A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Clark Limited Gun

Want a Colt 1911 that will shoot like a house on fire? Not particularly worried about the latest trends as long as the gun will put ten holes within two and a half inches of each other at fifty yards, guaranteed? Find beauty in the way a gun shoots, not how it looks? If that's you, here's your gun.

This IPSC/USPSA Limited gun 'smithed by Clark Custom has features not available in their standard package. The 20 LPI checkering on the front strap and triggerguard immediately stands out, as does the Slide Guide.

The Slide Guide is unique to Clark guns. It involves involves welding a quarter inch extension to the front of the dust cover and placing a slight bevel on the underside of the slide's recoil tunnel. The extension is tapped for two set screws. By adjusting the screws, all horizontal and vertical movement of the slide is eliminated when the pistol is in battery. When the slide cycles, the slide to frame fit loosens up as the set screws exert less pressure on the underside of the recoil tunnel. The set screws allow tuning of the slide to frame fit at lock-up, and eliminate the need for a break-in period.

The base pistol for this particular handgun was a Colt XSE "enhanced" Government Model. Clark apparently no longer sells their Limited guns on a Colt base, although they will still convert a customer's Colt with the standard USPSA/IPSC Limited package for $1065. The checkering and ambi safety are extra. So is the match barrel in this gun. At the starting bid of $1,595, it's a fair deal.

Now I'll be honest....... I do favor 1911s with "classic" profiles. I don't really care for the looks of the King's beavertail grip safety that Jim Clark uses. The extended slide stop turns me off. The oversized magazine release button leaves me cold. I would probably opt for a traditional fitting of the slide and frame rather than the Slide Guide. But then, I do not compete in USPSA/IPSC. If you do, and you want a gun that is pure function in your hands, then his one would be tough to beat.



Blogger Anthony said...

Didn't know you were a member of USCCA. Saw your article in USCCA's Armed American Report. Nice to know I am among such good people.

9:28 AM  
Blogger "Tarak" said...

That's a nice looking gun. I'm progressively less happy with my Kimber. Not that there's anything wrong with it....There's a few used colts laying around town and sometimes I think, maybe one of those would have been better for me.....

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way back in the '90's, Clark's slide guide improved the personality of my Norinco 1911. Prior to the slide guide, the pistol more or less patterned the target at 7 yards. After getting a slide guide and tune up all rounds went into a 2"x2" area at 50 yards. Fit and finish was flawless. Quite remarkable work.

11:10 PM  
Blogger dropdownstairs said...

Test Fried Only, LNIB
is this a good gun?

9:46 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

It's not my cup o' tead Dropdown, it's more of a gamers gun than anything.

I note that it lacks the engraved "Clark's Custom" on the slide as is the custom in Princeton still. The seller should have papers and reciepts of the work. Jim Clark can run the serial through his log book to tell you exactly what he did, if anything.

If it did pass through Clark Custom, you can count on it to do the job it was intended to do. Clark will stand behind it if it fails to measure up.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Don Gwinn said...

"Good Gun" covers a LOT of ground. If you want to shoot USPSA matches in the Limited class, it looks like just about the best you could do, if it works for you.

The thing about that is, just about anybody who's serious about shooting Limited would be familiar with such a gun, so I'm guessing you might want a pistol for some other purpose--target shooting, plinking, home defense, concealed carry?

There are better choices for those things. But truthfully, the gun you linked would probably give you a bigger edge than the one Xavier featured IF you're shooting Limited. Other Limited competitors aren't limited to a single-stack magazine, for instance, and that Para-based gun is built on a P14, which uses 14-round magazines. On the other hand, that means a much fatter grip, and if you're not already familiar with the grip on these things, I wouldn't buy one sight unseen.

If you have a pistol and want to try USPSA/IPSC style, just show up at a local match with what you've got. You can shoot Production class with a factory stock pistol, and people will gladly loan you any equipment you don't have. Once you shoot it, you'll be hooked, and THEN you might start spending big money--but you'll have a lot better idea what you're looking at.

Now, if you're an A-Class shooter in Limited-10 trying to nudge yourself over to Master and I've just given you the beginner's spiel, I apologize in advance. :)

11:02 AM  
Blogger Don Gwinn said...

Did I just screw that up? Is tha thing illegal in Limited with a compensator? I wouldn't have thought so, but the rulebook kinda makes it sound that way.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I thought it would be Don, but I figured if you shot Limited, you knew better than me!

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Daniel E. Watters said...

FWIW: The pistol from the Gunbroker auction shown in the original post isn't built on an XSE. The frame dates to the mid-'80s. The slide is an older National Match unit, as can be seen from the NM part number. Back in the 1960s, Colt sold these to the US military for rebuilding old service pistols into bullseye guns. The grip safety appears to be the old Clark #180. Wilson Combat also sold the same safety as the #66.

The Para Ordnance P14 from the other link wouldn't be legal as an USPSA Limited Division pistol. Without optics, it wouldn't even be competitive in Open Division. But since the front sight is attached to the slide and not the comp, there would be nothing to stop you from swapping out the comped barrel for a standard unit. Now you're back to a legal Limited gun. As long as you don't use a bushingless barrel, it would also work for IDPA in CDP. Judging from the comp design, it is no older than say 1997. It isn't one of the old Clark Pin Master or Recoil Master comps.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Daniel E. Watters said...

It looks like I was off a year on the introduction of Clark comp shown on the Para. It shows up as new in the 1996-97 Brownells catalog.

Sorry about that...

9:28 PM  

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