This Texas Couple Mixes Business and Pleasure (a.k.a. Firearms) Like No Other

Image courtesy of Christopher and Wendy Bykowski

“We’re not just a retail shop that happens to sell guns and apparel,” says Wendy Bykowski. “This is our lifestyle. We shoot beautiful guns, we wear vintage clothes. It all goes together.”

I’m standing inside Bykowski Tailor & Garb, the downtown Austin shop Wendy co-owns with her combat veteran husband, Christopher. The place looks like a movie set: Gramophones decorate one wall, and an antique Winchester 97 shotgun is mounted on another.

Image courtesy of Christopher and Wendy Bykowski

Vintage-inspired tweed suits, handsome cowboy and prohibition-era hats, leather gun bags, and brass pocket watches are on display. A gold-plated Tommy gun is mounted on the brick wall. For sale near the register is a selection beautifully engraved revolvers and 1911-platform pistols.

Image courtesy of Christopher and Wendy Bykowski

“There are a few other guns too, tucked away and not for sale,” Wendy says and winks.

Clearly, this place isn’t your average menswear store. Christopher and Wendy themselves look like they’ve stepped out of the roaring ‘20s and snuck booze through prohibition, all with a tip toward the Old West – except they’ve designed all of their clothes, shoes, and hats themselves.

photo by Dan Zimmerman for TTAG

Motivated in part by the lack of suitable menswear options for their own wedding, Chris and Wendy started designing gentlemen’s clothing. Over the better part of a decade, they’ve expanded beyond suit design to build a brand that evokes their whole lifestyle, including their love of shooting.

“We’ve got an in-house tailor, a hatter, cobblers,” Wendy says, “and now we have our own FFL.”

photo by Dan Zimmerman

“We’re confident there isn’t any other store in the world like this,” Christopher adds, “because when we wanted it ten years ago, it didn’t exist, and now here we are.”

The Bykowskis finally decided to get licensed to sell firearms to continue sharing their lifestyle. A holstered 1911, or perhaps a derringer in an inside jacket pocket, complements their menswear designs perfectly. They’re also following in the footsteps of Christoper’s late grandfather, who was also a combat veteran, gun dealer, shop owner, and then some, in Detroit.

Image courtesy of Christopher and Wendy Bykowski

“Our clientele ranges from grooms to iconic rock stars,” Chris explains. “They come in, they get the bespoke suit. At that point, why not spend a little more or even just as much and get the gun, too if that’s up your alley. Where else can you do that?”

Image courtesy of Christopher and Wendy Bykowski

Currently, Bykowski Tailor & Garb is running a “Suit & Shoot” program: Gentlemen who buy a two-piece suit or a three-piece tweed suit get a handgun to go along with the togs. The two-piece Suit & Shoot combo gets you a made-to-measure suit and a 9mm P-64. The three-piece combo gets you a Nickel-plated Cimarron 1911 in .45 ACP. They will ship suits anywhere and guns to any FFL, so this is not just for Texans.

Image courtesy of Christopher and Wendy Bykowski

“People also have their guns shipped to us because we’re an FFL,” Wendy adds, “and when they come in to pick up the guns, we’re not exactly what they expect. They stay, peruse and buy a shooting shirt or jacket, and hopefully they spread the word about us.”

Image courtesy of Christopher and Wendy Bykowski

In the next few weeks, the Bykowskis are also launching their VIP Tommy Club.

The Tommy Club Membership consists of a three-piece custom suit, a gold-plated Kahr / Auto Ordnance Tommy gun, a professional portrait of you in your custom suit with your gun to be displayed on the Tommy Club wall in the store and an online gallery, and a 20% lifetime discount on everything at Bykowski Tailor & Garb. An added benefit is an heirloom piece to be passed down for generations to come.

The Bykowskis also host social and musical gatherings at their shop, so especially if you’re local to Austin, follow them on Facebook to get updates. Once again, they’ll serve customers anywhere, not just the Lone Star State, so check out their wares on their website.

The Bykowski design house includes more than what’s on their site, and always at competitive prices – so don’t hesitate to call them up if you don’t immediately see what you’re looking for.

photo by Dan Zimmerman for TTAG

comments

  1. avatar AlanInFL says:

    Hmm, one stop shotgun wedding shop. JK, they remind me of watching Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis.

  2. avatar Cucamonga Jeff says:

    Looks like one classy joint they got there

  3. avatar Nanashi says:

    At least get an SBR on that fake Tommy Gun.

    1. A fake Tommy Gun? Don’t know where you get the from its this same gun- https://shopkahrfirearmsgroup.com/firearms/thompson-t150dtg.asp

      1. avatar lean4wardhereitcomesagain says:

        Thank you for setting nanashi straight, since there are too many like that person: talks a whole lot but never really says anything of value.

        1. avatar joel says:

          I nominate “talks a whole lot but never really says anything of value.” as the quote of the day….

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          “Democrat” is shorter.

      2. avatar Michael Stilinovich says:

        Hey Chris,

        I love what you and Wendy have done with the place. Perhaps one day I’ll be in Austin to stop by and say hello.

        Have a great weekend,
        Mike from Commifornia

      3. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        Chris –

        Can you accommodate an order for a jacket lining that is ‘tactical’? :

        1. Well, I can’t do it all. Its not like it hasn’t crossed my mind though. We do some special hidden pockets and such. Its hard to add things into a suit and still have it look/ fit well and that’s always out main priority when cutting a suit. Maybe one day we will be able to apply tactical details in the clothing/ suits. We are always open to suggestions if it is realistic. For now we need to focus on the bulk of our products and our main focus. We have a pretty robust product line as so it becomes taxing to add new ones frequently. We are always looking for fine people and brands to collaborate with though.

        2. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

          Chris –

          Simply as an FYI, this is thin and light candidate material for such a lining :

          https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/12/foghorn/gear-review-ar500-armor-carbon-nanotube-soft-armor-iiia/

          An 11 X 14 panel weighs about one pound, but in use, it will hurt like a ‘mother’ and will likely break ribs while doing its job…

        3. Nice, I will certainly look into. However reading that it is .75″ thick and that’s very thick for a nice looking fitted suit and most likely somewhat heavy at 1 pound which will likely weigh down the interior structure of the suit thus wearing it out very quickly and it will not look nice. Maybe suitable for stylish heavy leather vest of something more rustic, but i’m open to ideas. I’m not trying to shoot the idea down at all, just thinking how it can be used without ruining the integrity of the fit of the clothing because when it comes down to it, having to dress around your gun is a pain in the behind and anything to make that easier while having it look great is key. I love the idea though!

  4. avatar MyName says:

    A different vibe (1820s rather than 1920s) but similar concept can be found at the Mountain Man in Manitou Springs, CO.

  5. avatar S.Crock says:

    Wow they took the stereotype of Hipsters carrying CZ75s and said that is too mainstream. This really is next level hipster gun owners but I think it’s kinda cool.

    1. avatar Timothy says:

      This statement is confusing. Since when are CZ75s considered hipster? We have very different hipsters where I live.

      1. avatar S.Crock says:

        CZ owners are stereotyped (largely incorrectly) by meme culture. Many Instagram gun pages will post memes showing the typical demographic that carries specific guns. Ex. CZ=hipster, 1911=old person, Desert Eagle=retard, etc.

        1. avatar Timothy says:

          lol, what if someone has all three? I’d be an old, retarded hipster? As a millennial, I can deal with that.

  6. avatar A Brit in TX says:

    Must confuse a lot of the hipsters in Austin.

    “Ooooh, a store selling vintage looking duds.

    Turns head to see display case full of firearms.

    Faints and requires counselling for years”.

    1. avatar Bobski says:

      Yeah, but what about the 1 in 100 that actually considers getting a derringer to stuff into his $100 hat? It’s opening doors in the most friendly way possible, I like it. I might just have to buy myself a suit to show support.

      1. avatar A Brit in TX says:

        Hey, I’m all for it, looks like a very interesting store and I will check it out the next time I’m in Austin (once in a blue moon though!).

        1. avatar Matt(TX) says:

          Me too, I would love to go. Unfortunately i live on the other side of the state.

  7. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Love that fedora he is wearing. As far as the guns go, the closest I would ever get is my light weight Kimber. Plastic frames may not be vintage, but they are lighter. As I have accumulated age and milage, I have come to appreciate light weight guns.

  8. avatar doesky2 says:

    Despite the lovely brown-hued wife I’m sure he’s RAYCISS!

  9. avatar anonymoose says:

    Those nickel 4-screw Smiths have got me all hot under the collar now.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Yeah I was all “pass…pass…pass….wait a minute…”

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Word. And I’m not a fan of nickle. But those Smiths sure look good.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I was not aware Cimarron had a 1911 (or *any* semi!), if that is what is pictured I am seriously impressed, that finish is impressive!

      1. Yes, check them out! They are one of the sexiest and affordable 1911’s on the market and are pretty darn nice to shoot as well. Not a bunch of modern wingdings on them and logos stamped all big or all over the damn thing like many of the modern eyesores have. I’m a classic man and anything classic = timeless for me. I do however wish it was polished stainless steel instead of Nickel. Damn nickel just scratches too easy, but it is pretty if you take care of it and wipe down with a micro fiber rag. I think the personality of the gun you carry should fit you just like the vehicle you drive or clothing you wear. Then again with anything, there are trade offs, but you deal with them and do should
        what you wish.

  10. avatar Jason Picks says:

    When he says there is no store in the world like this he is right. Anything you could imagine or think of that is somewhat similar just sells unstylish, ill fitting and cheap reenacting vintage style clothing and some western guns like that mountain Man. I’ve been to Bykowski Tailor and its like none other. The quality and style is like nowhere else. They also do gun engraving, high-end custom suits, custom hats and are actually clothing designers not to mention you can get any style whether its 1880’s, 1920’s or modern. That is what truly sets themselves apart from any other stores that might pass from being int he vein of this. Bykowski’s is truly authentic. It makes me mad when people take something cool and try to downplay it or discredit it when they know nothing

  11. avatar jwtaylor says:

    I wear a suit, or at least slack and a sports jacket, at least 4 days a week. Most of the people I work with are wearing suits in the 2k range and well, well above. I almost exclusively by second hand, and then have it tailored. The tailoring makes all the difference in the world. People regularly compliment me on suits that cost under $400, including the alterations.
    That said, I’ve been spending too much time in DC, and I’m wanting some suits that look a little closer to the Texas banker/cattleman/ranger captains of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Less Victorian, more Edwardian, made with boots and a gun in mind.
    Perhaps this is the store to have them made.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I’m a great believer in shopping used. I got a house that’s paid for and money in the bank. Being thrifty pays.

      What I would like to have is the type of suit that Kurt Russel wore in Tombstone. I don’t know if it’s period correct or not but I like it.

  12. avatar rt66paul says:

    A 9MM p-64? Call it a Mak round or a 9×18 P-64, but 9MM means 9MM Luger here in the states. If they have found a way to make a 9MM luger round load and fire in a P-64, I want one.

  13. avatar Jason Picks says:

    Also whats all the hipster talk? I don’t even think you people know what a hipster is anymore. For some reason a guy has a beard and dresses unlike most people and you just call him a hipster. So I guess now a hipster is anyone that doesn’t look like a basic bro douchebag with ball cap, jeans and Izod fleece ???

  14. avatar KG Maiden says:

    I’m surprised that the lefty progressive hacks that rule Austin, lets these good folks stay open.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Lefty progressive hacks notwithstanding, Austin is still in Texas. These folks will be a thorn in the side of Austin progressives just as long as they can stay profitable, and leftys can KMA.

      1. Keep in mind, not all lefties hate guns : ) I think its important for both sides to keep an open mind and everyone will get along.

        1. avatar Matt(TX) says:

          If you are a lefty and vote democrat, you hate guns. Period. The party platform is socialism.

  15. avatar Michael says:

    God bless Texas! I wasn’t born there, but I got there just as soon as I could.

  16. avatar Denim Dude says:

    They’re staying true to “Keep Austin Weird”, but these folk sure aren’t a part of Austin’s ubiquitous liberals!

    I might have a reason to visit there, now.

  17. avatar Don Nelson says:

    BRAVO! Inspired idea, well executed. I’ll be visiting eventually.

  18. avatar Toni says:

    looks nice, would be a bit out of my price range at this stage though I am guessing.

  19. avatar Dave says:

    It’s great! Would love to visit

  20. avatar Ing says:

    I don’t often get beard envy but I have it now. Mr. Bykowski might have just displaced Kirk Windstein as my beard idol.

    That store looks aweseome. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to afford anything in it, but I’d almost be willing to drive the 2100 miles to Texas just to breathe the air in there.

  21. avatar Mike Dexter's a GOD says:

    Beyond cool.

    Good for them.

  22. avatar Enuf Istoomuch says:

    The beard is weird, think I’d shop someplace else.

    However, best wishes in their business, hope they are a big success.

    1. No, you got is all wrong. Your comment is is weird and if you would not shop in my store just because I have a beard that is beyond weird. Further to end it on best wishes??? Very confusing. Anyhow thanks for the best wishes?

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