August 16, 2018

An Adorned Old Warhorse

Posted on March 23, 2018 by in Sittin' At The Gun Shop

Some people like to change and customize things. Most of the time I don’t fall into this category, but on this one particular pistol, I jumped off the deep end too. I floundered around a little, but not too much because I couldn’t afford to drown, (in debt that is). I’m talking about taking a box stock pistol and adding all of the bells and whistles to make it the crème de la cream of the day. It’s a bit of keeping up with the Jones you might say.

This Colt Combat Commander started life as a box stock Colt .45 acp caliber, four and a half inch barrel, single action bullet launcher perfectly capable of doing its job. When it came into my possession it had suffered some abuse. It had some surface rust and was in need of a good cleaning. Naturally, I took it to the gun shop and spoke with the shop’s gun cleaning guru, the manager named Frank.

While cleaning it up for me he said that it had good bones, but like a teenager on a diet of french fries, the skin was blemished. We talked and finally decided that the old warhorse would be sent off for what was called at the time a satin nickel finish, (now it’s called Colt Guard or matte finish). The older Colt single action semi-auto’s had a habit of skinning the hide off the web of my hand when fired, so I also added an extended beaver tail grip safety too.

As the photograph indicates the chosen grip safety doesn’t have the currently “in fad” speed bump on the lower part. It wasn’t known about or thought of way back then. The sights are fixed and squared off with a wide notch white outlined rear sight and a blaze orange ramp front sight. I had cut my fledgling law enforcement teeth on the N-frame and K-frame Smith and Wesson revolvers and had grown accustomed to this particular sight picture.

I think the brand name for these sights are Millet and they are probably still offered in their current catalog. I bought the finger groove hand filling stocks at the Pasadena Gun show a half decade later and felt that they gave me good control and they felt very natural in my hand. I shot the gun for many years and it would shoot better groups than I could ever muster with any other 1911. At combat distances it would make one ragged hole in the target with a steady hold and quality ammo.

Back in 1990 I was moved into the criminal investigation division and really fell hard for that type of work and the camaraderie of my fellow blood hounds. One thing about it bothered me though; we didn’t have a distinctive badge that identified us as detectives. We all had our regular issue badges that had the word PATROLMAN, emblazoned across the top.

Being somewhat of a trendsetter I went to the Blackington Badge Catalog and ordered what was called a mini-badge in the shape of my current badge with the State of Texas Seal and the department name and my badge number, but I had the title INVESTIGATOR put across the top. I believed this was more befitting a lawman of my stature and assignment.

When it came in I carried it in my wallet for several years. Within a few months after several inter-office memorandums between me and the CID sergeant, we got full size new badges approved for everyone. Many thanks to a great sack dragging detective, (who shall remain nameless) who found a citizen willing to foot the entire bill for the ten new gold tone expensive badges. We got our new shiny DETECTIVE badges that they still wear today because of the kindness of one man, who shall also remain nameless.

After I retired I went to the gun shop with this pistol because the Rampant Colt stock insert had come unglued. I also took the little investigator mini-badge with me to see Frank and asked him if he could carve out the wooden stocks enough to affix the little badge to them. He did it and it turned out to be an attractive addition in my opinion. Now the old warhorse is used as my training gun.

Once shooters that I’m working with get over their fear of recoil, I can train them with the old .45 quicker than anything else I own. They gain confidence quickly due to the higher hit probability and it just feels good in their hand. I hope you like the photograph, and just for your information I could have bought a brand new Colt Lightweight Commander for what it cost me to make these “custom” additions to this pistol. Oh wait, “I recently did just that”. Guess that will be another story.

Till then “shoot back first”, “make sure of your target”, and “may all of your groups be small”. And don’t forget to join the NRA to protect your gun rights.

Junior’s Boy

 

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