Custom 1911s For a New Century: CT Brian

 A Tim Brian custom, with the slide edge bevel lighted to show it off.
A Tim Brian custom, with the slide edge bevel lighted to show it off.

Tim and I have this friendly rivalry-complaint going on now for a number of years; Tim is extremely fond of, and is noted for, his Browning Hi-Power treatment of the 1911 slide. Me, I’m not such a fan of it, so when it came time for him to send me a gun to peruse, he made sure that the one he sent was a “BHP slide” gun.

The Hi-Power treatment Tim gives his guns. The more I see, the more I like, but it will still take some time, Tim.
The Hi-Power treatment Tim gives his guns. The more I see, the more I like, but it will still take some time, Tim.

The best way to describe a CT Brian gun is “radical traditional.” He does a very aggressive de-horning to the bottom of the slide, which results in an almost beveled edge.

That and the frenched borders set off a flat, square, perfectly buffed slide flat, with scalloped edges to the cocking serrations.

On top, a detail of the top flat serrations that might pass unnoticed at the first viewing: he does interrupted line patterns in the serrations. The resulting pattern forms three arrows, pointing towards the muzzle, to help direct your eye to the front sight.

A beveled barrel bushing, with a concentric-crowned barrel, allows all the accuracy the tube (and ammo) is capable of. A huge but not competition-sized magazine funnel and a flat mainspring housing with wide side-grooves complete this pistol.

The matter of mainspring housing patterns is a discussion of long standing between customers and gunsmiths.

Every surface, every detail, of this Tim Brian mainspring housing has been planned and attended to.
Every surface, every detail, of this Tim Brian mainspring housing has been planned and attended to.

In the old days, we’d simply cut cross-grooves with a checkering file, using the existing checkering on the mainspring housing and leave the outermost grooves double-wide pyramids.

Now, custom gunsmiths often make their own mainspring housings from scratch (easy enough, with CNC machining stations) and then cut the checkering pattern they want into them. So if you have to have something out of the ordinary, ask.

The grips are smooth, highly-figured, and with an inset CTB medallion. Tim does only full-house custom guns. However, within the full-house build you do have options.

Don’t like the Hi-Power flats? Tim can be talked out of them. Want straight lines, without inset arrows? Again, Tim can be talked out of them. But it seems kind of pointless to go to a guy who does perfect polishing, matte work, borders and grips, and not have him do those things.

1911: The First 100 YearsThis article is an excerpt from a new book by Patrick Sweeney. Click here to get your copy of 1911: The First 100 Years.

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