F4 Defense Launches Amidst Originality Controversy on Flagship F4 Reciever Set

F4 Defense, a new firearms company who’s Mission Statement includes: “F4 Defense is unrelenting in its pursuit of innovative and game changing weapon platforms for the military, LE, and civilian markets” is launching its first rifle to a bit of a controversy.

Through Facebook, Blacklist Industries President Reco Simms has contended that the design of F4’s new receivers was commissioned by Blacklist Industries. Blacklist contends the design was completed by the contract engineer but that the engineer declined to bill Blacklist and now is a co-owner of F4 Defense.

Originally posted on July 28th by Mr. Simms:

Well doesn’t this look all to familiar….

I found a CAD designer to do a upper receiver for me based on a blank with my vision and input some time ago. Instead of billing me accordingly as we agreed upon, he runs off with my files and partners with some international clowns at F4 Defense. Not even surprised F4 Defense doesn’t have the decency to respond to me. Lets have a round of applause for these guys and their originality.

Since I have no legal grounds to sue, I’ll just see to it that everyone knows this is my shit! Maybe this will get them to reply once the word spreads

Update: Now they are claiming that Nathan who is the co owner of F4 Defense sold the upper to F4 Defense because I did not pay my bill for the design. I cannot possibly pay a bill without an invoice or any response from the person who is supposed to send the invoice. But magically the designer that I supposedly refused to pay is the co owner of F4 Defense 🤔

F4 Defense was not quite going to take it on the nose, issuing a statement on July 29th:

The following is our response to Blacklist Industries’ claim that we stole their upper design.

In May of 2016, F4 Defense contracted Nathan Fuentes, a freelance firearm engineer to help us build our line of products. At the time, Mr. Fuentes was working with several other companies, including Blacklist Industries.

According to Mr. Fuentes and backed by documentation, the design was offered to Blacklist Industries, but payment was never received, leaving the ownership of the design as intellectual property of Mr. Fuentes.

F4 Defense invited Mr. Fuentes to join our team in Spring of 2017 as our Chief Designer. In so doing, his designs and intellectual property became available to F4 Defense, including the upper design we have manufactured.

We find the capricious claims by Blacklist Industries unwarranted and false.

F4 Defense is a company grounded on sound ethics, principles and business practices. We will continue to build quality and innovative products for the firearms industry despite others who try to besmirch a company on its launch day.

Dave Fairfax, COO
F4 Defense

That would seem to be a strong statement, but Mr. Simms did not agree with the assertions that payment was never received as he was never invoiced be the agreement:

And the lies continue…. show some dated invoice or emails or it didn’t happen!

Waiting to see those documents they claim to have just like im still waiting on the invoice I never received. Waiting to see where I declined to pay….It supposedly exists but yet they didn’t care to share it with the public.All while trying to comprehend how the CAD Designer who ran off with my design is now a co owner in the company he supposedly sold my design to. Pretty elaborate story that has no proof and it all confirms that the design is in fact Blacklists.

We’ll be following the story from here, but its a fairly large allegation that the design was ripped off, if not potentially stolen.

Where Mr. Simms is asking for documentation, I think it also fair if they are fighting in the court of public opinion to likewise release his side of the story with e-mails and documents to back up his assertions.


TFB’s FNG. Completely irreverent of all things marketing but a passionate lover of new ideas and old ones well executed. Enjoys musing on all things firearms, shooting 3-gun, and attempting to be both tacticool AND tactical.


  • FarmerB


  • steveday72

    They appear to be typical scammers who can’t come up with anything original.

    Just look at the name alone – they see F-1 Firearms doing so well, so decide to copy that name as much as they can get away with.

    I don’t expect they’ll be around for long .. hopefully. Let’s hope Karma catches up with them.

  • Klaus Von Schmitto

    Any new company is going to have to try real hard to sell me after I got my 308 billet set from Live Free Armory. Cerakoted, shipped, and transferred for less than 270 dollars. And they are perfect.

    • PeterK

      Daaang, that is a good price. I’ll have to check them out. Thanks for the tip.

  • Brett baker

    About 5 years too late for a new AR to boot.

    • civilianaf

      They should have made an ambi selector, nobody makes those.

  • pun&gun

    I don’t see anything innovative about that receiver set.

  • QuadGMoto

    It’s interesting how the statement from F4 does not actually say that an invoice was sent, merely “the design was offered.”

    There is some room between these two claims for something like an argument over how much the engineer wanted to charge, but neither side mentions such an issue. That leaves Blacklist looking more honest than F4.

  • PK

    Prove it. That’s the crux of the issue. In this day and age, it’s rather silly not to get a work order/contract before a job of this nature is even started. At this point, as he well knows, it’s purely hearsay.

    “Pretty elaborate story that has no proof and it all confirms that the design is in fact Blacklists.”

    Absence of evidence isn’t evidence, and surely isn’t legal proof.

    • I expect that if the lack of invoicing is as clear-cut as Blacklist Industries makes it out to be, finding a lawyer to take on the case and sue them into the ground is a no-brainer.

      • PK

        I tend to lean more toward the lack of an invoice not proving anything, absent other concrete evidence. A work order? Communications? Anything at all that proves the first party has some claim over it? If a random person claimed I designed something for them, but then never sent an invoice, what claim would they have to it? That’s the situation, so far as I see.

        • The issue here, though, is in the terms of the agreement. It’s pretty standard for someone doing consulting design work to maintain the rights over anything they develop until paid for their work.

          If you came to me with an idea for something you wanted designed, say a new cam shaft, and you gave me specifications and asked me to develop a blueprint from the design, then other than your provided specifications, all of the work to actually develop the design/blueprint is mine, as I did all the work and engineering to make your idea into a working part. And, I would likely get a signed agreement/estimate which includes the costs, and the provisions spelled out.

          Anyone doing design work or consulting does this in order to have some leverage to ensure they get paid for their work. If you don’t pay for what I’ve designed, I’m free to shop it around to other clients who might be interested in it as a way to recoup my costs.

          In this case, if no invoice exists, nor any record of communication showing that the customer was notified that the job was done and payment was due, then the designer is negligent as he didn’t do his due diligence in notifying the client that he was done and expecting payment, thus denying the client the reasonable ability to pay for and claim his property.

          However, if the designer can show he acted in good faith to provide an invoice and seek payment for his work, with no response from the client, the client’s SOL.

          • Lawbob

            Good points.

            But he’s not negligent. He hasn’t performed under the terms of the contract to give him the “leverage” he now uses (keeping the IP).

            Bottom line: we need to see the agreement between BL and Nathan. Or the emails / texts establishing the “contract” terms that they agreed to.

          • Right, we’re saying the same thing. My statement assumes that there was an invoice sent that BL ignored/failed to pay. Nathan can make or break that argument by producing communications and data that shows he provided an invoice, etc.

            If he can’t show he did that, he’s SOL.

  • Adam W

    The firearms industry isn’t a massive place, and bad reputations linger for years. Hopefully F4 can clear themselves or make it right before they are black listed by their reputation so early on.

    That being said… at this point I wouldn’t give a penny to them no matter how amazing their product is. My wallet is only so big and there are plenty of other companies deserving of my money

  • civilianaf

    Jeez man how much value are people gonna put on a receiver set for black rifles whose market is so soft. If you are putting time and money to enter into a market that is saturated with vanilla products, expect to get you a$$ handed to you.

    They haven’t even started in the market and there is already drama. Good luck with that.

  • PK

    Serious legal matters aside, how funny is it that a company named Blacklist could potentially blacklist another company in the public eye?

  • Charlie Victor Alpha

    Plenty of other AR parts out there without the side helping of drama.

  • Hyasuma

    Wouldn’t you sign a NDA before you work with the contractor?

  • insider

    Arguing about originality over a billet AR receiver set in the year 2017. The irony is thick.

  • ozzallos .

    “Waiting to see those documents they claim to have just like im still waiting on the invoice I never received.”

    Actually, wouldn’t it be incumbent on you over there at Blacklist to show proof of purchase and payment for the design since you’re the ones claiming wrong doing? And the lack of an invoice only kinda proves you never owned it to begin with? And it’s another AR reciever with scifi angles. Yay?

    • Seth Hill

      Ummmmm….. how can Blacklist show that proof when they (supposedly) haven’t received an invoice or receipt as noted in your quote? Do you even read what you post?

      • PeterK

        Where’s their written business agreement? Documentation of his “input” that he’s claiming was stolen? He flat out says he has no grounds to sue. So he has nothing. Not sure why he is stirring things up. Other than he’s understandably mad. Dumb move in my book.

  • john huscio

    IP thievery from Blacklist industries? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2eb77ba2cbd0ddb8a265aed3e63e2899d4577bd1e7a59d8858b76c3f458068cf.jpg

    Reds not gonna be happy about that

  • PariahCarrey

    F4 needs to put up or shut up. If they don’t, let them be a pariah.

  • PeterK

    “I have no grounds to sue, but I’ll sure give you grounds for libel if I can!”

    Seriously? Pony up documentatino, or GTFO.

    Though if they did take his design that is a crap thing to do.


    If they stole it, they did him a favor. The AR market is so soft, no one is looking for yet another high-end AR receiver.

  • Lawbob

    Blacklist: show me your contract with Nathan. You should have one where his contracted work is your intellectual property.

    Or emails that put this in this context.

    That “you didn’t pay him” doesn’t change that fact. His cause of action is to sue you for not paying him. He doesn’t get to keep the intellectual design. Now he might refuse to “hand it over” until you pay, but it’s not his to give / sell to someone else.

    If you have the contract, or supporting emails, you can sue f4. And Nathan.

    • Lawbob

      We need to see the contract.

  • NINJA del TACO

    Looks like another company stole their logo! And name. When will the madness STOP? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/42ec067bf4aad6b78a086e2c8d48f8628af68d785baba62b1509a8d71fd6149e.jpg

  • Robert Kruckman

    How tough is it to design an AR upper. Icould put my grandmothers face on it if I had the right tools. What did this guy do for U???

  • Triplanetary

    Ducking the paperwork and pretending to be a good guy is central to the way many people steal intellectual property and work. “Let’s keep working, it will take a while to get everything in motion”. It happens all the time, people steal and because they don’t look like streetwise muggers we don’t see that they are just as insidous as any other criminal.

  • Gundesigner

    Is that Nathan Fuentes with SSI Defense? I was looking to have him do some work for me, but now I’m real nervous about that.