Johnston Arms builds dreams, preserves legacies

At the core of Johnston Arms is a dedication to craftsmanship inspired by the past and built for the future.


Steve Johnston’s identity as a craftsman is based partly on personal experience – his lifelong love of hunting and the outdoors naturally evolved into an interest in firearms. But if he had to name one person whose philosophy and talent inspired him as a craftsman, it’d likely be local saddlemaker Rocky Minster.


Steve fondly recalled visiting Rocky in his home shop and watching his precise process take shape right in front of him. As he worked, Rocky would share stories of his childhood growing up in Prescott and Los Angeles.


Steve was inspired by Rocky’s diligent work and authentic relationships with his customers. His process is slow and meticulous, but his finished products are stellar– that’s exactly the approach Johnston Arms takes with its firearms today. With Barnone’s open working spaces, Steve’s passion for connecting with his customers is stronger than ever, and he loves when they engage with the process.


Steve loves the production of his guns as much as he loves the stories they hold for him and his customers. He often wonders what kinds of stories are behind, for instance, the 100-year-old English-made side-by-side shotguns he owns – if he could grab a drink with the gunsmith who made it, what would he have to say about his process? Did the gun’s previous owners ever imagine their shotguns would still be in use today, in the Arizona deserts?


Steve makes his firearms with the hope that they, too, will stand the test of time and become family heirlooms that can be cherished for generations.


A firearm built to this quality means something,” Steve said. “You put your all into it. Your client is investing in a dream.”


By guest writer


Celina Jimenez