By RONI TOLDANES
By definition, exotic is something that distinguishes itself in a striking, fascinating, strangely beautiful, or alluring way. So what’s an exotic gun? It’s all of the above, of course. It’s also exclusive, special, and very, very dramatic. You know you’re in the presence of exoticism when you feel a ripple of excitement. If you’re watching someone holding it, you may also experience pangs of envy.
This pistol is a classic example of that definition. Created by LimCat Custom in Fremont, California, this .40-caliber semi-auto, identified as the WildCat, performs like a Lamborghini Diablo – the sports car that exceeds the 55 mph speed limit in first gear and runs to its red line in second.
Like a Lamborghini, the WildCat delivers an intoxicating roar. Yet it doesn’t seem to have the snooty appeal of your father’s gun.
Unlike the original John Browning creation, this fiery 1911 pistol purports to be fun, youthful and approachable. It attracts adoring crowds, it shoots smoother and is more accurate than its owner can ever imagine. And with only a few guns like this manually produced by LimCat, you probably won’t see anoother one like it at your local retail store.
Not all pistolsmiths are fussy about their creations, but LimCat Custom’s Johnny Lim is. He is a young artisan with a mission. He wants to be known for creating not only the most crowd-pleasing guns, but also the top-performing racers that shoot straight. Lim has an unmatched gift for creating tantalizing hot-rod guns.
Even the most jaded gun collector will agree from these pictures that the WildCat is something special, that it’s something out of the ordinary. That it is, well, exotic. But how do you define exotic in practical gun terms?
The creator should have bestowed upon the firearm a fastidious attention to fit, finish and function. His gun should boast of a sweet accuracy that consistently drives jacketed hollow-point bullets into one-inch groups at 25 yards. It should radiate a sleek appearance in tandem with a supercharged, jam-free performance. All that translates into a shooting profile of the WildCat.
Starting with a clean sheet, Lim set out to do things differently. Always audaciously bidding to upend his hard-earned reputation as a purveyor of stylish guns, he created his own design of exhaust ports called Tri-Clops. Hey, don’t bother to check the dictionary. No such word.
Knowing a bit of Greek mythology, Lim says that each hole in his porting system looks like that of a cyclops, a giant with a single eye in the middle of the forehead. For lack of a better term, Lim says the three holes in the gun’s slide should be identified as Tri-Clops.
The Tri-Clops system goes all the way through the barrel. During each cycle, the ports expel the gases upwards, pushing the barrel downwards and reducing muzzle climb. As a result, the gun tends to stay on target for a faster second shot.
This configuration, however, is not similar to the patented Hybrid barrels with ports that require a portion of the slide to be sliced off.
Lim knows that a small part of the WildCat’s ported barrel may be covered by the slide in each cycle, resulting in slight carbon fouling. He minimized this possibility by machining bigger holes on the slide and positioning them slightly offset against the barrel’s ports. Lim then threaded into the barrel a one-inch compensator with three exhaust ports, venting most of the combustion gases horizontally and vertically for a flatter muzzle movement on ignition.
Lim prepared two top-ends for this .40caliber WildCat. Simply slide on any of the two top-ends to the STI frame to assemble the gun you want to shoot for the specific Practical Shooting division you plan to join. You have two guns in one frame.
With a magazine seated in the mag well, either gun fits within the confines of the official International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) box that measures 225mm x 150mm x 45mm. The gun with the compensated top-end is legal for the Modified Division of the IPSC. When fitted with the non-ported slide assembly, the gun can be used to compete in both the Standard Division of the IPSC and the Limited Division of the U.S. Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).
Both top-ends come with tungsten guide rods and cocking serrations in the front and rear of the slide in a style that is distinctively LimCat’s. The frame bears the serial number WILDCAT.
Johnny Lim has set himself as a style trendsetter in modern semi-autos. He draws a younger clientele of shooters who order his prized guns as an alternative to gunsmiths who take years to produce a custom gun.
For his top racers, Lim uses mostly STI International frames. The STI’s roots stretch back to the late ’80s when the prototype of the “Modular” frame was released. Made of durable polymer-plastic, the frame became de rigueur in action shooting competitions because it offered lighter weight and higher capacity than the old single-stack, all-steel pistols.
The new STI frame of our centerfold gun uses the same sturdy material, but it has come a long way from its prototype design. STI frames are now available in different colors – green, red, blue, purple and the original black. There’s even a new design with a longer dust cover for better shooting stability, and that’s what Lim used to create the WildCat.
Lim enhanced the gun’s overall appearance by creating horizontal serrations in the extended dust cover. The gun doesn’t really need those extra shaved ounces. Lim’s top-ends feature heavy bull barrels. Lim chose the STI grip in blazing red to grab the attention of adventurous shooters.
The STI grip leaves the factory with all the custom modifications that usually have to be done by a custom gunsmith. Its front panel, mainspring housing and even the front of the trigger guard have been checkered. Lim installed an aluminum Hot Shots magazine well, which effectively doubled the magazine entry area.
On top of each slide, Lim machined fine stripes that not only streamline the WildCat’s sleek appearance, but also eradicate glare when shooting under direct sunlight.
The first impression one gets when shooting the “Modified” WildCat is that the gun shoots flat, really flat. The compensated slide offers a felt recoil that is somewhere in between a .32 caliber and a 9mm, even though the WildCat is not a pip-squeak gun. It propels a .40-cal. bullet at supersonic muzzle velocities reaching a major 180 power factor sufficient for Practical Shooting tournaments.
With the added fillip of the LimCat name, a WildCat pistol does not only project an adventuresome image but it also delivers flawless function. If you are what you shoot, a WildCat gives this profile about your personality: stylish and performance-oriented.
Audacious and outrageously accurate, the WildCat parts a crowd of lesser guns like Moses parted the Red Sea.
It’s not exaggeration when adoring shooters say this centerfold gun should become the benchmark of pistol excellence. After all, it delivers performance and panache that experienced pistoleros have always sought. And it exemplifies the definition of an exotic – both in the dictionary and on the shooting range.
If you want to know the definition of an exotic gun, look no further.
(Roni Toldanes was managing editor of Gun World, the oldest firearms magazine in the United States; group managing editor of Knives Illustrated, and editor of Gun Games, America’s shooting sports magazine. He also worked as editor-in-chief of weekly newspapers; news editor, senior copy editor, assignment editor and editorial board member of major daily newspapers in California, Texas, New Jersey, Florida and Georgia. He covered southeast Asia as a foreign correspondent and chief editor of an international news agency.)
Tungsten Guide Rod – LimCat
Adjustable Rear Sights – Bo-Mar
.40-cal. Bull Barrels – LimCat
Magazine Well – Hot Shots
2011 frame & Slide – STI
Mainspring Mousing – STI
Beavertail Grip Safety – STI
Ambidextrous Thumb Safety – STI
Hammer – STI
Trigger – STI
Route 08, Box 401,
Longview, Texas 75604
114 Halmar Cove
Georgetown, TX 78628