New: Cabot Guns 80th Anniversary D-Day Tribute Pistols

Cabot Guns’ new 80th Anniversary D-Day Tribute pistols honor the sacrifice of U.S. D-Day heroes and are forged with metal incorporating smelted sand gathered from Omaha and Utah Beaches.

by
posted on June 5, 2024
Cabot D Daytributepistol 1
Cabot Guns’ 80th Anniversary D-Day Tribute pistols not only used sand gathered from the beaches at Normandy, the company also collected bits and pieces of metal carried into battle by U.S. heroes to forge the unique materiel used to make the pistols.
Photo courtesy of Cabot Guns

Cabot Guns recently announced new 80th Anniversary D-Day Tribute pistols recognizing the incredible sacrifices, bravery and determination of American World War II heroes at Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Both D-Day Tribute pistols are full-size classic government-style 1911s chambered in .45 ACP. Each pistol features Damascus steel slides, grips and triggers finished using traditional bluing techniques.

D-Day Tribute Pistols
The Cabot Guns 80th Anniversary D-Day Tribute pistols were built with metal made from smelted sand from Omaha and Utah beaches, along with assorted metal artifacts from D-Day. The team forged these materials into metal bars using 100-year-old forging hammers used by American workers during World War II.

 

Serial number “D-Day1944” sports a relic finish to honor the historic pieces used in its creation, while serial number “6-JUNE-1944” displays contrast between dark and light through a historic oxidation process.

In a June 12, 1944, report from Normandy, American war correspondent Ernie Pyle described the Allied invasion as “a pure miracle.” The story of Cabot Guns’ D-Day Tribute Pistols begins with the sand from Omaha and Utah beaches. Cabot Guns founder Rob Bianchin met with renowned blacksmith and Vietnam War veteran Ray Rybar in 2023. With the 80th anniversary of D-Day approaching, Rybar suggested using iron ore-rich sand from Normandy’s beaches to create steel, incorporating recovered D-Day metals to forge Damascus steel with legible words and iconography—a rare and complex blacksmithing skill.

This collaboration led to the creation of the Cabot Guns D-Day Tribute pistols, honoring the joint military operation in World War II where 156,000 American and Allied forces launched the largest amphibious assault in history on the beaches of Normandy. Among them was Army Sgt. John Galla of the 115th Rifle Company, 29th Division—Ray Rybar’s uncle—who landed at Omaha Beach.

After Cabot Guns’ initial discussion with Rybar, it took nearly a year to create the D-Day Tribute pistols. This project underscores the importance of remembering America's achievements through sacrifice, courage and collective effort. George Santayana warned, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Honoring our past inspires hope and unity, reminding us of what we can achieve together.

D-Day Tribute Pistol & Case
The Cabot Guns D-Day Tribute pistol’s custom mahogany case has metal plaques with maps and images. The interior of the case is inscribed with the names of 24 U.S. and Allied divisions that participated in D-Day, plus an invasion map of the five Normandy beaches stormed by Allied troops. In addition, there are copies of the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution and Bill of Rights.

 

According to Cabot Guns, the project was “a complex undertaking that required a team of experts to smelt and forge the unique materials.” The smelting process began at Kilroy’s Workshop in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ray Rybar transformed sand from Omaha and Utah Beaches into usable iron ore and steel, using century-old hammers that contributed to the war effort in 1944. The steel was then forged into Damascus steel with 49 to 70 layers, featuring the words: “ALL GAVE SOME,” “SOME GAVE ALL,” “6 JUNE 1944 D-DAY,” “US PARATROOPER” and “RANGER.”

One of the project’s most challenging aspects was creating legible words and icons within the steel. These meaningful inscriptions are an elemental part of the steel itself, not simply engravings. The machining process required precise calculation to align the writing and iconography.

The pistols are housed in custom cases crafted by retired Navy SEAL Jimmy Hintzke and his team at Valhalla’s Forge in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The cases include metal plaques with invasion maps and images, and the interior is inscribed with the names of the 24 U.S. and Allied divisions that participated in the D-Day invasion. A presentation tray for the pistol features insignia of the U.S. Paratrooper and Ranger regiments, and a pocket includes booklets of the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States and The Bill of Rights.

Only one D-Day Tribute pistol will be sold, with all proceeds going to veteran charities, while Cabot Guns will retain the other for future display. The company is dedicating these pistols to the brave men and women who served, ensuring that we never forget their bravery and sacrifice.

Learn more at cabotguns.com.

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