Now Available: Les Baer Gunsite Pistol in .45 ACP

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The late Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, USMC (Ret.) will be remembered not only as the “father of the modern technique,” but also as the man who got the most out of the Model 1911 pistol. He was also founder of the American Pistol Institute, now known as the Gunsite Academy.

His work with, and advocacy for, the M1911 is well-documented, and having known Cooper personally while we both served on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors many years ago, there were opportunities here and there to chat about pistolcraft. He knew the subject well.

Nowadays, Gunsite is under the ownership of Buzz Mills and the fellow in charge is Ken Campbell, a former Indiana sheriff. Both are genuinely nice guys, and have carried Cooper’s tradition forward quite well.

This brings us around to the newest gem to grace the landscape around Paulden, Ariz., where Gunsite is located. Enter the Les Baer Gunsite Pistol, as handsome and functional a sidearm as one might expect from the Baer shop. Featuring a Baer NM steel slide with cocking serrations fore and aft, a lowered and flared ejection port, a throated Baer NM barrel with stainless steel bushing, a Baer fixed rear and dovetail front sight with tritium lamp insert and many other features, it’s pure eye candy.

However, there’s more than meets the eye. For starters, the gun features a solid match trigger letting off between 4 and 4.5 lbs., which is what I’d want (and have) on my M1911 pistols. It’s got a polished feed ramp, high sweep beavertail grip safety, checkered slide stop and mag catch, beveled magazine well, flat serrated mainspring housing, tuned extractor, extended tactical thumb safety, extended ejector and high checkered front strap with 30 LPI checkering.

There’s even more — the pistol features a Commander-type hammer, rounded corners, the Gunsite Raven logo engraved into the slide behind the rear serrations and deluxe wood-checkered grip panels. The serial number begins with the “GAI” prefix (Gunsite Academy Inc.).

According to Les Baer, the Gunsite pistol is “meant to be used daily by people who demand nothing less than the highest levels of performance and precision.”

Each pistol comes with two 8-round magazines.

We caught up with Campbell via telephone to get some of the backstory about this pistol.

The project started about 18 months ago and involved lots of eyes for detail. Les Baer is well known in the firearms industry for quality and reliability, so there was plenty of quick interest. When a pistol arrived with the No. 2 serial number stamped on the side, not only did the Gunsite staff get a chance to give it a try, but Campbell said something interesting.

“We put it in our customers’ hands,” he recalled, “asking them to shoot it for an afternoon. We easily put several thousand rounds through it. I never cleaned it, just wiped it off and put a little bit of lube on it.

“We kept passing it around,” he added. “I can’t shoot up to the capabilities of the gun.”

Now, this isn’t something you hear everyday, especially from someone of Campbell’s skill level. Campbell was so impressed he used the Les Baer Gunsite model during his annual requalification to meet the provisions of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) to carry concealed in jurisdictions covered by the act.

The proverbial “frosting on the cake” came when he had a client at the range who was so impressed with the test pistol he insisted on buying it, rather than opt for a new-in-box specimen.

Campbell summed the pistol up thusly: “Les Baer has standards and so does Gunsite.” ’Nuff said.

The pistol made its debut during the January SHOT Show, according to Campbell. Models are now available at the Gunsite Pro Shop and also through Les Baer dealers.

It retails for $2,255 and taking Campbell at his word, which has always been good enough for me, it’s worth every penny.

For more info: www.lesbaer.com
Phone: (563) 289-2126
Email: [email protected]

www.gunsite.com