is a production gun. There are different levels of production guns, but they are still just production guns. There are very few custom gun builders around. Les Baer, Nighthawk, Fusion, Ed Brown, and the like are not custom guns. They are just high end production guns. When you buy a Kobra Carry from a dealer you just bought a very high end production gun. Just making fewer guns a year does not make it custom made. Nor does offering different options on a gun, cutting your own signature serrations and textures onto a gun, or allowing you to build a gun from a limited number of pre-selected pieces. I love when people argue with me that their 1911 is custom made when it comes from a maker that did not even mill the forged steel for the slide or frame. At least Colt mills their own parts. They don't just take other people parts and fine tune them. This all being said, one has to remember the rule of diminished returns. When you start spending above a certain amount on an item you start getting less for your money...not more. I feel that is the case once you exceed the $800 range in a 1911. After that you are paying more for appearance and less for performance. Since appearance is subjective the value if arguably absent at that point. I also feel prestige plays a bigger part than performance once you get to these levels also. My dream gun is an Ed Brown Kobra Carry. I want one really bad. Is it because it will shoot better than my Colt? No, it will not. It is because of how it looks and the prestige in owning one. In my opinion Eb Brown is the "Jimmy Choo" of the 1911 world. When you get right down to it, if value is based on reliability and performance, I can get the same out of a base Colt 1911. Most anyone can do what the "custom makers" do with some simple emory cloth and a few upgraded parts in their garage in little time for very little money. Give me a base Colt Combat Commander ($700ish), some minor tools, some emory cloth, and a budget of $100-$200 for replacement parts and I can have the Colt the equal of most any gun on the market that cost 3-4 times as much...all for about $800-$900. Give me a little time with my beadblaster and I can have it looking as good too. The only part that would be missing would be the custom serrations and texturing...which I can live without (although I do love that fish scale look on the Ed Brown). This is what has kept me from buying the Kobra Carry so far. Anyone familiar with my collection knows I could have easily bought one by now. Still, even knowing all this I want the Kobra Carry very badly. I just wish I could bring myself to part with the dough. Until then I will be happy with my Colts and Dan Wessons. In fact, my favorite gun is my Colt Combat Commander. Just look at that fit and tell me it is not well made. With just a bit of buffing and a trigger/backstrap swap I think it looks as good as any 1911 out there...but my tastes tend to run a bit to the basic side of things. Just ignore the Punisher grips and pay attention the gun itself.