Michael "Chip" McCormick, a legendary gunsmith, innovator and founder of Chip McCormick Custom/Shooting Star Products, passed away on June 4, 2021. An avid competitor and firearm enthusiast, McCormick developed several innovations that influenced huge segments of the firearm industry, including 1911 pistol design and modular components for the AR-15.
One of McCormick's signature contributions to the firearm world was the Railed Power Magazine, which dealt with the commonly encountered problem of out-of-spec feed lips found on traditional 1911 pistol magazines. McCormick developed the innovation of folding the magazine feed lips, creating smooth, resilient feed lips that provided greater performance and reliability than John Browning's original design. Additionally, McCormick developed a unique follower with a two-axis leaf spring that ensured an empty magazine follower would reliably lock a 1911 slide to the rear.
McCormick also contributed to 1911 design in other ways and played an instrumental part in Kimber America's early development by encouraging the company to create specifications for 1911 components that allowed the guns to be assembled from parts rather than fitting components together by hand. With this innovation, Kimber became one of the leading manufacturers of 1911s in the world, and McCormick's method of building 1911s developed into an industry standard.
Despite his expertise and focus on the 1911, McCormick innovated in other ways. Prior to his development of a self-contained AR-15 trigger, gunsmiths tuned AR-15 triggers by working with individual trigger components. McCormick developed the concept of a "drop-in" AR-15 trigger, complete with a clean, match-grade pull. Now, the aftermarket is full of self-contained AR-15 trigger units, all inspired by his early design. McCormick also developed the concept of a modular handgun based on the 1911 design. With this inspiration, he teamed up with Sandy Strayer and Virgil Tripp and, together, the men developed the 2011 design sold by STI (now Staccato).
For those who'd like to honor McCormick's memory, the family has asked for donations to be made to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum Memorial Fund, an institution in which McCormick played a key role.