When I travel to ShotShow each year I go to work. I’m not there as a star gazing fan boy. The celebrities I see are there to do a job and I’m there to cover the show and get information on the industry. That being said, there are exceptions to every rule. I occasionally see people that really get me excited and if I am lucky, I may have legitimate reason to meet them.
This year I was very lucky to meet a man that is a bit of an icon for me, Jesse James. I have been following his work for well over ten years. When I first saw Jesse he was building custom motorcycles at his West Coast Choppers shop on television. The styling of his work was like nothing I had ever seen. The choppers had an aesthetic that was unique and beautiful. Every time I saw a bike finished it seemed to be the pinnacle of motorcycle achievement and then he would make a new bike that surpassed it. Needless to say anything that Jesse was doing became appointment television and a miniature of my favorite bike to date had a spot on the shelf nearby.
James is an artist and like most artists his creativity was later channeled into a new medium. The show Jesse James Outlaw Garage documented a little of his vision on four wheels.
Later, I was enthralled by his quest for more creative knowledge as he learned a new set of skills. Jesse traveled to Israel to learn blacksmithing and from what I could see he learned an impressive amount.
Up to this point, anything including Jesse James would peak my interest; then my two worlds collided. Jesse James started making guns. The fanboy gained legitimacy and I could claim professional interest. As with everything else he’s done, I find the Jesse James Firearms Unlimited weapons to be breathtaking. Each weapon seems to have it’s own look and personality. The 1911s have an attitude that should make Jesse quite proud.
In my brief conversation with Jesse, I asked him how he compared making guns to his previous endeavors. Jesse said “Back when I was making Motorcycles, by the time I was done I just wanted to ride it off a cliff. They took so long to finish and I got sick of looking at them. But this is so different.” The gist was that he was able to accomplish so much more in a much shorter timeframe. It seemed very satisfying to him to be able to look upon a completed firearm and enjoy his work so quickly by comparison. After all it isn’t taking close to a year to build like some of those epic bikes. Then he gets to move on to the next one and do something completely different right away. I asked one other quick question of him; “Do you have any particular favorites so far, or do you look upon the guns as if they were kids and love them equally.” Jesse told me that he really enjoyed making them and “they’re guns, I just want to keep them all!” But for now the favorite was probably his Damascus slide 1911 which he’s holding in the photo above and featured heavily on his custom work page.
I feel lucky to have met the man and look upon his work. I would suggest everyone take a peek.
****A NOTE TO SHOTSHOW ORGANIZERS: The only downside to my meeting Jesse was his location. I know that Shotshow is competitive as hell and booths come at a premium. But the organizers of Shotshow should recognize and leverage celebrity when they can. I know of at least one premium spot on the second floor that had a new vendor. Shotshow would have been better served to put Jesse James Firearms Unlimited in that location and placed the new vendor in the first floor side room instead. As things were, I doubt Jesse got the traffic he deserved and I doubt much media came through the area. NSSF, you’re smarter than this.
7 thoughts on “Jesse James Firearms Unlimited”
Your feelings are shared by me. I met the man years ago and miss talking with him and all those who talk smack are mere wannabes. I am 61 and this younger man Jesse changed me and the way I view life’s hurdles. He is truly unique and I am glad you got to meet him.
Jesse had many opportunities to make his fortune. If he didnt then to bad. Now sure who the vendor was that was mentioned taking a spot that was suggested Jesse should have been in. If he indeed was a startup or similar then just maybe he was were he needed to be. Not saying that Jesse isnt a good guy. I dont know him and probably never will but these shows cost fortunes to attend as a vendor. Who knows maybe Jesse got his booth for free. Do not agree with favoritism due to a celebrity status at all.
You obviously have no clue of who Jesse James is and his fortune. Before any of his TV shows Jesse James was already a millionaire and had the #1 Customer Chopper bike shop in the world. His net worth has surpassed a billion dollars. Unlike most who are at this show to as you stated “make their fortunes” Jesse is way past this point in his life. What he does is for his own satisfaction and monetary gain is just something that comes along with it. We should all be so lucky to reach this level of achievement in our lives. Much respect to Jesse James. Keep up the good work brother.
I’m an extreme fan of Jesse James not because of his celebrity but because he legitimately may be the greatest artist of our time. I believe he will go down in history as one of the most creatively talented and self driven performers of his unique art forms. No one has matched his genius artistry in this fabricating art form.
I’ve never meet the man, but would love too. He has changed my outlook on life and how to deal with any hurdles that come my way. I strive to be as skilled as him one day with metal fabricating. He is truly a amazing artist, and seems so down to earth.
Would love information about purchasing one
First off I have to say I admire your talents, you are very talented! God gave you some great gifts! I was even more blown away by ur gun building, I own a machine shop and I work on a lot of guns & gun parts! We don’t do it all by hand but a good portion of it is! If your ever near the area and would like to see our guns and craftsmanship your more than welcome! Thank you for your time keep up the amazing work bro!