Here are 10 tricked-out custom pistols you wish you owned, because they're awesome.
Every one of these tricked-out pistols is above and beyond what you'll find at the local gun store, and anybody would be pleased as punch to have one in the safe or on their belt.
These ten maxed-out pistols are as good as it gets when it comes to a hunting, target, tactical or carry pistol.
The bells? The whistles? The trimmings? They have them all.
10. Colt Special Combat Government
The Colt Special Combat Government series are about as good as 1911 pistols can get, and are in fact a better value than many other 1911 pistols. They're handcrafted, just like the STI and Wilson Combat pistols that command more in sticker, and they come with almost all the refinements possible in a Colt 1911.
The Special Combat Government series uses the Series 80 firing mechanism and comes with Colt's National Match barrel. Other refinements include ambidextrous thumb safeties, beavertail grip safety, bobbed hammer, Novak front and rear night sights, high-impact ergonomic grips, and a flared ejection port. One can choose between hard chrome (stainless) or blued steel finish.
List price, regardless of model, is $2,099, and you can choose between .45 ACP and .38 Super calibers. Either way, it's a match-ready 1911 for less than you can often expect to pay for a high-end model of John Moses Browning's most famous creation.
9. Tanfoglio Witness Match Extreme
Next in this rundown of tricked-out pistols: the Tanfoglio Witness Match Extreme. It's the highest level of refinement for the Tanfoglio Witness.
The Witness Match Extreme adds every bell and whistle possible. The gun comes tuned by Tanfoglio's custom gun shop in Italy, and nearly every single component is upgraded to match grade. It comes with a 6-inch barrel length, stainless frame and blued slide, suitable for use as a range gun, implement of home defense, competition gun and hunting pistol all in one. It even comes pre-tapped for optics.
Granted, the Match Extreme doesn't come cheap--MSRP is just under $2,300--but you will know where that money went. It's not just a match gun, either. It comes chambered in 10mm, making it a Cadillac of hunting autos.
Smith and Wesson Performance Center Model 629 Magnum Hunter
The 629 is a modernized version of the Model 29--the "Dirty Harry" .44 Magnum--but the Performance Center Model 629 Magnum Hunter takes everything a step or two further.
The frame, barrel and cylinder are stainless steel, with recoil-absorbing rubber grips in lieu of wood. A two-tone finish is standard, as the frame, grips and barrel come in black stainless or chromed stainless. The barrel gets a muzzle brake to tame recoil, and atop the barrel sits a Picatinny rail with a standard green or red dot sight, easily swappable for the owner's choice of optics.
The standard 629 starts just under $1,000, and the Magnum Hunter package adds about an extra $400 overall. However, it's a serious hunting handgun and is suited for life in the elements, unlike blued-steel and wood grips of large revolvers of yesteryear. You also get the tuning the S&W Performance Center is known for.
Sig Mk25 RX
Good luck finding a tactical wonder nine better than the Sig Mk25 RX. It's a tactical model of the venerated Sig P226, so the platform is as solid as it gets.
The Mk25 RX starts with the standard railed P226, adds Sig Night sights, a tan Cerakote finish, and gets finished with a ROMEO1 Reflex red dot sight. The optic is mounted via the lockless TruHold system and has the MOATAC motion-activated target acquisition system, allowing the shooter to get rounds on target with lightning speed in any lighting condition.
It's a serious handgun for a serious operator, which is exactly why this pistol is issued to the Naval Special Warfare Group. The slide has an anchor emblem to honor the pistol's employment in that role. Sig quality means Sig prices, but MSRP is under $1,700, which is a relative bargain compared to the level of refinement over the base P226.
Armscor Tac Ultra
Want a tactical 1911 with every bell and whistle, but don't want a second mortgage just to have the name Kimber, Para or Wilson on it? Then check out the Tac Ultra.
Novak-style rear ramp sights, accessory rail on the dust cover and a fiber optic front sights are all standard. So are ergonomic grips, front and rear aggressive serrations, ambidextrous safeties, beavertail grip safety and a bobbed hammer.
Additionally, the Tac Ultra models are available as single or double-stack. You can also choose from Government, Commander or Officer frames. The standard Ultra carries 8 rounds of .45 ACP, or 13 rounds if one chooses the double-stack Tac Ultra HC. One isn't limited to .45, however; 9mm and 10mm are available as well.
Armscor is known for incredible value for money. The Tac Ultra single stack pistol starts at $775, and the Tac Ultra HC has an MSRP of $906. Expect to pay less in stores. While plenty of budget 1911s go for less, good luck finding as well appointed a model for twice the asking price.
CZ-75 Tactical Sport Orange
The CZ-75 is praised by many fans as the best Wonder Nine that nobody knows about; the CZ-75 Sport Orange is the the competition model. The grip is extended and has a large, flared baseplate for competitive shooting. This allows for use of a 20-round magazine for the 9mm variant; the .40 S&W version holds 16.
Barrel length is extended to 5.23 inches, as is the dust cover. There's no rail, but sights are upgraded to adjustable target sights. Instead of the normal double/single action, the TSO is single-action only (with a manual safety to carry in condition one) with a skeletonized hammer and light competition trigger. The beavertail is extended to further accentuate the ergonomics that CZ has become famous for.
The Tactical Sport Orange is as refined as a CZ-75 gets.
Smith and Wesson M&P Shield Crimson Trace Laserguard
A lot of people reckon the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield is the best concealed carry pistol available - the Shield Crimson Trace Laserguard just adds the night sight to end all night sights.
The Shield is a slim, single-stack compact in 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP. S&W's M&P (Military and Police) line of pistols are almost exclusively polymer frame striker-fired autos and nearly all are heralded for superior ergonomics, reliability and value for money; almost all start at a base price around $600. The Shield comes with changeable backstraps, flush-fit and extended magazines and low-profile sights for easy draw.
The Crimson Trace Laserguard is a laser that attaches to the trigger guard and the small accessory rail on the Shield. It's activated by a button that rests on the grip under the trigger guard, so it has to be drawn to be activated. Selecting the Crimson Trace laser only adds $140 to the MSRP; normally a Laserguard itself retails for $220. For $589 MSRP, it's hard to imagine any further refinement being possible for the Shield, though a ported barrel version is available through the S&W Performance Center.
The Nighthawk Hi-Power is the ultimate refinement of John Browning's last handgun.
How does Nighthawk improve the breed? In every single detail. Cerakote finish, improved texture, match-tuned trigger, sear and hammer, ambidextrous thumb safeties, extended beavertail, adjustable Slant rear sight, and cocobolo grips just to name a few things. In essence, every aspect of the BHP is improved.
The result is a beautiful, accurate, and fantastically easy shooting pistol. Arguably, the Hi-Power was the first of the Wonder Nines, and the Nighthawk Hi-Power could make the case that the original can be better than the sequels.
Freedom Arms Model 83 Premier Grade
The Freedom Arms Model 83 is the first handgun chambered in .454 Casull, and the Model 83 Premier Grade is as good a hunting handgun as can be had. A person looking for a large single-action hunting revolver couldn't really do better.
Brushed stainless steel frame, barrel and cylinder, and impregnated hardwood grips are standard, so the gun will take anything the outdoors can dish out and still look good. The front sight is a generous blade, and purchasers can select adjustable or fixed rear sights. Models with adjustable rear sights come pre-drilled and tapped for scope rings.
Barrel lengths of 4 ¾, 6, 7 ½, and 10 inches are available for most chamberings. Besides .454 Casull, you can choose .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .475 Linebaugh or .500 Wyoming Express. The quality one gets from Freedom Arms, though, comes with a price - just under $3,000 in fact - but anyone can go and get a Blackhawk from their local gun store.
Dan Wesson Elite Havoc
Last, but not least of the tricked-out custom pistols anyone would want, the Dan Wesson Elite Havoc. It's a pure competition gun, designed for use in Open IPSC/USPSA matches. For tricked-out 1911 lovers, it's basically pornography. The gun has a 2-inch compensator attached to the barrel to combat muzzle rise and increase accuracy. The top of the slide is tapped for the C-More mounting system and red-dot sight.
It comes with an extended beavertail grip safety and ambidextrous thumb safeties. The action and trigger are tuned for crisper shooting than you might think possible. There's a grip base for a better grip. The trigger guard is elongated for shooting with gloves, and the trigger and hammer are skeletonized to save weight.
The grip itself is widened to accept a double-stack magazine, which is extended for a carrying capacity of 21 rounds of 9mm or .38 Super.
This gun will put rounds on target, exactly where you want them to go, and in a hurry. Granted, the pleasure of shooting one will cost you, as the MSRP is around $4300. Dan Wesson is a custom shop, however, so one should expect their top-of-the-range competition gun to come near.
Want to see more gun galleries? Check out the 10 Most Popular Smith and Wesson Pistols!
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