Glock Meets 1911: The Alchemy Arms Spectre

Alchemy Arms was a company formed in 1991 making parts and accessories for both the Glock and 1911 platforms. Its founder, William McMoore, got the idea to combine elements of both pistols to make the perfect hybrid. It was essentially a Glock slide and striker-fired system attached to a 1911 style frame, with both grip and manual safeties. It was announced at the 2000 SHOT Show in .45 ACP, with plans to add 9x19mm and .40 S&W options. However, quality control and tolerancing problems plagued the production, magazines were slow to have made (many pistols were shipped with one magazine instead of the advertised two), and the refinement and development of other calibers became a money pit. The company was dissolved in 2006, with only an estimated 100-200 of the pistols having been made.


  1. Echoes of this design can be seen in the SiG-Sauer M17/M18 pistol that is the new standard service sidearm of the U.S. armed forces.



    • This design does seem slightly ahead of its time. However, I have to say that the biggest problems apart from appealing to customers (how is this better than the competition?) were the misdirected focuses of the design team (aerospace operating conditions vs firearms operating conditions) and the general lack of production infrastructure needed to make the gun a reality. I could be wrong.

  2. What a needless effort… Completely… Pity for the time wasted… Glock is an improvement over conventional pistol construction, usability, safety and modern materials using… Taking it back seems refusing develpoment… IMHO…

  3. So Glock fans will hate it for it’s M1911 features, and M1911 lovers will hate it for it’s Glock features? We can’t go wrong!

  4. I had in interesting debate with my son in law about rumors of Glock making a 1911 back a few years ago. I am not a Glock fan not really a 1911 fan either but my argument was that there is no reason for Glock to build a 1911 it was a complete deviation from there mission in building a pistol. It was hammer fired single action with a completely different fire control system. He is a Glock fan and could not believe in the fact that Glock would have no reason to get into the 1911 market

    • Your son-in-law really is ignorant about his favourite pistol design and why it is the way it is. christmas is coming. So present him with a book on the history and developmet of the Glock pistols.

  5. Thanks for pointing out that the 1994 law (expired in 2004 and not renewed) had a huge impact on the resurgence of popularity of the 1911 in the US that era. That was when S&W, Ruger, Springfield Armory, and others all started making them. If limited to 10 rounds for new magazines, and one did not want to pay crazy money for a pre-ban high-capacity wonder nine magazine, why not go with a bigger cartridge? Also, this was when shall-issue concealed carry licenses took off in the US, and double-wide grips did not help with concealment. I think people who did not live through that era often wonder why 1911’s were so popular back then. If one goes back to the 1980’s, the DA/SA wonder-nines were taking over.

    The other reason for 1911 popularity is there is a saying that you need a trigger you can manage and sights you can see. After Colt was no longer the only game in town, reliability got a lot better and sights got a lot larger. Regarding the trigger, do an experiment sometime: get someone new to shooting and have them shoot at a target with a Glock. Then have them try a decent 1911. Have done this before and people who missed the whole target with the Glock (or with a double action revolver for that matter) punched holes around the 10 ring with the 1911. Enough training can fix just about anything, but it sure is nice to actually hit the target with a good trigger from day one. Any attempt to tap into the 1911 vibe, that does not involve a short, ~5 lb, crisp trigger, is missing the point.

    • Politicians really made people miserable here. Yes, tell people that any detachable firearm magazine capable of holding more than ten cartridges is illegal and/or terrorist grade stuff that lands you in prison just for possessing it WITHOUT even possessing a firearm. What could POSSIBLY go wrong with that declaration!? Oh, wait, anyone caught with a Browning Hi Power or a Beretta 92 would have to modify their magazines to hold only ten cartridges (or perhaps only five just to mock Congress) and then be publicly shamed for having a “terrorist weapon.” And anyone caught with a high-capacity magazine without a gun would be declared a traitor to the country. I could be wrong.

  6. It looks as if the Spectre slide would function on a Glock 21; a Glock 21 slide might function on the Spectre frame, even if you needed to swap out the end plate.

    Amazing that a Glock 23 slide almost fit, which could provide a route for Spectre owners to convert calibers, given they might could use smaller caliber Witness mags. Spectre 17L, anyone?

  7. Regarding the titanium slide, Krytos Industries does or did sell titanium slides for 9mm Glocks, and claimed they work fine (using the factory recoil spring) despite the reduced mass. Even taking their word for it, that doesn’t mean the same would apply with .45, of course.

    But whether or not the reduced mass would’ve been an issue, titanium’s lousy wear properties definitely would have been. Krytos addressed this using “ArmorTi”, a new surface-hardening process (somewhat analogous to nitride/carbonitride for steel) which didn’t exist in the 90s.

  8. This is a systemic phenomenon.
    Instead of “just” taking the most successful technical solutions, tested over a century and a quarter of operation. And adapt them for modern technologies. Today’s “designers” are trying to reinvent the wheel.
    Piling up corrections for corrections for additions for clarifications of revisions …
    As a result, we get a strange device with incomprehensible ergonomics, dubious reliability and price from the lunar module.
    The use of titanium is completely bad form. “Like lipstick on a pig.”
    Look at the most successful pistols of our time, the Glock and the High Point.
    No aerospace and magic elixirs.
    Everything is simple and stupid.
    And everything works.

    • When introduced the Glock 17 had lots of before unused (or rarely used) materials for handgun making in it. The plastic grip was new and never been done this way before. Yes there was the unseccesful H&K VP70 and probabaly a few others forgotten pistols, that will make for a fine Forgottenweapons video or article on this site. The polygonal rifling was still quite new und rarely used, the trigger and striker mechanism (“safe action” called by Glock marketing) was new. Nitriding the metal parts was not done on firearms back then either. Plastic magazines were not really a thing either. And a lot of other details. It was so revolutionary to the gun making, that it lead to the infamous quote in the movie die hard about that ceramic and plastic gun from Germany, undetectable at the airport. It was just that unknown a concept. Today plastic grip pistols are everywhere and nearly every manufacturer makes these, which shows how big the impact of the desing was. But in the early eighties the Glock 17 was just as weird looking to hte average joe as was the Armalite AR-15 in the sixties.

      • I would respectfully disagree with some of your Glock assertions. The “safe action” was not new, it was newly-revived. The trigger safety was not new, having been seen on Iver-Johnson revolvers and Sauer pistols — it too was a revival. The polymer frame, the polygonal rifling, the firing pin safety, the Browning lockup, all borrowed from predecessors.

        The gun itself started a revolution, being a whole greater than the sum of its parts, but I would posit that the original steps Herr Glock took were in providing what the original intended customer, the Austrian army, demanded: high capacity, light weight, passive safety, durability, reliability, and a minimum number of parts. Such things as polymer magazine and nitride finish were means to that end. That Glock proved all these things workable right out of the box is what makes the gun special.

      • I would not be surprised about the, basicly, pretty stupid Die Hard 2 quote, that it was put into a movie as a marketing stunt to popularize the gun even further, yes, its incorrect, but it piques an interest, and someone will search the shops wanting to buy it.

      • “(…)polygonal rifling was still quite new und rarely used(…)”
        This feature is present in earlier automatic pistol – namely Heckler & Koch P9 which was developed in 1960s and which must be feasible to made considering that used it to develop P9S.

  9. Alchemy Arms was reborn by Rob Schauland of Les Baer and Cabot to produce custom 1911s. They’re definitely beautiful guns and on my “if I won the lottery/had the motivation to make credit card payments” list.

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