June 16, 2020
The painful part about Brian Lohman Manufacturing’s new YMIR Model 1911 is that it carries a retail price of $6,999. Not many of us can afford to pay that much for a pistol, but if you think of this gun as being a piece of art, one that you can actually use and then pass down to an heir, then maybe the sting of its price is tolerable. After handling it and shooting it, I can definitely say it is absolutely heirloom quality. I’ve handled a lot of Model 1911s, and this one ranks at the very top. It is the most expensive 1911 I have ever fired.
Premium Parts, Premier Craftsmanship
The YMIR is put together with premium parts and premier craftsmanship. For example, the match-grade 416R stainless-steel barrel is made by Nowlin and fitted by the Lohman gunsmiths. The sights are made by Novak (more about them later). The magazines are by Mec-Gar. Other parts are made by Ed Brown, Caspian, Wilson Combat, and Harrison Design. Eighteen of the parts are marked with an American Seal Eagle and the last three digits of the pistol’s serial number. Those parts are the slide, grip safety, extractor, trigger, slide stop, thumb safety, hammer, firing pin stop, magazine release, barrel, barrel bushing, recoil spring guide rod, recoil spring guide rod assembly plug, mainspring, magazines (it comes with one seven-rounder and one eight-rounder), left grip, and right grip.
Speaking of the grips, they are handmade of lace burl redwood. And they are beautiful! According to the company, over 10 hours of precision machining and handfitting goes into the YMIR. These artisans do way more than just install these quality parts. They modify every external part, making each YMIR truly a one-of-a-kind pistol.
Our photos don’t do the pistol justice, but I will point out that the slide is elegantly finished in high-polish bluing, and the frame is color-casehardened. Lohman does its own traditional bone and wood charcoal color-casehardening, and it and the polished blue finish on my sample YMIR are superb. The rich blue, brown, and tan colors of the casehardening are as good as I’ve seen on any premium gun—and better than most. The bluing is rich, deep, and smooth. According to the company, over 12 hours goes into the hand-sculpting and polishing of parts.
The YMIR comes with a handmade leather gun rug. It’s shown in several of our photos, and it’s handstitched with an interior made of bark-tanned sheep wool. The craftsmanship is outstanding.
By the way, Brian Lohman (owner of Brian Lohman Manufacturing) says the model name “YMIR” is a nod to Germanic-Norse mythology and means “the first being, born of fire and ice.
The color-casehardening process in the kiln (‘Fire’) and then it goes into a quench (‘Ice’) and is born as color-casehardening. Furthermore, this is our first truly Lohman-manufactured firearm, and with our German and Northern European heritage, it seemed an appropriate name.” The pistol’s model name is engraved on the underside of the frame dustcover.
A close-up look at some of the YMIR’s details are in order. The slide’s top is rounded and smooth, and the forward end does not have grasping grooves. There are 21 relatively fine grasping grooves on each side of the slide at the rear.
The muzzle end of the barrel is precision crowned. The Nowlin barrel bushing is stainless steel, and the recoil guide rod assembly plug is open-ended. The Commander-size pistol comes with an 18-pound recoil spring.
The barrel hood cams up and locks with a very precise, tight fit. When in battery, there is no wiggle between the slide and the frame, and there’s no movement at all of the muzzle or the barrel hood. The aluminum, three-hole trigger is striated, and it has an overtravel adjustment screw. Pull weight averaged 4 pounds, 6 ounces, according to my RCBS trigger scale. And the trigger broke crisply, cleanly, and without any overtravel. Of course, Lohman can fine-tune the trigger pull for weight and overtravel to the customer’s preference.
The beautifully blended, smooth rear face of the slide mates perfectly with the frame. Likewise, the beavertail grip safety is perfectly blended with the frame.
The magazines have flat followers and removable polymer base pads. The magazine release is striated but the slide stop and the thumb safety are both smooth. Likewise, the grip frame is smooth. The butt is rounded for optimal concealment, and the inside edges of the bottom of the grip frame are beveled. The rounded mainspring housing also is smooth and nicely contoured. The lines overall are very clean, crisp, and classic.
A Great All-Around Choice
A Model 1911 is a great all-around choice because you can do so much with it. Model 1911s are used for every shooting task, including competition, hunting, duty, and collecting. Obviously, given its military roots, it’s an excellent choice for personal protection. And the Commander-style 1911 is just about perfect in this application. The Commander-size 1911 also is excellent for duty and collecting. This size 1911 isn’t generally used for competition or hunting, but it certainly could be under the right conditions.
The Commander 1911 has been around since 1949. It was created when the U.S. military was looking for a lighter-weight, more compact sidearm to potentially replace the full-size Model 1911. The Commander was not adopted by the military, but in 1950 it found favor in the civilian market. Over the years, it has been produced in a wide variety of configurations and chamberings and has proven to be comfortable to carry and shoot. It has established its bona fides for providing the kind of reliability you can stake your life on. Plus, when put together with quality parts by knowledgeable gunsmiths, it can be very accurate.
In that regard, I fired the YMIR with three of my best .45 ACP factory loads: Federal Gold Medal Match 185-grain SWC, Black Hills Match 200-grain SWC, and Federal Gold Medal Match 230-grain FMJ. It performed perfectly, and as the accompanying chart shows, it was very accurate. In fact, it averaged 1.81 inches for five-shot groups at 25 yards overall, and at 1.66 inches, its best average accuracy came with the 230-grain FMJ loading. The single best five-shot group I achieved measured exactly 1.00 inch. All strings were fired handheld over a sandbag benchrest, and I fired two, five-shot groups with each load. I was really pleased with the accuracy I achieved. Granted, it isn’t an exhaustive test, but it indicates the pistol’s potential. In the hands of a better shooter, it could turn in even better results.
Now about the sights. The rear sight is a Novak VU notch, and it is all black. The front sight is a 14-kt. gold bead. Both are dovetailed into the slide. I have never been a fan of three-dot sights, so I like this setup a lot. The gold bead is impossible to see in pitch dark, but at the shooting range, it was as clear as day. Indoors, in low light, the bead picks up the available light and is visible.
Excellent craftsmanship, fantastic features, and top-notch accuracy make the Brian Lohman Manufacturing YMIR a terrific pistol. As Lohman said to me, he considers it to be “the Bentley of Model 1911s.” Like I said at the beginning of this report, it’s definitely heirloom quality, plus it’s battle-ready and built to be fired. Once you get your hands on it, you’re going to want to own it. It’s a real gem! If the price is a bit too high for you, Brian Lohman Manufacturing will also be offering a Cerakoted 1911 in the $4,000 to $4,500 range.
Lohman YMIR 1911
- Type: Recoil-operated autoloader
- Caliber: .45 ACP
- Magazine Capacity: 8 rounds, 7 rounds
- Barrel Length: 4.25 in.
- Overall Length: 8.0 in.
- Width: 1.36 in.
- Height: 5.68 in. (bottom of magazine pad to top of rear sight)
- Weight, Empty: 38.5 oz.
- Grips: Smooth lace burl redwood
- Finish: Color-casehardened frame, blued slide and external parts
- Sights: Novak VU combat rear, gold-bead post front
- Trigger: 4.38-lb. pull (as tested)
- Safety: Extended manual thumb safety, beavertail grip safety
- MSRP: $6,999
- Manufacturer: Brian Lohman Manufacturing, lohmangunsmith.com