This gun must be backed into slowly. The name on the slide is Robert E Peterson. Mr. Petersen, from Santa Monica California, started a little publishing company in 1949 that was responsible for over 25 different renown magazines, not the least of which was Hot Rod and Guns and Ammo.
An avid hunter and collector, Petersen amassed a sizable collection of firearms featuring hundreds of unique and historically significant antique and modern firearms. Following Petersen’s death in 2007, and keeping with his wishes, Petersen’s widow donated a 400-piece portion (worth 25 million dollars) of his extensive collection to the National Rifle Association’s National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, VA. The Robert E. Petersen Gallery is 2,000 square feet and contains 425 of the finest American and European firearms the world over.
The Accu-comp LE, named for Leatham and Enos, was then (and still is) considered the state-of-the art compensated combat auto of the single/double port expansion chamber style. Wilson not only contributed to this well known design, but he also catapulted the 38 super cartridge to prominence. In 1984 at the US Nationals in Phoenix AZ, Leatham destroyed the field with a 38 super Accu-comp. The switch from .45 after that was exponential and the Accu-Comp would set the new standard.
So where the hell did this thing come from? Why did Peterson commission it in the first place? He wasn’t a competitive shooter— if he wanted a bespoke 1911 from Wilson, why order it on an Accu Comp platform? The answer is I don’t know. There were hundreds of Accu Comps made, and I’ve owned a few, but I suspect this is the only one on the planet finished to this level. I’m positive Mr. Petersen gave Bill “open credit card” latitude. Ok so more questions: Why isn’t it in the NRA museum? I don’t know. Why was it on the internet being sold by an east coast shotgun dealer? I don’t know. It’s a mystery cloaked in an enigma. I do know this: It’s unfired and it’s a work of art. Would I trade it? Maybe for a Devel 1911. Your move Mr. Novak.
FWIW: What is shown is an Accu-Comp DP. The Accu-Comp LE was the single-port version. .
The NRA’s National Firearms Museum has been accused of mismanagement, with directors taking their pick of donated firearms and selling others. Perhaps someone thought that this one wouldn’t be missed?