In Memory of Charles W. Clawson
Author of the Colt .45 Service 1911 Service Pistols Model 1911 & 1911A1
Author Charles W. Clawson (right) with retired Continental Airlines chairman and CEO Gordon Bethune when Mr. Bethune purchased Mr. Clawson Colt Model 1911 Pistol serial number 39 that appeared on the cover of Mr Clawson famed book
Author, Collector and Friend Passes
By Don Corsaro
It is with great sadness that I write this article as one of my long-time friends and mentors in the Colt Model 1911 collecting world has passed away. On April 24, 2015, in Fort Wayne, IN. Charles W. Clawson left the collecting arena at the age of 83.
Known as Chuck to many of us from the gun collecting realm, he was always a gracious gentleman. He served in the US Army during the Korean War. He worked as an airline pilot for 38 years and retired in 1993. He was a member of the American Legion Post in Fort Wayne.
Many people did not know that Chuck considered himself a firearms collector since the age of 10 years old when he acquired his first 22 rifle. He had researched the model 1911 and A1 for some time. In 1993 Chuck released his first book, a large 429 page the Colt .45 Service Pistol Models 1911 and A1 Models. He followed with a smaller collectors’ guide version, and in 2005 he published the Colt .45 Government Model. These works are still one of the most definitive books on the Military and Commercial Colt 1911’s and its variations. The iconic photo on the first large edition of the Colt model serial number 39 is the most coveted 1911’s by collectors to this day.
I met Chuck just after the release of his book in 1993 as I was a 1911 enthusiast and collector. Knowing him was an exceptional experience as Chuck was always willing to share his knowledge on the model 1911, and I visited him at his home in Fort Wayne to view his collection. On my first visit he asked what I wanted to see first, of course, I told him Colt number 39. I so enjoyed the visit.
At the time he was working on a family history and tracked his roots on his mother’s side to Samuel Colt, the famed firearms maker in Connecticut. Over the years we kept in touch, and I always looked forward to the OGCA Show (Ohio Gun Collects Association) when several of us in the collectors’ circle would meet up, talk, show and dissect 1911’s for research or bragging rights. The show and tell could go on for hours.
Chuck once related the story of how he obtained number 39. He went to visit a retired judge down south who owned the gun. “We could not come to an agreement on the price. On my way home I thought about it and decided to spend the extra money. It was special and I had plans for it,” Chuck said. He went on to tell me that when he got number 39, he had already planned the book cover then. He wanted one side of the gun under the title and the other side of the gun on the back of the book.
Years later when a friend and I were working on an innovation by placing a combination lock that replaces the 1911 mainspring housing, I showed Chuck my design. He responded by emailing me encouraging and flattering comments regarding the unique design. He was always gracious to those in the collecting circles.
When he was ready to part with is coveted number 39, he chose another gentleman, veteran and pilot, the former Chairmen and CEO of Continental Airlines Gordon Bethune. They had much in common and when Gordon and I visited Chuck in Fort Wayne for the transaction we all had an excellent time, and Chuck signed some book covers for us. Many people are unaware that the larger first edition book serial number 39 accompanied the Colt 1911 of the same number. The gun and the book are forever linked together for history. I was fortunate to know both men, and they both had similarities qualities beyond the airline connections. I believe Chuck sold his gun to exactly the person he wanted to have his famous relic.
For me and many others the gun shows just won’t be the same. We will miss our friend, and the circle will be one less next show. So long, old friend!
Video Link to Minuteman Pistol Lock
Ever Present - Ever Ready; for Action or Inaction
It the Best Way to Control you Pistol
See Video.....Click Below Link
Minuteman Pistol Lock
In the past gun locks have been cumbersome and a separate component. I always loved history and marveled at the genius of inventor John Browning and his firearms designs. My absolute favorite is the Model 1911, 45 ACP adopted by the US Army in that same year. It started when I was ayoung boy. A neighbor of ours, Mr. Don Pinto of Cleveland, Ohio, severed as an Army Lieutenant in WW II. He brought home his Colt 45 sidearm and had it fixed so it was unable to fire. The couple did not have children, and I went over their house constantly to play. They treated me like their own, and at six years old I was playing Army with a real, non-firing, 45 ACP. This started a fascination with this weapon that persists to this day. I wanted to learn more about all types of guns. I talked to people about guns and read all I could about guns. Even before I was old enough to own a gun, my dad helped me as he indulged my passion for firearms. As I got older, I had a friend who once told me to choose one gun I liked the best and collect it. He said become an expert in that area and never stop learning. So I did and the 45 ACP was my choice. Maybe it’s because it was the gun most US military carried during the twentieth century. Maybe it’s because it is still so popular today and mostly made to the same design.I often look at one of the guns in my collection and think where it has been. If only it could only talk. Did it sit in a drawer for many years? Or was it in combat saving a GI’s life? Or was it possibly owned by a famous person? I remember several years ago meeting a gentleman named RJ Fisher. He was selling his Remington Rand 45 ACP that he was issued in the war. He went on to tell me it was issued to him in 1943, and they took back his 38 special first given to him. I purchased the gun and later went to visit Mr. Fisher (Jerry) in Bucyrus, Ohio. We spent the afternoon together talking about the war, and he showed me his pictures. Jerry was a Navel pilot in flight school in 1941. After Pearl Harbor they rushed his class through, and he served as a Navel Officer. After the war he became a commercial aviator and was called back to the Korean Conflict. He finished his military service as one of a group of pilots flying the heads of NATO around the world. Jerry gave me copies of his discharge papers and we photo- copied his flight school graduation photo. That was in interesting encounter!For almost 30 years I have been collecting the 1911 and that has fueled my passion and has led me to meet some outstanding people. These events led me to the idea for an "Minuteman Pistol Lock" this integrated combination locking system starting with the 1911. To refine the idea’s inner workings, I solicited the help of my friend and co-inventor Chris Fenn. Chris is a former Navy vet and recalls carrying a 1911 even in the early 1990’s during his Navel career. He is a man who is a wiz with mechanics and electronics. I shared this innovation with Charles W. Clawson, author of three books on the 1911 handgun, and he was able to give me the following input, Mr. Clawson is quoted as follows, “It is my opinion that you have invented the most ingenious gun safety device in recent history.” Former CEO of Smith & Wesson, Jim Pelletier, noted its simplicity and ease of installation and was most encouraging. This has been an exciting journey, and we look forward to our product’s future introduction to the marketplace later this year.
"Co-Inventor "Minuteman Pistol Lock"
More Equipment Choices for Conceal Carry
With more and more states passing Conceal Carry laws and a greater desire for individual security, a larger segment of the civilian population is becoming armed. This movement concerns many people, most of all those that would perpetrate a crime or violent act against private, law- abiding citizens. With a greater increase of the private population legally using their second amendment right to keep and bare arms a need arises to secure these weapons from unauthorized personnel. At home this could mean placing your ordinance in a lock box or adding a safety lock device. Many devices are separate add-on units such as cable locks and trigger locks. Some firearms manufactures have even come up with a key lock that can be incorporated into the firearm. The problem is many people do not like having a separate key design. The fear of someone else getting to it or simply misplacing it has caused many to be less than enthused.
Good News Citizens! Two NRA members out of Cleveland, Ohio have a patented the “Minuteman Pistol Lock.” This lock system replaces an OEM component, disables the firearm, and unless you have the proper access code, makes the weapon inoperable and unable to be disassembled. This simple mechanical innovation utilizes four disc tumbles allowing only the code holder to disengage or reengage their weapon. This system does not need a gunsmith and can be done by the firearms owner in five minutes.
Even those in the law enforcement community could embrace the combination lock design. Recently retired (2006) sheriff, Chief Chuck Corrao, of the Cleveland, Ohio, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Department commented, “This [Minuteman Lock] has value to the officer who has to go home and securer his/her weapon. An officer going home could secure his weapon and only he could activate it. This is of value to law enforcement. If he had the [combination locking] system, it would be extremely difficult to reengage or disassemble the weapon”
Chief Corrao was sited for his bravery by US Congress for the 2003 Cleveland, Ohio, Case Western Reserve University campus shooting. Chief Corrao, a captain at the time, was in charge of the County Swat Team. He was joined by the FBI, Cleveland Police, and other local officers. Captain Corrao extracted a wounded female civilian to paramedics. After being shot at, he and his Sergeant apprehended the perpetrator who had killed one and wounded four others.
The inventors of this locking system have conquered the 1911 model, Polymer frame autos, and other classics. All retrofitable designs are being reviewed by some major US manufactures. For new weapons the inventors plan to have the systems ready for after-market sales by early 2012.
If you want to read the story that led one of the inventors to this design, read the story “Minuteman Pistol Lock”.
Co-Inventor"Minuteman Pistol Lock"