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Posted: 1/11/2006 11:45:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/20/2006 1:56:25 PM EDT by MonkeyGrip]
The full 10 page report is now out: This explains a lot about why we see what we see from Colt.

forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?p=1168476&posted=1#post1168476


Mark [Roberts, the new sales and marketing director for Colt] agreed and again pointed out that Colts target market was not necessarily those shooters with money burning a hole in their pockets, determined to go out and buy the “flavor of the week” 1911 advertised on the back cover of last months Handguns magazine because they had been swayed by the “neato” factor and some fancy photographs. Mark implied but did not say outright that Colts target market was somewhat more mature, had more disposable income, appreciated hand craftsmanship, could tell the difference between a barstock hammer and a cast hammer, and were willing to pay for that difference.


[“flavor of the week” 1911, “neato” factor] = guns with "reptile" scales
You know who you are.



PREVIOUS POST:
Here's the preview of his report:

Colt Factory Tour

the full version of which he hasn't posted yet, but should soon:

As Mark mentioned, the tour went very well. Things have been crazy at work, and I want to give the report the attention it deserves, and yet give Mark a chance to see it an comment on it before I post it on a public forum. I promise you it will be true to what I saw, no holds barred, but I still feel that Mark should see the write-up first so he can correct any mistakes I might have made. (The blueing tanks were so cool I forgot to take as good notes as I should have).

I will say this as a preview... there are some companies who favor quantity over quality, CNC over hand fitting, bead blasted finish over hand polished blue, cast receivers over forged, MIM hammers over barstock, employees as "parts assemblers" over craftsman, and easy over good.

None of these things are necessarily bad, and all have their place in the business model of some companies, but for those who can tell the difference, and for whom the difference is worth paying for, sometimes the old ways are the best.

I may be stretching a bit here, but if you were in the market for a violin, which would be better, a cookie cutter model assembled rather than built, or a violin made by a single artisan? If you are tone deaf and can't play, either violin would work, but for some the difference is tangible the value derived from the hand built violin is outweights the extra cost.

During my visit I saw craftsman building 1911's one at a time by hand, I saw slide stops machined out of a single billet of steel, I saw actual human hands building 1911's, fitting, testing, fitting again until they were satisfied, I saw original draftsman prints on desks and workstations, not inside CNC machines.

Don't get me wrong, technology is a wonderful thing, without it we would not have many of the wonderful designs we have today, but in some cases the old way can be better, and hand made can be better than mass produced, and as long as there is a market for such items, Colt will be there to provide them.

Now there are downsides to craftsmanship, and building things by hand one at a time, the labor costs are higher... people need breaks CNC machines do not, it takes time to train a person while machines simply run, you do not get the cookie cutter sameness that a CNC machine and outsourced parts provide, changes are more difficult, and not every item will be perfect, because none of the artisans are perfect.

Luckily there are companies who offer both ends of the spectrum, and if you are swayed by fancy pictures in magazines, or the need for a high cap pistol, or a light rail, or simply the "gee whiz" factor, there are companies out there who will cater to you. If you think there is value to the slower more tradional path and parts selection I touched on above, then there are companies out there who cater to that market as well... and for production pistols in the latter class, a Hartford Colt made by hand would be hard to beat.



It provides me more fodder for when people ask me why they should buy a Colt 1911 as opposed to a Kimber.
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 5:08:50 PM EDT
I couldn't be happier with my Colt Series 70 "repro".
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 6:15:38 AM EDT
As a resident Pony addict, I hoist a bucket of Kool Aid to this thread!!!!
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:12:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By desertmoon:
As a resident Pony addict, I hoist a bucket of Kool Aid to this thread!!!!


+1
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 7:28:26 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 8:43:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
That's a love letter, not a report.



A personal experience report about the plant itself is both a report AND a love letter.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:42:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 8:53:54 PM EDT
Billy Shakespeare was a man of great talent, no? Personally I prefer his plays to his poems though.
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 1:48:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
That's a love letter, not a report.



Don't be a 1911 hater, infidel
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 2:00:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SrBenelli:
I couldn't be happier with my Colt Series 70 "repro".



Me too, SrBenelli

I wonder if my 70 was hand-made by a craftsman. Or does that only apply to the Custom Shop at Colt's?
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 2:09:16 PM EDT
Colt still makes 1191's?
huh who would have thought, I thought kimbers policy of "same quality, cheaper price" took care of that?
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 9:58:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By redfisher:

Originally Posted By SrBenelli:
I couldn't be happier with my Colt Series 70 "repro".



Me too, SrBenelli

I wonder if my 70 was hand-made by a craftsman. Or does that only apply to the Custom Shop at Colt's?



My understanding is that the Series 70 comes out of the custom shop.
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 10:00:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MOS2111:
Colt still makes 1191's?
huh who would have thought, I thought kimbers policy of "same quality, cheaper price" took care of that?



Hold a new Kimber next to a new Colt and you might just walk away impressed with the Colt! It ain't 1987 anymore!
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 10:10:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/13/2006 10:10:55 PM EDT by ten-ring]
I love my Colt but the mags I have for it are crap. That's why I paid out the ass for Wilson mags. The pistol itself is great,came with OK sights and is for me the most accurate pistol I own. With the new mags it runs perfect as well. It a 1991 compact and although it's small it's MEAN!
Link Posted: 1/13/2006 10:28:00 PM EDT


+1

GTD
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 11:09:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MOS2111:
Colt still makes 1191's?
huh who would have thought, I thought kimbers policy of "same quality, cheaper price" took care of that?



The new Colts are high quality, but lack Kimbers features. The NRM Series 70 is probably the second best full size base gun. After the Commercials made in the 60s.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 11:25:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MOS2111:
Colt still makes 1191's?
huh who would have thought, I thought kimbers policy of "same quality, cheaper price" took care of that?



I love my 25th Anniversary Kimber; it's reliable as hell, I shoot the snaught out it and carry it daily (almost) but a Colt Series 70 Repo is at the top of my MUST BUY list
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 5:42:18 PM EDT
NO WONDER THEIR GOING UNDER (AGAIN ,OR HAVE THEY EVER RECOVERD ?)CNC MAKES FOR BETTER PRODUCT MADE FASTER ETC...
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 5:49:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/15/2006 5:52:48 PM EDT by CopeLC]
I had a 1991A1 Commander, old roll mark, and it shot apart. Both the front and rear sights shot off. The barrel bushing, plug, and recoil spring flew downrange. The slide stop broke and wouldn't lock the slide to the rear. The plunger tube became unstaked as well.

My buddy's dad swore up and down about one he had. He said that my Commander wasn't anything like his. I really liked the balance over the full size. Plus, it can be taken apart with bare hands. My Ultra Carry pisses me off during takedown (the pin through the guide rod) and I don't know about this new extractor.

I love my Custom II. It's an older one with the 1 piece extractor. I haven't noticed any problems with the MIM parts, nor have I noticed any degredation. I don't really care too much for the UC though...nor did I care for the price tag. How is the blued finish on the Commander? Some pics and range reports might help me out. I'd be more than willing to take another stab at a Commander if the Colt name lives up to it's reputation once again. Or, is this hand fitting strictly for the Custom Shop pistols like previously stated?
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 9:12:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By scooper:
NO WONDER THEIR GOING UNDER (AGAIN ,OR HAVE THEY EVER RECOVERD ?)CNC MAKES FOR BETTER PRODUCT MADE FASTER ETC...


GO AWAY Infidel! This is a Colt love fest!
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 9:17:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
That's a love letter, not a report.



I would have to agree.

It's virtually worthless.

So the author wants us to believe every Colt 1911 is hand fitted, with no MIM? I think it's a safe bet 99.99% of Colt's 1911's receive no more hand fitting than any Kimber or SA. Like Aimless said, it's a love letter pure and simple.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 2:52:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By scooper:
NO WONDER THEIR GOING UNDER (AGAIN ,OR HAVE THEY EVER RECOVERD ?)CNC MAKES FOR BETTER PRODUCT MADE FASTER ETC...



I can't hear you.
(Using all caps indicates shouting.)
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 1:15:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/20/2006 7:20:30 PM EDT
Excellent report.



Well that is Colts mission… not to compete with the huge MIM houses, and not to compete with the one-man custom shops, but to provide a hand built, forged steel, original design, 100% reliable 1911 using the best components available in a factory pistol today.



Thank God someone is doing it.
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