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American Handgunner Sept/Oct 2012 Digital Edition - Page 28

PISTOLSMITHING tHe INsIDe scooP oN PIstoLsMItHING tecHNIQUes ALeX HAMILtoN PresIDeNt GeorGe W. BUsH PIstoL the pistol came with a presentation case, two sets of leather (courtesy of Matt del Fatti) and of course, all the custom work performed on the pistol by the Guild team. Photos: Ichiro Nagata Guild members presented the pistol to former president bush in his office in dallas, texas early on June 23, 2009. Here, some of the “guys” laugh it up with G.w. rare handful of guns made over the decades reach significant historical status after a military leader, outlaw or other noteworthy person used them. Some of these fine old guns are very plain and are simply factory guns used by famous people. Revolvers and pistols used by Jesse James, General Custer and others were “Plain Jane” weapons which gained fame, commanding hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, simply because the DNA from these men’s hands is permanently imbedded in the grips and metal. Other famous handguns belonging to the legendary are elaborate works of art created by custom gunsmiths, engravers and grip makers to become not only capsules of history, but gold standards of the gunsmiths trade. These fine guns are valuable works of art on their own, but when owned by a celebrity like Buffalo Bill Cody or Annie Oakley, they become priceless. Such is the Model 1911 shown here, created and presented to President G.W. Bush by the American Pistolsmiths Guild. On its own, it’s likely worth about $25,000, including elaborate engraving by Brian Powley and specially fitted ivory grips by Roy Fishpaw. When George W. Bush first touched and took possession of this work of art — bearing the solid gold serial number “GWB-USA-1” — the value immediately increased to around $50,000. Over time, it could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the collector world. Presidential firearms have been among the most prized of collectables if they ever escape the family — and few do. 28 A less really is more, and even though the pistol is richly done, the understated elegance is what makes it appealing. let’s hope G.w. shoots it! tHe IDeA A fter an initial concept by Marc Morganti of Gemini Customs, men of the American Pistolsmiths Guild joined forces on this project. The Caspian-based 1911 pistol was created as a tribute to George W. Bush and his support of Second Amendment rights, and was presented to him in “W’s” Dallas, Texas office when his job as President was complete. Had it been donated to him when he was in office, he would have been unable to keep it due to the value. Any personal gift worth over $250 received by him in office would have to have been donated to the G.W. Bush museum. We wanted the President to own and shoot it, so we waited until he was out of office! The men of the Guild who created this masterpiece stand out as among the some of the best artists and craftsmen around. The project began with the extraordinary gold inlay engraving of Brian Powley. Weldon Lister created a one of a kind sterling silver buckle depicting President Bush’s favorite oil painting, “A Charge to Keep.” The men who cut, filed and shaped this presidential pistol are: Roy Fishpaw, Roy’s Custom Grips; Neil Keller, Kustom Ballistics; Scott Mulkerin, SDM; Dave Lauck, D&L Sports; Larry Vickers of Vickers Custom; A&A Engraving, custom case; Matt Del Fatti, leather; Alan Tillman of Art Enterprises, Bill Laughridge of the Cylinder & Slide Shop and appreciation goes out to Wilson Combat and Ed Brown Precision who donated parts. Keep in mind, if you commission a custom pistol for your own family, you’re creating a legacy in steel and wood — like this pistol — sure to be valued as representing “Dad” as it’s passed from generation to generation. Enjoy the photos! By the way — when you see “W” in current photos, take a look at his belt buckle! courtesy of engraver weldon lister, this buckle has been seen being worn by G.w. regularly. * WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2012

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