Commando Special by Ikey Starks at Sports West. During the birth of practical pistols shooting, (in the late 1970s and early 80s) nationally known shops like shops like Pachmayr, Behlerts, Kings, Hoag, Swenson, and others had insanely long backlogs. As a result, smaller regional shops filled the gaps for high-quality guns with faster turnaround. One of these was “Sports West” in Denver, CO. Denver was a hotbed of practical shooting and the main man at Sports West, Ikey Starks was well known for building beautiful custom handguns. His partner George Orndorff was highly regarded for fine gunsmithing as well. Noted Gunsite trainer/competitor and writer Chuck Taylor approached Ikey/George about building a signature model and the “Chuck Taylor Commando Special” on a Colt Commander was born circa 1979/80. I have only seen a handful of these guns in the wild, so when this one showed up at my local gun store, I grabbed it. The high polish blue slide/electroless nickel frame juxtaposed over hand checkering with a Bomar make it “old school cool” to me.


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