Long ago, a large meteorite called the Gibeon burst in the Earth’s atmosphere, showering present day Namibia in Africa with tons of interstellar material. For decades, scientists have used the fragment to study the origins of the universe, but when a 77-pound chunk made its way into the hands of Pennsylvania’s Cabot Guns, the firearms company had something more practical in mind: turn it into a set of fully-functional twin pistols.
Chunk of the Gibeon meteorite used to make the Big Bang Pistol Set.Photo courtesy of Cabot Guns
Cabot, which specializes in limited versions of the iconic Colt 1911, once the standard-issued sidearm for the U.S. Army, decided to call the .45 caliber pistols the Big Bang Pistol Set — an appropriate name considering the Gibeon is estimated to be around 4.5 billion years old. The astronomical price tag seemed like a no-brainer, too — $4.5 million, which makes these heaven-sent hand cannons the most expensive firearms in history.
Photo courtesy of Cabot Guns
Cabot refers to their creation as “an ultimate achievement of American, design, willpower, and can-do spirit,” and it’s hard to argue with that flattering self-assessment. The company managed to take a shapeless piece of space rock once used by African tribespeople to craft primitive daggers and blades, and use X-rays, 3-D modeling, and electron-beam welding to transform it into a pair of beautiful, modern-day precision weapons that, aside from a few small components, are 100% meteorite. Even the trigger was forged in space.
Big Bang Pistol SetPhoto courtesy of Cabot Guns
If you don’t have $4.5 million to spare, well, these pistols aren’t for you. They’re the only ones that exist on Earth (or anywhere else), and there’s a good chance they’ll be the only ones to exist forever and always. But there’s hope, young Jedi: Cabot also used pieces of the Gibeon to make a just-as-impressive tungsten carbide blade, called the Big Bang Knife, which is adorned with a meteorite handle and boasts a (relatively) modest price tag of $10,000.
The Big Bang KnifePhoto courtesy of Cabot Guns
“Experts in the field have previously told me it was not possible to make a knife from tungsten carbide,” Cabot Guns president Rob Bianchin told Task & Purpose. “The most mythical steel knives have a Rockwell hardness of 62 to 64. One Japanese specialist made some at 67. This one is at a HRC of 71. It's the knife of the future, adorned with the oldest possible grips.”
The Big Bang Pistol Set is up for grabs now (so what are you waiting for?), and the Big Bang Knife will be available for purchase later this month. Only five will be sold.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."