A custom carved pair of 1911 pistol grips

Custom Carving 1911 pistol grips

     I just finished a carving on a Rock Island Armory 1911 pistol in 38 super caliber.   The owner of this 1911 pistol needed a good looking, functional carving on the grips.   The grip on this 1911 pistol was a smooth hardwood and in the summer in Arizona, your hands can get anywhere from a little damp to down right sweaty when you’re at the range.  That makes gripping a pistol with a smooth grip a little tough.

     The 1911 pistol celebrates it’s 100th anniversary this year.  It was designed by John Moses Browning and became the official military sidearm in 1911.

 Here is a little history of the 1911 pistol, courtesy of Wikipedia:

John Browning’s most successful designs include the M1911 pistol, the Browning .50 caliber machine gun, the Browning Automatic Rifle, and a ground-breaking semi-automatic shotgun, the Browning Auto-5. These arms are nearly identical today to those assembled by Browning in the 1920s, with only minor changes in detail and cosmetics. Nearly all parts may be freely swapped between the earliest and latest of each series of these weapons, no matter when made, which has extended their service lifespan nearly indefinitely.

Service history

The Colt pistol was formally adopted by the Army on March 29, 1911, thus gaining its designation, M1911 (Model 1911). It was adopted by the Navy and Marine Corps in 1913. Originally manufactured only by Colt, demand for the firearm in World War I saw the expansion of manufacture to the government-owned Springfield Armory.

Battlefield experience in the First World War led to some more small external changes, completed in 1924. The new version received a modified type classification, M1911A1. Changes to the original design were minor and consisted of a shorter trigger, cutouts in the frame behind the trigger, an arched mainspring housing, a longer grip safety spur (to prevent slide bite), a wider front sight, a shorter spur on the hammer, and simplified grip checkering by eliminating the “Double Diamond” reliefs.[4] Those unfamiliar with the design are often unable to tell the difference between the two versions at a glance. No significant internal changes were made, and parts remained interchangeable between the two. 

  World War II

World War II and the years leading up to it created a great demand. During the war, about 1.9 million units were procured by the U.S. Government for all forces, production being undertaken by several manufacturers, including Remington Rand (900,000 produced), Colt (400,000), Ithaca Gun Company (400,000), Union Switch & Signal (50,000), and Singer (500). So many were produced that after 1945 the government did not order any new pistols, and simply used existing parts inventories to “arsenal refinish” guns when necessary. This pistol was favored by US military personnel.[6]

After World War II, the M1911 continued to be a mainstay of the United States Armed Forces in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was also used during Desert Storm in specialized U.S. Army units and US Navy Mobile Construction Battalions (Seabees), and has seen service in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, with U.S. Army Special Forces Groups and Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance Companies.

     As mentioned before, a more positive gripping surface was needed for this pistol.   The grips on a 1911 pistol are only about 1/4″ thick so the actual carving could not be very deep.   But it had to have a good gripping surface.   It was decided that adding a book-matched Basket Weave pattern to the grips would add the right amount of roughness as well as adding to the style of this 1911.   It also work perfectly with the pistol’s leather holster.  The leather on the holster was hand tooled in a Basket Weave pattern also.







     The grip carvings turned out to be a great gripping surface and a classy look that the owner was very happy with. 

     If you’re interested in this type of carving, give me a call, or drop me an email.


Thanks for stoppin’ by…

Lance Larson  


One thought on “A custom carved pair of 1911 pistol grips”

  1. Dear Mr. Lance, I’m an Italian hunter and collector of firearms, and i have read your site and your beautiful goals.I have a SPRINGFIELD 1911 45 auto.I have a question for you. Is possible the engraving ( only in the right panel )to one ” medieval armoured glove (closed)” surrounded to the Latin Motto :SUFFICIT ANIMUS. (His translation is : the courage is sufficient). The wood (preferibly) in a “clear” essence , type claro maple, or others. I want know the total cost of the realisation comprensive of the expedition cost in Italy, and if for payment you accept an ordering sheet with the code of my credit card that i sending you via Air Mail at your address.I give you my compliments for your realizations ( you have a ” very good hand”)+ my Best Regards
    Guido Scialdone
    P.S. For job trouble, the next week i going in Florence, the City of Michelangelo, Cellini, and i thinking that you wish was here, or not….????

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