Tom Dornhaus, Pachmayr Combat Special and Bren Ten

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Seemingly strange bedfellows, what would unite a Pachmayr Combat Special and a Bren Ten? The same man perfected both, Tom Dornhaus.

Tom worked for Pachmayr Gun Works as a pistolsmith. He built a custom Colt on his lunch breaks that was not at all like the accurized bullseye pistols, like the Signature Model, that Pachmayr specialized in. No, this new pistol was made for the new sport of “combat shooting.” Frank Pachmayr was not impressed …. until the sales of this new Combat Special took off!

Meanwhile, Tom’s knowledge of gun design and pistolsmithing did not go unnoticed. He was recruited to head the engineering of a bold new pistol and cartridge, the 10mm Auto and the Bren Ten. Dornhaus & Dixon was the company that was formed, Dixon bringing the money and financial expertise. Jeff Cooper backed the project, adding instant credibility. The Bren Ten story does not end well, but that’s not from a lack of performance but from a lack of magazines and distribution. Tom Dornhaus…. a very influential handgunner. (Special thanks to Anthony Lombardo’s excellent research on this topic.)


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