Pete Single is one super talented metal smith. Last year I had the chance to check out some of his handiwork in his shop and was just amazed. Pete’s attention-to-detail make his guns functional works of art. A true master of machinery, Pete’s understanding of math and measurement allow him to build firearms that are tight fit, accurate and reliable. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have Pete work his magic on my Smith & Wesson Pro Series 9mm 1911. Of course, Pete says there’s no magic involved, but it looks and feels like magic to me!
The Pro Series 9mm 1911 is a great little gun right out of the box. Designed by the Performance Center but produced in the factory, just some of the features are:
- Hand Polished Integral Feed Ramp
- Checkered 30 lpi Front Strap
- Oversized External Extractor
- Full Length Guide Rod
- Double Sided Frame Safety
- Extended Mag Well
I compete with primarily stock guns in production and iron sight divisions. They have served me well but there’s something really special about shooting a gun that’s custom built just for you. I sent Pete a stock Pro Series 1911. He sent back everything I wanted and more!
Just some of the work that went into this little wonder…
First, all critical parts were checked for proper Rockwell hardness before installation. Pete replaced the stock sights with the ones I love for shooting fast and accurately – Warren Tactical Sights. He also made a custom fiber optic front sight from a ‘Novak’ blank that is pinned in place. This sight just GLOWS!
Next, he flattened and serrated the top of slide in arrowhead pattern, to gain height for the new front sight blade. This is one of my favorite parts on the gun. I just love this detail and how it looks.
He added a match grade barrel bushing that he mated to the slide with a gauge fit. It can be easily removed by hand, with a custom recessed muzzle crown. Critical contact areas of the barrel were welded to remove excess play in the barrel lock-up. He honed the slide bore channel and dust cover internals for smoother cycling. The barrel tube was turned in a lathe for a gentle taper to remove potential bushing bind.
Pete fit a new ejector to work with tuned magazines. He welded the mag well opening to limit travel of the magazine to help prevent over insertion. He added a new extended magazine catch, properly heat-treated and machined from bar stock. The button was machined at an angle and the face serrated for positive contact.
The grip safety and area under the trigger guard were contoured to allow for a high grip. He then added a serrated memory pad. The back of the mainspring housing was machined inward to reduce the thickness before it was checkered to match the front strap. The heel was rounded for a smaller feeling grip. He also ground the rear of the slide to match the frame and grip safety.
Pete installed a Legacy Custom mag well that I can’t say enough about. The bottom of the frame is cut away .300. The internals were designed in 3D CAD CAM to allow the maximum opening on the sides and rear, but contours to the front to allow easy access in case a magazine gets stuck in the gun. This is a very unique design. The end product is a cavernous mag well that doesn’t increase the length of the gun. No worries about this gun fitting in the box for Single Stack competition or trying to seat mags into an extended mag well.
I’ve never really cared much about the finish on my guns. In fact, I used to shoot my open guns completely unfinished. Reliability is always more important than how the gun looks. That said, Pete shipped my gun off to the folks at Ion Bond and boy am I impressed. Ion Bond is a super slick finish that looks oh-so-nice! It is the same coating that he uses on the edge of his cutting tools to increase tool life.
Grips in composite G10 from VZ Grips complete a classy look for the gun in a beautiful wood grain finish. They also have a wonderful feel and slim design that work great with my smaller hands. The left side of the grip panel is generously relieved in front of the mag-catch for easy access to the button. These grips are incredibly strong, durable and have just the right texture.
Shooters are probably most picky about the way their triggers feel. A lot can be lost in translation between the shooter and the smith. Not the case with Pete, this trigger is just the way I like it. It’s a bit heavier than what many shooters prefer in a competition 1911 trigger, but I like most of my triggers to break in the 3lb range. This allows me to make easy transitions to the many different guns I shoot. I also like a trigger with a lot of roll. He changed out the stock trigger to a short one. He then took the best parts, a Koenig hammer and EGW sear, to give me just the pull I want.
The gun looks great, but how does it shoot? So far like a dream. I’ve got about a thousand rounds through the gun, shooting up what I call smorgasbord ammo. I’ve never shot a 1911 in 9mm. Between the light caliber, Smith & Wesson platform and thanks to Pete; this is now one of my all time favorite guns!