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Thread: Ed Brown Special Forces vs Wilson Combat CQB vs Yost-Bonitz 1* Springfield Armory GI

  1. #1
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    Ed Brown Special Forces vs Wilson Combat CQB vs Yost-Bonitz 1* Springfield Armory GI

    Ed Brown Special Forces
    Wilson Combat CQB
    Yost-Bonits 1* Enhanced Springfield Armory GI

    I have been wanting to do a comparison of $1800 1911 pattern pistols for awhile. I was somewhat holding out until I got an Rock River Arms to go with these, but figured I could always add the RRA to the list later on. In fairness, I cheated a bit with regards to the CQB in that I bought it used. I am not letting the wear frm the used gun color my perception of these pistols, and I have handled plenty of brand new CQBs to know what issues with my gun are wear related.

    I'm going to give each pistol a "score" for each aspect, with 3 being the best and 1 being the worst. This is totally arbitrary, and I have no idea what the outcome will be. In many cases one aspect should be weighted higher or lower than another, but I'm just going to stick to a simple scoring system. If you like it then use it, if you don't then ignore it. We don't, however, need to hijack the thread discussing it.

    I finally got the pictures taken and thought I'd at least post a few of those. I'm going to put up a separate post in the thread for each aspect of the pistols, and say which of the 3 I like the best and why for each aspect. I'm going to start with the general photos in this post.

    So, on with the general pics.


















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    Slide to frame fit

    The Yost is the "grittiest" feeling of the three. I do not believe that much was done as a part of the 1* package to address the slide-to-frame fit, and it feels in the way that the slide moves back and forth. It doesn't bind, but it's not exactly smooth either. The Brown, on the other hand, feels like it is on ball bearings. It is so smooth in the way that the slide moves that it's amazing. The Wilson feels on par with other Wilson's I've felt, and while close to the feel of the Brown, it's just a little bit rougher.

    I'm not sure what any of this has to do with function. Many people would say "as long as the gun shoots, who cares?" That is a good point, but I have to say that the Brown also feels like it recoils the smoothest as well. It does stand to reason that the gun that has the smoothest action when hand cycling would also have the smoothest action when firing.

    So, for this portion:
    Brown 3
    Wilson 2
    Yost 1

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    Finish

    I will also say that the finish (or lack thereof) of the Yost gun is the most lacking. You will see in subsequent pictures that the matte stainless finish is rusting in places. I am not a big fan of excessive maintenance on firearms, and all three of these have been equally (mis)treated. The Yost by far is the least resistant to rust. Which isn't to say that you can't get the gun teflon finished, or finished in whatever hi-tec gun finish you like, but that would add $200+/- to the cost of the gun, and thereby take it out of the $1800 range of the other two. Of the other two, the Wilson has the most wear, but it's also the most outwardly abused. I am impressed at how the exposed metal under the worn finish does not rust. The Brown apears to display this same characteristic, but that finish appears to be wearing a bit fast for my tastes.

    So for this portion:
    Wilson 3
    Brown 2
    Yost 1

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    Aesthetics

    I prefer the overall look of the Brown to the other two. The basic black finish with the basic wood grips, lack of cocking serrations, lack of port-side slide markings, and the striking "chain mail" checkering make for a neat twist on an otherwise "classic" looking gun. My next preference would be for the Yost. The black grips on the stainless gun just looks damn functional. Last would be the Wilson. I know that you can order the Wilson in a variety of colors now, but when the CQB first came out it was introduced in black and green and that seems to be the color scheme most often associated with it. The slightly off black color of the stock grips just doesn't seem to fit either.

    So for this portion:
    Brown 3
    Yost 2
    Wilson 1

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    Slide Stops

    The overall profile of the slide stop on each of the pistols is identical. None of the three are recessed on the starboard side. As such, the only thing to judge them on is the surface treatment. The Yost is checkered while the Brown and Wilson are serrated. The Yost piece is, I think, one of their own so I don't believe it to be an issue of the stock Springfield piece just coming that way. I honestly don't have a preference either way; serrated or checkered. In theory the checkered part should cost more, so I'll call it advantage Yost. This leaves the Wilson and Brown tied. I think the Wilson part may be MIM (this is an older gun) which would make me prefer the Brown, but since the current CQB is de-MIMed I'll call it even.

    Yost 3
    Wilson 1
    Brown 1






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    Front & Back Straps

    None of the three come standard with the same front strap treatment. The Brown comes with a "chain link" pattern, the Wilson with standard 30 LPI checkering, and the Yost comes with standard 20 LPI serrations.

    I was concerned with the Brown "chain link" when I ordered the pistol, but since receiving it and putting a couple thousand rounds through it, the pattern has really grown on me. It's grippy enough to help retain the pistol, but not so much so that it's uncomfortable.

    My used Wilson has actually had some damage to the checkering. While I am not holding this against the Wilson (as it's not Wilson's fault someone abused the gun), I do think that it shows a bit of a weakness in the standard checkering. Wilson also checkers all the way down the front strap, which I dislike.

    The Yost serrations feel good in the hand when I hold the pistol, but have proven to do little in retaining the pistol. The recoil force is up and back, and serrations that go in the same direction as the force are of little use. This particular example is also rather sharp as it came from Yost, making it even a bit uncomfortable. Additionally, this pattern appears to be the most inclined to trap debris (with the Brown being the least inclined) which aggrevates the rusting issue associated with the finish (see pic below). I think that I would prefer 20 LPI serrations to 30 LPI checkering if these issues were corrected (less sharp, better pistol finish), but as is it's the front strap I like the least.

    Since each pistol has the same treatment on the MSH as they do on the front, the same critiques apply.

    Brown 3
    Wilson 2
    Yost 1












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    Totals so far

    Brown 12
    Wilson 9
    Yost 8

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    Front Sights

    All three have a tritium vial front sight. Both the Yost and Brown are circled in white, while the Wilson is circled in silver. As a general sight, I much prefer those circled in white to those circled in silver, as the white is easier to pick up in the daytime. They all appear equal when viewed at night or in low-light.

    All three are also beveled on the sides to match, to some degree, the curve of the slide top. I have heard, but have not checked to be sure, that the Wilson dovetail is not the same size as the others and is specific to Wilson. I dislike this as it makes it limits my ability to change the sight should I want to, or if the tritium were to become dull.

    The Yost and Brown sights are so vitrually identical that it is impossible to tell them apart. The Yost sight does appear to be narrower, but in and of itself this is not an asset or a hinderance.

    Front Sight

    Brown 2
    Yost 2
    Wilson 1

    Total
    Brown 13
    Wilson 10
    Yost 10












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    Rear Sights

    Each pistol came with a different rear sight. The Brown uses a standard Novak, the Wilson uses their own design, as does the Yost.

    I chose to skip the tritium rear on the Yost, but the Brown and Wilson both have two-dot tritium rears. They are outlined the same as the fronts; Brown white, Wilson silver (excuse the Brown pic, the flash came on). Had I opted for the tritium rear on the Yost it would have put it over the $1800 mark.

    Viewed from the rear, I greatly prefer the serrations and non-busy sight picture of the Yost. I find it much less distracting than the weird recesses and angles of the other two. The Yost notch is also cut wider, which makes for quicker shots. I have heard some say that this affects long-range accuracy, but I'm not concerned with that kind of accuracy in a carry gun.

    In profile (see the general pics in post one of the thread) I also prefer the Yost. The notch of the rear sight leaves a small shelf for use in one handed manipulation. The other two are so close in appearance in profile not to really matter.

    Rear Sight
    Brown 1
    Wilson 1
    Yost 3

    Total
    Brown 14
    Wilson 11
    Yost 13






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    Mag Well

    Each of the guns advertises a "beveled" mag well. I don't think that any of the three delivered what I was/am looking for. I would have liked to see the metal at the outside tapered to be much thinner, almost a knife edge. None of these has that, and I understand that it has to have some meat there otherwise it would become damaged. I am not a fan of extended mag wells, although adding one to any of these would be an option for others.

    Of the three, the Wilson seems to be the best executed and the most functional. The Brown is too short and sharp, and the Yost is too long and gentle. The Wilson is also the only one of the three that addressed the rear. While it's no Chuck Rogers treatment (my absolute favorite that's out there), at least they broke the edge a bit.

    Mag Well
    Brown 1
    Wilson 3
    Yost 2

    Totals
    Brown 15
    Wilson 14
    Yost15






  12. #12
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    Don't know if you're done yet, but I wanted to jump in and say this is a great thread, and a comparison that was long overdue. While the scoring is subjective, it's important for people shopping in this bracket of guns to see what each really has to offer.

    For the section labeled slide stop, you may want to change that out to a more overall evaluation of all the fire control parts to include the magazine release, thumb safety, grip safety, hammer and trigger. I think it'd be good to consider the fire control parts as one package rather than pointing out the pluses and minues of one part and ignoring the rest of them.

    I have to ask, why do you say you won't hold the frontstrap damage on the Wilson against it, but then turn right around and say it's a weakness?
    Principles matter.

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    Great review, even if you are done. Your price range seems to be the sweet spot for a good 1911. Not that it matters but I always liked Ed Brown pistols.
    "No you don't, sunshine"

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    I have to say I'm glad your doing this. I have wanted a 1* for a while but after reading this and seeing the close-up photos I am not impressed. I have a new CQB and it's excellent. The fit and finish seems to be better than the 1* from what I have seen. Good review!

    Oh ya, the new CQB's have a new design slide stop. It has a ledge, some like it and some don't. I really like the new design, much more user friendly.


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    You guys are right, I'm not done yet. I have alot more photos to get through.

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    Quote Originally Posted by subzero
    I have to ask, why do you say you won't hold the frontstrap damage on the Wilson against it, but then turn right around and say it's a weakness?
    What I meant was, I'm not grasping the Wilson and saying "oh wow, the grip on this is too slippery" when the only reason may be that there's a squashed section of checkering. I do think, however, that the fact that the checkering was able to be squashed indicates a weakness with that kind of treatment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_s
    What I meant was, I'm not grasping the Wilson and saying "oh wow, the grip on this is too slippery" when the only reason may be that there's a squashed section of checkering. I do think, however, that the fact that the checkering was able to be squashed indicates a weakness with that kind of treatment.
    While I see your point, without knowing what happened to the checkering there is no reason to think that the chainlink or serrations wouldn't suffer the same fate given the same abuse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bullitt5172
    While I see your point, without knowing what happened to the checkering there is no reason to think that the chainlink or serrations wouldn't suffer the same fate given the same abuse.
    I'm not really interested in debating the issue. It's just my impressions and thoughts on the three pistols. I do think, however, that the fine checkering is more prone to getting squashed because there's less material left behind. The "points" of the chain link and the serrations are beefier and would therefore be less prone to deformation. I think that even 25 or 20 LPI checkering would be more substantial. Quite frankly, the 30 LPI is so fine that it kind of seems pointless. I'd prefer that it was either smooth with no checkering or that the checkering had more bit. It just seems like 30 LPI is wasted effort and expense to me, but I know that alot of people really like it.

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    rob,
    Great job! I know this must be time/effort intensive.
    Will you continue for reliability ratings?
    I'd love to see how they fare with difficult ammo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alias
    Will you continue for reliability ratings?
    I was going to get to the reliability thing, as well as some other "intangibles" at the end. I am somewhat hampered by the fact that my Wilson is used though, so it's not really fair to compare it to the other two. I'm still kicking myself for going cheap at the last minute and buying this used one. I may yet break down and pick up a new one.

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