Cabot Guns has announced their plan to build not one, but two of most exotic 1911 pistols ever made. Their choice of material: meteorite. This is not only ambitious, it’s completely unprecedented.
In just a few short years Cabot has swept the upper echelons of the 1911 scene with their aerospace precision pistols. Polished down to the micron scale, Cabot pistols are works of art, bringing engineering and guns together in a way no other company ever has before.
By selecting meteorite for their medium they’re taking their singular style of gunsmithing to new levels. “We wanted to raise the bar again,” said Cabot founder and President Rob Bianchin. “The pistol set will be a modern work of functional art and the ultimate set of luxury guns.”
“It’s both romantic and fascinating to imagine that this meteor traveled across the heavens for four billion years before landing on Earth and is now being transformed into Cabot pistols,” said Bianchin.
The pistols will be constructed from recovered samples of the Gibeon meteorite, a mostly-iron meteorite that broke up over what is now Namibia in prehistoric times. It’s a fitting material as not only is it prized for its pleasing crystalline structure, fragments of the meteorite were commonly used to make weapons and tools by the Nama people of Africa.
Samples of the meteorite have been dated to be about 4.5 billion years old. Cabot will call the pair of meteorite 1911s the Big Bang Set.
Cabot Guns has been working with a 77-pound fragment of the Gibeon meteorite that they purchased earlier this year. These meteorite fragments are prized by meteorite collectors and jewelers alike. Its unique structure is what sets the engineering bar so high.
We reached out to Bianchin for information about how they went about tackling this enormous project—we wanted to know how they’re going to pull it all off.
“Frames, slides and small parts all [are cut] from meteorite,” said Bianchin. “Each component has been a science experiment.” Some parts must be steel in order for the guns to work as functional firearms. And they will be real guns, both chambered for .45 ACP.
“On cutting…this is an essay question,” he continued. “Simply slicing the meteor involved a 3D model as the material was examined and cuts planned like a gemologist might cut a diamond.”
“Primary cuts were made employing electric discharge wire machining,” said Bianchin. “The first cut of the meteor took eleven hours. Each component was carefully planned as some parts will have both the interior and exterior bark (regmaglypts). The frames involved fusing steel rail elements using what boils down to a particle accelerator.”
The Cabot team will be using an electron beam welder to fuse the steel and meteorite components together. The welding is performed in a vacuum without any filler materials. This method of welding can produce incredibly fine beads in controlled welds as shallow as one-thousandth of an inch deep. When they’re done, the steel parts will be fused into the meteorite–it will be as if they were there all along, waiting for the rest of the 1911s to be cut out.
Like the meteorite, the kind of energy levels an electron beam welder can produce in a microscopic space is astronomical. By accelerating electrons at two-thirds the speed of light, the welder can put down up to 10 million watts of energy per square centimeter. This, along with every other engineering trick they have up their collective sleeve, is how they plan on delivering the world’s first set of meteorite handguns.
Until now, Cabot has only showcased pistol grips cut from the extraterrestrial alloy. They will unveil more meteorite parts at the 2016 SHOT Show, starting Jan. 19. The final set will be on display at the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting next May. The set will include the twin .45s in a one-off display case to be built by George Dante, nicknamed the “Michelangelo of Taxidermy” by National Geographic.
The guns are expected to sell for up to $1 million and Cabot has already received offers for several hundred thousand dollars based on the concept alone. Of course you don’t have to be a moneied art collector to own a Cabot pistol; their handguns start at $3,675—no small chunk of change, but still in-line with other high-end 1911 builders.
We asked Bianchin what was the inspiration for these totally-unique firearms. “Imagination,” he said. “I suspect this will be our magnum opus.”