IMPROVING THE HIGH-POWER
Because I started carrying a High-Power in the days before the pistol typically had good sights and an easily operated safety, the first custom auto pistol I had made was a Hardcastle-chopped High-Power. It was a good carry gun that had S&W revolver sights and an ambidextrous safety.
Other tuning included a throated chamber, polished feed ramp, beveled magazine well, action job and a few other touches. It concealed better than the full-sized High-Power, but still gave me good cartridge capacity—I can’t remember whether it was 10+1 or 11+1. When I switched from the High-Power to the SIG P226, I didn’t feel the need for customizing.
MY GUNSITE 1911s
Most who think of customized carry pistols think of some version of the 1911. Although I appreciated the 1911, I didn’t use one very often. A pair of Gunsite Service Pistols changed that. A friend was getting an amicable divorce (if that isn’t an oxymoron), and as part of it had agreed to sell some handguns and give his ex-wife the proceeds. Included were the pair of Gunsite Service Pistols.
As soon as I took them to the range, I was sold. They were accurate and reliable, but not “fancy.” Just as I like my four-wheel drive vehicles to be sparse on luxury features but long on performance features, I like my custom pistols to be the same way; the GSPs were. I even had a double shoulder holster rig made so I could carry both at the same time. I probably did a dozen or so times.
tMy next custom carry gun was not one I had any intention of ordering. A group of friends worked a deal with the S&W Performance Center to produce a highly accurate group of Model 4566s with Melonite finishes and special serial numbers. After much persuasion, I ordered one. It was so accurate that I was shooting outstanding groups even when I practiced from the leather and fired just DA first rounds.
For a couple of years, it was my carry gun when I used a belt gun. However, an incident occurred that made me realize an inherent disadvantage of an expensive custom carry gun. If you’re involved in a shooting while using your prized custom pistol, it will likely be taken into evidence for a long time and you might need a writ of replevin to get it returned.
I acquired a S&W 4563, the same gun with an alloy frame and without the Performance Center touches, and started carrying it a lot of the time. I had decided my Performance Center 4566 was irreplaceable because it was a small run as a one-time thing.
“I THINK THEY SHOOT AND CARRY JUST A LITTLE BETTER BECAUSE THEY WERE MADE TO MY SPECS.”
Above: Thompson carries his custom 1911 pistols that have rails in this Rusty Sherrick SIS rig.