Put your favorite manufacturer on a shelf. :)
(I posted this on another board. It took so long to type I thought I would get as much mileage out of it as possible and post it here too. )
I was meeting with an alcoholic beverage rep yesterday and he kept referring to different makers as "top shelf", "middle shelf", and "bottom shelf" brands. I thought it sure would be nice if someone did this with gun manufacturers also. Then you would know what level you were getting.
Just for fun I decided to set up my own "shelf system" for the brands I either own or have had a good deal of experience with myself. I decided I would need more than three shelves so I did my system with five shelves.
I am only including production level guns and not high end customs. I am including makers like Les Baer and Ed Brown since I do not consider most of their guns true customs. They are pretty much just "small run" production guns.
Below are a list of my five shelves, what each shelf represents quality wise, and which manufacturers are on each shelf. You will notice there are a lot of manufacturers left off my list. That is simply because I do not have first hand knowledge of those makers. Also, some manufacturers might be listed on more than one shelf due to different levels of guns they produce.
Remember, these are just my own personal views. I know everyone does not have the spare time I have, nor are they as OCD, so I do not expect as lengthy lists from anyone else but I would love to hear how you would rate your own favorite and non-favorite manufacturers...or just which ones I listed with which you agree or disagree.
"These are the cream of the production crop. They go that extra step and produce guns that are exquisite in both form and function. These are true heirloom quality guns."
Les Baer: Finely made 1911
Ed Brown: Another hard to beat 1911
S&W (Performance center): Great S&W guns (both 1911 and revolvers) with just that little additional attention to detail.
Colt: A tried and true maker that still puts a little extra effort into fit and finish.
Dan Wesson: As fine a 1911 as I have ever held in my hand for a very reasonable price.
Seecamp: A true marvel of engineering with excellent fit and finish. A true one of a kind.
Rohrbaugh: Another amazing micro pistol with excellent fit and finish.
"These are top notch production guns with high quality fit and finish. Guns anyone would be proud to own and pass down to following generations."
Smith & Wesson (revolvers): The cadillac of the revolver world with both history, quality, and great customer service to back them up.
H&K: Probably the finest polymer pistols made today, IMHO.
Sig Sauer: True tanks that still manage to be refined and attractive as well as solid performers.
Beretta (92, 96, Cheetahs, etc.): True classics with a elegant look and reliable nature.
Kahr (steel guns): Solid made and reliable guns in a small and easy to carry package.
Bond Arms: The most rugged and easy to shoot derringer on the market that is also a great looking slice of history.
Walther (PPK and PPK/S): True classics that deserve all the praise and adoration they receive. Well made, accurate, reliable, and easy to carry.
Springfield Armory (Higher end 1911's): Excellent guns made with quality materials and top notch add-ons. The Loaded series, TRP's, and EMP's are truely great guns at reasonable prices.
Para Ordnance: Amazing little 1911's and 1911 based guns that could easily move into the top shelf if they paid a small bit more attention to detail as far as finishing and improved there gun finishes.
"These are still quality guns but they either lack a little something finish wise or are haunted by quality control issues that prevent them from reaching the next level. They tend to be a bit more utilitarian in nature."
Ruger: A rugged and reliable gun, but a little bulky and unrefined.
Springfield Armory (Mil-Spec 1911's and below/Polymers): Good solid guns that are not intended to be high end. They are solid performers but a bit on the plain and "unfinished" end.
Glock: Purely utilitarian guns that are among the most trusted in the world.
Kimber: A very nice gun that could easily be on the next shelf up if not for being plagued by small QC issues.
Walther (Polymers): Good performers but not as sleek and refined (with the exception of the PPS) as they should be and the triggers are not as good as they could be either.
CZ: Good solid guns but nothing too get too excited about. They make some great Browning HP clones.
Uberti: A great quality SA firearm which provides the base for most of the SA makers out there today, but they are not as good as there Ruger and Beretta counterparts.
Smith & Wesson (polymers): They are just not what they could be in my opinion. The M&P has promise but is a bit blobbish and the Sigma line is as "plain jane" as they come. It is as if the polymer market is an afterthought to them.
NAA: Good quality little guns but they are a bit of "niche" line. Not my first, or second, choice for SD.
"These are guns that I would not own, either because of looks or feel or personal experience, but they do the job well enough that I would not look down on them if someone else liked them."
Taurus: Can be a good gun but plagued with QC issues and haunted by poor customer service.
Bersa: Functional and reliable but I am turned off by low grade finish work and cheap feeling castings.
Charter Arms: Save your money and buy a Ruger or S&W...or at least a Taurus.
Magnum Research (autos): Macho boutique guns. Completely impractical and hard to handle.
EAA: Lower end CZ clones with poor finishes.
RIA: Base 1911's that work.
"These are gun I would never own, would not want a family member to own, and would never encourage anyone else to own. Buy them as toys if you like but do not trust your lives to them."
Kel-Tec: Poorly made, poorly finished, unreliable guns.
Hi Point: Cheaply designed and poorly produced bricks. They shoot is about all you can say good about them.
Jennings: A true stinker of the gun world. Renowned for poor performance.
Jimenez: A jennings by any other name is still a stinker.
Raven: See Jimenez.
Cobra: Cheap pieces of mass marketed junk.
Ok, I don't have as many guns as you, so my list is shorter. LOL! But here goes:
Benelli Super Nova
Smith & Wesson 686
Century Arms WASR10
Sig Sauer P226 (almost went on the bottom shelf, but we had almost 5 good years, so I'll grant it middle shelf status)
Bersa Thunder 380
Springfield/Savage 120A (it's status may change if I ever actually get it into fireable condition)
Just some thoughts about a few of these shelf placements
Para's ramped barrel is something that should be looked at by other 1911 makers. It makes feeding a lot better. I do think they are priced a little high but I've yet own one that made me regret the purchase.
Glock though not a gun I like a lot personally shows itself as one of the most trustworthy weapons out there. Ugly or whatever can be said they work and that is something that should be thought about before lowering it's placement. Glock has probably saved more lives on LEO in this country than any other in the last 15 years. That would make me want to place the guns pretty high.
Same with Sig Sauer. If I was only allowed one gun it would be a Sig. They just work I don't think Craftsman tools are second rate for the same reasons. It just works.
Springfield has a bad fit? I beg to differ..Maybe their more cost effective models but their top end 1911's are as good as anyone I've ever used.
S&W has made huge strides in the last ten years. Sure they had issues with the 1st couple generations but 3rd gen Smith Poly guns are really reliable and you can't beat the Service. I have actually put the slide of a 9ve Sigma on a G19 and it fit. hmmmmm. People would be surprised if the actually picked up a Smith auto loader and stop remembering the bad ones of before. Their wheel guns as as good as one will ever need.
Not trashing any ratings I just though I'd toss my .02 in on some guns that I've used over the years and know 1st hand how well they function.
It is a pretty cool list though. It does make me wonder how I would rate them if I was to put them all in order. I've not shot a couple tho and I don't think it would be fair of me to make such a detailed list. I think someone could use it as a pretty fair assessment if they were not sure what they wanted in a gun
My only real gripe is the Kel-Tecs...
Granted, I owned a P-11. Never failed to fire, but the fit and finish were below par.
On the other hand, I've yet to hear ONE gripe about a P-3AT on this forum or any other, aside from the occasional bite. I'm consistantly amazed at how reliable, accurate, and well finished my Kel-Tec P-3AT is. Of course, I have the hard-chrome slide on mine, and I bought it due to the poor finish of the blued guns... like the P-11.
I'd put the P-3AT HC on my 3rd shelf.
Otherwise, I'm pretty much in agreement.
The reason I downed the Sig is, unfortunetly, if it did work I wouldn't own Glocks. I carried my Sig for five years and used it as my IDPA weapon, too. It was my weapon of choice. It's now in a silcon sock sitting in the safe unfireable because of "normal wear and tear" as the Sig factory claimed. I did research and found out the damage was normal for Sigs produced in those two years. Unfortunetly, that "normal wear and tear" was a frame that gradually warped and a barrel that cracked at the chamber. I blamed myself until I posted the photos and story somewhere and had many, many others with Sigs from the same year post pictures of identical damage. That broke my heart, it really did. I took excellent care of that weapon and can't bring myself to sell it to one of the two gunsmiths who want it for parts. But it isn't a viable gun anymore. And I will never allow another Sig in my home. I'm madder at the company than anything else. It's one thing to put out a weapon that has issues, it's a whole other to flat out refuse to stand behind it even when you see it with your own eyes and know it was a factory mistake. I keep it mostly for nostalgia reasons and nothing else. The gun will turn six years old this December.
Originally Posted by DevilsJohnson
My only disagreements would be the CZ and the KelTec. The CZ is, in my opinion, approximately equal to the Springfield Loaded, in manufacturing quality. In fact, my CZ-75B is as nearly perfect (fit and finish) as any semi-auto I have owned. It is not a beautiful gun, but it is well crafted and superbly accurate.
I haven't owned or even fired a KelTec, but I have handled and researched them. I rate them as a decent quality gun that is just ugly, and not quite finished when it leaves the factory. People who buy them and like them seem not to mind that they need a little work with polishing compound or emery cloth, right out of the box, to be completely reliable. I would rate them at least as high as a Taurus.
Pretty much agree with your list....except you forgot Springfield Armory Professional at the very top of the list. I might throw Rock River Arms 1911's either first or second tier.
I have no experience with them so I cannot rate those specific models.
Pretty much agree with your list....except you forgot Springfield Armory Professional at the very top of the list.
Every KelTec I've owned has been 100% reliable. Ditto my Glocks. As fighting pistols, which is all I care about at this point, they are both "top shelf" to me, and all I really care to own anymore. I'm not really a hobbyist or a gun polisher, though. My guns are ugly, but they work.
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I have a small safe with one shelf, on that shelf sits a USP9c and CZ-P01 and I trust either one will do the job they are intended to do. I would not own a gun for long if I didn't like it, I would rather store ammo in that space.
That's wild..you have to be the only person I've heard that's had an issue with a Sig. I currently own two and have had a few others and I have pretty much shot the crap out of them. I can't seem to get ammo weird enough to make them act up. I even had a guy give me reloads that were too short and would not feed in his Kimber that I used (600 rounds all together). I'm by no means doubting you I just think it's wild to hear that it messed up that bad on you. How many rounds did it take to fail? I am really curious. What model/caliber is it. I am going to do some reading about this and see if it's something that happens a lot.
Originally Posted by SuckLead
Last edited by DevilsJohnson; 10-05-2008 at 04:21 PM.
Reason: Because I'm ugly and my wife dresses me funny
Not sure the amount of rounds, I never really was one to count, but it was plenty. I assume probably in the area of 5000 to 8000. And it was the first failure the gun had ever had. Even during the period where this was becoming an issue (the first signs were the group getting larger) it kept shooting even if the group wasn't as good. I had posted pictures around Sig Forum and some Sig specific Yahoo! groups and stuff and I got some replies back with identical damage. When I questioned Sig following the issue with it being declared "normal" by their smith, they said it was "possible" the Nitron finish was to blame... very possible it was too thick, since my gun's finish "felt strange." Comparing it to the Sigs I handle daily in the shop, the guns don't feel like mine when I run my hand down the slide. I've taken it to some local smiths, too, and they agreed the finish didn't even look right on mine. I've had two smiths offer to buy it for parts and one offered to fix it. Eventually, I will fix it. According to him, some work on the frame and a new paint job may be all that is needed. And a new barrel, of course. But I want to fix it because it was an outstanding gun until this happened. I carried it on the armored cars every day and used it for IDPA matches, too.
Originally Posted by DevilsJohnson
Honestly, I think I may have ranted about all this here. Not sure if I was a member when this happened, it's been some time since the gun became a safe queen. If I was, I went on my soapbox here, too. May even be a picture or two.
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