BREAKING: Hexmag CAUGHT Erasing Magazine’s Designer from Official Company History – A TFB EXCLUSIVE

    A render of the REV A03 magazine prototype, which became the Hexmag HX30-AR. In 2014, the company fell out with the magazine's designer, Adam Schefter, and now has attempted to erase him from the company's official history. Image credit: Adam Schefter

    In a story that could be ripped right from the annals of Stalin-era Soviet history, polymer AR-15 magazine manufacturer Hexmag has been caught whitewashing its official corporate history to eliminate any mention of the original designer of the magazine, replacing him with the company’s founder.

    The kicker? The Hexmag’s designer is the founder’s own brother.

     

    This past Veteran’s Day, Hexmag updated their website with an official company history, reproduced in part below:

    In 2013 in Loveland, Colorado, Aaron Schefter looked over the various AR magazines on the market and thought he could do better. He joined forces with George Brown (now President) and began experimenting with various mold configurations and polymer compounds.

    Modifying various designs for some time they eventually arrived at a design that delivered form and function with a unique set of features needed for a state of the art magazine. Designing a magazine that feeds reliably is extremely difficult since most stoppages are due to defective magazines regardless of firearm type.

    To get a magazine to correctly lock up tightly in the firearm, feed reliably and add additional desired features such as a sturdy and functional slot for reliably charging the magazine from 10-round strippers is a real trick. The Hexmag duo worked through countless hours of design iterations and composite parings to get it to do all of this and operate correctly.

    The guys knew there are problems in desert conditions when it comes to cleaning the magazines from dust, dirt and sand. They had to find an easier way to release the base plate for easy cleaning and quick and easy reassembly–they did and it is a quick and easy tool-less design. They also added a bright colored anti-tipping follower so it is easy to see if the magazine is empty or not in low light conditions.

    Aaron Schefter is identified in the text as the founder and original designer of the Hexmag rifle magazine, who created the patterned polymer feeding device after he “looked over the various AR magazines on the market and thought he could do better.” The problem is that this is a fabrication. The true designer of the company’s flagship product was in fact Aaron’s younger brother, Adam Schefter. Adam began designing the Hexmag in SolidWorks at his brother’s request, at one point asking a friend’s advice on the design of the magazine’s feed tower. That friend later became a writer for TheFirearmBlog.com, and is one and the same with yours truly.

    So, when I saw the company’s history page, I knew I was looking at a completely fabricated narrative. Besides the exclusion of Adam from the narrative entirely, many other details about the company’s origin are wrong in the text. I called Adam to get his side of the story, and to take a look at the design history of the Hexmag. Here’s what he said:

    I had started using AutoCAD and SolidWorks to reverse-engineer various firearms and firearm parts, including AK magazines, AR-15 grips, and at one point an AK-74 parts kit. After the Sandy Hook shooting, my brother Aaron got the idea to start a company making AR-15 magazines, and asked me to design one, so I did. I started with a cartridge stack of 5.56mm ammunition, and built a follower and floorplate and magazine body around that. The very first designs had no pattern to them, and looked pretty boring. I was sitting around thinking about how to make them look more interesting, and staring at a small plastic box that had a hexagon pattern built in. I decided that the hexagons looked cool, so I built that into the magazine. At this point, the company was going to be called “Schefter Rifleworks” and the earliest magazines had this on the side, but Aaron decided that people would just call the magazine a “hex mag”, and that’s where the company name came from.

    The files were sent off to a rapid prototyping company, and several 3D printed prototypes were made. These weren’t intended to be functional, but Aaron and I decided that we would test them anyway, and got promising results, even though the magazines broke.

    Iterative design changes followed, to beef the magazines up for rapid prototyping, which resulted in a very thick 3D printed prototype. At this point, we brought in a mold making company, who suggested changes to the design. I followed his advice and started my first clean-sheet design since the beginning of the project, called REV B01. I brought this back to the mold maker three days later, and when he saw it, he said: “Are you sure you haven’t done this before?” I just followed his advice!

    Around the time the molds were being made for REV B01 – this was summer of 2013 – George got involved in the company as a financier. He was going to mortgage his house to pay for the molds, although I think it turned out Aaron got a loan from our parents instead. I’m not sure, because Aaron liked to keep me in the dark regarding the finances of the company. Anyway, REV B01 became the first magazine to actually be molded in polymer. It had some problems, minor fitment issues with the mold and that sort of thing. They would mold the mag, it would come out and the feed lips wouldn’t be right, and then I would correct the problem in the magazine design, that sort of thing. At one point, Aaron and George went over my head (I had final say in the design) and got the mold maker to thicken the underside of the magazine feed lips. The mold maker asked them if they were sure they wanted to change it, because these molds are very expensive and if it didn’t work they’d have to make entirely new parts of the mold, which cost thousands of dollars. They had him do it anyway, and so of course thickening the feed lips like that didn’t give the cartridges room to make it to the chamber. Weapons started having problems that worked fine with the previous design – my design. So the mold maker had to change it.

    There were some further issues with things like the molds for the floorplate and follower. Eventually, they had to scrap the follower mold and follower. After these issues were resolved, and some aesthetic changes made at the suggestion of our marketing consultant, this became the first gen magazine. It went into production in early 2014, around March or April of that year.

    Once money got involved between me and my brother, we started having problems. He expected me to just give him designs, in return for my share of the company, which was five percent. Well, originally I wanted 20% in the company, since it was my magazine design, but he talked me down to 5%. Still, he acted like that 5% was all the compensation I needed to just hand my designs over to him – not just for the magazine, but for other things, too. Keep in mind, nothing in my agreement said that my work was the property of Hexmag. In fact, the Hexmag itself was originally supposed to be my property too, with my name on the patent as the assignee. However, they pressured me into having it assigned to Hexmag, with me as the inventor. At the time, I was not doing well in my personal life, and they used this to leverage me into making decisions that were not in my best interest.

    There was a grip design – I’ll give you the render of it – that I made, which had the same tessellated hexagon pattern. The pattern actually flowed with the mag, at the same angle. However, I didn’t let them have it without buying it from me, so they went to another company and just subcontracted a different hexagon-patterned grip to them.

    I learned from the Hexmag mistake, and didn’t give them anything else without compensation. They obviously didn’t like this, so in December of 2014, they voted me out of the company. Apparently, they voted me out of existence, too, hahah. I’m not sure what they’ve done to it since I left.

    Here is the patent for the Hexmag HX30-AR, listing Adam Schefter as the inventor, along with his brother:

    Hexmagpatent

     

    UPDATE: HexMag decided to revise their company history after this after was published. We will keep an eye on their company history in the future. 

    Adam has also graciously allowed TFB to share images of some of the magazine design iterations of the Hexmag, along with some of his other projects:

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    A render of the original cartridge stack, around which the magazine’s body was designed. Image credit: Adam Schefter

     

    FTF 30 Rev A01.1

    Prototype A01, this was the first of Adam’s designs to have a tessellated hexagon pattern. It predates the “Hexmag” name, and is marked “FTF 30”. Image credit: Adam Schefter

     

    SRW 30.5

    Revision A03. Image credit: Adam Schefter

     

    Glass Mag

    Revision A04, marked “SRW-30” and “SCHEFTER RIFLEWORKS”. The material was set as glass for this render. Image credit: Adam Schefter

     

    SRW-30 Gen 2 1129

    Revision B01, the first magazine to be injection molded. Still marked “SRW-30” and “SCHEFTER RIFLEWORKS” Image credit: Adam Schefter

     

    wkKcOkC

    Adam’s design for a matching hexagon-patterned grip, which Hexmag refused to buy. Image credit: Adam Schefter

     

    Even though Adam has moved on from Hexmag to bigger and better things, he hasn’t stopped designing magazines. Here’s a very futuristic-looking design with a different pattern:

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    Astute readers will notice the unusual non-patent-infringing hexagons. Image credit: Adam Schefter

     

    Some readers might remember the short-barreled AKS-74K featured on TFB in late 2014 – that was Adam’s design, too. He modeled it in SolidWorks, too:

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    Image credit: Adam Schefter

     

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    Image credit: Adam Schefter

     

    Naturally, I am disappointed and angry that the company founded around Adam’s magazine design has decided to write him out of their origin story. It is infuriating to see someone who is extremely talented, but quiet and humble about his work, airbrushed out of a story in which he rightfully deserves a big part.

    I have added screenshots of the Hexmag history page, as well as the full text, below:

    HexmagOfficialHistory1 HexmagOfficialHistory2

    The Hexmag History

    Two guys, a lot of work a good idea equals a great product

    Hexmag is the maker of the innovative Hexmag line of AR-15/M-16 platform magazines. Although fairly new to the industry, they have created a unique, patented, tough, reliable magazine with some distinctive features and industry-first designs at a low-tech price. So how did a couple of guys build Hexmag into a multi-million-dollar business in such a short time?

    In 2013 in Loveland, Colorado, Aaron Schefter looked over the various AR magazines on the market and thought he could do better. He joined forces with George Brown (now President) and began experimenting with various mold configurations and polymer compounds.

    Modifying various designs for some time they eventually arrived at a design that delivered form and function with a unique set of features needed for a state of the art magazine. Designing a magazine that feeds reliably is extremely difficult since most stoppages are due to defective magazines regardless of firearm type.

    To get a magazine to correctly lock up tightly in the firearm, feed reliably and add additional desired features such as a sturdy and functional slot for reliably charging the magazine from 10-round strippers is a real trick. The Hexmag duo worked through countless hours of design iterations and composite parings to get it to do all of this and operate correctly.

    The guys knew there are problems in desert conditions when it comes to cleaning the magazines from dust, dirt and sand. They had to find an easier way to release the base plate for easy cleaning and quick and easy reassembly–they did and it is a quick and easy tool-less design. They also added a bright colored anti-tipping follower so it is easy to see if the magazine is empty or not in low light conditions.

    Let’s address anti-tipping – how do tipped rounds in an AR magazine even happen? The condition that creates this problem came about originally with military metal magazines and then progressed to synthetic magazines. When a trooper had a partially loaded magazine and had to hit the dirt hard and if his rifle hit hard with him (they generally do) the rounds in the magazine would compress down for a split second due to inertia momentum, and they would not always come up correctly, generally with the round tipping down at the bullet or primer end and hanging  things up causing a bolt override when the  chambered round in the chamber was fired; not a good thing to happen when people are trying to kill you (bang, click click!). By adding longer anti-tilt “legs” Hexmag magazines have solved this problem for both tactical and sport shooting environments.

    They then figured another advantage for their magazine was to make the base plate locking button the same color as the follower. Moreover, why not have a selection of accessory follower and magazine floorplate colors to indicate type of ammunition such as tracer, ball, incendiary, hunting and even bullet weight and caliber. Even better, since their magazines also fit and feed the .300AAC Blackout, .458 SOCOM and .50 Beowulf rounds. Now it’s easy to quickly know what caliber or load you have in the magazine.  Hexmag features several colors in their unique HexID Color Identification System.

    Furthermore, make it a 30-second job for the gun owner to change out the colors if they wish; all this, an industry first. Additionally, and this is trick, if you wish to empty a partially filled Hexmag magazine of ammunition, simply slide the no-tool floor plate off  covering the compressed spring area with your hand. Then simply ease the base plate off and remove the spring assembly and the magazine can be emptied and closed back up in a couple of seconds. No more stripping rounds out with the base of a cartridge–like most of us do with other magazines.

    The guys wanted to get the magazine in and out of the rifle quickly and easily in any condition, even while wearing gloves or mittens in wet, muddy, snowy or icy conditions. Since it is a Hexmag, they reasoned; why not put hexagonal patterns on the magazines to create a high-traction textured surface? Well, no duh!

    Then to make it even better they created an optional rubberized tape (called Grip Tape) to put sticky rubberized hex shaped grip enhancing stickers into the magazine surfaces of the shooter’s choice making the magazine even sticker (not a dust catcher–thought we should add that!).

    Looking across the market they saw various plastic and metal magazines that did NOT deliver the durability advantages the guys wanted. After extensive material research and experimenting with many test samples they settled on a proprietary, lightweight, fiber-reinforced polymer. They named it PolyyHex2 Advanced Composite. They were almost ready.

    However, they needed to address the magazine springs, a critical and costly component of the magazine. The best spring wire is a high tinsel strength (rust resistant) stainless steel with an expanded metal memory so it will not lose compression pressure if the magazine is kept loaded (charged) for long periods of time—like military and police firearms.

    If a spring loses tension after storage while charged with ammunition, the cycle rate of the gun may override the feed rate of the magazine–not a pretty thing in a gun fight–“bang, bang, click, click, click.” Their goal was to produce the best magazine, not just another magazine. It was another search to find a wire made of a composition stainless steel (all stainless is not alike) that is better than anything else–and they did. What they found was a highly corrosion resistant, memory type tough spring that compresses easily for loading and feeds reliably.

    In March of 2013 George and Aaron were ready. Presenting their magazines to some important shooters and distributors for a look-see they were met with the news –“We like it, if you make it, we will buy it!”

    Great news and in Winter of 2014 with their modifying, fine-tuning and testing all completed (for now) the orders came flying in for a product the AR/M-16 market has needed for decades. In fact, the magazine proved so good they offered an industry first, a lifetime warranty! The amount of orders was overwhelming and they quickly fell behind on production.

    They searched manufacturing sources everywhere that could manufacture their advanced fiber enhanced composite magazine. That proved challenging since they wanted the production done perfectly to maintain the tight specifications and quality control levels they were demanding.

    Finally, they had most of the production capabilities in place. With sales booming they labored on but being fiddlers and tinkerers and a company staffed with shooters and former military, they continued the magazine tweaking process–it’s just what they do. Adding to the product line, the next array of magazines was made in 10- and 15-round capacities allowing access to states with capacity restrictions. The patented Hexmag True Riser system changes the internals of the standard 30-round magazine to 10- or 15-rounds. This allows shooters to legally practice with a full-size magazine in reduced capacity states.

    By mid-2016 their next magazine evolution was completed with the Series 2 magazine. The alteration produced a sleeker, “ergonomic” interior, an improved feed lip, a tighter lock up for firmer magazine seating and enhanced stripper adapter grooves for easy ammunition charging from military 10-round stripper clips.

    This is a premium magazine that one could drive a heavy vehicle over (who does that in the real world?). It works incredibly well in many ways such as functioning the likes of .300 AAC Blackout, .458 SOCOM, and .50 Beowulf rounds and yet is easy to disassemble for cleaning and utilizes their patented unique HexID color coding features.

    The rest and for them the best of the story is they are selling their popular magazines NOT by the pound but by the ton. They also moved into covers for Picatinny, M-Lok and KeyMod rails and offer two unique AR pistol grips, one having 3 angle adjustments the shooter can quickly change as needed.

    A couple of clear thinking guys who saw a way to make a better mouse trap, the guts to try it and the ability to get it done. It is the American way, so American in fact that every single part of their products as well as the assembly is made and done in America. Not bad for a couple of guys with a dream! Well, that is the Hexmag story…for now.

    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]


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