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I first encountered Otto Carter’s work at Sportsman’s Finest; a Bond Arms derringer with an Aztec motif. I could hear Bones’ voice, clear as a bell: it’s gun engraving Jim, but not as we know it.

Unlike traditional gun engraving, Otto used the entire gun as a blank canvas, filling it with intricate patterns that both complemented each other and blended into a seamless whole. A truly magnificent work of art.

I had just returned from a visit to Cabot Guns’ new facility in Indiana. It didn’t take much to convince CEO Rob Bianchin to donate one of his 1911’s to Otto for a project gun.

Christened Pandemonium (click here for more pics), Mr. Carter’s full-size firearm took its inspiration from the English Aesthetic Movement. Pandemonium once again demonstrated the Texas master engraver’s fastidious craftsmanship and artistic vision. It sold within days.

Here’s Otto’s recently completed second pistol for Cabot: the Moorish inspired Sacromonte.

Our man Dan took some pictures of the Sacromonte against my neighbor’s Porsche GT2 that really make the gold inlay pop (click here to view). These images are from Cabot’s official gallery. That gun sold immediately, too.

I grew up in an artistic household. My father earned a Textile Engineering degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. He stayed close to the school, eventually joining their Board of Directors.

As my father’s factory expanded and thrived, my mother became a patron of the arts, a significant collector of early American art and furniture, then contemporary crafts.

In my youth, our house was filled with RISD and Brown University artists; men and women like glass-blower Dale Chihuly. They were family friends, my father’s poker buddies and a large influence on both my “eye” and my aspirations. (Not to mention the effect of being dragged to the world’s best art museums.)

When I met Otto I knew he was a true artist. And I knew what I had to do. And I’ve done it: given him a platform to expand his talent and reputation. But I also knew I had to push him. Well, liberate him.

Otto and I discussed his next project(s). We determined that they should go beyond “mere” decoration, into the realm of fine art. The drawing above is a detail from his forthcoming “Angels and Demons” Cabot 1911.

The top part of the gun will represent Heaven. The lower part, Hell. There will be some engraved words on the gun, which we’ll leave for another day. Suffice it to say, Otto Carter’s artistic vision will be fully realized. And take the art of gun engraving to the next level.

It’s my privilege and honor to work with Mr. Carter, combining my love of art with my love of firearms, to help the engraver blaze a trail for others to follow. Watch this space.

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  1. As I’ve said before, I admire the hell out of his skill, but the end result just doesn’t look good to my eyes. There’s too much going on, too many conflicting lines. It looks like it was created by someone with absolutely incredible skill but the aesthetic sense of a bored kid stuck in 9th-grade study hall. Sometimes less is more, and there isn’t a square millimeter of “less” on these guns.

  2. I know, opinions are like @ssholes, butt here’s my take on engraved guns:

    “Something, something, pimp at a New Orleans whore house, something, something.”

    • I’m right outside of New Orleans, something something call me a pimp, I can’t afford it but I would lock it up and admire it when friends come over for barbecue? Seriously, he had me at Chihuly

  3. The two finished 1911 examples don’t spark me, but I love what he did with that Bond Derringer and am really interested in seeing the latest work when it is finished. Amazing talent!

  4. “The drawing above is a detail from his forthcoming “Angels and Demons” Cabot 1911.”

    Mr.Carter is highly talented. That being said –

    I see that and the only thing that jumps out at me is…

    WTF? Holocaust art on a 1911?

  5. Mr. Carter has incredible skill. Thank you for helping to bring it out. It’s so so amazing.

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