Cabot Guns Shows Off Meteorite 1911s at NRA 2016

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For 1911 fans, one of the major attractions of the 2016 National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting was Cabot Guns’ unveiling of a matched left/right set of fine custom 1911 pistols made from a hunk of meteorite that fell to Earth from outer space.

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Although that wasn’t the only thing at the Cabot booth that came from outer space…

 

The pistol pair has been dubbed the “Big Bang set”, and is made from an ancient meteorite discovered in Gibeon, Namibia. Rather than having me try to explain their process for creating these pistols from memory, you can watch the video embedded below, released by Cabot that shows much of the fascinating process:

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Another Gibeon meteorite was on display at the Cabot booth, as well. Will this one be turned into a pair of pistols, too?

 

Cabot was keeping a lid on the pistols the second day, with the unveiling scheduled for 1:00 PM on the 21st. I swung by later to catch photos of the pair of fallen stars:

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My pictures of Cabot’s (frankly pretty awesome) display of the two guns are of modest quality, but fortunately, much nicer photos of the guns are available on Cabot’s website:

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I think the rough-hewn, almost fossil-like finish Cabot gave the Big Bang set is really attractive and unique, and it is a great complement to the guns’ origin as a bit of space-rock!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Martin Grønsdal

    I thought most guns were made from metal that fell to earth as meteorites.

    • Mouldy Squid

      The Earth’s crust is about 5% iron by content, so no, most guns are not made of meteoric metal.

      • Sulaco

        Iron is a chemical element with symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum, ultimately from ferre to bear or carry) and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series.[4] It is by mass the most common element on Earth, forming much of Earth’s outer and inner core. From the Wika

    • Most of the commercial iron in the world comes from banded iron formations, which were laid down by photosynthetic cyanobacteria during and shortly after Earth was pummeled by asteroid impacts in the Late Heavy Bombardment… so that may very well be correct to some degree.

      • Martin Grønsdal

        This is correct, but just as correct as that the earth is extra terrestrial itself…

  • Giolli Joker

    Well, definitely cool looking.
    I can believe that Dee and Joe own Cabot guns, not so sure if they really shoot them.

    • I would totally believe it with Dee Snider, man.

      • Sulaco

        …poster of Dee Snider holding two pistols cross chest that the one on his left, in his right hand is tangled up in his neck chain? Wonder why they left that as the chosen photo?

        • Giolli Joker

          I think it’s the damascus or whatever fancy material of the gun that has a pattern that coincidentally matches the neck chain position. No real tangling.

          @ Nathaniel and Patriot
          I know the guys, I just meant that I assume that all Cabot Guns are safe queens, not seeing much shooting.

    • Patriot Gunner

      You don’t watch Gun Stories with Joe Mantegna? Joe is a shooter through and through, he is also a staunch 2A supporter.

      • Evan

        Isn’t Joe Mantegna the voice of Fat Tony from the Simpsons?

        • Patriot Gunner

          Haha yup

  • BattleshipGrey

    They did a stellar job! (pun intended)

  • It’s interesting that the grips seem to be also made of the same meteorite iron (at least they’re shown on the diagram showing raw material layout – CAD pic on the website). And judging by the trigger, which has a random-looking rough face on one side, it’s possible that those caverns on the grips are also actual natural surface – which would mean the grips were planned in 3D to be cut from barely beneath the surface, with intended voids. If so, this elevates this work at least in my eyes immensely. Talk about texture! It’s basically almost wabi-sabi, a “cracked bowl” aesthetic – a long shot from gold and engravings and color enamel…

    • Mouldy Squid

      Unlikely. The iron would have to have been smelled into steel before it could be used in manufacturing. The cracks and voids you see in the grips were made in a mold or were CnCed. Sure, they could have made the from cut pieces of the meteor, but meteoric iron is rather soft and it would oxidize just from exposure to the atmosphere.

      • RocketScientist

        In previous articles posted here and elsewhere about these guns, they indicated they used the metal raw… no smelting/refining it, they just machined it out of the solid meteor. I was as surprised as you, assumed it would need to be melted and alloyed, etc. The only exception to this was the barrel, which for safety reasons was made from conventional processes. I could be totally wrong, but thats what I’ve been reading.

        • c4v3man

          Correct, they apparently used x-ray scanning to find the imperfections, and cut it specifically with the intent of showcasing various degrees of “bark” into various elements such as the grips. This was not a chunk they simply cut into a gun, there was significant planning done prior to cutting their section of the mereorite. Excellent craftsmanship from what I can tell, even if it’s not practical as a shooter (although apparently they have been test fired).

          • AD

            From the website:
            “Leaving nothing to chance in terms of functionality, our engineers used electron beam technology to meticulously add bimetal support only to the frame/slide rails, hammer, guide rod and extractor of the Big Bag set.”

            I have no idea what that means, other than that they are supposed to be functional? Not impressed with them calling their own product a “Big BAG”…

            Also they mention acid etching to bring out the pattern. I don’t know if that means they just enhanced the visibility of the existing structure of the material or if it’s basically “fake” detail:
            “natural patterning on the slide and frame (acid etched to accentuate the supernatural texture of the meteors internal structure)”

      • HSR47

        See that pattern on the guns? That’s a Widmanstatten pattern; it’s something that occurs in nature under a very specific set of circumstances, and it’s not something that we can reproduce.

      • Please see the Cabot website, and the CAD screenshot that I refer to. The link is provided in the article. Also, see the video embedded in the article. Both show direct work on billets cut out directly from the raw meteorite. The CAD one shows planned layout for cuts.

  • M.M.D.C.

    They’ll be astronomically expensive.

    • Tiru Maru

      I read somewhere, a cool $4.5 mil

      • Kovacs Jeno

        US Army should look at it in its newest combat pistol program:-)

        Or buy an off-the-shelf Glock, whatever

        • 11b

          Still cheaper than the F-35 😀

      • WHOOSH.

      • M.M.D.C.

        Dadgum! And ugly as a mud fence, too. (sorry, but the striations just don’t appeal to me)

    • Mystick

      Beautiful guns don’t just fall from the sky!

    • Hugo Dewitt

      Perfect for target shooting on Mars.

  • Mouldy Squid

    The strange look of the finish are Widmanstätten patterns which occur naturally in meteoric iron. While it is very likely that the manufacturer added this to the finish since the natural ones would not have survived the smelting process, this is what meteoric iron looks like when you polish it.

    • Edeco

      My understanding is there was no smelting; they just cut it like billet…

      • Darrell

        Polished nickel iron meteorites sometimes develop what’s known as lawrencite disease, where exposure to moisture in the air causes a green/brown ooze to form between the crystalline pattern borders. The meteorite will eventually fall apart. The only way to prevent it is to seal the meteorite in a glass case. Some people apply a carnauba type wax to protect the metal. I’d hate to buy such an expensive gun, only to have it fall apart eventually.

        • Edeco

          Yikes, interesting, depressing thought. I would have expected it to rust if looked at cross-eyed, but had assumed the bulk was stable. Hopefully they have a coating worked out and the guns don’t have to stay in a case.

          • raz-0

            meteorite metal is really pretty awful stuff metallurgically speaking. I’m shocked the things even work. Which they might not really, hence the 4.5 million price tag. Not only did they cost serious cash to make, it means they will likely be put away someplace environmentally protected and not touched.

    • They enhanced the natural patterns with laser engraving, actually.

  • datimes

    A quick search indicates that meteorite sells for about 3 times the value of gold. These should be popular with Middle East billionaire$.

  • Edeco

    I wonder if these made to their totally interchangeable spec. Remarkable achievement either way, but I admire that interchangeable garuntee. I have no supertition or sentiment for old-world hand fitting. Bleh, I say; down the commode of history with it.

  • Anomanom

    Ok, You’ll need these, and the sword (made from the same meteor) at the Tokyo Sky Tree to defeat the final boss.

    • James Young

      Haha, love this

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    The grips are made of pieces of the actual cross Jesus was crucified on.

    • Anomanom

      If all the pieces of the “true cross” were gathered up you could build an ark.

      • iksnilol

        The True Ark?

      • Fruitbat44

        Hmmm . . . not so. In the late nineteenth French scholar, Charles Rohault de Fleury, tracked down all the extant relics – clearly a man with too much time on his hands – and the total volume came to 240 cubic inches. Somewhat short of making an Ark. But grips for 1911 . . . maybe.

        • Mystick

          Ark of the Covenant, maybe?

      • Edeco

        The Ark of Longinas

    • That’s metal as heavens.

      Literally. Grips are from the same meteorite iron.

  • Sulaco

    Anybody else notice that in the poster of Dee Snider holding two pistols cross chest that the one on his left is tangled up in his neck chain? Wonder why they left that as the chosen photo?

    • Captain Obvious

      I don’t think the chain is tangled. It’s just the angle of the photo. If you look closer, the chain follows his neck line.

      • Sulaco

        Maybe, but it sure looks like the chain comes infront of the pistol from the back over the rear site and along the slide until it goes under his finger just under the back of the ejection port….

        • Martin Grønsdal

          Engraving on the pistol has same direction as chain. It just looks as if it is entangled

          • Sulaco

            Naw, the engraving don’t look anything like the chain. Look at this side of the rear site, that’s part of the chain…

          • Martin Grønsdal

            this is zoomed in

          • Sulaco

            Wow, I sit corrected but smug in how it looked 🙂

          • throwedoff

            Time for a visit with you optometrist.

  • Kivaari

    Wow! Very nice collectables.

  • maodeedee

    I hate to be the one to tell everyone, but these guns are ugly.

  • rangerchuck

    With Kryptonite bullets, you could keel Superman.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    Just gimmick for suckers who have too much money.