Clark Concealed Carry Revolver
On the other end of the line was Renee at Clark Custom. "Xavier, Jimbo has your gun ready," she said cheerfully. The docs were were discussing a weekend of golf versus shooting, but were keeping an eye on my conversation, wondering if all was well at home. I struggled to keep the conversation generic, to conceal the purpose of the call from their inquisitive ears.
I couldn't recall what time Clarks closed on Friday. I had to ask though, I knew they were closed on Saturday. "Fine, go ahead and give forty milligrams of lasix, and I'm on my way," I replied. A confused Renee agreed. As I excused myself, Dr. Ferguson asked if everything was OK. "Yeah, I need to take off though," I replied.
"You shooting in the matches this weekend Xav?" called Dr. Antonopoulos as I waved good day. I gave him a thumbs up and a shrug.
As soon as I entered the parking lot, I called Clarks back. "Renee, what time do you close today?" I asked.
"Lasix? What's lasix?"
"Don't worry about it," I replied, "What's your closing time?"
"I'm on my way," I said.
"Be careful, drive safely," Renee said. "You know we will hold it for you if you don't make it in time."
"Thanks Renee. See you in a bit."
Pine bark littered the blacktop as I pulled off the exit into the logging town of Princeton Louisiana. At least I didn't miss my exit, I thought. As I wound along the long drive into the Clark family property, I saw a familiar face working on a rusty lawn tractor underneath his garage. In the rural South, people still wave at passing motorists. Jerry Miculek looked up from his work on the tractor to wave at me. I waved back and continued down Shootout Lane to the nondescript cinder block building where top tier competition guns are built and shipped all over the world. The cow bell rang as I entered the door.
"Matt, I think you might have something for me," I said to the man behind the display counter of guns. Matt still works at Clarks, even though he could have retired years ago. He called out for Jimbo, who was working in the busy shop beyond the counter. Shortly afterwards, Jim Clark Jr. appeared, his magnifying lenses perched above his ball cap, and a metal flecked apron protecting his clothing.
"Glad you're here," said Jim. He reached among the cardboard boxes stacked on a shelf behind the counter, and pulled out one with my name on it. As he opened it, I saw the gun I had been waiting for. In July of 2009, I collected my Colt Commander after a Clark Meltdown, and I dropped off the stainless Smith & Wesson 649 that rested in the box. I picked the revolver up, opened the cylinder, and checked it's condition, even though I knew it was empty.
The gunsmiths at Clark Custom had deftly removed every sharp edge on the Bodyguard frame and cylinder, then bead blasted the result. It felt good. The Uncle Mike's rubber grip still fit the gun perfectly. "We figured you would want the trigger polished," said Jim, as I ran my fnger along it's mirror surface. He was right. A polished trigger face allows the shooter's finger to slide across it on the long double action trigger pull of a revolver. The result is greater accuracy as the muzzle of the gun is not pulled off target.
"Thanks Jim." I replied. "Mind if I dry fire it?" Jim gave the go ahead and I aligned the sights and pulled the trigger. It was silky smooth but still at what felt to be stock weight. Perfect.
Jim was waiting for me to examine the front sight. Last July, he was experimenting with dovetailing a Trijicon shotgun sight onto a J frame revolver. He had proudly displayed his work to me as I picked up my newly melted Colt. The dovetail was perfect, with a paper thin distance between the barrel and sight base to compensate for heat while shooting. The rear sight notch was opened up to accommodate the big glowing front dot.
"I've got to ask Jim, because I know of several people ready to send you guns for this mod....... Are you ready to make it a staple modification?"
Jim smiled. "Much as I'd like to, I don't see how I can," he replied. "We have a one year waiting time on comp guns right now, and I just don't see how we can accomplish it. Besides, with these scandium frames........"
I started to point out that my revolver was stainless, but Jim knew that. He was talking about working difficult metal in the future, and trying to turn a profit on precision hand work. "So it's a one-off then?" I asked, just to make certain.
"Unless someone wants to wait a year and pay more," Jim replied, never one to close an open door or turn away work. I asked how much I owed him. "One bead blast finished Meltdown, one XS Trijicon sight furnished and installed..... $362.64," came the reply. I pulled out my checkbook and wrote a check. Years ago, I had purchased the 649 as a practice weapon to decease wear and tear on my aluminum framed Model 38. I had bought it used for a price in the neighborhood of $230. I now held it as a bespoke one-off custom gun with less than six hundred dollars invested.
Today will be a great day at the range.