Those who truly love the classic 1911 might do well to consider the Ed Brown Signature Edition .45. Lavishly engraved and detailed to the highest degree, this is the one you'll want to keep as a showpiece.
The gun has nearly 100 percent coverage in a beautiful floral pattern. Everything except for the bottom of the frame and the top of the slide is engraved.
The slide is mirror finished prior to engraving, and a portion of the slide flats is left bright. Here we find the inscriptions "Signature Edition" and "Custom By Ed Brown." The slide features traditional square-cut cocking serrations on the rear.
The slide's custom rib is accomplished by first flattening this part of the slide, serrating it from front to back, and then, to give the effect of a raised rib, it's relieved and mirror finished.
There's engraving on the sides of the trigger guard and the beavertail safety, the slide release, barrel bushing and the single-side safety.
The raised magazine release has been cross-hatched at 40 lines per inch, and the rear of the slide has horizontal serrations executed at 50 lpi that match the rear of the melted-in adjustable sight.
Even the grip screws have a floral pattern, and it matches the rest of the engraving. Two magazines are furnished with the gun: One has a engraving on the lower portion; the other is plain. Both have bottom bumpers installed.
The front and rear of the frame are treated to skip-line checkering. The grips are a black laminate. Honestly, I think a pair of figured walnut grips or an exotic wood would have been a better choice.
Who's the engraver responsible for this masterpiece? It's a secret, at least for now. "Our engraver is a master who does not seek fame or want to work with the public," the folks at Ed Brown Products told me. "After his retirement, we will reveal his identity."
Each gun is built to order and takes around nine months to complete, although the company keeps a few on hand to cut wait times.
All this ornamentation does not come cheaply. You may have to sell your first born to raise the necessary $10,000 to pay it. Those looking to ease that price tag a bit can opt for a blued gun with less engraving coverage — for 23 percent less than the gun shown here.
After all these years, 1911 inventor John Browning would be justifiably proud of his design, and the Ed Brown Signature Edition would surely be at the top of his list. If you're looking for a true heirloom gun and have the cash, you couldn't go wrong with this one.