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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2012 Digital Edition - Page 22
PISTOLSMITHING tHe INsIDe scoop oN pIstoLsMItHING tecHNIQUes ALeX HAMILtoN the champion base gun from Springfield Armory (in between a commander and Officer AcP size) got spiffed up a bit more according to the client’s wishes. Custom Handgun B Evolution eginning in the late 1960s, shooting sports evolved through many rapid changes, which dictated what work we gunsmiths had to perform. We started out with Bullseye Precision shooting and then to building long-range silhouette pistols and bowling pin guns. Those morphed into IPSA and then steel plate guns, IDPA and scores of other ways to punch holes and knock stuff down. We stocked specialized parts and supplies like compensators, weird scope mounts and sights for each of these disciplines. Today, most of those parts sit in storage drawers never to be used again. With the majority of states issuing concealed handgun permits, shooters are now in pursuit of the perfect concealed handgun. The quest, lucky for we custom pistolsmiths, will probably never end, and has finally given us a shooting discipline to hang our hat on for a long run. One thing I know for certain, you likely can’t get by with just one carry gun. You need one for every condition. For instance, when my wife drags me to some highbrow medical convention or symphony concert I like to carry an efficient little Kahr 9. You don’t need much firepower to put a raging bleeding heart liberal down. On the other hand, rodeo cowboys, when out of control, are a tough bunch, so I pack a .45. built two new custom carry pistols for customers who wanted what I believed would be closest to the perfect carry gun. I started the first pistol using a lightweight Colt Defender in .45 ACP, which is just a tad close to the Colt Officers ACP in size. The customer wanted a small, reliable, distinctive little pistol, with minimal custom work to keep the cost down. The “hard to find” Defender retails for around $1,100, but you may be able to find it a little cheaper if you shop around. The work completed was as follows and is pretty much the minimum needed to bring this excellent little pistol up to modern carry standards. The work I performed was fairly basic, but important. Tuning the extractor; removing razor-sharp corners; a trigger job 4½ to 5 pounds; beveling the slide rails; opening the port (absolutely necessary on this gun); cutting and polishing the feed ramp; installing Novak low-mount, white-dot sights; fitting a match trigger; opening the bevel in the magwell; coating with a flat black polymer finish; polishing the pin heads for a minute custom touch and installing a beautiful set of extra fancy the colt Defender Alex used to create a “perfect” walnut Wicked Grips was what the build sheet looked like. Total cost for this work, carry gun for a client. it’s more “duty” than including the Defender, rang the bell at $1,845. “fancy,” and is exactly what his client wanted. Custom Colt Defender I springfiEld CHampion he second pistol was built using one of my favorites, a Springfield Armory Champion model, which is just a little shorter than the Colt Commander, but a touch longer than the Officers ACP. The work performed on this little pistol was extensive, as the customer’s order was to, “take it to the limit” — and that’s what I did. If you would like your favorite pistolsmith to build a gun for you, it’s always a good idea to stick with quality parts and practical modifications. Here’s an idea of what we did. 22 t To complete this customer’s idea of his “perfect” gun, we installed an Ed Brown beavertail; match trigger; 4½- to 5-pound carry trigger; Brown bobtail, hammer and tactical safety; beveled magwell; bevel all edges; 45-degree bevel on slide rails; “V” grooves on slide; stipple grip with concave borders; lower port; tune extractor; SDM lowmount rear sight; front Novak white dot; flattop and serrated slide top; cut and polish barrel ramp; undercut triggerguard; serrate rear of slide to match sight; soft glass bead everything; polish all pin heads and blue and topped it off with fancy checkered walnut grips. Tripp Research in Bastrop, Texas created the flawless feeding magazines in both pistols. This fine carry pistol rings the cash register at $3,183. Both of these pistols will set you back a couple of weeks of food stamps and Obama unemployment, but if you’re like me, there is just nothing quite like owning, showing, shooting and carrying the finest American-made custom pistols money can buy. If you go for a custom gun for yourself, make sure to get an idea of whom you’re dealing with when it comes to a gunsmith, before you put your money down, and trust your gun to him. You’ll never lose when you buy the best. * For info: www.americanhandgunner. com/product-index and click on the company name. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2012