The John M. Browning 1911 .45 ACP pistol is one of just a few pistols that lends itself to high-end customization. The right company can turn it into an extremely functional piece of art. Alchemy Custom Weaponry of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, is one of those companies.
A division of Cabot Gun Co., LLC, Alchemy builds fine 1911s — exquisite really — at a price point significantly less than its parent company. This opens up the possibility of owning a custom 1911 to more shooters.
I met Mike Hebor of Cabot/Alchemy at their booth during the 2019 USCCA Concealed Carry Expo. It was my first chance to handle samples of the Alchemy line of 1911s. Of all the pistols Mike had on display, it was the Brimstone 1911 that I knew I had to test.
The Brimstone’s Exquisite Construction
The hand-built Brimstone is a concealed carry Officer’s (CCO) rendition of the 1911. CCO versions of the 1911 feature a Commander-length barrel and slide mounted on an Officer model’s short frame. Ever since I handled the original Colt version, I’ve believed that CCO pistols are the most superbly balanced carry versions of the 1911 available. The Brimstone holds true to the original.
In short order, I was in possession of a Brimstone chambered in .45 ACP. The model I received was just like the one I saw at the USCCA Expo. The hand-polished slide and frame had brightly blued steel flats on the frame and slide, reminiscent of the old-school Colt Royal Blue or Smith & Wesson Blue, with the round-top slide and other operational portions finished in a slightly subdued matte blue. The overall effect is striking yet businesslike. All- or partial-chrome versions are also available.
The grip frame features Alchemy Custom Weaponry high grip ergonomics. The most obvious part of this design is the highly undercut trigger guard, which comfortably accommodates the middle finger of the shooting hand. The 25-LPI frontstrap and flat mainspring housing feature custom border checkering. When combined with the black checkered wood grips, this gives the shooter a solid gripping surface. (Brown wood is also available.)
Brimstone 1911 Specifications
My sample came with the medium-length, non-adjustable solid trigger (with a 3.5- to 4-pound pull), an extended thumb safety, a skeleton hammer, a standard slide release (an HRT release is available), a beavertail grip safety with memory bump, a Tritium front sight with white outline and a Novak rear sight with a horizontal Tritium bar. I didn’t realize the Tritium bar was there for quite a while. Unless you look at it directly from the rear, you won’t notice it in daylight conditions. The rear sight would be better with a white outline vertical bar that allows the shooter to see a “lollipop” sight picture.
The easily manipulated slide runs on the rails with glass-like smoothness. Unlike some custom pistols, it does not require above-normal levels of effort to retract. All in all, this is a beautiful pistol … but the proof is in the shooting.
Shooting the Alchemy Brimstone at the Range
I brought along two hollow-point loads: SIG’s 230-grain Elite V-Crown ammo loaded to 830 feet per second/352 foot-pounds energy and Winchester’s LE Ranger T-Series 230 +P ammo loaded to 990 feet per second/501 foot-pounds energy. Two blued seven-round magazines were included with the Brimstone. I loaded them up with Winchester ammo first and began firing from 25 feet.
The Brimstone was extremely crisp, and the light trigger breaks like the proverbial glass rod. Alchemy guarantees 1.5-inch accuracy at 25 yards, and the Brimstone is perfectly capable of it.
Winchester +P Ranger is a hot load, delivering .357 SIG levels of energy. The fine checkering and 36-ounce weight helped tame the recoil, though I preferred the lower-recoiling, standard-pressure SIG Elite ammo. It was more controllable in rapid fire. Functioning was totally reliable, and one-hole groups were the norm once I got over the wow factor of firing a pistol like this.
The Alchemy Custom Weaponry Brimstone .45 is an absolute pleasure to shoot. Features and available options are too many to list in this column. Basic MSRP of the Brimstone is $2,795 (the options on my sample bumped that up to $2,995), with a $675 deposit required to begin manufacture.
If you are looking for a first-rate, hand-built carry .45 loaded with custom features that enhance combat effectiveness, look no further than Alchemy Custom Weaponry.
About Scott W. Wagner
Scott W. Wagner is a criminal justice professor and police academy commander from Columbus, Ohio. He has been a police officer since 1980, working as an undercover liquor investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, patrol officer, SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader. Scott is currently a patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. He has been a police firearms instructor since 1986 and is certified to instruct revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.