Les Baer TRS Range Review

| May 1, 2010 | 3 Comments

It has been a while since my last review. A very busy schedule as been keeping me from the range as of late. I finally got a chance to visit the range two weeks ago and just couldn’t wait, as it would prove to be a special trip. I had not 1 but 2 Les Baer’s for review. I could not believe I was at the range with such legendary weapons, which had been loaned to me by a dear friend. This is not something I normally do, if one scratch would have ended up on such beauties I would not have been able to live with myself. Though my good friend was comfortable I was not, he had not shot them much and wanted to see what I thought of them. By the picture below you can probably understand why I was so hesitant to take him up on his offer of writing a review on them, beauties they are.

As you can see one of the 1911’s and the first for review is the Les Baer Thunder Range Special 1911 by Les Baer.

Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special 1911

?We needed the best custom 1911 on the market ? 100% reliable and reasonably priced. We settled on Les Baer Custom to supply us with that gun because nobody makes a better custom 1911.?
– Clint Smith, Director of Thunder Ranch

With this review I will be changing my format a little based on some user feedback I have received from the readers and users of this site. Hopefully this will deliver more of a real world unbias review as well as deliver consistency across all reviews. Myself along with the other authors have agreed on this new format to follow. Each review will consist of a grading for each of the following characteristics.
Ammo Used
Fit & Finish
Handling/Feel In The Shooters Hand

A quick view of the Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special 1911

Ammo Used Reloads W231 5grains 230gr Bullet
Fit & Finish Poor Good Great Excellent
Handling/Feel In The Shooters Hand Poor Good Great Excellent
Trigger Poor Good Great Excellent
Sights Poor Good Great Excellent
Reliability&Accuracy Poor Good Great Excellent
Overall Rating Poor Good Great Excellent

With this package you get what anyone who has knowledge of Les Baer would expect, there is no flaw or let down in this category. The slide to frame fit is remarkably tight. I was worried that my reloads loaded at low velocity speeds would not be able to cycle the weapon properly, as you will see when you get to the reliability section this proved to be untrue. The front strap and mainspring housing are checkered. The front strap is checkered at 30 lines per inch. The slide serrations are deep enough for positive grip but not sharp. You will surely need a firm grip when cycling this weapon, again it is very tight out of the box. The blueing is a satin polish with the TRS logo and Les Baer lettering very crisply engraved into the slide. Some 1911 purist really frown upon the front serrations on a 1911, but remember this is a custom 1911 created for Clint Smith and Thunder Ranch as a working 1911 and I welcome the front serrations.
The Fit&Finish deserves an excellent rating

Handling/Feel in The Shooters Hand
Is there any handgun that feels better in the hands of any American than a 1911? I had no idea you could improve upon the feel of a 1911, wow was I wrong. Because of my large hands my 1911’s are all outfitted with the standard sized 1911 grips. The TRS is equipped with a pair of slim grips which has made this 1911 the best feel and fitting weapon to my hands ever. The grips are diamond checkered and feel just as good as they look. Unfortunately for me this probably means I will have to sped a little money switching out my 1911 grip’s for the slim versions.
Handling/Feel in The Shooters Hand deserves an excellent rating

The trigger on the TRS has very little over travel but some is noticeable. This trigger is a solid model and has no lateral movement as it should, just straight front to back movement. Though I am not sure of the pounds it takes to pull the trigger it is of medium weight with a very clean a crisp pull. This is the only category which did not rate an excellent. Before you all bombard me with all kinds of hate mail let me attempt to explain. I have a S&W 1911 and I feel out of the box the TRS should have a better trigger. The S&W has an equal trigger in my opinion. This could mean my S&W 1911 has a great trigger or simply be a matter of my expectations. This outing at the range made me decide to purchase a Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gage which I hope to be here next week. Hopefully this tool will assist me in giving a better review of this category.
Trigger deserves a great rating

The TRS sights prove to be very bright allowing for quick sight alignment and sight picture. I am not sure if Trijicon has done something special for Les Baer on this model but they are brighter than any other night sights I have in my safe at the current time. I have a set of new ghost ring Trijicon night sights on a glock 30. Though I was amazed by the Glock 30 sights the TRS sights still out shine them. To ensure this was not the honeymoon affect I was dealing with my wife and I both sat in a dark room comparing both sets of sights and she to said the TRS had brighter sights. Yeah I know what a geeky thing to do, ask your wife to sit in a dark room with you comparing night sights. But what a great woman she was just as excited to look at them as I was.
Sights deserve an excellent rating

The seven round magazines it came with works flawlessly, but I prefer the Tripp Research Magazines These have been such a success for me that I have even purchased their upgrade kits which come with a spring and follower to convert all of my 1911 magazines to this format. Les Baer also did an excellent job at polishing the feed ramp, nice and smooth no burs which probably has a lot to do with the flawless feeding of ball and hollow point ammo.

Les Baer TRS with Original magazine and a Chip McCormick which has been converted with the Trip Research spring and follower.

As I expected the Tripp Research magazine performed flawlessly with the TRS. I put 40 rounds of reloaded ammo through the TRS including hollow points without any failures.

Accuracy was tested at 7 and 15 yards with Shoot-N-C 4 1/2X7in targets 7 rounds per target. The top target is 7 yrds the bottom target is 15 yards.

I then tested my hollow point reloads W231 5.5gr Hornady XTP 230gr. Below is my very first 5 shots of hollow point at the silhouette head of my target at 7 yards.

I knew this gun was capable but if the shooter was is a different can worms. I tried to get my hollow points to group a bit better by firing 5 rounds and the very small silhouette box in the upper left corner of the target.

The accuracy and shooting performance far exceeded my expectations. I am not a fantastic bullseye shooter, but years of USMC combat hadgun firing courses has made me very comfortable with my combat skills, I can say the Les Baer surely increased my capabilities.
All shooting was done with a two handed hold and weaver stance.
Reliability&Accuracy deserves an excellent rating

Overall this 1911 deserves an excellent rating. It is well worth the money for a custom 1911. It is now time for me to start saving and pinching pennies for me to have one of my own.

Don’t forget to check back for the up and coming review of the Les Baer custom CMP LEG match 1911.

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3 Comments on "Les Baer TRS Range Review"

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  1. Michael J. says:

    Withone of LBC selling points being it’s sub 3″ accuracy out to 50 yards (and guaranteed sub 1-1/2″ at 50 yards option), it would seem some 50yd groups would be attempted?

  2. Yes I agree 50 yard shots would be optimal. That groupings though depends on the shooter 🙂 and a lot of other variables like weather. When it gets above 50 degrees (its 16 now) for a few days I will head to the outdoor range to give it a shot.

  3. Michael J. says:

    I agree, at 16 degrees I would keep things short as well. My Monolith is scheduled for delivery in May. Maybe I’ll drop a line on my inexperienced experience. Take care.

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