Has anyone ever heard of this smith? I've been to his shop and like what I see, but was wanting more info before I have him work on my 1911. He told me he is an ex-Navy SEAL and apprenticed under the late great Swenson.
According to Mrs. Swenson there were -NO- apprentices including Wayne Novak, who was originally hired to finish thumb safeties, is what she told me recently in a phone call. If there was an apprentice, I suspect John Jardine is the only one that can claim that title and he makes a point not to. Irene Swenson was very involved in her husband's work and his records.
I am just relating what I was told first hand. Swenson did have a long connection to the SEAL community in Southern California but you have to realize Swenson stopped working almost 10 years ago now.
From the Trident web site:
"Master Gunsmith - Michael C. Bay - Former Navy SEAL, Class 125. Mike was trained by the late, great, Armand Swenson of Fallbrook, California and has been building custom guns for over 15 years.
General Manager - Kent Dillingham - Former Navy SEAL, Class 106. Kent has recently returned to the U.S. where he has been working in various countries in South America as a Corporate Security Manager and Security Instructor. "
With a long history of Swenson working for SEAL Team #5 and the other teams I suspect Swenson took any number of them under his wing.
My bet is Mr. Bay is the real deal, has mentioned a relationship that was important to him and turns out a damn nice gun. Hard to go wrong with that combination.
Note that no disrespect was intended but a lot of folks make the seal claim. With BUDS Class number and name that part at least is easy to check out. Dane gave some great insight into the Swenson connection.
No harm done, the SEAL creds are often claimed and sledom deserved in the gun community. If every guy I have met that claimed to be a SEAL or SF actually were, the US could deploy a whole new army......for what ever it would be worth :roll:
I invited Mr. Bay to drop the forum when he has time. I suspect with his background and customer base it'll be awhile. But I'd like to see some of his work posted here.
I didn't mean to sound negative if anyone, especially Mr. Bay, took it that way. I just wanted to know a little more info about his work other than what I have seen. I was just wondering if any on this fourm owned some of his work and if they were pleased with it. So if I sounded cynical, I apologize, but that was not my intent. Thanks the the help guys!
Michael is my ex. He was a SEAL, did train with Swenson. I have met Irene years ago and she spoke of the time Mike spent with Armand. I don't know why she would tell any one otherwise.
He is no longer gunsmithing in Tulsa, but apparently has joined Bar Sto Precision Machine, now in Sturgis, SD. He does great work but is extremely slow. May be better with him working for someone other than himself...
Hey there, it's John W. I lost track of you guys after I visited with you in Tulsa to finish up my gun back in 2006. I kept doing searches for you all, as well as Frogman 45, but to no avail. I'd touch base periodically with Duane in San Marcos, and even he hadn't heard from you all! Now I'm up in Alaska with Big Todd (We've both retired up here). Sorry to hear you guys split up, but it's good to finally run across a sign of you guys! Please send my regards to Mike if you talk to him, and of course to you as well.
This is very strange, I was thinking about buying a gun now that I am older and thought of Michael. I was married to him back in the 90's. He was a Navy Seal and is a very talented gunsmith, but as his ex-wife (2nd) said he is very slow. He did train with Armand even though he was not technically an intern. He worshipped him and we spent many hours up at he and Irene's home, they also attended our wedding. I am sorry that he doesn't have a better social media profile as he is very good! Hope this helps verify he is the real deal.
Hi, Michael is my first husband and was a Navy Seal and is a fabulous and talented gunsmith, he is very slow as his now ex (2nd wife) Virginia said. He did train with Armand, not to sure he was technically an intern, but he spent many days, hours with Armand and I with Irene, we drove up to Fallbrook a lot! I haven't heard from him in about 13 yrs but his ex wife said he is in South Dakota now. Your post was a long time ago so you probably know all this. funny I was thinking about buying a gun now that I am older and thought of Michael thus this website. Hope this helps! Pamela
Hi everyone. I noticed some of these threads go back a long way but some are more recent. Ironically I was searching for Mike today, I had his contact information a few years ago but lost it when I switched phones some time back. No worries though, we have mutual friends. I have one of Mike's first, not the first but one of them that he did after he purchased Armends lathe back in 1990 or 1991 timeframe. He set his shop up in his garage where he lived in Clairemont. I can personally attest to his work as the gun he made is still a tack driver with the smoothest trigger I've ever shot. I was shooting some steel yesterday and realized it finally needs a tune up. Mike was a SEAL because I went through BUDS with him and served with him at ST-5. He and another SEAL named Bill S. trained with Armend so they could refurbish all of ST-5's 1911's that were in disrepair at the time and Mike decided to get out of the military and become a gunsmith. I actually had the pleasure of drinking a few beers with Armend when he was at Mike's house for parties and other gatherings. I will attach a picture of this gun if I can figure out how to do so or someone can tell me. Sorry for the long thread. Hope this helps.
You may not remember me but name is Bruce S. We met several times while Mike was building my 1911 in your garage with the equipment he got from Armend. The time I met Armend at your house was when you threw a birthday party, I think it was for Mike. I met Armend several other times at the team area at events. To this day I have not been able to get ahold of Mike. I finally sent my 1911 to be refurbished by C&S right after I posted the initial post several years ago. I lost rack of him when the 2 of you moved, I believe you were a doctor, if I'm not mistaken and re-located for your work. I hope this finds you well.