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Discover the History of the Pistol

Anyone wanting to personalize his 1911 pistol should turn to High Figure Grips, which is run by a life-long woodworker who’s been making gun grips by hand for many years. High Figure Grips come in a wide variety of beautiful woods.

True aficionados of hand-held firearms are probably interested in the pistol models that carved out legendary places in history. Here are the seven most iconic.

The Colt M1911: Its United States service history spans from 1911 to 1985, and some still use it today. The improvements to the M1911 were small but practical: changes to the grip, the sight and the trigger pull. The 1911 was one of the first pistols that delivered enough shots in quick succession to take down multiple targets and enough power to work without pinpoint accuracy, all while being concealable and light.

The Colt Single Action Army: It was designed by Colt and two engineers in 1873. It was a featured pistol in many Hollywood Westerns and is responsible for the famous movie move of cocking back the hammer to tell the bad guy you're really serious. The SAA is also known as the Peacemaker and Colt .45. The Colt SAA was slowly phased out in the 1890s, when reliable double-action pistols entered the market.

The S&W .357 Magnum Revolver: The .357 round has the stopping power of a .45 but a much flatter trajectory, and the Model 27 carried six of these rounds. The Model 27 had to be custom ordered, with options on barrel length, sights, grips and finishes. At the time, it was the most powerful mass-produced handgun in existence.

The Luger: It was developed in 1898, and as an eight-round 9-mm semi-automatic pistol it was way ahead of its time. Nine-mm rounds had never been used before the Luger. It’s different from most semi-automatic pistols in that it features a jointed arm rather than a slide.

The Glock 17: In 1980, the Austrian military was looking for pistol candidates to replace their aging Walther P.38s. It took the Glock pistol only a few years to mix into the international market, and it now commands about 65 percent of the market share of U.S. law-enforcement pistols.

The Walther P .38: Its double/single action mechanism used double action on the first shot. The recoil from that shot would cock the hammer, and it used a single action to release the hammer on the rest of the magazine. This hybrid mechanism was an improvement over its predecessors. It remained in military and police service into the


The Browning Hi-Power: It forever influenced the way pistols were made because of its staggered 13-round magazine. Previous attempts at high-capacity magazines were often too bulky, heavy or unreliable to be practical.

High Figure Grips also handcrafts knife handles for the Spyderco Delica and Kershaw Skyline. Be sure to visit its Facebook page and You Tube channel. Feel free to contact Jon at 612-860-7337 or

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