Introducing Dragon Fire - Redefining Art and Firearms
Written by Guest Contributor,
in Section Gun Reviews
A little over a year ago, we set out to push boundaries (yet again) and create a 1911 unlike any before—a fully functional .45 ACP sculpted masterpiece, which resides within an oil painting. This past weekend we proudly debuted this new work of shootable art at the Firearms Engravers Guild of America (FEGA) Annual Convention in Las Vegas. Today, it is with great pleasure that we share it with you.
A unique project, both in the manner of the pistol’s design as well as its integration into an actual framed work of art, this groundbreaking fusion of form and function ensures the boundaries of 1911 craftsmanship will never be the same again. Dragon Fire is a collaboration with Master Engraver and painter Lee Griffiths. “Let’s break all the rules,” I said to Lee at the onset of the project and that is exactly what we did.
Dragon Fire has been awarded FEGA’s 2020 Award for Artistic Uniqueness in Engraving Design. Founder and Historian of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America (as well as the author of American Engravers, American Engravers-The 21st), C. Roger Bleile, states, “In over 40 years as an engraver and historian of the art, I have never encountered a similar example of the melding of fine art painting and the decorative art of gun engraving. From a technical perspective, Lee’s skill sets, as both a painter and engraver, are on the highest level. Yet skill alone is insufficient for a project like the Dragon Fire Pistol.”
One of a Kind Engraved 1911
Fine art and firearms collide in the exploration of terror as manifested through the symbol of the dragon.
Deep within the subconscious of mankind resides the dragon. This primordial creature is an imagistic representation of all predators combined. Early man no doubt lived in constant fear of becoming prey to that which lurks beyond the known… and unknown.
Dragons. At once terrifying and destructive are also opportunists, ancient and wise. Centuries of myth and legend surround us with mystery yet impel us toward these primeval predators. Complex and ambivalent, dragons arouse a host of emotions: fear, awe, lust, envy… this is what drives the hero forward to battle Leviathan. The pinnacle of dragon myth celebrates him who overcomes the beast’s nearly unbridled power to become the hero.
Dragon Fire features the inestimable multi-media craftsmanship of FEGA Master Lee Griffiths, whose skills elevate the peak of 1911 engineering, blending his own preternatural talent with Cabot’s impeccable mechanical design and performance to create a fully functional .45 ACP sculpted masterpiece, which resides within an oil painting.
“Break all the rules,” Cabot Founder Rob Bianchin said to Master Artist Lee Griffith at the inception of this project. The Dragon Fire features a stunning level of handcrafted detail on every single component, from the tendril-adorned grips, which required individual and deliberate strokes to create, to the ruby front sight cradled in a golden circlet. To bring this mythical creature to life, Griffiths crafted completely new tools in order to create many of the unique textures, patterns, colors, and hues that adorn the Dragon Fire.
A close examination of the frame and slide reveals a staggering level of artistry. Mesmeric half-carat black diamond dragon eyes surrounded by rubies were set by Master Bench Jeweler Ron Finch. Serpentine scales entwined along the slide and frame until they meet the gleaming fangs of the Dragon Fire. Griffiths hand crafted the dragon’s teeth and veined gold leaf is applied around the eyes and in the “mouth” of the beast, which represents both the smoldering furnace within and the deadly eruption of dragon’s fire from its fanged muzzle.
Noted German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “The most spiritual men, as the strongest, find their happiness where others would find their destruction: in the labyrinth, in hardness against themselves and others….” The fortunate hero who prevails to capture this fiery serpent will be able to display their prize on Griffiths’ complimentary framed oil painting.
The Dragon Fire 1911 pistol is held in place by hidden magnets and blends seamlessly into Griffiths’ barren labyrinth of jagged mountains; volcanic armor cradling an isolated castle keep besieged by searing dragon fire. With its truly one-of-a-kind meld of art and engineering, Cabot Guns’ Dragon Fire 1911 pistol perfectly captures the myth and mystery of dragon lore. Will you be the hero who tames this legendary and beautiful beast?