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We currently have a Cabot Guns Black Diamond 1911 we’re testing and will run our review in the near future. In the mean time, given the inevitable comments that follow any high end 1911 review, we asked their CEO, Rob Bianchin, to tell us what makes Cabot’s pistols different…and worth the price. Here are his thoughts:

Cabot Guns represent a departure from traditional pistol construction and embody a new ideology as to how a 1911 can be built. Rather than force fitting over-sized components through traditional techniques like the rest of the industry, our guns are built like scientific instruments or a Swiss watch where each component is constructed and then perfected to tolerances beyond what has been employed in the firearms industry. This philosophy has been disruptive to generally accepted norms. The precision allows for complete interchangeability of components which was considered impossible prior to Cabot Guns — we call that Clone Technology . . .

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It’s also important to me that Cabot firearms are also aesthetically beautiful. It allows me to combine my love for technology and fine art. Design elements are carefully crafted. Traditional hand polishing is at the heart of the exceptional finishes we are able to produce. There is no automation or buffing wheels involved in the finish — only traditional hand polishing with stones, compounds and diamond compounds are utilized. We are fortunate to have at our service master hand polishers. Hand polishing is a dying trade and is passed down from master polisher to apprentice, and it takes several years before one is able to polish to our standards. It produces a perfect flat, straight edges and perfect rounds.

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While not relevant to the Black Diamond base model, grips are another element where we push the envelope. I personally travel each year to hand select the wood which is used on our grips. We employ exotic materials such as mammoth ivory, mammoth molar, Borneo amber and meteorite. Storied London firearm maker Boss & Co. give us access to their excess cuttings, some of the finest figured Walnut on the planet.

Cabot pistols are rare as our production is very small and therefore limited in availability. Moreover, we are the only producer of a true left-handed 1911 which is completely inverted. Not only does this allow us to serve left-handed shooters, but it provides us the format to make what is probably the coolest thing we do — mirror image pistol sets comprised of both right and left-handed matching pistols, the pinnacle to collectors. We also made the first true folded steel Damascus 1911. All these factors contribute to the rare attributes which define a Cabot pistol.

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145 Responses to Why Cabot 1911’s Cost a Fortune

  1. Carumba, six grand. Sure does look nice. I’ll e-mail Santa and remind him I’ve been very, VERY good for years on end, now…

  2. Complete interchangeably of components… The original .mil design allowed for that, with loose enough tolerances that it didn’t jam on a sand grain. Call me back when they manage to coat the entire thing in black diamond.

    • Yep, sounds like a full circle here–from “interchangeable” to “hand-built, each is unique”, back to “interchangeable”. I’m sure I’m missing something tho. Speaking of gun porn, it just occurred to me that in my mind, tricked-out 1911s are like surgically-enhanced boobs. I just like the “originals” better, even if they don’t look quite as spectacular. Oh, BTW, “carbon spots” (black spots) in a diamond are flaws. I have been told that a “black diamond” is essentially an overgrown carbon spot that has been cut and shaped like a regular diamond. In my business we wouldn’t buy them.

    • This guy might want to read up on the testing the CZ P-01 had to pass to get NATO certification sometime. Complete interchangeability is one of the criteria, and they do it for a tenth the price of this YANE (Yet Another Nineteen Eleven). It’s a cool gun, but they’re not exactly doing the impossible, just the slightly-more-difficult.

  3. There’s something for everyone in the gun market, but this would not be for me even if I could afford it.

  4. At 6 grand, I’m pretty sure I’d be afraid to fire the damn thing, lest i mess anything up or eve scratch the finish. Seems like this is a gun built (and priced) to be admired in a glass case, not actually fired. And I get a real kick out of the idea that this is a gun designed for concealed carry. It’s a beautiful, high end 1911 that, in terms of combat, offers basically nothing over 1911s that cost less than 1/6 of what this does.

  5. If I had the keesh you’d better believe I would get one of these, I shot over to their website and didnt find the Damascus Steel one, but that would be the one for me.

    I think those who say they would buy this gun if they could are a lot like the analogy of men who admit to jerking it… 95% of men are willing to admit it, and the other 5% are liars.

    Now, there are a lot of things I would buy if I had the money, and I would need a whole lot more than 6 grand of disposable income sitting around before I bought this, but yeah, if money wasn’t an object damn right I would get one. So would just about anyone reading this.

    • I once went to an Aston Martin dealership in Florida, just to gawk, and sat down in one. It had a quilted suede headliner. No car on earth benefits in any conceivable way from a quilted suede headliner. In fact, I never even notice a car’s headliner. But I damn sure noticed this one. If I had 6 grand to spend on guns today, there are a lot of things I’d buy before even thinking about this, but yeah, money being no object, and I already had everything else, damn straight I’d buy one of these. This gun isn’t about utility, reliability, or any practical consideration, it’s about luxurious indulgence.

      • To each his own, but my whole outlook on things would have to be adjusted before I spent six grand on a 1911, even if I had it to spend. I’m sure I can find some luxuries I would in fact indulge in, but this ain’t it.

        • Yeah, that was my point, this isn’t targeted at people who have 6k to spend on luxuries. This is targeted at people for whom 6k could be rounded down to 0 as a percentage of their total disposable income, and as you pointed out, if you were in that position you (as well as probably everyone else here) would buy it.

          Just like the Aston Heretical Politik mentioned above, they aren’t for people who have a spare 250k to spend on a car, they are for people who see a 250k Aston like the rest of us would see a Toyota Camry, except more because with an Aston you cost of purchase is only the start, maintenance/upkeep and insurance will probably be the size of what normal people pay when they take out a 60-70 month car payment. Its all about percentages of disposable income.

        • @ Tex300BLK

          If I had the amount of money you are talking about, I would not buy a Cabot 1911 as depicted above. It would be a waste to me. Instead I would contract them or another company to make me a firearm (not a 1911) with a frame completely machined from a large billet of platinum, then I would have some custom silver alloy casings laser engraved with the words “unicorn scat” on them. They would fire solid gold bullets. The case of this gun would be supplied with a small pile of cash for me to wipe my tears on when it arrived.

    • Tex300BLK, I found the damascus model on their website. It’s in the OAK (One of a kind) tab and OBTW it doesn’t cost six grand, it costs $35,000.00!

  6. Wow that was convoluted. And th ewhole oversized vs. Precision fit? I call it hyperbole. While I am sure it looks and functions flawlessly, so does my sig 1911.

    • Wilson, Ed Brown, Les Bear et al buy forgings that are oversized and then then hand fit them with stones and files and lapping compound. No two pistols will have interhangeable parts as each part is unique and “fitted” to that specific gun. If it fits on another gun it is pure coincidence. From their website it looks like Cabot precision mills them out of steel billets to, in their words, “perfect” tolerances. They must have some ridiculously small runnout numbers if all they do is polish the finished pieces. Granted their definition of polishing is a little more labor intensive than what we mortals would think of when we wax our car or polish silverware, they are removing metal like all the others just way less of it that you would with lapping compound or files. Theoretically any slide would fit and function on any frame in their warehouse.

      • You can polish away thousandths in a couple minutes on something like a rail. All you need to remember is to use coarser grits when you have lots of material to move, and work to finer grits as you get closer.

        I’ve taught people how to take 0.050″ off a 1×1 piece of steel, hit a size and have a finish to about 240 grit with nothing but hand files and be done with it in about 10 minutes. The secret is starting with a coarse enough file (like a Swiss Pattern 00 file) to get close, then knowing when to switch over to a single-cut bastard file, then when to switch down to a smooth file, then when to start draw filing for the final finish.

        Same deal with polishing stones. There’s grits of polishing stones down to, oh, 120 grit, and they get as fine as 600. Above that, you start using polishing paste or buffing compound.

      • Cabot is rough machining everything, but all the tolerance comes from surface and centerless grinding.

        Cabot is a huge aerospace/medical grinding shop, and probably the best in the world. IIRC, the 1911 project was born out of the slowdown in manufacturing a few years ago. They had idle machines and a very experienced workforce, so they thought building a 1911 using the tools and techniques they are highly skilled in could keep them on top of their game and bring in a new line of business to help ease through a very rough spot for American manufacturers.

  7. Well I say keep calm and carry on. I wish we didn’t have so many cheap guns replacing the Classis Rem 700 BDL’s and such. I’d buy a Cabot if I had money for a safe queen.

    With that being said, I carry Glocks 90% of the time. Oh, well. I do carry expensive knives, and occasionally drink JW Blue, McCallan, Cristal, and Dom. I had really good taste before I got married and went broke.

  8. To each their own, but for 6K I’d get way more use and a lot more enjoyment out of an AX308. Then again, I don’t get the point of owning a Ferrari either, so what do I know.

  9. Some of their pistols look really nice, but for that much cabbage, I sure as hell wouldn’t want their logo plastered down the entire slide.

  10. They won’t sell very many at that price so their margins must be amazing to stay in business. Brings “paying for the label” to a new level. Mammoth ivory? You know why Rolex covers their watches with gems? Because they’re terrible watches and they need to convince you to drop all that cash on them somehow. Nevermind the timing, movement or accuracy. Look at this diamond!

      • ^^I was thinking the same thing. I have a “cheap” Ball and even though Rolex isn’t my style, I do respect their heritage and advancements they have made.

        But speaking of things I can’t afford, pass me the 2012 Zenith El Primero, please.

        • Rolex Daytonas used a variety of calibres, from Valjoux 72A/B to 722 as well as one based on the El Primero that you reference. In house Rolex calibres are just not that speshul for the last 50+ years. They aren’t 20+ complication Patek-Phillipes, and nobody will ever pay $24MM for one. Until we get to Zimbabwe dollars anyway…

          Rolex has a storied history and all that, but in the dispassionate analysis, it’s yet another McMansion in a world of bespoke custom homes. They’re a rather plebian bit of ostentation. I’ve got a Submariner because I like the design, but it’s not even as rare as my few Sinns or even my few old P-Ds.

  11. like to see regular users of a Wilson Combat, Les Baer et al, and compare them to Cabots.

    If a Cabot is NOT any more reliable, has any more ‘custom touch’ than a Wilson Combat or similarly established industry entity with years of earned reputation, cannot see how ANY sane person could shell out MORE than the price of an actual, RELIABLE defensive 1911 custom builder like Wilson.

    still, looking forward to the review.

  12. One of these days, I have to get my hands on one of these, just to see the finish. From the pictures, it looks like a very, very nice finish.

  13. At that much it’s more novelty than anything else. To say you have one if the rarest production 1911s on the planet is something that gets a lot of people’s pants tighter. But functionally it’s still another 1911. No major difference between that and another reasonably priced 1911. If i had the money I’d definitely get one. Just for nostalgic reasons. 6k is well worth the price IMO

  14. I just purchased a Tisas 1911 for $369.00. For $6,000.00, I can purchase sixteen Tisas .1911’s. As long as the gun looks good, functions properly and is accurate, it works for me.

  15. So their argument is that instead of roughing it in and then finishing it to spec, they use a more expensive set of tools to machine it to spec from the start? Sounds like two processes that get to the same endpoint, one efficiently and practically, the other sensitive and neurotic. Like excavating a quarry with a dental pick. No wonder why they cost so much. Do they shoot better than a hand-fit 1911?

    • Yeah, I heard that when you punch a .45″ hole in a piece of paper using one of these things, the hole isn’t ragged around the edge. Instead, it punches a perfectly round, completely smooth edged hole, and the paper doesn’t bend back, it’s perfectly flat. Truly worth the price.

      • “Punch”? Don’t be droll old chap. Nothing so uncouth is at work here.

        As the projectile approaches the paper, it signals it’s intention to proceed. At which point the paper acquiesces, and re-arranges it’s fibers to provide perfect pass through.

        • You’re right, if it made contact with the paper it’d mar the finish on the projectile. I’ll bet if you use one of the $500 projectiles it comes to rest perfectly intact, even more shiny than it was before, ready to be reloaded and refired.

        • .45 kills the soul (or demon) and a .45 out of a $6k Cabot erases you from history and memory. This is why we don’t know of anyone being shot with one.

        • I’ve read on various forums that you can kill Vampires with normal bullets out of this gun… no need for silver.

    • Then you mis understand, using hand fitting makes the major parts of any gun exclusive to that gun. You are the guy claiming production line cars have no advantage over hand built cars. Or the guy claiming cutting edge precision manufacturing has no advantage over traditional slapdash manufacturing. In other words you are pissing into the wind. If there is a flaw in their assertion it is the slim to none chance that these guns will ever mix parts. But if this process is adopted by the industry and costs drop accordingly the potential for cheap easily serviced guns with hand fit precision exists.

      • $6,000 isn’t so stunning, given that you can spend $4,000 on a Wilson.

        What I want to see is the Spare Parts Price List…. And then I wonder if they’ll even be around in ten years. I’m sure the guys with files will be.

  16. The idea of mirrored pistols is intriguing.

    Maybe after I have filled a room with every AR-15 from Armalite to Yankee Hill and every manufacturer in between.

  17. Recoil did an article about these a couple months back. Something about how their parts are all measured and blueprinted on CMMs and the dimensions are stored so if you need something they can make an exact duplicate of whatever you need.

    They also made a great analogy in their 1911 comparison that made perfect sense to me……There’s room in the market for Timex, Rolex, and everything in between. But I think Patek is a better analogy in this case over a poverty Rolex.

    • Something about how their parts are all measured and blueprinted on CMMs and the dimensions are stored so if you need something they can make an exact duplicate of whatever you need.

      OK, now that is impressive. Even to a jaded SOB like me who deals with guns every day.

      • Defiance actions are extremely precise, involve lots of EDM cutting, and cost nothing like the Cabot. At least, though, an extreme-tolerances bolt action is a proper basic design for accuracy. An extreme-tolerances precisely milled 1911 won’t produce ever-greater accuracy in use, because there are precision limitations in the basic design. Or so it seems to me.

  18. Well my 1st boss used to say to me all the time; “There is an ass for every seat. Build the chair.”
    I guess this 1911 proves him right.

    • Exactly.

      Parker, Fox, Lefever, LC Smith, et al made only a few of their highest grade shotguns. But they made them, because some few people wanted them. You used to be able to order highly finished guns from Winchester 100 years ago. You just opened up the Winchester catalog, said “I want this, that and some of that finish” and you got what you ordered, and the finishing was top-shelf stuff.

      This is what some people just cannot seem to get their heads around. Some people are willing to pay big bucks for a very nice gun. These people just cannot seem to get their heads around the idea that there are gunmakers who are happy to cater to the tastes of people willing to pay top dollar for “best guns.” I know gunmakers who make only eight to 10 custom rifles a year – but every one of those rifles goes for $8K and up. There are people buying those rifles, and paying cash for them.

      More power to Cabot for making a very nicely finished gun.

      • i total agree with you on that point .Some people will never understand what is is like to have a hand made pieces of functional art. They are happy with the cheap stuff i would rather wait and have a piece i can be proud of instead of the same thing everyone has. The price is in line with wilson Supergrade Which i plan on getting 6K is not all that bad. I could buy 3-4 ars for what i paid for my Wilson AR but i am happy and the LGS said that it was the nicest are they ever seen These type of pistols aren’t for people who pawn their firearms when things get tight. Some people are content with a clock radio while others want Nakamichi I take the high end every chance i can What good is having money if you can’t spend it to enjoy it

      • DG, I think your point is the pivot of the thing. If the Cabot claims were of artisan skill and aesthetics, a very high price would make sense. That precision and accuracy form so much of their spiel just turns me off. How much tougher is the thing, really? How much more accurate? A screw-back screw-in crown Rolex is actually very tough. I still wear mine from 1971, and my wife’s, her everyday watch that I gave her in 1981…is still functioning very well. Neither watch is a piece of art. Nice, but really just high-end utilitarian.

        No doubt there is a market for the Cabot. Indeed, I hope RF is emotionally prepared for the day when, at an Austin barbecue, everyone gawks at the Cabot, overlooking the ‘cheap’ Wilson. For a person who likes this sort of thing though, the Cabot is just the sort of thing they’ll like.

        • Your point on aesthetics vs machining is well made.

          However, guns are special – they can be highly functional art. Here, I think much of the art side is obvious and would “sell itself.”

          But there are many pretty guns out there. The emphasis on machining is how you differentiate yourself from the rest of the pretty-gun houses out there, and emphasize to your potential customers that THIS gun will shoot as good as it looks.

          In other words, you’re only indirectly appealing to the customer’s vanity and taste; rather, you treat them as if they are smart enough to buy it for the engineering, and the rest is a bonus. High-end sports car salesmen do the same thing.

    • Accuracy isn’t the only issue in firearms.

      Look in the collectable firearms market. The highest priced collectable arms are the ones with the highest level of finish.

      The Parker Invincibles don’t shoot 100X better than the Parker VH grade field guns. But today, you can buy a Parker VH in good shape for under $2K – and the Invincibles are worth more than $1 mil each.

      • Further, with the state of our economy, and Russia’s tanking, even with the recent election, you still have Dem voters out there pushing for a weaker dollar/military/police/populace, etc.
        $6K? you might have to pay in Hi-Points.

  19. If I had that kind of money to spend on a 1911 I’d just drive up the street and hand a decent Colt over to Heirloom Precision and let Ted Yost do his magic.

    Oh, and that trigger is disgusting. Like putting spinners on a Bentley.

    • Why not just get the right handgun to start with ? If you have to take a brand new Handgun to a gunsmith then you have clearly made a mistake . I would prefer to order the right thing from the start and at the end of the day it is still a Colt nothing special . How often will you see one of these Cabots? Hold a Wilson super grade and hold the Colt then tell me which one is better . The colt was a piece of junk even compared to the regular wilson. LGS said it takes not longer than 3 days to sell any wilson. Quality out of the box costs money some people will never understand the value of a custom piece. It is not custom if every other guy has one

    • That’s the nice thing about dealing with a company like Cabot. If you ordered one of these and said, “I love everything about it but those stars,” I’m sure they’ll be happy to install a star-free trigger for you.

    • If I had $6k to attend in guns I’d buy a glock and/or a .22 AND a used 4×4 truck to wander into the wilderness so I could play with them. And I’d wake up right as I was pulling the trigger on the first shot.

  20. At that price they likely only sell 1 or 2 guns per day. Which makes them extremely collectible and rare. Kind of like a Perrazi shotgun. I’ve seen some Perazzi’s go for as much as you’d expect to pay for a house.

    • Even a fairly plain Jane $16,000 Perazzi will be custom fit for you if you bother to travel to them, will have beautiful wood, and so the price strikes me as fair. The Cabot will not be custom fit for you, has no room for beautiful wood, and isn’t an item for which exceptional balance matters. Yes, I realize I’m simply expressing my own values. I’m starting to realize that socializing with non-pistol-wearing folks causes me to under-value very expensive pistols. And, when I carry and use pistols, I treat them a bit roughly.

  21. “Precision and attention to detail — except for when writing about our precision and attention to detail.”

    You think grammar is a freaking game?!?!?

  22. Mammoth molar…puhleeeze…And I’m with others – “unique…interchangeability”…Do what? Sounds like the typical bullcrap you read about artists and their “art”. It also reminds me of the retards that buy Japanese chisels for ridiculous prices because they are “made by master craftsmen from 100-year-old anchor chains fished out of Tokyo harbor” (yes I actually saw that once in a Garrett-Wade catalogue). No matter how much you spend, you’re either good at your craft because you took the time to perfect it, or you’re not. The tools aren’t going to change that no matter what you spend on them. I CAN afford one of these but I wouldn’t throw my money away on it. I’d rather buy numerous other toys for my gun collection with what would be dropped on this. A waste of money is a waste of money – no matter how much disposable income one has.

    • A quality tool will not transform the novice to master. But…

      I can prep a tasty meal with any $12 santoku from WallyWorld, but it’s much easier, faster, and more accurate with my Watanabe. I can take a car apart and successfully reassemble it using Harbor Freight tools, but it’s much easier and accurate with Snap-on, MAC, and Craftsman. Sure the shop radio could be a Sony boom box, but the old McIntosh with a couple of Mission Model 70 MK2s sounds much better. Better tools make work easier and more accurate, which makes activities more enjoyable.

      I’m sure a McD’s frozen meat puck burned in a clamshell tastes just the same as a freshly-pattied, free range black angus burger, cooked perfectly mid-rare over a charbroiler.

      There is a certain precision, heft, lightness, feel, texture, appearance, performance to a high quality product. If you don’t appreciate that, so be it. But, be assured, there is a difference. If you have the resources, it seems kind of sad to never experience that diffeence.

      • Being more expensive doesn’t immediately equate to being better quality.

        And it’s more sad that people are dropping six large on this while there are those who can’t even drop $2 on a meal.

        • I’m one of those who often can’t drop even a couple of bucks on a meal out and I say; it’s their money so more power to them. Luxury items give an incentive to earn money. Even if I could afford one, I wouldn’t be very likely to drop that kind of money on this particular 1911. It just doesn’t capture my attention or spark any desire.

      • A good craftsman knows what the limitations on tools SHOULD be, price-wise. Trust me, I’m a master carpenter, but I’d be a fool to use a $500 chisel to mortise a lock strike when it’s possible steel nails used to attach casing lurk unseen in the area the strike needs to be installed. But I’ve seen it done with disastrous results (it was funny as shit, though, to see the look on the dumbass’ face). If you’re building custom furniture, great. If you’re working on a period remodel, rather stupid. I know all about heft, feel and quality when it comes to hand tools. But I also know the truth behind the old adage about a fool and his money…

        • Grindstone, Price does not always equate to quality. But you never get quality without paying the price. And yes, off-shoring many working-class jobs has gutted our economy. We produce almost nothing compared to 40 years ago, and it is a serious problem. The middle class (compared to the 70s) is almost gone.

          Abad, I agree, right tool for the job and all that. Doing residential construction is like cooking a fish you caught in a creek with a spear you carved from a tree. It’s just about as primitive as you can get. You don’t need a micrometer to do 16″ OC. And using a furniture-grade woodworking tool to mortise a lock is just beyond idiotic. That’d be like taking my stupid-expensive kitchen knife deer hunting.

          I just look at this as a nice tool. I’ve handled one of these, but not fired it. You can feel the quality. Personally? I’d never spend that kinda cash on a 1911. It’s be like buying a $15K built 350 Chebby. Polished turd and all that. But some folks still like the primitive thing, so I look at this as well-executed example.

        • “But you never get quality without paying the price.”

          My wife’s economical, reliable, and very well made Hyundai contests that theory. Are there better cars for more money? Sure. Are there better cars for less? Not really.

        • Grindstone, I didn’t specify which price was to be paid. Current Hyundai product is darn good quality and very good looking (thanks to hiring German Peter Schreyer, the Audi TT/A3/A4/A6 dude as chief designer).

          That said, the price paid is that we are sending money outside our country for cheap(er) labor. At the end of the day, China would be nothing were it not for all the money the US and EU sent to that filthy communist rathole, $.20 an hour at a time. They would still be Chi-Com stone-agers were it not for greedy folks sending them cash, in the race to the bottom. The wouldn’t be constantly cyber-attacking every one of our companies, because they wouldn’t have the tech, nor the money to deploy it.

      • The shop sound system doesn’t keep getting better because you spend $500 on monster cables, though. For some reason a $6k 1911 seems to be over that line to me.

    • Other guns. Other pieces of metal. Injection dies.

      Ever wonder why an injection molding die, even a small one that is used to make some small plastic consumer widget, costs over $10K? Did you know that injection molding dies that produce plastic products with excellent surface finish cost big money?

      The hand polishing required is a large part of the reason why.

      • Yeah, I guess you’re right, but I see no reason to hand polish the outside of a gun except for bragging rights about how much you can spend on it.

        • A good blue job on a gun is achieved only after the gun has been polished properly and to at least a 320 to 400 grit finish.

          Now, many people think “Oh, how difficult is it to polish a gun on a buffing wheel?”

          Quite difficult, actually. I (or any classic gunsmith) can spot a gun where someone has loaded up a wheel with 550 paste and then proceeded to buff the holy crap out of a gun, receiver or barrel. I can see the dips and waves, the hollows and humps, the melted appearance of what used to be sharp, crisp features, etc.

          Polishing a gun by hand used for a high-quality blueing job to be the norm. Colt, S&W, Winchester and others used to do a very nice job of polishing their guns for their blueing jobs. Colt’s finish on revolvers like the Python are the stuff of legend – and those were done by hand.

        • The cabot “master polishers” are from Narnia. Their skin grows a crystalline surface that is naturally extremely hard and 1200 grit. When the skin on their hands wears down they eat a small chunk of unicorn horn and it grows back. Their eyes are so keen they don’t need to use measuring tools. They can look at the surface and can readily see the displacement on a micro level.

      • Nah, they don’t let them polish anything else. They need to be kept hungry so they stay driven.

  23. Yeah, I’d like to see this catch on and be done more economically. I mean, I was just watching that dingleberry James Yeager on youtube saying somthing like how 1911’s can’t be made well by modern methods, which I think is a load of mumbo-jumbo from someone who’s out of his capacity in talking about metal-working. Long story short I don’t think the design is innately hand-fitting and/or loose-tolerance dependent, or that it can’t be made work with tight tolerances for, well, lower in the four figure range.

      • Its ability to mimic the effect of your automobile’s clear coat aging and peeling away is admirable and certainly worth a few thousand dollars over guns from [Insert Your Preferred 1911 Shop Here].

        Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the budget isn’t.

    • Revolutionary? Let me let you in on a little secret, most every “modern” gun is produced like they were in the 1950. Or the 1920s. Some even earlier. The gun business is one of the most stone-axe-primitive manufacturing environments, and that it survives as it is, never ceases to amaze me. The garbage I’ve seen from Freedom Group is beyond the pale. Some of it looks far worse than the guns people build from raw steel using hand tools in Darra Adam Khel.

      Every firearm should be a cnc’d, croy’d, and coated from the line. Shoulda been 20 years ago. The individual cmm is perhaps a bit of overkill since we can crank out millions of car parts every day with tolerances far better than almost any gun manufactured – save for the above captioned. Spot checking for Six-Sigma all the live long day.

      Guns are rather simple machines with few moving parts. That almost no one, (and certainly no major) uses almost nothing resembling modern design/manufacture is really kinda pathetic.

      • As I understand it Sig and FNH are both pretty forward looking on manufacturing processes. Which may well explain why they’ve been adding share steadily over the past several years compared to more “traditional” manufacturers.

        And your point is exactly mine – if people think small tolerances are something new, they haven’t been paying attention. And if the owner who wrote this PR piece thinks that 25 year old machining technology justifies the insane price tag on these guns…well, people who purchase on that basis alone get what they have coming. The idea that these items, which should be the basic standard for any industry manufacturing anything out of metal, are something special is just laughable.

        • Laughable? You said your self that the rest of the industry is decades out of date then find a manufacturer investing in modern manufacturing and asking a premium price laughable? Here’s a thought though, the auto industry is a shining example of constant investment in precision manufacturing. But that investment is largely driven by government regulations. What could possibly make the firearms sector step up to that level except that kind of regulation? And lastly consider cost. Do you know what consumer cost for a collection of engine parts approximating a gun is? And that’s with a vastly larger production scale. Since you scoff at the cost of these guns I can’t imagine you would pay a fair price for some middle of the road pistol built to the same standards.

        • JUandrews, You’re right, there are those companies (not in ‘Murrica ‘natch) who actually understand that working metal to precise tolerances then assembling said metal without any “fitting” has been rather rote for 20+ years. It’s just sad that we’re even still talking about this. This isn’t blueprinting an engine, even by 1960s standards – this is absolute primitive garbage manufacturing barely accurate to the .01, let alone the .001, which is so readily achievable as to be a joke if you can’t do it.

          Drew, I think you have no idea what it costs to make engine parts. Even on a car with only 80K examples, I can get pistons, rings, bearings, valves, lifters, which will be say, north of 200 parts, all within a few .001, for less than $500. For a common engine, it’s even less. Those parts are no more trouble to get “right” than gun parts. And they don’t have 200. No excuses.

        • Drew –

          “What could possibly make the firearms sector step up to that level except that kind of regulation?”

          Easy – profit margins. Machines work 24/7, require no ongoing salary or compensation/benefits costs, don’t take holidays off, etc. etc. etc.

          Consumer level CNC machines are not prohibitively expensive, even for small business owners. They are far more accurate than human beings are ever going to be capable of, period. Even a small boutique-level manufacturer is far smarter investing capital into robots to do 95% of the grunt work and will recoup costs within a few years at most. After that, gross margins rise significantly.

          These reasons, actually, are exactly why you see Sig and FNH rapidly progressing these days.

          “Do you know what consumer cost for a collection of engine parts approximating a gun is?”

          Not a very good analogy, for many reasons, the most obvious being the differences in material costs and distribution costs. After you adjust for those differences, I’d be very interested to see your bar graphs, and I’d bet they’d be damn close to one another.

          Even then, your comparison doesn’t really hold up because with the modern magic of the internet and UPS, price-gouging dealership bullshit is a thing of the past for people of average intelligence or above. I had a buddy pick up a brand new in box crate motor (1GR-FE) for his Toyota Tacoma last year for $3400 shipped freight to his local Fastenal.

          Dealer list is a little north of $5000, which would almost validate your comparison except it’s about 600lbs of metal with hundreds of components compared to about a pound of metal with a few dozen (at most) components.

          If these jokers want to ask auto-engine prices, they’d better come up with a more compelling argument than “we CNC machine and hand polish”.

        • Jandrews,

          I think you completely missed my point. My point was that your buddy got an entire engine, at around 600#, for $3400. And there’s still margin and shipping that much weight, in that short stack of c-notes. Yes, there are economies of scale. No, they really aren’t that significant on a per/unit analysis.

          There are hundreds of parts in that engine, and every single one of them is build with tolerances in the few thousandths of an inch range. Or tighter. There are faaaarrrr more technical metals and treatments that go into even that Taco powerplant, than in any gun that you can carry in your hand. If built and priced like most guns, that 4-banger might make 50K miles before a rebuild, and it would take a week to assemble and hand fit parts onto it. That Toyo engine has maybe 2 man-hours total in assembling it from a variety of boxes of parts. Workers spend more time than that assembling an average 1911 slopfest just so it runs.

          This gun costs $6K because he can charge that margin and get away with it. Were everybody else doing it (as they readily could) that would be a $1500 gun. Or less. Even with the hand polishing. Run-of-the-mill 1911s would also be this good performance wise, and would be in the $1K range. Maybe less.

  24. Too bad they are not the only maker of true left handed 1911’s as you state in this article. Joe Chambers of Chambers Custom Pistols built the first true Mirror Image Duo that was on the cover of American Handgunner magazine nearly 3 years ago. He still builds the only all hand fit lefty in the world for those who want real craftsmanship.

  25. An absolute work of art and a waste of money. Anybody who spends more than $1200 on a 1911 is spending too much.

    • Anybody who spends $1200 on a 1911 should have bought two glocks or any other superior modern pistol. A 1911 owner by definition is wasting money.

      • And 100 years from now Glock won’t be in business but people will still be using 1911s There is nothing modern in the Glock design except the use of plastic. The striker fired pistol was introduced before 1911.

        • With the drama and scandal that’s leaking out of Glock’s inner circle, I’m dubious that the company survives Gaston’s passing.

          It certainly sounds as tho Gaston and a tight inner circle are strip-mining the cash flow out of the company.

        • @DG

          Where do these people get the idea that modern guns are so superior to a 1911? Because they are plastic? Modular takedown? striker? Glock’s unsafe trigger design? Except for the marginal takedown advantage beats me.

        • Where do these people get the idea that modern guns are so superior to a 1911? Because they are plastic? Modular takedown? striker? Glock’s unsafe trigger design? Except for the marginal takedown advantage beats me.

          It beats you because you left out the real reason: The fact that modern guns (not just Glocks) are vastly more reliable. And in my experience, and the experience of many others, 1911s aren’t. This is not to say that Glock fanboys can’t be annoyingly obtuse about some things (such as the trigger dingus), but they have a point here. Where they err is claiming that glock is more innovative than it actually is, and that all other types of guns are also crap.

          I can’t speak for everyone, but in an emergency I’d take a Glock, striker and plastic, over a 1911 ANY day, even though I don’t care for the striker and plastic (I carry a steel, hammer gun). Glocks are better not because of those items but because they fricking work, right out of the box. A 1911 on the other hand, needs to be “broken in” and oftentimes “tuned,” then *maybe* it won’t be a choke-a-matic at the range, and *maybe* it will work in a “real” environment with hollowpoints. (Would you put up with this with any other item of comparable cost?) I’ve seen sh!tty 1911s jam a hundred times. I’ve seen at least a dozen instances of “Oh, this gun has never jammed” followed within five minutes by a jam. But of course what I’ve seen isn’t really a scientific sample, even if I did have a friend go through eight 1911s before giving up on finding one that would just fvcking work the way it’s supposed to. But people who’ve taught tens of thousands of students have seen it too. 1911s choke way out of proportion to their numbers.

          I’ll agree that attributing Glock’s greater reliability to its polymer frame and striker mechanism is totally fallacious. Because there are plenty of guns with hammers and metal frames that ALSO make the 1911 look like a lemon-prone design, so *clearly* it can’t be the Glock’s polymer frame and/or striker that do it. (And it sure as heck ain’t that stoopid trigger dingus.)

          I’d pick up a Sig, or a CZ, or HK, or a Beretta (except the Nano, which I’ve had horrible luck with though I recognize I’m an outlier, there) over a 1911 as well. Well, I’d take the expensive 1911, and flip it to someone with more money than sense and go buy several of these other guns.

          You may indignantly protest that your 1911 has never failed you. Well, personally, I hear that from a lot of people who, based on what I subsequently see, must have horrid amnesia. So think hard, are you forgetting a few (dozen) instances of that damn cartridge hanging up on that damn feed ramp?

          But perhaps yours really IS different and really has never choked unless a part broke or it was absolutely filthy, in which case, good for you. You got lucky.

          Do you remember when most people carried revolvers, because semi-autos were considered too unreliable? That started to change in the early 80s, as I understand it (it was before my time as a Person of the Gun). Now, what’s the ONE model of gun that was common back when “semi autos were too unreliable” that is STILL common today? Why is it suddenly reliable enough? What magically changed?

        • Steve:

          Literally millions of American Soldiers disagree with you. The $6000 tight @$$ 1911 is like to fail because of its tight tolerances. An RIA will not fail, nor will a Springfield or a Colt. Expensive Kimbers, Wilson Combats and for some reason SIGS have problems. You have to clean them more frequently than a modern pistol. That is a certainty true but if you don’t clean your carry pistol after a couple of hundred rounds then you shouldn’t be carrying it.

          I would bet a brick of 22 that if you took a guy with Springfield Milspec and a guy with a Glock 21 and set them up side by side at a range and have them go at that the guy with the Glock will limp wrist a shot before the 1911 jams. Reliability is end-to-end and includes the shooter. The Glock may not fail because of a mechanical problem. It will fail because the shooter’s wrist will get fatigued but it is still a failure. It is also more likely that the shooter will limp wrist his Glock in an adrenaline charged DGU than a 1911 will jam.

          By the way after 18 months of perfect performance my Nano has become slight suspect. I shot some Winchester White box and had some failure to ejects. I already knew that the Nano doesn’t like WWB. However, I shot my last box of 9mm NATO and had an FTE. It was a little dirty but when I cleaned it wasn’t any worse than it has been before. I will keep you informed about what happens next.

        • Literally millions of American Soldiers disagree with you.

          I’ve heard stories of soldiers both loving and hating them, likewise with Beretta 92s. Probably a factor of how worn out the gun was at the time.

          The $6000 tight @$$ 1911 is like to fail because of its tight tolerances. An RIA will not fail, nor will a Springfield or a Colt. Expensive Kimbers, Wilson Combats and for some reason SIGS have problems.

          I’m told (about as reliably as anything else you hear at a gun range, so… yeah, I will repeat it even so) that early Kimbers weren’t bad but the ones coming out now. But I’ve heard tell of RIA’s I’d consider bad, see below.

          The only hypothesis consistent with both what you are saying here, and what I have seen myself and heard secondhand is that overengineered 1911s and loose 1911s are being lumped together; and the overengineered 1911s are making the loose 1911s look bad.

          This of course implies that the overengineered ones are significantly worse than the overall 1911 average. Which just makes them even more ridiculous than I had previously supposed. And since the topic of this post is just such a gun… well, the guy up there who claimed anyone who doesn’t want one of these is lying (he made comparisons to jerking off) is frankly, absolutely full of shit. I’ve better things to do with $6K (like buy a .338 Lapua rifle and put a commensurate scope on it). And I suspect you do too; I don’t get the sense that you want one of these things either.

          It’d be interesting to see a breakdown in 1911 failures after distinguishing between tight@$$ and milspec.

          You have to clean them more frequently than a modern pistol. That is a certainty true but if you don’t clean your carry pistol after a couple of hundred rounds then you shouldn’t be carrying it.

          On that note, I’ll have something to say below.

          I would bet a brick of 22

          dayaaaam!

          that if you took a guy with Springfield Milspec and a guy with a Glock 21 and set them up side by side at a range and have them go at that the guy with the Glock will limp wrist a shot before the 1911 jams.

          Out of curiosity, would you make that bet with both guns being new in box?

          I ask because I remember not too long ago on a local forum this guy was raving about an RIA he had just bought and was waiting on, then when it arrived he took it off to the range and actually *bragged* about how his new wondergun had only had a couple of minor failures-to-feed. He BRAGGED about this. (That’s actually worse performance than my Nano generally turns in, and you know I find that comically bad.) Yeah, it’s not Springfield but it is one of the other brands you mentioned as being good. He summed it up by saying “no issues” because this is what he expected before a gun is broken in. Even on one that doesn’t have tight @$$ specs. In other words this guy thinks crappy performance during a “break in period” is “normal.” [Sorry, it’s not. Not with anything I’ve ever owned.]

          So, is it normal for even one of the good brands to be like this, with a break-in period, or should this guy have decided he got a bad gun?

          Reliability is end-to-end and includes the shooter. The Glock may not fail because of a mechanical problem. It will fail because the shooter’s wrist will get fatigued but it is still a failure. It is also more likely that the shooter will limp wrist his Glock in an adrenaline charged DGU than a 1911 will jam.

          I assume in your last phrase you are referring to mil-spec 1911s, not 1911s as a whole. In any case, I’ve not seen lots of reports of Glocks failing during DGUs. That could simply mean I haven’t heard about it happening. I think I’ll ask around. If I still don’t hear about it though, I’ll have to discount your assertion.

          A fair point, however, in that it takes two to tango on reliability, both you and the gun. Sometimes the gun sucks. Sometimes the shooter sucks. Sometimes neither sucks but the combo is just bad (e.g., someone who is an accurate shot but has a weak wrist won’t do well with a (hypothetical) accurized Glock). Or just someone whose hands don’t fit the grip of gun X; I have friends with small hands who loathe modern double-stacks, and I can’t blame them. Only if all is good will it work out. Which is why I can’t imagine someone wanting to carry an expensive tight@$$ 1911 (yes, I am referring to Robert).

          By the way after 18 months of perfect performance my Nano has become slight suspect. I shot some Winchester White box and had some failure to ejects. I already knew that the Nano doesn’t like WWB. However, I shot my last box of 9mm NATO and had an FTE. It was a little dirty but when I cleaned it wasn’t any worse than it has been before. I will keep you informed about what happens next.

          That will be interesting.

          Speaking of failures and cleanings:

          My CZ-75 compact had a failure to feed for the very first time Thursday evening, as I jacked the first round in. Relatively easy to clear up, I just had to draw the slide back a bit and let it snap forward again. But then on the next mag, I could feel it *almost* jam.

          The problem was probably simple: It was absolutely filthy. And therein lies the problem with owning a couple of similar guns (this compact, and a full size); it’s hard to keep track of which one is about due for a cleaning. I didn’t think I had shot this one that much since the last time I cleaned it. NATO spec seems to be fairly filthy stuff actually. My full size had similar issues a few weeks ago, which I attributed to filth AND a weak spring (it wasn’t a surprise that time, because I knew I had shot it a lot recently); I am sure that full-size spring was well over its rated lifetime. I bought a spring which is actually 1 lb below factory, and it’s noticeably stiffer than the old factory one was. (It now has a new spring AND a night sight up front; I’ll be testing it tomorrow.)

  26. If everything is machined to ultra high tolerances instead of hand fitted then why don’t they start a budget line with simple bluing and choice of rubber or wood grips out the door for say $300-400 or less?

    I seem to remember that part interchangeability was to lower the cost of production and maintenance.

    • Ask RF, branding is everything. Dilluting your brand is a short term gain, long term loss. A big part of the value is saying you own a Cabot. If they make cheap ones too the name loses is value and creates confusion in the minds of consumers. Keep your brands tight.

  27. Mammoth ivory… Meteorites…

    And it’s lubricated with fairy dust with components cut from magical runestones. When you whisper the right incantations the lettering on the gun produces a magical glow.

  28. Nice looking. I bet they shoot like a house afire! Big bucks. My real problem is on the Right and Left models…..The likeness of Obama sullies an otherwise excellent presentation. Travesty.

  29. “The precision allows for complete interchangeability of components which was considered impossible prior to Cabot Guns”

    So before Cabot Guns started up, NO other company had interchangeable components in their guns? I don’t know when Cabot Guns started, can’t find any year on their site, but I highly doubt that claim. Interchangeable parts has been a part of gun manufacturing for decades.

    Their site states “we guarantee the fit between our frames and slides is exactly 0.001 inches or less. And we can provide documentation with your gun purchase to prove it. Penn United’s proprietary technology often works with tolerances of 20,000,000 of an inch. That’s a hair split into 3 parts and then each part split 10 times again.” Ummmmm….. so what happens if dirt gets in there Cabot? Sounds like you are building safe queens and not firearms that will be reliable when carried/used. I will use that $6k, if I had it, to buy a bunch of reliable guns.

  30. I would honestly love to be able to buy and fire a set of twins. I wouldn’t carry either of them regularly, I have my “cheap” (by Cabot standards) factory custom dan wesson for EDC.
    I am a lefty and would like to see what a true lefty 1911 feels like, but honestly, to me a standard 1911 with an ambi safety feels MADE for lefties. I don’t have to change my grip when dropping a mag (index finger), the slide stop is also easily activated with the left index finger without changing grip, the only thing lacking was a right side thumb safety. Once installed, the right side thumb safety makes the 1911 the perfect left handed pistol. So I do wonder how awkward a “lefty 1911” would feel to a left handed shooter. I bet if it had an ambi-thumb safety, it would be awesome for right handed shooters.

    The tolerances seem too tight for reliable carry for my liking.

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