The company was first registered as a Firearms dealer in 1981 (as Shooting Developments Ltd) selling target rifles and accessories.
We quickly expanded into the custom rifle and long-range pistol market, building and selling guns based on the Swing action. We became the importer of Morini free-pistols, air pistols, and anatomical grips from Italy.
In 1985, we started to import custom target pistols and revolvers.
We became the UK agent for Bill Davis USA (top PPC revolver manufacturer) and Clark Custom Guns USA (top builder of custom 1911 pistols). We were also the UK agents for Ransom International (pistol and rifle rests), Forster reloading products, Ernie Hill speed leather (holsters and rigs) and other accessories for PPC and IPSC shooting.
The volume of sales that we created quickly overtook the capacity of our suppliers, and with their support and training, we started manufacture of similar pistols and revolvers in the UK. At this time (1989) I attended training courses at Smith & Wesson in the USA to become a qualified Armourer on their products.
Our philosophy since the early days was to provide the best customer support that we could, and the method was simple “be there”. To help the growth of PPC (Police Pistol) and to support our customers we would travel to most of the major matches with a mobile workshop. We would sponsor the matches and donate prizes.
We built up a reputation within the target shooting community which allowed us to build and sell our “Match Master” Revolvers in a volume of about 100 per year which was greater than all the other UK gunsmiths combined.
We were also manufacturing other Custom Revolvers and Pistols so our production was some 150+ guns per year. In addition we did extensive work for the gun trade restoring, repairing and modifying both modern and antique revolvers, pistols and rifles. Our market at this time included Germany, The Channel Islands, Luxembourg, Gibraltar and Australia.
In 1991 the handgun part of the company was re-branded as “Wilson Custom Guns”
In 1992 we came to an agreement with Smith & Wesson and their UK Agent Parker-Hale of Birmingham to produce a range of “Match Master” revolvers which were to be distributed through Smith & Wesson dealers across the UK and Europe, with a factory warranty. The use of Parker-Hale’s modern CNC machinery allowed us to double the output of revolvers to about 200 per year. We continued to build the more specialist revolvers and automatic pistols separately.
For 1993 two major teams were established, backed by ourselves.
- In PPC “Team Wilson-Parker Hale” dominated the UK and Europe in both PPC and Bianchi-Cup competition. Team members were: Jim Brown, Ken Grime, Brian Lawrence, James Broughton and Steve Telford. All were competing with Wilson Match Master and Action Master revolvers.
- In IPSC “Team Smith & Wesson-Shield” was very successful. Team members were: Jerry White, Bob Dunkley, Graham Lucas, Colette Barnes, Angus Hobdell, Elaine Berwick, and Richard Wilson. Shooting the 9x21 Wilson Speed Master custom Smith & Wesson Pistols built by Wilson Custom Guns on a Performance Center chassis. Fitted with special scopes jointly developed by Richard Wilson and Aimpoint.
We ran “Match Master” production at pretty much a full capacity, with about 100 revolvers a year going to Germany, and 100 for the home market, until the unfortunate events in Dunblane in 1996. Production continued, with the German market taking all the capacity.
However as it became obvious that a change in UK legislation would end the UK market, not just for our revolvers, but all Smith & Wesson sales, the decision was taken by Parker Hale to stop production. Total Match Master production had by this time exceeded 1400 units.
Due to popular demand we are re-entering the handgun market.
Copyright 2014 Wilson Custom Guns London England.
T: +44 1243 53 33 58