A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Two Hundred More

Gun shows are a lot like flea markets and garage sales, just more specialized. The same characters haunt gun shows. At the local gun show, a grizzled old coot that I chose not to deal with is always present to sell mix master M1911s at inflated prices. All of his guns are sacred relics, if you believe the stories he tells. In the past, I might have purchased one, but the money he wants is astronomical. I don't mind a mix master M1911. I just want a fair price.

As usual the doors were late to open this morning. Several men were in front of me, and a couple of them had gun rugs. I watched as their handguns were checked by the police officer at the ticket counter. The first fellow looked promising. He was a tobacco chewing gent past Medicare age, with a Brookshires sack. I watched as he reached inside and pulled out a.... Glock. So much for stereotypes.

The fellow in front of me was a bald headed guy in a digital BDU jacket. He held a black leather gun rug. When it was unzipped by the police officer, the bare metal beauty inside caught my eye like a pirate gazing on a chest of doubloons. Click to enlargeHe had a Colt M1911. My uneducated eye saw it as being correct. I stepped around him, paid my entry fee and waited.

As soon as he placed the old WW1 pistol back in the gun rug, I tapped him on the shoulder and said "See me after you pay your entry fee." He smiled and paid his six bucks.

"Do you mind if I look at your pistol?" I asked.


I am not an expert on M1911s, but to me, this pistol appeared untampered with and 100% correct. The wear on the grips was consistent with the gun's finish wear and age, and the small parts looked to be correct to my neophyte eyes as well. "I bought this one from the son of a vet," the man said. "His father paid for it when he left the Army. It's a 1918 gun."

Dadgummit, I thought, he knows the gun. This won't be cheap. "What do you want for it?" I inquired.

"What will you give me for it?" he countered. I knew how much I had total, in three different pockets, and I knew it was still low. I told him anyway. Cash.

"Ive got to have two hundred more than that," he said. He was right, the pistol was worth what he was asking.

"Would you take a Smith and Wesson 1911 and some cash?" I asked.

"No, I really just want to get cash."

I had not seen a M1911 walk into a gun show in over seven years. "I'll have to make a run to the bank," I said. "Here's twenty bucks to hold on to it for the next hour. If I don't make it back in an hour with the money, the twenty is yours and you can sell it to whoever you like, deal?"

"Sounds good to me," he said. "I really want to take it over to Joshua and see what he thinks anyway." I knew he was referring to the mix master monger.

"I'll be right back," I told him, and I walked quickly back to the Jeep through the misty cold rain. I dialed my wife to see if she had two Franklins on her. She would not pick up her cell phone. I don't use ATMs. If the bank wasn't open........

As I pulled up into the banks parking lot, the green OPEN light over the drive beckoned through the haze like the beam from a lighthouse. John Moses was smiling on me. I wrote the teller a check, got my cash, and tried not to speed on the way back to the gun show.

The crowd was thick as I strode across the convention center floor again. Finding the fellow in this crowd would be a chore. Finally, I saw him showing the pistol to Cowboy Bob. I could see the disappointment in his eyes as walked up.

"You know, Joshua offered me what I'm going to sell this to you for," he said. "Bob says it's worth more." I looked unconcerned. I knew what I was willing to pay, and I had the money. Click to enlarge

"Well, that's up to you," I told him, ready to walk.

"This one is a fantastic shooter," he said, "It's been my baby."

"Yeah, that's why I'd like to buy it. I want a M1911 that I can shoot, not just oil and fondle," I replied. I asked if I could field strip the pistol to check it out. He agreed. Inside, as far as I could tell, it was correct. There were no cracks. The bore was good.

"Like I said, this one is one hundred percent," he said. I reassembled the gun and counted out the hundred dollar bills on a bare table area. The seller was hesitant. He held each note up to the light to verify it wasn't counterfeit. Finally, when he saw that I was not going to offer more, he said OK. We shook hands. The M1911 was mine. I zipped it back in the black leather gun rug and thanked him for a fair deal.

More later........

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Blogger Bob said...

Oh, my gods. Very well done, Xavier. It sounds like you treated the guy fairly, and he treated you fairly. He might have some regrets at not getting as high a price as he could have, but he asked a fair price and got it. Pics, please. As many as you can post.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Old NFO said...

Nice find! I'm envious...

6:16 PM  
Anonymous kdh said...

sweet score

6:23 PM  
Blogger Montie said...


JMB's ghost was smiling on you. What a stroke of luck. I too have been looking for an original 1911 in just that condition as a shooter.

Congrats on a great deal!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Hans said...

Wow! congratulations, that's a fine looking 1911.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very happy for you.

I can only dream of such an experience.

Sales like that are illegal here in CA, and they'll probably become illegal nationwide if the Obama regime has its way.

I hope I am wrong.

But I fear the worst.


7:47 PM  
Anonymous kamagong said...

Congratulations on your find X.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Brad Harper said...

Nice find. I ended up inheriting a mid-forties M1911A1 Colt from my grandfather a few years ago unexpectedly, and it's one I'll definitely keep til the end.

Mine still shoots incredibly well!!

7:54 PM  
Blogger tom said...

I've still never thought S&W 1911s were worth more than PT1911s, one on sale at the local shop for $200 with 2 mags in slightly used condition. Now I have more evidence of the fact that they're worth about two bills to a lot of 1911 people and not much more. (maybe he just needed the money and knew what it was worth, but it'll make for fun campfire teasing)


Thanks for that.

I have an ongoing friendly feud with a friend regarding S&W1911s.

I like mine either war production or to say Colt, Tripp, Kimber, STI, Para-Ordnance, or Dan Wesson on 'em. We all have our tastes.

Those darn JMB designs, they're just like rabbits in some houses, ain't they.

Cheers and congrats,

7:58 PM  
Blogger AJ187 said...

See this is why we need to close the gunshow loophole. That way we won't have these great stories about buying beloved guns under the pressure of time constraints and the competition of the free market. Heck, I have one. I found the perfect AR after arriving only ten minutes before the gun show started close. I also like Xavier's nod to having cash in three separate locations. Not a bad merchant tactic at all.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Wolfwood said...

Congratulations! Not just a WWII 1911 but a WWI one!

Sounds like you had a much better run than I did.

"Hey, will you take $150 for that Taurus 62?"

9:48 PM  
Blogger TrueBlueSam said...

Congratulations! And one you can shoot rather than lock up!

10:27 PM  
Blogger nature223 said...

I hate you....

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Samuel said...

That is a beauty! I saw ONE of those at a show in the last 6yrs. it cost so much no one even asked to see it.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Chris Byrne said...

Just a question, why don't you use ATMs?

I should note, I have something of a direct interest in the subject, as I'm the chief architect for the systems that support retail banking (including ATMS) for one of americas largest banks.

12:45 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

"Sales like that are illegal here in CA, and they'll probably become illegal nationwide if the Obama regime has its way."

You know anon..... In all my excitement, I forgot about that..... This might be my last free gun purchase!

6:01 AM  
Anonymous ditto said...

Nice work with the $20 to hold the piece for an hour.
I was happy to hear that the seller honored the original deal. Reliable just like the pistol.

I don't believe that person to person gun sales will end.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...


I don't use ATMs because:
1. I don't want the transaction card in my wallet.
2. Access to my bank account is too easy, for both me and a criminal.
3. I plan ahead for most purchases and events, with adequate cash.

Strangely, I refuse to use direct deposit too. Something about all my money being cleaned out while I floated around in the South China Sea........

6:35 AM  
Blogger DouginSalcha said...


My first thought was, "Good for you" but my second thought was, "Good for him".

I'm glad there is still honor on both sides of the table (and if Obama is able to "close the gunshow loophole" we will have lost something more than the freedom of purchasing a beautiful piece of history).

Thanks for the story.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon in CA" said to Xavier

"Sales like that are illegal here in CA, and they'll probably become illegal nationwide if the Obama regime has its way."

Xavier replied to "Anon in CA":

You know anon..... In all my excitement, I forgot about that..... This might be my last free gun purchase!

Anon replied to X's reply:
And that means "FREE" in two senses of the word:

1) no DROS fee

I hope everyone who still lives in a free state notices carefully that our "representatives" use the opportunity to infringe our gun rights as a simultaneous opportunity to infringe our right to our personal wealth/property.


2:42 PM  
Anonymous Cedric in Rochester said...

*In good humor and with respect*
I've wanted a true 1911 since I was about 10 when I got my first gun. If I was given the chance I would trade my pistols and all but one of my rifles for a WWI or WWII 1911 that was still a good shooter. My grandfather left me his 22lr to learn to shoot with, but he didn't keep the .45 he was issued in the pacific. A gun like that is one to keep for the rest of your life, and one to wear for the all those days as well. Assault weapons are nice and fun, but a trustworthy rock of a pistol like that beats any other firearm hands down in my opinion. You are a lucky man. Maybe someday I will be as lucky.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Tam said...


Nice catch.

I'm jealous.

8:28 PM  
Blogger fishbio said...

Excellent buy Xavier!

I really enjoy my 1911 made by Springfield Armory in 1914. I still have 9 .45 ball rounds dated 1915-1917 and two original magazines. My grandfather carried this in WW1, and it still is a good shooter, though for serious work and fun, I use my S&W Performance Center 1911.... Enjoy the piece, but treasure the history more....

5:15 PM  

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