I met David Fink, owner/head gunsmith at
Fink’s Custom Gunsmithing, a few years ago while attending an
industry event hosted by Simply
Rugged Holsters at Gunsite
had recently graduated as a gunsmith from Yavapai Community
College and had hung his shingle, and set up his mill, in nearby
Chino Valley, AZ. A
US Navy veteran and married father of one cute-as-a-button
little girl, he was starting to make a name for himself in the
community and was attending this industry event with me.
We had recently enjoyed a few days of shooting, and also
getting to know each other, at another media event, again at
Gunsite Academy, so I decided to leave a few handguns with him
for some improvements.
While most of my shooting over the last few
years has been with full size, 5” barrel/slide 1911, or
1911-style pistols, one thing that I cannot abide on a carry, or
carry-able, 1911 pistol is a smooth front strap and a smooth
slide. In the
Arizona heat, my hands tend to sweat and can get a little
slippery so front cocking serrations and a checkered front strap
are a must for me for any gun that I may elect to carry.
I realize both of these can be a “like ‘em or leave
‘em” kind of thing for most shooters, but to each his or her
own. That’s how I
prefer to have a gun that I carry.
I left David with three of my current
favorite (or at least strong candidates to potentially crack the
top 5!) pistols for front strap checkering.
One is a blued 70s Series Colt Government (Gov’t) model
45 ACP, one is a lightweight Springfield Armory 1911-A1 9mm, and
lastly, one is another 70s Series Colt Government model but this
one is chambered in 9mm that had been hard chromed along the
way, probably upon re-importation from Israel, as it was a
service pistol there at some point.
The blued Colt Gov’t model in 45 ACP is a
very recent acquisition found in a local pawn shop.
It was found already fitted with one of Wayne Novak’s
great rear sights already installed, which is my favorite for
carry guns, and also already had an extended thumb safety and
beavertail grip safety installed.
It was someone’s fighting pistol, for sure, so I
decided it would make for a good addition to my EDC battery, but
needed a checkered front strap for a more positive grip.
I found the lightweight Springfield Armory
1911-A1 9mm pistol on Gunbroker
not too long ago and thought it could make for an interesting
pistol that, should reliability and accuracy prove themselves,
could be a candidate to insert in my EDC rotation. When I acquired it, it had a black anodized aluminum frame
with an olive drab slide so I asked David to go ahead and also Cerakote
the gun in black once he was done with the checkering.
The hard chromed Colt Gov’t 9mm has already
proven to be quite an accurate pistol.
I used it during my 350 Advanced Pistol class at Gunsite
back in 2018 and it served me well.
In one of my not so bright decision making moments, I
actually traded it away once for something I had to have, though
now cannot remember. I
was able to trade back into it a few months ago, again for
something I cannot remember.
This time, it is staying in my safe, or on my hip!
While the hard chrome looks great, and provides good
finish protection, it feels particularly slippery to me,
especially when press checking, so I thought it would be a great
candidate for front cocking serrations along with the front
It wasn’t too long before David called me
to let me know the guns were ready.
David offers four different levels of coarseness for his
checkering: coarse (20 lines per inch, or LPI), medium (24 LPI),
fine (30 LPI) and extra fine (40 LPI).
I opted for his fine checkering, which felt the best in
my hands. The
checkering on all three guns was perfect.
It is crisp, straight and provides for exactly the right
level of “grippiness” on the front strap for my liking.
With his front cocking serrations, David is
able to match whatever style of rear cocking serration pattern,
to help provide a more balanced and matching pattern on the
slide. He was able
to skillfully just about perfectly match the serrations on the
rear of the slide on the hard chromed gun.
He recommended a simple bead blast finish over both the
front serrations and the checkered front strap in order to best
match the hard chrome finish of the 9mm Colt Gov’t.
This was a great recommendation, as there is barely any
difference in the finish after his work.
While speaking with David a few weeks ago, I
also mentioned to him in passing that I had some trouble
ejecting empty cases from my recently acquired 7.5” barrel
Ruger Bisley Single Seven chambered in 327 Federal.
It seemed that the ejection port was cut just a little
too undersize to reliably and positively allow the empty case to
be pushed out with the ejector rod.
The rim of the case would hang up on the frame and the
cylinder would need to be rotated back, ever so slightly, to
allow for extraction. Sometimes
it even required turning the cylinder back around and catching
that chamber before it clicked over to get the case to eject.
He was able to open up that ejection port just enough,
and now the gun extracts empty cases perfectly, without any hang
up, and without any impact to the loading gate.
have to say that I am very impressed with the quality of the
work, the quick turn-around time, and the friendly service
provided by David Fink. If
you’ve got some gunsmithing work for which you’ve been
waiting on the right time and the right gunsmith, give David
Fink a call, he won’t disappoint you.
Custom Gunsmithing, Chino Valley, AZ - Phone (928)756-8916
/ Web Site: www.finksguns.com.
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