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Excerpt taken from Ahrends Custom Hi-Power
By Cameron Hopkins  Photos by Ichiro Nagata

Custom Ambi Safety 

The Ahrends custom Hi-Power shown here is a “package” that Kim offers called the Browning Tactical Conversion. All the features and custom work described here are included in the package, which costs $1,600 on a customer’s Hi-Power.

The P-35, popular though it may be, runs a distant second to John Browning’s glorious Government Model when it comes to buying aftermarket parts and accessories. Cylinder & Slide Shop of Fremont, Neb., offers a trigger, a hammer, a sear and an extended thumb safety. If you don’t care for the style of the C&S parts, you have a choice of C&S or maybe C&S or then again there’s always C&S.

If the aftermarket parts business for the 1911 is a “cottage industry,” then the parts business for the Hi-Power might be called a “Mongolian yurt industry.”

While this dearth of parts may not encourage a local “parts changer” to jump into the custom Hi-Power business, it is just the sort of challenge that a truly talented pistolsmith like Kim Ahrends positively loves. Give Kim a car bumper, a welding torch and a file and he’ll make his own custom parts.

Kim’s outstanding treatment of the ambidextrous thumb safety is an example of a real craftsman’s work. The stock Browning safety is really too small for a positive, no-fumble engagement that is vital on a serious pistol. The C&S unit is much better, but Kim still wanted to improve it, to “Swensonize” it you might say.

Welding up the levers on a stock safety, Kim completely recontoured and reshaped the pieces to an ergonomic shape. He serrated the levers by hand, again in a style like the famous Swenson safety.

The result, as you can see in Ichiro Nagata’s detailed pictures, speaks for itself. Kim charges $150 for this totally handmade conversion of an ambi safety, which I think is very reasonable for the obvious time and talent that it takes to make one.