KGB Custom Colt Government Model 1911


Today we have a gun from Karl that is one of his customized 1911 done by his own hand. A stainless series 70 Hard Chromed with G10 grips.


  1. Very nice.

    Now, please look at the white grips vs. the black grips. Notice anything?

    The screws. When the gun is wearing the black grips, Karl is using those Allen-head screws that appear more utilitarian. They don’t do a thing for me – other than hold the grips on. I really don’t like Allen-head screws on a gun. I don’t like Allen-head screws in general, as a matter of fact. I far prefer Torx head screws if I’m going to use a socket-head screw. Allen heads tend to round out under torque, and once they’re rounded out, you’re screwed (pardon the pun), because unlike a slotted screw, there’s little way a machinist or gunsmith can recover that socket to remove the screw. I’ve had to cut (by hand) a slot on Allen head screws to get them out after someone has buggered up the Allen socket.

    Years ago, Collins Radio had the same problem with the set screws on the knobs on their radios (the “A-line” and “S-line” ham equipment. I have a 75A1, 75A4 and a S-line of equipment). So they used Bristol (spline) setscrews – and these can take more torque in small screw heads. I would love to see Bristol screws used on guns instead of Torx or Allen, but I suppose I’ll have to settle for Torx.

    Ah, but look at the slotted-head screws. That’s where I go “Ahhhhhh…. yes.” Karl has taken the time and trouble to perfectly time all four of those screws. That to me speaks of a ‘smith or gun-maker who cares about small details. Most gun buyers don’t notice these details until someone points them out.

    I knew a gun maker who made fine rifles. He was noted for it, and built quite a few of them over the years. He was a part-time instructor at Trinidad while I was there. His idea of such details was to put little details of fine finishing and embellishment all over a gun – including in areas where they would not normally be seen – because this way, his gun buyer would continue to find little jewels of work and attention to detail for possibly years. This would make his customers happy to have paid him very high dollar amounts for his work – years after they had paid him – because they’d be inside the gun and notice something years later, or their new gunsmith would notice something years later and mention it.

    There have been times I’ve gotten into arguments with people about why gunsmiths who work at the highest levels lavish such attention on such quotidian details on guns. eg, “Time the screws? Who cares? They hold the grips on regardless of which way the slots point!”

    I no longer get into discussion or argument with such people. These are the sorts of gun buyers whom we should happily direct towards the Glocks under the display glass. Their attitude means “more nice guns for us!”

    The highest level work seen in British “best guns” will have the innards of the clockwork polished and lovingly adorned with little Easter Eggs of work. Gun buyers who are forking over $50K for such a shotgun, when they see such work, feel much better about having spent that much money for their gun. Further, while I cannot speak for all gunsmiths, my reaction when I go into a gun where another gunsmith/maker has lavished his attention to small details, it says to me across distance and time: “I thought these details were important. I want you to treat this gun the same way I did, and lavish upon it the attention to detail such work deserves.”

    Oh, and for the nominal gun owner reading this: Those timed screws? Their being timed like that means they MUST go back into the position from which they were removed if you want to maintain the timing. This means if you remove two or more of those screws, you MUST not mix them up. Else, you will be there for quite awhile, trying to figure out which screw went where so that they time up again. I have seen gun owners strip the screw bushings because they were trying to force the screws into timing/alignment. This means a) the bushing needs to be replaced, and b) the screw needs to be re-timed. That can mean an hour (or more) of work.


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