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Charlie's Swenson, etc.

2429 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Charlie Petty
CP, why'd did Swenson use a spring clip to deactivate the grip safety rather than pinning it? Easier to restore the safety to full function? He even took the time to get the grip screws to point the same direction. Super Nice.

Also, which one of your 1911s has the handmade ambi-saftey?
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I have no idea why he did it that way other than he was the great man and could do as he wished. As best I recall all the guns of his that had the safety disabled were done that way but I haven't studied that many. Uncle Walt Rauch is the resident expert on Swensons maybe he'll chime in.

The home-made safety was another story, but it's on a GI gun with Colt frame and Rem-Rand slide.
I don't mean to interrupt the flow, but I think I'm missing something.
Is this a continuation of another thread and is this a reference to Armand Swenson of Fallbrook?
I have a friend who has several of Swenson modifed 1911s and they are a pure joy just to hold and admire. I think we are close enough friends that, if I asked, he would actually let me fire one or some. We are also that close that I wouldn't ask. If they were mine, I would hermetically seal them and keep them under glass.
If I'm not mistaken, he also has a shoulder holster either designed or built by Swenson. It is kind of unique in that the holding straps are made of very thin webbed cloth and the snaps are help on pieces of cloth. It is a sort of breakaway model.
I don't know the reasoning behind it, but my friend says it was very comforatable to wear. Maybe the comfort was the reason.
David B. said:
I don't mean to interrupt the flow, but I think I'm missing something.
Is this a continuation of another thread and is this a reference to Armand Swenson of Fallbrook?
No, I just jerk this outa thin air. Charlie's Swenson is pictured on page 75 of "American Handgunner." I was admiring the grips, checkering on the frame and the S&W adjustable sights when it dawned on me the grip safety had been deactivated. I knew the handmade ambi-safety was on another 1911 - as pretty a piece of work as you could ask for. This was loooong before ambi-safties were commercially available.
Thank you sir. I think so too.

On further review it might well be that way because Swenson wanted to make it easy to reactivate the saftey. The strap is held on by the grips so it would be simple to do. The other customary methods of deactivating are either permanent (grinding off the inner part) or by putting a pin through the safety either into the mainspring housing or frame. All of those really stink. If you grind the end off you've still got something flopping around and any of the pins would make detail stripping difficult.

David, tell you buddy that you know this poor old gunwriter who only has one... :cry:
What is the issue date on your American Handgunner?
The most recent I have is July/August and page 75 has an article on the speed of Jerry Miculek. I have all the back issues going to 2002.

Charlie, Several decades ago, I had an opportunity to buy a Swenson modified gun. At the time, unless I was in law enofrcement and had a real need, the waiting time was something like 2 1/2 years. LEO's could get one in 6 months.
At the time, I could not see past the price of the work and passed up the opportunity.
Swenson's reputation was always good with cops who did get special treatment and GIs going to Nam got them even faster. I know a few guys who bought Swensons or Devels way back when but nobody is letting them go...
And I don't blame them.
My friend wouldn't even think about, let alone seriously consider, selling his. I'm hoping to be adopted by the family but since we are the same age, that becomes awkward.
I'm not nearly as knowledgeable as most others on these matters, but there is something special about just holding one of these pistols that have been customized by a craftsman turned artist.
And when you realize that these guys were working without the benefit of todays modern technology, it really is a work of art.
I was mistaken when I said my friend had several. It's only two.
I forgot about the holster. I've never seen one quite like it. I think it also had some clear plastic that the snaps attached to. I really must check on that as it was part of a "system" and I beleive that it came from Swenson, also.
I won't be able to check until next week.
That's from the September 04 issue. I just got mine in the mail Friday.
The Swenson guns usually had the very characteristic plating that was a signature but he did do lots of other stuff.

I've also got an Ace 22 that was "accurized" by Swenson. The only proof is all the paperwork including correspondence from him and a bill that, by 70s standards, was incredible.

I've been looking for his guns for some time and haven't seen any for sale at any shows.

David... I understand the process, but you should tell the guy that it is illegal for anyone to have more than one. That rule will change instantly if I find another at any kind of reasonable price.
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