This week I took a chance a got my old man van out and onto the highway. I had a good ride to Amish country. I went to see some friends I had met back in June that own and operate American Built Arms company ( AB Arms).
It was a relaxing ride pre-autumn, to and through the rolling hills, rock quarries and Pennsylvania countryside to a little industrial park outside of the town of Glen Rock. There I hung out for a few hours with Jason Combs, Adam E and Av R.
They make stuff. They make stuff for firearms, and the community that uses them. hey can personalize manufacturers brands with laser engraving. They can take your design concept and make it real. They do 3-D modeling. They can take your 2D prints and produce prototypes, machined parts and injection molding. They can laster engrave parts. they can mill, cut, drill, flange, bend, bead and produce with Swiss watch-like proficiency. On one side of the hill you got the Amish and in this little manufacturing spot, 21st century tech. They improve upon crap that already exist and make it better, or more affordable. They do it for other companies and they’d do it for you. Big name companies utilize them to handle some pretty important pieces of their firearms builds. It was all pretty impressive.
According to Jason, he started it all after coming out of the US Army, doing IT for awhile but wanting more out of life. He took a gamble on himself and put everything he had into redesigning a hand guard for an AR-15. Say what? Sounds ballsy doesn’t it. With the help of two friends they’ve made dozens of things since and crank out thousands of OEM parts now.
“Find a need a fill it.”
AB Arms is like Ford Motor company when it first got started during what we call now the Industrial age. Jason said he runs his company like he operates his family budget, thrifty. I made a note of that because as entrepreneurs money trips us up. We have to find a way to fend off the need to splurge. The need to buy. There is a business of marketing to entrepreneurs alone. AB has been around for 4 years and I think its going to be around awhile longer.
They create ways to do things efficiently while there are fulfilling orders. The office/facility space is filled with gadgets they have created to make their job easier. Some of these may actually be patented some day. Each one of them has their own little spot in the company. They looked like a great team. Av took me on a mental tour of his little spot behind the intel hub of 3D printer, and CAD ready computer. I saw where drafting, mechanical design, engineering and American innovation met in his workspace.
We ate some burgers and hot dogs while exchanging war stories. Adam is a world traveler and we compared notes on a few hairy places. AB Arms is extremely proud of its American heritage. The logo is remenicent of the nose art from the WWII aircraft. In this PC crazy world, I asked him about the blonde chick in the logo and they didn’t even bat an eye. I’d liked that. You see, during the industrial revolution and WWII Nose art not to be confused with piercing your nose, is a decorative painting or design on the fuselage of a military aircraft, usually chalked up on the front fuselage, and is a form of aircraft graffiti.
While begun for practical reasons of identifying friendly units, the practice evolved to express the individuality often constrained by the uniformity of the military, to evoke memories of home and peacetime life, and as a kind of psychological protection against the stresses of war and the probability of death. It’s folk art. Its a part of our history. Its military tradition. The logo is kinda like Memphis Belle on B17 Flying Fortress. I have a link from Pinterest with some examples if you are interested.
Today, I’d get in trouble for painting a half naked chick on my plane but if I had a plane, I would probably do it anyway.
They have a video series they created called American Pride you have to check out on youtube when you get a chance. Class act these guys.
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Also on this episode:
Talking about sights.
…and we are out. this episode is under 25 minutes.