Ken Crawley, custom gunsmith, was born in Denton, Texas April 27, 1941. Ken spent his early years in a small west Texas town south of Ranger. He lived on a farm, liked the open spaces, shot turtles. The family moved to a smaller farm in Arlington when he was in grade school. He rode horses, did some roping, shot rabbits.
Ken went to work for Martin Sprocket/Gear in 1958 when it was a new company working in a chicken house. His first job was sweeping up but he spent a lot of his break time bugging the machinists to show him how to run the different machines. For twelve years, he worked in a variety of machine shops including two years in Experimental Development at Bell Helicopter. Learned about materials, techniques of working metals, mastered most of the machines used in the machining/tool making trade. Ken married, had two children, hunted dove and deer.
The next 18 years were spent as tool maker for Skyline Industries in Ft. Worth. The job required a wide variety of skills and provided opportunity for prototype work. The company’s products included graphite golf shafts and fishing rods, armored helicopter seats, aerospace products. Ken built tooling, was Skyline’s ballistic expert for reliability testing on the armored seats, welded, made prototype graphite products. Fished, hunted and discovered handguns.
Pistols fit him better, were more fun to shoot and he really liked the competition of matches. When a chemical sensitivity left his lungs too damaged to work in the polluted atmosphere of a machine shop, the logical answer to “What to do?” was gunsmithing.
All Ken’s expertise in tooling, machining, metal working, design, make him a more than competent gunsmith. Since 1987 he has worked hard at sharpening his skills at the workbench, spent a lot of hours learning about the gun trade, built a loyal clientele, competed in as many pistol matches as his time allowed.
Ken made the decision early-on to specialize in the 1911 style handgun. While he also does some work on Ruger 10-22 rifles, AR-15’s and a little shotgun work, his interest and expertise are in handguns, mostly the 1911. He will spruce up your old favorite, customize your new carry gun, build to your specifications on the frame of your choice, or design your dream handgun. Every gun is test-fired before being returned to the customer. This means a lot of trips to the range and a lot of shooting – not a bad thing! Especially if it leaves a little range time for practice – enough practice to make him a Masterclass IPSC shooter.
Some people think being a “gunsmith” rates right up there with “fishing guide” or “beauty contestant judge” as a neat job to have. But it takes a lot of dedication, more skill with tools and machinery than most people have, willingness to learn and to adjust to new ideas and innovations, and a touch of artistry to make those handguns look so fine. Ken Crawley wears that title very well. If you’re looking for a gunsmith a notch above the rest, you need to meet Ken Crawley. You’ll find him in the shop – or at the range!
Ken’s shop, Crawley Custom, is a fully equipped machine shop
located on state highway 85 about 5.5 miles west of Seven Points,
Texas, close to Cedar Creek Lake. There is a berm for test firing
and practice out to 500 yards and a Ransom Rest for accuracy testing.
He can be reached at 903-498-5702, 31156 FM 85, Kemp, Texas 75143.
E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nestled quietly in the pine and hardwood lands of East Texas, near the lush green belt of the Trinity River, Ken Crawley of Crawley Custom crafts world-class pistols and rifles for some of the most discriminating competitors and collectors in the world today. He is sought out by local designers and collectors for his rare and unique skills that bring to life firearms that are truly unique and personal to those who dreamed them up. When repairs are needed, Ken Crawley can be counted on to deliver the finest quality and care for your most exquisite collector’s piece to your daily shooter.
Today, only a handful of master craftsmen singularly possess the skills and knowledge to individually deliver the expanse and range of services that hallmark an individual as a master artisan. Welding, milling, machining and finishing virtually any type of metal used in modern firearm construction allow him to deliver some of the most unique and finest examples of gunsmith craftsmanship. Ken takes an old world artisan’s approach to his work, demanding absolute excellence in every job he works on. Work is done right, delivered in a timely manner, and given the attention to detail that reflect the honesty, honor, and integrity that Crawley Custom was founded on and which Ken Crawley maintains is even more important today than ever.
Here at Crawley Custom, nearly every facet of gun repair or custom build is performed on site. Crawley Custom has a fully equipped private shooting range where Ken test fires all custom builds and most repairs if the actions required work. Ken believes that testing each and every firearm that he is tasked to perform any major work on will deliver a higher-level of service for his clients by allowing him to find any potential problem or possible shooting characteristic that a customer may benefit from knowing. This proactive approach is standard fare for the attention to detail Crawley Custom delivers.
Crawley Custom welcomes all firearm owners interested in having professional gunsmith work performed on their firearm to contact us. We do not differentiate the quality of service you will be provided based on the expense or renown of your firearm manufacturer. We believe you deserve the best and we gladly take the time and make a special effort to deliver the highest level of quality on our work, no matter if the gun receiving the work is a budget firearm or a collector’s one of a kind safe-queen. For collectors interested in having work performed on their masterpieces, you can take great comfort in knowing that such a standard of firearm handling in the shop is practiced even with the least expensive of firearms that such care is a second nature to every firearm handled here.