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Happy EntrepreNewYear: Defensive Creations

The customization of guns is more of an industry now than perhaps any time since God gave the world John Moses Browning. It has the same place in our culture now that modifying muscle cars had with our fathers and grandfathers. Gunsmiths aren't new, of course. Recall what British Gen. George Hanger wrote after the Revolutionary War.

“I never in my life saw better rifles (or men who shot better) than those made in America…”

Thus it seems only fitting that we start the new year with an article about an American gunsmith, and with it begin a month long series about entrepreneurs. Today we're going to tell you about Ohio-based Defensive Creations and its gunsmith Dave Laubert, worthy heir to the traditions of excellence established by men the likes of Martin Meylan and Henry Albright.

We're going to start 2016 out right — I'll be showcasing worthy small American businesses all through the month of January. Capitalism is part of the foundation upon which our great republic stands, and small business is a vital part of that. Join us in recognizing and acknowledging that truth. Happy EntrepreNewYear!

A Long Time Coming

Laubert has been working on guns for 16 years, coming to the trade in 1999 after a 25 year career as a machinist. After a bad experience with a gunsmith in his early days competing he decided to begin doing some work himself. He was inducted into the American Pistolsmiths Guild as the 58th member last January, a huge honor for a gunsmith but perhaps not too surprising. Laubert has long since established a reputation for quality work (and as a man of his word) with many of the students and “celebrity instructors” who attend training at the Alliance Police Department Training Facility. He will be an associate member for one year, then after a probationary period will (we are confident) be voted in as a full member.

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Asked if changing careers was worth it, Laubert responds,

“It's the best move I ever made. Should have done it 10 years ago…not sure if it was guts or just plain stupidity but my life is much simpler now. I don't have the money I used to but I have almost zero stress.”

Referring to a 1911 he restored for a family, he says,

“The owners actually had tears in their eyes. My job is the best I have ever had in my life.”

The Work

Here's a look at a family heirloom 1911 Dave recently restored and saved.

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Says Laubert about this pistol,

“This older Colt Commander came in in very rough shape. The gun had been a housefire at some point in its life. The frame was twisted and bulged, I suspect from rounds cooking off in the magazine. There was rust and pitting all over the gun and no finish left. The frame and slide had become annealed from getting hot and cooling improperly so the gun was basically junk at this point. After some extensive research and work done by quality companies we were able to re-heat treat the frame and slide — thank you to Kowalski Heat Treat in Cleveland! I replaced all the internal parts with new ones from EGW, Kart, Novak, Grieder, Precision and Caspian. H&M Metal processing took care of the Melonite finish and she is ready for test fire and return to customer. The money invested in resurrection far exceeds the value of the gun, but this family heirloom can now safely be handed down for generations to come.”

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As you can see, Laubert works on wheelguns too.

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Why purchase a custom gun from Dave Laubert?

“You're going to get a 100%, somebody standing behind it, for as long as I'm alive…and you're gonna get exactly what you want.”

That's not melodramatic posturing. Here's what my friend Joe Weyer said to Laubert upon learning he'd been inducted into the APG.

“You have always done the best work of anyone around. Your work is your signature, forever carrying your name. I have never seen a job you did that the biggest names in the business would not be proud to have their names on. You put your signature on a 60 dollar single shot shotgun just the same at a 4,000 dollar pistol. You treat every customer fair and your prices are great. You are very deserving of the recognition. I am sure I speak on behalf of our local gun community when I say thank you and congratulations.”

Defensive Creations is online here. Find 'em on Facebook right here. You can also follow Laubert on Instagram, @defensivecreations.

“I would never do anything to a customer gun that I didn't do to my own first.” Dave Laubert

Here's an interview with him from Practically Tactical.

You can find my complete roundup of Happy EntrepreNewYear posts right here.

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