Dalton Fury recently chatted with me about his interest in 1911s and his history and experience in the Unit—Delta Force. A few years back, DF and I did a Q&A for Guns.com, today, DF and I are going to chat more about gunsmithing and the custom 1911 he built for Mission22.
Jeffrey Denning: Mission22 is a nonprofit organization hoping to raise awareness of—and stop—veterans from committing suicide. On average 22 veterans a day are taking their own lives. Tell us more about your involvement in Mission22.
Dalton Fury: It’s easy to miss the veterans around us that might need a helping hand or a word of encouragement. We are all busy with work, family, and the daily grind of just making ends meet.
After well over a decade of war across numerous battlefields in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and more on the way, it’s no wonder we have young men and woman who still struggle with flashbacks of an ambush or visions of a wounded buddy. You don’t have to have been there to understand what the experience must have been like. YouTube and the nightly news provide plenty of images.
I feel fortunate to have come through the experience doing okay. Don’t get me wrong, you can’t escape the memories; some things just sear the soul. But I’m good, and simply wanted to do something for former teammate, Tom Spooner, founder of MISSION22, and lend a hand in his extraordinarily important mission. Even one veteran suicide a day is too many, but twenty-two a day is a national tragedy.
I decided on building a pistol to raffle, with hopes of raising both funds and awareness to help out. But, I needed to know more than how to shoot out the x-ring or do a cool mag change.
JD: So, in order to help to the Mission22 cause, you invested some time in building a gun to raffle. Tell us more.
I spent six months in and out of pistolsmith schools learning from the experts on how to custom build the most famous handgun of all time—the M1911A1 .45 ACP pistol.
The venerable M1911 was the workhorse of our troops in WWI and WWII, expertly wielded by the likes of Sergeant Alvin York and Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone. Outlaws like John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde chose the M1911 before it ever saw service in Korea, Vietnam, and Grenada. Most recently, Delta Force operators Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart and Master Sergeant Gary Gordon took to their Caspian custom M1911A1 .45’s in the dusty streets of Mogadishu, Somalia before making the ultimate sacrifice.
The MISSION22 Custom build 1911 is handcrafted and fitted the old fashion way, the same way John Moses Browning did it at the turn of the 20th century—using files, stones, oil, sand paper and good old fashioned elbow grease. Built on a precision machined Caspian frame with Government model 5” gunsmith fit forged slide and serial numbered MISSION22, it sports a gunsmith fitted Bar-Sto Match Target barrel, Greider Precision Match Trigger, and a blended Smith & Alexander mag guide. Each individual piece was dressed, toleranced, and hand fitted individually by me before proofing for accuracy at my home range.
JD: I want one. Who wouldn’t? Okay, so I’ll stop drooling. In addition to your awesome handmade 1911, what other else is being raffled?
Along the way, two very talented craftsmen joined the team. Former Army veteran and pistolsmith Jim Ryan, of JR Custom Holsters in Emmett, ID, is well known for his gorgeous custom horsehide and exotic leather holsters, mag pouches, and belts. For MISSION22, he handcrafted a beautiful outside the belt holster of burgundy lizard and black frog to dress the pistol in. Jim individually crafts each holster one at a time, to order, literally performing all operations solo, including sewing by hand.
The other craftsmen is Former Army infantryman, veteran Joey Watson of Joe Watson Knives in Austin, TX, who handcrafted a beautiful one-of-a-kind blade for the raffle. Well known for his self-defense, every day carry oriented blade designs, Joe modified his Mini Bowie pattern grounding it from CTS-B75P steel and heat treating it before applying a satin finish with a polished convex edge. Joe then sculpted carbon fiber handle slabs and set off with mosaic pins before laser engraving the MISSION 22 logo near the hilt.
Of course, once Jim saw Joey’s blade, he knew it needed a matching sheath and went back to the shop. Like me, Jim and Joey are “one-man shop” veterans that genuinely appreciate American values, hand craftsmanship, and veterans’ struggles, and I’m honored to have them part of this special project.
JD: Very cool. I actually have a couple of Joey Watson’s knives he sent me a couple years back. These knives now look even better! I also saw a picture of DirectTV’s blimp on Mission22’s Facebook page, also raising awareness for stopping veteran suicides. Who else has helped out with this raffle?
Along the way, many others stepped up to support the MISSION22 build including Dave Lauck of D&L Sports, Ed Strange of WickedGrips, Joe Chambers of Chambers Customs, and Mark and Jennifer Smith of Precision Bluing. On behalf of US veterans everywhere, I thank all of them with a humble heart.
We truly appreciate your interest in this raffle, but more so your interest in helping us curb veteran suicide. On Memorial Day, 25 May 2015, we’ll draw the winners and contact you directly.
JD: As a veteran myself—and having lost friends to suicide—I’m absolutely grateful that you and so many others are stepping up to help a great cause. Many thanks goes to Tom Spooner and the folks at Mission22.
DF, thanks for chatting with me, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on the 1911 and your awesome custom pistolsmithing with a Mission22 1911.
Breakdown of Mission22 raffle prizes
Dalton Fury Custom 1911 .45 ACP SN# MISSION22 w/custom leather holster
A hand built and blued .45 ACP pistol with custom aluminum grips highlighting the MISSION22 logo. Custom dark walnut presentation case, certificate of authenticity, and a custom hand crafted holster from JR Custom Holsters in Emmett, ID.
- Gunsmith fit forged Caspian Govt. 5″ slide with lase engraved DF Custom 1911 logo
- Precision machined Caspian frame
- Bar-Sto Match Target stainless steel barrel hand fitted
- Hand blended Smith & Alexander Mag guide to frame well
- Hand blended beavertail grip safety
- Hand blended Cylinder & Slide thumb safety
- Hand blended Wilson slide stop
- Hand blended EGW bushing to EGW recoil spring plug
- Hand checkered and angled Ed Brown mag release button
- Serrated front strap and slide top
- Undercut trigger guard/front strap connection
- Dehorned entire pistol
- Hand blended slide rear to frame and Wilson beavertail
- Custom grips from WickedGrips
- Novak Lo-Mount rear sight
- Hand blended Chambers Custom front sight
- Greider precision V-series match trigger
- Custom case hand made by Dave Lauck of D&L Sports
- Hand polished and hot blued by Precision Bluing
Custom Horsehide and Exotic Holsters
- Had crafted by Jim Ryan
- Outside the waistband/ 1911 Govt. Model 5″
- Custom horsehide with burgundy lizard and black frog
- Underside of holster laser engraved with MISSION22 logo
Custom blade by Joey Watson w/custom leather sheath from JR Custom Holsters
- Custom made by Joe Watson Knives in Austin, TX
- Grounded CTS-B75P steel in Mini-Bowie pattern
- Heat treated with satin finish and polished convex edge
- Hand sculpted carbon fiber handle slabs and set off with mosaic pins
- Laser engraved MISSION 22 logo near the hilt
- Had crafted by Jim Ryan
- Outside the waistband
- Burgundy Horsehide with Burgundy Ring Lizard and Black Frog trim
- Full welt construction with floating welt retention tab
J.R. Custom Holsters MISSION22 $150 gift certificate good for any custom holster, belt, or mag pouch.
Precision Bluing $150 gift certificate good toward any bluing service of any firearm.