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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.

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  1. You’re skeptical of a 4000 fps. .45 handgun? What, haven’t you heard of his revolutionary rail gun pistol?

    He’s already demonstrated it in a 90 mph crosswind at 2500 yards at midnight in front of a group of former special forces operators. Unfortunately, no one thought to have their cameras going at the time to record the momentous event. Maybe next time.

    • Rail gun pistol? For some reason, an old episode of the Beverly Hillbillies popped into my head that I haven’t seen in 30+ years. In it, Jethro walks into the foyer of the Clampett manse, to show Mr. Drysdale and Miss Jane his new invention – a tiny exhaust filter for vehicles that cuts pollution to zero. They marveled over it’s size, and fawned over Jethro. Then they went outside to see it in action. Trouble was, the rest of the vehicle was filled past capacity with all the crap he needed to make the filter work.

      That’s the rail gun for you. But when they can miniaturize the power source and make the capacitors smaller and more portable, THEN you’ve got something. Get back to me when they work like the guns in Schawtzenegger’s flick Eraser do.

      • But when they can miniaturize the power source and make the capacitors smaller and more portable, THEN you’ve got something.

        You’re silly. Lippard’s already climbed that mountain. Next up on his bucket list is an operational light saber and a #10 can-sized cold fusion reactor for Nimitz class carriers. I haven’t looked at his site, but I’m sure he’s already posted the schematics.

  2. All that in a 50mph wind? 50? 50?? 50??? 50?????????

    No good with come from having the pistol in hand. When the shooter(s) misses by a mile, Karl will simply blame the shooter. We must go to him to end this.

  3. Folks, he says “that this average sample pistol #26 does hold 3 minute accuracy or less at 100 yards.”

    That is definitely achievable with a 1911. Les Baer has been offering a 3 minute (1.5″ at 50 yards) upgrade guarantee for years:

    Many folks don’t know about this because not many shoot competitive Bullseye, and aren’t willing to pay close to $3K for a 1911. But a revolver can also be tuned to the same degree of accuracy.

    3″ * 6 = 18″.

    Most Bullseye gunsmiths verify pistol accuracy by placing the pistol in a device called a Ransom Rest, which has special grip inserts for each kind of pistol, and producing a test target at 50 yards. A competitor paying a few $K for a pistol will demand this be done:

    Lippard should just have this done at various distances on a day with little wind. Test targets at 50, 100, 200, 400 and 600 with various loads will settle things.

    • I will not claim to be an expert on this particular topic, but I’m having trouble with the essential logic / premise underlying your argument, which is that a pistol that can shoot 1& 1/2 groups at 50 yards provides evidence that it is possible for a pistol to shoot 3 inch groups at 100 yards, and presumably, that a pistol might conceiveably shoot 18 inch groups at 600 yards. While it may provide prove of the theoretical mathematical possibility of such groups in completely controlled environments, it ignores the fact that human error and environmental and balistic factors (including drag, loss of rotational speed /spin, etc) will invariably become bigger factors as range increases.

      From my perspective, I just think that Mr. Lippard is trying to create some hype for his product. It’s a somewhat radical form of marketing, and it remains to be seen whether or not it will work, but really thats all there is to it.

      I am somewhat curious as to why Mr. Lippard would think that Marines are somehow more credible witnesses than non-Marines. I find that assumption to be particularly bizarre.

      • He didn’t claim to hit 100% at 600 yards, so there are your human error and environmental and ballistic factors.

        As for Marines being more credible witnesses than non-Marines, we all know that’s not the case. That said, if one of those Marines in question is Gunner Charles W. Henderson and he says it happened, it did.

    • Just because a pistol can shoot 1.5″ at 50 yards (which is quite possible with expert smithing), does not mean it will hold the same MOA out at distance–same for the ammunition.

      Nor does it account for hand holding the handgun, nor the extremely short sight radius for long range shooting, nor the size of the target in relation to the sights, nor the extreme drop of the bullet, etc, etc., etc. Not to mention the 50mpg wind!

      • If a pistol can shoot 3MOA at 50 yards, then yes, technically it can shoot the same MOA at a greater distance. MOA is distance independent; distance does not play a factor in the MOA accuracy of a firearm. It does play a factor in the MOA accuracy of the shooter. We are not machines, afterall … And it plays a factor in the MOA accuracy of the ammunition. The bullet may slow down predictably, and have a predictable flight path given a constant aerodynamic shape; but once it destabilizes, it becomes less predictable.

    • Joe & Rabbi-

      I agree completely regarding the questionable nature of the round’s ability to maintain 3 moa over those distances. But I have no facts one way or the other. My point was only that the 1911 is absolutely capable of that level of mechanical accuracy.

      Keep in mind there is a sport of long range centerfire pistol silhouette, normally shot with revolvers. Some of those folks might be able to weigh in on the .45 ACP, but other handgun cartridges (at max loads) have achieved amazing results:

      Google “long range handgunning” for more.

      As to the human skill factor, see the links above….there is no reason off of a rest that the shot cannot be made. It takes a good shooter, but it can be done.

      I’m not saying skepticism isn’t appropriate, but I am keeping an open mind.

      But I agree, this is not an appropriate replacement for a carbine.

  4. I do not have access to a ballistics calculator, but firing a .45ACP, even with +P, as a sniper round at 1,000 yards borders on insane. I’m not an expert, but assuming it has a long barrel, I would think that the scope might need to be offset to the side so that the barrel did not interfere with sighting due to the amount of elevation that would be required to get a .45 to hit at that distance. Maybe I’m wrong, but my first pistol was a Colt made Argentine 1911A1, and I can not see hitting much over 100 yards with it, even with a replacement barrel.

  5. Perhaps next time, he could use reprints of Obama’s birth certificate as the target. That could then potentially settle two controversies, once and for all.


  6. haha…. Karl’s website is even better… The SolidRifle sounds like one helluva gun. Some kind of mix between Judge Dredd’s sidearm and the railgun used in Eraser… it is classified but the military has the specs in hand.

    If what he is saying is true, I think we need to find the time machine he is using to pilfer his ideas for ‘Future Military Weapons.’

  7. 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.

    Dave Sevigny’s record-breaking F.A.S.T. drill shows one way to do it. Shoot, keep the camera rolling while walking out to the target, show the target, then speed up the walking part in post-production so it’s done without any editing but yet still short enough to be watchable.

    Or send me a copy of the video on DVD and I’ll do it myself.

  8. Hitting a stationary human-sized target with a 1911 is entirely possible at 100 yards, as long as the wind isn’t a factor. My Norinco will gong a manhole cover at that range all day long, with about a 65% hit rate once you figure out the sight dope.

    When 100 yard ranges aren’t available during my reviews, I’ve sometimes extrapolated a gun’s accuracy potential by doubling the size of my 50 yard groups. Extrapolating from 50 yards to 100 yards isn’t too big a leap of faith, but extrapolating from 100 yards to 600 yards is unjustifiable even for a rifle let alone a handgun.

    At 300 yards and beyond, precision marksmanship is not just a matter of centering the crosshairs and controlling your breathing and trigger pull. At 600 yards even a slight breeze will push the fastest bullet many inches off-center, and the trajectory of low-velocity rounds like the .45 ACP means you’re dropping the bullets on target like mortar rounds.

    Very few 19th century marksman had the skill to consistently hit *Bison* at 600 yards using the .45-75 Sharps or the .45-70 Government, even when using very long rifles with set triggers, precision aperture sights, and shooting sticks. The high BC of the long 400-500 grain bullets and their 1400fps muzzle velocity gave them much “flatter” trajectories than any .45 CP, but shooters still had to aim *yards* above their target.

    Elmer Keith famously (or infamously) took big game at ranges of 200 yards and beyond with large-caliber handguns, and Mr. Lippard himself may be another such instinctive marksman, capable of remarkable feats of handgun accuracy. If he is, however, the instantaneous ballistic computer in his brain does not ship with the pistol he’s selling, and mortal shooters will fire the Lippard pistol in vain at nearly-invisible targets on the distant horizon.

  9. Why are we still talking about this? Is it magical thinking, free marketing, or is it just pathetic begging to test a $3,500+ pistol.

    Bob Munden claims he can make a 200 yard hit on a party balloon with a snubby. This doesn’t make a snubby a sniper rifle, an ICBM, or even an item which is magically endowed with anything other than a real effective range of about 5 yards. Bob Munden video:

  10. Yes, there are long range pistol shooters out there that can put a round up a gnat’s ass at 100 yards and chew the heart out of a target at 500. They shoot from rests and many or most use heavily modified one-off pistols that would cost about as much as new Harley. Yes, I know that Kalashnikov was a locksmith who invented the most-produced rifle of all time while he was recovering from war wounds. Unlikely things have happened in the wonderful world of guns, and I’m not one to say never. BUT, Lippard says welcome to Futureworld, while I’m thinking that it’s more along the lines of Fantasyland.

  11. For those of you who can not imagine 600 yard 18″ gong strike
    with a technically advanced 1911 with very, very tight tolerances,
    Google Bob Munden and see what he does with his guns.
    Do you think his gun will be more accurate off the ransom?
    If the man is a wizard with his tool/weapon, anything is possible.
    There are legends abound(Robbin Hood comes to mind of the old school).
    Human factor can not be precisely quantified. No matter the vehicle.
    There is no way that you will shoot like Lippard with the same gun.
    I have not seen the feat so I will let it rest at that until I do.
    However, I will not deny Mr. Lippard of his bragging rights.


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