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Rifleman Q&A: The Portsider

Rifleman Q&A: The Portsider

Q: On p. 139 of the 1987 edition of Gun Digest, there is a picture and mention of a Falcon Portsider Left Hand 1911 made by Falcon Firearms of Granada Hills, Calif. What became of Falcon Firearms, and did it ever produce such a gun? Are there other lefty M1911s?

A: Falcon Firearms Mfg. Co. was incorporated in Granada Hills, Calif., on July 10, 1985. The last statement it filed with the state was on July 24, 1989, and it appears to have gone out of business shortly thereafter. According to some sources, in 1986 the firm started producing a left-hand pistol patterned after the Colt Model 1911 that ejected to the left rather than to the right. As far as I can tell, there is no source available that gives the total production of these “Portsider” pistols. They are not commonly seen, but the 2016 Standard Catalog of Firearms gives prices for them as $225 for poor-condition examples up to $700 for those new in the box.

Several firms have made left-hand pistols; perhaps the most well-known was Randall Firearms Mfg. Co., which was incorporated in California in September 1982. That firm was also short-lived, and it is sometimes said that Falcon obtained the Randall tools and leftover parts. Randall made several versions of left-hand pistols. Reportedly its quality was exceptionally good and production quantities were modest, so collectors seem to value Randall pistols highly. The overall market for left-hand pistols does not appear to be adequate to support large-scale production, but there is at least one current manufacturer. Cabot Guns of Sarver, Pa. (cabotgun.com) produces full- and Commander-size left-ejecting pistols, as well as mirror-image, two-gun sets.

—Charles W. Pate

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