If you aren’t following Pistol_Purview’s instagram account, you are missing out on some truly iconic and historic custom pistol history. Below are a few of his recent postings

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Hard chromed 70 series Colt chambered in .45 ACP built by Dr. Steve Woods out of Ellicott Maryland. The gun was checkering by Pete Single, who lived down the street from Steve. Wood’s guns were meticulously crafted. Steve was unique in that he used to charge clients $60 for phone consultations. I guess he liked the idea of being paid for talking, because he left gunsmithing in the late 80s to become a clinical psychologist. I have two of his builds and I have to say he was a hell of a mechanic. His guns are easy to recognize—they are adorned with the badass Lion of Scotland.

Colt 70 series in 45 ACP with low mount Bob and Mary rear sight, gold bead front, Barsto hard fit barrel, and checkering everywhere, by the late, great Jim Garthwaite. This gun was built in late 2019, making this one of Jim’s last builds before his tragic, untimely passing. I recently bought this from a well known broker of custom pistols. It appears to be unfired—but it won’t be for long. I have no idea who sells a gun like this, but I’m eternally grateful to that fool. No question Garthwaite is high on my top 10 list. This is what a grown up 1911 looks and feels like. RIP gentle giant.

Colt 80 series Comp gun chambered in 45 ACP by Jim Stroh (Alpha Precision Inc) out of Good Hope GA. It’s almost impossible to take a picture of this gun. This 1911 in high polish blue over nickel is just old school cool. Hard chrome out performs nickel in every category, but it’s cold and sterile. Nickel in the other hand just glows. I usually opt for muted double diamond wood grips, but Jim was a little disco with high polish blue (even the Bomar) and jeweling everything, so the gun gets show grade desert ironwood by Allen Noland.

Ever seen an unfired Pachmayr Combat Special? Well you still haven’t — I had to. Shot it today. She made it 43 years. Swipe left to see Frank Pachmayr with his father Gus, who taught him gunsmithing.

Long before before he had a custom shop that was pumping out dozens of Kobra bobtails, Missouri native Ed Brown was himself a custom gun maker…and a damn good one. In November 1988 I had just graduated from high school and two sequential serial numbered Colt Maxi Comps adorned the cover of American Handgunner magazine. Thirty years later I would comb the world over trying to find one—a monumental task to say the least. Well, I finally found this beautiful example, and to me, it’s just exquisite. It’s all there. Seamless blending of the expansion chamber compensator into the slide, swaged magwell, the exacting slide to frame fit, Safari Arms grip safety, hard fit Barsto barrel, hand checkering, all culminating into Brown’s benchmark—flawless reliability and superb accuracy. At the time this gun was built (and perhaps even now) there were/are only a half dozen pistols smiths in the world with the skill and knowledge to build something like this. Grips are old school Hogue and replace the original walnut Colts that I can’t stand.

Colt 70 series Combat Special by Paul Liebenberg of Pistol Dynamics. Paul is a trained industrial designer who has been a professional gun builder for over 30 years. He was a member of the World Champion South African Practical Pistol Shooting Team, NRA High Master, certified four-gun firearms instructor and professional pistol shooter who competed successfully in many disciplines in the shooting sports. Before starting Pistol Dynamics he was a pistol smith at Pachmayr (building Combat Specials) and after that the head smith of the famed S&W Performance Center. He had a significant role in the technical development of the 40-caliber pistol cartridge that eventually became the 40 S&W we know today. It came with Pachmayr grips, but black rubber is for dildos not custom 1911s, so she is now shod in stabilized (with black dye) hand checkered (20 LPI) Box Elder Burl by my man Sean’s Ugly Grips.

This 80 series Colt in 45 ACP was bought and built by Rich Stoddard (lead gunsmith at Colt Custom shop for over 30 years) as his personal gun. I have Rich’s purchase order from Colt where he purchased the gun from his employer. This pistol was purchased from his estate after he died in 2018. The gun was originally built in 1991 and featured hand checkering, Barsto barrel, Ed Brown hammer and thumb safety, lowered and flared port, S&A grip safety, reliability tune, deluxe trigger job, and hand filed magwell opening. One of the best gunsmith in the country made it for himself to carry. That pretty much says everything. When I bought her, she had a pedestrian parkerized finish, so to honor the man, I sent it to Florida for full hard chrome and then shod it in American Holly grips by Allen Noland to warm and soften the starkness of chrome…and look at her now. And yes, I shoot it— it’s not a Fabrege egg. I just had to re-Loctite the Heinie sight. Stoddard entered the military out of high school and quickly found himself in Southeast Asia. After his service to our country he successfully graduated from the Colorado School of Trades. After which, he worked at Colt from 1974-2012 as a master gunsmith. He was responsible for making special order guns, primarily the O frame 1911’s. He also built many prototypes and show guns. He was fortunate to learn a great deal from the “old school” gunsmiths, many of which had worked at Colt in the 50’s and 60s.


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