Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Vintage LAR Grizzly Brochure...

This is a brochure that LAR used to promotet the Grizzlies in the late 80's. If anyone has a differetn version of any of their materials or paperwork... we would love to see them.

A big thanks to Perry Arnett (the inventor of the Grizzly pistol) for contributing to our blog... what a rare treat!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Arnett Patent Multi-caliber Conversion Units


Just a few comments about the 9mm Win Mag cartridge and the Grizzly Pistol Conversions for it.

I’d had a custom gun shop from about 1968, and had read all the magazines and had attended some gun shows. I’d also built and exported specific caliber conversion units for 1911-A1 pistols to Italy in 1979. Between about 1975 and 1979 there were reports in the press that there was only ONE Wildey Pistol, and that that one pistol was the one that had been shown at all the Shot shows for the previous five years or so.

It was also reported that W-W had manufactured 1 million rounds of both the 45 Win Mag and the 9mm Win Mag cartridges - for which there was as yet, no firearm that would shoot them (other than a few single shot Thompson Contenders).

It irked the hell out of me that there were all those rounds of new ammo sitting in warehouses for which there was no firearm!

So, since I had already been building Multi-caliber Conversion Units for 1911-A1 pistols in caliber's 38 Special Wadcutter, 9mm Luger, 30 Luger, 9mm Long, 38 Super, etc., (none of which required replacing the slide), I knew that I could build conversion units in the 9mm Win Mag caliber if I could build a firearm with a magazine well large enough to accommodate the 45 Win Mag Cartridge. Since what I knew best (at the time) was the Browning Lock, I decided to see if I could design and build a safe and functional firearm that would handle BOTH the 45 Win Mag AND the 9mm Win Mag cartridges INTERCHANGEABLY, without having to replace the slide - which I did. I knew also, that if I could build a firearm that would take those two cartridges interchangeably, then I could add as many other caliber conversion units as the laws of physics would allow.

I developed both the 45 Win Mag prototype P001 Pistol, and the 9mm Win Mag prototype Conversion Unit for that pistol simultaneously.

So, that’s why the 9mm Win Mag cartridge is important to the Grizzly Multi-caliber Semiautomatic Pistol; it was the 'conceptual driver’ that made the new technology have market value.

One gun writer later complained in a magazine article, that he had "only" been given by LAR, five boxes of 9mm Win Mag ammo (250 rounds) with which to critique the 9mm Win Mag Grizzly Pistol Conversion Unit.

What he didn’t realize is that I developed the 9mm Win Mag Conversion Unit in the P001 prototype pistol FROM SCRATCH, and had only 42 rounds of white box ammo with which to do that! Of those 42 rounds, I used only FOUR rounds to prove the concept in its entirety; i.e. feed, fire, extract, eject, safely, and functionally. The first round was fired statically by use of a device I created to purposefully lock the slide and barrel to the receiver so that they would NOT open after firing.

This device was created for the 45 Win Mag cartridge, but was also used to test the 9mm Win Mag. [...that device, incidentally, I consider to be one of my most creative concepts... I’ll try to take some photos of it and put them up here if you’d like. ] The second round was hand placed in the chamber, and the slide was allowed to recoil and extract/eject normally after firing. The third round was allowed to be fed from the magazine. DONE! [When you have few resources, you do the math and engineering well first...] I had previously drilled and dumped the powder from one 9mm Win Mag cartridge and had done some extensive manual feeding and extraction tests, but other than that, that was it!

It was with some of those remaining 42 rounds that I demonstrated the P001 and the 9mm Win Mag Conversion Unit to NAMCo.

When I first demonstrated the P001 to North American Manufacturing Co. in their indoor range in Provo, Utah, both the 45 Win Mag and the 9mm Win Mag cartridges were new cartridges. When the gun functioned flawlessly in MY hands (duh!), they wanted to shoot it too, so I let them shoot it, and it was but a short time after that they asked for a license to manufacture. They told me that they had had numerous firearms prototypes come to them but when they were tested, "they were all dangerous, they blew out extractors" and the like, and "none ever worked right". When my P001 Grizzly Pistol in 45 Win Mag, and its Conversion Unit in 9mm Win Mag BOTH worked flawlessly, INTERCHANGEABLY, in THEIR hands, they were impressed!

When I showed the Grizzly Pistol and the 9mm Win Mag Conversion Unit for it the first time at the NASGW Show in Denver in 1980?, buyers flipped because there was a gun that could fire BOTH the new cartridges that Winchester had, and for which there were reserves of ammo, but for which there was at that time, only one gun - the one prototype Wildey Pistol.

The 9mm Win Mag cartridge has one other unique quality: I’ve been told over the years by body armor manufacturers that they test their products with various caliber's at various distances starting with the lowest power cartridges first. When their body armor will withstand 'everything else’, the last test they give is with the 9mm Win Mag cartridge, since it seems to have a unique capability for penetration that other cartridges like the 357 Magnum do not. They’ve told me that the 9mm Win Mag cartridge penetrates better than any other cartridge, and that the next best penetrator is the 45 Win Mag! [this is old info from about 1988 or so, so it may not be valid today...]

I love that cartridge, and in fact, I built a 9mm Win Mag Browning High Power at one point - which was later stolen. But it worked fine while I had it. THAT was the rats ass! All the marvelous qualities of the P-35 but in the magic caliber of the 9mm Win Mag. The 9mm Win Mag would also make a superb SMG cartridge in an M1 Carbine-size (or smaller) weapon.

Interestingly to me, the folks at North American Manufacturing Co. saw immediately that the potential for the new technology was in the multiple sales of Conversion Units, once a customer had bought the Pistol itself (which was my original marketing premise). LAR, on the other hand, seemed to have a different view, and wanted to sell only the Pistols - or so it seemed.

Different strokes...

I developed ~10 different calibers of Conversion Units for the Grizzly Pistol (9mm Win Mag, 45ACP, 357 S&W Magnum, 38 Special RN, 38 Special WC, 9mm Luger, 38 Super ACP, 30 Mauser, 30 Luger, 380 ACP, 9x18 Ultra Police, 9mm Long, and was working on a few others...). LAR chose to market only those that they did. The 10mm’s and the 50’s were not out yet, then. Since the 45 Win Mag is more powerful than the 44 Magnum, I saw no need to make a Conversion Unit for it; LAR did, later - my mistake? Walt Wolff was kind enough to build some special recoil springs for me of long (Grizzly Pistol) length but with very low strength, so the slide would move with the low recoil-impulse calibers.

I figured that if a guy bought the Grizzly Pistol in a ‘major’ caliber, then as time went on, he might want other lessor calibers for various other uses - but he’d always have the major caliber for serious work. Like the ad for California almonds; "just a conversion unit every other year"...

I designed and built a Multi-caliber SMG in about 1980 that fired both 45 ACP and 9mm Luger calibers interchangeably, that I displayed in LAR’s booth at the World Military Expo in Las Vegas in 1985?. I had offered this technology to LAR and they were interested in it at one point, since it had generated LOTS of interest from various countries at the show. During the show, Robbie asked me how much I was going to "soak them" for a license..., but the manner in which the question was asked told me they weren’t interested (nor was I), so the subject was never brought up again..

I later was solicited by the government of India between 1990 and 1994, to transfer that Multi-caliber SMG technology to them under a very detailed cross-licensing arrangement. They changed Prime Minister, so that ultimately did not happen, either.

This interchangeable, Multi-caliber SMG is written up in the T. B. Nelson book series, Volume 7, I believe, under "Red Mountain Arsenal, Parowan, Utah" (that was me). Nelson wrote me asking for some photos and other data but I never got back to him... Again, this Multi-caliber firearm was covered under my 4,253,377 patent at the time of my conception of it. I built two working prototype interchangeable-caliber SMG’s in less than 33 days, one round, one square, specifically using only junk yard junk for materials (other than the barrels which were rifled).

Both worked fine.

It may have value in the next few years - who knows?


Perry Arnett, inventor

Monday, January 29, 2007

LAR Grizzly Paperwork...

I have been looking through all of my old paper work and I found two more pieces that LAR used to ship with the Grizzly pistols. One is a short company history and the other is a list of testimonials. I also have one of their old color brochures that I will try to scan and post in the next couple of days. The reason I am posting these items is so that a Grizzly owner could reproduce all of the documents that would have originally come with his gun. If you have the box... this would make a nice package. Sure... they wont all be original paperwork.. bu it's better than nothing ;-)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

LAR Grizzly Conversion Units...

One of the most common Grizzly questions I hear is: "what calibers did they make conversion kits for?"

I will take my best shot to answer that here... As far as I know, they made the conversion units for the Mark I in .357 magnum, .45 ACP, 10mm, and .357-.45GWM. I always thought that the .357 mag was the most popular conversion but many tell me that the most popular was the .45ACP. I have been told that they also made a few units in 9mm WM, and my friend Jim in Corpus Christi Texas, who I consider to be "the" authority on Grizzly handguns, swears that he saw one once in .40 S&W.

I have heard people say that they never actually made a conversion for the .45 Win Mag because that was the standard caliber. But you could order the gun directly from LAR in any caliber you wanted. My best friend ordered his in 1989 in the .357 mag caliber and later they were more than willing to sell him a conversion in .45WM. As for the Mark Vs, someone else is going to have to help me out. I have seen conversions for them in .45WM, .44 Mag, and their original standard caliber of .50AE. I am not sure what conversions were offered for the Mark IVs... can anyone shed any light on the subject?

Grizzly Diagrams...

Here are a couple of quick reference diagrams for Grizzly pistols (click on them to enlarge). As you will see they are basically a Model 1911 in every way... just some of the pieces have been stretched and/or beefed-up to handle the size and recoil of larger magnum calibers. I will try to get some better scans of these in the near future.

Please note the link in our "links" section to the right. This will take you directly to a downloadable version of the entire Grizzly Hangun Owner's Manual. We are looking for the list that Grizzly once put out showing which parts were standard 1911 and which ones were different... if anyone has one... please scan at decent resolution and send to me at:

Thanks mucho...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Grizzly Ad Circa 1988...

The ad pictured below was also used as a promotional flyer by LAR for a few years. I was told that it ran for the first time in 1988... if anyone know any different please let me know and I will update this info. Seeing this old stuff is exciting to me. If anyone out there has any more Grizz memorabilia... please let us know.

Just an FYI... if you click on any of the pictures in this blog... they should pop-up in your browser at full resolution.

I'll post more as soon as I can...

Welcome Grizzly Enthusiasts


My name is Cam (short for Cameron) and I am a recoil junkie. If it barks fire and makes big holes... I love it!

I have been a Grizzly handgun lover since my first experience with this awesome product back in 1989. I took a bit of a forced vacation from shooting after my home was broken into in 1990 and all of my guns were stolen. When I did finally return to shooting sports, I was so sad to learn that my favorite pistol had been discontinued back in 1999 and I have been on a mission to resurrect interest in these Grizzlies ever since.

I have been in contact with many Grizzly owners and enthusiast over the past year and decided to start this blog so that we can all share. I will be launching an official Grizzly owner's website in about two months (by the end of March). I will be scanning some vintage Grizzly paperwork and literature to post on this sight soon. In order to keep the smuts and nuts off of this blog... it will be by invitation only to begin with. If you would like to be added as an author/contributor to this blog... please send a request to Cam Stewart and I will send you an invitation to join.

I will be posting additional info each day for the next week in order to get things rolling.

The picture below is me shooting a two-tone Mark I with a 6-slot compensator in 45 Win Mag. These bad boys can really get someone's attention at the range!

Thanks so much for viewing this blog and good shootin'