Class Info and Tuition


  Beginning in August 2018, I will be teaching custom 1911 build classes in Nebraska.  Since 2010, I have taught classes in North Carolina, both for Montgomery Community College and for Deep River Custom.

I’ve enjoyed working with the people from both of the programs and have been very grateful for the students and friends that I have met while working in each of the programs.  Although I will sometimes still teach people in my gun shop, I have been setting up a class room in a larger building so that I may have up to eight people in each class.

The classes will involve supervised “hands on” training, lectures, class discussion, trouble shooting, range time and the proper use of the various tools and jigs.  At the end of the course, each student will walk away with a custom built 1911 pistol, a shop manual, and a resource list.  With the detailed knowledge of how the pistol works, the goal of the class is to be able to build and/or repair other 1911 pistols from that unique knowledge.

Although it is important to learn how to build a great pistol, it is more important to learn how and why the 1911 functions and why certain methods are used or why certain changes are made.  There must be more than theory, there must be logic and proof that is both predictable and repeatable.  This proof has been demonstrated thousands of times by myself and by those trained by me so long as they have faithfully continued to use my methods.


In every class that I have taught, everyone has been able to complete their custom 1911 build.  The quality of all of the pistols has been from good to exceptional in accuracy and exceptional in the reliability.

A good .45acp pistol from the class will shoot 1 3/8” or better with ten rounds (proper ammo) at 50 yards or ¾” at 25 yards.

An exceptional .45acp pistol will shoot ten rounds under 1.1” or better at 50 yards and under ½” with 5 rounds at 25 yards or between 1 5/8” to 2” at 100 yards.

A very good to excellent 9mm and 38 super comp pistol will shoot ten shot groups at 50 yards between 5/8’ and 1”.  Five shot / 25 yard groups from ¼” to 3/8” are common.

Regardless of the group size, the reliability is exceptional.

Attention to detail is the difference between a good pistol and an excellent pistol.

  THE INSTRUCTION INCLUDES (but is not limited to):

 How each part of the pistol operates with specific information on each part of the 1911

Variations and changes required for different pistol uses (i.e. tactical vs bullseye, limited vs open class, etc.)

Variations, problems and changes for different types or brands of pistols/parts

Factory pistol issues and cures

Precise and repeatable slide to frame fitting

Proven match grade barrel, bushing, and link fitting

Chamber cutting to specific depths, why these depths are important, and a review of data from extensive testing to prove these concepts

How and why specific parts effect accuracy/reliability unless they are correctly modified

Detailed trigger/action work which includes: stages of trigger pull, types of trigger releases, adjusting the    different stages, and how to correctly adjust for different weights of trigger pull

Correct extractor and ejector tuning and the effects of improper tuning

Proper thumb and grip safety fitting and fine tuning of release

Variations of the 1911 design

Spring issues: what springs are used for what caliber, power factor, or for a particular use of the pistol

Reloading details related to accuracy – research proven load data and research information

The factors for proven 50 yard accuracy

Trouble shooting by cause and effect

Use of various tools to improve skill and quality

Blending methods

Special cuts, jigs, fixtures, and special tools

Shop manual

Range time and trouble shooting instruction

This is a thorough, comprehensive eight day course to teach the participants how to build a custom 1911 pistol using specific knowledge of each part.  The reason for the eight day schedule is due to the amount of information, knowledge, and the skill that is to be passed on to the students.  Simply put, five days is not enough time. The class will run 8:00 am to approximately 5:30 pm, Tuesday through Tuesday with at least three days of the class being an extra two hours long.


   The class is designed to make it easy for the student to fly or drive in without spending a lot of money on the tools and without hauling/shipping a tool box across the country.  Although there are a few things to bring along, everything you need to build the pistol will be already set up on your individual workbench at the school.  However, if you would like any of the tools used in the class, the participants may order any of the tools available.


FRAME/RECEIVER (Additional details below)




50 ROUNDS MINIMUM FOR TEST FIRING (ammo may be purchased locally if need be)



The cost of all of the parts (except the frame) are included in the cost of the class.

  The participants will work with frames that have been machined out of forgings with the slide machined from bar stock.  The government model frame will be checkered (25 lpi) and the government model slide will have Marvel buried and protected rear sight cuts and a cross dovetail front cut.  All of the other main components are made out of high grade bar stock or tool steel. Magazines will be McCormick.  Sights will be Kensight fully adjustable rear and serrated front.

All of the pistols will be in stainless steel, although the option of a black nitride finish is available at an additional cost after the completion of the gun.  Other types of finishes will not be an option in the class due to time constraints.

short or medium trigger – wide ambidextrous thumb safety – one piece NHC mainspring housing/mag well

9mm instead of 45acp

Except for the trigger, there is an extra cost for the:
Ambi thumb safety ($64.00)
One piece MSH/mag well ($125.00)
9mm option ($75.00)

When signing up for the class, please list which options you would like to have.


   The cost of the ten day class is $4,000.00 which does not include the frame/receiver (see below) and any additional options.  This includes all instructions, all of the pistol’s components, use of all of the tools and equipment needed to complete your custom pistol, and student support through Nelson Custom and/or through Bob Marvel. Tuition does not include food, lodging, or travel/transportation expenses.

A non-refundable deposit of $1,500.00 is required to get and hold your position in a class.  The remaining $2,500.00 is due no later than 14 days prior to the commencement of the class you have enrolled in. Tuition payment may be in the form of a personal check, cashiers check or bank transfer.

Should circumstances prevent your attendance, you may opt to attend a subsequent class upon notifying Nelson Custom and making the proper arrangements.  We will work with you any way we can to allow you to attend a class as soon as you are able.  Your position will be held for scheduling for a period of eight months from the time of payment of the original deposit.

Each class is limited to 6 students, and it requires a minimum of 4 students to hold the class.  (There is also a possibility of smaller personalized classes of 1 or 2 students. For these personalized classes, please contact Nelson Custom guns for details.)   If a class has to be canceled by us and a deposit has been received, a position will be held for you in another class if desired or your deposit would be refunded to you within a 30 day period.


Bob has agreements set up with specific manufacturers to provide frames/receivers for the students in his classes at discounted prices. Approximately 6 weeks prior to your class, Bob will contact you with the information on how and where to order. Prices of your frame will vary depending on options selected by you (e.g. checkering)

The frame you order will be shipped to your FFL where you will complete your background check. This will allow you to bring your frame with you to class and return home without any further FFL transfers and shipping fees.

Sending your deposit indicated that you have read, understood, and have accepted this cancellation policy.



Bob Marvel is nationally and internationally acclaimed for his craftsmanship in building exceptionally reliable and accurate 1911 pistols.  In the past thirty years he has built national championship and world championship winning pistols as well as pistols for the military, law enforcement, and for civilian use.  He is also well known for a series of .22/1911 conversion designs, design improvements and products for the 1911 and as a consultant in the firearms industry.

Bob has taught private 1911 classes at his shop, training individuals who are now successful with their own shops.  He has also taught NRA 1911 classes at Montgomery College in Troy, NC for six years and private group classes in North Carolina for three years.  In every class, every student has completed the pistol with very good to exceptional accuracy and reliability.  The quality of the end product depends on the quality of work that the student puts into the pistol.

Please contact Nelson Custom Guns should you have any questions regarding the class.