It was with great sadness that we heard the news that one of the world’s legendary gunmakers had passed away. Here is our remembrance of him, by Diggory Hadoke
Fabbri is probably Italy’s finest gunmaker. The company, based in Brescia, makes around thirty guns a year. They are supremely, unashamedly, expensive and there is a waiting list. Yesterday, the sad news emerged that the founder, Ivano Fabbri, had died at the age of ninety-four.
Born in 1928, Ivano Fabbri started his working life as an automotive engineer. He was working for Fiat in 1960, when he met Daniele Perazzi and it was with Perazzi that he made his bones in the gun trade, when the two embarked on a mission to build competition shotguns that would become world-beaters.
The 1964 triumph of Ennio Mattarelli, who won Gold at the Tokyo Olympics, Perazzi shotgun in hand, cemented the duo’s credentials as first class gunmakers.
Perazzi wanted to continue to develop competition shotguns, while Fabbri’s ambition lay in creating best quality game guns to rival the Boss and Woodward designs he so admired. So, the two parted company in 1965 and Fabbri was born.
While Ivo Fabbri revered the famous London gunmakers, he was an engineer at heart and he was convinced that machinery and technology could achieve better results than traditional methods, which were decidedly Victorian.
Over the next three decades, Fabbri, later joined by his son Tulio, developed new methods of construction, introduced titanium as an action material, made micro-welded aeronautical stainless steel barrels with a finish of ‘diamond-like-carbon’, which he described as “indestructible” and sold guns to the likes of Tom Selleck and Steven Spielberg for even more than his London competitors charged.
Ivo Fabbri was a man with a vision and he lived to see his vision conquer the world. The company today is steered by his son Tulio Fabbri and remains a family business, employing Tulio’s wife Gisela and his own son, Ivo.
It stands proudly as the legacy of a truly innovative and revolutionary character; one the Gun Trade should pause a while to salute (preferably with a shot of grappa).