Long before Bill Wilson ever checkered a front strap, James E. Clark
had found a way to glue a pistol into a competitor's sweaty hand.
Jim Clark had been customizing pistols for eighteen years when Ed Brown decided to become a part time gunsmith.
Jim Clark was a founding member and the first President of the American Pistolsmiths Guild.
As a competitor, perhaps he
was proudest of being the only civilian trained national bullseye champion.
In 1950, Jim Clark founded Clark Custom, and began a career of producing no bullshit innovative and competitive pistols based on the 1911.
One must remember that surplus GI pistols were the raw materials of building a race gun then.
There were few parts on the market to augment a gunsmith's ability.
If a man could not weld, fabricate and create, he could forget being a gunsmith.
In this environment, Jim Clark
flourished, laying the groundwork and ideas for the many permutations of the 1911 pistol that were to follow.
son, Jim Clark Jr.
father's legacy at Clark Custom
, but as a North Louisiana resident, I always hoped to find a gun made by Jim Clark
Even in the piney woods of North Louisiana they are precious heirlooms, as rare as turtle teeth, or priced like golden boudin when they appear.
Finally, after years of perseverance, fortune would shine on me, and I found a Jim Clark the Elder gun that I could afford.
This pistol was ordered from Jim Clark by an anesthesiologist in 1981.
It is built on a Colt
Mark IV Series 70 base gun.
shot a "box or two" of ammunition through it and put it away.
Even though this pistol does have a Safari Arms extended safety and slide stop, they were impeccably fitted by the old man himself.
The lockwork on this pistol snicks back and forth with a precision and an ease that belies it's close tolerances.
In this gun Jim Clark
was not attempting to build a beautiful gun.
It is almost ironic that he