A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ugly Gun Sunday

This little custom carry gun presents a conundrum. Pretty is as pretty does. It's a single action 1911 style pistol highly modified for carry. The question is whether the man modifying it understood it's purpose. It appears to be stainless steel. Corrosion resistant. That is good. It is likely .45 ACP, also good.

The gunsmith flattened out the slide stop to a checkered panel, to decrease the width of the gun. Good in theory, until one realizes the thumb safety is still sticking out there. Hard to remove much of that though....... But this gunsmith did. The big problem with removing the means to manipulate these controls is the gun will be difficult to take off safe to fire, and then difficult to reload quickly. In other words, difficult to use.

The gunsmith ported the pistol, and moved the rear sight forward, effectively decreasing the sight radius, and making sure the owner would be injured if he was forced to fire the weapon close to his body, or blinded if he used it at night.

Then, he trims off the hammer. This is a technique used frequently in double action only pistols to make them more snag proof. The only time it makes sense on a 1911 is when the 1911 is double action only. Cocking and locking such a pistol only makes it more likely to snag.

The ejection port is hogged out in an unusual fashion, leading one to believe extraction problems plagued this design. The gunsmith modified the frame of the gun with great relish, but he neglected to trim down the dust cover to match the slide cuts. The really telling indicator that the gunsmith did not understand the problem is the brass knuckle style trigger guard and grip. Years ago, men familiar with gun fighting would trim away their trigger guards in a conversion known as a Fitz Special. the idea was that the first accurate shot in a gun fight often is the defining one. These knowledgeable men wanted the trigger guard out of the way so their finger could make it to the trigger first. Now we have a pistol not only with two trigger guards, but also a hook at the bottom of the grip frame ala' the Beretta 1934. Again, the gunsmith in his zeal to create a unique solution made the pistol difficult to use. Trying to get your second finger through a false trigger guard while keeping the first off the trigger on a draw from concealment is a skill few people are likely to have, and one that would deteriorate quickly if they ever achieved it.

This pistol was apparently used by Angelina Jolie in the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith. But while it was used in the movie, it is no plastic fantasy movie prop gun. It was built 15 years prior. This pistol would not only be difficult to grasp and draw quickly, but also difficult to take off safe and fire quickly. The magazine, if stuck,could not be stripped out using the forward tab, and the porting would blind the shooter. Like Hollywood, the gunsmith knew some techniques and executed them skillfully, but he failed to understand the problem. That's why this pistol is ugly.



Blogger MauserMedic said...

For me it's not so much ugly as it's really odd looking.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that so many gun modifications are answers in search of questions?

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was originally a Deutonics. That would explain the funky sight position and the hammer. (for example: http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=105699151 ) Supposedly, it's meant to be carried "hammer down," and cocked on drawing the pistol, similar to a Colt SAA. The moved sight and funky cut on top of the slide were meant to make cocking the pistol easier. I'd rather carry C&L, though.

I fail to see any perceivable need or purpose for the other modifications, though.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: the rear sight. I took the gun to be a modified Detonics pistol, which were already (for the times) pretty highly modified 1911 clones.

I had one in the 80's. It was a pretty nice gun, once I had a couple of hundred rounds through it it was reliable. One of many guns over the years that I regret letting go.


12:24 PM  
Anonymous Willlam said...

Looks to be built on a Detonics frame which had the forward rear sight, flared port as pictured, loaded chamber indicator and the rounded slide butt. Also had a six shot magazine.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Brent Crude said...

That back sight arrangement looks a lot like an old detonics auto, can't remember enough about them to say if that was the base for this ugly little effer.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Mulliga said...

Trimming off the hammer in a Detonics-style pistol is crazy - the guns are supposed to be thumbcocked when you draw them, aren't they?

1:58 PM  
Blogger Caleb said...

That's the work of a custom shop known as TJ's Custom Gunworks (www.jtscustomgunworks.com) and it and many of their other creations will have you in good stock for many ugly gun sundays in the future.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was apparently built on a Detonics frame. The forward rear sight, flared port, loaded chamber indicator and rounded end of slide were all characteristics of this gun. No grip safety. 6 shot magazine.45 stainless, built in the early 80's I think.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous oocpt said...

For me it's not so much ugly as it's really odd looking.

Kinda like Angelina Jolie?

4:50 PM  
Blogger aepilot_jim said...

I'm sorry, that last picture. Was there a gun in it?

5:26 PM  
Blogger GeorgeH said...

Mulliga said...

Trimming off the hammer in a Detonics-style pistol is crazy - the guns are supposed to be thumbcocked when you draw them, aren't they?

The top rear of the slide is cut away, which is the reason for moving the read sight forward. If the top of the hammer is grooved or checkered and protrudes above the lowered slide slightly it will be easy to cock on draw. I have used all kinds of hammer shapes in Detonics over the years and that works as well as any.

The double ring grip is a puzzler unless the owner just has a very weak grip or intended to use it as brass knuckles.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Montie said...


Actually, the talk of porting contributing to blinding one with flash is not so in my experience. Back in 1987, when police in this area were still primarily carrying revolvers, I had a Smith and Wesson 686 customized by Magnaport, Inc. for use as a police duty gun. I had it ported and had the trigger rounded and polished, a duty action job done and a chamfer put on the cylinders for easier loading with a speedloader.

Our duty load at the time was the Remington .357 Magnum 125 grain semi-jacketed hollowpoint. A truly ferocious load (which chronographed at 1450 fps out of my ported 686 on my Shooting Chrony). Before they were using flash retardant powder, it would generate a fairly large muzzle flash. You could not see the flash from the ports due to the muzzle flash. With the later flash retardant loads, a much smaller and dimmer flash issued from the muzzle, and still no flash was visible from the ports vs. the muzzle flash.

I have had the same experince with my factory ported Taurus ultralight
.38 Special 2 inch snubby.

I also never had any problem with the porting, even shooting from a tucked close quarters firing position, but I suppose it could be a problem if some portion of your anatomy were directly over the ports when firing (ouch), just like having your hand near the cylinder gap.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Ride Fast said...

[...] Ugly, dangerous and stupid [...] Great analysis, Xavier. Scary little gun.

2:26 PM  

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