MADE IN NEVADA: Polymer80
A local gun manufacturing company has discovered the formula for rapid growth.
have jumped 60 percent in 2017 and revenue doubled in 2018, according to Director of Federal Firearms Compliance Bryan Judkins.
The secret is in giving the customer a do-it-yourself experience. Polymer80 sells all the parts for a complete gun, but the buyer must use tools to fit them together before they can become a gun.
When the fully functional gun is made it doesn't require a serial number. The loophole is possible because the gun parts alone are not considered a gun.
"Our slogan is engage your freedom and that's what Polymer80 is really about, is taking an active engagement and your natural rights. Freedoms that we have that at least our country recognizes, and our goal is to facilitate that for our customers," says Polymer80 COO and co-founder Loran Kelley.
Judkins shows us all the components of just one gun spread over a roughly two-foot-square area. Each part is needed to build one PF940C™ gun at home.
"You can see you have your frame with the jig. The jig is there to guide you on the pieces you need to take off the frame to make it into a firearm," he says.
The entire process usually takes between one and two hours.
"What you do is you put it in a vice and you would take your drill pieces, and you're going to shave off the parts of the frame that are sticking out of the jig itself, so if you can see it sticking out of the jig, those are the parts you want to take out. The other parts show you exactly where to drill your holes for your pins," Judkins says, as he points to small pinhole openings in the jig.
It costs an extra $24 at the time of this publication to buy the parts to build a homemade gun versus buying the exact same gun outright, which would be required to have a serial number.
"There's a pride about it because you put it together yourself. It's not just something you bought from the store," Judkins says.
Workers and managers say their customers have a special affection for these guns because of the work they have to put into them.
Managers say this love has built a loyal customer base. Many of the guns are passed down in the family from father to son because of the personal attachment developed with constructing the weapon, says a group of Polymer80 managers.
CEO David Borges launched the business with COO and co-founder Loran Kelly in May 2013.
"We got to talking about maybe making an AR-15 lower receiver at the time, and that was in short supply back in 2013, says Borges.
The men decided to manufacture them through injection molding, which is where the name Polymer80 comes from.
"It's polymer-based materials in firearms accessories and products and that's what we did. We developed an injection mold. Started off with an AR-15 lower receiver first. Got into the 308 lower receiver and now into the pistol side of the market," says Borges.
The 80 in the company's name is based on the percentage of work finished on all the parts before they can eventually be turned into a gun. The buyer is required to do the remaining 20 percent of the work.