Previous Post
Next Post

Just got back from Colorado Springs where I spent most of the day with gunsmiths Karl Lippard and Charles Henderson. I got a thorough explanation of both of their signature guns, the Combat NCO and the CQB. Actually, it wasn’t so much an explanation as it was like drinking from a firehose. It’s going to take a few days to process it and get it down into something that makes sense, but in the meantime, here’s a nice snapshot of a corner of Karl’s garage-cum-workshop and a few nearly-built CQBs and NCOs in their final stages of fitting. Trust me, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. I don’t care if the thing gives good blowjobs on top of everything else – 4 to 5 grand for a pistol is just ridiculous.

  2. I’d like to go on record as stating that I’m not putting my penis anywhere near a gun, regardless of the gun’s price point or value-for-money.

  3. I just want to go on record here, that what is in question is not the finery of Mr Lippard’s 1911. There are a dozen noted gunsmiths crafting exquisite, very expensive, 1911 pistols. Most of them have wait lists measured in months and years. Picking up any of their weapons will blow a Kimber, Springfield or even Les Baer or Nighthawk out of the water. You can often order them up any way you want (though most pistolsmiths are selected because they have an aesthetic or angle that is in line with what the customer is looking for).

    So far, Lippard’s pistols look essentially like copies of the USMC MEU(SOC) pistols circa… since the MEU(SOC) pistols were created by USMC precision armorers. That is to say, made from a bunch of quality parts available from the 1911 cottage industry in the 1980s (back when ring hammers, Caspian frames and Pachy grips were all the rage of modern 1911s). Call up Berryhill Gunsmithing, and he will build you one for about $2500. They look just as nice as this Lippard business.

    Making a nice looking 1911 that shoots well isn’t the question at hand. Nor is this 400 meter malarkey. In my mind; has Lippard truly invented a 1911 with fully interchangeable parts, that can run 25,000 rounds between part changes (extractors), can feed from beat up magazines and where 5 pistols can be disassembled, their parts put into a bucket, and 5 pistols reassembled with no loss in accuracy or reliability?

    • Yeah, but why is that any kind of benchmark?

      At, again, 4 to 5 grand a pop, how many home enthusiasts (because that’s what we are here) are going to buy four or five of these guns, disassemble them all, throw them into a bucket, put them all back together at random, and have their lives count on what comes out of it?

      And if a group of friends all buy them, why would they all go to the range on a given day, disassemble their guns, throw them into a bucket, and mix and match parts?

      All of this just seems like much ballyhoo about nothing. The only thing that matters about these guns is what’s found in any standard gun review:

      Aesthetics (which I personally find quite pleasing)
      Craftsmanship (At $4k to $5k, it better be damn good)
      Accuracy (Given the creator’s claims, this is of particular interest)

      If five of them in a bucket counted for anything at all, practically everything available for purchase would be the greatest thing ever made.

      Give me five running Ford Crown Victorias in a bucket – I’ll mix and match parts and put together five fully functional, road worthy cars. Give me five working, identical PCs in a bucket, and I’ll slap you out five working computers (or one really badass one).

      I’m really interested to see the final reviews for this gun. I’m curious to know if they live up to the claims made about them. I’m curious to know if they are comfortable to shoot. I’m curious to know if they are as accurate and reliable as stated.

      I don’t give a rat’s ass if five bucket guns still live up to the same hype. This “throw five of them into a bucket” business isn’t any practical measure of a guns worth. You say that’s what the army does? So what. Are you in the army? Me neither. Even if, is the Army going to let you keep the $5,000 bucket pistol when you discharge? I didn’t think so.

      • I would state that it is relevant because that is what Mr. Lippard claims his pistol will do and these are for the military. It should be if a part breaks, all you need to do is go to the armory and get a new part. If the parts are not interchangeable, the it is a major detriment to the guns stated function.

      • The point is that this pistol is competing to be the next issue gun for the Marines. You need complete parts interchangeability so that repairs and servicing can be conducted in a tent in the middle of Afghanistan, using a bucket of available parts. From a civilian perspective, no, the “bucket test” doesn’t really matter much. However, Mr. Lippard is making a bunch of claims about how great his gun is, and how the military would be foolish not to give him millions of taxpayer dollars to build them. So I think it matters whether or not the thing can be repaired under field conditions, simply because I don’t like to see tax money pissed away on stupid crap.

      • First off, the “Bucket Test” is not of my own invention. The idea was spawned from the SIG armorer’s course. In the final exam, all 20 students or so detail strip their P226 pistols and dump the parts into a large bucket. The individually retrieve the components and assemble a fully functional pistol to pass the exam.

        The point is; the P226 is so well manufactured and designed that the bucket test is irrelevant to the question of the overall engineering and functional quality of the weapon; it is a test of newly minted armorer’s ability to put the damn thing together.

        This is an important consideration for anyone who buys a modern firearm. The engineering and “hard tooling” investment in building a weapon that can be built up with components fresh off the assembly line with no hand fiddling or adjustment is a major factor in the reliability, accuracy and durability of modern weapons. Think of it like this; nobody worries about the voodoo factor of their SIG, Glock, HK, Beretta, S&W M&P or Springfield XD armorer… these folks simply replace the defective part with a factory fresh item and the weapon is dead reliable again.

        The 1911 was designed in the era of “soft tooling.” When they were produced for war, machines churned out imprecise parts that were hand fitted by scores of (often female) gunsmiths who used files, jigs and sandpaper to build a complete weapon. These WWII production 1911s were built loose and inaccurate, to serve as last ditch defense weapons for infantrymen when their primary arm failed in a crisis.

        Modern attempts to use contemporary production techniques to turn the 1911 into a “slap it together” pistol on par with a SIG, Glock, HK, Beretta, etc… weapon have been a failure. Kimber was built as a large scale, production 1911 company here in Clackamas Oregon, and was bought out by investors who believed that Metal Injection Molding could produce a modern, “hard tooled,” production 1911. Failures of this strategy are easy to find on the internet. At best, Kimbers are reliable enough to be plinking guns good for a few hundred rounds, but anyone with more than two brain cells and a hard, high round count pistol course ahed of them would never run a Kimber…

        Which brings us to the MEU(SOC) pistols Mr Lippard is looking to source for the USMC. Just a few years ago, this same unit sought “off-the-shelf” weapons to replace 50 year old frames that had been rebuilt (multiple times) by USMC Quantico precision armorers. They bought Kimbers. In fact, Kimber was so proud of their selection, they built the “Kimber Warrior” as a commercial pistol that played off of their COTS win…

        Now, less than 5 year later, the Marines are seeking a NEW 1911 pistol. The Kimbers have been shot to hell, and they want a new toy…

        So let us put things in perspective: The only reason we are talking about Lippard is because the Marines have shot to hell pistols that most civilians consider great quality weapons that last forever, in less than 5 years. Kimber is a $38 million dollar a year company with significant R&D resources, producing pistols built around the most modern of production and precision manufacturing methods built around “hard tooling” and the ability to slap any individual pistol together from standard production parts with zero skilled hand fitting…

        And they failed in 5 years.

        Mr Lippard claims his $5000, built in a garage, cutting edge circa 1985 component pistol can somehow solve the problems Kimber could not.

        See why a bucket test is important to validating Mr Lippard’s claims is?

        See how it applies to civilians (who may not want the voodoo factor involved in their pistol’s reliability) is?

        See how it applied to spending taxpayer money to a mass issue, Tier One unit, when other .45 caliber pistols in Tier One units have been well proven (the HK45 in CAG, and HK45C in SEAL teams)?

  4. The thing to keep in mind here is that Mr. Lippard, unlike most of the CEOs running major firearms manufacturing companies, has actual honest-to-God wartime combat experience with the 1911! As such, he knows what parts need improvement because he has either seen a failure firsthand or served alongside others that did. The fact is, most of the so-called “improvements” on the 1911 platform have been purely aesthetic or unnecessary for combat scenarios. The fact that Mr. Lippard’s manufacturing facility is a garage has absolutely ZERO to do with anything. Here’s a fun fact, every big company in this great country of ours was once a small company! John M Browning manufactured his first firearm in his father’s shed their family home.
    Mr. Lippard’s claims should NOT be taken lightly! After all, he proved with his previous design, the “NCO”, that accurate 500yd+ shots are possible with the venerable 1911 platform. This man has, so far, backed up every claim that he has made regarding his improvements to the 1911!
    Lastly, the reason that this gun is $4k+ is precisely because it is being made in a garage (read: hand-fitted, limited run, high quality). A contract from the USMC would, no doubt, allow the cost/weapon to decrease significantly as production would be expanded. Increased production would serve to decrease costs of manufacture as the cost of materials (among other things) would decrease due to larger volume purchasing. Besides, a weapon that the manufacturer guarantees unconditionally for 150,000 rounds (including abuse) is ABSOLUTELY worth $4-5k!!! This is a manufacturer that really believes in their product & stands behind it! If I had the scratch, I would absolutely lay that money down.

Comments are closed.