Ares CEO Apologizes For Firing Dimitrios Karras

It seems the recent Ares Armor drama may soon be resolved. After publicly firing founder Dimitrios Karras, the CEO of the company Bryce Stirlen has apologized in an open letter for the firing and his public remarks. This comes after Karras responded, telling his side of the story to TFB. Stirlen’s letter is reproduced below:

Please allow me to extend my deepest apologies to the employees, management team of Ares Armor Inc., and to those of you who have felt a connection to us.  Yesterday, I violated your trust, by posting information about Dimitri Karras’ departure and our letter to him. I made a mistake, I let emotions get the better of me and I reacted in a manner that is not in line with the way that Ares Armor Inc. composes itself. I am sorry for my errors and I only hope you afford me the ability to regain the trust which we have built over the past seven months since I acquired Ares Armor Inc.

To Mr. Karras, I apologize for posting information publicly that should have remained private. Regardless of our differences and how we have clearly hurt one another – it gave me no right to disrespect you, for that I apologize.

When I met Dimitri and saw what his team built, it amazed me as I learned more about the incredible technology they developed, and the passion which fueled the company.  Since Dimitri wanted to sell the company, I believed my professional experience teamed with these great people could lift the company to greater success. I fell in love with Ares Armor. More importantly, I fell in love with its people, and everything this company has done for the veteran community and will continue to do.

In closing, Dimitri was invited to my office yesterday and although both of us are emotional and have not fully resolved our differences, we made some good headway.  Regardless, this should have never been put in a public forum, and I realize how wrong it was to the wonderful people of Ares Armor, Mr. Karras and our valued customers.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support for Ares Armor Inc.


Best regards,


Bryce Stirlen, CEO

Ares Armor, Inc.

While I know of Karras from his colorful response to inconsistent ATF regulation on the definition of 80% receivers, I know little of Stirlen and what may have come between the two of them.


Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • jbgleason

    Good lord. How is it possible that these drama queen children are managing to run a successful business? Get over yourselves, all of you, and start acting like professionals.

    • Vitsaus

      Exactly. After seeing Karras’ antics you would think he was 15, but it appears that the whole company is run by high school kids.

      • MR

        Hey, drama gets publicity. What’s the first name you think of when you think of 80% receivers? That’s right, NoDak Spud. Wait…

        • imachinegunstuff

          I think of the dickbutt special edition

      • Ajax

        I hardly call calling the ATF out for what it is (a corrupt organization) antics. He has done more to oppose the ATF than most of us have-and it was pretty darn funny the way he did it, too.

      • Paladin

        I’ll stand by Dimitrios, he’s been fighting the ATF’s BS quite tenaciously.

      • sauerquint

        I think I’ve had 1 boss that was not a drama queen. The people above him more than made up for it though. So many people, when they attain a position above others, let it go straight to the over sized heads.

    • Will

      Are they successful? As near as I can tell, the only thing this company ships out is crank emails.

      • Paladin

        I’ve bought several items of gear from them, the quality is excellent.

    • MR

      They seem to be styling their behavior after Donald Trump. There’s a man Colt should be studying. Corporate bankruptcy four times. Seems to make it work for him, if not his creditors.

  • Matt


    • Paladin

      You might not care, but (this may come as a shock to you) you don’t represent everyone.

      I do care. Ares Armour makes good gear, and Dimitrios has been fighting hard for gun rights. It sucks to see him getting screwed out of the company he started.

      • javierjuanmanuel

        Sounds like he sold, not screwed at all.

        • Paladin

          He sold majority stake so he could concentrate on the fight with the ATF without having to deal with day-to-day management. The sale was on the condition that the new owner would continue to support that fight, which did not happen.

          • Cymond

            “without having to deal with day-to-day management.”
            That could be done by just hiring a manager, without selling.

          • Paladin

            Indeed, and given what’s happened that may have been the wiser choice. But I suspect the sale may have also been needed to provide an influx of funds to hire lawyers and such.

    • If you have a stake in Ares Armor, you do.

  • Paladin

    I notice that Stirlen did not apologize for firing Dimitrios, but rather for announcing it publicly. My opinion may not count for much, but it would seem that selling the business to Stirlen was a mistake.

    I hate to see this kind of stuff happening to a business that, in my estimation, makes some very high quality and innovative gear, and has been a tireless supporter of the RKBA.

  • Joe

    Drama Queens! great publicity!

    • Paladin

      It’s terrible publicity. I don’t doubt they’re loosing customers over this spat. I know that personally I’m going to have a tough time deciding whether or not to make future purchases from them depending on how they handle this. Bryce Stirlen does not seem like the kind of person I want my money to go to.

      • ruinator

        As the saying goes, “There is no such thing as bad publicity”

        • Paladin

          The saying is wrong. Plenty of companies have been ruined by bad press, particularly in this industry.

          • n0truscotsman

            A couple companies’ names come to mind, actually. One of which had a very interesting rifle design that didn’t emerge more, no doubt because of the eccentricities of the owner.

          • Paladin

            I believe I know the design of which you speak, it’s still fairly popular up here in Canada, mostly because AR15s are restricted. People are willing to overlook the owner’s eccentricities if it means they can get an MSR they can hunt with, or shoot on crown land.

          • n0truscotsman

            Yes, we are on the same page 😉

            Canada was the design’s saving grace IMO.

            I love the rifle too. It needs a couple modifications in the design, but the ones ive seen ran were pretty solid.

          • Paladin

            It’s definitely an interesting design, and well thought out. The one major change I’d make would be a folding charging handle.

        • nadnerbus

          That may be true in show biz and politics, but it just doesn’t apply in the marketplace. Reputation is everything. And that goes double in the firearms world, where the marketplace is smaller, more organized, and generally much better informed.

        • Hank Seiter

          That only applies to Hollyweird celebrities and bread & circus freaks.

  • stephen

    I don’t care for drama but when a company claims that they are owned by combat vets and its not, that bothers me.

    If they can stretch the truth when it comes to simple things, how can you trust them with big things?

    Count me out.

  • Budogunner

    This reminds me of when Remington fired the founder of AAC. He later won a lawsuit against them over it and went to work for Sig. A few months later, Sig announce their own line of silencers.

    Hopefully Dimitri can move on to better pastures as well, continuing his fight for our rights.

    • Paladin

      That was my first thought too. When I saw the presser Stirlen put out I was thinking “it’s Kevin Brittingham all over again.”

    • Grindstone50k

      Same old thing happens in every industry. Some “business professional” takes over and runs the business into the ground, far from the original vision.

  • tazman66gt

    I guess any publicity is good publicity. Wouldn’t be surprised if this was all staged, think they watched too much ”reality” TV.

    • Sledgecrowbar

      Not in this case. I’d bet the orders just about stopped rolling in once Stirlen publicized his temper tantrum and Karros responded like an adult, since he was airing the dirty laundry that was Stirlen’s to begin with. I’m sorry I purchased anything from the Stirlen-owned Ares Armor but until such day that Karros is the sole CEO, I’m gladly done with that company. Stirlen does not deserve any of my money.

      I hope Dmitri decides to start another company and keeps pushing the limits. It was great to see someone standing up to the nonsensical regulations we conform to.

      • Budogunner

        Yep, I keep a boycott list. Guess what company name just got added.

  • Simcha M.

    That photo might have been titled: “Dimitrios and Bryce in happier times”.

  • Mohammed

    Stirlen is a terrible business person. You don’t do this during the slowest part of the year for sales. They may not recover from this idiot

  • consultingdoc

    Stirlen also owes readers of his press release an apology for writing that this is not the way that Ares “composes itself;” the correct word for which he was searching is “comports” itself. While it’s not a felony in most states, in Texas it is a Class A misdemeanor to assault and batter the English language.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Apparently you haven’t talked to the Texans I have…

  • Phillip Cooper

    Jesus, Alice… will you two guys just kiss, already? You can even get married, now…

  • Paladin

    The new CEO is also the majority shareholder, so firing him won’t be easy (and he was the one airing the dirty laundry).

    As for why they go after the ATF, to a large extent the ATF is the one making the rules. They actually have a fair bit of power in terms of how they choose to enforce laws and interpret definitions.

  • Bill

    That’s what happens when a visionary sells to a pencil pusher. If it had been my baby, it would never have been put up for sale.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    I placed an Ares Armor order for some AR parts for a couple of AR builds, based largely on my desire to support a company that was fighting for our right to keep and bear arms. This was soon after Stirlen bought controlling interest in Ares Armor, although I didn’t know that at the time. I wasn’t pleased with the way my order was handled. The items were listed online as being in stock. They even had real time inventory reporting. However, after I placed my order, it appeared to me that they were pre-selling items they had ordered from a supplier and they didn’t stock the items they sold to me. I wasn’t really in a huge hurry and I did eventually get the items that I ordered without too much hassle, but I didn’t care for what seemed to me to be a deception perpetrated to improve their cash flow. They had online inventory showing items as in stock, but the fine print when ordering stated that my credit card would be charged even though orders may not be filled for months and I understand this prior to placing the order. It just seemed like a shady business practice, and it soured me on Ares Armor, despite Dimitri Karras standing up to the BATFE and deliberately using the company to advocate for our rights.

  • NikonMikon

    NOPE. F**** you Bryce Stirlen.

  • jeffrey melton

    I understand that arguements become acrid and harmful but that should never become public. Amature move on their part. Same thing could happen to their product line. Amatures, I won’t take the chance, when the trigger is pulled the gun must go bang . Count me out.

  • Steve Gwilt

    I don’t care about all the drama. We all just need to pull together and stand up to the Obama regime and his ATF bullies.