SIG MMG 338 Program Series

Cylinder and Slide – Takes Virginia Beach

Each Spring 1911 specialists Cylinder and Slide comes to the Virginia Beach area to offer several training courses but these are classes unlike any others out there. This year Pistolsmith Bill Laughridge offered two days of match oversized 1911 barrel fitting, followed by a full day of 1911 maintenance including the history of the pistol. After a one-day break the course culminates with a week-long, full custom .45 build course where students get a frame and a box of parts and learn to fit each part. Bill describes the process as “putting ten pounds in a five pound sack,” due to the sensory overload experienced by day five. Bill went on to explain that the hardcore students will attend their first course and immediately start working on their next build. Invariably, they’ll run into a new challenge. Cylinder and Slide is prepared for that and all former students have to do is pick up the phone and ask for some advice. Additionally, graduates are supported from then on with dealer pricing. Many come back for a second course and say that they pick up those little extras that really make the gun during that second experience.


For example, Tracey, the lady in the photo receiving instruction from Bill Laughridge is a recreational shooter who is finishing her second class. She reiterated that she has picked up quite a few new tricks on her second go around. Tracey is incorporating some different options in this latest build including an ambidextrous safety. Earlier this year, she began to shoot southpaw and has seen an increase in accuracy. Below is one of the guns Tracey built alongside a build by her husband Dave, a retired Navy SEAL friend of mine.


One of things I really enjoy about this course is that Bill teaches students how to do everything with hand tools. You don’t need a machine shop to work on a .45. Instead, students learn to use dremel tools and drills in some interesting ways. Naturally, students also become intimately familiar with files. There is lots of marking and filing, marking and filing until everything fits. At the end of the week, the students take their new creations to a local range and test fire them. For some, this will mean a few more passes with the file but for all, a rewarding experience, crafting a new firearm. Jim Tolbert Sr is seen below working on his new 1911.


If you are a 1911 aficionado this is a great course, regardless of where you take this training.


2 Responses to “Cylinder and Slide – Takes Virginia Beach”

  1. Haji says:

    Note that’s “HEAVY on the filing, light on the Dremel”, for a more harmonious outcome.:)

  2. Buckaroomedic says:

    I totally want to take this course! Man, I miss my 1911!