As most legends go, this one started a long time ago and far away. 6,494 miles in fact. The year was 2004. Most know him as the “American Sniper” but his official job was a sniper for Charlie Platoon of SEAL Team 3.
His name? Chris Kyle.
During the battle for Fallujah, Kyle and other snipers were assigned to provide support for Marine units assigned to take the city – house by house and block by block. Normally, these duties included leapfrogging with the ground assault teams by taking control of a building that offered good firing positions from which to cover the advancing Marines with long range rifle fire.
One day, however, Kyle was literally on the ground with his Marines when they heard of another group of Marines pinned down by some serious insurgent resistance. With reports of trapped and wounded men, Kyle and the Marines with him immediately moved to aid and extract the stranded team.
Just after providing cover fire so the pinned down group could return to safety, Kyle turned to make the run back himself, only to see one more Marine lying wounded in the street. In his words, this is what happened next.
“Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a body sprawled on the ground. He had Marine camis. Where he came from, whether he’d been there when I arrived or crawled there from somewhere else, I have no idea. I ran over to him, saw that he’d been shot in both legs. I slapped a new mag into my gun, then grabbed the back of his body armor and pulled him with me as I retreated. At some point as I ran, one of the insurgents threw a frag. The grenade exploded somewhere nearby. Pieces of wall peppered my side, from my butt cheek down to my knee. By some lucky chance, my pistol took the biggest fragment. It was pure luck – it might have put a nice hole in my leg.”
What was that pistol? According to Kyle, “In 2004, I brought over a Springfield [Armory] TRP Operator, which used a .45 caliber round. It had a 1911 body style, with custom grips and a rail system that let me add a light and laser combo. Black, it had a bull barrel and was an excellent gun – until it took a frag for me in Fallujah. I was actually able to get it repaired – those Springfields are tough.”
Kyle later received a Bronze Star with a “V” for valor in combat or his participation in the rescue. Kyle recalled, “The other Marines said I saved his life. But it wasn’t just me. Getting all those guys to safety was a joint effort; we all worked together.”
It’s in this spirit of toughness, commitment, and teamwork that Springfield Armory® decided to commemorate a true American Hero with a very special pistol.
Back in 2015, Drew Herbst of Springfield Armory®, came up with the idea of building a limited edition pistol based on the 1911 TRP™ that Kyle chose to carry on that fateful day in Fallujah.
“The fact that Chris Kyle chose a Springfield Armory® TRP™ to carry while on deployment inspired this project,” stated Springfield Armory® CEO Dennis Reese. “Our team at Springfield Armory® knows that people like Chris depend on the quality of each and every detail of our design and manufacturing processes, so they go the extra mile to do it right. We wanted to reflect that dedication to excellence while honoring a true American hero and benefiting his namesake charity.”
After approaching Kyle’s widow, Taya, about the project, the decision was quickly made to design the project in a way that would directly benefit the Chris Kyle FROG Foundation and provide support to warriors, public servants, and their families.
As Taya Kyle describes the FROG Foundation’s mission, “The mission of the foundation is to honor God, country and family by serving those who serve. To us, that represents the marriages and family life of our law enforcement, EMS, and military communities.”
From that point, the project rolled. Springfield Armory® designed a very unique 1911 TRP™ pistol, the Legend Series, with a carefully chosen set of features that model some of the same attributes Kyle insisted on for his personal pistol.
Early on, the decision was made to produce only 1,000 uniquely serialized pistols and package them in a commemorative mahogany display case that also features the serial number of the pistol. Each gun ships with a .999 pure silver Chris Kyle limited edition challenge coin and a Springfield Armory® certificate of authenticity. The final item in the special package is a copy of Chris’s book, American Sniper, personally autographed by Taya Kyle.
And the gun itself? The Legend Series pistols feature five-inch stainless steel match grade barrels, low-profile three-dot Tritium combat sights, and black and gray G10 grips with an attractive American flag engraving. The frames and slides are forged carbon steel with Black Nitride treatment for durability and corrosion resistance. A National Match full-length guide rod rounds out the 8.6-inch long government model 1911. Each pistol ships with one seven-round stainless steel magazine with slam pad.
If you want serial number CK0001, you’re out of luck. That pistol was given to Taya Kyle in a presentation during the 2016 SHOT Show as a token of appreciation for her tireless work in support of service members and in thanks for the sacrifices made by her and her husband, Chris in support of our country. Taya immediately gave up this gift, choosing to use it for a bigger and longer lasting purpose. On the spot, she announced her intention to auction this pistol as a fundraiser to benefit the Chris Kyle FROG Foundation.
On May 1, the pistol auction went live on GunBroker.com and bids from generous supporters of the project quickly drove the price up to five figures. A live auction component opened in conjunction with the online auction from the Springfield Armory® booth during the 2016 National Rifle Association Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY.
A very generous NRA Life Member took home Legend number one with a closing bid of $22,500, all of which goes to the Chris Kyle FROG Foundation.
The best news is that you can still get one.
999 Legend Pistols are being shipped soon to dealers across the country. Each package carries an MSRP of $2,495, with a portion of the proceeds from each gun benefitting the Chris Kyle FROG Foundation and the Chris Kyle Family.