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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2011 - Page 34

WINNINGEDGE Dave Anderson Words such as “subtle” or “nuance” don’t apply. The STI alloy frame is finished in Stoplight Red, the slide in Blue Flame, the grip in Clear Coat, all from Cerakote. A bit garish for my simple tastes, but the pistol is accurate, reliable and well made. SOLID ADVICE TO KEEP YOU AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION Watkins used Ed Brown components for the hammer, sear, ambi-safety and beavertail grip safety. Pistolsmith PaTrioTic PisTol EnvelopePusher Y AUTO-BEASTY T T ou’re a quiet, unassuming person. You don’t like to attract a lot of attention at the range. You just want to shoot your guns, police up your brass, pack up and go home. I understand brother; I’m the same way. So here’s what you don’t do. You don’t go to the range with a high-cap 1911-style pistol finished in a vivid and patriotic red, white, and blue. If you do you’re going to get to know everyone on the range. But if you like to meet people — people who love America, guns, and shooting — the pistol shown here is the ultimate icebreaker. It was made by Mike Watkins, a pistolsmith who is currently in charge of Technical Services with Brownell’s, Inc. Since we modest folk are also more impressed by performance than appearance, let me assure you these pistols are accurate, reliable and exceptionally well made. Watkins can flat-out build a 1911. He’s been involved in practical shooting since 1972 and in gunsmithing since 1975. A member of the American Pistolsmiths Guild since 1991, Mike was named 1997 Pistolsmith of the Year and in 2010 was awarded the APG Presidents Award. He’s also a member of the American Handgunner Top 100 Club. he red/white/blue pistol is built on a prototype alloy frame sent to Watkins by STI. It has the long dust cover. A full profile slide has been carefully fitted and operates slick as oil on glass. Watkins fitted an STI bull barrel chambered in .40 S&W. Lockwork components and beavertail grip safety are from Ed Brown. The crisp trigger breaks at 3lb 10 oz. Other components include a tungsten guide rod from EGW and tungsten spring plug from Cominolli Custom. The sights are, well, different, but since they were factory discontinued in 1999 there’s not much point in discussing them further. The finish is Cerakote from NIC Industries. For those who might want to emulate it Mike says the colors are “Stoplight Red” and “Blue Flame,” with a clear coat on the grip frame. By going to the range early on a weekday when everyone else was at work I managed to get the range to myself and actually get some shooting done. The pistol functioned reliably and shot groups averaging around 2" at 25 yards. I think I could have shot better with standard notch/post iron sights, as anything unusual or tricky in sights makes me irritable and cranky. safety, and Novak rear sight. Finish is digital camo over beadblasted metal. It’s the exact opposite of the neon finish of the STI pistol; rather than attract attention, he second pistol borrowed from Watkins it’s so low key if you lay the gun Caspian frame and slide; chambered in .460 Rowland, was built on a stainless steel Caspian on the ground for some reason firing 185-gr. bullets at 1,500 fps; slide and frame, and chambered in .460 you’re liable to lose it. Mind you, rear sight by Novak; finish is Rowland. The .460 Rowland is a soupedthe gorgeous red flame grips from digital camo over a bead-blasted up (really souped up) .45, with roughly the Hogue do stand out. finish on the metal. same overall length as a standard .45 ACP. The .460 functioned perfectly. Cases are longer to prevent rounds being chambered in Maybe due to sights I liked and a bit lighter trigger (3lb. 4 regular ACP pistols, and are thicker and stronger to handle oz.) it gave a bit better accuracy for me than the .40, consismuch higher pressures. tently under 2" with a few groups not much over the 1" mark. In the Watkins pistol, 185-gr. JHP bullets chronographed With the efficient compensator I didn’t find recoil or muzzle 1,495 fps 10 feet from the muzzle. This is getting up into .44 jump objectionable at all. Magnum territory. Mike fitted a very effective triple-chamber Although he specializes in 1911s Mike Watkins works on compensator. Expansion chamber compensators work best other guns as well, including Colt and S&W with large volumes of high-pressure powder gases, which the revolvers, Ruger Mk. II pistols, Glocks, TCs, .460 Rowland certainly provides XP-100s, plus rifles and shotguns. Other components included an Ed Brown hammer and sear, Grieder trigger, Caspian beavertail and ambidextrous manual For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/productindex * 34 WWW.AMERICAnhAnDGUnnER.COM • JAnUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

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