While working through the last part of the Custom Combat Handguns, we were alerted to a pair of beautiful autopistols that showed up at our photographer’s place for photos. Created by artisans at Strayer-Voight, these are truly custom and truly combat handguns. Looking like race guns meant for the rigors of USPSA, these 6-inch, high capacity 1911s are built for the bodyguards of a sheik of the United Arab Emirates.

As befitting their high status, they are the same and unique: the envelope, caliber and capacity are the same, but two of the guns are rendered in stainless upper and lower. The other is carbon steel.

Starting at the top, these guns are chambered for the .40 cartridge, a very popular police and defense round in the States. The barrels are the SVI Hybrid 6-inch barrels. The manifold at the barrel’s top mates with the open top slide and allows vertical exhaust ports. These are 10-degree reverse ports.

“They’re not interested in making a Power Factor,” Brandon Strayer said. “They’re interested in lessening recoil for shorter time between shots.”

The guns are furnished to the Sheik with 170mm magazines. Longer than the usual 18-shot .40 magazines, the capacity is thus 25 rounds of butt-kickin’ Forty.

The rails on the SVI frame are an inch longer than on their more conventional 1911s. The parts are SVI parts, billet machined. Their frames and slides are of 4340 steel. The barrels of these guns are likewise 4340 steel with a “TD” clear tool coating.

The frame is a two piece affair. What I’d call the receiver or the frame is a steel section that includes the dustcover back to the tang, but not the gripping area or triggerguard. This “lower receiver” is polymer. It’s been “dimpled” for grip and finished. It is coated with an Alfaro Enterprises automotive paint. This was a special job for Mr. Alfaro as he’s not doing gun finishes now, according to Brandon Strayer of SVI.

The dustcovers have diagonal cuts, it appears to be to lighten the overall weight of the piece. “We call those “Xcelerator Flutes,” Brandon said. “Actually, they’re more cosmetic.” Brandon said that the bottom or lower receivers will soon be available made from billet aluminum.

svi21.gifThe rear sight is a Bo-Mar adjustable and the front sight is a fiber optic unit.

How much is a gun like this? “Around $3700,” Brandon said, “without the slide engraving.” What do you get for that? Brandon replied, “We certify these to an inch-and-a-half accuracy at 50 yards.”

I can’t hold that tightly. If those protective specialists in the UAE can hold to that small an error, they can probably protect their principal with their bare hands. Still, it’d be comforting to know that you have very powerful, quick shooting and accurate pistols. And it would be good to know that your employer didn’t worry so much about money as he did getting the best gear available for his troops.

SVI makes pistols largely for the IPSC/USPSA market. Brandon estimated that about 60% was overseas business, making competition guns.

They sell pistols, but also frames—traditional and competition two-piece, slides, barrels, small parts, magazines and even holsters. Innovators, SVI doesn’t seem to stop trying to find a way to make a better gun.

Their new “AET” (Accuracy Enhanced Technology) Infinity Gold barrels have a unique (and trademarked) Golden Bronze Coating. The Accuracy Enhancing Technology includes a number of interesting features.

Gain twist rifling, the idea of starting a slug out at a low twist rate, increasingly fast as it gets to the end of the barrel, is not new. It’s been used in some rifles and is used to minimize premature destruction of the bullet in the hand-howitzer .460 S&W Magnum.

SVI uses variable width lands to assist in the accuracy “gold standard,” and adds the “Optimum Feeding Angle” curved feed ramp with the chamfered chamber entrance to enhance feeding. The Golden Bronze color comes from the tint in the Titanium Nitride finish, an Infinity exclusive.

SVI makes single stack autos and high capacity autos. They make 1911 pistols in .45, .40, and, doubtless, other calibers. They make match pistols and personal protective gear.

I’m no sheik but I know classy hardware when I see it. These are guns that can shoot straight and look good at the same time.

For more information contact: SVI, 3435 Roy Orr Blvd, Ste 200, Dept CH, Grand Prairie TX 75050; 800-928-1911;

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While working through the last part of the Custom Combat Handguns, we were alerted…