Thursday, December 10, 2009

1911 Grip Sizes & Options: What you should know before buying...

Replacing the stock grips on your favorite 1911 is one of the fastest & most affordable ways to upgrade the look & feel of your firearm. This can be done for as cheap as 2 or 3 boxes of ammo. There are so many choices of grips in the market today... exotic hardwoods with old-school checkering, wicked flames or skull designs... high-strength polymers with wild inlays & medallions... there are grips made of the latest high-tech materials like aluminum alloys, G-10 & micarta... and goin' nature-trippin', there are rattlesnake, alligator, stingray & other types of skins & hides that are now available.. and don't forget ivory (legal), antlers & bone... whew! So many grips... So little time...
A lot of 1911 owners have multiple number of grips to suite their different moods. Some like the subdued look on their everyday carry, but on special occasions, they bust out their most outrageous, flashy grips. I have this regular customer from Hamburg, Germany who has 2 or 3 1911s but has something like 20+ grips! To see part of his fantastic collection, click here.

But before you start your own collection of grips, you must first determine your grip size and options for better fitment. In this posting, I will attempt to briefly summarize what you will need to know before you purchase your dream set that you were drooling over these past few days (or weeks)...

Before we begin, here is a summary of the basic information that you will need:
1. Grip Size: Full-sized frame (includes the Combat Commander), Officer's Model, or Others?
2. Options: Standard (no additional cuts), Ambi-cuts, Taurus-cuts, cuts for Extended slide stop &/or Extended safety lock?
1. Grip Size.
Size does matter! There are 3 basic grip sizes for the commercially available 1911. All of these are determined by the frame size of your handgun (and not the barrel length or slide size).
Grips for the Full-Size Frame: Government/Combat Commander/Pro Carry. This is the frame size of your original government issue-sized pistol with barrel lengths of 5" or more. Most of the ones in the market fall under this category. If your 1911 is not a "compact" gun, chances are, your handgun has a full-sized frame. The "combat commander" was first introduced by Colt as a compact variant of the "government" design. Like it's big brother, it's frame is actually full-sized too. The only major difference is that the barrel size (& slide) is shorter at 4.25". To quickly check if your firearm has a full-sized frame, the distance between the grip holes should be slightly MORE than 3" from center to center.
Grips for the Compact: Officers Model/Defender/Ultra Carry. After the introduction of the "commander", there was still a need for even smaller models for concealed carry. So Colt introduced a 3.50" barrel variant called the "officer's model". To make this gun work, they modified the frame. Grips for this model are slightly smaller & would not fit the full-sized 1911s. The Colt Defender & the Kimber Ultra Carry's grips are similar to this model. To quickly check if your compact firearm is similar to an officer's model, the distance between the grip holes are slightly LESS than 3" from center to center.

Others. Of course, everybody wants an even smaller gun, right? So they did it again. The Sub-Compact was introduced as a backup to the backup gun... The frame is now even more smaller, and so are the grips. Other variants of the 1911 like the cute Llama (that's MISTER cute Llama to you, bub!), the double-stacked Para Ordinance Hi-caps, the itsy-bitsy SIG P238 (Is this still a 1911?), and my all-time favorite, the hard-hitting .50 cal Grizzly LAR have very different 1911 frame configurations. Of course, these variants have different types of grips as well. Take note that aftermarket grips for these are hard to find, so don't be discouraged. I do have grips for the Llama, LAR & the P238, but in VERY limited availability.
2. Options.
This section deals with the optional cuts needed on the grips for proper fit.
Standard/No Cuts. Yup, no cuts needed. The firearm does NOT have the following: ambi-safety, extended slide stop, or extended safety lock.
Ambi-cuts. The grips will need special cuts for the Ambidextrous Safety. They involve the trimming of the top of the right panel & I notch just behind the top screw.
Special Cuts for the Extended Safety Lock, &/or Extended Slide Stop. Check if your 1911 has these aftermarket parts. The grips may need to be trimmed down for these as well.

Special Taurus-cuts. The Taurus PT1911 is a special one because all the extended options mentioned above are found as standard on this gun. This & the fact that it's affordable make it quite popular to a lot of first-time 1911 owners.

Beveled or Magwell/Square Bottom? Finally, does your firearm have a magwell? Then you need flat or square bottoms. The standard grips have beveled bottoms.
The Bobtail. These guns popularized by Dan Wesson are pretty cool & functional. The bobtail gives the handgun a smaller footprint when carried with a cant & minimizes contact with the body while in the holster, so they say. Obviously, the grips of bobtails need to be trimmed. They actually have the same dimensions except for the diagonal cut at the corner.
So you want new grips to spice up your handgun, huh? Take note of the grip size & the options and you will have a smooth & easy time with your friendly neighborhood grip-maker!!!

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Santa Claus was Weilding a Gun?

I found the lyrics to this song on Warning... this song might not be suitable to children, elves, reindeer and NRA members like me...    MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

(to the tune of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town")

Oh, you better watch out
You better not pry
You better stay back
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is wielding a gun

He's making a list
And checking it twice
Gonna find out who
He's gonna ice
Santa Claus is wielding a gun

Don't give him any trouble
He'll blow you right away
Don't give him any cause to shoot
Or you'll make his Christmas Day

Oh, you better believe
He's packing a rod
No coal in your stocking
Just lead in your bod
Santa Claus is wielding a gun

He doesn't want cookies
Or none of that crud
He doesn't want milk
What he wants is your blood
Santa Claus is wielding a gun

(Music Bridge, with automatic arms fire)

He doesn't trust nobody
Shot all his reindeer dead
Thought Dancer was a sissy
And thought Rudoulph was a red

Oh, you better watch out
You better not pry
You better stay back
I'm telling you why

Santa Claus is wielding a gun

By Lore Shoberg, velcro@ucscb.ucsc.EDU


Saturday, November 28, 2009

John Moses Browning: His Life in a Graphic Novel

What is a fitting tribute for the greatest gun inventor of all time? Why you create a graphic novel, of course!!!

The "comic book" features the highlights of his life & his amazing inventions. I found this 45-page document on (thanks John C.!). It's interesting that it didn't mention the greatest handgun in the world (it's the 1911 of course, Geeez!). There is also no mention of the publisher nor the year of publication. The document seems to be promoting the FN & Browning companies (maybe that's why the Colt 1911 was not mentioned), but it's still a great read for those who are fascinated by this great American legend!

To see the complete comic book, go to this link...
The American Gunmaker, John M. Browning

Here are some images from the graphic novel...

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Facts & Myths...

"The reason that we have so many myths associated with Thanksgiving is that it is an invented tradition. It doesn't originate in any one event. It is based on the New England puritan Thanksgiving, which is a religious Thanksgiving, and the traditional harvest celebrations of England and New England and maybe other ideas like commemorating the pilgrims. All of these have been gathered together and transformed into something different from the original parts."
– James W. Baker
Senior Historian at Plimoth Plantation

Here are some Thanksgiving Fun Facts & Myths I found on Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
  • Though many competing claims exist, the most familiar story of the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony, in present-day Massachusetts, in 1621. More than 200 years later, President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. Congress finally made Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday in 1941.
  • In Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, near the Charles River in December of 1619, a group of British settlers led by Captain John Woodlief knelt in prayer and pledged "Thanksgiving" to God for their healthy arrival after a long voyage across the Atlantic. This event has been acknowledged by some scholars and writers as the official first Thanksgiving among European settlers on record.
  • The pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers. They wiped their hands on large cloth napkins which they also used to pick up hot morsels of food.
  • The foods that the colonists and Wampanoag Indians ate were very similar, but their eating patterns were different. While the colonists had set eating patterns—breakfast, dinner, and supper—the Wampanoags tended to eat when they were hungry and to have pots cooking throughout the day.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in America, with a planned production total of 49 million in 2008. Just six states—Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri and Indiana—will probably produce two-thirds of the estimated 271 million birds that will be raised in the U.S. this year.
  • The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys—one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States in 2007—were eaten at Thanksgiving.
  • In a survey conducted by the National Turkey Federation, nearly 88 percent of Americans said they eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds, which means some 690 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the U.S. during Thanksgiving in 2007.
  • The cranberry is one of only three fruits—the others are the blueberry and the Concord grape—that are entirely native to North American soil, according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association.

  • Myth: The pilgrims wore only black and white clothing. They had buckles on their hats, garments, and shoes.
    Fact: Buckles did not come into fashion until later in the seventeenth century and black and white were commonly worn only on Sunday and formal occasions. Women typically dressed in red, earthy green, brown, blue, violet, and gray, while men wore clothing in white, beige, black, earthy green, and brown.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Tribute to all our Troops & Veterans...

I was moved by this tribute I found on YouTube. Great images! Thanks to all the brave men & women who have served and continue to serve & defend world freedom & democracy!!!

As a son & a grandson of veterans, I believe that we should honor them not just on Veterans' Day...

BTW, I give special discounts to current & former Law Enforcement & Military personnel as tribute of my appreciation. Send me an email!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

A Brief History: Trap Shooting

Here is another installment of my "Brief History" series. This time, it's all about the sport of Trap Shooting!

Early this year, my brother & I took up this addicting sport. We are avid shooters and we've been shooting all sorts of guns since we were kids. As military brats, we "played" with our dad's army-issued Colt M1911. As kids, we used to shoot birds with our competition CO2 air rifle. Over the years, we continued to pursue our hobby, but mostly we only did target shooting & a little practical shooting. I like shooting pistols, fell in love with the iconic 1911, while my brother became more interested in rifles like the AR-15. Let's just say that we have quite an arsenal between the two of us. We make it a point to go to the range to sharpen our skills at least once a month. We live in the same city & fortunately, there is an outdoor rifle/pistol & trap range just 20 minutes from where we live.

In one of our trips to this facility, we stopped by the trap range to check it out. We've always been curious about trap shooting but never really tried it. It looked fun so we tried it out with a loaner shotgun. From then on, we were hooked! We bought our "starter" shotgun, a Stoeger over/under competition shotgun. In only my third try, I shot 23 out of 25! Boy, all these years of target shooting does seem to pay off!

Now, what is the history of trap shooting, you ask? Well according to Dick Baldwin (, it has a long & colorful history that goes back to late 18th century England. It was the sport of the aristocrats of the time. The sport was first mentioned in a British publication called "Sporting Magazine" in 1793. Here is an excerpt:
"The great celebrity of this sport, in which some of the first shots in England are so frequently engaged, encourages us to communicate an account of its fashionable influence and increasing prevalence as a subject applicably entitled to a place in our sporting receptacle." (Say whaaaat?!?)

During those days, live pigeons were used as targets. They were released from cages, called traps. Until now, the modern clay targets are still called "pigeons" and the contraption that launches them is still called a "trap". This sport came to the American continent in the early 1800s. One of the first contests was held in 1831 at the Sportsmen's Club in Cincinnati, OH, where they used passenger pigeons & sparrows. These birds were quite abundant then. During around the Civil War, the practice of using live birds was replaced by targets. These early targets varied from metal ones with rotating wings to the more popular glass ball filled with feathers. They were usually launched by catapults.

The first clay targets were introduced in the 1880s by George Ligowskey. They were first used in the New York State Shoot, a state-wide shooting event, at Coney Island. They became an instant success. In 1884, Fred Kimble invented a composite clay target that "explodes" into the puff of smoke that we see today.

The first trapshooting club, called the American Shooting Association, was organized in 1890. They were responsible for producing the sport's first rule book. In 1892, they changed the name of the organization to The Interstate Association, and evolved into an organization made up of gun & powder manufacturers. Again, in 1919, the organization was renamed American Trapshooting Association (ATA). In 1911, for the fist time, doubles targets were introduced. From 1915-19, for the first time, a group called the American Amateur Trapshooting Association (AATA) was organized by amateurs. It co-existed with the ATA for a few years.  Finally in 1923, one of the the current governing bodies, the Amateur Trapshooting Association (also ATA) was organized to replace the old ATA.

The sport currently has two independent governing bodies, the modern ATA, which sanctions shoots throughout the US & Canada, and the Pacific International Trapshooting Association (PITA), which sanctions shoots in the West Coast.

Take it from me... Nothing beats shooting a flying object to smithereens! This sport takes a lot of concentration, you only get better with age. I wish that I discovered this sport earlier...



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Excuse me... Is your Glock louder than my 1911?"

I was at the range the other day & I noticed something peculiar... Is my buddy's 9mm Glock louder than my .45 caliber S&W 1911DK?

So when I got home that evening, I researched on the web to see if my ears weren't deceiving me. True enough, I found a short article on about this phenomenon... (BTW, this website is full of nifty things on the 1911 handgun. Check it out.)

"So you want to know which cartridge makes the louder bang? Some technicalities are in order first. Sound is measured in decibels (db), much like temperature is measured in degrees and speed in miles (or kilometers) per hour. Like most other units, the bottom of the scale or 0 db, is an arbitrary setting, which by convention is set to be the level of the sound that we can barely (sic) hear, or our hearing threshold, as it is normally known. ...Although loudness is subjective, most people perceive one sound to be twice as loud as another, when there is a 10-fold increase in energy, or a difference of about 10 db. ...Also, it is interesting to note that most people cannot discern any difference in perceived loudness of less than 3 db. That means that the energy in the sound has to double, before someone can notice any difference."
The following is a Table of Loudness from the same article...

So what can we learn from this table?

1.) That the sound that most guns make go beyond the threshold of pain. (As if we don't know that!)

2.) That, surprisingly, the noise that a chainsaw makes is below the threshold of pain.

3.) That a 12 gauge shotgun is louder than a 20 gauge shotgun. (Who cares? I do!)

4.) That the .44 Magnum is one hell of a  noisy gun!

5.) That a quiet street at 40dB is not so quiet after all... shhhh...

6.) That damn 9mm Glock was really louder than my 1911!!!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Farmer Grows Pumkins with Human Faces (Jan., 1938)

Creepy! Found this on the web today...

BTW, the pumkin head is the one on the left...


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Extreme Sport of Practical Shooting


"If shooting has an "extreme" sport, USPSA-sanctioned practical shooting is it. Competitors move, negotiate obstacles, run, speed-reload, and drive their guns through each of several courses as fast as their skills will allow. Although most matches are held outdoors, in all weather, further taxing competitor skill, there are a growing number of indoor ranges conducting USPSA events." 

When I was a kid, me & my buddies used to play mock gun fights with our toy guns. One side would be the good guys & the other were the bad guys (usually Nazis, the meanest of them all). We would shout, "bang-bang!" or "ra-tat-tat!" the whole day. Some of the more affluent kids had cap guns that made loud noises. I sure miss those days when you can just get dirty & play warrior/soldier with your buddies & admire each others toys...

"You may remember that in the original Dirty Harry movie, Clint Eastwood's character visits a training center and walks down the street of a mock city engaging hostile targets and while identifying and sparing innocents. A lot of us saw it too, and thought, "cool!" It looked like too much fun to be just the law enforcement work of qualifying with a handgun."

Well, you can actually play something similar today without being labeled as a geek... It's called Practical Shooting. You come out & play with your friends, fire real guns, and admire each others toys. According to legend, it all started in 1976 in the city of Columbia, Missouri, where a group of international shooters played with their toys in an open field to see who was the fastest... the most accurate... the best! It was all good and so they called it practical shooting... and an extreme sport was born!

Now that you know, spread the word...


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Model 1910: The Gun that Shook the World

 When I was researching for a paper, I chanced upon this article from Wikipedia... (So what's wrong with Wikipedia?!! if you haven't used it as a resource for your term paper before... geeeez!)

"Perhaps the most infamous singular Browning-designed firearm was a FN Model 1910 handgun, serial number 19074. In 1914, Gavrilo Princip used the .380 ACP pistol to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie. This event arguably sparked World War I. The pistol was rediscovered in 2004."

Everybody knows that World War I was started by the assassination of the Archduke of Austria. Heck, I even know a guy who can identify the assassin... but I didn't know that the Browning-designed FN Model 1910 was used for the deed! The article continues to describe the Great War's effect on the world...

"By the war's end in 1918, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires—had been militarily and politically defeated, with the last two ceasing to exist as autonomous entities. The revolutionized Soviet Union emerged from the Russian Empire, while the map of central Europe was completely redrawn into numerous smaller states. The League of Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The European nationalism spawned by the war, the repercussions of Germany's defeat, and the Treaty of Versailles would eventually lead to the beginning of World War II in 1939."

This proves that under proper conditions, one gun (or gunman) can definitely change the world! Now, where can I buy an old Model 1910 for my collection?


Friday, September 25, 2009

Our 1911 Grips on YouTube

A few months ago, we posted videos of our work on YouTube. So far, we've had encouraging results. Our first video posted about 3 months ago got 3,600+ views to date... that's more than a 1,200 hits a month! Visit our YouTube channel...

If you want to order custom 1911 grips, or if you have ideas for grips, send us an email. We'd love to hear from you!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Brief History of the Iconic 1911 Handgun

Have you ever wondered why the M1911 was chosen as the standard-issue sidearm of the U.S. armed forces from 1911 to 1985? Here is an excerpt from

"The Colt Model 1911 was the product of a very capable person, namely John Moses Browning, father of several modern firearms. The pistol was designed to comply with the requirements of the U.S. Army, which, during its campaign against the Moros in Philippines, had seen its trusty .38 revolver to be incapable of stopping attackers. An Ordnance Board headed by Col. John T. Thompson (inventor of the Thompson sub-machine-gun) and Col. Louis A. La Garde, had reached the conclusion that the army needed a .45" caliber cartridge, to provide adequate stopping power. In the mean time, J. Browning who was working for Colt, had already designed an an autoloader pistol, around a cartridge similar to contemporary .38 Super (dimension-wise). When the Army announced its interest in a new handgun, Browning re-engineered this handgun to accommodate a .45" diameter cartridge of his own design (with a 230 gr. FMJ bullet), and submitted the pistol to the Army for evaluation"

So it was the 1911's stopping power that sealed the deal. But why did the U.S. armed forces replace it in 1985 with the 9mm Beretta M9? Was it for the improved control? ...or higher ammo capacity? ...or the more advanced safety features? It's ironic that there are military and law enforcement organizations today that went back to use the .45 caliber M1911A1 handguns including the Marine Force Recon, L.A.P.D. SWAT/SIS, the FBI Hostage Rescue, FBI regional SWAT teams, and 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment (or Delta Force) to name a few...

Did I mention that I love this gun?

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gun Art... anyone?

1gun \ˈgən\
Function: noun, Etymology: Middle English gonne, gunne, Date: 14th century--- a piece of ordnance usually with high muzzle velocity and comparatively flat trajectory.

2art \ˈärt\
Function: noun, Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin art-, ars, Date: 13th century--- skill acquired by experience, study, or observation

3gun+art \ˈgən+ˈärt\
Function: WHO KNOWS???

I've always been fascinated with artwork about guns. They're not for everyone... Some are intriguing, while others outright offend! A lot of them definitely have an "anti-gun" message, but I still like them for their powerful wit. Check out some of the images I collected from the internet. Enjoy!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Custom 1911 Grips

We are makers of premium custom 1911 grips. We specialize in exotic hardwood like, cocobolo, coralwood, tigerstripe maple, afzelia burl, kingwood... to name a few. We also customize grips... we make what you want! We can woodburn or paint any design you can think of. Send us an image for a quote.

A few months ago, we started to sell rattlesnake grips... and some original creations like the sea snake skin & gator grips! Our stocks are limited, so hurry while they're still available!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Welcome to our Blog!

Hello fellow 1911 aficionados!  For some time now, I have been contemplating on starting my own blog about my greatest love (second only to my wife, of course)... the 1911 handgun! It's been a long love affair that started with my dad's army-issued Colt! We'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below about your fond experience with the 1911.