Veteran’s blend in well. They rarely ask for help.
It's easy to miss the veterans around us that might need a helping
hand or a word of encouragement. We are all busy with work, family, and the
daily grind of just making ends meet. After well over a decade of war across
numerous battlefields in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and more on the
way, it's no wonder we have young men and women who still struggle with
flashbacks of an ambush or visions of a wounded buddy. You don't have to have
been there to understand what the experience must have been like. YouTube
and the nightly news provide plenty of images. I feel fortunate to have come
through the experience doing okay. Don't get me wrong, you can't escape
the memories, some things just sear the soul. But I'm good, and simply wanted
to do something for former teammate, Tom Spooner, founder of #MISSION22, and
lend a hand in his extraordinarily important mission. Even one veteran suicide
a day is too many, but twenty-two a day is a national tragedy.
I decided on building a pistol to raffle, with hopes of
raising both funds and awareness to help out. But, I needed to know more than
how to shoot out the x-ring or do a cool mag change.
So I spent six months in and out of pistolsmith schools
learning from the experts on how to custom build the most famous handgun of all
time - the M1911A1 .45 ACP pistol.
The venerable M1911 was the work horse of our troops in WWI and
WWII, expertly wielded by the likes of Sergeant Alvin York and Gunnery
Sergeant John Basilone. Outlaws like John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Pretty
Boy Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde chose the M1911 before it ever saw service in
Korea, Vietnam, and Grenada. Most recently, Delta Force operators Sergeant
First Class Randy Shughart and Master Sergeant Gary Gordon took to their
Caspian custom M1911A1 .45's in the dusty streets of Mogadishu, Somalia before
making the ultimate sacrifice.
The #MISSION22 Custom build 1911 is handcrafted and fitted the old
fashion way, the same way John Moses Browning did it at the turn of the 20th
century - using files, stones, oil, sand paper and good old fashioned elbow
grease. Built on a precision machined Caspian frame with Government model 5”
gunsmith fit forged slide and serial numbered MISSION22, it sports a gunsmith
fitted Bar-Sto Match Target barrel, Greider Precision Match Trigger, and a
blended Smith & Alexander mag guide. Each individual piece was dressed,
toleranced, and hand fitted individually by me before proofing for accuracy at
my home range.
Along the way, two very talented craftsmen joined the team. Former
Army veteran and pistolsmith Jim Ryan, of JR Custom Holsters in Emmett, ID, is
well known for his gorgeous custom horsehide and exotic leather holsters, mag
pouches, and belts. For #MISSION22, he handcrafted a beautiful outside the belt holster
of burgundy lizard and black frog to dress the pistol in. Jim individually
crafts each holster one at a time, to order, literally performing all
operations solo, including sewing by hand.
Former Army infantryman, veteran Joey Watson of Joe Watson Knives
in Austin, TX, handcrafted a beautiful one-of-a-kind blade. Well known for his
self-defense, every day carry oriented blade designs, Joe modified his Mini
Bowie pattern grounding it from CTS-B75P steel and heat treating it before applying
a satin finish with a polished convex edge. Joe then sculpted carbon fiber
handle slabs and set off with mosaic pins before laser engraving the #MISSION22
logo near the hilt.
course, once Jim saw Joey’s blade, he knew it needed a matching sheath and went
back to the shop. Like me, Jim and Joey are “one-man shop” veterans that
genuinely appreciate American values, hand craftsmanship, and veterans’
struggles, and I’m honored to have them part of this special project.
Along the way, many others stepped up to support the #MISSION22
build including Dave Lauck of D&L Sports, Ed Strange of WickedGrips, Joe
Chambers of Chambers Customs, and Mark and Jennifer Smith of Precision Bluing.
On behalf of US veterans everywhere, I thank them with a humble heart.
We truly appreciate your interest in this raffle, but more so your
interest in helping us curb veteran suicide. On Memorial Day, 25 May 2015,
we’ll draw the winners and contact you directly to preserve your privacy. But, we'd really love for you to tell all your friends and help us spread the #MISSION22 word.
NOTE: Contest open to U.S. residents only. Prizes shipped inside
the Continental US only. The firearm is awarded only to the entrant drawn and
will not be awarded if the firearm presented is illegal in the jurisdiction of
the winner. An alternate, authorized winner will be selected. No substitutions
or transfers to a third party are allowed. Firearm will only be shipped to a
Federal Firearms License holder only where winner will be confirmed legal to
own IAW Federal ATF regulations after undergoing a background check. Winner
must abide by all federal, state, and local laws and are responsible for FFL