Gunsmith and Marine Karl Lippard has provided more than a few TTAG skeptics with comment fodder aplenty since we first came upon his claim to be producing a 1911 capable of accurate groups at 400 yards. It seems every month we have a resurgence of Lippard related material. Just last week a claim was made that Lippard was putting rounds on target at 600 yds using his new design. A picture of some guys standing around at a shooting range were submitted as “proof”. Yes, well, I have to say I’ve always wanted it to be true . . .
Karl reminds me a lot of my grandfather; a good working class guy with a military background and a lot of know how when it comes to machining. So while I remained skeptical of his claims, in the back of my mind I was secretly rooting for him to prove us all wrong. However, a few things happened this week that stoked the dwindling embers of skepticism into a raging inferno.
First, our fearless leader provided me with some email traffic between Mr. Lippard, himself and various other parties, CCed to RF. Here’s a sample:
It was 50 mph wind from the back but I shot 4 for 6 on an 18″ gong at 600 yards in one magazine. 9 close witnesses I guess, a retired Marine Pilot Steve Davis also Range Master, Two Marine Sniper/ Instructors, Marine Gunner Charles Henderson, a Retired Navy and Air Force were who I remember standing close. I continued to demonstrate in spite of the Wind holding what appeared to be 5 feet into the wind and up 2. I did have a flier every once in a while but the Black Hills +P 230 FMJ HP seemed to group pretty well out at 600. I fired three with the same hold and they hit together the size of a milk jug at 7 o’clock about 1-2 feet down with Charles spotting, so I adjusted for the wind and shot the gong. I loaded three later and made a call shot on the gong when someone noted an Afghan rise up at 600 and I took it down with one shot represented again by the gong. But I also missed a lot and think probably the average was 3-4 in 10 at the 600 but all agree that no man would stand up out there if a Combat NCO was shooting at you. As there was SO MANY witnesses at the shoot I expect to have a lot of testimonials about the effectiveness of the Combat NCO and to confirm my claim that a man under adverse conditions can give supporting fire at 600 yards without much difficulty. What was amazing was to HIT the 18″ targets which would seem to confirm that this average sample pistol #26 does hold 3 minute accuracy or less at 100 yards even with a human shooting the gun AND the serious nature of wind present. I continued shooting in the wind hitting the gong many more times for show during the day. The crowd loved it.
When TTAG asked for video proof, this was Karl’s reponse.
I do not know how you could shoot a video and seamlessly show the shooting from the line and the strikes down range, and from it provide credible “proof” of anything. It would take two cameras and editing together the two strings of video. That does not present the so-called proof, since anyone watching the video will realize that video can easily be edited to show what you want. I believe that testimony of people with integrity who have no stake one way or the other and eye-witness the gun in action speaks best. We had a number of fellow Marines on station yesterday (usually the most harsh of critics, especially when it comes to shooting) along with an untold number of regular citizens who witnessed the shooting and shot the pistols themselves. None of the people have a stake in Lippard nor any reason to tell anything but what they did honestly see and experience. Their word of mouth will reach many ears, considering that the average person knows 200 people. I am satisfied that over time the truth of the Lippard A2 will prevail over the internet skeptics. The more people who shoot and own Lippard A2 pistols, and have their existing 1911 guns upgraded with Lippard A2 and A3 parts, the more accepted the truth of the Lippard A2 will become.
And then, a testimonial:
This long story is just to give you some background on myself and to help lend credence to my testimonial of what I witnessed yesterday at Ben Lomond Gun Club’s high power range. I own and shoot numerous 45 autos, but never have I handled or fired a 45 pistol of this quality and accuracy in my life. I only fired it offhand at the 100 yard line with swirling winds that were 35mph gusting to 50mph and I shot a group that amazed me for those conditions, all killing shots in a man silhouette target. I personally observed other members and guests fire the A2 with the same results. The real icing on the cake, so to speak, was when Karl Lippard sat down with a sand bag rest and proceeded to put 3 out of 5 and 4 out of 6 rounds on an 18 inch gong at 600 yards, not once or twice but 4 or 5 times. The other rounds would have kept the enemy’s heads down and provided ample cover fire all with a 45 semi auto pistol, that was truly amazing. I can only imagine what properly trained Marines, DEA, Border Patrol, Swat teams, Seals and Special Forces could add an element that has been missing, the offensive weapon capability of their sidearm. George Patton called the M1 Garand the “finest battle weapon ever made” but he isn’t around to see and shoot the Lippard Combat NCO A2, he just might change his mind. This weapon takes the fight to the enemy in a form that no one would suspect. The United States Marine Corps needs to put the A2 in the in the hands of the best fighting men in the world.
Please feel free to share this with those doubting Thomas’s , whoever and where ever they are.
Semper Fi, Fraters Infintas,
Steve Davis – Proud Former Sgt. of the Marines
Karl also forwarded TTAG an email about a new sear design, charts from Hornady showing that yes a .45 ACP has enough power to kill at that long a range and an email from Walt Ford, the editor/publisher of Leatherneck Magazine, congratulating Lippard on his record (despite the lack of proof).
Unfortunately the rest of the information took a turn towards the cuckoo’s nest. Lippard wrote about various Homeland Security and law enforcement organizations wanting a demonstration and class on the 1911-A2 Combat NCO where “There will be video’s but no one will ever see it.” More non-proof submitted as proof?
In email traffic with his spotter from the 600 yd shot, Charles Henderson, the idea of a suppressed, stocked and scoped Combat NCO to be used as an urban sniper rifle at ranges of 1000 yds was talked about. Why? While there is no need to convince me that a .45 ACP will probably get the job done at that range, don’t we already have rifles that fill that niche effectively?
Now lest you think my observations are unfounded, Ben pointed out something interesting on Lippard’s website. If you go to Karl Lippard Designs’ Military Weapons Division you’ll see a link entitled “Future Military Weapons”. Clicking on it will bring you to a page where there are several new designs of the 1911 outlined, all are unavailable and categorized as KLD classified.
For the next model, the A3, the biggest feature is the use of ammunition that exceeds 4000 fps, yes you read that correctly four thousand feet per second. The A4 model is listed as utilizing a gas system and using ammo capable of hypersonic speeds without alteration.
For those of you who don’t know, the term hypersonic refers to speeds in excess of five times the speed of sound. Now I’m not saying that speeds like 4000 fps aren’t attainable. My research led to examples of several people, including P.O. Ackley, recording rounds traveling at speeds pushing the envelope of 5000 fps. However, these were all wildcat rifle rounds utilizing a .22 caliber bullet, not a 180 or 230 grain .45 round.
Lastly in the pistol realm we have the A5 version which claims to not be built on the 1911 platform. To quote directly from the website,
“Slated for military use in 2100 it is the most advanced offensive pistol ever conceived and has no civilian use. Its key features are classified except it fires over 400 rounds a minute. The term “A5″ in the name is to hide its design capability from view. It can be introduced today as a Close Quarters Battle Machine Pistol. It is one of the experimental weapons of Karl Lippard Designs that are highly classified.”
Who knows what we’ll be shooting 90 years from now? I sure don’t, but assume that you have designed that pistol already is, shall we say, ballsy. I don’t even know if JMB himself would have made that claim a hundred years ago.
Just when you think we’re done, Lippard goes on to (vaguely) talk about a revolutionary rifle design called the SolidRifle which he also mentioned in an email to RF. He follows up with a list of numerous in development land, sea and air based weaponry and a claim that KLD has more weapons diversity than any other weapons manufacturer in the US.
There is no doubt in my mind that Lippard knows what he is doing when it comes to gunsmithing. His shotguns are some of the most beautiful specimens you’ll ever see. However, when it comes to his military weapons division are we talking legit designs, drawings on a napkin or the strange inner thoughts of man who likes to tinker in the workshop?
Only time will tell and in time I may well be proven wrong, in which case I will gladly change my tune. But the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of everyone who has read about the Combat NCO remains a skeptic. The lack of proof and excuses for said lack do nothing but fan those flames. Toss in the wild claims on his military designs website and in my mind, Sgt. Lippard has a big problem; lack of credibility.
Credibility is paramount to any business operation and while talking the talk looks good on paper, it’s never as good as walking the walk in the real world. Karl: send us the gun.