A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, March 21, 2008

Payback.....A Colt WW1 1911

When I was a boy of two, my father died. He was a sportsman and owned a variety of firearms and fishing equipment. Regrettably, my mother was forced to sell much of his belongings to keep our family afloat. Of course, she did not know the fair market value. She trusted the buyers, my father's former friends, to be fair with her. Some were men of honor, others had no scruples about taking advantage of a widow and two toddlers. Such is often the case when a gun owner passes to the 500 yard range in the sky where bulleyes are granted by divine intervention.

Ever since Colt decided to reproduce a WW1 1911 replica, I have lusted after one. I have kept an ear to the ground to no avail trying to find a used one, and the price of the pistol new was hard to justify. Two weeks ago, when I expressed my condolences to a co-worker over the loss of her husband, we got to talking about him. It seemed he was a sporadic gun accumulator, and the lady eventually asked me to have a look at his things. A few days later, I drove over with the expectation of finding a Glock or two, and perhaps a Steven's shotgun.

As I held Vicki's young uncomprehending son in my lap, I knew that someday, he would be where I once was. He would wonder if his father's friend who shook his young hand at church and ruffled his hair on the basketball court really was a friend. There are so many things lost to a boy raised without a father, not the least of which is the guidance needed to determine a true friend.

After a bit of coffee, Vicki and I finally got around to the reason I was there. She told me she had taken David's guns to a dealer in town and sold most of them. She said the pawn broker accepted what the dealer would not. I immediately regretted that I had not asked her to wait for me to evaluate the firearms, but I held my tongue. I knew what had happened. Vicki went on to tell me she had saved me one because she had overheard me talking about my Colt between cases at work. She then removed a white box from atop the refrigerator and handed it to me. On the outside was an orange sticker warning that the pistol inside lacked a firing pin safety. Vicki did not know what that meant, but it did not sound good to her. I could hardly conceal my anticipation as I removed the blue box within, and then the stamped pasteboard box within that.

Inside was the Colt pistol I had long desired. It was pristine, unfired. It appeared to be untouched, except to place it on top of the brown wax paper. Click to enlargeI was likely the first to open the slide and check the chamber. It was empty. I looked the Colt over knowingly, having spent a couple of years researching the cosmetic flaws that sometimes appeared on them. The recoil tunnel was spot on. The rollmarks were precisely done. The finish was immaculate and beautiful.

Then Chase waddled up and said "Cawful cawful bang bang!" I laughed. I let him back in my lap and told Vicki to hold the pistol until I returned from the bank. About an hour later, I returned and purchased the pistol. I doubt I will ever say what I paid for this Colt. That is up to Vicki to relate as she wishes. I will say that I repaid a debt left by unscrupulous men to a fractured family almost half a century ago. Mama, you would be proud.

Colt's World War I U.S. Army Replica

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Not Too Pensive said...


You are a gentleman and a man of impeccable taste.

Great story.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply gorgeous!

I especially like the Feb 14, 1911 patent date. What better way to say "I love you" than with one of JMB's greatest creations.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the new purchase and thanks for the story behind the acquisition...here are a couple auction links from my locale you might find interesting: http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=95485339
and http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.asp?Item=94943622
A regular reader

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carry on smartly, and happy the 1911 found a good home.
Just about 3 weeks ago, I picked up a Remington Rand - the man who'd been issued the pistol in early 45 passed on, and his adult children couldn't wait to get the evil thing out of the house. If not for the intervention of one of the fathers' friends it would have been turned in for destruction by the local PD. The next thing on my want list is Colts' 1911 repro, and possibly a C96. After that, I think my acquiring days are done.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Xav. Life is so much more interesting and satifying when you pay your way, and take care of the orphans and widows. Paul the apostle said that was true religion. That and keeping oneself unspotted from the world. You are a MAN, and I'm sure your dad would be proud! I know I am!


12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

karma be damned....you had the best of intentions in any case,and you were rewarded for your excellent help you provided to her in time of need and she knew you well enough to trust you with that special pistol....
I'd also like to think that maybe you had a helping hand in all things from above and maybe...jussst maybe,even God is a gun owner,we trust in His good name,and Sam Colt made all men equals by his firearms.
ok,....Sam Colt and John Moses Browning.

Congrats,I love my 1911,that dates from 1918,goose loose,but that gun still shoots great.
I've hit a freon jug 4 shots out of seven at a hundred yards with it.

1:45 AM  
Blogger Mulliga said...

Oh. Heck. Yeah. There's nothing like getting to help someone out AND getting to purchase a Colt WWI. I'm glad Vicki managed to find an honest man, and congrats, Xavier.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father died when I was 4 with 2 younger brothers. My fathers brothers 'helped' her out by taking many of my fathers things off her hands. She felt bad some years later when she told me that she wished she had more of my fathers to give me and my brothers. I'm glad you were able to do right by your friend.

12:33 PM  
Blogger the pawnbroker said...

good man, xavier: had you been able to examine the rest of the collection you might well have been able to help her generate significantly more funds, and possibly even advise her to keep a special piece or two for that young man...

she also might have visited the pawnbroker first; don't know about where you are, but here retail gunshops, as they depend only on their firearms business for their profit, tend to pay quite a bit under dealer price for walk-in purchases, and rarely show the seller retail values for comparison...and sadly, the so-called friends that many allow to "help" tend to swoop in like vultures with little regard for the best interests of the heir...

my practice in my pawnshop was to help a person in her position make good choices by identifying with them the pieces they owned in the bluebook and how to judge condition, etc., show them what good retail buyers would pay individually, and then what i would pay as a wholesale lot, which depending on the pieces involved, was usually 20%-50% less than the retail totals...

sometimes, they would choose to advertise for retail buyers armed with the information i provided them, but most of the time the sellers saw the value of receiving "cash on the barrel" and transferring to a licensed dealer thereby avoiding any liability concerns, and often they would thank me for my help and honest approach...(i took the same approach with fine estate jewelry pieces, etc.).

as mr. bergeron taught me many years ago, it's easy to make a quick dishonest buck, but far more profitable in the long run, both on earth and in the hereafter, to be an honorable man and businessman.

your friend and her young son are fortunate to have you as a friend, and i think not only your mom and dad, but also that boy's dad, would be very proud of you...jtc

1:07 PM  
Blogger chris horton said...

Great story, and a really great gun!

I have been in posession of an original Colt Model 1878 DA "Alaskan" Revolver, since my Grandfather and Father died.

I remember my dad shooting it when I was very little. It's in excellent shape.I've never fired it myself. Anyone collect them out there?

2:22 PM  
Blogger Joe Carpenter said...

Good things DO happen to good people.

8:13 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...


9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


No doubt it was a fair price, because you are a good friend.

Thank you for showing and sharing with the internet how to do it right.

God Bless,

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine lost his father when he was young. He did leave behind some guns but was never there to pass on the tradition of enthusiasm to his son. Fortunately his mother was able to hold on to them and passed them along to my friend. Thankfully, although he has no interest in them, he is sentimental and will not part with them so maybe his son will one day inherit them. Recently he asked me to look them over and make sure they were not loaded before he moved to a new home. He has a very nice WW2 Colt, a pre-WW1 Luger along with a '94 Winchester and many more rifles. It is a fine collection, I just wish he had more interest. He did give me the 1960's can of 30-06 on Garand clips though.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you. It is too often that men and women of honor must pay the debts of those who are less than honorable. You are a good man and may God bless you and your family on this Easter day.


11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did I know you were going to do the right thing?

I bought a Colt Thunderer from a friend who was sick, it had belonged to his dad, and he knew his son would pawn it off.
I paid way to much for it,he has since passed on but the Thunderer has a good home.
Gunsmoke 45441

12:19 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Your mother raised a fine man.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

You are a good man, Xavier.

12:29 AM  
Blogger thorn said...

My eyes just teared a bit...

My father was also an avid gun collector; he had to leave us due to a horrible accident when I was just over two years old.

Back then, my mom knew little of firearms except that they were all over the house. In trying to keep the home safe for a toddler, she asked my aunt & uncle to come over and pack them up and take them to their house.

I've no idea what guns he actually had... perhaps some were valuable, or others of the junk/trade fodder type. Eventually my cousin (their son) grew to adulthood and the guns somehow became his property. Only the desire to avoid a heavy conflict with family has prevented me from addressing the situation, and trying to get my father's guns back.

An earlier poster said it well: you are indeed a gentleman.


12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brings small tears. I hope that when I die, my friends will do the same. Beautiful pistol, BTW.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got what you've desired for years and I hope it helped the lady in trying times... That said, I feel bad that the boy will never own his father's firearms... Most of my Dad's guns have great stories behind them and some go back in the family for several generations... I'm sorry the boy will never inherit what rightfully should have been his.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were Thorn I would ask for my birthright guns back. I too fell in love with the WW1 replica, it epitomizes what a 1911 should look like. Mine is brand new in the box, I took the grips off and barricaded it. Maybe one day if there is anything left of the USA my granddaughter or grandson will open the box with the same glee that you did X.


8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the story and you've done yourself proud brings a tear to my eye

11:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home