Joe Chambers has been referred to as one of the finest young pistolsmiths in America by those who own and shoot his custom made 1911 pistols. His attention to detail, inspiring designs, and commitment to quality have earned him a place in the American Pistolsmiths’ Guild and the respect of many who have been in the business for years.
In a sense, Joe was born to be a pistolsmith. At the age of 5 he shot his first handgun, a RugerBlackhawk belonging to his Dad. “He literally loved it” according to Dad. At age 11 he shot his first 1911 style pistol at his Uncle Bob’s range in rural Arkansas and began to take a keen interest in how pistols worked and were manufactured.
Fast forward twenty years to 2006, thousands of rounds down range for fun, practice and competition and he found himself on a 10,000 mile soul searching road trip across America. It was during this trip that he stopped in Crete Nebraska to spend some time with his friend Bob Marvel who had built him several guns. He ended up staying a month and when he left was extended an invitation to return and begin learning how to be a pistolsmith from one of the world’s best.
In March of 2007 Joe made the trip back to Nebraska and built, with the help of Mr. Marvel, the first of what would become many fine 1911 style pistols. That gun, with an officer’s length barrel, shot 10 shot groups averaging 1.75” at 50 yards, but it was only the beginning. After returning home to Georgia he knew he had found his passion. In May he returned to build a number of pistols, the third of which was used to win its class at the Camp Perry National Pistol Championships that year.
In August 2007 Joe moved from Georgia to Nebraska to pursue his passion of pistolsmithing full time. During the next three years he had the opportunity to sit side by side with the first man to invent a 1911 .22 conversion that actually worked, as well as a true master craftsman, Bob Marvel. During his time in Bob’s shop, he spent hundreds of hours a month learning the intricacies of building exceptionally accurate and reliable 1911 pistols.
In the fall of 2008 Joe submitted two custom guns to the American Pistolsmiths’ Guild for review. His guns were accepted at the January 2009 meeting in Orlando with great reviews. He was granted full membership in the Guild in January 2010 at the Vegas SHOT Show and was a member in good standing until May, 2012.
Guns built by Joe have been used to win over 70 class championships at the NRA Camp Perry National Championships, as well as many regional, state and local matches. He has built guns for collectors, concealed carry and action pistol competitors as well. He has designed and built guns for individuals serving in various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces both in the US and around the world.
His 1911 style pistols in .45acp shoot 10 shot groups at 50 yards between 1.100” and 1.500”, with the average of 1.350”. The guns built in 9mm and .38 Super average just under 1.00” for 10 shots at 50 yards.
When asked how he learned to pistolsmith at this level so quickly, he immediately refers to the three years he worked under the direction of his friend and mentor, Bob Marvel. “Early on, Bob continually encouraged me to keep an open mind, think of new solutions to problems, and always be willing to change and learn. Keeping an open mind and a positive attitude has helped me build what many clients have called ‘works of art that shoot.’ I am both honored and humbled by this and other reviews and give credit to Bob for laying a solid foundation for my ongoing development as a craftsman.”
According to Joe, “There is a little piece of myself in every gun I build for someone and that is part of what makes each gun so special to me personally.”