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Another really good one

This one was one of his responses about waiting times that I found rather poignant:

In other words, spend some time dancing with the girl that you brought with you, rather than constantly watching to see who might be hovering over by the punch bowl. If you can't learn to find any immediate satisfaction with the Wilson gun that you "couldn't possibly live without" last year, how is the arrival of the next one really gong to change the equation any?

The questions are rhetorical, of course, but this business about waiting being difficult comes up fairly often around here, and I think guys forget that it really has a lot less to do with the guns than it has to do with human nature itself. I'm pleased that so many of you have other orders in the queue to look forward to, but I'll bet you're also overlooking some cool opportunities to spend some quality time enjoying one or two fine pistols that you've already got sitting not so very far away from where you're sitting right now.

Perspective.
 

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Ever chiding, in a respectful way, gun fetishism vs utility, I liked this recent quote,

"I do find it somewhat interesting that, at a time when Wilson's is building their ambi thumb safety-equipped pistols with the BP units that no longer feature the traditional foot extension, they would issue a contract that calls for right-side panels to retain the cutout by default.

On the other hand, there seems to be a very thin line on the Wilson board these days between attention to detail and a rather odd degree of obsession, and I think we may have just found it. Again.

AC


Gonna miss this guy....
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Referring to a comment by fellow moderator PT-Partners about the contemporary custom 1911 owners taste and limited knowledge of history behind the weapon:

Actually, that is a very valid point. Our introduction to the gun was based upon experience, rather than research, as it simply wasn't possible to log on to a computer and have all of your questions answered in those days. Either you were issued one, bought one or spent time actually talking and shootng with with people who did. Worst case, you spent a lot of time on the phone.

Even in the early days of this forum, the nature of the discussions was often quite different and the number of available models -- especially in the Wilson line -- was a mere fraction of what is offered today. Customization options, now a Wilson hallmark, were much more constrained, and you couldn't simply "have it your way," more often than not.

Choice is a good thing, of course, but it can also be paralyzing; especially if your only real exposure to the guns comes from looking at pictures and reading forum posts. I almost feel sorry for guys struggling to build a spec sheet when they have no real idea what half of the check boxes really mean, why certain options exist or what might be best-suited to them as a shooter. It has, in some ways, almost surely become a more difficult process for a lot of guys. We see it here every day.

We've come a long way, and anything that increases our access to knowledge is a good thing, so I'm certainly not complaining. Like you, I do my best to guide and educate within the limits of my lane, and I'd like to think that we save a few guys here and there from making costly mistakes; still, it can be a tough row to hoe when you simply "don't know what you don't know." I also have to laugh a bit at the general lack of awareness of what constitutes the absolute top tier of the market. Wilson's builds a beautiful gun, and I'm a happy customer, but I wouldn't drop $7k on one. There are some others out there (i.e. the LTW crowd) that, well ... you know the rest of the story. You see and sell them every day.

AC
 

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My recent fav

Spend more time with the guns that you already own. Break them down. Study what is going on inside of them in detail. Shoot them more often. Clean them more carefully. Figure out what you did right and wrong when you ordered them the way that you did. Sort out what features you really like and which ones don't really seem to make as much of a difference as you thought that they might.

In other words, spend some time dancing with the girl that you brought with you, rather than constantly watching to see who might be hovering over by the punch bowl. If you can't learn to find any immediate satisfaction with the Wilson gun that you "couldn't possibly live without" last year, how is the arrival of the next one really gong to change the equation any?

The questions are rhetorical, of course, but this business about waiting being difficult comes up fairly often around here, and I think guys forget that it really has a lot less to do with the guns than it has to do with human nature itself. I'm pleased that so many of you have other orders in the queue to look forward to, but I'll bet you're also overlooking some cool opportunities to spend some quality time enjoying one or two fine pistols that you've already got sitting not so very far away from where you're sitting right now.

Perspective. ;)

AC
...
 

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The above passage has got to be one of the best from Chuck.
 

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He and I pm'd a bit after my waiting thread. This if from a pm a few days ago.
His insight holds many lessons on many levels. RIP AC. You will be missed.

" God has used cancer tremendously in my life, and I wouldnt change a thing about this journey. It just makes my participation here a little uneven at times, depending upon how I am managing things like swelling, meds and all of that sort of thing. I don't really have any medical options at this point beyond the palliative, but am still very much in the fight. I was only given 60-days to live last September, and radiation bought me considerably more than that (all of 2013!), so again, what on earth do I have to complain about? "

I asked him if he minded that I had quoted him in my Sig line and he replied.

"Not sure what on earth I would be objecting to in the first place, but of course you are free to do as you wish. It certainly does not bother me in any way. I think a lot of folks could stand to benefit from slowing down a bit to appreciate what they've already got, and if this line or two helps to remind them of that, then so much better.

Chuck "
 

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Balance. That's it, really. Don't be a fanboy. Don't be anybody's fanboy, ever. Strive to be an educated, savvy consumer. Will that lessen your enthusiasm for the Wilson brand? Heck no, it will probably only increase it, but you might just find that it affects some of your buying and configuration choices for the better, and you'll end up feeling just a bit less silly next year when you decide not to put your low-round-count Wilson on GunBroker in order to buy the next latest, greatest thing that you see pictured in the 2014 Wilson Combat catalog.


Study them. Invest in them. Appreciate them. Shoot them -- often. That is the secret to happiness in the high-end 1911 game. Skip a step here, and you will forever be chasing your tail.

AC

One of my favorites. Chuck was full of wisdom.
 

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Some days ago, Chuck pinned my "Supergrade unplugged" thread.
I was very surprised and I sent him a PM. I said thank you and I asked "why a sticky?".
This was his answer. 100% AC! ;)

Army Chief said:
As a rule, I remove them far more often than I allow them, so it is definitely a case where the content needs to measure up to a pretty high standard. In this case, the photos are almost too good, as I knew that everyone was going to want to fixate on the "look at how awesome Wilson parts are" aspect, rather than the technical insights they provide, but I'll take that risk if it leads to a guy actually being able to identify a disconnector at some point in his life. ;)

We cater to way too many masturbatory marketing shots around here. They serve a purpose, but they also reinforce the wrong kind of enthusiasm at times. I want the boys and girls to see some of the more elusive details, so as you may see fit to add to any of this thread, do me a favor and get inside of the gun as much as you highlight the aesthetics and options on the outside.

Let's show folks what is really going on in there if/when we can, so I can pull them off of the warm teats of ball cuts, case hardening, logos and chamber flutes. Show 'em springs and sears and links and mag catches and such.
 

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This is from a recent post. I had the same question---it was glad to see he did as well.

Nice gun.

l admit that I still don't really understand why folks order reduced form-factor 1911s (to make them shorter -- i.e optimized for CCW/defensive use) and then go and put magwells on them (which makes them longer -- i.e. optimized for range games/competition), but Professionals definitely strike a nice balance in the lineup. Hard to really get one wrong.

AC
 

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I started clipping my favorites about a year ago. An honor to add a few to the list:

Answering the OP, who wondered what would happen if he died before his WC was delivered:

Here's a quick moment of perspective, for those who may not already know. I actually am dying. As in, I have terminal cancer, and have no further medical recourse for the disease which will likely put me down for good in a matter of months from now. Different issue, of course, and one with which I am completely at peace as a man of faith, but I haven't exactly stopped living my life in the meantime, and I've got a custom 1911 build project going on right now.

Senseless? Not really. Whether I ultimately get to see the gun completed or put it through it's paces, it gives me something to look forward to, something to potentially enjoy and something that I know my children and grandchildren will appreciate no matter what happens to me, or when. Trying to forecast a Wilson delivery date as a mere 60-something year old, and feeling precautionary about the outcome may seem reasonable at face value, but when you consider the wider perspective, it is probably over-thinking things. Order the gun you want, and let the wait (and outcome) worry about itself. It won't be long before you have it in your hands, and realize that the early hesitance was actually pretty silly.

Then, order another one.

AC


"Guidance" to the OP around certain trends:

Lately might be the operative word here, brother. By the time you could spec the gun and wait to have it built, you can rest assured that it will be something else that the herd is plodding toward.

AC


Opining about the proliferation of compact 1911's:

Bottom line: the smaller and lighter the 1911, the least useful it will be as a piece of shooting iron. Yes, it may carry well, and you may shoot it just enough to gain sufficient confidence with it to keep it in that role, but they all represent a compromise. Not suggesting they are fundamentally-flawed guns; merely that our infatuation with them is probably not well-placed at times.

AC


Gun cleaning:

I've got to be honest: there are some great products out there these days, no doubt, but a lot of this is much ado about nothing. Like everything else, the claims grow more lofty as the bottles get smaller and the price tags go up. All of these products bring something to the table, of course, but you can cover just as much ground with a bottle of Mobil 1 and a GI toothbrush for all intents and purposes.

Keeping oil on the gun is important. Period. Some products do simplify cleanup, or reduce fouling, or adhere to the gun better, or last longer, or taste great or are less filling, but at the end of the day, there isn't a lot to lose sleep over here. Lube your gun. Shoot it. Clean it. Repeat.

A properly set-up 1911 really doesn't need a break-in cycle per se. Just give it some oil in the right spots, some decent fodder and enjoy the experience of owning a fine pistol.

AC


HD courses:

The problems associated with fighting/defense in a house aren't even kinetic most of time -- they are almost completely knowledge- and decision- based. Being accurate on the wrong target or on a non-target is no help. Losing in that environment with a family potentially at stake and/or in close proximity is not an option.

AC


Replying to compliments about his prose in a WC vs Nighthawk post :

None of us are likely to tell you that we are ready to claim expert status, and indeed, in any field of endeavor, knowing your place among the big dogs is probably the first step toward actually beginning to learn something useful. I'm a middle-aged Army guy (CW5 -- hence the "Chief" thing) with a terminal illness facing medical retirement after 30 years of service, I own a few nice 1911s and I've been privileged to spend some time around some folks that know a few things about these guns. (Truth is, I'm actually far better-known as an M4/AR carbine guy elsewhere.) Unless you want to talk about various training courses and such, that's about the extent of my formal Curriculum Vitae, and I would not ever wish to pretend otherwise. I'm a Regular Guy.

AC


From the same thread as above:

When talking both hardware and software (the guns and the folks who own/use them), what I value most is that sense of balance...
Top-shelf guns built with a clear and cogent purpose.
Shooters committed to being smart and competent.

AC


On a growing trend of Fanboys in the WC community:

It seems, and I recognize that this is neither universal nor fair to all, that we've rounded some kind of corner now. Wilson's (to their credit) will now build you whatever you want. You'll pay for it, of course, and you'll wait longer than ever for it, but if you want a true full-house custom gun out of Berryville nowadays, it can be had for the right price. That wasn't typically the case in the past and I don't view it as a step backward by any stretch. I do think, however, that it has resulted in the emergence of a strange kind of new customer: the guy who wants the best, and is willing to spend the money, but who really has almost no experience or knowledge base from which to draw where these guns are concerned.

Balance. That's it, really. Don't be a fanboy. Don't be anybody's fanboy, ever. Strive to be an educated, savvy consumer. Will that lessen your enthusiasm for the Wilson brand? Heck no, it will probably only increase it, but you might just find that it affects some of your buying and configuration choices for the better, and you'll end up feeling just a bit less silly next year when you decide not to put your low-round-count Wilson on GunBroker in order to buy the next latest, greatest thing that you see pictured in the 2014 Wilson Combat catalog.

AC


And one of my favorites:

The custom 1911 is a high-quality fountain pen. A cheap ball point will work better, more consistently and with less fuss, but it will also lack all of the intangible refinement that makes writing with a fountain pen an experience to be savored, rather than just another chore. It forces you to take your time, craft your manuscript and tend to the needs of your writing instrument, even as it delivers a smoother line, a satisfying heft and a more distinctive result. So it is with the 1911. It is heavy, which makes it particularly well-suited to the .45 Auto. It possesses an excellent trigger that no other handgun can equal. It offers a subjective feel in the hand that meets a rather particular need, and it catches the eye in a way that only a true icon can. The gun is a part of our national fabric, and still an incredibly effective tool.
_______
 

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goaround28:

You are on fire. Those are some treasured posts, I missed this one, but it is beautiful, thank you:

The custom 1911 is a high-quality fountain pen. A cheap ball point will work better, more consistently and with less fuss, but it will also lack all of the intangible refinement that makes writing with a fountain pen an experience to be savored, rather than just another chore. It forces you to take your time, craft your manuscript and tend to the needs of your writing instrument, even as it delivers a smoother line, a satisfying heft and a more distinctive result. So it is with the 1911. It is heavy, which makes it particularly well-suited to the .45 Auto. It possesses an excellent trigger that no other handgun can equal. It offers a subjective feel in the hand that meets a rather particular need, and it catches the eye in a way that only a true icon can. The gun is a part of our national fabric, and still an incredibly effective tool.
 

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"I'm a Regular Guy."

In spite of AC's modest nature and humble spirit, I submit that there is and was very little about AC that was "regular". But it was his modest nature and humble spirit that defined who he was, and he was modest and humble because of his great faith in Almighty Jehovah God. I believe we see in AC a prime example of one who practiced what he preached. And I, for one, truly appreciate his example. As these quotes of his posts here indicate, he had a unique gift for words and the best expression of them. I appreciate the posts we have and the memories we have, but I will truly miss his comments going forward. I treasure his comment about one of my posts that what I said was "on point". That's one of the best compliments I've ever been paid.

Thanks to all who have brought all these comments made by AC together in one place where we can read them occasionally and remind ourselves of how we should behave and treat one another.
 

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A few more:

On the DIY approach

As a rule, it is just easier to allow WC to upgrade the gun and address any refinishing needs all at once. It can take longer and be more expensive, of course, but at least you're assured of a positive outcome. The fact is that relatively few "good idea" upgrades undertaken out on the garage workbench really go half as well as envisioned, no matter how simple they might seem to be in theory. It makes no sense to try to save $300 on a $3,000 gun if/when you really want to have something upgraded or changed out.

AC

On the LGS

I never cease to be amazed by the level of incompetence and bloviation associated with the typical gun shop experience. It's a wonder anyone ever gets any accurate information in some of these places.

Granted, it was always expected that the guy behind the counter was going to try to sell you whatever it was that he happened to have in stock, but the whole "impartation of knowledge" thing gets pretty ridiculous sometimes, and I've probably heard more pure BS in gun stores than just about anywhere else.

AC


On the complexities of the 1911

This is also why many 1911s will begin to suffer from mysterious reliability problems once their owners begin making what seem like straightforward garage bench "improvements" that seemed to go well at the time. Even installing a pair of grips can result in these kinds of problems, which is why so many experts these days will rightly point you to a Glock if you aren't willing to get comfortable with Kuhnhausen. There is much to know, and once you really begin digging into the mechanics of the 1911, the more you come to realize how incredibly interrelated many of these components are, and how making a small change in one area can readily affect two or three other critically-important things going on inside of the gun.

AC

AC's comments in the "comments" section below an article about his residential move and the more than 200 offers of help he received from fellow soldiers at Fort Bragg:

Nothing sad about this story, folks, but there is certainly great beauty here. We're a family of faith, and the larger situation is squarely in God's hands. I am content with my fate, and grateful for each new day until then.

What we could not have known, of course, is how an 11th-hour social media dragnet call (of which we were not aware) could result in such an outpouring of love and concern from a cohort of fellow Soldiers, family members, vets, retirees and others in the community who showed up with a desire to help. To ease a burden for a brother that they did not know, battling a problem of which they were unaware, to accomplish a mission that couldn't be found in any OPORD. They just came. From quite literally everywhere.

Before I knew it, they were gone just as quickly. Job done.

Soldiers taking care of Soldiers. This obviously resonates deep within those us who serve, and has been a central focus of my own life for nearly three decades. Still, it has been a rare thing that I should ever find myself to be the one truly in need. Yesterday our family had a need. Today we have a victory.

There are no words, really, and I spent most of the actual event overcome and not-especially-cogent; that said, on behalf of this Army family in transition, my heartfelt gratitude and respect goes out to every one of you that came out, offered a word of support or perhaps just sent a knee-mail or two on our behalf.

You truly made a difference.

Today is another good Army day for the very same reason as every other: because of good Army people. Soldiers. It is a great privilege to be counted among your number.

Chief

 

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Folks, please read Chuck's obit, cited in the link above. What a great person.
 

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By every definition,,,,,,,,,,,,, an American HERO.
 

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Discussion Starter #38 (Edited)
Just got home from Chuck's funeral. It was a moving, emotional, spiritual and beautiful ceremony. I'll go into it a little later when I can catch my breath. I'm spent.

Addendum: 12/14/2013

It's been almost 24 hours since the funeral for Chuck Petrie at the All American Chapel at Fort Bragg.



The ceremony was beautiful, sad, happy, funny and like I said last night, very moving. Chuck's casket was covered by the American flag and a picture of him in his best blue military uniform stood nearby. There were comments by his pastor, prayers, hymns being sung, eulogy by Chuck's brother in law, a video montage of Chuck, and a final short speech by Terri. I managed to hold it all together until Terri spoke. Then the flood gate opened and it wouldn't stop, just like the moment that I read the email from Terri last Saturday a week ago.

Terri is a remarkable wife, mother and person. She will have a tough road ahead although she is a very strong woman. After Chuck is laid to rest, after all the friends and family are all back to their homes, Terri will be home with just her son Ben. I imagine that her daughter will be moving to be with her husband after their wedding later this month. That's when the house is quiet and she can really have a moment to herself to reflect. Her husband, best friend and confidant won't be there to laugh, talk, make funny face, and drink coffee with her in the morning. We all mourn and grieve at different level and duration. Surely Terri will have her period of mourning, grieving, crying and recovering. I wish her the best. I've been there and my Denise has been there with her own loss of her late husband. Hopefully the memories of good times and much happier times with Chuck will surface and carry her to happier days in the future.

Back to the funeral. There were people from all walks of life. There were his fellow Army soldiers from his unit, family and friends. Some have known Chuck all his life and some are new friends. A few he met through the forums :) We all adjourned to the fellowship hall next to the chapel for a beautiful reception. I was able to meet Chuck's parents and his son Matt, Matt's wife Betty, his daughter Emily and her fiancée. They're all great people. Terri was remarkably well composed after the emotional speech at the end of the funeral. She made a point to meet and thanked all that came to say their last good bye. I met a close friend of Chuck's, he is also on this forum. We had to get on the road for the eight hour drive home, so we said good bye to Terri and her family and made a point of staying in contact.

Good bye Chuck, I love you my friend, may you rest in peace.
 

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I had reservations about disclosing this PM Chuck sent to me a couple of weeks ago, but after reading this remarkable thread and watching Chuck's amazing and elegant obituary, I now believe keeping some of his final thoughts to myself would be selfish. Please allow me to give some background to his comments to me, and forgive me for my indulgences of my own condition. I believe my own problems will highlight the incredible thoughtfulness of our now-departed Army Chief.

I am a rapidly aging and increasingly diseased man. In my youth, I served a year in Viet Nam and came away with severe neuropathy and diabetes as a result of Agent Orange exposure. A couple years later, I fell eight feet attempting to make an arrest while I was assigned to the CID. I came away with ruptured discs, spinal stenosis and now, arthritis. We also now fear I am in the original stages of Parkinson's Disease, again a legacy of AO.

I live with constant pain which has taken a turn for the worse since earlier in the year. In short, I turned nasty, sour and just a miserable person to be around. I felt extremely sorry for myself and spent hours and days sinking into darkness and evil.

I began to follow Chuck's posts and began to get an appreciation of the progression of his disease. I also saw how his humor and grace prevailed through what few if any of us can possibly comprehend. Somewhere along the way I had an epiphany which I can only attribute to Chuck's sweetness. I don't know how else to put it, but this remarkable man whom I never met, pretty much showed me how to live a positive life regardless of whatever problems I had. I sent him a private message expressing my admiration for him and explained how he did so much to save my life. Here is what Chuck sent back to me:

John,

Don't even know quite where to begin, and these PMs are pretty space-limited to start with, but I am humbled by, and grateful for, your kindness.

It is difficult to know sometimes the impact that we have upon others, whether deliberate or incidental. Although I have never asked God for healing, I have prayed earnestly that He use me -- and this situation I'm in -- in some meaningful way in the days that I have remaining. Notes like yours give wonderful purpose to these prayers. Thank you. I am at perfect peace with my fate (we're all dirt in a box in 30 years anyway, no?), but I want to invest myself in others as well as I can for as long as I can until I am called home.

Always a delight to hear from another old Chief, of course, and you can be sure that you will be in my prayers. Being familiar with pain, and the associated impact that it has upon mental state and everything else, I can certainly empathize with your situation. Don't let anger or bitterness get the upper hand on you, brother -- I'm encouraged to hear that you've seen some recent hard-won victories here. The body can surely be a challenge, but ultimately the spirit and the will are decisive. We are, after all, the men that we choose to be, regardless of the cards that we are dealt. Composure and grace aren't always easy to come by, of course, but when you can't control outcomes anyway, they do make things easier to bear in the meantime.

As odd as it must sound, given all that God has taught me through this cancer, I would not seek to go back and change it now if I could. The perspectives I've gained have changed me as a man for the better in more ways than I can even begin to count. I'm simply grateful now for each new day. Some are a little harder to get through than others, true, but every one of them remains a blessing. As I told my wife a few days ago, "I've never been more miserable (physically), but I've also never been happier in my entire life."

Perspective.

Again, my sincere thanks and abiding respect ... you cannot even fully know the significance of your words today.

Chuck


What a man!
 

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TracerBullet:

Thank you for sharing that gem from Chuck. Yep, that is our Chuck. They mentioned yesterday in the funeral the comment from Chuck about not willing to change anything in the last year and that he was at his happiest time. He was with God then, accepted that and he was at peace in his last moment with us.

Thank you for your service. I'm very sorry to hear about your own battle with AO and other injuries. Chuck's words are very comforting.

BTW, are you or have you received any compensations from the Army or VA for your suffering from AO. A friend of mine was in SVN and got Non Hotchkins Lymphoma (hope I spelled that right) from exposure. He received a fairly large amount of compensation from the government for his illness, it helps.
 
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