A Special Pistol: Tyler Gun Works Branded 1911


The ram horn stocks accent the project exuding a rugged yet natural beauty to the gun.

“Trust your neighbor … but brand your cattle,” were words to live by during the days of the old west. Cattle rustling was a severe offense, and branding was one way of deterring it. Even today, free-range cattle are at risk, and branding helps prevent it by identifying cattle with a registered mark.

It doesn’t get any better than this! The blending of a chrome finished engraved
gun with nitre blued accessories and ram horn stocks honoring the cattle/beef industry.

Branding History

The practice of branding goes clear back to the Middle Ages when cattle were marked as belonging to specific owners throughout Europe. It was particularly prevalent in Spain, a country famous for its blue-blooded bulls and free-grazing cattle. The practice was carried on by Spanish conquistadors when they crossed the Atlantic to the growing colonies of the New World.

Early vaqueros (cowboys) of New Spain, later called Mexico, continued the ancient Spanish tradition of firebrands, marking cattle according to the owner. In Texas, Anglo and Tejano cultures were in constant contact, sometimes leading to conflict, over cattle ownership. American cowboys quickly adopted the practice as well.

Brands associated with different ranches became so numerous it was common practice for ranchers to carry reference books listing the registered brands. This made separating cattle easier during roundups while avoiding conflicts when shared grazing grounds were used among ranchers.

Today, brand registration and inspection are still written as law in many western states. It’s obvious recognizing cattle brands have a long and continued history of practicality and tradition. Today, when someone says they have “many irons in the fire,” meaning they’re busy, it directly references numerous branding irons being heated for branding.

Cattle Brand Guns

Cattle brand guns reportedly originated during the 1930s by Texas engraver Cecil Coe “Cole” Agee. Cole also engraved more commonly seen scrollwork patterns, but it was his unique West Texas cattle brand engraving that drew the attention of lawmen, western movie stars and collectors. Due to their scarcity, they are highly desirable collectibles today. It’s unknown how many cattle brand Colts Agee engraved — estimates go as low as 15 to as many as 50 — as he rarely signed his work. Cattle brands proudly portray a flavor of the Old West like no other.

The Branded 1911 comes with a custom-made walnut case with red velvet lining. A case-colored spur rowel is also included.

A Revival

Following this long-standing but rarely seen tradition, Bobby Tyler of Tyler Gun Works decided it was time to resurrect the time-honored custom of the Old West with a limited run of cattle brand Colt 1911s.

Bobby states, “It’s the farmers and ranchers who feed the world. This project is an excellent way of paying respect to those paving the way. Beef production is a way of life. The cattle brand is more than a way of marking cattle; it represents a family and what they do! We looked at this project differently from other projects because of our respect and appreciation for cattle ranchers.

“We decided to take a serious yet artistic approach to this platform. Our biggest concern was to blend in actual scroll and art, instead of just punching the background, making things look proportional.”

There’s A Difference

There are many different factors with Tyler’s cattle brand project that makes it stand alone from previous cattle brand guns. First off, you can have your family brand added to the gun, building a family heirloom for future generations to appreciate in the process. There will only be 50 of these guns made. They can be built with the original design or a customer’s brand. They come in a hand-fitted walnut case with a red interior. Also included is a case-colored spur rowel, with its own compartment in the case. The spur rowel represents the many miles of riding in the saddle, pushing cattle from field to market while sleeping under the stars.

Traditional scroll work is used besidess the famous brands of the King Ranch, 44 Ranch and JR Ranch.

The Gun

The gun chosen for the project is a Colt Series 70 1911. It will be hand engraved by Ricky Sharp. The complete gun will be hard chromed, making the finish as tough as the men who live the life of the brands. Screws, hammer, grip and thumb safety, slide lock, magazine release and accessories will be nitre blued, contrasting beautifully with the hard chrome finish.

Grips are ram horn. They add natural warmth and ruggedness, perfectly representing the hard lifestyle ranchers endure. Although challenging, these families feel privileged to be surrounded by nature’s beauty every day.

Some of the famous brands included on the gun are the 6666, mentioned on the popular cable show Yellowstone. Yes, it is a real ranch with a long history. The King Ranch, the largest ranch in the U.S., YO Ranch, Rocking Chair Ranch, Diamond, Triple D, JM Ranch and Bar 7 are engraved on the gun. These ranches represent the history, hardships and honor ranchers and cattlemen face every day. Guns like this don’t come around often.

Bobby and his crew have gone through every gun, inspecting them inside and out, smoothing out any rough spots, ensuring your gun is a quality piece, inside and out. Rest assured, you’ll be impressed with the quality control and fluid motion/precision of your Branded 1911.

Ranger Tradition

When the 1911 became commercialized, it didn’t take long for many of the Texas Rangers to adopt it as their primary sidearm. This is another tradition going hand in hand with Texas history. Now is the perfect opportunity to build or own a family heirloom appreciating the beef industry and an American way of life with a gun rooted deep in Texas tradition. Only 50 of these guns will be made. Some consecutive serial numbers will be available. The price is $3,699.99.

Here’s the Branded 1911 in the Barranti Leather Cattle Baron shuck from the Barranti-Myers line.

Slide serrations are kept sharp even after being hard chromed.

Branded Hide

A Barranti-Myers holster is available through Barranti Leather, designed especially for this project and is the latest edition of this line. The original holster history dates to pre-WWII days, listed as number 624 in vintage Myers catalogs. The 624 is basically a Threepersons model with a hammer shroud added. Doc was inspired by an old photograph of a Texas Ranger, Glenn Elliot wearing one and started researching it. The Barranti-Myers recreation is suitably called the Cattle Baron.

Holster options include plain, stamped, or floral carved, or you can have your own personal brand carved in the holster for this gun. Contact Barranti Leather for more details.

Let’s Go Brandin’

So, whether you’re a die-hard cowboy at heart, a hard-working rancher, or just love the Old West and history of the cattle business, brands, Texas Rangers and stylishly engraved, hard-chromed 1911s representing all the above, this is the gun for you!

A true Texas BBQ gun if there ever was one, especially when cradled in your Barranti-Myers Cattle Baron shuck. Imagine the envy in everyone’s eyes as you say to yourself, “Yup, I got the coolest gun here, representing the cowboys and ranchers who weren’t afraid of drowning in their own sweat, who built this country by feeding it, and I’m damn proud to own it!” What else is there to say?

For more info: TylerGunWorks.com, BarrantiLeather.com

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