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[SHOT 2018] Jesse James Firearms: Once Again Challenging Status Quo

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At a time when some manufacturers are creating cheaper “throw-away” pistols and rifles, one company happily creates a 1911 with an $85,000 pricetag.

When some “new” firearms are churned out on a seemingly weekly basis, one company takes a full year to make ONE gun. Not a full line of pistols. Just the one.

While other manufacturers absolutely raked the aforementioned company over the coals, swearing that it was doomed to fail before it even started, that same company laughed in the face of all of their critics…and laughed all the way to the bank, flipping them birds along the way.

Of course, I’m talking about Jesse James Firearms Unlimited (JJFU).

Disclaimer – I have been a fan of Jesse James’ work since before Indian Larry (RIP) made his first appearance on the Discovery Channel in 1998. You will forgive me if I veer slightly into ‘fangirl’ mode in the paragraphs to come.

In fact, it’d be so easy to write an entire article solely on the business acumen and ‘FU’ attitude of the man behind the guns…

…if the guns weren’t so friggin’ cool in their own right!

Ain’t It Cool?

I asked Mike Chavez (Machinist at JJFU) about the SBR displayed on the wall (headlined on this article).

“That pistol grip didn’t even exist before about 3am this past Thursday” he said. “The handguard we made on Friday night.”

Chavez went on to say that one thing he enjoys about working for JJFU is the absence of a long and crazy approval process to try something new.

“We just make it cool. That’s the criteria. If it’s not cool then we don’t make it.” 

This Ain’t ‘Cup Ramen Gunsmithing’

Imagine dedicating two full years of your life to give birth to 2 firearms.

Can’t imagine it? Maybe that’s part of the problem in our microwave society.

Everyone wants it ‘now’ and are failing to appreciate the craftsmanship and abilities needed to create a work of that caliber (no pun intended).

But at the end of the day, I believe that the craftsmanship is just as important (if not more so) to JJFU as the finished product. That much is evident from the tools Jesse and his crew take pride in using (the English hammer, for example).

What’s Next for JJFU?

I asked Jesse what he’d do next, now that he’s at the top of his game in the firearms business.

Jesse replied, “We look at all of the guns we made and thought, ‘why do we have to start with a 1911 or AR as the base for each one? We could make something way cooler completely from scratch’.”

Will that be a bolt action?

Will they go ‘old school’ revolver with a new flare?

Will they  go full Samuel Colt or John Moses Browning and give the firearms industry something we’ve never seen before?

Who knows what JJFU will come up with next? One thing’s for sure, they’ll do it in their own time, their own way, and it’ll be spectacular – or they wouldn’t make it.

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