In the era of bullseye shooting that started before World War II, the revolver was king. Eventually, gunsmiths came up with ways to accurize the 1911, and the revolver began to fade. Richard Shockey’s bullseye guns were mythical in their function and accuracy. Considering the tools and parts-of-the-day, it’s astounding that pioneers like Shockey were able to turn out the quality of work they did. Out of the box high quality oversized parts weren’t a thing yet. These guys took a client’s gun, and retaining most of the original parts, they start welding things up to make them oversized to accommodate hand refitting.
For years Shockey was an avid bullseye shooter. He apprenticed as a machinist in PA during the late 20s and early 30 and worked as a tool and die maker after that. During WWII and until 1948, he was a tool room foreman at the York, PA Naval Ordnance Plant. Subsequent to that job, he finally started a shop of his own. Gill Heberd’s 1960 catalog had Shockey Deluxe Customs listed for $192.50, which was an exceedingly high price for a pistol at that time. One thing unique to Shockey’s guns was the addition of his famous ‘mousetrap. It was a spring attached to a recoil spring plug, used to keep the barrel tight against the recoil rod at lock-up. During the process of installation, some metal was relieved from the barrel for the spring and roller to ride against; a novel concept to help accuracy and supposedly reduce recoil. Shockey believed in the design so much that in 1953 he applied for a patent.
After the war there were thousands of Remington Rand 1911s in surplus—so most Shockey 1911s were built on customer supplied Rands. This Shockey is built on a Colt, making it just that much more special. Why are Colts better? Because there’s a horse on them. Period correct orthopedic grips by Lew Sanderson, who was a prolific gripmaker during this golden age of bullseye. Sanderson is not as well known (or appreciated) as Steve Herrett or Walter Roper, but his grips are in my opinion second to none. Look at these grips. Who do you think could (or would) make these now? Answer: no-fucking-body.