Hey Marine Les Baer does make crome plated 1911 as well that crome plating is pretty tough I've seen cars from the 70s with crome bumpers & they still look new & they been out in the weather for 40 + years but I'm like you I would want a 1911 with a little play in the slide to frame fit not like a mil spec but one with a little play.
Can I put a write-in vote for Jack Weigand? I know he doesn't build them anymore, but man were they sweet! A buddy of mine just got that new barrel fitting fixture that Weigand designed, great stuff.
For OWB carry, I'd have no trouble with a hard chromed gun. I carried a P99 compact for several years - The slide had been hard chromed, and it showed ZERO wear after years of daily holstering in a leather holster. However, for IWB carry, I personally wouldn't use hard chrome. If it does rust - the only way to fix it is to remove the plating and replate it
Weapons shouldn't reflect light.
I have highly corrosive sweat, and the mainspring housings of both of my hard-chromed 1911s show rust as a result.
In order to stop the rust from forming, I've resorted to a baked-on enamel coating over the hard-chromed mainspring housings.
So much for the "imperviousness" of hard chrome. But I must admit that it does a very good job of protecting the rest of the guns.
And it's not very reflective, either, since it was applied over a bead-blasted surface.
I just browsed through this thread so......
Shipwrck is correct,this ain't no auto bumper chrome,and it depends on the prep and the application,but it is better on firearms.As Steve said,it depends on you personal ph level for it to last or not.Nitrocarburizing,etc can be better,but...... I believe as Jammer said,shiney ain't really cool,but the maintanance is less and the sights jump right out at you.
As far as the original Q for customs,VA and Steve were the only hits,and Nightahwk is borderline (no offense man).Wilson,Bear,Brown are all semi-customs,and if you want to throw SA and Kimber's top shelf stuff in there I'll give you that.Custom means Heine,original Wilsons and Browns,Laughridge,Rogers,Smith,Jarvis,Marvel.and more of the old timers that escape my brain now,and some new talents like Rogers,Rodgers,Reid,Chambers.......
Think a 1911 can't do under an inch at 50yds (yes,yds)?Talk to Joe Chambers that has pulled off .8+ at 50 pretty consistantly,and built a true left hand 1911.Kimber,SA,they're a gussied up production gun,all it is.A pure custom starts about where Wilson and Brown's top of the line end for a scratch build,but it ain't the same.
Bought a Les Baer and had John Harrison make some mods. I don't know if you consider it custom, but there isn't another one quite the same. John only does full builds now so I guess I am lucky to have been able to have him work on mine.
My vote goes to Clark Custom Guns in Princeton LA. They cost a fortune and the wait time is long but they are top notch and the late Jim Clark's daughter,l son in law and granddaughter are prime examples of being raised in a quality pro gun household.
I've never owned nor shot a truly custom handgun of any kind.
I'm afraid that if I did, the fact that it was a custom, would be lost on me.
I own 1911 by Colt, RIA, Ruger, Kimber, and ParaOrdinance and love all of them.
My nmbr zone choice remains my Colt series 70 Gold Cup,
Had the slide inletted for Bomar rear sight, accurized with function first look. It never fails and I've got at least 25k rounds thru it. Best in my books, by a long shot......
I don't own any of these, but I have handled and shot 1911s from all of these companies. My favorite is the STI tactical 4.0, but it is a staggered magazine so not a true 1911. Wilson great triggers, but of the true 1911's I like nighthawks and the way they did away with the barrel bushing.