This pistol has been getting a lot of attention recently – something I’m very proud of to be sure as a builder, but even more so because it allows me to share a memory of a member of our family taken long before his time.
I started this build as a birthday present for my wife, it’s a RIA/Armscor 22TCM Commander A2. A very nice double stack 1911 which fires a very interesting cartridge, the 22 TCM. This small bottleneck round has almost no perceptible recoil while packing quite the punch downrange – at pistol distances it carries similar force to a .223 varmint round @ a few hundred yards – actually, it IS a .223 varmint round with less velocity than a typical rifle round due to the shorter case and barrel. The RIA 22TCM is loosely based on the Para P14, a comfortable steel-framed double stack 1911 with a long history.
While working on the pistol, one of our horses, our youngest, a beautiful Belgian Draft named Thor started to have some issues – unfortunately, he was not able to be saved, and with our family and his Sire (daddy for you non-horse folks) at his side, we had to ease his pain and let him go, unarguably one of the hardest moments of our lives. In the days following I realized I needed some therapy, a positive outlet for my grief, and my wife still needed her gift – though it couldn’t be as fun and lighthearted as I intended. I proposed to her my plan to build the TCM in honor of Thor, as one of the many ways we can always cherish and remember him – with her blessing I moved forward with the project.
I dehorned the entire pistol, breaking all edges and fitting some small areas, followed by lowering the factory flat-topped slide. I then polished the barrel (the 22TCM has a beautiful muzzle, it works well polished) and did two forward slide ports. Milling the cocking serrations came next, and I felt I needed to do something unique here – so I used a ball mill to cut away the serrations, and border them, adding another section ahead of the rear sight. Stippling the metal between was chosen as the best look and something I always find a way to work into my most special guns – and this was of course a MOST special gun. I fitted a set of VZ Operator II grips originally meant for a P14 – very little work was needed and these are an excellent choice. Finally I did some stippling work on the factory plastic MSH to give the feeling of a horse’s mane.
The frame and slide were finished in a distressed look Cerakote finish using Patriot Brown and Hidden White, with all small parts being done in Patriot Brown. These were the colors of our boy, and I tried to capture the randomness and beauty of life. The final touch was a custom front sight made from the factory dovetailed sight, consisting of a 90 degree brass rod being affixed – it REALLY gathers the light and may be something I explore producing.
I hope you enjoy the pictures, and please think of Thor, sharing this pistol with the world is the best way I could give his life and memory the attention they deserve.