Art rifles are stealing the weaponry show at the on-going Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex), taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre until today. One of the biggest and most visited stands in the special weapon section is Tawazun, the U.A.E. weapon and ammunition company.
Here, taking centre stage is the unique RX Helix, the only rifle in the world to be engraved with the image of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The German hunting rifle manufacturer Merkel, owned and managed by Tawazun as one of its four subsidiaries, has developed a new set of rifles combining handcrafted decorative elements in metal and timber and one of the most advanced bolt action system in the world.
Made especially for the Adihex, the new rifles were created by some of the best engravers, stock makers and engineers of the old German gun-town Suhl. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque-engraved rifle is one of them.
"We choose designs for the engraved rifles that reflect our culture and heritage. Apart from the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, we also have falcon and Oryx designs. These being custom-made rifles, they have individual specifications, so the prices differ, but they start from Dh20,000 and can go up to Dh160,000,” said Saif Al Marzooqi, head of corporate communications at Tawazun.
As more discerning hunters demand not only accuracy and technical perfection but a high level of craftsmanship invested in their guns and outstanding aesthetics, Merkel has come up with a new set of rifles, the Helix line. The rifles were first presented at Adihex 2013, but Merkel has now brought back the optimised Helix with linear bolt action for different hunting challenges, three custom-made, engraved models featuring artistic engravings, as well as an assortment of barrels and scopes for different hunting situations.
"We are working on new firearm products, which will be revealed in February 2015, at IDEX, the defence exhibition,” Al Marzooqi told Khaleej Times.
Around the corner from Tawazun, there are the guns of Elena, Giovanna and Barbara. The three sisters are the managers of Fausti, the Italian family-made guns, famous for their high craftsmanship and beautiful engravings.
The three women now known as "gun sisters” took over the company management after their father retired in the early 1990s. The company's roots date back to 1948, just after World War II ended, when the sisters' father, Stefano Fausti, began assembling guns with the help of just a chisel and fine papers. Soon, his state-of-the-art creations won the first customers and Italian fans, before drawing the attention of admirers in Europe and finally reaching the Americas and the Middle East.
Stretching over 4,000 square metres, Fausti's facilities in Italy still produce many of Stefano Fausti's premium models, including the Hammer Gun and the Senator. New types of steel and aluminium machinery combined with modern machinery allow Fausti to produce interchangeable metal components, while sophisticated quality-control systems guarantee the reliability of their final products.
"In every model that we produce, there is always a particular sign, a detail that is testimony of our philosophy. To do this, we work with the most advance CNC machines and the best craftsmen in our field, engravers included. The beauty of a bespoke gun is expressed by the symmetry of the lines, attention to detail, and precision machining,” said Barbara.
"For the aesthetic part, it is very important to privilege harmony in the forms, balance in the proportions and an obsessive attention to every detail. A bespoke gun is a union of wood and steel and high technology. A fine gun in addition to these elements incorporates the passion and the ability of the people who are working to make it an artwork,” she added.
To create a Fausti rifle there are 90 stages of different machine work involved and anything between 300 and over 700 hours of engraving.