Wilson Combat Contemporary Classic Centennial

The Contemporary Classic Centennial, 100th Anniversary Edition, is Wilson Combat’s answer to the question “What would John Moses Browning have done with the 1911 if he had modern CNC machines available?”. Just 100 are being made.

From the press release …

Using the same materials Browning would have used in his era like forged and billet machined carbon steels, select walnut for grips and painstakingly hand-finished bone charcoal blue from Doug Turnbull, Wilson Combat has built a modern version of what Browning might have originally envisioned with his 1911-The New Wilson Combat Contemporary Classic.

Limited to 100 serial numbered pieces in 2011, the Contemporary Classic is hand crafted with turn-of-the-century materials and finish-with many Wilson enhanced performance options to suit the modern shooter. Custom features abound-and they all have a practical purpose-fine checkering fore and aft for enhanced grip, better sights with a gold bead insert front blade, and better ergonomic controls like a beavertail grip safety that will make this an easier pistol to shoot well than an original-especially for more than a handful of rounds. A fine presentation case is included to protect and display your investment.

Browning’s original features still remain like an integral lanyard loop attachment for field use and flat mainspring housing and long, steel trigger that will still fit most hands perfectly a century later. We added our carry cuts to the front of the slide in deference to Browning’s second greatest handgun design, the GP-35 or “Hi-Power”, a feature that gives a the slide distinctive silhouette and enables easy holstering. You will also note the “JMB” initials and unique serial number, our lasting tribute to the “Maestro” on every gun.

This looks like a gun that would make JMB proud. It will sell for $3995.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Alan

    Oh Honey, I have an idea for a last minute Xmas/Valentines/Anniversary/Birthday/ gift!!!!

    Hot dangit I want. I really really for some reason like the Hi-power styleing on the slide.

  • “It will sell for $3995.”

    Holy crap!

  • Got questions for all of you collectors out there.

    Does one of these limited edition boxed guns hold resale value? Is it a good investment? Or does someone purchase these for the joy of having a unique gun, and write it off as a financial loss?

    • James, good question.

  • jaekelopterus

    Why do I have the feeling 2011 is going to be the most monotonous year on record in the industry press?

  • Alan

    @jaekelopterus Monotonus…ly awesome, amirite?

    Seriously, it makes sense now why everyone and their sister came out with a 1911 these last two years, so they would be established so they too could release their Centennial editions this coming year. Genius.

  • Emperor Fabulous

    Maybe this is just me, but owning a so-called collectible firearm like this one makes as much sense as owning a collectible hammer or shovel.

    As for collectibles, the things that try to be collectible from the start usually don’t end up being collectible. It’s the things that basically nobody really thinks have any extra value to them when they’re made then become scare because they’re no longer being made.

    And who out there can afford a four thousand dollar handgun?

  • Matt

    While that looks very good and all. I think JMB would have been more proud if it didn’t cost more than a new set of kidneys.

    I mean, the blueing technique sounds special but other than that and a few different strokes in a mill I doubt this is any different than any other high end Wilson.

  • subase

    It’s not even nitrided or double stack, everyone knows Browning would have done that.

    Blued carbon steel? That will rust like crazy.
    Max 8 round magazine? That’s just not up to modern standards.

  • 4Cammer

    I think this execution is a good one for Wilson. Way beyond what I could or would pay for a 1911, or any gun for that matter, but she sure is sweet.

  • Peter BE

    It IS a nice gun but that price will get you a nice collector grade antique 1911… :-O

  • Woodroez

    Now, this is a damn handsome gun. Here’s hoping someone lifts some of those design elements and uses them to make a 1911 in the price range of $sanity (usd).

  • Komrad


  • ari

    james,as a collector of many esoteric things for many years, I have found that most times anything marketed as “commemorative , anniversary, and in many cases, limited edition, does not hold its value. The fact that these items are meant to be collected and not used(or at least babied)takes alot of the mystique out of the product, and sort of kills the “real Mccoy” aspect.
    I have found that mint examples of the regular standard marked product is generally more desirable to collectors. Just like with rare exception, valuable baseball cards are more desirable without any autographs on them.
    I have learned this the hard way!
    steve- love the blog!

  • ari

    I would also like to add that a few years ago I had the pleasure of working at my companies booth at the Safari Club International Show and across from us was Doug Turnbull’s display. I can personally attest to the incredible quality of dougs work. The blueing quality is art in of itself.I carefully looked over many of his offerings and came away convinced that he was the best I”ve ever seen. I addition he is as nice and patient of a person one could ever meet.
    -I have no vested interest in promoting his work, but just wanted to share my experience

  • Burst

    Hooray- It’s a gun I normally like, with a stylistic feature I hate, borrowed from another gun! All for only $4000!


  • Tyson Chandler

    I am sorry, but I just don’t see dumping four grand into a 1911 that is not engraved or gold inlaid or of some historical significance. I know that 1911 enthusiasts pony up big money for name brand guns of this type, but aside from the Hi-power cuts in the slide, what does this gun do that 1911’s costing half or even a fourth as much can’t do? A previous poster asked about the investment value of this piece. I my opinion, Colt seems to be the only mfg whose products seem to command attention from those who invest in collectible 1911s. Granted, this is just my opinion.

  • While it is possible to build a military style 1911 for very reasonable prices, custom ones need a lot of effort to make them what they are. There are people willing to pay the high prices demanded for these pistols from Wilson and some other reputable customizers for this reason. Are they for everyone? Definitely not. But then, neither is a $ 300,000 Bertuzzi shotgun or a Mauser sporter from Dorleac and Dorleac. Wilson have a fantastic reputation for their pistols. I can’t see any harm in their cashing in on their own hard work with a limited edition 1911. After all, whoever doesn’t want to buy one doesn’t have to . . .

  • Don

    Damn; I want one!

  • Other Steve

    Um, yea, I’m sure what Browning would have done is make 100 over priced guns for a select few to afford.

    I get that this is WC’s “thing” but it’s arrogant to say they are channeling Browning.

  • Laughingdog

    “It will sell for $3995.”

    Wow! The gun is sexier than my ex-wife, and would cost me less than my divorce did. Double score!!

  • DougF

    I’m going to guess JMB wouldn’t have put on those useless top serrations, nor half the stuff they added on to this. A cool looking gun nonetheless.

    Personally I’m happy with my Springfield TRP, and feel no need to rush out and buy a 1911 in 2011 just for the sake of nostalgia. Owning and shooting a 1911 in 2011 is more than enough nostalgia for me.

    However I am looking forward to all the delicious 1911 gun porn that will be coming out in 2011.

  • Marc

    Browning was an innovater, he wouldn’t have made 4000 dollar collectables of one of his older models.

  • Browning was a very pragmatic man. He had the design of a pump action shotgun ready in the 1880s, but Winchester’s executives wanted a lever action shotgun. He told them that it was a stupid idea, but he designed one anyway. He then made them choke on a multitude different firearm designs that they wouldn’t be caught dead selling. However, Winchester bought the rights anyway because they didn’t want to risk some other company getting the designs.

    Years later, when asked by FN to design a pistol with a double-stack magazine, Browning initially refused. But once D.J. Saive created the magazine and cobbled together a testbed pistol, Browning relented.

    • Daniel, I knew about the shotgun/winchester involvement, but not the FN/Browning story. I would have thought that a double-stacker would have appealed to him. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anon

    Am I the only person whose first reaction was: “Wilson Combat wasn’t around in 1911”?

    As for the ‘collectibility’ of collectibles: Some of the Winchester collectible lever guns of the 80’s have done OK, but some haven’t. Of particular note is that if you’d spent the same money on a good condition early original at the same time – you’d have done much better as an investment.

    The real question is what happens to the value of the old west guns when the people who grew up watching westerns start to die off?

  • WHoo Boy! $4K for a paperweight? You know that’s all it will be, right?
    First time you fire it or holster it there goes about half it’s value.

    It really looks nice but I can’t rationalize buying any gun I cannot shoot, I could never be a “collector” of guns in that sense.
    As was said above, if they offered a similar gun at a reasonable price I’d want one, but buying it just to look at it? No. Sorry, that ain’t for me.

  • Dan

    ITs a Gun Safe Queen. Not sure a $4,000 1911 could be anything but. If I am going to spend that for a gun, I am going to want to shoot it.

  • I’m looking forward to field testing one. I would like to see if it really is worth the extra bucks!

    Best Regards,
    Albert Rasch In Afghanistan: She had Beautiful Green Eyes…

  • jdun1911

    Most firearms tend to hold up or increase in valve over time. Rarity of a firearm does factory into the price.

    Most people get screw in price via gun and pawn shops. Also chance are early adopters of a new type of firearm pay a higher market price. For example, the current market price for a basic ACR is now $1000 less than MSRP. I think the ACR price will keep coming down and settle between 1k-1.5k. At the current street price it won’t sell.

  • jdun1911

    As for single vs double stack. I do prefer single stack for all handguns because it’s more concealable and have better ergo.

  • KBCraig

    There are already many $3,000+ 1911 variations out there that aren’t safe queens. A friend at work just placed his order with Clark’s Custom Guns for a Caspian with the full meltdown treatment. The bill came in right at $3k, and it will be an everyday carry gun.

    IF I had the money, and IF I already had all my carry configurations worked out, you can bet I’d buy one of these.

  • Martin (M)

    I suppose if we weren’t in such a recession, they’d have made more than just 100. Basically, most of us would be thrilled to have 40 Benjamins in our pocket instead of hanging on the wall, and WC is only betting on 100 people with money to throw away.

    It’s a nice looking gun, but for 4k I could have a good shootin’ 1911, AR, and Shotgun, with change left over for ammo and accessories.

  • Vak

    While I surely wouldn’t buy that one ($4000 ? seriously ?) the hi-power cut looks nice and I wish other makers would offer it.

  • Simon_The_Brit

    I think thats a good looking Pistol. I’d like one to own and shoot.

  • “It will sell for $3995”

    And I’d be willing to bet they’re already all sold. Let me finish my cigarette and slow my breathing down. 😉

  • subase

    This is what is called a ‘Luxury Good’ in the form of a gun.

  • Ken Rihanek

    This is a beautiful pistol and Wilson already knows they will have no problem selling all 100. The price may seem steep if all you’re looking for is a gun. If the looks and limited run of 100 means little to you then move on.

  • D

    absolutely gorgeous weapon. i have immense respect for everything retro

  • mike

    I was fortunate to be able to buy one and the serial number relates that it was number 10 out of 100. Here is the deal. If you were to order a classic centennial with all of the features on this gun (never mind that it is limited edition, turnbull coated in a beautiful blue grey patina, antique lanyard loop on botton of magwell, and initialled with JMB 0n the back of the slide-which just happens to be my 3 initials also along with Mr. Brownings) it would still cost you 3995. You cannot comment intelligently on this pistol until you have seen it. THIS IS A HEIRLOOM PIECE. To be able to buy one at MSRP is rare. I did and my mama did not raise a fool. Wilson combat pistols are rare at the top end and this is one of a hundred which makes it very rare. Mr. Chandler you say this isn’t historical. This is a 100 year anniversary model of the greatest pistol ever made by the top manufacturer in the world and that, my good friend, is historical. I freely admit that this is not a pistol that all customers would oil up and take down to the range and pop off 300 rounds with on your first day. Most may not be shot and then some will. That is the nature of choice, either way, it will be worth 3 times MSRP in 10 years.

  • mike

    One last comment I talked to a friend of mine with very close contacts with Wilson Combat. These 100 year anniversary editions were sold out within days of the offering, even at this price. There is a 18 month waiting list for top end Wilson Combat pistols. Of course, this is not 6 years like at Randall knives but it is still a long wait. In many cases I would agree with Ari as everyone will and has made commemorative models and most look like they belong in the desk of the owner of a brothel or in some gun shop in the banana republics. This Wilson Combat piece is the pinnacle of discretion and elegance. Again, you have to SEE it.