Ares Armor CEO Fires Founder

DRAMA! Bryce Stirlen, CEO of Ares Armor sent out an email newsletter announcing that he had fired the founder of the company Dimitri Karras. Stirlen wrote …

It is with heavy hearts in Ares Armor Inc. that we announce the forced termination of Founder Dimitri Karras for breach of duty as an employee of this firm.

Mr. Karras had been on paid administrative leave since March 2015 for highly unprofessional behavior against members of the management team, staff, and others. Most recently, he launched a series of disruptive and disrespectful public attacks against the CEO, and the company. Furthermore, the uncovering of serious financial discrepancies connected to his selling the company only served to complicate matters.

Mr. Karras repeatedly took advantage of the incredible patience and generosity of new owner and CEO, Bryce Stirlen. “We as an organization simply cannot allow him to continue this type of behavior against the company and people who supported him,” said Stirlen. “Mr. Karras has a very well-documented history. As one the of the company directors said in a management conference call, ‘sometimes to grow a bigger and better garden you just have to root out the weeds.’ Regardless, we still wish Dimitri the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Honestly I know know why bother putting “we still wish Dimitri the best of luck in his future endeavors” after referring to him in the previous sentence as a “garden weed”. I don’t know what prompted this email, maybe some of our readers can let us know in the comments.

UPDATE: Dimitri Karras response is here.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • hikerguy

    I have always thought that folks should not air their dirty laundry in public. The old saying still applies here. This will possibly lead to further problems for both parties down the road legally.

  • MattCFII

    Karras has his own press release counter that sounds very professional, should be edited to add in this post for sure. Knew something funny was going on last week when on of their blog articles said:
    “The prior management of Ares Armor had a long-running dispute with the ATF over the legal issues of 80% lower receivers for AR-15 and AR-10 style rifles, and what constitutes a firearm. That conflict came to a head when agents conducted a raid on the company in March 2014.

    Today, the bureau is pleased with the new ownership of Ares Armor Inc. Through the initiative of CEO, Bryce Stirlen, the two sides now have an open, constructive, and professional dialogue, regardless of differences in opinion on American’s rights under the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

    “Sometimes in business you may not like what you have to do, but you do it because it is right,” says Ares Armor Inc. CEO, Bryce Stirlen. “Having a healthy relationship with an entity which has as much power as the ATF is an intelligent way of conducting business. It protects the interests of our clients, customers, and employees. Conducting a constructive relationship between Ares Armor Inc. and the ATF is tactical in nature.”

    Adds Stirlen, “That said, make no mistake, we WILL NOT waiver from protecting our Second Amendment Rights. We, however, choose no longer to incite conflict with the ATF – or any other government agency or official – through disruptive and disrespectful behavior.””

    • Koyote Tan

      There you go. Why can’t they come out and say that’s the real reason? If they don’t press charges you know this stuff about financial discrepancies is bullcrap and smoke screen. “He made a series of public allegations that brought to light how we are no longer going defend the second amendment in any area that matters” should have been the quote.

    • kzrkp

      so the right thing is to praise the guy they fired while heavily implying that he was the source of every problem in a public display and simultaneously bootlick the government agency that is on a hair trigger to raid you again. uh huh.

      • OCG

        >bootlick the government agency that is on a hair trigger to raid you again.
        Yes, because sending them drawings in crayon is sure to work and not piss them off at all. I’m sure that’s a great strategy to avoid getting your business raided.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Show a little respect for our next President.

  • Koyote Tan

    The garden weed statement rubbed me the wrong way. It isn’t even an apt analogy of Dimitri, given that he is not some person that cropped up in the “garden” since he started the venture.

    A better analogy might be: Our garden is ending its reliance on the original well spring that gave it life. That doesn’t doesn’t make them look good though.

  • thetruth

    Never give up control of your company! Always stay sole proprietor or LLC at the most. But never let someone ells get greedy and fire the inventor.

    • Phil Hsueh

      I agree, if I were to ever start my company I’d have it set up so that I could never be fired from it. To me, there’s nothing sadder than when the founder of company gets fired from it, like what happened to Carl Karcher. and now Dimitri. Even I I took the company public I’d make sure that there’s some sort of clause to make sure that no matter what I’m always at the head of the totem pole for as long as I want and that I can’t be fired or forcibly retired.

    • MRHapla

      or at least retain 51% of the voting stock and get a good employment contract,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Vitsaus

    We haven’t seen the last of Karras. He needs about the same amount of attention that Kim Kardashian does, so give it a week and he’ll have a new stunt ready to get the tin foil hat crowd salivating again.

    • Joe

      Horrible anology, why the hate for Karras? Do you know him? Talked at great length with him? Nothing tin foil at all about the business that he created, when you live in CA and you have to wait 10 days to purchase a stripped lower, and then register it with Californias corrupt beaurocratic government, the whole 80% lower makes sense.And Ares Armors soft gear are/were outstanding.

      • Cymond

        I tend to agree with Karras’ views, but not his methods. His antics always seemed to be poking the bear, and the bear is already hungry and in a bad mood. It always seemed like a good way to get mauled and eaten.
        To me, his approach sorta reminds me of Leonard Embody.

    • Not me!

      Bryce….is that you?

  • Ethan

    Not to be “that boycott guy”, but it is unlikely I will do business with ARES in the future because of this.

    Their products were never that great – but I supported them because I appreciated that they were willing to push back and call a spade a spade. Or in this case state that an arbitrary, ambiguous standard was in fact arbitrary and ambiguous.

    Now that they have decided to be a play-it-safe, color-inside-the-lines kind of company they will return to being largely unremarkable.

    • Squirreltakular

      The Effin-A muzzle brake and the Combat XII Pack are good gear. Oher than that, these are my sypathies exactly. Hopefully the good guys at the company jump ship.

      • Paladin

        I quite like my Derma PC, the Austrialpin cummerbund buckles are particularly nice.

        • Squirreltakular

          If they’d offered the Derma for small size plates, I would have gotten one. It looks awesome.

  • Squirreltakular

    I don’t know this Bryce guy, but I do know Dimitri personally. He’s a good guy. A large part of Ares Armor’s business came from the fact that they were run by combat vets with principles and drive. Now? They’re going to be hemmoraging customers. One look at the comments on their Facebook page will show you that people are not happy.

  • floppyscience

    Wow… I find it hard not to side with Karras over this.

    I don’t know what he’s doing now or what his plans are, but I hope he gets back in the business with a new company and doesn’t sell it to something like this again.

  • floppyscience

    Well when you buy a company and then immediately renege on your promises, mislead your customers, and misrepresent the founder, you can expect him to be a little mad. They knew Karras isn’t a quiet guy who’d just accept this or deal with it privately.

  • Cymond
  • FourString