Traveling Companion: Tussey’s stealth comp is “just right”

Tussey Custom PistolSmith

It’s mid-night-thirty and dark like the second line of the Bible. I’ve got the GT Pony car stretched out across the lonesome high desert at a (classified) ground speed. I’m headed home. There’s enough gas in the car and enough coffee in me to complete the trip. Further, the wife knows where I am via cell phone, and I know my Tussey Custom Officer’s ACP resides in the shoulder holster under the old flight jacket I’m wearing. Like the man said, the 6 P Rule (Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance) always applies. The compact Tussey Custom started life as a standard 45 ACP Colt 80 Series lightweight, stainless steel, Officer’s ACP. Terry worked on it over a period of time until it became what you see in the photos. The easiest way to describe the extent of the work is to say it does not have night-sight inserts (mainly because I won’t send it away for that long).

Terry did a lot of external work on the gun, and when people see it, they naturally comment on that facet of the pistol first. That, and they ask if the grips are real ivory. Yes, they are.

The other thing that gets them is the stealth comp. I always present the pistol with the slide locked back and the configuration of the barrel/slide comp is something people notice but don’t fully appreciate until the slide is closed. As the comp on the barrel moves into lock-up on the slide, people ask, “Is that the same length as a normal Officer’s slide — or longer?” It’s the same size. The more knowledgeable observers will also notice — while the slide is still locked back — that the barrel is fitted the same as a match barrel. I know who these people are because they ask, “Is the barrel fitted?” or “How does it shoot with the fitted barrel?” I answer that it shoots almost as good as my Government Tussey with the match barrel, and much better than the production 1911s I’ve shot.

This little Tussey gun will shoot 25-yard groups under 2″ — middle-aged eyeballs and coffee intake aside. All done handily with 230 gr. Hydra-shocks, 185 gr. Silvertips and 165 gr. Personal Defense loads. It also shoots every time I pull the trigger. And that’s a convenient trait.

But It Gets Better

The handling characteristics of the pistol are quite good. The pistol balances well from empty to a full magazine. I’ve had a few buddies fire the pistol on occasion and they have all commented on the pistol’s pointability, ease with which it moves from target to target, and the fine trigger pull. They’ve also commented on the Stealth Comp.

As anybody who has ever shot a compensated pistol knows, you always get more noise, and in some cases, more muzzle flash. The Tussey certainly has more noise, and the comp works just fine, so you don’t want to fire the pistol with any part of your body over the ports. But I can’t say it has more flash. That may be a result of the slower velocities of the 45 ACP and not the hot-rod .38 Super rounds usually associated with compensated pistols. You race-gun types may insert your answer here.

The stealth comp does alleviate a certain amount of recoil in the light pistol. While this is much-appreciated, the greatest assistance from the comp is its ability to keep the barrel down, and close to the target. This allows for a very fast second shot for such a small pistol. And fast can be a good thing, you know. Sometimes.

I know Terry could build a smaller, lighter pistol — he does that all the time. He could build a tighter shooting pistol — I’ve already got a few. I could have a 1911 with a larger comp — I really don’t need one. So, I guess what I’m saying is I like this one just the way it is.

Go to Tussey’s website to learn how to meet him! Tussey Custom; (775) 246-1533; website:

By R.E. Brown
American Handgunner
September – October, 2003

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