by David Crane
Last week, I had the very real pleasure of speaking with John Jardine of Jardine’s Custom Gunsmithing over the phone. That conversation was a real eye opener, as Jardine seems to really know his stuff regarding 1911 pistols and 1911 pistol components.
The Valtro 1998A1 1911 .45 pistol is Jardine’s brainchild. According to Valtro USA’s website, the 1998A1 1911 pistol is "a ‘near custom’ production handgun that has…
as standard features the "extras" that only custom makers put on their pistols. The 1998A1 is a gorgeous piece of work which is not only pleasing to the eyes and hands but supremely accurate, durable, and is a tightly machined example of the highest quality production firearms."
The website goes on to say that "the 1998A1 is the product of many years of work by Master Pistolsmith John Jardine of Jardine’s Custom. His vision was to create a handgun of the finest materials that would have the performance, look and feel of a custom gun right out of the box."
Interestingly, both the slide and frame of the 1998A1 are made from 4340 carbon steel, as opposed to the 4140 carbon steel that most other 1911 slide and frame manufacturers use. Apparently, 4340 carbon steel is what 1911 slides and frames used to be made out of in the old days, before manufacturers switched to 4140 for reasons of cost. According to Jardine, 4140 carbon steel is cheaper and easier to work with than 4340.
Features DefRev would like to see offered in the future on the Valtro 1998A1 1911 include a Novak-cut slide (so either Novak or Heinie fixed combat sights can be used), single-sided manual thumb safety lever, traditional half-length guide rod/barrel bushing set-up, and a semi-arched mainspring housing. I’d also like to have the option of doing away with the front cocking serrations on the slide, for a cleaner, more classic look.
During our phone conversation, Jardine mentioned that Bullseye Shooting Range, one of Valtro USA’s dealers, has a rental 1998A1 that has over 300,000 rounds through it so far with no major parts breakage. This is impressive. I’d be curious about the reliability level of that particular gun, i.e. the average number of rounds fired between stoppages. A range rental gun is often a good guage of both the reliability and durability of a gun, since rental guns are rarely maintained properly(in terms of cleaning, lubrication, and parts replacement).
By the way, I didn’t really get the full story on this, but Jardine said something about his dad and the late, great Armand Swenson during our conversation that gave me the impression that the two men worked closely together, and that (John)Jardine new Armand Swenson pretty well. If Swenson taught John Jardine even half of what he knew about building and customizing 1911’s, well…you get the picture. Not a bad pedigree.
John Jardine can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by phone at 510-489-8477.
Click here to visit the Valtro USA website.
Click on this link to visit the "Jardine’s Custom Gunsmithing" website.