Alright, Vickers Tactical fans. I got a little one-on-one comin’ up here with Paul Buffoni, who is the founder and owner of Bravo Company USA. Paul. Thanks for joining us, here.
Thank you for coming by, Larry. I appreciate it.
One of my favorite people in the industry. If you don’t mind, let’s just have a little chat, here. Talk about how Bravo Company came about. I mean, you’ve grown exponentially, since you’ve started. Just what makes you, and Bravo Company, tick.
Bravo Company started in 2003 out of the basement of my house. We were doing online resale. Retailer through E-commerce, we were doing gun shows. That went very well. We slowly evolved into making our own barrels, and then making our own upper-reciever groups. Then making our own bolt-carrier groups. That was on, or about, 2005.
There was a very big need in the marketplace for consumers to find a high-quality, military specification product in the commercial market. With the overseas private contractors. With the domestic law enforcement and security, raising its game after 9/11. There were a lot of folks looking for good-quality stuff, and it just wasn’t there.
Right, it wasn’t. Because, you basically have Colt.
Yes. They were busy.
They were very busy at the time, obviously, after 9/11. Pretty much everything else, at the time, was commercial-grade stuff.
So there was a void there, on guys in harms way, who wanted good stuff. That wanted mil-spec stuff.
Exactly correct. We meant to step up, to feed that little corner of the marketplace. A part of the market that I thought would be very very small, but, to me, very very important. Something that I’d be very interested in making that commitment to. It just evolved from there.
It evolved to our own rifles. It evolved to our own accessories. Any time we could find a need in the marketplace where it would enhance the warfighter’s survivability. Either make the weapon system more reliable, or make the warfighter’s interface with the weapon system enhanced. We sought to advance in that direction.
One thing I’ve noticed about you. Of course is the famous story about the barrels, where you scrapped. Is you always stick to your guns to make sure the parts are what they need to be, the gun is what it needs to be, to the best of your ability. You won’t cut corners or do whatever it takes to get the gun out the door. Understanding that the average consumer may not be affected by that inherent flaw in the weapon. You don’t do that. You stick to your guns.
Absolutely correct. Some people look at this, the firearms industry, as a sporting industry. I don’t like that term at all for this industry. At least
not the way I view it, in our little corner. It may be applicable in some areas. I’ve made this analogy before. I look at a firearm the same way a paratrooper looks at his parachute. It’s going to save his life. If it doesn’t work exactly as it’s supposed to, there can be dire consequences.
If we’re gonna make a firearm, we’re gonna make it to our highest ability. There’s no bean-counter gonna make a decision, that this is good enough because it costs less. I wanna build a rifle. I served in the marine corps, very short time. One of the things I walked away from was. That firearm, being a tool, it needed to function all the time. If not, the consequences could be dire.
As such, that’s the way that I look at a gun. Any gun sitting on a rack, out there. I need to feel like I can pick it up, at that moment, load it, and somebody can save somebody’s life with it.
Mhm. Because you never know. You may have to go out the door and do exactly that. Getting back to one of the few CEO’s, really, founders of a company that have actually served in the military. I can think of a few others, but most of ‘em haven’t.
Most of them have come from the civilian sector, or other areas. They may not necessarily be able to make that connection, of what it takes. When hey, I’m gonna shoot a piece of equipment, here, and I may have to stake my life on it.
You know from your service in the military. If you’re fighting, you’re fighting for your brother next to you. That’s who you’re fighting. We look at that rifle in the same type of light. I’ve said it this way, as well, before. I feel that, in my position, here. I have a moral obligation to do everything within my power, to make sure that rifle is exactly what it’s supposed to be. Because that’s my buddy that’s runnin’ it. You know.
Sure. Good deal. 10 years ago, 11 years ago, is where you started. Now, you’re here. How many employees?
We’ve got about 33 employees. We occupy a 30,000 square-foot manufacturing warehouse and administrative facility. Here in Hartland, Wisconsin.
Wow, always been here.
Always been here. My original basement for my side-by-side duplex that I operated out of, was in Hartland, Wisconsin. We’ve made four moves now, within the city of Hartland. To different areas, industrial parks, until we finally ended up purchasing the building that we’re in. Purchasing, rent, and renovating the building.
Sure, wow. Now, in case the people at home didn’t know it. Paul’s a bit of a motorhead, here. Loves his motorcycles. Loves his cars. Where did that come from? I know you worked at Harley at one time?
Yeah, I did. Interning out of college. I worked in Harley HQ, down on Juneau in downtown Milwaukee for a short bit. I had been riding motorcycles since, probably seven or eight years old. Always loved it. Raced motorcycles in high school and loved it. Always like anything with horsepower, anything mechanical, really. It’s been a sideline hobby of mine.
You got some bikes you guys are working on, here, as a little bit of a project.
Yeah, we’ve got a small area in the back of the shop. That’s kind of like a recreational area for many of our employees. When we hire armorers to work on our rifles, we really hire them as mechanics. That’s the way we look at ‘em. We hire them out of the mechanical trades. Whether they were car mechanics, or bike mechanics, or airline mechanics, or welders, or whatever.
They come to us with mechanical skill. Then we teach them the platform. One workstation at a time. These types of folks. They, much like myself, love to work on bikes, or their cars, or whatever. We have a little bay area, here. Where there’s tools, and welders, and lifts, and everything else for guys to do some tweakin’ after work or on the weekend.
That’s really cool.
Yeah, we’ve got some personal projects going on, here. I do, many employees do. We’ve also got a corporate project going on. We’re slowly, we don’t have that much free time. We’re slowly working on a Bravo Company, or BCM themed motorcycle. Hopefully it’s finished by next year. It’s been something fun for the employees and myself to gather ’round, and something interesting to do.
Just so everybody knows, there’s three tiers to Bravo Company, correct? You got the parts and accessories side, which is how you started.
Then you’ve got the rifle manufacturing, which is kind of the second phase of the piece.
The phase you’re into, big-time, now. Really making some serious dent in the market, is the accessories. Your Gunfighter line. Of pistol grip, charging handle, the KMR rail and stuff like that. That has come on strong in just the last couple years. Paul: That’s gone extremely well. Bravo Company USA, or bravocompanyusa.com . That’s the resale where you can purchase most of these items, and items from other excellent manufacturers throughout the industry that we offer. Bravo Company Manufacturing is the rifle line, and then BCM Gunfighter being the accessory line. The HQ for BCM Gunfighter is out of Las Vegas, Nevada.
It’s a skunkworks, or product development, facility. We have, pound- for-pound, the most talented crew in the industry. Hands-down. Those guys have been coming up with some fantastic products. We’ve got more fantastic products on the drawing board. They’ve done an outstanding job. That area of the company, that third branch, has really really exploded. It’s been just fantastic.
One thing I’ve liked, is you guys have really taken the lead on the carbine side and the accessories side. For lightweight, yet strong. I mean, you really have picked that torch up and ran with it. Now my training gun is very very light. That’s kind of [crosstalk] the trend.
I’ve noticed, right. You know how the old saying is. Ounces equal pounds, pounds equal a pain. I can tell you as a grunt, and I’m sure you could tell me quite a bit more. How heavy that stuff gets when you’ve been humping it. Day after day, all damn day. Light is excellent, but you can’t be light at the sacrifice of strength or quality or durability.
Anybody can hollow stuff out and make it light, but in effect weaken their products. It’s not really a true tool, now, for the warfighter. What we’ve done have slowly and incrementally, and are continuing to do. Is gone through this rifle, one component at a time, and found either different methods, or different alloys, or different mechanisms that can lighten up the weapon. Either at the same strength, or actually enhance it.
Awesome. Paul, really thank you sittin’ down with me. Enjoy it, every time I get a chance to hook up with you at [phonetic]chatcho and wherever. Big fan of BCM, as you know. Guys in my classes know that’s my primary training carbine. Has been for quite awhile. I appreciate it. Thanks a lot. Make sure you keep fighting the good fight, here at BCM.
You know it, Larry. Thank you very much for coming by. [crosstalk] It’s always a real pleasure.
You’re welcome. Thank you, bro.