By Marc Kelley
Syndicated by: Montana News
Many of us are attracted to unique firearms, some of us like to shoot them, some of us like to collect them and all of us like to learn about them. This is the true story, of how American ingenuity, vision and dedication to the "can do" attitude; brought about, what just may be, the most unique set of 1911 pistols ever produced.
Some time during the prehistoric period, the term used to describe the time which occurred roughly 3.3 million years ago, a large chunk of meteorite fell to earth, in South West, Africa, in the region we call Namibia, nearest to the town of Gibeon. Fragments of the meteorite were disbursed in what is known as a strewn field, and covered an area approximately 171 miles long, by 62 miles wide. While it is impossible to know exactly when this meteorite struck earth, the historical record indicates, it was first discovered by the Kalahari Desert tribesmen, who used the unique rock, to form both weapons and tools.
In 1836, an English Sea Captain named J.E. Alexander, located and collected samples of the strange rock and sent them to London for analysis, by the English polymath, John Herschel. Herschel determined the rock was indeed of extraterrestrial origin, based upon its chemical make-up. The rock was found to be made up of an iron-nickel alloy and also contained both cobalt and phosphorus. As a result of extreme heat and pressure, the long nickel-iron components, form a crystalline structure, we know as the Widmanstatten Pattern, which cannot be reproduced here on earth.
Between 1911 and 1913, thirty-three fragments of the meteorite, now known as the Gibeon Meteorite, were collected. The fragments ranging in size from 430 and 1,116 lbs, were taken to a Namibian child's playground, known as Zoo Park, where they were displayed in a single heap. The fragments remained on public display until 1975, when they were removed and secured in the Alte Feste, an old Namibian fortress and museum in downtown Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. In 1950, meteorite fragments were deemed a National Namibian Monument; and as such, were protected and could not be legally removed from where they had been found.
However, using government approved vendors, pieces of the Gibeon meteorite can be legally purchased and are valued between $ 85.00- $ 90.00 per ounce. Here, is where our story truly begins, as an idea of creating a modern day weapon would be conceived. In 2011, Robert Bianchin, a true Patriot and believer in the American dream, founded a company in Cabot, Pennsylvania, he called simply, Cabot Gun. Believing the U.S. is home to the best design talent and craftsmen on earth, Bianchin began a journey, to produce a more perfect 1911, promising "100% of our parts are sourced, machined, manufactured, assembled and finished within these United States. The people who build them and their parts, are true blooded American-dreamers, stemming from all walks of life and regions of the globe, united here under stars and stripes, to craft the finest in heirloom-quality shootable art."
In 2015, Bianchin and Cabot Guns, purchased a seventy-seven pound chunk of the Gibeon Meteorite, and began the arduous task of developing a process, by which they could produce a firearm. This was not to be simply a fancy 1911, but rather a mirror image set of right and left handed pistols, to be known as the "Big Bang Pistol Set."
Many firearm designers and engineers have chosen exotic and rare materials to adorn their designs, but never before had anyone considered, much less attempted to produce a firearm entirely from such a distinct and coveted material. With the exception of the National Match barrels, 100% of the pistols components are composed of Gibeon meteorite. The pistols are exact copies of one another, yet each is distinctly different from the other. Utilizing what is called "bark", the outer surface of the meteorite, was chosen to adorn numerous surfaces on each pistol. The leading edge of the triggers and portions of the grips both utilize this "bark", giving each of the pistols, distinct, unique and readily identifiable aesthetic. The technique of acid etching, is a process which has long been used to bring out the patterns in damascus steel. By acid etching the meteorite, the distinctive Widmanstatten Pattern emerges; again, providing identical finishes which are distinctly different. Even the serial numbers chosen for this magnificent set of pistols, reflects the forward thinking of Cabots design team. The pistols are individualized to reflect the GPS coordinates where the Gibeon meteor came to rest on our planet.
The Big Bang Pistol set has been rumored to be offered for sale and placed at auction, with an expected sales price in the vicinity of 4.5 million dollars. If the pair does indeed bring the expected sales price, they will become the most expensive firearms to ever be sold at auction, surpassing George Washington's saddle pistols and as unique, as the derringer used by John Wilkes Booth, to assassinate, President Abraham Lincoln.