In 1948, just after the end of World War II, a young Italian named Stefano Fausti began building hammer shotguns in a small shop in Brescia, Italy, and his skill and craftsmanship quickly made Fausti one of the region’s most sought-after gun designers. Stefano Fausti had always hoped to have a son to carry on his gun making legacy, but instead he had three daughters. Little did Fausti know that these three girls—Giovanna, Elena and Barbara—would grow up to become the famed “Shotgun Sisters” of Italy, and that under their control the Fausti name would earn worldwide acclaim.
According to Giovanna Fausti, part of the success of Fausti’s guns has come from blending modern machining practices with old-world craftsmanship. The new Fausti factory, which sits on the banks of the Mella River on the southern edge of the Alps outside Brescia, is divided into two halves. The southern wing of the factory is filled with modern CNC machines that make the metal parts for their shotguns, everything from receivers to firing pins. On the north side, Brescia’s finest engravers and stock makers help turn raw material into works of art. While touring the facility, Giovanna and I visited one of those engravers embellishing the receiver of a client’s gun.
“How long will this gun take?” I asked.
“Each custom gun requires 600 or more hours of hand engraving,” Giovanna said. That’s a remarkable amount of time for one firearm, but the resulting guns are one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Customers can even send in photos to have engraved into the metalwork of their gun, and the gun I saw being engraved had the image of the owner’s two hunting dogs on the sideplates.
The Fausti Sisters have become familiar faces at events like the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, and game fairs throughout Europe. In fact, between the three of them, the sisters travel tens of thousands of miles each year, from the U.S. to Russia to Sweden and Dubai. Among the three of them they speak 10 different languages, and their commitment to spreading the word about their guns and their attention to customer service (for example, new clients can be measured to have a gun fit to them at any of these major shows) has made the Fausti brand famous the world over. This notoriety has allowed Fausti to expand their product line, from the affordable Caledon over/under to the exquisite engraved Venetian (which bears a lion, the symbol of Saint Mark, and other items specific to the city). When ordering a Fausti shotgun, you are only limited by your imagination.
Stefano Fausti is proud of what his daughters have accomplished, and under their control Fausti has become one of Italy’s finest gunmakers. Likewise, Giovanna is proud to see more and more female shooters in the field.
“The growing number of the women hunters and shooters in the United States is a sign that times are changing, that women appreciate contact with nature and the outdoor lifestyle that was once more specific to men,” Giovanna said.