Way before he was racing cars and supervising a semi custom 1911 mill, Lester the gun molester was one of the baddest gunsmiths in America. This 1985 Colt 80 series comp gun is testament to that. He called it the “Baer Custom Compensator II System” and it was engineered to mitigate muzzle flip and was guaranteed to within 2.5 inches at 50 yards.
Baer’s empire is and was predicated on close tolerances. Let’s unpack that. Les studied machine work in trade school then learned close tolerance machining while working as a cryo-machinist. All that low temperature equipment had to be machined to very close tolerances so he got used to working that way. That same job allowed him to work with exotic metals like titanium 17-4 and 4140 steels. This background obviously provided a solid foundation for Baer’s skills as a gunsmith. The rest he taught himself. Les’ Comp I was a knockoff of Plaxco’s comp but Les wasn’t satisfied with the design— noting too much drag on the slide with too much weight on the end of the barrel. He spent 8 months developing the new system the Comp II. The system uses no barrel bushing -he machined a tapered cone and compensator assembly as a single piece from 4140 bar stock.
The cone/compensator assembly is threaded and then “silver-brazed” together. Each barrel compensator assembly is then be hand fitted to the individual gun. There were no drop in units. Like most smiths he tightened the slide to frame fit and fit the bottom lug of the barrel to the slide stop. Les tested the prototype in a laboratory using precision measuring devices, and showed that the system would repeat slide position to .0001 of an inch every time. The compensator has six ports —smartly angled away from centerline so the smoke blows away from the front sight. The checkering, the hard chromed Bomar, the Barsto— it’s just everything a gun should be.