Previous Post
Next Post

Colorado gun maker and Vietnam vet Karl Lippard had a look at comments made by TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia re: his NCO 1911 A2. Here’s his email:

A loose fitting gun can accept sand and water; a close tolerance gun lubrication must be displaced to get in. To function a pistol has traditionally been loose and therefore inaccurate. A Match gun as we know must me tight to shoot straight. Since 1910 we have come a long way in material, lubrication and design; firearms have not . . .

Most 1911’s cannot hold a tolerance because the material used will not hold it. Having worked on taking vehicles to Space and Aircraft to the fastest speeds recorded my R&D spans 40 years or so. I have developed the use of S7 Tool Steel in firearms while the same material is being used as in 1910 and some as late as 1939.

But since I developed Nickel Anti-Seize for the Gatlin gun for high speed, heat and close tolerance friction it is now used in all things close to prevent seizing such as all jet engines, milling machines and of course a Mil spec for use on our machine guns as well. The Combat NCO uses that lubrication to allow the gun to function under extreme conditions and patented recesses provide areas to collect any debris that can get into the weapon such as sand, mud and rain, also heat and extreme cold.

The Combat NCO has been in service since 1988. We have never had one returned or supplied a part. With a lifetime warranty to even the military then, one would have to assume the arms are still in service and are fine. Free parts and service are hard to pass up especially when the problem might have been caused by a enemy tank.

So either I am very wrong about firearms and a poor consultant to more than 30 firearms companies around the world over the last 35 years, the Marine Corps not included, or those companies would not consult with me still such a Grulla yesterday of Spain and Perazzi last week, Winchester, Merwin Hulbert, Ruger and Colt to mention a few.

Most engineers understand me very well. These comments are elementary. Marines understand me better. When he carries my gun in combat he knows who made it and shot it before he did, and killed more enemy danger close with a pistol than he likely will ever see. Name me a gunmaker who has done both. I know of none.


Karl Lippard

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. I would like to know, from an engineering/physics standpoint, how he can claim to have made the .45 ACP a 400 yard round in a pistol.

  2. I have no military experience and don’t want to presume to know what’s typical of those with combat experience. However, I do find the constant references to killing enemies a bit strange. Frankly, it comes across as insecure. Let the guns stand for themselves – if they’re as impressive as claimed, I don’t really care who makes them.

    • ” However, I do find the constant references to killing enemies a bit strange. Frankly, it comes across as insecure.

      He mentions killing once. It sounds like you’re the one who is insecure.

  3. Well I am an engineer and I still don’t know how he is able to get a .45ACP round to fly 400 yards accurately. He’s going to need to equip his 1911’s with the same ladder-type sights found on the SKS grenade launcher! A pistol is a pistol is a pistol. And BTW, just this past weekend I went shooting with 2 Marines (former). Neither of them could hit a 12″ target at 50-yards (S&W 586 in .357Mag) or a man-sized silhouette at 100-yards with an AR, so he should probably get off his “all Marine’s are world-class sniper’s” horse. I don’t have a good chart or calculator, but even a FMJ .45ACP round must be below 500 ft/sec at that distance. I would hardly consider this “combat effective”.

    • Patrick,

      Precisely. But the real value of his response, is that it is not a response to any of the questions we raised. Which speaks volumes about credibility.

      To function a pistol has traditionally been loose and therefore inaccurate. A Match gun as we know must me tight to shoot straight.

      OK, that’s gunsmithing 101. How does this support the claim of accuracy at 400 yards with a short-bbl pistol chambered in .45 ACP? How does tightening up the tolerances magically imbue the .45 ACP with the ballistics of say a .45-70 GOV round out of a rifle with 8x the bbl length?

      I have developed the use of S7 Tool Steel in firearms while the same material is being used as in 1910 and some as late as 1939.

      This sentence is a structural trainwreck, but I think I get the gist. S7 toolsteel is somehow revolutionary compared to 100 years ago. S7 is ok, pretty tough not very hard though (no knife blades in S7). Save for some minor cost considerations, I’m hard pressed to understand S7 over any one of a bunch of stainless blends that are tougher, harder, more corrosion resistant. Especially at a 3K-5K pricepoint.

      But since I developed Nickel Anti-Seize for the Gatlin gun for high speed, heat and close tolerance friction it is now used in all things close to prevent seizing such as all jet engines, milling machines and of course a Mil spec for use on our machine guns as well.

      A USPTO search yields no connections between Mr. Lippard and any nickel anti-seize patents. Perhaps he patented this pre 1975 so it’s not searchable by name. Perhaps it’s reassigned or under a corporate name. AFAIK, nickel anti-seize is utilized in most jet engines, but my personal Bridgeport vert mill requires none. Nor does my lathe. Might be useful on some obtuse location of a 5-axis CNC table, but there are a wide variety of synth lubes spec’d for the big machines. Also, not sure why one would need the hi-temp (2400F) aspect of the nickel in a milling machine.

      Most engineers understand me very well. These comments are elementary.

      I’m sure many of us are open to some of those non-elementary comments. I try to keep current with treatings, coatings, and lubricants. Please tell me which coatings and/or treatments you are using to make a pistol cartridge shot from a pistol perform like a rifle cartridge shot from a rifle.

      Even cryoing, micropolishing, and DLC on tight-tolerances hasn’t turned a pistol into a rifle in my experience. I get great improvements, but not that great. Perhaps I’m doing it wrong. Please some test results, a bench rest video of this 400 yard miracle in action. Then maybe a short white paper on the processes.

  4. I have a Combat NCO made by Karl Lippard. I will make no detailed claims, yet, as I have not fired enough rounds yet to satisfy myself. However, I have fired enough through this weapon, to know it is very accurate, and to know, most of you above no squat, and are amusing yourselves by comments with no direct knowledge, just doubts…although a few legitimate questions. I wonder about this website. Contact Hornady for ballistic on their .45 ACP ammunition at 400 yds, and then get back to me.

    • @Burt – you’re a little late to this party, but we welcome your comments. Most of us will admit that we may “know” squat when it comes to many things, although some of us know quite a bit when it comes to firearms. We never doubted the NCO’s accuracy or even the fact that it is well built. What we were questioning was the necessity, applicability, and repeatability of Karl’s claim to 400-yard fame. I did some extensive looking for .45ACP ballistics and found essentially nothing. Why? Well, it’s simple – no one cares about the ballistics of a .45ACP!

      The best data I could find (although it was never properly referenced or cited), was that a 230-grain FMJ .45ACP dropped almost 22″ by 100-yards, when sighted-in at 50-yards. Alternatively, a .44Magnum drops only (“only”) 10″ @ 100-yards with a 50-yard sight-in. If you have other convincing data to present, please email to or provide links – this is the “truth” about guns, so feel free to provide some perspective!

      • Patrick, lists a .45 ACP loaded with a Sierra 230 gr, FMJ Match bullet to a MV of 850 fps under several variations of firing conditions, calculated for std atmospheric conditions and adjusted for altitude to the following; Firing point reference, Altitude 500ft, Bore elevation at +33 deg, Maximum range 2096.3 yds. They offer more information, angles and elevation etc, on the chart, however the point is the .45 shoots quite a bit farther than 400 yds. I requested and recieved from Hornady detailed ballistics, specific to the .45 ACP as follows: MV 950fps, 230gr,up/dn hill angle 0 deg, Sight height 1.5 in, Zero 25 yds, Chart end range 425 yds, Cross wind 10mph @ 90 deg. At 375 yds Bullet height -296.97 in, Velocity 680 fps, Energy 255 ft-lbs, etc
        296 in is a lob as stated by someone above, however could be useful in certain situations. This tit for tat could go on and on, and I was skeptical at first on the .45 at long range….It can be done…at 200yds accuracy can be very effective….with practice. The NCO sight height’s are standard, it is in the front sight design and how you use them. I offer this FYI…another place for ballistics data is PointBlank.
        Karls pistol is in combat and competion with others, to my understanding.

  5. The point is that 400 yards with a M1911 and .45 ACP is more of a stunt than anything. There are shooters (like Hickok45 for one) who can hit sorta reliably at 200+ yards with a 1911, but that doesn’t make it a useful firearm at that range. First, it will have to be dead calm day. It’s a semi-interesting trick shot at best, and not really about the handgun. The guys who can make the shot can do it with most any good 1911, and if you can’t do it, it doesn’t matter what 1911 you have. Guys who can make it say it’s mainly about sighting it, because it’s a hell of a lob. Hickok does it with a Commander. I think you can find the video on YouTube.

    If Lippard really wanted to demonstrate his pistol’s accuracy, he would propose a comparison test with other custom 1911s at practical handgun distances. That would actually mean something.

    • I’ve met the man, heard him talk, and handled one of the super special shotguns he was pushing a the time for prices in the mid-30K range and above. Was a beautiful shotgun. Supposedly made out of “vacuum arc’d double re-melt steel” better than any other steel in the world. And he had for the first time in the world engineered the double barrel for his shotguns milled from a single block of his steel. This made them pattern better than any other shotgun in the world. (I think he was making hyper-expensive double barrel rifles, too.) He had also invented some way of injecting a special plastic into the wood stock at the molecular level making the hardest, most durable wood stocks in the world. He talked about a round he was developing that will go 8K fps. And I’m sure I heard him say he had shot a 1911 at 500 yards with 10 shots inside a 10″ group, “marked and verified,” he said. He had supposedly started his career as an engineer at NASA. I don’t know? Judge for yourself. That’s what I heard him say. As for me, a retired Marine, former Marine sniper, 12th award (high) expert rifle badge. I love the .45, just not the 1911. Will take a Springfield XD-M in .45 any day over a pricey 1911. And, no, I’ve never invented anything or done anything miraculous with a gun, especially a 1911–though many years ago I could shoot the whiskers off a fly with my M40A-1 USMC issued sniper rifle.


  6. Having carried a 1911 for 15 yrs in the military(11Bravo/Light Infantry) i still love the thing!!! Own 2 of them now along with other assorted pistols in various calibers from .22LR/.22Mag to .45acp, even a 1914 Mauser Pocket Pistol in 6.35mm(.25auto) that is still a decent short range handgun!!!
    As for the distance and accuracy of the .45 the farthest we ever shot/qualified with it was at 100 yds and that took a little Kentucky windage and elevation to do!!! Of course both of my current 1911’s do have better sights and the ammo is a little better too as I handload my own!!
    The farthest I shoot now is 50 yds and accuracy is very good with both!!!
    @Jim Davis yea I liked the M40 myself. Although I was in the Army got the chance a few times to work with Marine Snipers and Force Recon and really learned a lot and have a lot of respect for them. Semper Fi and thank you for your service!!!

  7. I have dealt with Mr. Lippard on several occasions. I build custom 1911 .45 clones as a hobby. I find Mr. Lippard to be very accessible, very informative and helpful. I also consider his innovations to the 1911 to be true improvements and the customer service at his factory is excellent.

  8. I see this as a custom 1911, with accuracy problems as any match grade 1911 has, his s7 tool steel is a stable material however so are other acceptable gun steels with the proper preparations, s7 in it’s standard condition is soft so as to be machinable but can be made very hard with heat treat, so can a6 and other tool steels, I have been a machinist for over 50 years, I understand tool steel, I also understand many other materials, most tool steels have been stress relieved to reduce internal stress so it’s a stable material, you stress relieve 4140 or 4150 you also get a very stable material, you coat it with nickel boron or some other coating you end up with a fantastic wear resistant, self lubricating gun, but with the same accuracy issues, a fixed barrel 1911 would be the answer to the age old issue, now I may not be a nasa engineer but


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here