By Scott Smith
Since the days of Jeff Cooper at Gunsite, the pistol du joir is the 1911. Today you will see various makes and models as many of the instructors use the weapon they are issued by their agency when teaching at Gunsite.
As stated the 1911 is the preferred handgun, if you ask Ted Yost the preferred weapon is a shotgun of the 12 gauge size in models like 1100, 1187 or 870; but the 1911 is the handgun of choice. Over the years there have been a number of incantations of the Gunsite Service Pistol. Over that span they have been made on Essex frames/frames, Colt’s, in the recent past Springfields and currently on some of the finest frames and slides in the world; Caspian.
Known through out the IPSC community for the starters of the wide-body race guns Caspian has some of the highest quality steel, alloy, stainless and now titanium frames in the world. Ted wanted to return the GSP to being made with American parts since Col.Cooper is once again seen on the grounds of Gunsite. The other reason for using Caspian Ltd is they have as exacting standards as Ted and the rest of the Gunsite Staff.
Having a quality frame and slide is great, but you need other high end parts to make a 1911 to meet the Col’s and Ted’s standards. To make a shooter a hand fitted NM Kart barrel and bushing are used, tool steel hammer, disconnector and sear, Videcki trigger, Novak bar-dot (Trijicon tritium) Sights, Wilson thumb and grip safety, Wolff Springs, and quality steel small part (not MIM parts) . All of these parts are then hand fitted and lapped to extol the maximum accuracy and the main ingredient the ability to go bang EVERY TIME the trigger is pulled.
Unlike years gone by where the frame and slide were high end “National Match” sets with stock barrels and parts, all of these are frames and slides to Gunsite Specs then hand fitted, just like any high-end competition type pistol. All of the Gunsite GSP 2001’s or Marksman, are built one at a time, test fired one at a time and sent to you one at a time, unless you ordered more than one.
Well after Ted and the boys polish and grind and sand, and blue; you end up with a fine 1911.
Yes it goes bang when the trigger is pulled, and it feeds everything that says 45ACP on the brass; and yes it looks good too. The burning question though is how’s the accuracy? Well, as you can see in the attached photo, not bad. That’s a 9 round group at 20yds hand held slow fire from a Weaver stance and it measures just over 1.5″, again 9 rounds not 5; I’d say that’s good enough. The average nine round group that this Commander Sized Marksman was 2.75″. Ammuntion used was Blackhills 230gr FMJs, Corbon230JHPs, Blazer 230gr JHPs, Winchester 230gr SXTs, International 175gr Frangible HP, which gave the best group out of this Gunsite Marksman.
The Gunsite GSP/Marksman can be had as the base model, the Marksman1(tested), and the Expert. The MM1 and Expert are upgraded Marksman with stippling or checkering, Tritium inserts, ambis are added to the Expert as well as the top of the slide being serrated. As with the GSP’s past all sharp edges are removed and a quality deep blue finish is done. The Marksman Line comes with a lifetime warranty and they will stand behind the product.
While you are checking out Gunsite either in person or on the web, make sure to look at the ProShop. They carry fine reading, videos to help you practice at home (they are not a replacement for on hands training), and holsters and belts from a number of manufacturers.
With the MM1 here I used Gordon Davis belt and his version of a Yaqui Slide. The GD yaquis Slide is by far the best I have seen or used as the rear belt loop is off set from the holster like a pancake holster where a true Yaqui Slide has the belt tunnel under the back of the slide. The offset controls the way the pistol rides in the holster and does not feel like it is going to roll over like many Yaqui Slides do.
Mating it to a proper sized Davis belt completes the set and gives the Marksman a solid place to travel.