Damascus Steel Custom 1911s

Folding and forging hot steel onto itself to remove impurities 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 custom 1911s.

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 sever 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. The tools built from this steel match the legacy of eons past for the discerning among us today, damascus steel custom 1911s, 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 to build unparalleled custom 1911s, with each type of steel considered the best of the best in respect to Damascus in the world.

Types of Damascus Steel Used to Make Custom 1911s

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 allowing us to regularly offer custom 1911s utilizing this material.

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.  Due to the added complexity in making this material it is typically used on Limited Edition Pistols such as the examples below.

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, just as each Cabot Custom 1911 is, and they are therefore reserved for our limited edition and One of a Kind Cabot 1911’s.

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.  These collaborations have produced some of the most unique, artisan Damascus steel custom 1911’s ever brought to life.

Meteorite Infused Billet
Meteorite Infused Billet
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How we Make a Damascus Steel Custom 1911

Creating a Damascus steel custom 1911 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. To produce the finest of steels and the finest of custom 1911 pistols, one must be as wary as Indiana Jones trapped in the Well of Souls, with a torch rapidly burning out.

 All Cabot custom 1911s 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 1911s.  Masterpieces such as our Apocalypse and Serenity Damascus 1911 pistols show the range in aesthetics that can be produced with a damascus slide alone.

Custom 1911s with Damascus Steel Slides Starting at $7,500

Custom 1911s with Artisan Damascus Steel Slides Starting at $25,000

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. Every wave in the metal tells the story of the hand in glove partnership between the artisan, the material, and Cabot to bring an indescribably unique damascus steel 1911 to life, and ultimately to the owner.

Damascus Steel 1911 Slides & Frames

Adding a Damascus 1911 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 Damascus steel 1911 frame billet creates a very elite opportunity. All of the challenges of building a slide are now exponentially combined with the complexities of fabricating a damascus 1911 frame, all leading to an even more thrilling end result.

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

Full Damascus Pistols (Slides, Frames & Small Parts)

Full Damascus custom 1911 pistols, with slide, frame, and small parts is the true pinnacle of Damascus creation. The complexities of working with Damascus infiltrate every part. Every component must be built and finished with extreme attention to every detail.

Full Damascus 1911 Pistols Starting at $90,000

Cabot Custom 1911 Parts

Artisan Forged Damascus Steel Custom 1911s

One of the things we are most proud of are the true craftsman that we have partnered with to bring unbelievably custom 1911’s together. These artisans have spent their lives forging their processes of fabrication, and their stories are ones we are honored to share. A Cabot 1911 has always been more than just a pistol, but they are made even more so by the true artists that we are humbled to work with. In our Potrait of a Craftsman series, you can join us as we beautifully capture and celebrate the processes of these artisans.

Robert Eggerling – Mosaic Damascus Pioneer

Mosaic Damascus steel is a type of Damascus steel that is characterized by a pattern of small, geometric shapes, often arranged in a mosaic-like pattern. The pattern is created by using different types of steel with contrasting colors or patterns, which are then layered and forged together. The resulting steel has a unique, decorative pattern that is highly prized by knife and tool makers, as well as by collectors. The process of making Mosaic Damascus steel is more complex than traditional Damascus steel, and it requires a high level of skill and expertise to produce. 

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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