Novak Custom Colt



Ok folks — let’s unpack this gun slowly. It’s a 1979 Colt MKIV 70 series frame under a Colt USGI NM slide, crafted by legend Wayne Novak. In 1981, when this gun was built, Novak wasn’t riding high off millions from Novak sight sales, he was in the trenches building masterpieces like this. This gun is clearly an early Novak because the rear isn’t a Novak…because it wasn’t yet a thing. So Wayne used Armand’s Swensight. This gun features Kart hard fit barrel, exacting slide to frame fit, French borders, Kings grip safety, Swenson thumb safety, and stippled top of the frame. So let’s do the math— he used Swensons rear sight, Swenson’s thumb safety, and where do you think Novak learned to stipple like that? That’s right— Swenson. The grips (hand made by Aaron Hogue) are Lignum vitae wood, also called guayacan from trees of the genus Guaiacum. The trees are indigenous to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America and have been an important export crop to Europe since the beginning of the 16th century. Lignum Vitae is regarded by most to be both the heaviest and hardest wood in the world. It’s extremely hard, heavy, oily, and has a feathered grain pattern with a distinct brownish olive color. I’ve never seen anything like them. So there it is, another progenitor gun. Colt 1911 made by Novak before he was Novak. It’s 40 years old and flawless. Flawless, because it came out of the world renowned gun collection of Dr. Robert Azar, so while it was built for combat, this old girl led a pampered life, and she will likely continue on that trajectory. All parts of the gun are inscribed WFN. So what’s the F stand for? Francis? Anyone? Anyone? Ok let’s go with Wayne Fucking Novak.


  1. Lignum vitae is really interesting wood to use in gunstocks. It’s quite durable, very resistant to denting, a pain to checker (your tools had better be sharp, and keeping them sharp whilst working LV is really difficult), but it resists weather, moisture, etc quite well.

    It’s also one of the woods that can cause allergic reactions in some people.

    But it’s oh-so-pretty for handgun grips and accents on rifle stocks.


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