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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jim Hoag-Custom 1911 Gunsmith to the stars

Most people don't really appreciate Jim Hoag. Hoag's guns however, are the MOST desirable custom 1911's to most pistolsmiths. Richard Heinie, Bill Wilson, Ed Brown-they all collect HOAG guns. Why? Well, he was the first 1911 pistolsmith who cared about fit and finish. Hoag was a contemporary of Swenson who started out working for King's Gunworks. After moving out on his own, Hoag's proximity to LA enabled many a Hollywood star to get custom 1911's built. Hoag is known for building James Caan's longslide 1911 in the movie "Thief", a pistol that heavily influenced other budding pistolsmiths, notably Heinie.
Hoag's attention to detail was far superior to Swenson and rivaled only by Pachmayr's Combat Special builds. This gun, my second Hoag is typical of a late 80's era gun built on a Colt '70 Series. It has a Bar-Sto barrel, Hoag's signature squared triggerguard, bordered checkering (Hand cut) and stubby (but practical) beavertail. A masterful example of what a bespoke 1911 should be. Unlike other masters of the era, the quality of the work stands up very well today. Mr. Hoag, pushing 80, still builds custom pistols in Canoga Park, CA.


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