Guncrafter Industries and the .50GI

A Tale of a Practical King

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, a land called Montenegro, there lived a wise king who ordered that all the men of his nation must be a part of the militia and were to arm themselves with heavy caliber revolvers so they would be equipped to deal with any army foolish enough to attempt an invasion. The revolver specified by the king was the Gasser chambered for the large and quite impressive 11.3x36R cartridge which can best be described as the “.44 Magnum” of its day.

Despite our beginning this story is in fact not a fairy tale but actually happened under the reign of King Nicholas of Montenegro who ruled from 1910-1918. King Nicholas’ proclamation read “Every male citizen of Montenegro is a member of the Militia, and therefore not only justified but also obliged to possess at least one Gasser Pattern revolver.

King Nicholas of Montenegro.

King Nicholas of Montenegro with sword and revolver.

Sadly, despite his being something of a Winston Churchill of eastern Europe King Nicholas and Montenegro were defeated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the First World War in 1916 and Montenegro was subsequently incorporated into Hungary. So the revolvers and the arming of every male citizen did not prove to be quite enough to defeat the much larger empire of Austria-Hungary, but no doubt they gave it their best shot, literally.

The .50GI Cartridge

Were there to be another wise king, or president, living in this modern age and they decided to continue the wisdom of good King Nicholas then they might just decide that a large but practical caliber pistol should be something that every male citizen should own. Indeed many would likely consider such a king or president as being a bit like Saint Nicholas in affirming not only the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but to keep and bear heavy caliber arms to boot: and arguably the largest caliber available for a nicely concealable pistol is the .50GI. You can have a .50GI for an American as apple pie Model 1911, or for a modern Glock.

Guncrafter Industries "drop in" conversion kit Glock pistol

Guncrafter Industries “drop in” conversion kit for the Glock.

No doubt there will be people reading this who’s first reaction is to wonder if the .50GI will be a wrist breaking forehead indenting monster that will cause you to instantly go deaf. When we think of .50 caliber handguns the ones that come to mind are such things as the .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum and things of that class are not particularly comfortable to shoot. Even in a Thompson Contender carbine a .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum left me with a neat “magnum eyebrow” from the Leupold rifle-scope on it. But the .50GI has not been designed to deliver that sort of brown bruin busting capability. It has been designed to be more like a step up from the standard and mild mannered .45 ACP, and it sets out to accomplish that while producing recoil in much the same class. That means the .50GI is a practical caliber for a 1911 Commander size pistol.

Guncrafter Industries Model 4 M1911 Commander pistol

Guncrafter Industries Model No. 5 M1911 Commander style pistol in .50GI. A .50 caliber pistol in a Commander size package.

The .50GI cartridge is designed to be the largest that will comfortably fit the standard M1911 pistol. It uses a rebated rim type case, with the rim being of the same dimensions as the .45ACP but the case being of larger diameter. By keeping the rim diameter the same as a standard .45ACP the pistol can be interchanged from .50GI and back to .45ACP with a barrel/slide and magazine swap and not much else. The bullet diameter is .500″ and loaded ammunition is available in five bullet weights, 185gn, 230gn, 255gn, 275gn and 300gn.

The 185gn loading features a solid copper hollow-point bullet with a scored jacket so it opens up to four petals making the expanded bullet diameter  over 1″. Guncrafter Industries say that this creates “a 5″ wound cavity, delivering 8″ of hydrostatic shock damage, penetrating 9″, and transferring close to 600 ft. lbs. of energy.” The bullet’s advertised muzzle velocity is approximately 1,200fps. By comparison with a standard .45ACP the Remington 185gn Jacketed Hollow Point leaves the muzzle at around 1,140fps and delivers 534ft/lb energy. Given that the bullet weight and muzzle velocities are much the same the recoil is also much the same.

Guncrafter Industries .50GI 185gn Copper Hollow Point pistol ammunition.

Guncrafter Industries .50GI 185gn Copper Hollow Point ammunition.

The 230gn loading for the .50GI also use solid copper hollow-point bullets with a muzzle velocity of approximately 1,000fps producing 500ft/lb energy. Guncrafter Industries say that this loading produces “a 5″ wound cavity, delivering 8″ of hydrostatic shock damage, penetrating 11

The video below courtesy Guncrafter Industries gives an idea of the performance.

The next loading for the .50GI is the 255gn Lead Semi-Wadcutter bullet loading coming out of the muzzle at around 800fps. This ammunition is around half the price of the solid copper hollow points and provides affordable training ammunition, but will also be effective in a non-training situation if needs be.

Guncrafter INdustries 255gn Lead Semi-Wadcutter pistol ammunition.

Guncrafter INdustries 255gn Lead Semi-Wadcutter ammunition.

Guncrafter Industries state that the .50GI pistol is perfectly able to be taken out hunting for the likes of deer, bison, bear, and wildebeest. The ammunition for this is the 275gn Jacketed Hollow Point loading which leaves the muzzle at about 875fps. Penetration of this bullet is claimed to be in the order of 40″.

Guncrafter Industries 275gn Jacketed Hollow Point pistol ammunition.

Guncrafter Industries 275gn Jacketed Hollow Point ammunition.

The heaviest bullet made for the .50GI is the 300gn Jacketed Flat Point. This bullet leaves the muzzle at about 700fps delivering around 370ft/lb energy. This ammunition is quite economical but delivers good performance and penetration.

.50GI 300gn Jacketed Flat Point ammunition.

.50GI 300gn Jacketed Flat Point ammunition.

Guncrafter Industries also provide reloading components for the .50GI to make for less expensive shooting. You will find the reloading components and dies if you click here.

Guncrafter Industries and their M1911 Pistols

Guncrafter Industries was founded by Alex Zimmermann, who originally came from the European nation of Denmark. Denmark is a Constitutional Monarchy and neither its constitution nor its king seem to have been interested in citizens having the right to keep and bear arms, much less .50 caliber pistols. So, faced with typical European gun restrictions Alex Zimmermann decided to try to find a way to move to a nation whose founders had similar wisdom to good King Nicholas of Montenegro. It was while he was in the United States for a pistol competition that he saw an advertisement from Wilson Combat looking for skilled workers. Alex applied, was interviewed, and finished up employed as no less than director of research and development for Wilson Combat, one of the best possible companies he could have hoped to work for.

Alex finally left Wilson Combat to pursue his dream of building the ultimate M1911 based pistol firing a .50 caliber cartridge. If you have a dream and you can pursue that dream then its worth going for it, and so Alex went for it. He founded Guncrafter Industries, and set about making M1911 pistols that are as good as any made by anyone in the world. Not only that but he also designed his own .50GI cartridge in an effort to make the ultimate defensive pistol caliber for the M1911 pistol.

.50GI .45ACP pistol cartridge

.50GI to the left by comparison with a .45ACP. (Picture courtesy Wikipedia).

Alex’s design idea for the .50GI is best summed up in his own words “It’s important to understand that I did not set out to create a super magnum blaster 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.” So the .50GI is designed by an IDPA champion to be the ultimate cartridge for the M1911 pistol, and one that can be readily adapted to other pistols made for the .45ACP such as some models of the Glock.

Alex Zimmermann’s M1911 pistols are renowned for their workmanship and attention to detail. Each pistol is hand built and fitted. Frames and slides are machined from forged chrome-molybdenum 4140 forged steel. The .50GI barrel is machined of 416R stainless steel. The barrel has a 1:18 twist with eight grooves. There is a full length steel guide rod with single coil spring to help keep the barrel consistently concentric. Magazine capacity is seven rounds in .50GI giving the pistol a capacity of 7+1. There are no Metal Injection Molding (MIM) parts used in these pistols.

These M1911 pistols are not only made in .50GI, but also in .45ACP and 9mm Parabellum. Alex understood as he went into his pistol manufacturing business that introducing a new cartridge would be a very high hurdle to cross, so he makes .45ACP and 9mm Parabellum pistols of the highest quality also so he has a ready market for his craftsmanship.

American Custom 1911

The Guncrafter Industries American Custom 1911 is made in either .45ACP or 9mm Parabellum This is a standard sized M1911 with a built in light rail.

Guncrafter Industries American Custom pistol

The Guncrafter Industries American Custom 1911 is made in .45ACP and 9mm Parabellum.

Guncrafter Industries list this pistol’s standard features as follows:-

  • Full Size 5″ Government with integrated light rail
  • Black Melonite Finish
  • Forged Steel Frame & Slide
  • Tool Steel fully machined Hammer, Sear, and Disconnector
  • Ambidextrous Thumb Safety Medium size
  • Slide Stop fully machined from Bar Stock
  • HD barrel bushing
  • Slide Top Serrations
  • Magazine Well with Integral Lanyard Loop
  • Match Grade Stainless Steel Barrel
  • Solid match grade trigger
  • 90 degree 15 LPI checking on front strap and mainspring housing
  • Shredder Grips
  • GI Tritium Sights
  • Fully Dehorned
  • Extreme Reliability Work
  • Two fitted and tuned magazines
  • Black GI Logo Cordura Case

There are also a comprehensive list of options, to see the full range of custom features and options click here.

Hellcat X2

The Hellcat X2 is a double-stack magazine pistol providing high capacity: 17+1 in 9mm Parabellum for example.

Guncrafter Industries Hellcat X2 pistol

The Hellcat X2 is a double-stack pistol and provides up to 17+1 rounds capacity in 9mm Parabellum.

Guncrafter Industries list the features of the Hellcat X2 as follows:-

  • Steel Full Size Frame & Aluminum Grip with 5″ Slide
  • Black Cerakote over our Melonite, for the ultimate in looks and protection
  • The BattleCrown™ Super Heavy Duty Bushing
  • Slide Top Serrations
  • 17+1 in 9mm
  • Match Grade Stainless Steel Barrel with TiN Coating
  • Match Grade Trigger
  • Frag Pattern Grip & Mainspring Housing
  • Bomar Adjustable Rear Sight & Fiber Optic Front Sight
  • Flush Cut & Deep Crowned Barrel
  • Flush Cut Slide Stop & Chamfered Frame
  • Ball End Mill Cuts
  • Slide Lightening Cuts
  • Fully Dehorned-Standard
  • Extreme Reliability Work
  • Two fitted and Tuned Magazines
  • Black GI Logo Cordura Case

You will find the page with full details about the Hellcat X2 if you click here.

Below is a video from Guncrafter Industries on field stripping the Hellcat X2

BC-17 Hellcat

The BC-17 Hellcat is a new design generation of Guncrafter Industries pistols. The main design innovation is the BattleCrown™, which is a new heavy duty barrel bushing that accurately follows the slide external contour. The BattleCrown™ has a large and extra deep flare that is precisely blended to the countersunk, crowned barrel. The end result is a high level of protection for the barrel crown and a form that makes for easy insertion into the holster.

Guncraft Industries BC-17 Hellcat Commander pistol

BC-17 Hellcat Commander.

There are three variants of the BC-17 Hellcat; the BC-17 Hellcat CCO, BC-17 Hellcat Government, and BC-17 Hellcat Commander

You will find the BC-17 Hellcat versions at Guncrafter Industries if you click here.

FRAG

The Guncrafter Industries FRAG pistol features gripping surfaces based on the Mk. II Pineapple grenade, from WWII. These surfaces provide positive grip yet without the sharper edges produced by checkering for example.

Guncraft Industries FRAG pistol

The FRAG features gripping surfaces based on the texture of the Mk. II Pineapple grenade, from WWII.

The FRAG is made in three models; FRAG Long Slide, FRAG Squared Blackout and FRAG Commander.

You will find the FRAG on the Guncrafter Industries website if you click here.

HOSS

Many reading this will be motorcycle enthusiasts and will be familiar with the Boss Hoss V8 powered motorcycles. The Guncrafter Industries HOSS is in a sense a bit like the Boss Hoss bike in that it is a substantially beefed up pistol.

Guncraft Industries HOSS pistol

The Guncrafter Industries HOSS is a heavily constructed pistol perfect for the .50GI.

HOSS is an acronym: H.O.S.S. (Heavy Operating Shooting System). Many of the parts in the HOSS are made stronger, thicker and more durable to make this a pistol that will fire thousands of rounds with a much lowered possibility for failure.

Guncrafter Industries HOSS pistol extractor

The extractor of the HOSS pistol is seen on the left. Note it is 33% larger than the standard 1911 extractor seen on the right.

Guncrafter Industries describe the features of the HOSS as follows:-

  • Full Size frame with 5″ Slide
  • Melonite Finish
  • Forged Steel Frame & Slide
  • Slide Top Serrations
  • Tool Steel fully machined Hammer, Sear, and Disconnector
  • Solid match grade trigger
  • Black Alumagrips with Full Checkering
  • Magazine Well
  • Single Sided Thick Safety
  • 15 LPI x 90 degree checking on front strap and mainspring housing
  • GI Tritium Sights
  • HOSS Heavy Barrel-chamber and barrel wall thickness increased by 56%, and beefed up barrel feet by 65%
  • HOSS Slide Stop-33% increase in width, to .200
  • HOSS Extractor-33% increase in width, to .200
  • HOSS Plunger Tube-4 post, thick walled, made from 4130 Chrome Moly Steel
  • HOSS Barrel Link-increased width by 22%, made from hardened steel, with a hardened steel
  • HOSS Barrel Bushing-increased thickness by 56%
  • HOSS Ejector-Ejector post more than double the size of standard cross pin
  • Fully Dehorned
  • Extreme Reliability Work
  • Two fitted and tuned magazines
  • Black GI Logo Cordura Case

You will find the HOSS at the Guncrafter Industries website if you click here.

Model 1

The Guncrafter Industries Model 1 was the beginning for Alex Zimmermann in his quest to build his .50GI pistol The Model 1 externally looks like a standard 1911 pistol but it is engineered for the .50GI, hand made, and hand fitted.

Guncrafter Industries Model 1 pistol

Guncrafter Industries Model 1.

Guncrafter Industries list the features of the Model 1 as follows:-

  • Full size frame with 5″ Slide
  • Black Melonite Finish
  • Forged Steel Frame & Slide
  • Tool Steel fully machined Hammer, Sear, and Disconnector
  • Slide Stop fully machined from Bar Stock
  • Heavy Match Grade Stainless Steel Barrel
  • Solid match grade trigger
  • 20 LPI checking on front strap and mainspring housing
  • Main Spring Housing with Integral Lanyard Loop
  • Alumagrips with Full Checkering
  • Beveled Magazine Well
  • GI Tritium Sights
  • Fully Dehorned
  • Extreme Reliability Work
  • Two fitted and tuned magazines
  • Black GI Logo Cordura Case

There are many custom options for the Model 1 which you will find if you click here.

Model 2
Guncrafter Industries Model 2 pistol

Guncrafter Industries Model 2: note the full length light rail and squared off trigger guard.

The Model 2 is like the Model 1 but with a full length rail, full length dust cover, and a monolithic slide. The monolithic slide adds weight to the front of the pistol making recoil recovery easier, making the .50GI cartridge even more mild mannered.

Guncraft Industries list the main features of the Model 2 as follows:-

  • Full size frame with 5″ Monolithic Slide
  • Full Length Dust Cover with Full Length Rail
  • Black Melonite Finish
  • Forged Steel Frame & Slide
  • Tool Steel fully machined Hammer, Sear, and Disconnector
  • Slide Stop fully machined from Bar Stock
  • Heavy Match Grade Stainless Steel Barrel
  • Solid match grade trigger
  • 20 LPI checking on front strap and mainspring housing
  • Main Spring Housing with Integral Lanyard Loop
  • Alumagrips with Full Checkering
  • GI Tritium Sights
  • Beveled Magazine Well
  • Fully Dehorned
  • Extreme Reliability Work
  • Two fitted and tuned magazines
  • Black GI Logo Cordura Case

You will find the page for the Model 2 with further options if you click here.

Model 3
Guncrafter Industries Model 3 pistol

Guncrafter Industries Model 3.

The Guncrafter Industries Model 3 is made as a Commander size pistol with the emphasis on ease of concealment. To this end it also features a bob-tail grip and flush fit magazine. Despite its small size this pistol comes chambered for the .50GI cartridge to ensure you have a lot of gun in a petite package.

Guncrafter Industries describe the features of the Model 3 as follows:-

  • Full size frame with 4.25″ Slide
  • Black Melonite Finish
  • Forged Steel Frame & Slide
  • Tool Steel fully machined Hammer, Sear, and Disconnector
  • Slide Stop fully machined from Bar Stock
  • Heavy Match Grade Stainless Steel Barrel
  • Solid match grade trigger
  • 20 LPI checking on front strap and mainspring housing
  • Beveled Magazine Well
  • MSH with Integral Lanyard Loop
  • Shredder Grips
  • GI Tritium Sights
  • Fully Dehorned
  • Extreme Reliability Work
  • Two fitted and tuned magazines
  • Black GI Logo Cordura Case

You can find the page with all details concerning the Model 3 and custom options if you click here.

Model 4
Guncrafter Industries Model 4 pistol

The Model 4 is the long barrel version of the Guncrafter Industries 1911.

The Model 4 is the long barrel version of this series and is intended as a hunting pistol. The longer slide provides an extended sight radius for more precise aiming and the longer barrel provides a useful increase in velocity over the shorter barreled pistols. It also comes standard with a Bomar adjustable rear sight.

The standard features of the Model 4 are as follows:-

  • Full size frame with 6″ Slide
  • Black Melonite Finish- New!
  • Forged Steel Frame & Slide
  • Tool Steel fully machined Hammer, Sear, and Disconnector
  • Slide Stop fully machined from Bar Stock
  • Serrated slide top
  • Heavy Match Grade Stainless Steel 6″ Barrel
  • Solid match grade trigger
  • Beveled Magazine Well
  • 15 LPI x 90 degree checking on front strap and mainspring housing
  • Black Alumagrips Fully Checkered
  • Bomar Adjustable Rear Sight
  • Tritium Front Sight
  • Fully Dehorned
  • Extreme Reliability Work
  • Two fitted and tuned magazines
  • Black GI Logo Cordura Case
  • 41 oz

You will find the page with full details of the Model 4 if you click here.

Model 5
Guncrafter Industries Model 5 Custom concealed carry pistol

Model 5 Custom concealed carry pistol.

The last of the Model series is the Model 5. This pistol is designed specifically for concealed carry yet provides all the power of the .50GI cartridge in a controllable handgun. The grip checkering on this pistol is done at 15dpi to make for a neat yet efficient gripping surface.

Guncrafter Industries technical details for this pistol are as follows:-

  • Officer Size frame with 4.25″ Slide
  • Black Melonite Finish- New!
  • Forged Steel Frame & Slide
  • Tool Steel fully machined Hammer, Sear, and Disconnector
  • Slide Stop fully machined from Bar Stock
  • Heavy Match Grade Stainless Steel Barrel
  • Solid match grade trigger
  • 15 LPI x 90 degree checking on front strap and mainspring housing
  • Round Butt
  • Thin black fully checkered Alumagrips
  • GI Tritium Sights
  • Beveled Magazine Well
  • Fully Dehorned
  • Extreme Reliability Work
  • Two fitted and tuned magazines
  • Black GI Logo Cordura Case
  • 33 oz

The Model 5 can be had with a range of custom options and you will find the information page about this pistol if you click here.

NO NAME

The Guncrafter Industries NO NAME series are the entry level models for people who want an affordable hand crafted pistol. They are made in .45ACP and in 9mm Parabellum.

Guncrafter Industries NO NAME CCO pistol

The NO NAME is the entry level Guncrafter Industries line of pistols. There are four models to choose from and many custom options. This is the diminutive CCO model.

There are four models in the NO NAME series. The first is the CCO which is a Concealed Carry pistol made in the size of the Officer model (Illustrated above).

The second in the NO NAME Series is the NO NAME Commander, which is a Commander sized pistol.

Guncrafter Industries NO NAME Commander custom pistol

This is a customized NO NAME Commander pistol. Although the NO NAME series are “entry level” they are pistols of the highest quality and are available with many custom options.

In the picture above you catch a glimpse of some of the sorts of customizations available for the NO NAME and many other Guncrafter Industries models.

The other two models in the NO NAME series are the NO NAME Government, which is a standard sized 1911, and the NO NAME Long Slide, which, as you would guess, features a long barrel and slide.

Renaissance
Guncrafter Industries Renaissance pistol

The Renaissance from Guncrafter Industries is a work of art, and a highly functional pistol all in one package.

The Renaissance is both a work of art, and a working pistol. It is made to be a collector’s item, a family heirloom, or a handgun you just get a lot of pleasure out of using.

The list of standard features of the Renaissance is impressive:-

  • Full size frame with 5″ Slide
  • Hot Salt Blue or Stainless Steel Finish
  • “B” Type Hand Engraving on Slide
  • Ball End Mill Cuts
  • Flush Cut Slide Stop/Chamfered Frame
  • Fluted Chamber
  • Flush Cut & Deep Crown Barrel
  • Rear Slide Serrations
  • Forged Steel Frame & Slide
  • Tool Steel fully machined Hammer, Sear, and Disconnector
  • Slide Stop fully machined from Bar Stock
  • Thick barrel bushing
  • Slide Top Serrations
  • Match Grade Stainless Steel Barrel
  • Solid match grade trigger
  • Chain Link Checkering on Front Strap and Mainspring Housing
  • Beveled Magazine Well
  • Top Quality Wood Grips
  • Gold Bead Front Sight and U-notch Rear Sight
  • Fully Dehorned
  • Extreme Reliability Work
  • Two fitted and tuned magazines
  • Black GI Logo Cordura Case

You will find full information about the Renaissance if you click here.

The Official Front Sight Pistols

In addition to the models described above Guncrafter Industries also make the official Front Sight pistols in either standard or Commander sizes. These pistols are available in either .45ACP or 9mm Parabellum and are made to the specifications of the Range Masters at Front Sight. Included with each pistol is a Front Sight Lifetime Defensive Handgun Membership which allows you to attend Front Sight’s two and four-day Defensive Handgun courses and two-day Handgun Skill-builder courses, as many times as you want for the rest of your life.

You will find the page featuring these pistols if you click here.

Conclusion

We began this post with the story of wise King Nicholas of Montenegro who not only affirmed his citizens’ right to keep and bear arms, but actually made it compulsory. He understood that an armed society is an orderly society, a polite society. He also understood that an armed nation is not one that can be invaded easily.

Other nations have not demonstrated this wisdom, Alex Zimmermann’s native Denmark being one, and of course Britain being another. Britain’s once highly developed small arms industry is now a shadow of its former self and Denmark has lost the technical expertise of Alex Zimmermann, who has moved to the United States to establish his business, a business he could not have developed in his native Denmark, and given conditions prevailing in Europe at the present time, a business that even if he had tried to start it would almost certainly have been subjected to such onerous restrictions that he would have been forced to close down or move.

History aside Alex Zimmermann’s pistols that emanate from his American business, Guncrafter Industries, are not just of the best quality money can buy, but they are made in America by Americans. We hope that Guncrafter Industries flourishes and perhaps even become a household name as so many of the other American custom pistol makers have become.

Guncrafter Industries custom pistol

Picture Credits: All pictures of Guncrafter Industries products courtesy Guncrafter Industries. Other pictures noted as appropriate.

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