An announcement was made during this year’s NRA Annual Meeting (NRAAM) regarding a number of firearms industry businesses banding together for a common cause. The organization is called VFOB, which stands for Veteran’s Family of Brands. Of course, their name is also a reference to the military term FOB, Forward Operating Base. In the military an FOB is a secure base meant to provide support for operations. They’re important for a number of reasons, including the fact that they increase reaction time to the surrounding area. When VFOB’s founders sat down to discuss finalizing the name on the last day of SHOT Show 2016 they made it clear they wanted the organization to be seen as a source that could be trusted by consumers and relied upon by the military community: a firearms industry FOB. Now, in just a matter of months, their vision has come to fruition and is growing by leaps and bounds.
The lead for the VFOB press release gets right to the point: “What if, every time you purchased an outdoor product, you were supporting veterans and their families?” To expand on this statement, what if, every time you bought a gun, ammo, or other gear, you knew it came from a company actually dedicated to quality? A company willing to truly stand behind its products? And from those sales, serious effort and support would – will – go to helping veterans. You see, VFOB was started not only by military veterans but by members of Gold Star families, and they want to both manufacture reliable guns and related gear and make a positive difference in the military community.
Former USAF Casey Betzold of Snake River Shooting Products (SRSP), Gold Star family member Jeff Axelson of Axelson Tactical, and Navy SEAL Master Chief (ret.) Ron Bellan of Reaper Outdoors (Survive the Hunt) are the men behind the creation of VFOB. SRSP is the company behind former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s ammunition line, Team Never Quit, while Axelson Tactical manufacturers good quality, reliable rifles and Reaper Outdoors recently launched a line of hunting ammunition alongside Ron Bellan’s outdoor show, which can be seen on the Pursuit Channel. Sitting down with the three of them and hearing their ideas for the organization and hopes for its eventual successes was interesting and made their dedication clear. For example, one of their hoped-for goals is to help veterans in need of medical care because, as Jeff Axelson said, “we don’t need [the VA’s] bureaucracy and failure anymore. We will take care of our warriors on our own.” A lofty goal to be sure, but a worthy one.
Although the aforementioned companies are the founding ones, others are being added with increasing speed. Businesses wishing to join the organization go through an application and screening process – yes, they are quite serious when they say they want this done right. Currently the companies making up VFOB include SRSP, Axelson Tactical, Reaper Outdoors, Grunt Style, Gnat Warfare, Triumph Systems, SEAL 1, and Sinterfire Ammunition. Individual and lifetime memberships are also available to the general public. Individuals get a Grunt Style tee shirt emblazoned with the organization’s logo, a sticker, a lapel pin, and $5 a month off a subscription to partner company Tactical Squirrel’s monthly box program (I’ll be doing a review of the Tactical Squirrel box program soon.). Lifetime members receive all plus a serialized coin and a 5% discount off items in the VFOB online store for life. The number on the coin can be customized by request.
This looks like an organization to watch; the premise behind it is solid and the products I myself am familiar with have proven to be well-made. They intend to strengthen both the industry and offer assistance to veterans in need, and hopefully they will succeed.
You can visit www.veteransfob.com for a closer look.
For a look at companies currently involved, visit the following links:
Axelson Tactical: http://axelsontactical.com/
Reaper Outdoors: http://reaperoutdoors.com/
Snake River Shooting Products: http://snakerivershootingproducts.com/
Sinterfire Ammunition: https://www.sinterfire.com/Default.aspx
Grunt Style: www.gruntstyle.com
Triumph Systems: https://www.triumph-systems.com/
Gnat Warfare: http://www.gnatwarfare.com/
Tactical Squirrel: https://tacticalsquirrel.com/
SEAL 1: http://www.seal1.com/