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American Handgunner Sept/Oct 2009 - Page 56
Les Baer a True “One-inch” Premier ii E A cl Assic All-purpos most needed in the est1911 of the st yle thAt evolved in the 21 century — And ‘7 it will soon belong 0s, it delivers whAt’s to one lucky reAder . ver since 1932, when Colt first brought out the deluxe National Match, shooters have seen the advantages of a 1911 .45 auto that was built for accuracy and reliability. By 1935 Colt was offering them with adjustable sights, the better to center the chosen load on target and register the aim exactly for the eyes of an individual shooter. By the 1970s and the flowering of practical handgun competition, 1911s in that configuration had become “must-have” pistols. Reliable enough for duty, concealed carry, or home defense, and accurate enough for practical shooting and all but the loftiest levels of bulls-eye competition, such pistols are so versatile they justify their relatively high initial cost. A classic example of this is the most popular Les Baer model, the Premier II. Its rugged adjustable sights, made in-house at 56 . 45 Baer Custom since 1991, are homage to the great BoMar design, and “melted” into the slide to allow practical holster carry. The trendy full-length guide rod is bypassed — “That feature is worthless to me,” says Les adamantly — in favor of the original John M. Browning design, with the bushing tight enough Les has to supply a bushing wrench with the pistol. This snug fit is a key reason for the brand’s famous ability to deliver accuracy with reliability. Hand checkered front and back frame straps (30 lpi) complement well-checkered cocobolo stocks to make the pistol sit securely in the hand. The trigger pull, the “heart of the beast” from a shooter’s standpoint, is set at the Baer factory for 4.25 pounds, and doesn’t seem to go lighter than 3.75 pounds no matter how much it’s used. The break is clean and without palpable backlash, or free movement after the sear releases. Each Premier II, Les estimates, encompasses approximately 40 hours of skilled handwork, not counting machine time. This (along with the gun’s performance, of course) more than justifies the suggested retail price of the Premier II model, plus $220 for the hard chrome frame ordered on our test/giveaway pistol, serial number LB23941. Delivery time is running 12 to 16 weeks, and production volume is approaching 200 pistols per month. Out of the box, a Baer gun tends to be so tight you almost have to “break it out of battery” to feel its smooth-running slide. With a few hundred rounds, that disappears and you have an easy handling, glass-smooth 1911 that Reliability WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2009