TTAG Project Gun: Otto Carter Gets Started

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Regular readers will recall that I recently commissioned Master Engraver Otto Carter to engrave a Cabot 1911. Mr. Carter just emailed the above photo of the work in progress, revealing an example of the Aesthetic Style on the gun’s snout. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him – the gun will be adorned throughout. But he’s off and running. It’s all done with a Lindsay Airgraver. “It took a lot longer than I thought,” the Abilene Texas artist told TTAG . . .

“I guess about a day . . . There are parts of guns that I dread because their contours may be difficult. In this case, the dustcover is something of a pain in the butt. It’s rounded as well as being concave. Those can be challenging especially when you’re putting a geometric grid on it. I like to do the difficult pieces first and then I’m kinda freed-up.”

Looks good to me. You?


  1. avatar Ralph says:

    Wait — I thought he would be engraving the gun with a picture of an Israeli supermodel.

    Is my face red.

    1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

      Dunno, check the moon phase

    2. avatar rosignol says:

      It’s nowhere near done, you could still be right.

  2. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Gee, for how much that Cabot cost and Mr.Carter’s craftsmanship, you could have had enough for a used 172 with “TTAG-1” graphics on it…

    And the Cessna would likely be more reliable than the Cabot…

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      If you read JWT’s Cabot follow-up review, you’d know they sorted those issues but good. Enough so that JWT would carry a Cabot without reservations (after feeding it a thousand rounds, as he would ANY EDC).

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        I love me some good metalworking skills.

        Cabot has that skill hands-down.

        I look forward to when their gun making skills catch up to their metalworking talents.

        When they shipped that first Cabot to TTAG the multiple problems with it lead me to believe they don’t fully Grok gun making yet. Especially at that price point.

      2. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Is that a thousand rounds total, or a thousand each time it comes back from the factory?

      3. avatar SteveInCO says:

        you’d know they sorted those issues but good.

        I did read that review.

        How do we know they’ll apply what they’ve learned to every gun they produce? Is that even possible, or will every gun bought from them be a crapshoot with the possibility of having to send it back multiple times while they try to get it right?

        How do we know they’ll adequately test future guns in an attempt to avoid having a turd leave the factory?

        I’m going to be *extremely* skeptical of Cabot until they’ve proved that the vast majority of the time, a gun they produce will function properly the first time.

        Meanwhile, Master Engraver Otto Carver has earned that title; he does beautiful work. Any deficiencies in the gun, past or present, emphatically do not reflect on him.

    2. avatar jonwaynetaylor says:

      To be fair, I did put that gun through a heck of a round and it shot reliably and extremely accurately. I’d carry it any day.

  3. avatar Matt Richardson says:

    Looks good to me. You?

    I’m not a huge fan of engraving, least of all on something as uninteresting and everyday as a 1911…

    That said I am near speechless on the quality. This small bit he has done looks like it was done by a machine, rather than by hand.

    Mr. Carter has a rare gift.

    1. avatar BDub says:

      I think I’m with you, Matt. I love well done engraving as much as the next guy, but for some reason I think part of the attraction of a 1911 is the simple unadulterated utility of it, both functionally and aesthetically. G.I. or die, when it comes to a 1911.

      Now, I would change my tune to get my PC 627 engraved.

  4. avatar jonwaynetaylor says:


  5. avatar Joe R. says:

    Mo pics. please.


  6. avatar doesky2 says:

    I knew they were making MILLIONS off this blog.

    1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

      Some high profile names and events have been pulled under the TTAG umbrella. Business is clearly good.

      Do NOT fault Farago or the rest of the staff for providing a product we (you included) consume, though. There is a market and TTAG is accommodating the demand. Nothing more or less

  7. avatar 2AMexican says:

    I, personally, would never carry a 1911 but I do like the lines and looks on some of them. That engraving work is superb though.

  8. avatar Mk10108 says:

    Supporting your local artist, if I was in a higher tax bracket….

    1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

      What this guy said!

      not my bag, but I am in full support just because what’s been presented so far is gorgeous and I want to see what he does with the finished product.

  9. avatar R.P.H. says:

    When I win the lottery I will be looking up Otto for sure.

  10. avatar LJM says:

    Don’t even want to know how much that costs. No really I don’t. Because it would spur me to try to save money and commission some work on my grandfathers a-5… After I pay off my house and send my kids to college.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I have a feeling that work of the quality produced by Mr. Carter is in the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” pricing tier…

  11. avatar KissMyWookiee says:

    I never get tired of looking at this form of artistry.

    Many guns themselves can be regarded as works of art in their design, but such ornate precision engraving takes things to a whole new level.

    I’m surprised the art snobs do not appreciate such works…. They’re more infatuated with a foul canvas encrusted with bodily fluids.

  12. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I love beautifully engraved firearms. I always have. And in my collection of firearms, none are worthy of being engraved except one, and that one came already engraved from Winchester commemorating John Wayne. Well, maybe my S&W model 41 would look good with some embellishment on it. I suppose it would be nice if it looked as good as it shoots. But no one would appreciate seeing a 1st gen Glock model 17 done up or an AMT backup in .22lr or an Auto Ordnance 1911-A1. My collection is too utilitarian to be made fancy.

  13. avatar PeterK says:

    That is crazy beautiful. Already.

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