A little over an hour’s drive west of Fort Worth, Texas, sitting back off the road are two nondescript buildings surrounded by a large security fence. The casual observer driving west on Interstate 20 probably wouldn’t give any notice to the place. However, to the firearms enthusiasts making the trip, their heart will start to race as they pull into the security gate to announce their arrival.
Arriving for the Infinity Firearms Experience in January, it was hard for me to not feel excited about this opportunity. I was extremely impressed with Infinity’s Open gun that I had had the chance to review. Now, I was able to take part in the Infinity Firearms Experience and also the behind-the-scenes tour of the factory to see where these pieces of art are built.
For over 25 years, Infinity Firearms has been a leading manufacturer and innovator in competitive shooting pistols and components, and this was a chance for me to see what makes these custom-built masterpieces tick. I stretched the review time of the beautiful Infinity Open division .38 Super Comp race gun for as long as I could, right up to no longer having any ammunition to shoot with it. I was eager to get to walk through the factory, talk to Sandy and Brandon Strayer and shoot on the range that is part of the facility’s 36 acres.
The Infinity Experience is a two-day training course that is divided into three sections. The first part is on-the-range firearms and competition match training with members of the Infinity Firearms Shooting Team. The second part is a tour of the factory where every component of their firearms is made and built into Infinity custom guns. On the second day, participants head back to the range with the knowledge they learned the previous day in a match setting—along with side competitions to finish out the experience.
I arrived early on Friday and upon entering the building, I was greeted by a few of the factory’s four-legged helpers that are a constant fixture, as well as a few of the future gunsmiths who were onsite playing with their toy trucks. This is a family business, and not just father and son either. Brandon Strayer’s wife, Tiffany, was preparing lunch for their employees, something that she does for them every work day. I also was introduced to their son Dusty, but he was preoccupied with his toy truck at the moment. Another person that I had only spoken with on the phone was MyVan Hamrick, the office coordinator, who was busy following up with a customer on the phone. MyVan’s husband, Casey Hamrick, was also busy at his bench, working on a build for a customer, while their children Lyla and Quinn were busy playing with one another. I received a quick introduction to Brandon, who was at his bench working on a soon-to-be-delivered custom build.
My first impression was that this was a much larger place than I was expecting. I knew it was a factory, but I wasn’t expecting such a large facility. I would soon learn why during the factory tour portion of the Experience. Once my meeting with Sandy was complete, I had a chance to catch up with several of the Infinity Team members who were arriving and would be handling the training part of the class, Andrew Hyder, Anthony Bruno, Lee Neel, Junior Champion Gianni Giordano and Senior Champion Mel Rodero. We all met up for dinner that evening, provided by the Strayers at a local steakhouse in nearby Weatherford, Texas, where nearly everyone was staying for the weekend.
The normal first day starts on the range; however, it was a little chilly for Texas that morning so we headed to the new building that is set up for the hands-on training with Brandon Strayer. Brandon takes you through the entire 1911/2011 pistol with a complete review of each participant’s firearm. There were Open, Limited and Single Stack guns that the participants had brought with them. Not all of them were Infinity builds—I had brought along my Limited division guns that were built from parts back in 2010 and 2011. The first part of the hands-on class with Brandon started with a little history about Infinity, Sandy and himself, where they started and how they have continued to push the envelope in innovation with the 2011 platform. From there, Brandon had us break open the provided Infinity Tool Kit that you receive in the class (a $500 value) and what each tool is going to be used for and how some of them were designed in-house to meet specific needs.
A bit more about the tool kit, which may not seem like that important part of the class, but it is. I have been shooting for over 20 years and have a hodgepodge of Allen wrenches, screwdrivers and Torx bits all mixed up in different drawers and never where they are supposed to be or more importantly—when I need them. Having a kit specifically set up for the maintenance of your 2011/1911, and to learn what each tool is for was worth the price of admission alone.
Brandon would lead us step by step through the full detail strip of the 2011/1911 platform, explaining what to look for with regard to signs of wear on the parts. He would explain why he did each step the way he did, which tool to use and even body positions to get into that made the disassembly easier when it came to certain parts—especially the ones that like to go flying. My gun was used as the example of old technology, versus the new technology the company currently uses to build guns, especially features such as an interchangeable breechface with the pivoting extractor. As the guns were coming apart, Casey, Andrew, Lee, Gianni and Anthony were on-hand to make sure we were not screwing anything up and to help us put them back together the correct way.
Throughout this portion of the training there was a heavy emphasis on maintaining your 2011/1911, not just where to use oil and grease but what parts would need to be replaced, the life expectancy of certain parts and how to check for normal wear. Basically, everything that I don’t do. I have gotten into a bad habit of wiping them down, adding oil and hitting the range. I have been lucky and a little spoiled by a close friend and top-notch builder who lives near me and takes my guns every once in a while to look over. You could tell what spot I was sitting in the pristine training building—it was where the all the dirt, gunk and crud accumulated on the work space where each participant was. Mine was no longer white.
We worked through lunch and got our firearms back together for the range training portion of the class. We were divided up into two groups with team members taking each group and working through a series of drills. Andrew Hyder and Gianni Giordrano led my group. We worked through transition, speed and movement drills during the second half of the day. Andrew and Gianni worked with each student, breaking down each drill, its purpose, the correct way to execute it and to assist each person on their needs. Each drill would build on the previous one, incorporating the learned skill into the next exercise. You would go from a transition drill into a speed shooting drill, rolling it all together into a movement drill requiring the transitions and speed gained from the other two.
We switched bays and started working through different styles of USPSA stages, taking the skills we previously worked on and applying them to match scenarios. Each participant had several turns working through the stages, comparing times and hits as they were putting everything together. The mood and the ribbing was lighthearted as we worked through each stage, giving the usual range banter back and forth. However, the training was serious and well thought out and improvements were seen by everyone. We wrapped up the day with a brief discussion of the events for the next day before heading back to the hotels in Weatherford.
On Sunday, we brought everything together from the previous day and ran a USPSA match at the range. The two groups would stay together and work as a squad for the match, with the same trainers in place to offer suggestions and reminders from the previous day’s work.
Sunday kicked off with a tour of the Infinity factory with Brandon. We worked our way through the factory where every single part of an Infinity Firearm is manufactured. Every single part, from the barrels, to screws, springs, magwells, all the sights and trigger components, grips, slides and frames are built on the dozens of dedicated machines that are overseen by the factory’s engineers to hold the tightest tolerances to build their guns. Sunday was a day off for the engineers who oversee the production of parts, so we were not able to see them in action. This was on purpose, as many of the operations that are being performed are proprietary to the Infinity Firearms factory.
We toured the indoor range that is used for testing the guns before shipping and the area where all the raw materials are on hand to machine into all the parts needed to build their custom guns. Next, we observed the process from when an order is taken, either on the phone or on the Gunbuilder II order process on the Infinity website and the steps that order goes through in the build process. Each order has its parts pulled together, and the build process begins with fitting of each piece. The guns will go through only a few hands, but every single one of them ends up on Brandon’s bench for the final steps in the build process. He will complete each gun, fine-tuning the triggers, inspecting the fit of the gun and that it meets the demanding standards that have been the hallmark of all Infinity Firearms all the way back to when Sandy was building them one at time.
Many of the guns are taken over to the in-house studio to be photographed and filmed to use on the website and social media pages before being shipped out to dealers and customers all over the world. Every gun that leaves the factory has been meticulously handled throughout the process to ensure that when the customer receives their Infinity Firearms custom-built pistol, it will provide years of service on the range. Whether you own an Infinity, are in the market for one, or just want to learn about the 2011/1911 firearms before jumping onboard the Infinity Experience is well worth the trip and the class.
For more information about Infinity Firearms and the Infinity Firearms Experience, visit infinityfirearms.com.
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