Personal arms built without regard to cost are always veryinteresting. When an armorer is told that money is no object and tocreate the finest instrument of its kind, only his imagination holds himback. No two imaginations are likely to agree, and therefore suchachievements are always open to dispute, but it is a delight to discoveran effort of this sort.
Personal, idealized small arms havetraditionally been shotguns. (For reasons a sociologist may explain,shotgunners have money, whereas riflemen and pistoleros are nearlyalways broke.) There have indeed been some beautiful double rifles built for wealthy Englishmen of the 19th century, but pistols, however,are another matter. While we know of beautifully ornamented andembellished handguns, we are only rarely introduced to a pistol whichhas been designed from the drawing board up without any regard for costof production.
Edgar Budichowsky is an expatriate Czech living in Heidelberg. Hehas undertaken the job of building a self-loading handgun embodying thehighest levels of the armorer’s art as known today. The result ishis “Korriphila” HSP 701, and I recently had the opportunityto examine and test-fire it, in two versions. It is an interesting piece, with fit and finish of a very highorder, as might be expected.
Essentially, it is a heavy-duty,service-type, self-loading defensive pistol. It can be had in singleaction, double action only, or selective double action. It is offeredin eight calibers, including .45 ACP and 10mm auto. In all but the twolow-pressure calibers (9mm Police and .38 Special), it features a uniquesingle-roller, delayed blowback action devised by Budichowsky. It maybe had with either a 4 or a 5-inch barrel, and in black or white finish.A rigidly-mounted barrel is used, and is an aid to both reliability andaccuracy.
The pistol is a pleasure to handle and shoot. The sights are justright. The trigger pull is clean and sharp, without creep or backlash,at 3-1/2 pounds. The arm feels good in the hand and the recoil in 45aCP is negligible. Budichowsky claims that the delayed roller lockminimizes the recoil, and indeed it may, buy at some 35 ounces,unloaded, the pistol should not be expected to recoil very much. Themanual safety is a touch too far to the rear for my hand, but this caneasily be corrected on order by extending the lever forward. Likewise,the slide stop rides right underr my right thumb when shooting, so theaction does not stay open on the last round.
This also may be easilycorrected on order. Since the pistols are made up entirely to the customer’sdesires, this matter of levers and switches can be handled on a personalbasis. On the piece of my choice, for example, both the slide stop andthe magazine release are to be placed on the right side of the handgun.There is never any need for speed assistance in dropping the slide, and,though few realize it, the magazine release is more easily operated bythe index finger than by the thumb.
The sights are fully adjustable and appear strong. A sharpvertical hook on the front is available but seems pointless. A properramp is available as an option. The stocks are made of high-grade woodand hand-checkered.
Functioning was flawless throughout the test. It is interesting tospeculate about the purpose of this arm. Certainly it was neverdesigned for adoption by a military or police force, since it is far tooexpensive. It would seem to be essentially a “pride ofownership” piece for a pistol shooter who is very serious about hispersonal defensive arm.
It should also do well in practicalcompetition, since it may be had in light as well as heavy calibers. Its single-column magazine is not in the fashion of the day, but itis doubtful whether large magazine capacities are as important as somethink. If one cannot solve his immediate problem with 6 or 8well-placed shots, he won’t solve it with 9 or 12. The principal problem facing Herr Budichowsky at this time iseconomic.
Simply telling the worldwide markets that this handgun existsis an expensive proposition. Building it entirely by hand, usingold-fashioned craftsmanship, obviously makes lead time very long andprice very high. It may well be that there are enough jet-settersaround who, aware of the defensive requirements of today’sturbulent world, raise demand to the point where lead time could behandled. For this market, a base price of $1,200 might not be aproblem.
At that cost, of course, the arm must be perfect–totally freefrom any sort of manufacturing or mechanical error. If I had any overall criticism of the Korriphila, it would be bulk.All current service pistols, with the possible exception of the P-7, aresomewhat larger than they need to be, and this is also true of the HSP701. If the first issue of these firearms gets off the ground, however,that design problem may be tackled in the future.