Battle Rifle Company: Back With A Vengeance

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We don’t like to give bad reviews to any product or company here at The Firearm Blog, but if we do not believe that something is up to snuff, we will make sure that our readers know that. Our own Phil White said it best to me in an email:

“I like to see people succeed, and I take no joy in seeing a company go under or turn out a terrible product.”

Amen to that too. Almost every time we have spoken negatively about a product, the manufacturer will bitterly ignore our feedback and keep on doing what they do. However, here we have an exception. At the NRA show in 2013, our own Andrew Tuohy published an article about the Texas outfit Battle Rifle Company and laid out a list of criteria that he believed made these products shoddy. Andrew’s observations were forward, honest, and to the point but after he published the article something amazing happened: The company listened.

Rather than ignore the criticism, Chris Kurzadkowski the owner of Battle Rifle Company used it to improve his products. Also instead of trying to pass the blame onto others, Chris owned up to what he perceived were errors. He admits that they rushed things to get to that NRA show and that his biggest concern now is that he wants to make sure that consumers know the new, the real Battle Rifle Company. To ensure that this would happen, Chris contacted us and asked if one of us writers would be willing to come down one day to tour his facility. Being as how I was the closest, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go. Chris was overly accommodating, offering to pay for my hotel, travel expenses, meals, and more but I told him that all of that would be unnecessary.

I arrived at Battle Rifle Company on April 30th. The photo above is a picture of Chris, Noah, and Chris’ son Nick. Their facility is located in Houston and they really rolled out the red carpet for me to showcase their wares and talent. Chris’ background includes military service from 1974 to 1994. He was commissioned in 1984 and was at on point attached as a sniper to a ranger battalion. He even was on tower watch duty on the Korean DMZ for a period of time, so he is no stranger to firearms. Battle Rifle Company grew out from Chris building a gun for his stepson to utilize in SWAT school (his stepson is in law enforcement) and he enjoyed it so much that he acquired an FFL in 2011 where he was garage based for a few years. Now Chris has kicked it into top gear and Battle Rifle Company now has over 1,000 rifles on the market!

The facility doubles as a pro shop where customers can pick and choose whatever they would like:

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Of course what they wanted to showcase was their assembly area and process, which was an AR15 fan’s dream:

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The guys are also reloading gurus, and are definitely helping keep Dillon in business:

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They are now beginning to make their own components too, including a flash hider that suppresses 98% of all flash.

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All aluminum components are now made with 7075-T6 aluminum, rather than the cheaper 6061, and receivers are done by Cerro Forge:

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All BCGs are now properly staked, MPI tested, and full auto ready:

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Barrels are all chrome lined, cryogenically treated, pre-phosphated before gas block goes on, and sourced from Black Hole Weaponry. Rails used are mostly from Odin Works, buffer springs are silicon coated, extractors have springs and doughnuts, front sight bases are “F” marked, gas blocks are staked/taper pin is blocked, and anodizing all parts is hard coat MIL-A-8625F.

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Now I was really in for a treat when I arrived, as the guys said they would build a rifle from the ground up from parts of my choosing. I thumbed through their catalog selecting what I wanted and Noah got to work puling parts:

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It is bold to use the good name of Texas in your catalog.

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We mocked the rifle up in the lobby before getting to work, just like a customer might if he wandered into the shop:

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Now normally one man would build one rifle, but as we were strained for time Nick built out the lower while Noah assembled the upper:

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One of the things that jumped out to me is how Noah lapped the upper receiver to make sure that the barrel was optimally seated. The guys have invented a unique tool (that I have been sworn to secrecy on) that laps the upper. Here is the before:

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And after:

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Nick also polished up a nickel boron trigger to install:

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The gun came together very nicely and it was fun to watch the guys doing their thing:

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All in all I was happy to hold the finished product:

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As a special treat, the guys arranged for me to test some of their stuff in their indoor testing range (which is a cool place in it of itself):

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I was more than happy to test out the freshly built rifle and other builds. Noah shot a few first:

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But then it was my turn:

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I have been doing this a long time but have never managed to catch such a brilliant muzzle flash on camera.

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All in all I liked the way everything shot, especially the 7.62×51 rifle.

After the smoke cleared I was surprised with some Battle Rifle Company swag and made an honorary member of the team for the day:

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I had a great day at Battle Rifle Company, and it was neat to see how this three man operation cares about every rifle they assemble. Again I would like to emphasize how they actually responded to our criticism and went so far as to take a risk to invite me down for all of this, as I could have just as easily made their PR situation worse had they not moved forward and adapted. It is important to these men that consumers know that they care deeply about the products they put out, and that all rifles are built with love. If you are interested in seeing more about Battle Rifle Company, check on some of these links for product videos and testimonials, as well as a sampling of products:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGSBVzFLK54&list=UU-Mit7sqGeZLU0nDIZv3jbA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyseC7ZEXdY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM22U05Ylus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDGQVueD6VE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Tk2U8pTkrM

https://www.battleriflecompany.com/content/about_us/testimonials_reviews

https://www.battleriflecompany.com/Assets/files%20for%20download/small_arms_world_vol_18_no_3_brc.pdf

 

Thank you for reading, and keep an eye out for some exciting new products from Battle Rifle Company!




Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog who was born and raised in Texas with years of experience in hunting, shooting competitions, and general collecting. A degree in History from Baylor University has contributed to his love of both early and modern firearms technology, but Alex is most fond of machine guns and other NFA toys. Alex also owns a firearm manufacturing business licensed to produce title I and II weapons.
You can reach Alex at [email protected].


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  • iksnilol

    Hat is off to them for listening. Too many people I know wouldn’t.

    They should probably patent that secret tool.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Yea they probably should. I can tell you this for a fact. We have never, to my knowledge, ever had a company contact us after a really bad review and acknowledged they made mistakes back then they listened and now they are fixed. When they contacted me and asked me if we could come and look them over and let the chips fall where they may I could have fallen out of my chair. Companies just don’t do that.
      I made it clear we would tell it like it is and if they knew they were taking a pretty big risk. Again they were willing to have us come to the company and they would be transparent and we could request what we wanted. The rest is what Alex found while he was there. It made me glad I didn’t say no!

      • Steve (TFB Editor)

        I can confirm they usually just get pissed off at me, rather than admitting they were wrong.

    • allannon

      That actually depends.

      If they maintain it as a trade secret they can keep it entirely in-house, but at the cost of not being able to monetize is (e.g. sell it to other shops). However, they’d need to defend it contractually with NDAs and noncompetes instead of federal regulations; this would create some potential limits.

      If they patent it, then the design is protected but out in the open; a competitor could apply the basic principals to a new design to create a competing product.

      If lapping the upper like that actually helps performance, then I’d like to see them patent and sell or license the tool, assuming it’s patentable. It could be a use or close adaptation of an existing tool, in which case the trade secret route would be their only option.

    • Dontgiveahoot

      Here it is (or something like it):

      http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/rifle-tools/receiver-tools/ar-15-m16-upper-receiver-lapping-tool-prod20220.aspx?avs|Make_3=AR-15/M4&psize=96

      They do work pretty well, I’ve faced a few AR receivers with one. The cylindrical part sits tightly inside the receiver and a little bit of lapping compound is applied to the face. A drill press (or hand drill) is used to spin the tool while the receiver remains stationary. Stop and wipe off the face to check progress a few times (by where the anodizing is removed), and when the entire face is shiny aluminium you’re done.

      Of course, this depends on the receiver bore diameter being the same size as the tool diameter(0.997)The bore can vary from 0.994 to 1.009 in AR-15s. Obviously an undersized tool in an oversized receiver bore is going to rattle around and not going to get you trued to the bore. My advice is to make tools to match the sizes of bore they encounter (it will vary a lot less when sourced from one manufacturer).

  • http://www.blueaugust.com Blue August

    Great article! Fantastic rifles! You guys did an excellent job! Hats off to you Firearms Blog and Alex!

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Thank you sir:-)

  • Mack

    Hat tip for owning up to mistakes and then high five for fixing those mistakes!

  • DW

    Wow, this is quite a motivating story.

    …In stark contrast to what Freedom group has been doing lately

  • clinton notestine

    sure looks a lot nicer than my back porch ;) Great to see a company open up its doors and ears.

  • jmark80

    Good to see them take some constructive criticism. I would now purchase from them.

    • TITAN308

      Sadly a lot of consumers don’t provide criticism constructively. More than a bunch of wild cavemen hooting and hollering while banging their club against the wall.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        You said it!

  • Chris

    just to be clear, they spend money to have a part nickel plated and then polish off the nickel? They also “laP’ the upper? do they do that before anodizing? I don’t think so.
    Write again when they get rid of that horrible roll mark on the upper. What does “built Texas tough” mean? Are their guns better than DD cause DD is only in Georgia? Is that why Magpul relocated, because everything from Texas is inherently better? Does that make my quantity of pre move pmags worth less now?

    Too much hat, not enough cattle in my estimation

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      What exactly are you trying to say? I’m hearing a lot of irritation but not much contribution to the topic of discussion.
      If you mean the nickel boron you can polish just about anything without removing material.

      • cayton

        I agree with what you are saying, but I don’t think you can polish metal without removing material, because that’s how polishing works. Whether or not it is a problem would depend on if the thickness of the Nickel Boron coating is less than the amount of material removed during the polishing process.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          Yea that was what I meant. If you know the thickness then you can polish it up without any problem.
          I restore old 19th and early 20th century straight razors. Many have markings on the blade that you have to be very careful with or you will remove more material than you should and make the markings fade.
          You just have to know what you’re dealing with and acquire the knowledge over time to learn the skills needed to do this kind of work.

      • Chris

        What I’m saying is they are trying to be innovative, but it comes across as more like Wiley Coyote School of Gunsmithing.
        Wouldn’t it make more sense to polish and lap bits before having the surface slicking and hardening treatments respectively applied?

        Big rollmarks and claims like “Texas tough” I also take as more marketing than actual competency.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          I don’t care for big rollmarks on any gun regardless of type. Some people do. It wouldn’t keep me from buying a good rifle,pistol etc.
          You don’t know many Texans I bet:-) They are rightfully proud of their heritage and the history of the state. That’s really all there is to that Texas Tough statement.

          • Chris

            I do know many Texans actually. Again, I’d prefer competency to bravado, as evidenced by the large roll mark and cleaver sayings. You know what FN uses as their marketing? The fact that more FN products are used by our armed forces than any other brand. You know what Colt uses? M4’s (until recently) all came from them. You know what DD uses? The SOCOM RIS II and the British rail system on ever rifle. They don’t need to say things like “Built Texas Tough” OR rollmarks that can be seen from space. Their quality speaks for itself.

            I don’t remember seeing in the TDP lapping. But what do I know.

          • CA

            Chris, you sound like you’re male pms’ing. Lots of aggression coming from you.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Yea there’s no need for that much negative.
            Alex or whichever writer is assigned brings you the verdict on quality parts, build etc. You believe it or don’t. Oh well.

    • NikonMikon

      why would you lap before finishing? finishes would alter the surface angle/squareness

  • Seth Martin

    They look like they really cleaned up their act.

  • McThag

    The lapping and stripping the anodizing concerns me because you then put the steel flange of the barrel extension against that bare aluminum.

    Electrolytic action is now free to occur.

    • Dontgiveahoot

      Which can happen regardless of whether you face the receiver or not. When the steel barrel nut is tightened it can scrape the anodizing off of the receiver threads and cause them to seize up. Always use dielectric grease on the surfaces where steel and aluminum are joined, regardless of what coating is present.

  • big daddy

    The Texas tough sounds like a bad truck commercial. There’s just nothing special about their guns. My gunsmith can put together ARs just as well from off the self parts.

    • SP mclaughlin

      “Ford is…..the best in Texas”

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        LOL–good one!

        • big daddy

          I see truck commercials on TV all the time here in Texas.
          At least they cleaned up their act. If I were going to buy another AR, it would be another DDM4V5. Or up to a Noveske if I had that much money to spend in one shot.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            Yea they have them all the time here as well. I drive a Chevy though:-)

          • big daddy

            Honestly I wish them luck. In an other life I knew start up types that started up wrong. Some fixed their issues some did not. I understand what they are trying to do and they are going about it wrong. I think people are saying put the effort into the gun and forget about any type of BS hype typical American mine’s bigger and better mentality. Just put out the best rifle for the money without the BS like PSA does. Why does it say Battle Rifle on the receiver? That’s like writing Car on the side of my car. I have a lot of PSA stuff and it’s mostly great. They do cut some corners but I replace those parts or do not use them in the build. I tried a lot of stuff and gravitate to Magpul, they all end up getting Magpul parts for ergonomic reasons. That’s a company like Noveske to emulate. On closer inspection of the picture the muzzle device looks poorly machined. It looks like it needed to be de-burred before being finished. I’m sure a qualified AR armorer could see many, many fails on those rifles if I can see the ones I do. I could only imagine what a true expert could find. It seems like their heart is in the right place but they are not experienced or qualified enough to put out a top notch product.

      • big daddy

        I know I live in central Texas and every other vehicle or so is a Truck, most of them Fords.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    When the initial controversy concerning the Texas Battle Rifle Company and its products first erupted around Andrew Tuohy’s disconcertingly candid and open assessment, I had written to say that while the then-quality of their products was questionable for a variety of reasons, I had hopes that this was the result of a learning curve, and that they would eventually be able to provide a quality end product based on that learning curve.

    I am definitely not gloating about “how right I was” , nor am I pointing out how anyone else may have rushed to judgement — that sort of egotistical rubbish is best left to those who are insecure in themselves and who have a constant need to prove how “right” they are — instead, I am simply saying that there is often more than meets the eye, and that we all need to sometimes give one another a chance to make good. That is the nature of life and living, and of our collective humanity.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      Another great comment as usual Diverengr!

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Thank you, and many more thanks for this excellent follow-up article.

    • vamtns

      well said sir I agree.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Thanks, that’s very kind of you to say so.

  • http://suburbansdomain.blogspot.com Suburban

    Extractor springs are good.

    Also, since you posted a muzzle flash pic, here’s what happens when you put a comp on a 10.5″ barrel. Yeah, admittedly, that was a dumb move.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Ouch!! How long did you see spots!

      • http://suburbansdomain.blogspot.com Suburban

        The flash is only a fraction of a second. It’s certainly not helpful, but not painful either.

  • AR15 Guy

    Nice update.

  • AR15 Guy

    The questions I have that I have never seen answered are these.
    1. What makes these guns any better than a Palmetto State Armory AR15? The uppers and lowers on these rifles are forged. I have seen 3 or 4 of the same model with different parts on them.
    2. The shop is cool, is that what makes it better than the others?
    3. I have heard the owner state their rifles are better than Daniel Defense and is on caliber with Noveske. I will say the prices are on par with Daniel Defense.
    4. Doesn’t Daniel Defense machine all their own parts?
    5. Does Battle Rifle machine anything? I didn’t see any machining equipment in these pictures.
    6. I have seen this lapping process before and I highly doubt there is a special tool. It is more likely lapping compound on the bolt worked back and forth over and over. Like they do on the Glocks.
    7. The video they have out there that shows the Battle Rifle crew putting the rifle through it paces was pretty impressive. Then I heard that the owner had the crew lube it between each and every evolution off camera. This would be considered dishonest. Daniel Defense or Red Jacket didn’t do that when they performed similar tests.
    8. How consistent are the shot groups?
    9. I am troubled with the pricing of this companies’ rifles. How do they come to $995 for the basic trooper when you can get a S&W M&P 15 or DPMS Oracle for $700 – $800. I don’t think a dust cover and forward assist is $200 for a company that is barely heard throughout the country.
    10. I have seen serial numbers for these rifles in the last couple of weeks in the low 400’s. How did they get over 1,000 rifles in circulation? Did the first 600 have different serial numbers? Or do they have 1,000 rifles made?

    I would say they are a pretty average rifle that would get the job done. But I think the ownership of this company thinks they are worth more than what is actually in these rifles. Who does the quality control?

    • hydepark

      These are some of my thoughts as well. To add something else nobody has mentioned, we should not forget the arrogance and ignorance that founded the company. Dominant cultures in businesses usually have one source: the top. Not to say people don’t or can’t change, but companies that start out that poorly and dishonestly rarely end up like Geissele and Magpul. The right ethics and mindset need to be present from the start, not a reactionary afterthought to try to counteract poor sales.

      And maybe this isn’t the type of shop for most of the readers here to begin with. I pride myself on having the tools and knowledge (*ahem, and some help from YouTube and various forums*) to assemble an AR variant from parts, top to bottom. And just like AR15 Guy said, I would recommend first timers go pick up a Spike’s, S&W, Colt, or one of the other proven brands well before some random shop’s (in my opinion ugly and unrefined) builds. I don’t happen to think the components these “Battle Rifle” guys are using are all that great, either. For a similar price, a truly battle ready rifle with better trigger, better rail, better barrel, etc. can easily be had.

      Also, did they speak at all to their warranties or customer service? Didn’t think so.

      Not trying to be negative, but I’ll be the first one to admit this place won’t ever be on my radar for anything but food for thought, if that.

      • AR15 Guy

        We know you have made an investment- and we respect that. We also believe in our rifles, so our service does not end when we sell you a rifle.
        We stand behind every rifle we build, with the best customer service in the industry. We offer a limited Lifetime warranty on all workmanship and assure freedom from defects.
        We offer a 1 year warranty on all parts and components and after one year will replace worn parts at cost.
        We offer a 24 hour warranty turnaround service- The Best in the Industry that’s our dedication to our customers and our dealer network.
        We offer this service whether you by directly from us, or through one of our dealers anywhere in the country.
        If the rifle is determined to be under warranty, we offer free shipping to and from you location or assigned FFL.
        We offer “Walk-in service” for our customers local to the Houston area.

        This is the warranty directly from their website. I will argue what I have heard about this warranty. I have witnessed the owner state the rifles come with a lifetime warranty. Never mentioned “Limited.” I have heard and read from a variety of sources that Chris, the owner, has a tendency to blame the rifle owner rather than just fix it. Even a brand new rifle. I read in a review somewhere that the rifle have been sold with missing pins and small things like that. I could do this and just sell you a rifle. I am pretty sure my price would be much lower then these high end cost, average build rifles.

        If Battle Rifle is truly listening to their customers, then they will revisit their price points. Make less money per rifle to let us, the consumers, try them or continue to have Cadillac prices for a Kia product. Yes, I have tried and inspected these rifles through a variety of friends that own them. I don’t find anything special about these rifles. The owner tends to give them a bad name by the statements that he makes. He might try more honestly representing the product. He doesn’t make a single thing in this rifle, so how can he make a claim as to the quality of the parts. Most of components don’t even come from Texas. Just my opinion. If you want an average rifle, there are much cheaper ones out there, with the same or a better warranty.

        Here

    • BCMinQLD

      I feel like we end up in two camps here. Camp one wants to know if the quality is as good or better than… let’s say colt for example. If it’s not up to colt quality or it hasnt added any new features that make it stand out then it must be a cheap piece of shit. Camp two seems to look at the specs, are they on par for equivalent guns in my price range? They say hey Jack I would buy that gun of reasonable quality per price because it fits my personal hunting/ recreational/ varmit / truck gun on the ranch needs. And kudos to that company for taking that crisicism and building from it.

      • mitch c

        Wouldn’t have to do much to better that POS colt. I was unfortunate enough to be forced to carry a colt early on in my Army career and wouldn’t wish one on anyone. I was so happy after moving onward and upward in my career to the point where I got to pick and choose my weapons as I saw fit. As for FN, more JUNK. Thank God for the Germans and H&K as well as Ronnie Barrett! It’s really great to go into a hostile environment equipped with weapons (H&K/Barrett) that you KNOW will NOT let you down.

  • whatstock

    anybody know what stock they used for the “assembled there” rifle? looks similar to a magpul, but different.

  • Andrew R
  • Ross

    Good luck to them glad they have gotten their stuff together, that being said the associate with the ponytail above is running a 33 round stick in a Glock 17 for a “shop gun” that folks just has Mall Ninja written all over it.

  • ColaBox

    Glad to see a company taking the criticism and making improvements. A rare thing in todays society. Now if only we could take this whole “listen to people” thing and apply it to radio stations.

  • Mehul Kamdar

    Alex,

    Thanks for this review. I am moving permanently to Houston in just two weeks from now (my new home will be ready this Friday) and I have been wondering whom to talk to about an AR build. I now know whom to go to. Thanks again!

  • gbailey814

    It’s great to see they are making improvements but two things still bother me: 1. The unsafe manipulation of their weapons from the first video that had posted on youtube. For someone who was allegedly sniper trained, the lack of proper finger placement makes me suspect. 2. I am doubtful that they are providing weapons to “three letter agencies” as claimed in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3C0I8cgE4c. Being current active military, I am not aware of all the companies the military buys from, but I know that they usually buy in bulk and from companies that actually produce weapons and are not simply assemblers.

    • hydepark

      I’m not sure that I want a Meth zombie putting my rifles together.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Where did that come from?

        • hydepark

          The video directly above.

    • AR15 Guy

      This is to Chris K. Tell us all, who are these 3 letter agencies you speak of. We would like the proof that this is true.

  • Marmot

    Hydepark’s comment concerning the “arrogance and ignorance” of these folks is extremely well said. Think carefully before doing business with them.

  • http://www.battleriflecompany.com Chris K

    I just wanted to say thank you to everyone. If you are interested in finding out for yourself, than you are more than welcome to stop by our facility. We would be happy to show you what we do and share with you our processes. We are located at 1056 Hercules Ave in Houston, Texas 77058. we are open from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday.
    you can reach us at 281-777-0316.

    Despite what some might say, we take great care to build a better rifle, and each one is made with a great deal of quality and consideration. If something goes wrong we fix it or replace that part within 24 hours. We stand behind our work. We use only the best components. We constantly work to improve. We listen to our customers. We try harder.

    Again thank you

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Thanks for commenting Chris

  • noob

    This is awesome!

    and I love that Noah’s everyday carry is a 30rd happy stick.

  • AR15 Guy

    I would like to hear from anyone who has a rifle from these guys with a serial number in the 1,000 plus range.

  • 101nomad

    Choices are wonderful. I would take a look at this one.

  • Charles West

    Hat off to them and all! but one thing putting “battle rifle” on 5.56 rifle… not good idea…

  • Charles West

    I kinda want just go and work with them

  • Odeezy Liita

    Good for them! I have to admit I was put off by visiting their website & seeing how shoddy it was. As well as watching Chris do interviews at SHOT about rifles and only going over dust Covers and forward assists on their rifles as “full-featured”. I can understand that they rushed for SHOT but NEVER think you can fool the serious gun enthusiasts because A) most of us know what we’re talking about B) We buy most if not all parts throughout our lifetimes as opposed to some wannabe AR15 bandwagon noob, who’s just buying anything someone flashes in front of them. They don’t even know what does what. So, BRC….hats off! You’ve started heading into the right direction.

  • Kivaari

    Each manufacturer needs to be open to criticism. Some companies simply have poor relations with customers. Beretta has a hostile customer service department. Taurus at times was bad. Some companies put out products that were obviously never tested. They need to listen to customers including the retailers, that get stuck selling junk products, and taking the heat face to face from customers.