Zenith Firearms Threatens to Change the Custom 1911 Industry ~ VIDEO

By Graham Baates
YouTube personality, Graham Baates, highlights the great value or Zenith Firearms Custom 1911 Tactical / Target Package.

G B Guns
G B Guns

USA – -(Ammoland.com)-  Better known for their, “Z-Gun,” Roller-locking pistols made to H&K standards, Zenith Firearms has started a revolution in 1911 offerings.

They began with various models manufactured by Tisas. Upon initial review of a standard model it was my commentary that with a street price of around $500 they were hard to beat and would make for the basis of a great custom build.

Zenith listened and has recently released their custom line of 1911’s that are tuned in house.

Not just another imported pistol with factory custom features, these new Zenith guns are tuned in Virginia with features that run with the more famous custom shops. Internally the action is smoothed and tuned, feed ramp polished, and shock buffer installed. Color is truly a matter of personal choice. For GBGuns it had to be grey. See the barrage of photos for examples of features in comparison with their standard model:

Zenith Firearms Custom 1911 Tactical / Target Package

Zenith Firearms
Zenith Firearms
Zenith Firearms Front Sight
Zenith Firearms Front Sight : 11 Degree target crown, fiber-optic front sight, and full-length guide rod.
Zenith Firearms Extended Magazine Release and Custom Grip Panels
Zenith Firearms Extended Magazine Release and Custom Grip Panels
Zenith Firearms Extended And Beveled Magazine Well
Zenith Firearms Extended And Beveled Magazine Well expertly fit to Metalform magazine (3 included).
Zenith Firearms Main Spring Housing
Zenith Firearms extended Main Spring Housing and Beveled Magazine well.
Zenith Firearms Custom 1911 Tactical Target Package Custom Ejection Port (standard model background)
Zenith Firearms Custom 1911 Tactical Target Package Custom Ejection Port (standard model background)
Zenith Firearms Custom 1911 Tactical Target Package Custom (shown on left, standard model right)
Zenith Firearms Custom 1911 Tactical Target Package Custom (shown on left, standard model right)
Zenith Firearms Custom 1911 Tactical Target Package Custom adjustable anti-glare rear sight
Zenith Firearms Custom 1911 Tactical Target Package Custom adjustable anti-glare rear sight

All of this is done while maintaining an MSRP of $899. Is it a Les Baer? No, but you could buy two of Zenith’s guns and still have money left over for ammo for the cost of a Les Baer Custom Carry model. Consider the Zenith Custom Carry as a Les Baer Custom Carry for the working man.

What intrigued me so much about the Zenith is the price. At $899 MSRP what will other 1911 makers offer to counter?

A warning is warranted however as the example we received had a trigger that broke crisply just under three pounds after minimal travel. A risk to the novice, but tons of fun for the experienced shooter looking to step into the world of tuned handguns. The warning of course is to bring plenty of ammo and practice good trigger control!

To see the Zenith Custom in action watch the video above:

About Graham Baates

“Graham Baates” is a pen name used by a 15-year active Army veteran who spent most of his time in the tactical side of the Intelligence community including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Post-Army Graham spent some time in the 3-Gun circuit before becoming a full-time NRA Certified defensive handgun instructor and now works as an industry writer while curating a YouTube channel and blog on the side. Visit Graham on Youtube .

  • 22 thoughts on “Zenith Firearms Threatens to Change the Custom 1911 Industry ~ VIDEO

    1. The Ruger comes with the extended safety and mag release along with an extended beaver tail grip safety, Custom porting, it is STILL a SERIES 70 model (titanium firing pin with heavy duty firing pin spring instead of going with the series 80 that is disliked by most. Skeleton hammer and trigger. Adjustable trigger over travel. Real nice checkered rosewood grips. Three dot NOVAK sights… Comes with two mags, an 8 and 7 round with the standard 5″ pistol, two 7 rounders with the Commander.
      ALL STANDARD !!!!! And it is 100% made and assembled HERE.

    2. I bought the Ruger SR1911, FANTASTIC pistol, VERY well made and very accurate ! You can get them in the $626 to $700.00 range. AND they are 100% AMERICAN made…

    3. I too ,didn’t see anything in the article giving the impression of shaking up the industry as was claimed maybe it’s just me but I only buy American made anymore and have for years! If you have save up your pennies as I did! Also I have a 1911 that came with an extended magazine release and I find it more of a bother than a plus. I prefer a std one and will be changing over to a DDT one very soon!. Now an extended combat safety is a real plus to have imho. I find it works better for me.

    4. Where to start – congrats to Zenith for goosing improvements to, and price-to-performance ratio of, affordable competition-ready handguns, especially the 1911’s that I happen to favor. A three-pound trigger and someone is complaining? Prior, it has always cost me extra money to get to 2.5-3 lbs. in a smooth trigger. I like the Tactical Target package and sticker price of $899 is not bad since we know it will be a bit less than that when cash hits the counter.

      A comment mentioned Rock Island. I have a couple of theirs, a Tactical .45 and a .22 TCM
      convertible. For the .45 I had a fluff ‘n buff and mild trigger job done, and for the TCM I had to work with RIA to get kinks worked out since it was early in production. (I recommend Dr. Strangelove contact RIA customer service, no insult intended.) They could not have been more helpful and as a bonus I use the 9mm conversion kit in tactical competition. It is 17+1 in either caliber without mag change – only the barrel and recoil spring.

      As for Glocks versus anything else, it is worse than Ford vs. Chevy. It is more like political parties these days. I hate Glocks, many of my shooting buddies love them. I beat them at matches. Why (IMO)? Because of that glorious single-action 1911 trigger, that’s why. Secondarily, I think it is easier to fit great sights on most 1911s than on any Glock I’ve seen. Glock is reliable. Reliable might save lives, but it might not win matches and this post was about a competition gun for those among us who aren’t rich.

      Anyway, welcome to Zenith Tactical Target. I hope they are successful, because we all benefit from that, one way or another.

      1. Very well-said. It sounds like you are a mature shooter who truly understands the market, manufacturing, and intention of each firearm. I’m always entertained by one-solution arguments. Our personal armory has more than 100 pieces and none of them are true duplicates as each has it’s place, purpose, and features. My intent in bringing the news of the Zenith Custom line was to alert folks that now a hand-tuned 1911 loaded with features can be had to the price of most factory models. I’m also particularly proud of this model because it was a suggestion to Zenith after I reviewed their standard model that the bones of the Tisas 1911 be used to build an exceptional value 1911 that the working man could afford.

    5. Great, another pistol with the idiotic slanted rear sight that can’t be used to rack the slide. A target gun, not a carry gun.
      Get two Glocks.

    6. Gunbroker has 5″ Colt Competition Elite Government Model for $830 or so , depending on the auction source. I bought a 9mm in October to take to a MAG-30 class and MAG-IC . The gun was tight, crisp, properly finished. It came with factory Novak , an Ed Brown- type beaver tail and blue and white VZ grips. Trigger was crisp 4.5 pounds with a slight take up. I shot that pistol for 2600 rounds-gettingthe pistol so hot at times it burned my leg on re-holstering ( don’t shoot a gunskool with a Commander-length IWB holster and a 5″ barrel). I found it to be exceedingly accurate.
      American made. Name brand.

      1. MSRP of $899 for a 1911 tuned and fitted by Americans is a very competitive price. Rock Island changed things when they started importing 1911s with custom-like features and pricing them at or below standard American 1911s. This next step from Zenith is going to be a challenge for other companies to compete against. Especially when you consider that it is not uncommon for American-branded 1911 shops to be using frames or slides produced overseas.

        1. I’ve had two RIA 10mms that wouldn’t feed and a .22TCM that locks the safety on about every three rounds. I see lots of great reviews, but I’ve had bad luck with them.

          1. We have three RIA’s, two of them 10mm, the other the .22TCM/9mm combo. I’ve never tried putting the .22TCM barrel in the 10mm model. Running them as intended I haven’t had any issues. Have you contacted RIA?

          2. I’ve 2 RIAs (one being a 22TCM MS Ultra and the other being a 9mm MS). Haven’t experienced any issues with them.

          3. Damn, I have two RIAs a 5″ and a 4″ that I bought to practice gunsmithing on. They are ugly as sin but shoot so well and the trigger is so smooth I can’t bring myself to tear into them.

    7. For $899.00 I can buy two Glocks with a total of six magazines. I cannot remember the last time my 45 ACP 1911 was fired. It, like most everything else in the safe that is not made by Glock, just sits in the safe.

        1. I have a Turkish made shotgun and it’s great. The magazine reviews of Turkish made guns has been very positive.

    8. Nothing really earth-shattering new here. All of it has been done or produced before. Sounds more like writer’s hype.
      Front serrations on the new G17’s & G19’s is more exciting.

      1. @Hatman1793, I enjoyed the article even though I’m not a big fan of 1911’s, but I do admire well crafted handguns. I saw no hype in the article, only photographed evidence of a finely made pistol.

    9. There is NOTHING wrong in principle with a crisp <3 lb trigger – a novice who's dangerous with a 3 lb trigger will probably be dangerous with one twice that weight. The question is – how will it perform long term? Sometimes very light 1911 triggers don't hold up very well over the course of several thousand rounds.

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