As far back as I can remember I have always liked mechanical things. My first exposure to shooting came via Sharps rifles and the 1911 in USGI form. My father, who was very naturally mechanical with an appreciation for guns and English sports cars, gave me my first Winchester single-shot when I was 5 or 6 years old. Although probably unnoticed at the time, the value and impact of being raised in an environment that taught me about guns is now easy to see. By the time I turned 21 I wasn’t as excited to be of legal drinking age as much as I was to get my concealed pistol license.
As I got more involved in shooting and training I played around with various guns and gear. I tried everything and experimented with different carry set-ups, eventually making my way back to the 1911. The realization that I could practically and effectively carry a full size 1911 coupled with my constant search for better guns and gear took me from “factory” and “production” 1911s to “semi-custom” guns and eventually I discovered the custom 1911 world. The various small and often one-man custom shops opened my eyes to what was possible with the platform and served as the catalyst that started my journey full-fledge into the custom 1911 world.
An all consuming passion
My first real custom 1911 was a full-house Armand Swenson built Colt Series 70 and from there my fascination with custom 1911s became all consuming. Over the next few years I gathered a substantial collection of custom 1911s from various makers both past and present. During this same time frame I ate up every bit of shooting and training I could get. This gave me the opportunity to further explore the functional, mechanical, and ergonomic benefits of the 1911 platform. I was fortunate to see and shoot a lot of custom guns and what’s more is that I got to take them apart and see what was going on inside.
The desire to craft perfection
I always understood the utility of a handgun but as I began seeing what was possible for the 1911 platform, from both a shooting and building standpoint, my interest quickly turned to working on my own guns. In 2005 I moved from Washington to Arizona and started on the path of building custom 1911s. Shortly before the move a friend asked me what I wanted to accomplish, my answer was simple, “I want to build a perfect 1911″. More than any thing else this has been the guiding motivation for my work.
While the practical experience I gained by shooting and carrying the 1911 on a daily basis no doubt aided the transition to from enthusiast to builder, I consider it a great fortune that I have had the opportunity to learn and benefit from makers who have come before me. This has given me an unmeasurable appreciation for the craft, its linage, and the responsibility I have to it.
A constant search for knowledge
Shooting is still a major component of what I do and the experience gained on the range remains the ultimate learning and feedback environment for my craft. Time spent on the range reinforces my appreciation of not only what can be done to improve and customize the gun but also what the gun can do from a shooting standpoint. In my mind the 1911 pistol remains the finest shooting personal defense tool. In the hands of a competent shooter it has no equal.
Growth and development of any skill is not done in a vacuum, it requires not only dedication to a goal but also the willingness to learn from the experience of others. I’m fortunate to have had some of the most experienced shooters in the world contribute to my knowledge and skill regarding the use of the gun. Staying active in the shooting community has given me a unique vantage point about building my idea of the ultimate 1911. This constant learning experience has been priceless and has allowed me to push myself and my craft to new levels while never settling for anything less than my best.