Republic Forge in Perryton, TX is the realization of Benny J. Deal’s lifelong dream of building high-end, custom, true all American-made 1911 pistols. “Anybody can build good pistols,” Deal explains, “but we weren’t interested in doing just that. We wanted to build very high quality pistols made in the US with US-made parts built on US-made equipment.”
In 2013, Deal discovered master gunsmith Jeff Meister and by January 2014, they were in business. Meister has more than 30 years of experience building custom pistols and a well-earned reputation for quality in the gun industry. “He’s a good fit with our team,” Deal says when describing how their relationship developed. In addition to pure talent, Deal was looking to build a company with people who have the loyalty and integrity necessary to stand behind custom products.
Each gun is handcrafted from start to finish by a single gunsmith because Deal believes that results in higher quality control and creates something of an identity between the gunsmith and the gun. “When we get done with a pistol and it goes to the test range, there’s one gunsmith responsible for that pistol and there’s a certain point of pride that comes with that,” Deal says.
Exotic materials such as mammoth tooth grips and modern Damascus stainless steel slides go a long way toward fulfilling Deal’s dream, but these guns aren’t gilded lilies—they really shoot, too. “It has been a fun journey,” Deal tells me as we finish our conversation. Republic Forge has a “build your own custom 1911 pistol” feature on its website where you can experiment with sizes, finishes and accessories before ordering. All production is overseen by Meister, and currently Republic Forge crafts between 350 and 450 custom pistols each year.–Scott Mayer