Sunday, May 1, 2011

Local Gun Maker Introduces High-end Pistol

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pennsylvania gained fame more than two centuries ago for producing some of the finest, most accurate longrifles in the world, the misnamed "Kentucky" rifle.

Could it next be known for being home to some of the best pistols around?

Perhaps, if a Butler County manufacturer — the only gun maker in Pennsylvania — succeeds. Cabot Guns will officially launch a line of four high-end, 1911-style sidearms in January at the Las Vegas-based SHOT Show, the shooting industry's annual convention.

But shooters will get a sneak peak at the guns starting today, at Cabot's booth - No. 3508 — at the National Rifle Association's gun show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The company's website,, goes live today, too.

All of the company's pistols are made by Penn United Technologies Inc. in Cabot. The manufacturer has ties to the defense, oil and gas and electronic technology industries, said Cabot president Robert Bianchin.

In fact, it's that background which sets the company apart. Penn United is making guns so fine that the parts from one gun can be interchanged with the parts from another, something that's never been possible before, Bianchin said.

"We build them where the parts are identical, clones every time. The tolerances are 0.001 inches all the time, every time," he said.

"As an example, if you took a human hair and split it three times, then split it again 10 times, that's what we're working with. That's why we believe this is the highest quality 1911 ever produced."

It might need to be if the company is to succeed.

The 1911 is a single action, semi-automatic, recoil-operated .45-caliber gun. Created by legendary gun maker John Browning, it's called the 1911 because that's the year it was adopted as the official sidearm of the American military. It remained in service from World War I through the mid-1980s.

They remain the most popular style of handgun with recreational and competitive pistol shooters, said Bruce Piendl, general manager of Anthony Arms and Accessories in West Mifflin.

"The way people talk about Corvettes and Harley Davidsons, that's how they talk about 1911s," he said.

But the competition for that market is intense. Virtually every major gun manufacturer produces a 1911, he said.

"So there are tons of 1911s out there," Piendl said.

That's OK, Bianchin said. Cabot Guns' 1911 are intended to satisfy a specific niche in that market. The quality of their manufacture — plus aesthetic features like grips made from Sonoran desert ironwood — make them the "Ferrari of the 1911 pistols."

The price reflects that, too. They will average $4,500 each, with some as expensive as $4,950.

"We weren't looking to save money anywhere. They're very expensive to make," Bianchin said. "So they aren't for everyone. But for connoisseurs, collectors, competitive shooters, people who expect top-of-the-line quality, I think they're going to be very impressed."

The company has bigger plans, too. Over the next 12 to 24 months, it plans to produce additional sidearms, including concealed carry and women's versions. It may develop factory tours and a museum of sorts to turn its facility into a destination for gun owners, too.

"We think Cabot Guns has the potential to become a major and enduring brand in the next five to 10 years," Bianchin said.

Read more: Local gun maker introduces high-end pistol - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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