A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Custom Gold Cup National Match

I often reference my Gold Cup as a standard in 1911 comparisons, so I felt it would be appropriate to back up a bit and tell about this gun.

I had learned to appreciate the 1911 platform by shooting my son's Colt 1991A1. I quickly purchased a Springfield Mil-Spec, and learned to massage the pistol into something individual and unique, my first Brownell's catalog custom. My Mil-Spec shot well, but it just wasn't lighting my fire anymore. I was wanting a Colt. Like a siren on the sailor's shore, Colt was beckoning me. The prancing pony was my meat. I had a problem though.......At that time I was also admiring the Kimbers, with the beautiful radiused corners, the swoopy sights, beavertails, and beautiful finishes. The Colt Gunsite was still a pistol of the future back then. I was wanting a Colt 1911, but I was also wanting a Colt that Colt did not make. It was a typical 1911 aficionado conundrum.

It was a hot Louisiana day about half a decade ago when I first saw her. I was browsing a gun shop's wares when she beckoned from the used shelf. She was a most unusual Gold Cup National Match. I had been hankering for a Gold Cup National Match, and this one was a custom gun with all the features that I admired on the pistols from Yonkers. As I was admiring the gun, the dealer told me it was a pistol the previous owner had customized at Gunsite. The gun had a plethora of modifications, including an Ed Brown grip safety, an Ed Brown full length guide rod, Ed Brown ambi thumb safety, forward slide serrations, and a Wilson match bushing. It was finished in flawless hard chrome. At that time the pistol wore rubber double diamond grips and had a nylon mainspring housing. It was fitted impeccably. It fit my hand perfectly. The seller was wanting $950 for the pistol, which was a lot for me to put into one gun back then, especially a used gun. I memorized the serial number and handed the pistol back to the dealer.

Once at my car, I wrote down the serial number, and drove to my office. I placed a call to Paulden, Arizona, and learned that the pistol had indeed been through the Smithy.
Still, once tax was assessed , I would be over the 1K mark with this pistol. I looked through my gun safe to see what I might be able to offer in trade. I pulled out a Walther PPK/S that my wife had wanted, and then fallen out of love with. I removed a IMI Baby Eagle in .40S&W that had been a good gun, but which had lost it's allure. I swung by the bank and drew out $400 cash, and drove back to the gun store. The proprietor smiled as I walked back through his door that day.

I asked to see the pistol, and then asked for his best price. He tossed out $900, and I countered with $800. We quickly settled on $850, so I asked him if he would consider trade-in guns. He started to balk, saying the $850 was a cash price, but he relented when I handed the Gold Cup back to him and began to turn away. That's when he said "Well what do you have?"

I went out to the car and retrieved the Walther and the Baby Eagle. I took a bit of a beating on both, as he gave me $300 on the Bond gun, and $250 on the Israeli pistol. That left only $300 to get the pistol I wanted, so I agreed to the deal.

I took my new custom Gold Cup home and ordered a Smith & Alexander Magwell and cocobolo grips for it. Since the S&A order was over $100, they gave me a 10% discount and free shipping. Good folks! These are the only other modifications I have made to this pistol, except one. I often shoot at an indoor range. The pistol ejected spent shells reliably and hard, but sent them screaming straight up. They then ricocheted around the stall as I dodged them. I tried adjusting the extractor, but finally installed a Nowlin extended ejector to solve the problem. I also installed a 18.5 recoil spring.

I love shooting this pistol at the range and having some know-it-all saunter over to see what kind of Kimber I am shooting. The looks on the Kimber Kommando's faces when they realize they have been admiring a Colt from afar makes every dime spent on this pistol worth it. Some people would balk at $850 for a used pistol, but I will not again. If I were to buy a Gold Cup and have it smithed to this level of customization, I would be paying twice that easily. I also have to consider that I would likely never alter a Gold Cup. They are iconic to me. As it is, I now own a pistol that satisfies the urge for a Gold Cup, while eliminating any desire for a Kimber as well. That is money saved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent tale.

That is a sweet, sweet, SWEET pistol.

You are one lucky dude to find all of those deals.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've enjoyed shooting 1911's since my grandfather first taught me how to shoot. Unfortunately, it seems that most manufacturer's are putting "speed-bump" grip safeties on everything except their bottom-of-the-line models. I've got very small hands, and I've yet to find on that doesn't hurt the pad of my palm when shooting. In fact, when I bought my Springfield "loaded" stainless 1911, I had them remove the speed-bump safety and replace it with a standard smooth one.

I've been wondering if I'm the only one with this problem, or if it's just been the type of grip safety that I've encountered. With small hands, I've never had a failure to disengage the safety when shooting. Much like a full-length guide rod, I've also wondered if this was a solution in search of a problem. I'd be curious to hear your views on this.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I figure a couple of guys in IDPA had a problem compressing their grip safeties, and had this done to them to solve the problem. Now, it's the cool thing to have kinda like curb feelers and fuzzy dice.

If you hold the damned gun right you don't need the tumor on the grip safety.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice Gold Cup!

found my Gold Cup series 80 in stainless.

shoots better than any pistol I've ever tried.

9:39 PM  

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