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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.