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Thread: Ken's Den, visiting and story time with one of the great ones!

  1. #1

    Ken's Den, visiting and story time with one of the great ones!

    Friends,

    I had to pick up my cabin generator at a little shop in the mountains and on the drive I was conversing with our Friend Ken Hackathorn. Hands Free of course for obvious reasons, plus in our part of the world we have deer, elk cattle, and who knows what else that can turn the highway into a Giant Slalom course.

    Anyways, I decided to pay a visit to the Hackathorn casa after picking the generator from the shop. On the way I noted that the Steelhead Salmon fishermen were plenty busy in the river.

    I also had the chance to talk with Bruce Cartwright along the way, which was a great thing. Not a nicer guy around and hoping these ammo shortages mellow out so his training business can get going full steam again. However he informed me that he is in the process of acquiring some other training guns that do not require ammo, for force on force use for his students, so that was good news.

    At Kens, we retired to the den and Ken opened a safe started producing cool toy after cool toy. I took a few pics with my cell phone. Figured you guys might enjoy looking at a few of them.

    One of them is from when Ken worked for Colt. The Custom Shop made him a Single Action Army in 38-40. It is truly an amazing piece. Even cooler is that it has a second cylinder in 10mm. The sights are properly regulated too according to Ken, who has shot it on the range at his house. While talking to the smith, he was asked if he wanted a wide spur hammer. He was not aware of such a thing (neither was I.). The Colt Custom Shop single action smith pulled open a drawer and produced a ragged old cardboard box that according to Ken looks like the box, based on its ragged condition apparently been passed down from Smith to Smith for many years, and had a number of wide hammers, still in the white. He took one out, to be fitted just for Ken's gun.

    I worked the action on the gun and fondled it. Ken uses a piece of sheepskin, backed by leather, that is well oiled to wipe guns down that have been fondled. Especially the special ones, blued ones, etc. Ones that have been drooled on really need a good wiping down.

    After the SAA, was built to Ken's specs, it was sent to Turnbulls for color case hardening, and I can tell you that cell phone pics in a den don't do this gun justice. It is truly American Handgunner worthy. Heck it really is Museum worthy. It is an exceptional gun.





    The hammer was just incredible. One of these times I will bring my good camera and if we have some spare time, do some proper pics of this gun. It really is worthy of its own article in a magazine.




    This is one of those guns that you make sure you wipe down and double check for drool before you hand it beck to Ken!
    “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

  2. #2
    happy sharps enabler Totem Polar's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    Hopefully when DB gets his revolver book done he will do a book on the firearms trainers and their guns.

  4. #4
    Ken used to train the Japanese special operations units. I cannot remember the exact unit name off the top of my head. They were doing maritime operations. Doing VBSS type stuff and CQB was a major part of their training at the time.

    The pistol shown is a very rare Performance Center 5906 that came with a factory mag well. As far as I know, these guns were never sold commercially in the states. I could be wrong of course, as I am not up on the crazy amounts of variations of Smiths but this is a rare bird. These came with lanyard loops, and Ken used his a lot in training the Japanese forces.



    This is a stainless 5906 with black melonite finish. I know the Mexican government ordered some 5906s with the same finish but that is where the similarity ends. They were not Performance Center built guns, they did come with the PC factory magwells or highly tuned actions. This gun has a double and single action that needs to be worked and felt to be appreciated. The SA trigger is the type that you could chew the X/10 ring out of a target with no trouble. It is impressive. While Ken had his drool rag close by, with the finish that is on these guns, it was pretty safe.

    You know you are a pretty cool guy when the Performance Center does a run of guns serial numbered for you.




    This gun was definitely not a safe queen and bears the marks of a working gun that has been banged around a bit. It just looks cool.







    The standoff device was custom built to his specs for Japanese and will also accept a weapons light. It snaps right on and off perfectly. I suspect that when he goes to sell this one of a kind gun here in the states, it is going to fetch a crazy amount of money with the S&W guys.

    Such a neat piece of history from many angles.
    “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Poconnor View Post
    Hopefully when DB gets his revolver book done he will do a book on the firearms trainers and their guns.

    Funny you say that.

    I was thinking that Ken really needs a book written about him. He has shared many a story. One or two are actually the type that could be shared with the public! But he is a guy that should have a book written.

    While yes he has lots of cool guns, KEN is a story. Ken's friends are stories.

    Someone who knows Ken well recently made a comment about the nature of Ken's friends. I won't go into details, but suffice to say, a great many of Ken's friends are not cut from the typical cloth, often due to backgrounds. Lots of stories could be told. That topic has come up more than a couple of times about the stories of friends. Some of those stories would have to be altered enough to make it a fiction piece for reasons .
    “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

  6. #6

    More Colts courtesy of Ken!

    By the way a Single Action Army in 10MM is just plain COOL!




    You could be the coolest cowboy ever feeding your Turnbull CCH Colt from 1911 10mm mags on the range.

    Seriously bad ass.


    Speaking of bad ass.

    Ken has another Colt that I REALLY REALLY LIKE.

    My eyes do better with adjustable sights and the New Frontier is perfect in the fashion.

    Ken has this .45 Colt that was another one that he picked up courtesy of the Custom Shop. Yes, those are real ivory grips, and the action what you would expect. I am not a huge single action fan, but this is one of those single actions that is absolutely "just right". It is just that nice.

    “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Lost River View Post
    I was thinking that Ken really needs a book written about him. [/I] .
    Absolutely!!! And with lots of photos!!!

  8. #8
    There is more to this thread.


    I just have been a bit side tracked with Hounds and Minions!

    There are a couple of really special pieces that I have not posted yet.

    In fact the guys over at the Smith and Wesson Collectors Forum would go NUTS if they knew what Ken had in his possession. I had never even heard of these and I have been an N Framed Model 29 fan since I was a teenager.

    But those will have to wait until tomorrow.

    Speaking of cool N Framed .44s. It is no secret I like 5" .44 Mags, as does Ken.

    He has a sweet Model 629, 5", with a gold bead interchangeable front sight that is just a total Goldilocks of a gun.






    Oh and there might have been a pretty darn special Performance Center 4563 that somehow managed to work its way into my Land Cruiser for the ride home.





    Those old PC guns were absolutely top notch, and this one, with its low 2 digit serial number is a pretty special gun for obvious reasons.
    “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

  9. #9
    Member Lyonsgrid's Avatar
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    I got to train with Ken about 5 years ago. One evening most of the class went to a steakhouse with him for dinner. What struck me most was how gracious he was and his willingness to tell lots of great stories centered around guns. I could listen to him talk guns for a week and not get bored. Absolute legend.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter Hieronymous's Avatar
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    Awesome post. Thank you for taking the time to share this encounter with one of the living legends. I would not be overly disappointed if you decided to go through each and every one of Ken’s guns in his safe and share them with us.

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