What do you do with the bits of surplus Gibeon meteorite from the 100% iron-metorite Big Bang Pistol Set? If you are Pennsylvania-based Cabot Guns, you use them to build another one-of-a-kind 1911 pistol. Cabot’s Stellar Fusion pistol didn’t start with meteorite, though, but with a unique raw material that would become a stunning set of grips. “I was wandering the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show two years ago when I came across two large pieces of Libyan desert glass, a most fascinating material. Desert glass is rare and is normally found in very small fragmented pieces, but these were large enough to make a set of grips,” said Cabot Guns’ CEO Rob Bianchin. “I wasn’t sure whether the material would work or not, but when I come across something beautiful and extremely rare I buy it to add to our collection of materials.”
A call from a VIP Cabot client put Bianchin’s wheels in motion on how to incorporate the grip material into a complete project. The client who commissioned Stellar Fusion has a very unique profes background with interests ranging from space exploration to asteroid mining. There was certainly a desire to incorporate meteorite materials into the build, but none of the pieces available from the previous project were large enough to form any meaningful handgun components. The decision was made to fuse the meteorite chunks into a single billet from which the handgun’s frame could be machined. “We didn’t know precisely what it would look like, but the concept of building a fully functional pistol with a meteorite mosaic upper and grips crafted from desert glass was such an appealing combination of rare materials to do something that has never done before.” Bianchin said
To construct the raw mosaic billet that would become the meteorite slide, the team at Cabot reached out to Pennsylvania blacksmith and knifemaker J. Neilson, best known as a judge on the television series Forged In Fire. Neilson had done work with forging meteorite with steel before, so he was a natural choice. He wasn’t taking on any new work due to his backlog, but when Cabot shared the details of the project, he agreed to do it.
This oversized billet of meteorite mosaic was used to machine the Stellar Fusion 1911’s slide using the same precision machining and grinding techniques used to build the company’s competition grade handguns. According to Bianchin, the real magic, though, was the finishing process. “We’d never finished anything with these characteristics before so how do you do it? It’s a bit of a playful experience. You have to slowly apply techniques to see what evolves and go further until you bring it to where it wants to be. It has its own will.” Bianchin said.
To compliment the unique slide, the Stellar Fusion’s frame was made from artisan damascus steel, forged in by a blacksmith in Germany specifically for this project. The sights were fashioned from solid meteorite, and the barrel was plated in 24-carat gold to give it some eye-catching appeal.
While the metals used on this gun are incredibly unique, according to Bianchin, the grips are what really set it apart. “The desert glass is a fascinating material. To oversimplify the theory, when there’s a large collision from a meteorite or perhaps even an asteroid, the impact pulverizes the desert sand. This molten sand is shot up into the atmosphere where it instantly freezes and converts into a very pure form of glass. Pieces this size are rare which is what makes the grips on this gun so special.” The grips were shaped with extreme care using diamond-impregnated cutters. Breaking the grips would mean derailing the entire project due to the rarity of the desert glass.
Though Cabot is known for taking risks when it comes to materials, the Stellar Fusion pistol really pushed the envelope. “It is a bit of a tour de force in terms of style. It’s an eclectic gun, to say the least. It is a showpiece if we’ve ever built one.” Bianchin explained. We tried to nail-down a price, but Bianchin didn’t bite. “This is commissioned work. Let’s just say that it is in the range of a nice high-end German sedan.” he said.
More Info: forbes.com