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Chris Costa Responds To “CostaGate2015″

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Chris Costa took to Facebook to post this response to “Costagate2015″ (I didn’t even know it had a name), the social media brouhaha over his recent appearance at Peace Combat Fes 2015 in Japan. Am I the only guy that thought it was funny that it has a date as though a “Costagate” would become a recurring theme? At any rate, “haterz gon’ hate”.

Recently I had an excellent opportunity to travel over to Japan in support of their Airsoft community, and While I was there our hosts had asked that my trip mate, Jimmy Hendrix and I to participate in a few rounds of indoor and outdoor Airsoft games as a show of support for the Japanese players. In conjunction with the games, our hosts had also requested that we attend several events for the airsoft community that provided us with an opportunity and venue to partake in Q&A and photo session with the fans.

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Our first major event of the trip was a welcome party with roughly 500 fans (and I mean fans). There was entertainment, and electric bugaloo to get the crowd pumped, not to mention half naked girls on stage with one girl using a whip on another girl, which to us was a bit different for a public event. During our pre-show briefing my hosts had requested that I speak at the show, answer questions from press in attendance, and provide a photo op demonstration at the end for the fans. Initially I wouldn’t agree to do the photo op demonstration (ironically, hesitant for the very reason this entire issue has exploded into Costagate). Frankly, I thought the idea was a bit lame, and the runway setup was slightly out of context and a bit over the top for my liking. Unfortunately my reluctance had greatly offended and disappointed my very kind and conciliatory hosts, which of course was the last thing I had wanted to do. They explained that nobody gets to shoot in Japan, and that an airsoft event like the one I attended is the closest they will have to firearms ownership. I was told, “They see pictures of you, Chris Costa shooting. This is their chance to be the one to get the photo.” They talked more about the fans, about how most of them will never get to fire a real gun, how most of them will never get the chance to do any firearms training that we get to experience here in the United States. They talked about how much it would mean for the people, and fans attending this party to be able to take their own pictures of an actual gun trainer in person.

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Anybody who knows me knows that I don’t take myself that serious. I recognized and knew that safety measures were in place and that the fans new what to expect. I thought, what would Kenny Powers do…and in the immortal words of Bill O’Riley, I said to myself, “F$&k it, Well do it live” lol. So the next thing I knew, there I was up on stage and a little worried that my host were wrong about these guys wanting a photo shoot. The next thing I noticed-the crowd went nuts. Never would I have imagined something that simple being that big of a deal. Albeit I was hesitant, I never imagined that a 36-second clip of a 3- hour event would be taken so out of context by people who weren’t at the event or understood what was happening. Did I expect my friends to rag me later, hell YES; that’s why they are my friends, but all I ask is that you please don’t take the fun away from our community. I don’t know why the Airsoft community would hold me in this regard. Maybe its all the Magpul DVD’s over here in Japan. To my kids I’m nothing more than their dad. People we read about together and hold in high regard are MOH recipients, and as you may recall, you can watch a clip of me on YouTube reading about one of my hero’s, Master Sargent (sic) Roy Benavidez.

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Let us understand and not forget that our future generations play video games like COD, or MOH and progress from there by buying Airsoft weapons for simulated war games. Coming to Japan has helped me gain a better understanding of why they are so dedicated, or what we would call fervent, about the airsoft industry. This is their lifestyle relative to our lifestyle of us carrying real weapons and protecting our families. Picture an America with no weapons, and no second Amendment rights. For us this is unthinkable, and would certainly hit on a level we couldn’t imagine or comprehend, not only because of the way our country was founded, but because of the lifestyle and freedom we can exercise as our right to protecting our family and community.

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The Japanese have Airsoft and that is it. They play our LAPD, DEA, FBI, NYPD and branches of the military because they think those guys are awesome. Same as you I’ve cracked a few jokes in the past over the very people that want to be like us, to have our rights, and to be allowed to own and carry weapons.

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I could agree I’m probably not the best person to send here to represent America and the gun community. However, just because something is new to me, I’ve never been one to back down or quit. I’ll try something new. I may fail and make mistakes, but that’s how I get better. I feel we’ve done a lot of good over here. We’ve changed the way they approach the game of airsoft, and I’d like to think we’ve built a bigger respect for what they like about us and our freedoms when it comes to guns.

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My parting thoughts are this: If Airsoft manufacturers could develop a gun that could survive normal abuse, I believe it would eventually find its way into Armed Defense for citizens, law enforcement, and military. This could further provide additional opportunities for force-on-force training which could be a huge benefit. I appreciate all my friends and industry partners for all their support over the last week while I was in Japan. I’m getting ready to head home my body is not in it’s 20’s anymore, that is for sure. I was happy that no one out ran me……so that one is for me.

Very Respectfully,
Costa

Phokus Research Group Announces Partnership with Elite Defense

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Move will expand distribution channels giving Military Operators around the world more access to the company’s equipment solutions

San Diego, CA, January 9, 2015 – Phokus Research Group, an innovation company and manufacturer, announced today a partnership with Elite Defense to expand its international distribution. Elite Defense will now be the international master distributor of Phokus Research Group’s military line of products. This line includes more than 20 revolutionary items including the Deployment, Low-Vis, Shield, and Advanced Vehicle trauma kits, and the HOPLITE night vision refocusing device. Elite Defense maintains a comprehensive network of qualified distributors and retailers around the globe and works extensively with specialized, research and development focused companies to facilitate the transfer of niche products into broader markets.

“Partnering with Elite Defense will enable Phokus Research Group to support military units all over the world while maintaining our unique focus on developing innovative, field-driven solutions,” said Steve Friedlander, VP Sales and Marketing of Phokus Research Group. “As we respond to the increasing demand for our product line, collaborating with Elite Defense will ensure our expanded reach into the international marketplace without sacrificing the direct R&D work with our end-users that drives our technologies.”

Phokus Research Group will display their products at the 2015 SHOT Show taking place from January 20-23, 2015 in Las Vegas in the Elite Defense booth #32411. Interested dealers may contact Elite Defense to schedule a product review at the show or to learn more about becoming a dealer.

Kinetic Development Group Launches…Now

Monday, January 12th, 2015

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Today, Kinetic Development Group (kineticdg.com) was launched simultaneously with this exclusive Soldier Systems Daily announcement. KDG was founded by some of the key executive sales and development team members that left LWRC International in the spring of 2014. Dave Loeser, Darren Mellors and AJ Lafferty were determined to build a company by supplanting the type of culture that was responsible for so much of their collective success. They wanted to preserve the momentum or “Kinetic” energy they had as a team with the goal of bringing the highest quality, most innovative firearms accessories and solutions to the top end of the market.

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KDG’s goals are focused on answers to problems with small arms, not answers to the questions not asked. “We are purposely avoiding the overcrowded AR market as we believe we, our former company, and hundreds of other AR manufacturers have evolved that platform about as far as it can go,” said Darren Mellors, Managing Member of KDG. “The focus will start on underserved products like the FN SCAR and HK 416/MR series. We have started to improve these two European weapons families to meet the needs of the American shooters, Warfighters and Law Enforcement Officers. Identifying problems and engineering the best solutions are very intuitive to us. I am not only a managing member of KDG….I am also a customer! That is the standard by which we judge our products and service. Do I need this, and do I want one? ”

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The first weapon they have dedicated to improving was the SCAR L/H by FNH. Their SCAR products are called MREX Solutions (Modular Receiver Extension). A sneak peak of the MREX with MLOK is pictured.

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KDG has a formula; often manufacturers release products months if not years before the product is ready for sale. KDG commits to release products when they are tested and ready for market, period. “The end user, dealers, and small businesses were responsible for the largest most explosive advancement in small arms design, accessories and standardization in history,” said Mellors. “That is why we are partnering with the best commercial dealers whom have driven that evolution.” AJ Lafferty added, “….part of my job is to identify the best dealers in the country that share our values and culture, and sell complimentary quality products and services. We want them to share in our success.”

“Our History of success developing products in the US commercial market, has proven relevant overseas, and we plan to continue to develop an international distributor network. I believe the market will be impressed with what they will see coming from Kinetic down the road.” said David Loeser, Managing partner.

Watch out for KDG! Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube as well:

www.facebook.com/kineticdevgru

Instagram: @kineticdevgroup

YouTube: kineticdevgroup

Kineticdg.com

Liberty Ammunition Wins Case Against US Army for Patent Infringement

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

The Bradenton Herald reports that local ammunition manufacturer Liberty Ammunition has won their suit against the US Army alleging patent infringement for their Enhanced Performance Ammunition.

S. Federal Court of Claims Judge Charles F. Lettow filed a decision Dec. 19 in which he found the federal government had infringed on Liberty’s patent for its copper-core, steel-tipped ammunition. Lettow ordered the government to pay two levels of damages, the first being a $15.6 million lump payment. The government was also ordered to pay a 1.4-cent royalty on every bullet it purchases and receives for use. It will make those payments until Liberty’s patent expires in 2027.

While it’s great to see businesses who are taken advantage of by the government gain satisfaction, something very important came out of this verdict for industry. US Federal Court of Claims Judge Charles F. Letto found in his decision that accusations of the Government violating Non-Disclosure Agreements were unfounded as the officials who signed the agreements were not authorized to do so. Let that sink in.

Read the entire story here.

Smith Celebrates 50th Anniversary By Launching New Brand Identity

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

KETCHUM, ID (January 5, 2015) – In 1965, Dr. Bob Smith, orthodontist and original ski bum, developed the first sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam goggles so he could get a few more powder runs on days when everyone else had to go indoors. With our golden anniversary celebration in 2015, SMITH stays true to its vision of pioneering advanced products to fuel fun beyond walls, creating innovations that amplify awesome, and crafting gear where every detail makes a difference.

Our vast heritage of product innovation has formed who we are as a brand today. SMITH first revolutionized the outdoor experience through the introduction of the first interchangeable lens system for sunglasses and snow goggles then quickly took fog-free goggle technology to the next level with the launch of two new ventilation systems for seamless goggle/helmet integration. Over the next few years, SMITH developed the world’s largest eco-friendly sunglass collection. Most recently we created the most scientifically advanced polarized lens technology, ChromaPop™, while simultaneously creating a dramatically new approach to ventilation and protection in snow and bike helmets through the use of Aerocore™ technology.

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Taking 50 years of heritage to inform the next 50 years of innovation, SMITH is dedicated to making products that authentically empower thrill seekers and modern explorers in snow, bike, fish, surf, peak performance outdoor adventure and more.

As a declaration to our future progress, we are proud to announce the new visual identity of SMITH. Following a refined brand platform that modernizes our beliefs, values, and who we stand for, SMITH will re-launch our entire product range in January 2015 with a new logo and brand presentation. With clean, modern and refined letterforms, the updated logo hearkens back to our original identity and speaks to the fundamental tenets of our brand: performance, movement, and essential design.

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Throughout the year, SMITH is globally rolling out its new visual identity across in-store visuals, consumer and trade advertising, updated website and new product packaging in addition to product logo updates on goggle straps, snow and bike helmets, lifestyle and performance sunglasses and ophthalmic eyewear.

The new SMITH identity represents the forward movement of an iconic brand rooted in the great outdoors. From sand to snow, SMITH continues to blend clean style into products tuned for thrilling experiences, while maintaining an inclusive and dynamic personality. To us, the experience really is everything and thus it’s ALL about friends on a powder day. Here’s to one hell of a good time for the next 50 years.

Congrats Guys! Here’s to 50 more.

www.smithoptics.com

Phokus Research Group Welcomes Mitch Griffin To Their National Sales Team

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Phokus Research Group has announced their hiring of Mitch Griffin to their National Sales Team. The full release can be read below:

Phokus Research Group is pleased to announce the addition of Mitch Griffin to its National Sales Team. Mitch will focus on Tactical Training and Sales for the HOPLITE – Night Vision Focusing Cover.  This patented product is receiving a tremendous amount of interest for its Tactical and Protective benefits. The HOPLITE allows NVG’s to stay focused out to infinity while at the same time adding visual clarity at 1-to-5 feet. The addition of the HOPLITE’S sacrificial lens offers Otter Box type protection to the objective lens of the NVG. Through targeted unit capability briefs and training, Phokus will raise awareness for all end-users around the country.

Mitch spent the last three years working for High Ground Gear, a division of EMKE manufacturing, where he focused on brand development and sales with all branches of the Military.  Mitch also developed relationships with all of the major Distributors. Prior to a career in sales, Mitch served 5 years as a Combat Medic with 3/2 SCR in Ft. Lewis and Germany and finished at Carl Darnall Army Medical Center, Ft. Hood.
 
In addition to his work with Phokus, Mitch is the owner of Griffin Consulting. He lives outside of Dallas, TX with his wife and three children.

phokusresearch.com

EraThr3 is Live

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Remember Erathr3?

“I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not Fight Club. It may seem like we’ve trying to keep things a secret but we’re not. EraThr3 [pronounced Era Three] is a lifestyle with a company wrapped around it. It’s not a company with a lifestyle.”
Sheri Johnson, EraThr3 COOO

Well, they’ve launched a pretty extensive website chock full of cool wares like weapons, t-shirts, hats, knives. You know, the stuff an SSD reader would be interested in.

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So far, I’m not sure if I’m going to pick up the target pack or the aluminum yo-yo. I highly suggest you go check it out.

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www.erathr3.com

Happy 10th Anniversary to RMJ Tactical

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

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Eleven years ago, on a Wednesday, Ryan Johnson called Richard Carmack letting him know that there was a jet at the local airport waiting on 18 Eagle Talon tactical tomahawks intended for a group of Marines that were preparing for a major military push. Ryan knew that Richard’s sons, Jonathan (14) and Reid (12) were home schooled and could possibly be available to help. Homeschooling is a wonderful thing and this type of activity would count as school work. Richard gave the OK and early that afternoon, Ryan showed up at Richard’s house with 18 tomahawks, yards of paracord, pizza, Mountain Dew and several Monty Python movies.
Ryan and the boys then worked through the night cord wrapping the tomahawks so Ryan could deliver them to the jet the following morning.That episode started the conversation between Ryan and Richard about forming a company that would increase Ryan’s ability to produce his tactical tomahawks for the military personnel that were in need of them.
Plans were then made and the correct paperwork was filled out and filed in order for the company to launch. On January 2, 2005, RMJ Tactical, LLC officially began. Operating first out of Ryan’s shop for production and Richard’s office for everything administrative, RMJ Tactical started its transition from a garage based custom tomahawk shop to the manufacturing company it is today. We are proud to say that January 2, 2015 marks the first full decade of RMJ Tactical being up and running. We only expect bigger and better things for this company in 2015. Happy New Years to all of you!
www.rmjtactical.com

RE Factor Products Available From Platatac

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

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RE Factor products are now available through Platatac.

Catching Up With War Sport Industries

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

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Last week, we had an opportunity to check out War Sport Industries’ new campus in Robbins, North Carolina. I’d heard rumors of ammunition manufacturing in this new factory. Turns out, the rumors were true, and then some. Granted, I was looking forward to the visit if for no more reason than catching up with new National Sales Manager, Adam Pini. What I didn’t expect, was the size of the new War Sport undertaking.

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One of the initial things you see when you visit War Sport Industries is a display case set into the floor containing the very first LVOA.

War Sport Industries started out in 2011 with a couple of simple textile products and quickly expanded to firearms design and manufacturing. While the growth may have seemed stalled over the past few months, that’s only because they’ve been working behind the scenes.

2013-14 saw the growth of War Sport from a small textile and weapon assembly concern into planned growth to five full, independent although complementary, plants. At War Sport, we have been making strategic hires and concentrating on creating processes that will have all five of our plants manufacturing after the first of the year. We will offer barrels, components, full rifles, accessory textiles and even ammunition. Additionally, for 2015 we are expanding our product line, reaching into retail sales for the first time with our rifle components.

Joey Boswell,
CEO War Sport Industries, LLC

War Sport Industries now occupies a 28 acre campus that houses five distinct plants as well as headquarters, QA Lab, ammo magazine and test range. The plants include Barrel, Ammunition, CNC component manufacturing, and the original two centers of Textile and Weapon Assembly. Additionally, War Sport has installed a state-of-the-art power distribution system that also conditions the power into the facility in order to prevent machine downtime.

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While they haven’t yet achieved ISO verification, everything has been designed from outset to this end. Plus, they’ve got three Six Sigma green belts on staff.

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Boswell and a couple of his managers took us on a tour of the campus. There’s been quite a bit of construction and we visited each plant in turn. We were not able to photograph every area of the campus.

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This is the original LVOA oven alongside its state-of-the-art replacement used to Cerakote parts.

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Recently baked receivers on the rack. Right next to this section, in a caged area is weapon assembly.

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Steel rods which will eventually be processed into barrel blanks. The yellow crane above is slated to be installed to a movement system which will simplify the process of moving the steel.

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They use this machine to cut the bore holes into the barrel blanks, prior to the rifling process.

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War Sport uses the Button method to produce rifling in the barrels. This machine is used to add rifling to the barrel blanks by pulling the bit or “button” through the blank. The machinery also controls the twist rate introduced into the barrel.

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These air gauges are used to measure barrel bore, high land and low lands.

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They can also conduct Rockwell hardness testing on a round object like a barrel. Eventually, they plan to open the lab to other manufacturers to forensically test materials.

Pictures from the lab. War Sport utilizes a variety of highly sensitive equipment to insure they’ve received optimal steel for manufacturing, as well as test their machinery components and products.

Although we weren’t able to photograph the ammunition plant, in addition to manufacturing, they’ve also integrated a full QC lab. They can conduct pressure testing to SAAMI standards as well as component and lot testing. They’ll also be able to develop new loads. Once finished they’ll have two Oehler chronograph systems running.

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This oven will be used to heat treat the barrels once they are rifled. Some will be contoured and finished into barrels while others will remain blanks and be sold to others for finishing.

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Compensators are manufactured using a CNC.

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A finished barrel next to a blank.

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Barrels ready to ship out for coating in a ruggedized protective case. This helps protect them from shock during transit.

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Compensators are also transported in a padded case. Compensators will eventually be offered to retailers along with other parts. Unfortunately, you still can’t purchase a handguard without a full upper.

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This is the CNC manufacturing center, where compensators and barrels are machined and finalized. While War Sport purchases many commodity parts such as pins and springs from other manufacturers they do build their proprietary parts themselves.

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One example of these proprietary items are bolt catches, seen here at various stages of production including a finished part.

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War Sport also has an in-house machine shop to produce tooling as well as prototypes.

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Eventually, we got a chance to speak with Adam Pini. It’s always great to visit with him and his enthusiasm for his new job was obvious.

This is where I want to be, I don’t want to be anywhere else. When I jumped into the car to drive to North Carolina, it was like Christmas Day. I am very excited about the opportunities presented here at War Sport. War Sport is a lifestyle and it suits me well.

Adam Pini
National Sales Manager

War Sport showed us a lot during our visit. Some of it was ready, and some work was still left to be done. According to Boswell, everything should be rocking and rolling by SHOT Show with ammo available late first quarter.

warsport-us.com