The Friend From U.N.C.L.E. Affair

by
posted on December 29, 2008
sinews.jpg (1)
In addition to the ability to incorporate a stock, the U.N.C.L.E. Special's grip contains a dovetail for a Bushnell Phantom scope.

If a picture truly is worth a thousand words, one glance at a U.N.C.L.E. Special and it becomes clear that specialized parts are needed to make one. Searching the Internet didn't yield any sources, so I decided to post a message on a Walther P38 forum. The purpose was to inquire about parts sources, while simultaneously studying cyberspace in an effort to learn how often this particular project had been attempted.

Truly ahead of its time, the U.N.C.L.E. Special was one of the first example of a modular firearm in that it was capable of functioning as a pistol or a scoped carbine, thanks to its unique one-piece grip.

My actions paid off in many ways. Having never tinkered with a P38 before, the information I found in its gunsmithing forum proved invaluable and the same can be said for its members. That's how I came to know the brilliant-but-wacky John Rhoda, a former engineer who was genuinely interested and highly enthusiastic about my project—so much so he proved himself to be a kindred spirit concerning all things "Man From U.N.C.L.E." and a true friend during the months that followed. John helped me achieve my goal by not only furnishing me with parts and sources, but equally important, he provided me with a top-notch education regarding the U.N.C.L.E. Special.

 Through him I learned the heart and soul of the U.N.C.L.E. Special was contained in its grips, which served as more than just a place to put your hand.

It turns out they have a unique one-piece design and dual dove tails, which serve as a platform to mount both the stock and scope for the carbine conversion. Unfortunately, John didn't have a set of grips; he did, however have one of the vintage Bushnell Phantom 1.3X handgun scopes. With a P38 and one part procured my project was under way. Regardless, the fact remained—without the grip there was no hope of progressing any further. Luckily, John referred me to another Man From U.N.C.L.E. whose help also proved invaluable toward accomplishing my goal.

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