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GUNS Magazine September 2012 Digital Edition - Page 82
One of our greatest gunsmiths. JiMMy CLArK O nce in a great while, a very great while, I actually say something which bears repeating. One such statement is the fact the best thing about the firearms industry is not the firearms themselves but rather the quality of the people involved in our field. Never in my proverbial wildest dreams would I ever believe I would meet and get to know many of the men who taught me via the printed page as a young sixgunner. It has been my good pleasure over the past 45-plus years to meet some of the finest gentlemen in our industry. One such fellow was Jimmy Clark. In 1990, I aided Chairman Hal Swiggett in presenting the Outstanding American Handgunner Awards Foundation bronze to Jimmy Clark. I was one of the nominees and Hal was grooming me to take over the organization. Normally the OAHAF banquet was held in conjunction with the NRA Show, however in this particular year the NRA Show was being held in California. Since California had just passed some particularly onerous anti-gun laws, Hal said no way were we going to spend any money in California. So he changed the location of the awards presentation to Jimmy Clark’s home area of Shreveport, La. The actual recipient One of Taffin’s prized possessions is this Clark Custom Colt Combat Commander .45 ACP. Jimmy Clark in 1953 shooting the Ruger MK I .22 as shown in Ruger advertising of the era. of the award is kept secret until the banquet but this was a different situation. We let Jimmy know ahead of time so tickets could be purchased for his friends and family. There were 10 nominees that year and I was the only one to accompany Hal to Shreveport. Later, Jimmy would work with me in coming up with custom handguns for future winners of the bronze and one memorable revolver was the Clark Custom Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum presented to Walter Walsh. That was 1997 and Walter, who is still active by the way, was 90 at the time and had to wait 30 days to receive his revolver as he was living in Virginia which had the one gun a month plan. The silliness of this can see by the fact Walter was a former FBI agent, combat Marine, a longtime shooting coach for the Olympics but he just wasn’t qualified to have more than one gun a month! September in Shreveport is not a pleasant experience for someone from the Northwest. The weather was absolutely stifling in its heat and humidity. continued on page 81 82 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 2