Tussey is an old school pistolsmith, a one-man-shop practitioner who still zeros every gun he builds himself. “I bought a .45 when I was 17 years old after reading Cooper’s Fighting Handguns. I already had a lathe at home and I started working on triggers. I got hired by [Los Angeles gunshop owner] Martin B. Retting in late ’59 and that was my first paid job working on guns. I’ve actually done trigger work and part-time gunsmithing ever since,” said the veteran customizer.
Tussey worked as a sales rep for Safariland and Colt during the ’60s and ’70s to supplement his gunsmithing sideline. “In ’79, I gave up all the extra stuff and went strictly into building custom pistols, kinda forced out by telemarketing. My middle daughter took over my route selling guns while I made the transition. She did it for no pay, just to help the family out,” said Tussey, a father of four and grandfather of nine.
“I haven’t caught up since 1981. Three to six months is the backlog,” he added with a wry smile.
Editors Note: On June 1, 2005 while riding in the hills above our shop Terry crashed on his mountain bicycle. He flew through the air for about 30 feet and landed on some rocks in a ditch. He broke his neck, his back in 3 places and various ribs. He was paralyzed from T3 down. After spending almost a year in the hospital and rehab, he was back to work in 2006.
We are very fortunate that his hands and arms work beautifully. As Terry says, “I don’t use my legs and feet to work on guns”. He is back at his (modified) bench and works 6 days a week.
We want to thank all of our loyal customers and friends who stuck it out while he was mending.