People Small Business Saturday – Armageddon It With Armageddon Gear Joe Dawson January 14, 2017 Join the Conversation The tactical market is full of companies trying to convince the consumer of their combat pedigree. Some focus on their love of America, others of just their overall awesomeness. Many of these companies just regurgitate other ideas, outsource to China and ride off to the bank with money made from someone else's idea. Then there are a few exceptions, however, and one of those is Georgia based Armageddon Gear. Armageddon Gear was built by a retired veteran with a proven reputation and an infinite love of country — Tom Fuller. He and his company manufacture every product here in the United States. Tom Fuller, Armageddon Gear's owner and CEO, set out to build a company he could be proud of, that employed good people, and didn't take itself too seriously. He has achieved that goal. Small Business Saturday – Armageddon It With Armageddon Gear an editorial by Joe Dawson Tom Fuller retired from the 75th Ranger Regiment as a Sgt. Major after 21 years of service. Shortly after his retirement he ended up as the military sales manager for Bushnell Optics. This job allowed him to maintain directly his connections with the military. During that time, he was constantly asked about BERRY compliant, high quality sewn goods. Many companies were being bought out and moved production overseas. If you're not familiar with the Berry Amendment, it's a statutory requirement that mandates American-made products for certain DoD purchases. Most military contracts either require or highly recommend that all products meet specific manufacturing requirements as well by made in the United States. Seeing the possibility to work for himself and meet a need in the industry, Tom began slowly developing product ideas and gaining traction among the units he'd formerly served with. He says his dream was to, “…create something to be a part of, employees could feel a part of and proud of. [To] Create a collective business where everyone succeeds and fails together” –Tom Fuller. Both his company and product line grew quickly. Armageddon Gear now consists of over 20 employees in its own building in Buena Vista, GA. Being primarily a web and distributor based business allows Tom to employ what he describes as good, hard working, small town people instead of having to move the business to a higher traffic big city. This also allows Tom to live a lifestyle that allows him to put his own products to use. It's a latitude that gives him a unique opportunity to directly test and evaluate his own designs, ensuring they can withstand abuse. Armageddon Gear's first product was the carbine sling. The idea was based on a sling they used to make in Ranger Battalion. After sewing a few and receiving feedback from both military and LE personnel and 3-Gun competitors, he put it into production. That was the first SKU in a product line now contains over 100 products, and it's still growing. New Armageddon Gear is developed as service members return from downrange, or when the hunters, outdoorsmen and competitive shooters using it bring him ideas and feedback. Armageddon Gear in its infancy won the XM2010 soft goods contract and PSR soft goods contract. Every sniper in the Marine Corps and Army was issued Armageddon Gear products. Their customers range from SIG Sauer (who includes an Armageddon Gear sling with every MPX), Barrett Rifles (who uses AG cases for the REC7), Remington, H&K and several other major firearms companies wanting to accessorize with high quality products. Separating themselves from many of their competitors, Armageddon Gear works directly with military and law enforcement units (and government agencies), to develop solutions to equipment shortfalls. Tom works diligently to ensure his company is a good resource for people headed into harms way I was recently privileged to attend the annual Armageddon Gear Pig Roast. Fuller said it would be a opportunity to really see what his company is all about and meet the people that make the company what it is. If there was ever a company to truly live the Americana experience, being 100 percent true to their public image, that really would be Armageddon Gear. I flew in to Atlanta on a Thursday and drove two hours to the small town of Buena Vista, Georgia. I was surrounded by amazing people the moment I arrived. It was more of a family reunion than a public professional event. Armageddon Gear has a close working relationship with numerous companies in the shooting industry, many of which were well represented over the course of the weekend. People from GA Precision, US Optics, Daniel Defense, Bushnell, and veterans from just about every special operations unit in SOCOM were represented. As you can imagine, it made for conversation as compelling as the people were ineresting. The next day was spent hunting hogs and gators, shooting, and fishing. We wrapped it up with a BBQ, though we'd actually yet to get to the “official” BBQ! More people began to arrive on Saturday. These were locals with a personal connection to the company, including the ladies who sew every item AG makes, local veterans and ranch owners, and many others from all walks of life. Also on site was the AG “Meat Wagon”, 1967 Kaiser Jeep ambulance M725. The Meat Wagon has to be one of the coolest company vehicles in existence. Tom makes an effort to bring the rig to shooting competitions and events across the country. It can usually be found stocked full of Armageddon Gear products for anything that you may have forgotten, and free beer for after the powder has been burned. I was able to talk to the women who work for Armageddon Gear, and hear the true dedication and their heartfelt commitment to making a good product for the people using it in dangerous places. The southern hospitality was just as abundant in the incredible food spread, with a roasted pig, chickens and every conceivable southern side dish available. After everyone had a chance to grab some food, Tom took the microphone and said a few words to thank everyone for coming and supporting his company. The party continued through the night with good food, good alcohol, and good people. The following day as I was flying home, I couldn't help but feel like I'd departed a vacation with family. The reception, attitude, and camaraderie of everyone at the event was incredible. There was no fake image, no ego, no attitude. It was a unique experience, talking to AG's people, seeing them in their natural habitat, and truly getting a sense of their ethos. Armageddon gear is a refreshingly genuine and honest company led by a true patriot hell bent on proving a company can be successful manufacturing in the United States. If you'd like to learn more about them but don't have the opportunity to attend their Pig Roast, check them out online at http://www.armageddongear.com. 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