As a World Champion pistol shooter and a serious student of the defensive firearm he knows exactly what it takes in either arena to be successful.
We build them Guncrafter Tough and you can count on that.
Thank you for your interest in Guncrafter Industries, makers of cutting edge 1911 style custom pistols and accessories. Our products lead the industry in quality, engineering, and innovation so you can be confident in your purchase. Our skilled craftsmen have specialized in the 1911 field for more than four decades and have come to know what professionals around the world expect from their hardware. Compare our products inside and out to any on the market, you will feel good knowing that you are getting the most for your hard earned dollars. We never settle for second best and neither should you. We look forward to the opportunity to share our products with you and in establishing a strong relationship in the future.
Guncrafter Industries was founded in 2004 by Alex Zimmermann with one mission, to make the most effective custom pistol for self-defense, the .50GI. After introducing the .50GI to the world, Alex and his small band of “Guncrafters” have been building one of the finest custom pistols for discriminating 1911 aficionados all over the world. Always looking to improve his lineup, the addition of only the most reliable and effective combinations are acceptable to his demanding requirements. When you start with four models in .50GI, add six more models in .45acp, and throw in models available in 9mm, 10mm, and .38 Super, Guncrafter Industries is the perfect place to help you discover your next pistol. Simple principles are the guiding force, exceptional quality, exceptional reliability, and exceptional customer service, Guncrafter Industries “JUST EXCEPTIONAL”.
Why Guncrafter Industries
Custom handguns are an investment for some, while for others they are a way of life. At Guncrafter Industries we go out of our way to make sure that regardless of the purpose of our hand crafted pistol, we exceed the demands you have for them. Each and every one of our pistols is build, tested, and inspected to please our most discerning customer, Alex Zimmermann. When it starts the journey to a new home in your safe or holster, our small band of artisans have each agreed that they would be proud to do the same.
Why Guncrafter Industries?
Nestled in the Northwest corner of Arkansas is a grove of exceptional custom gun makers that specialize in the 1911. While they all sort of started with a shared influence, they all have their unique paths. Guncrafter Industries was born in 2004 to follow a dream to make a .50 caliber handgun a reality. Alex Zimmermann had been carrying this dream since engineering school in Demark. Having already been seven time IDPA National Champion, and having worked for one of the largest in the custom gun business, it was time to follow his dream. It took some time and blood, sweat, and tears to get Guncrafter Industries where it is today, Alex would say it was worth it! Now staffed with others who share his vision and focus on quality, Guncrafter Industries can service the ever growing customer base and plan for a bright future.
At Guncrafter Industries we still do it “old school” by fitting every component to perfection. Even the magazines are fitted, tuned, and tested to assure reliability. In a time where everything moves faster every day, we take pride in the fact that we still use a file, and know how. Take a look at our pistols, but remember we build them one at a time to your request, so the pistols shown are just one customers idea of their perfect pistol.
Unique Features and Why:
Why 15 LPI x 90º checkering on our pistols? Well…. the answer is not as simple as you would think. Guncrafter Industries started by building our 50 GI based models and on most of those we offer 20 LPI “Carry” checkering. This offers a fine choice, but Alex wanted more. Having been used to the 30 LPI world, just like everyone else, some thought was given to a better way. Here is our reasoning: 15 LPI x 90º checkering is real world checkering. It gives you great control while not being too aggressive, due to our hand finishing process. As easy as 30 LPI is to damage or mar, our 15 LPI is Guncrafter Tuff!
Why use forged frames, slides, and barrels? After all this time and advancements, it is still the best, most durable foundation to begin a custom pistol.
Every component is carefully considered for functionality, durability, and aesthetics, while aesthetics are last, they are important to every pistol we build.
Finally one point I cannot make strongly enough, attention to detail. Every gunsmith is pressed to make it better, not faster, BETTER. On every bench there is a loop, for those of you that don’t know, a loop is a magnifier used to inspect small things or areas, something you just do not see anymore. Everyone is focused on making all of our pistols the finest, we are proud for them to wear the Guncrafter Industries name.
Over the years many have asked, “Are aluminum frames as durable, will they hold up as long as steel frames”. The Guncrafter Industries answer, the purpose of aluminum frames is to offer an ability to build a pistol that is lighter. The only real weak point is the feed ramp. Our solution was to add a steel insert to the feed ramp to insure that it will last a life time, just like all of our pistols. Just another case of doing it right from the start, it may be fine forever with out this added feature. Why take that chance? Just another reason our pistols are Guncrafter Tuff!
Simple principals are the guiding force, exceptional quality, exceptional reliability, and exceptional customer service, Guncrafter Industries just Exceptional.
About our Founder:
Alex Zimmermann was born in Denmark in 1962 following the pattern of how a boy’s interest will progress from playing with knives, next to bows, on to air guns, and then finally to “real” guns. At the age of 14, Alex started shooting rifles and by age 18 started shooting handguns. By the time he turned twenty, which is the minimum age in Denmark for getting a license for a handgun, he acquired a S&W Model 17 and a Ruger Blackhawk in .357mag. Both of these early jewels are with him today and still remain some of his most prized possessions.
There was no such thing as organized combat shooting (IPSC) in Denmark when during Alex’s twenties, but being an avid reader of American gun magazines he knew this was what he had to do, no matter what it took. Thus began a decade long pilgrimage of crossing the Atlantic to shoot in the US, and also a deep appreciation for John Browning’s timeless 1911 design.
Meeting shooters like Brian Enos, Rob Leatham and Ross Seyfried and watching them shoot was very inspiring. When back in Denmark, Alex practiced hard and when IPSC shooting finally arrived in Denmark in the mid ’80’s was ready to be a serious competitor. It didn’t take long before he won a couple of Danish Championships and quickly developed a reputation for also being an expert gunsmith.
In those days Alex was studying to become a mechanical engineer and I eventually started his own firearms and gunsmithing business on the side and continued this after getting his engineering degree. Just like the small handful of gunsmiths/shooters that came to the US from South Africa, not having access to all kinds of neat gun parts and accessories in Denmark forced Alex to make the most out of what was available. This begun his career as a firearms designer and he still contributes a lot of his designing and metal-working skills to this fact –“necessity is the mother of all invention”.
While in the US to compete in Richard Davis’ Second Chance Bowling Pin Shoot Alex read a small ad in Front Sight magazine, Wilson Combat was hiring, and that was his break. After a phone call he had an invitation from Bill Wilson to visit Berryville, Arkansas, for a job interview. Despite his attire of a real colorful shirt, bolo tie, striped jeans and elephant hide cowboy boots he ended up with a job offer and Alex’s US Firearms career begun. After a quick trip back to Denmark, tied up all loose ends and sold all his earthly possessions, and four painful months later arrived in Springfield Airport, MO USA, suitcase
in hand with a stomach full of butterflies and filled with dreams.
Things worked out just fine, one month later Alex met his wife to-be and spent the next eight years as Director of Research and Development at Wilson Combat. It was his privilege to work with some of the finest custom gunsmiths in the country and was constantly designing new parts and conducting product improvements – it was a very rewarding period. After resigning from Wilson Combat in 2002 to pursue his ambition of building the ultimate defensive pistol, a 1911 pistol in .50 caliber, Guncrafter Industries was born. The sole purpose and passion of Guncrafter Industries was to build his dream, the .50GI.
After two agonizing years of hard work it was a reality. The Model No.1, chambered in the new 50 GI chambering made it’s début at the 2004 SHOT SHOW and we quickly realized that we had a classic example of “be careful of what you ask for – you might get it! Interestingly enough, the same Richard Davis that “crowned” Alex Master Blaster in’95 for winning the OSS Shoot-Off at the Second Chance match, was the first person at the SHOT SHOW to order a .50 cal. Guncrafter Industries pistol. Alex pondered, “do we dare hope for a return to the great bowling pin matches he used to put on – we’ve got the right pin medicine in our Model No.1!”
As much as he likes the 1911 pistol, he has also always enjoyed shooting revolvers. Winning the IDPA National Stock Service Revolver Championship seven years in a row and several other national and state titles with a wheel gun. The last 6 years have been too busy to compete seriously but with plans to get “back in the saddle” as soon as his work load allows. “All work and no play make Alex a dull boy……”
The 50GI model 1 is born:
The .50 cal. 1911 pistol concept was originally conceived while I was attending The Engineering Academy in my home town back in Denmark. Having access to very fine metal working equipment, Alex made a few non-functional prototype casings and bullets from bar stock brass as well as a non-functional smooth bore barrel. The “non-functional” is rather important in Denmark since handguns over 9mm/.38 cal. are not allowed. However, he did manage to assemble a working prototype pistol that could be hand cycled, which was the proof that the project was feasible. It also convinced him that a round with a .45 ACP base/rim was the way to go, the standard .45 breech face, extractor and ejector could be maintained and with a switch of barrel and magazine would make the pistol .45 ACP., giving you both calibers in the same pistol. At the time his thoughts were it was rather ingenious but also a lost cause, since most European nations simply did not allow .50 caliber handguns. So, the project was put aside and pretty much forgotten. That is, until nearing his 40th birthday and realized that if the 50GI was ever going to be a reality he had better get started. After leaving Wilson Combat and taking a couple of months vacation from anything that had to do with guns and shooting, Alex started to work on his dream. The first prototype was made on an old Colt frame and an even older Remington slide. Both the frame and the slide were very soft, which made all the mill and lathe work a little easier, as well as all the hand filing (and there was a lot!). The prototype barrel was made from a .50 cal. black powder rifle barrel, crude but workable. After careful evaluation and endurance testing (shooting) once again he was convinced that John Browning’s masterpiece was a suitable platform for my .50 caliber concept.
Alex feels it’s important to understand that he did not set out to create a “Super Magnum Blaster” ( a’ la Desert Eagle) pistol, but rather a controllable and practical defensive pistol, a pistol with a lot of knock down power but of same size and weight as a standard 1911 and suitable for concealed carry. Early on a contract with Starline was struck, and they agreed to manufacture the 50 GI cartridge case. They did a superb job and the 50 GI cases are a little jewel, very strong and very versatile, a reloader’s dream. One by one the pieces of the puzzle started to come together, prototype after prototype was refined and vendors who saw the potential of the project came aboard. Much to his pleasure he found out that there were a lot of people in the shooting industry/community that believed in him. Almost one year after introducing the Model No. 1 the Model No.2 arrived on the scene. The M2 has a full length, integral light rail and a somewhat more “business like” appearance than the M1. It is one of Guncrafter Industries popular models and is always one of the choices when it comes to the .50’s. Later came the Model 3 a commander length giving a great carry pistol option, and it was followed by the Model 4 which with a 6” barrel is a great choice for hunters and target shooters alike.
Today Guncrafters offers all four of the name sake .50GIs all available with .45 acp conversion and in recent years have added another six models in .45 acp, 9mm, 10mm, and .38 Super. With a host of options and choices to make Guncrafter Industries has become a truly full custom 1911 manufacturer with a following that grows every day.
When asked what’s next, Alex just says more pistols and adds that it has been a very costly project to get off the ground, but the goodwill that he enjoys is really what has made it all possible, and for that he is most grateful. What he has done is create a small company that holds true to the tradition of making top quality firearms using the best of modern technology without losing the proven skills that makes one a gunsmith.
Good Design Goes to Heaven, Bad Design Goes Everywhere
Creativity isn’t worth a thing if it isn’t served with an equal amount of reliability.