Dimitri Karras, the Founder of Ares Armor, Tells Us His Side of the Story

Dimitri Karras, gun activist (Photo from Solider Systems)

Dimitri Karras, gun activist (Photo from Solider Systems)

Hours before be was fired Dimitri Karras, the founder of Ares Armor, sent an email to the CEO, Bryce Stirlen. Dimitri said to me “I believe he publicly attacked me and accused me of these nefarious things as retaliation for the letter that I sent him. He emailed his baseless attack to the entire Ares Armor customer list.”.

It is only fair, after publishing Bryce Stirlen’s letter, that I also publish the letter sent by Dimitri. Because the letter contains formatting I won’t be able to reproduce here, I have embedded the letter below. The main points are …

1. There are many quotes on the Ares Armor website and blog which are falsely attributed to Dimitri. Dimitri wanted these quotes removed.

2. Dimitri claims the company was falsely promoting itself as a veteran owned company for financial gain. Dimitri claims that only 30% of the company is now veteran owned.

3. Dimitri claims company falsely promoted itself as Combat Veteran owned company. Ares heavily branded himself as a combat veteran owned company.

4. Ares failed to honor promises to support Dimitri’s legal again against the BATFE.

5. Disagreement regarding IP indemnification. I don’t know the background of this dispute.

6. Dimitri demands mediation from a neutral third-party to settle the above disputes.

7. Dimitri includes numerous supporting documents, including internal emails, to support his arguments.



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.


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  • Call HBO, I’m writing a script they’ll want to see. 😉

    • Don’t be afraid to add in a sex scene in the script , HBO lets you get away with being “graphic” in that dept.

      • iksnilol

        It’s art you frigid prude!

        Uh, i’ll be in my bunk, watching GoT.

        • MAUSERMAN

          Remind me of that firefly scene. Lol. I will be in my bunk indeed.

          • DIR911911 .

            I could stand to here some more

          • Spencer W

            Well……you can’t.

      • MAUSERMAN

        Its premium cable who cares. I seen more naked sex scenes on Argentina’s version of “dancing with the stars” oh nooooooo boobies….must not look….except they all do.

  • Giolli Joker

    This look way more professional and detailed than what we read yesterday…

  • MattCFII

    Thanks for getting that up, from the second I saw his press release compared to theirs i could see who was being the drama queen and who had their ducks in a row. Plus their near 180 stance on the BATFE last week on their blog, I’m not liking Ares much right now…

  • bmartin79

    So the guys that fired him lied .

    • Tim G.

      no suprise

  • Bear The Grizzly

    I’m not a business guy, but it stands to reason that the majority of their businesses came about when he started standing up to the ATF. You would have to be a certain type of stupid to purposefully slander the guy responsible for your sudden peak in popularity and judging by the multiple comment threads I’ve seen on this subject they have, quite effectively, sank their own ship.

    • El Duderino

      I am a business guy, and Karras has set himself up to either pay attorneys a lot of money for the almost certainly upcoming libel suit, Ares a lot of money in damages, or both. At some point you have to know when to walk away.

  • SD3

    “Firearms” not polytiks!

  • J-

    I’ve gone through all my pockets and can’t find one spare f*ck to give about this. I have no interest in building a non serialized AR from an 80% and have seen too many failures of 80% lower builds because a Harbor Freight drill press is not a CNC. So please remind me of what Ares Armor does for me that Midway USA doesn’t do cheaper and faster.

    • Andy Grewe

      That’s why you don’t use a HF drill press. Either find a reliable machine to clear the last 20%, or use a CNC. CNC is probably the cheapest option.

      That being said…..

      Ares (used to, considering their customer base just got slashed down to zero) gets you an unserialized, unregistered firearm, legally. Midway cannot and will not ever do anything remotely close to that.

      • J-

        1) I do firearms failure analysis for a living. I’ve seen a dozen failures of 80% receivers, some ARs some AKMs, where somebody wanted a totally legal “ghost gun” and did the work themselves in the garage and finished things out of spec. They “thought” it was in spec per their tape measure. Sometimes the gun just breaks. Other times is breaks bad enough that people get hurt.

        2) LIke I said, other than an unserialized lower, every other part Ares sells, you can get from Midway (barrels, uppers, BCGs, etc.).

        3) Since I don’t live in an AWB state, I feel no need to make a unserialized AR and don’t want to deal with the legal problems of having one and it go missing.

        • whskee

          There was a time when Ares would host build parties someplace with all the tooling and experience available to the customer to finish the lowers. There’s a sense of satisfaction of having truly built your own AR rather than simply parting one together.

        • Tom – UK

          Could you provide any evidence at all of the dozen failures of 80% receivers? I really wouldn’t be all to shocked that you deal with a large number of failures given it is your job. Kinda like a nurse has to deal with lots of bleeding people.

          With all due respect is it possible that you have become unknowingly biased against an entire group of things as a result of having to work with the most poorly made/put together ones?

          • J-

            Yes, I am biased against 80% lowers. I believe they are tacticool, mall ninja, idiot magnets. Sure, I’ll admit that I see a self selecting group of people who decide that they want “an AR the gubment don’t know about” and so make one from an 80% lower with a drill press and a Dremel Tool. The AK lowers are worse. I’ve seen guys buy the sheet metal blank and the mandrel and form a receiver with a 2 lbs sledge hammer like a blacksmith rather than use a hydraulic press. I won’t go as far as saying they should be made illegal. I just don’t support the purchase of them.

          • Eman

            What job has you inspecting various different broken 80% lowers? If you don’t mind me asking.

          • J-

            I’m a forensic engineer. I work for a consulting company that provides its services to attorneys and insurance companies as expert witnesses. About 90% of my job is failure analysis. My areas of expertise include firearms, light/sport aircraft, turbine engines, medical/surgical devices, general metallurgical failures.

            Guns are not my only area of speciality, but I am one of a few handful of experts that specializes in guns. I usually deal iwth cases where a firearm went kB! and somebody got hurt. Then there is the allegation that there was some sort of manufacturing or material defect in the gun or ammo that cause the failure and so either the gun or ammo company needs to pay.

            I’ve seen a number of 80% lowers fail, I’ve also seen other regular OEM AR’s come apart, as well as shotguns and handguns and rifles. There are common features you see in these failures, barrel bulges or shearing of lugs that indicate over pressure, squib loads, etc. One of the common features I’ve seen in 80% lowers is out of tolerance/alignment fit so that the BCG drags through the buffer tube. This can keep the bolt from locking completely. Not enough to prevent the firing pin from striking the primer but enough to keep the lugs from engaging all the way. Then the reduced area of lug can’t handle the pressure and the bolt opens prematurely and the upper comes apart.

    • Cymond

      Partially agree.
      Yeah, I’m interested in 80% lowers, but I will never give one flying F— about two people in a private “peeing” match.

  • Other Guy

    Well, I like the Brave New World quote on his signature.

    So I guess I’m on this guy’s side, not that what I think of this will have even the slightest effect on the outcome.

  • I’m sure that if I don’t care super hard about this my rights will be taken away. Or something.

  • guest

    lol, owned 🙂

  • n0truscotsman

    The biggest issues I see with home built AKs are improper riveting.

    Whether they use too much pressure, “squishing” the receiver or mashing the pins improperly, or not enough, to where they are loose.

    A certain group of individuals (and a company) even had the bright idea of assembling trunnion blocks in the receivers with screws. Thatll last a good 1000 rounds (if that) before the gun decides to rattle loose.

    Many people do not understand that AK receiver rivet holes are counter sunk, and are explicitly designed the way they are for a purpose. Any deviation from that process compromises the great strengths that make a kalashnikov.

    Mind you, these are mistakes I’ve seen by smiths building AKs too. If someone has an interest in building AKs, Id take Fuller’s class immediately and get educated.

  • Tim G.

    I don’t blame him. it was founded by combat vets…now just people wanting to make a quick buck. I bought my upper right before all this happened…thank god.