Tag Archives: custom carved 1911 pistol grips

A much more stylish, custom carved, Katana 1911 Grip

 Custom Carved Katana Grip Evolution


I have carved quite a few of my “Katana” 1911 grips for folks all over the nation.  The feel so good in the hand that I have a set on my own 1911.    But nothing stays the same.   The “Katana” Grip style underwent an evolution recently.   Let me show you…


I had a client send me a photo of a Samauri Sword handle that had a metal ornament in the handle.  I was on top of the rayskin and the cording of the grip was wrapped around it.  The ornament became part of the grip.  He asked if I could incorporate this in a carving of a set of grips for his 1911 and I moved forward with this project.


The 1911 grips he sent were smooth Maple and the design called for a third level to be carved in the thin 1911 grips – Three blossums and two flowerbuds to look like they were wrapped under the carved corded area of the grips and only showing through the diamond shaped openings along the grip.    Below is what the looked with the carving complete and before the staining and finishing was done.



I took some time with the staining using oil paints that were diluted down to be much lik a stain instead of a paint.   The only area that was stained was the area inside the carved diamonds,   The rest of the grips were finishe their natural woodgrain with Tru-Oil finish applied with my fingertip to work in into the wood.   A brush works fine, but I find it better to work a good clear oil finish in the the stock by hand to prevent drips in the finish.   many thin coats are better that one or two thick coats.






Is this a grip style that interests you?   If you have a custom design idea, we can work the final design up together.  Drop me an email.

Thanks for stoppin’ in …

Lance Larson





The Silver Star on a 1911 Grip

Two Military Metals on one set of 1911 grips.


     I was contacted by a client who wanted a special Christmas gift for a parent who had been awarded both the the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.    He wanted the medals carved on the pistol grips for a 1911 pistol.     I jumped at the chance to do this work for an American Military Hero.   The grips were shipped to me and I got right to work since this was a Christmas gift and time was a big factor .

     I relief carved the medals into the wood and stained the wood with diluted oil paints.   Then I put several coats of finish over the top.   I mounted it on my own 1911 to see how they looked.   Then I shipped them out to my client.

























     I was told that it was a very emotional experience when the grip were mounted on the pistol on Christmas.   I’m glad I could help make it special for the family.



Thanks for stoppin’ by…

Lance Larson


Model 1911 Grips for a Wounded Worrior

 Hand Carved Purple Heart Medal on 1911 Grips.


      I recently had the pleasure to carve a set of grips for member of our armed forces .    This person was awarded the Purple Heart and wanted to have it on the grip of a 1911 along with the name and symbol of the soldier’s unit.  


     A set of smooth grips made by a grip manufacturer named Altamont were ordered and sent to me to work on.    I would recommend these grips highly.    They are high quality grips and great wood to work and carve with.  




     The unit logo was sent to me and I hand carved it in sort of an inlay/scrimshaw style on the right side.   The left side had the Purple heart medal carved in an Inlay style also.    This type of carving was used because there is not much wood in a 1911 grip.   Deep relief carving would never work.   Inlay takes off little wood but still offers an improved grip on the pistol.     























If you see someone in uniform, take a moment and thank them for their service.

Remember,   We are the land of the free, BECAUSE of the brave.


Thanks for stoppin’ by:


Lance Larson 

Model 1911 custom carved grips

Custom Carved Grips for your Model 1911


    There has been a huge increase of popularity in the model 1911 pistol over the last few years.   It seems to be peaking with the 100th anniversary of the model 1911 this year.   Because of this there are a huge number of firearms manufacturers making various versions of the model 1911 pistol.   

     You can get an entry level G.I. model for a few hundred dollars, a top of the line model with all the bells and whistles for several thousand, or your choice of almost anything in between.  No matter what model they choose, most enthusiasts want to make it their own – to personalize it.  There is no better way to do this then choosing a custom grip.

     There are many pistols that come withwood grips sporting a basic checkering pattern, some pistols even come with smooth wooden grips.    I will show you an option here of a basketweave that can give you something that is functional and very personal.  The work you see here can be done on your current grips or I do keep some completed grips on hand for sale.


      The following photos show the steps.   First the basketweave outline is carved.

     Then the voids in the weave are removed.

     Next, the actual basketweave is defined and given depth.

     The individual weaves are given texture.  Notice the difference between the steps.

 Ready for the Tung Oil finish.

     As I said, the work you see here I can do on your current grips, I can carve grips on hand to your specifications, or I do have some completed custom carved grips on hand for sale.   You have many options, Basket Weave, Fish Scales, Scrolls, Leaves, Wildlife, or just your Initials.   If this kind of personalization interests you, contact me and let me know how I can help.


Thanks for stoppin’ by ……

Lance Larson



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