Damascus Steel 1911 Pistols

Folding and forging hot steel onto itself to remove impurities and and create a better material started in the Near East and is better known as Damascus steel.  The art of forming weapons from this material dates back to the 1st century, and Cabot Guns is known to be the preeminent purveyor of Damascus Steel 1911’s.

Not all Damascus Steel is identical, and our methods of using it on our Custom 1911s are as varied as the patterns within the steel itself.

What is Damascus Steel?

Damascus Steel is the metal of kings, royalty, and warriors. Prized for thousands of years for its mythical beauty and magical properties. Damascus Steel is strong and hard yet ductile and flexible earning it the reputation of the sword that can severe other lesser swords and gun barrels.  Mythological history is steeped with tales of the magical valor spurred by the legend of Damascus swords and weapons. Cabot Damascus is no less magical as we painstakingly create precision pistols from metals fused in a Masters forge. Fit for a King.

Beyond its lore, the science of Damascus starts with multiple types of steel and metals in the form of plates, bars, rods, chips, powders, or chunks that are stacked or assembled into a billet shaped mass. The mass is “forge welded” into a solid billet by heating it in a forge and hammering it into the desired shape and condensing it until the layers have fused solid. The billet is again heated and manipulated by folding it, bending it, twisting it, or cutting and restacking it. The creativity in the manipulation is the artistry of the process and is limited only by the imagination of the blacksmith.  

Jason Morrissey Forging a Damascus Steel Billet
Empire Damascus Set

The diversity of the metal layers is what makes Damascus so special.  Some layers offer hardness, while other layers offer the flexibility that protects the hard layers from shattering; a shock absorber of sorts. The combination of properties is science, but the result is certainly magical. Conversely, it is the layers and their varied properties that make Damascus maddeningly difficult to work with in the world of high tolerance machining.  

Cabot employs a variety of Damascus Steels, each is considered the best of the best as far as Damascus in the world.  

Types of Damascus Steel Used by Cabot

Standardized Damascus Steel.  These Damascus Steel variants are constructed from stainless steel and are subject to very strict protocols in the weld-forging process with specialized hydraulic presses. The result is a highly reliable Damascus Steel with repeatable and predictable patterns and properties.  

Elite small heat Damascus Steel.  Small ‘heats’ (batches) of stainless steel Damascus are produced by weld-forged stainless steel plates.  The techniques produce small batches of billets that are of exceptional reliability with patterns that are themed and very organic in nature.

Zebra Damascus

Artisan Forged Damascus Steel.  Forged at the hand of a Master blacksmith in an artisan forge, these billets shatter the divide between metallurgy and artistry.  Each blacksmith has a signature style that will clue the discerning eye as to whose hand was responsible for the billet. These Damascus steels use a wide variety of carbon steels and other alloyed metals as dictated by the desired pattern. Each billet is as unique as a fingerprint.


Commissioned Artisan Forged Damascus.   Taking Damascus artistry to the stratosphere Cabot will collaborate with a Master Artisan to develop a Damascus with a specific theme, pattern, or material. The incorporation of meteorite or historical metals can create the absolute pinnacle of firearm materials.

Meteorite Infused Billet
Meteorite Infused Billet

How we Make a Damascus Gun

Creating a Damascus pistol is just like a standard steel pistol, except the CNC machines are inhabited by a nest of angry pit-vipers and a pack of wolves is roaming in the shop. This sounds dramatic, but the reality is that when working with Damascus steels every move must be slow, deliberate, and with a watchful eye for the next thing that will sneak up and bite you.  All Cabot pistols are machined to the same exacting standards and high tolerances for which Cabot is known. Damascus takes more cutter, more time, slower speeds, and constant attention. Accomplishing our standards on billet of one-of-one elite Damascus takes nerves of steel. Damascus can multiply any and every effort by a factor of five.

Damascus Steel Slides

The slide is the natural and logical piece of the pistol to build out of Damascus mostly because the size and shape of billet is something that is readily workable by a blacksmith.  Thus it is the first foray into the magical world of Damascus firearms and a natural place to start when incorporating it into our many Better Than Custom, Limited Edition, and One of a Kind 1911’s.

1911’s with Damascus Steel Slides Starting at $6,000

1911’s with Artisan Damascus Steel Slides Starting at $15,000

Our process to take a raw billet of Damascus includes CNC machining to high tolerances, grinding, EDM, and full inspections. Beyond that, the process requires a combination of polishing, acid etching, basic compound treatment, protection of control surfaces, hand blending, coatings, fitting, and inspections.   Each and every process has taken years of development and refinement and the process can vary for each type of Damascus we use.  

Working with Damascus is a tremendous amount of work, but the results are stunning and truly create an organic connection from the material to us, and ultimately to the owner.  

Damascus Steel Slides & Frames

Adding a Damascus frame is a monumental step.  Most blacksmiths cannot build a billet large enough to build a frame.  Limitations of the size of forges, presses, and hammers prevent most from even considering such an undertaking.   So the mere presence of a frame billet creates a very elite opportunity. All of the challenges of building a slide are now layered over the frame and then some.

Damascus Steel Slide and Frame 1911’s Starting at $35,000

Full Damascus Pistols (Slides, Frames & Small Parts)

Full Damascus, with slide, frame, and small parts is the true pinnacle of Damascus creation.   The complexities of working with Damascus infiltrate every part. Every part must be built and finished with extreme attention to every detail.  

Full Damascus Pistols Starting at $70,000

Cabot Custom 1911 Parts

We are here to turn your dream 1911 into a reality.  Fill out the form below to start your Custom Damascus Cabot 1911.

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