We just received a brief statement from Granite Gear, LLC letting us know that company co-founder Jeff Knight has resigned.
“Jeff has been working relentlessly for 27 years forging Granite Gear into the company it is today and he’s decided to take a step back and spend more time with his family,” says company spokesperson Shelly Schmidt.
The surprising depature came less than two weeks after Outdoor Retailer, a trade show venue where even the whiff of a rumor about an iconic member of the industry leaving his station would be impossible to suppress. When put within the context of Granite Gear’s recent sale to the outdoor equipment and luggage firm BRZZ Gear LLC last summer, the timing of Knight’s move and lack of noise about it may hint at discord between new and old management.
Knight could not be reached for comment.
There is no doubt that Knight’s design talent will be missed by his former Granite Gear colleagues, but I’d be surprised if his departure doesn’t also turn heads at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center. Knight worked directly with program managers to improve the U.S. Special Operations Command’s load carriage equipment. In doing so, Knight invented the CHIEF composite backpack frame, a 3D-molded framesheet with three distinct zones of flexibility, that is the heart of the SOCOM Patrol Pack.
Knight began designing gear for the U.S. military back in the late 1990s. He developed a variety of high-performance equipment for SOCOM, spearheading his company’s successful bids on government contracts for gloves, mitts, hats, gaitors, and, more recently, the SOCOM Patrol Pack and the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) suite of backpacks and medical pouches.
According to Granite Gear, “Jeff lives off-the-grid, in a solar powered home out-in-the-woods near Two Harbors, MN with his wife Lisa and two boys. He has recently resigned from Granite Gear to pursue other interests. Hobbies include skiing, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, biking, fishing, hunting, woodworking and pretty much anything outdoors. Jeff will continue doing what he gets the most passion from, designing, developing and building.”
quits, firedRead More
I’ve always wondered why we buy black rifles? I mean, they don’t blend with any camo pattern, and they get hot just sitting out in the sun. I guess the answer is that black anodizing is the most efficient and effective way to finish aluminum for the money. Colored anodizing is out there, but I’ve yet to see it catch on in a big way.
I’m glad more manufacturers are offering guns with factory Cerakote finishes. Daniel Defense began Cerakoting a few of their most popular rifles this winter, and I got to see them at SHOT. The result, combined with their new house brand furniture, is damned sharp looking; evidence the DD Mk18 shown above. Getting a factory applied Cerakote finish means you get all the benefits of a durable, colored finish without any of the angst and waiting associated with sending your rifle out for a custom color job.
A great feature of Cerakote is its ability to withstand solvents. Taking the DD’s Mil Spec+ (brown!) Cerekote for example, you have a rifle color that works fine in brown shade environs and with similarly toned camouflage patterns. If you’re heading someplace that calls for a color change or you want to add some shapes and contrast, just do it with a rattlecan of Krylon from the hardware store. When you want to switch it up again, or go back to the base color, just hit it with a can of brake cleaner. The Krylon will come right off and the base Cerakote won’t be affected.
DD is offering the DDM4A1, V5LW, V7 and Mk18 in Mil Spec+ for a $130 premium above their non-Cerakote rifles. Considering an aftermarket Cerakote job costs between $200 and $400, a factory Cerakoted rifle is a good value if you’re thinking of getting a non-black rifle.
Have a look at the design process involved in making the new NEMO Equipment Ditto Slim Wallet. They went through 65 prototypes before they nailed it down. It’s really enlightening to see how much failure it takes to break through to success. Read more about the process on NEMO’s blog, it’s a great insight into the creative process.Read More
The first thing I noticed when picking up the Multitasker Ceramic F-1 is its weight; or lack of it. I have another ceramic, so I know that ceramic blades can weigh half as much as a steel blade of the same dimension. But, the F-1 combines a lightweight blade with a titanium frame lock and an understated matte carbon fiber scale that reduces the knife’s weight to 2 ounces of ethereality.
Why a ceramic blade? A ceramic blade has a few advantages over steel, though strength isn’t one of them. Let’s get that out of the way. You don’t want to use a ceramic blade to pry, smash or chop anything. While it isn’t stronger, it is harder and hardness is a two-way street; hard blades will hold an edge longer than a softer edge, but hard edges are brittle and they will chip if abused.
Sharpness: Ceramic blades retain their original sharpness up to 10-15 times longer than steel blades thanks to their hardness. This is tempered by the fact that the knife will likely need to be professionally sharpened with a diamond or silicon carbide wheel grinding stone when the times comes.
Zero Maintenance: Ceramics won’t rust and are impervious to just about everything. This means the blade needs very little maintenance and it can be cleaned with just about anything. If you use the knife in the kitchen, it won’t turn sensitive foods brown (as happens to lettuce edges when cut with a metal blade) and acids and oils won’t effect it.
Lightweight: Ceramics are less dense than steels. I’m not a scientist. I take this for granted.
The knife itself opens smoothly with its rounded thumbstud and locks up securely. The serrated locking bar is easy to catch with a thumb for safe, one-handed closing. The blade-top jimping improves grip and is positioned perfectly to get that little bit of leverage needed for fine cutting work when using the tip of the CNC machined ceramic custom Tanto style blade. The overall length of the knife is 7.875″ and the blade alone is 3.5″.
The non-reversible clip is set up for tip-up carry,
In a few weeks of daily use, the blade lives up to the ceramic hype. Opening box after box and cutting down cardboard that would thrash the edge of a nice S30V steel blade has had no effect on the F-1′s blade. At first, I was very careful about cracking or chipping the blade, but after a few days of regular (but smart) use, I stopped worrying about it. I’d say if you’re reasonably careful, you’re unlikely to have a problem.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to find a porcelain Glock 7 to accompany the F-1 in the photos so the dapper little Glock 42 will have to do.
Multitasker will start with an individually numbered run of 150 knives in the late spring that will cost about $180 each.Read More
Behind the glass at Advanced Armament Corp.’s SHOT Show booth was a prototype of an interesting conversion kit that turns the Heckler & Koch SL8 rifle into an approximation of the bygone XM8 combat rifle. TommyBuilt Tactical’s TBT-8 is a 300 AAC chambered creation that starts with a stock SL8 receiver and adds an HK G36 magwell and a host of custom parts, including the 300 AAC barrel made by TommyBuilt Tactical.
The C version, shown, is an short-barrel rifle tipped with an optional AAC 762-SDN silencer. Other versions will be available in different barrel lengths chambered in 5.56mm and 300 AAC Blackout. TommyBuilt hopes to offer the conversion kits this summer along with 300 Blackout barrels in three different lengths. The barrels will be available separately and range from $500 to $600, depending on the model. They will fit in any of the current G36 and SL8 platforms. The conversion kits with polymer handguard, adjustable stock and more will initially cost $1,400.
TommyBuilt hopes to drop the price as production ramps up. The TBT-8C is shown with an Insight Technologies ISM, as the original XM8 wore, but Insight stopped producing these years ago. TommyBuilt is looking to produce a version of the optic to offer as an accessory for the conversion kit.Read More
Sig Sauer picked up a pair of valuable free agents last week. Kevin Brittingham, formerly the honcho of Advanced Armament Corp., will be heading up Sig’s new Sig-SD Silencer division and Lindsay Bunch, a former Army Ranger who was a member of the Army’s precision weapons R&D team, will be the company’s product manager for its Special Weapons Development Group.
Brittingham, the founder of Advanced Armament Corp., currently holds more than 40 patents in the firearms industry. As part of his work at AAC, Brittingham also led the development of the .300 AAC Blackout cartridge. Brittingham is a founding member of the American Silencer Association, an advocacy group dedicated to championing the use of suppressors and lifting restrictions on ownership.
With the courts finding in favor of Brittingham in his suit against his former employer in December, the non-compete clause contained in his former contract went out window, allowing him to take up employment in the firearms industry.
Bunch joins Sig Sauer after serving for more than two decades in the United States Army. With more than 10 years as an Army sniper, Bunch moved into Special Operations Command, where his skills and experience were used in research and development of many of the U.S. military’s precision weapon systems in use today.
Congrats to all parties.Read More
Remington Outdoor Co., previously known as the Freedom Group, expects to announce a major expansion to a new facility in Huntsville, Ala., as early as next week. According to two sources with knowledge of the property sale, the deal has been in the works for months and ROC executives plan to sign the papers Monday finalizing the sale of a 500,000-square-foot facility that will add approximately 25 percent more space to Remington’s existing 2.1 million square feet of existing manufacturing real estate.
Sources say the expansion was undertaken to help the company meet unprecedented demand for its products. Space in the facility is not currently earmarked for any one of the company’s 18 individual brands, but to facilitate flexibility and growth of the Remington Outdoor Company.
Before settling on Hunstville, the company was courted by no less than 24 states and various localities hoping to add hundreds, if not thousands of new jobs to their economies. State and local entities in Alabama made economic concessions to attract the company, sources say. The selection of the Huntsville area makes sense, with a skilled and technical workforce already in place. The area is home to the Army’s Redstone Arsenal, which has 35,000 military and civilian employees.
Other major technical employers in the area, such as NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and Toyota, ensure ROC will have a large pool of talent to draw upon for its engineering, technical manufacturing and product development efforts. The fact that Alabama is regarded as a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights also played a role in the selection of the area.
The facility will be set up for new product development and manufacturing, but it reportedly contains spaces suitable for offices, an auditorium and classrooms that will be used for training and development purposes in ROC’s commercial, military and law enforcement businesses. The site requires significant build-outs, code upgrades and other preparatory work, so the company expects production at the site will not begin before 2015.
The site will rank with ROC’s largest facilities. Ilion, N.Y., is home to the largest facility at more than 1 million square feet, followed by other sites such as its ammunition plant in Lonoke, Ark., and its factory in Mayfield, Ky.
Sources say manufacturing operations in Ilion will not be affected by the expansion and there are no plans to move manufacturing from that site, where Remington has been building firearms for nearly 200 years.Read More
A suppressor uses a Form 4 transfer, so that’s nine months if your dealer has the can in stock. If not, you might have to wait three more months for the Form 3 to clear, allowing the manufacturer or distributor to transfer the can to your dealer.
To register a short barreled rifle, you’ll file a Form 1 and wait nine months.
The ATF isn’t making a distinction in this chart between processing times for paper forms vs. the newer e-form system. What’s a little bit interesting is that the word from manufacturers I spoke with at SHOT 2014 was that e-filed Form 4s were coming back in under 4 months. I’ve always thought that something too good to be true is just that, so I wonder if the guys I spoke with were confusing Form 4s with the Form 3s they normally file to get cans to their dealers and distributors. That would line up with the current wait time of 3 months for a Form 3.
Another missing distinction is the wait time for trusts. It should be no shock, but I guess this is intentional. I had a long conversation with one of ATF’s lawyers a couple of years ago and that person was very explicit and surprisingly candid in telling me that the ATF saw trusts as loopholes and they were looking for ways to get rid of them.
Update: Let’s hope I’m wrong and the e-form system is really making a difference. Reader Matt seems to think this the case and says, “I have two Form 1 tax stamps that were filed via eforms in October and came back approved nearly 3 months to the day. I think the chart is for paper filed forms.”Read More
When identifying targets quickly is your priority, the new Prizm lens from Oakley should be on your wish list. The lens offers ballistic protection and is tinted in a way that strategically blocks wavelengths on the color spectrum in order to maximize contrast between colors and providing the user with reduced eye fatigue and enhanced vision.
I was able to use the new lens on the range at SHOT Show 2014 and noticed improved contrast on all paper targets when compared to the Red Iridium polarized lenses in my Oakley Split Jackets. Paper targets stood out from the background and the targets themselves held a bit more contrast making it easier to see hits on paper and splashes on distant steel. Sure, some of the clarity can be attributed to the virgin-clean lens, but the difference in contrast was stark even after I swapped my beat up red lenses for a set of nearly new gray lenses.
The SI Ballistic M Frame 3.0 is available with either a TR22 (darker) or the TR45 (lighter) Prizm lens for $150, or as a set with a frame, both lenses and storage case for $250 MSRP. Both lenses are also available as $65 replacements for your M Frame 3.0 frames. Oakley gets pissed when I post their SI pricing, so if you’re eligible for it head to oakleysi.com for special pricing for service members, LEOs and now vets. That’s right, Oakley has extended their their Standard Issue discount program to include veterans as well as active and reserve service members and law enforcement officers as of February 2014. Visit Oakleysi.com for details.Read More
The X400V-IR weapon light has been eagerly anticipated for it’s combination of compact size, high power, and flexibility. It features SureFire’s latest-generation vampire head that allows the user to pull and rotate between visible light an IR illumination by simply twisting the light’s bezel. This capability is matched to a 5mw IR laser that allows shooters to seamlessly transition from rifle to pistol while using night vision. There will also be a X400V-IR-C version with a lower powered IR laser for sale on the commercial market.
The X400V-IR will run for 1.8 hours at 150 lumens of white light, and for 8 hours as a 120mw IR illuminator. The X-series weapon lights were originally manufactured for use on a railed pistol, but many have found their homes on long guns, where the small form factor and powerful throw is appreciated. Pricing and availability were not yet available. www.surefire.comRead More