ctay Posted January 30, 2012 Share Posted January 30, 2012 I have been aching for an open gun for a few months now – I finally picked one out this Friday and thought I would do a little write up on how and why I arrived at my decision. I hope this can be a useful little write up for the next guy who starts down this path… My process in selecting an open gun I only started shooting USPSA in July of 2011. I started with a box stock XDm 4.5 along with the holster and mag pouches that came with the gun (thank you Springfield!). Right away I was hooked. I loved the more competitive atmosphere that USPSA shooting had over my previous experiences shooting “action pistol”. Everyone I met was great and they were all willing to help me learn the sport. You can’t go to a USPSA event and not notice the open guns. These things look like something out of Robocop with the Red Dot sights and big compensators. They are the hot rods of the shooting world - and who doesn’t want to drive a hot rod?? I had to have one so I started the lobbying process required to get the wife on board. Once she said yes I only had to find the right gun. That should be the easy part right? Well… Picking the right gun Right away it is important to realize that any open gun is going to be both expensive and totally impractical for anything other than shooting games. This is not something that you are going to use to defend your home (at least not as a planned use) and don’t even think about concealed carry. This is a game gun and a game gun only. Additionally, an open gun is going to cost you regardless of what you buy. These are complex machines that require a significant investment to build right. That means expensive. Important note – I did basically all my research online. I diligently searched the Brian Enos forums for any reviews I could find. I scoured the websites of the specific builders. I searched wide and far on the world wide web. I evaluated everything I could find and made assumptions on what I couldn’t. Many builders have very limited websites. Some don’t have a website at all. If I couldn’t find any real information on the builders website they move significantly lower in my book. Is that fair? Well maybe not- but what else could I do? I can’t get the required information to make an informed decision then you have left yourself out of the race in my opinion. The results of my research are evaluated on what I find most important – your results may vary greatly. This is really an Apple to Oranges comparison so results will be different for everyone. The builders: Brazos Custom I first ran across Brazos Custom Gunworks (http://www.brazoscustom.com) in a Front Site ad. I liked the look of the gun, I liked the articles presented on his website and I liked that there was actual explanations on his website about why he built his guns the way he did. He explains his “popple holes”, he shows several close up pictures of the guns and explains their features. I really appreciated the information on his site. The guns seem popular – those who shoot them seem to like them. Pros: Accurate guns, high quality, high detail work. Cons: Doesn’t seem to have made many changes to his designs in a few years, cost among the highest, wait time right around a year. SVI I also first found SVI (http://sviguns.com) from an ad in Front Site. SVI guns are totally custom in every sense of the word. Virtually every part is made in house and perfectly fit for the specific gun. SVI has a proprietary steel grip that looks great, adds some static weight to the gun (can help to reduce felt recoil) and improves on one of the 2011 shortcomings – cracked grips from hard loading of full magazines. With SVI you can customize every aspect of your pistol – every aspect – including serial number! Multiple different finishes, several different grip styles and machine work that no one else offers. SVI is really a great gun! As you may expect all these great features cost – and they cost a lot! SVI is by far the most expensive of the guns I evaluated. Additionally, SVI has some proprietary parts that are not available from any other vendor. They also use a different magazine style – so in a pinch you can only borrow parts or magazines from other SVI shooters. Pros: Excellent quality, very innovative, great accuracy, top quality. Cons: cost, interchangeability with off the shelf parts, cost, long wait time, cost. Limcat Limcat guns (http://www.limcat.com) are unquestionably the most unique looking guns out there. They look like alien guns. They also are great performers! You may look at a Limcat and say “someone just went crazy with a milling machine – looks cool but doesn’t help anything”. From what I have read that is not true. Johnny Lim (Limcat builder) has said that every cut on the gun has a purpose. He designed a new comp in 2009 called the “turbo comp” that reportedly works very well. Limcat offers their guns in multiple different finishes including some wild Duracoat powder coat colors. It doesn’t get more unique than a Limcat. Pros: Quality, unique look, new Turbo Comp works well. Cons: Reported reliability issues, Duracoat not all that durable. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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