MARC KREBS CREATES A FIRE-SPEWING STEEL DRAGON
By RONI TOLDANES
Drag’on (drag-ɘn) n. [Latin dracon, draco]: A huge serpent; a mythical animal usually represented as a monstrous winged and scaly reptile breathing out fire.
The definition above is from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, the accepted authority on the language of English. Now, here is a definition from accepted authorities in shooting:
dragon (drag-ɘn) n. [Latin dracon, draco]: A gorgeous animal represented by smooth lines and expansion chambers; breathing out fire and spewing full metal jackets.
To the layman this may be a confusing definition, but it’s the only way we can describe this gun created by Marc Krebs. Incredible pistolsmithing artistry has made Krebs one of the country’s most popular gunsmiths.
This gun reflects the absolute latest in handgun technology, but we won’t tell you right away what components were utilized. In order to appreciate this masterpiece, we have to understand the creator and what inspired him to build this fire-breathing steel sculpture.
FAMILY OF ARTISTS
Marc Krebs, 40, came from a family of artists. That explains why most of his customers consider his custom guns as works of art. “I’m a combination of 60% gunsmith, 30% machinist and 10% artist,” he says.
Krebs was born in Seattle, Washington but grew up in Northern California. He admits to having been the “bad kid” on the block. The early chapter of his teenage story, he says, “wasn’t something parents would be totally proud of.”
But despite his early failures in life, Krebs pursued his dreams. “Early in my childhood, I was totally fascinated with dinosaurs and then later on with knights in armor,” he says. “Then I started liking guns.”
Krebs attended a gunsmithing course at Lassen College in Susanville, California, where he exhibited exceptional gunsmithing aptitudes. One day, Krebs surprised his teacher with an unusual 9mm semi-auto carbine that he built “from scratch.”
Designed to perform like the famous Israeli-made UZI, the gun was all-original, except for the barrel. “I was thrilled,” he says, “because I thought it was really something that would take the country by storm.”
Like a bubble, however, Krebs’s dream of mass-producing the carbine burst. He failed to get any financier to fund his ideas, but he didn’t fail his gunsmithing class either. Instead, he received high grades for his ingenuity. And his gun became a portfolio that he presented when applying for work.
Krebs became a gunsmith for a gun store in Illinois until he decided it was time to build his own name. Backed by a $50,000 bank loan, Krebs established his custom gun shop in 1984 with the help of his wife, Virginia. And in just a few years, he was able to build a solid reputation. Like Ferrari sports cars, guns churned out by the Marc Krebs Custom Shop in Vernon Hills, Illinois are not only aerodynamically-designed, but are also reliable speedsters.
We’ve heard so many astonishing stories about Marc Krebs, that one we challenged him to design a special gun. We requested a piece that would allow Krebs to showcase not only his technical grasp of the latest in firearms technology and fabrication techniques, but also his flair for the artistic and the daring.
Krebs accepted the challenge. He vowed to build a no-holds-barred, to-hell-with-the-cost super steel gun. It had to be a gun the best shooters could confidently use to win world steel-shooting championships. And it had to be different.
“It’s going to be wild, man. Totally extreme,” Krebs promised.
THE MAKING OF A DRAGON
True enough, the Krebs creation is a marvelous sculpture that could only be produced by the most meticulous of artisans. A centerfold gun that reflects the finest components in handgun technology as only a master gunsmith could render.
Krebs scalloped the aluminum STI extended-dust-cover frame to form sharp fangs, transforming the dust cover’s frontend into the menacing lower jaw of a carnivorous reptile. What a beast!
Krebs also chopped a sizeable chunk off the top of the STI slide where he machined the dragon’s mouth and engraved the upper teeth with a small chisel. This exposed a portion of the Schuemann hybrid barrel, its top ports resembling dorsal fins on the head of a mythical creature.
A small pin threads its way under the mouth and proceeds downward into the dustcover’s front-end, where Krebs created a small track. While in battery, the barrel presses down and tracks on the dust cover – an aesthetic design that also enhances accuracy.
The gunsmith’s exquisite attention to detail is very evident. He engraved the eyes on the slide and punched nostrils into the hybrid barrel without harming its grooves.
This design tames recoil by working this way: As the projectile exits the barrel, the muzzle-blast gas expands and initially exits from the Schuemann Hybrid’s upper ports before finally jetting out through the left and right nostrils.
This gun is not only functional but also visually appealing.
When the slide is racked back, the front-end provides the appearance of a dragon with its grisly mouth wide open.
For rapid acquisition of targets, Krebs mounted a C-More red-dot sight, enhancing the gun’s high-tech appeal. The entire gun weighs less than 1.75 pounds and, when held in hand, feels lighter than a coffee cup. The secret to this brew was Kreb’s recipe of light but sturdy materials.
The Caspian grip safety is aluminum, along with the magazine well, which was attached over the existing mag well’s opening to increase support for the palm heel. Even the guide rod was fabricated from featherweight Teflon with Shok-buffs on both ends.
To reduce lock-time, Krebs used a Heinie titanium hammer. This material ensures positive ignition, even with the use of old primers. And since the frame rails are also made of aluminum, our featured gunsmith asked Krieger’s Accu-Rails to install their system, which ensures a consistent and tight slide-to-frame fit – a necessity to maintaining accuracy in competition guns with red-dot sights.
Krebs lightened the rear portion of the slide with serrations cut at a 20-degree angle. This does not affect the overall capacity of the gun to handle steel loads. Trigger pull is light and very crisp, and does not sacrifice the ignition reliability of each hammer strike. The entire gun was finished in super-hard, super-durable Metaloy plating for long-lasting protection.
As a superb finishing touch, Krebs wedged a small piece of metal under the dust cover, making this dragon appear to be sticking our his two-pronged tongue.
This steel gun is very accurate and can hold “groups of under an inch at 25 yards,” Krebs assures us. It’s the kind of gun that doesn’t only offer you the racer’s edge, it also gives you a hyper degree of excitement.
You’ll be overcome by a burning desire to show this rare breed of steel animal to your friends at the range. They might even say that this beauty is the product of a man with a fertile imagination. And it’s true.
As a child, Marc Krebs played with plastic dinosaurs. As a grown man, he plays with steel dragons – fire-spewing steel dragons.
(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.)
KREBS GUNSMITHING, INC.
940 Forest Edge Drive, Vernon Hills, IL 60061