Armand Swenson's Personal 1911

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by bladeandbarrel, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. bladeandbarrel

    bladeandbarrel ISO The Very Best 1911's

    Apr 6, 2019
    This pistol has been verified to be one of Armand Swenson's personal guns by Master Pistolsmith Jim Garthwaite who visited Swenson at his shop in 1990.

    This is a typical middle 1970’s “transition” full house Swenson build on a Sistema 1927 (Made in 1950) without the Gardena or Fallbrook address on the safety meaning it was likely built during the move of his shop, dating the gun to approximately mid-1970s. (He had completed the move of his home/shop to Fallbrook by 1977.)

    The pistol wears signature Swenson hallmarks such as the barrel positioner (Marked “R”) and Rear sight shear pin “Marked “S”) fine 30LPI checkering, industrial hard chrome finish, S&W low mounted “K” sights, hand-forged square trigger guard, front sight insert (unusual fluorescent yellow) and full reliability/accuracy work with welded and refitted Hi-Standard WW2 barrel. It has a refitted Commercial Colt hammer left in the white. Barrel, Sear and disconnector are also unchromed to avoid hydrogen embrittlement. Gun is in almost new condition. Inside of dustcover is faintly marked “Reid” who may have been the original intended customer, but for some reason, this pistol was never delivered and became a Swenson personal sidearm-hence the “S” in the rear sight shear pin which denoted the final customer’s last name.

    This gun wears handmade aged ivory micarta grips hand scrimshawed by “Randi” and inscribed “To Armand, 5-84”

    Enjoy the show!

    83666719_857606741357888_447910349614612480_n.png 83818426_2533103303485590_6841571414319824896_n.png 83706684_1254820941379793_683293420931776512_n copy.jpg 83804305_219696262384152_945593864041791488_n copy.jpg .
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
    Whiskey Sour, N of 1, Fred_G and 52 others like this.
  2. Jim w.

    Jim w. Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2016
    That's the prettiest Argie I ever saw.
    ZoidMeister likes this.

  3. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    Damn if that isn't reminiscent of ZOIDS1911 . . . .

    PCZoid-grips-final - 06.JPG

    PCZoid-grips-final - 01.JPG
    mtkamark, UBOATDOC, Mike A and 11 others like this.
  4. Jason Burton

    Jason Burton Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2012
  5. SparkyAZ

    SparkyAZ It is a dry heat, right...

    Sep 11, 2012
    Outstanding b&b... I have a vintage S&W K frame adjustable rear sight in my bone box that I would like to get installed on a 1911, some day. From what I understand, it is not a simple milling, drill & tap job?
    Gary1911A1 and ZoidMeister like this.
  6. Yoemen66

    Yoemen66 Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2017
    Old Sea Dragon likes this.
  7. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    I wish mine was as nice as the OP's gun.

    Stellar example of a great Smith's build. I do like that he chose an Argentinean for his personal collection. I think that gives credence to all Argentinean produced guns.

    They are awesome historical military pieces.

    Thanks for sharing that one @bladeandbarrel

  8. bladeandbarrel

    bladeandbarrel ISO The Very Best 1911's

    Apr 6, 2019
    To do it right-It isn't simple and very few folks offer it..
    Uncle Bob, FWoo45, WC145 and 2 others like this.
  9. joerockhead

    joerockhead "BOURBON" It's not just for Breakfast anymore ! Supporting Addict

    Oct 12, 2011
  10. 1911_Chad

    1911_Chad Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2018
    I've been curious to see a full-house custom build on an Argentine 1911....and then this pops up...and a Swenson too!!! I love it.
    FWoo45 and ZoidMeister like this.
  11. john_anch_ak

    john_anch_ak Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 7, 2017
    Simply stunning!
    ZoidMeister likes this.
  12. Jollyroger1

    Jollyroger1 Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2015
  13. 1911mechanik

    1911mechanik Christ is my front sight.

    Apr 29, 2016
    Incredible! It’s really awesome to see the work of the old masters. Thank you for sharing your gun. Out of curiosity how tight is it? Slide to frame fit? Barrel lockup?
  14. bladeandbarrel

    bladeandbarrel ISO The Very Best 1911's

    Apr 6, 2019
    It is extremely well fitted/snug and tight. Swenson's guns had to shoot a 1" group at 20 yards handheld before he would release them back to the customer. Typically Swenson test targets are one small ragged hole.
    simonp, FWoo45 and ZoidMeister like this.
  15. crc

    crc Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 17, 2012
    All shot strong hand if I remember correctly.
    Raylan Givens, FWoo45 and ZoidMeister like this.
  16. Don WIlliams

    Don WIlliams Member

    Jan 3, 2016
    The most difficult part of installing S&W adjustables on the 1911 is the slot for the elevation screw, which is square and requires a fairly shallow slot to be cut into the slide. This screws onto the elevation nut which has the slot you see from the top (looks like a screw, but is the female half of the set-up). The nut has a spring and plunger in it to give you the click adjustment. Austin Behlert got around this by having a bunch of screws made with the hole for the spring and plunger so one could just drill and tap a hole in the slide in lieu of the slot - saved a lot of work. I think I bought the last few of those he had before he passed, so now have to do it the old fashioned way again.
    AJP, azpoolguy, Mike Meints and 5 others like this.
  17. bladeandbarrel

    bladeandbarrel ISO The Very Best 1911's

    Apr 6, 2019
  18. WC145

    WC145 Every day is Saturday and every night's a party!

    Jan 1, 2013
    Wow, a serious piece of 1911 history right there. Thanks for posting it!
    FWoo45 and simonp like this.
  19. SRTCOP

    SRTCOP Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2018
    U N B E L I E V A B L Y C 0 0 L !
    FWoo45 likes this.
  20. joepilot

    joepilot So soon old, so late smart... Supporting Addict

    May 17, 2015
    Very, very cool! Beautiful pistola! Mr. Swenson was "the man" when I first started shooting 1911s back in the day. I have one of his ambi safeties on my Govt. Model. Love it!

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