Wednesday, 25 July 2012 05:22

American Security customer service improvement

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Their customer service is much improved! But first I will describe my early skepticism...

A few years ago I have mentioned that I have had several instances of bad luck in dealing with American Security (safes). I tried to buy a spare shelf a while back with frustrating "they will call you back" and countless voicemails. After describing my problems to the place I purchased it they said that they had the same problem and they gave me a shelf from their inventory! Definitely a life customer there.

I had also bought a little S&W-branded (AmSec made) travel safe for carrying a handgun. It was finger pattern activated (or key) and could be bolted to an included plate that I was thinking of bolting in the trunk. My first clue of its quality should have been all of the S&W phone #'s covered with a basically "don't call us (S&W) call the maker AmSec" stickers on it. One day the safe just locked open...with the key in it. I guess I should have been happy it wasn't locked closed. I pulled the warranty card to find that it had looooong expired (I don't even think it was 90 days). It's now a paperweight.

These experiences led me to use my AmSec for only storing paperwork (the AmSec that worked), but to be honest I needed a bigger safe anyway. AmSec was not on the list of brands I looked at. But I digress...

Anyway, in all of AmSec's documentation I can't find the bottom bolt hole sizes. So the other day I called AmSec and was routed to customer service. It said that there was one person ahead of me -- and within a couple of minutes a live person answered!

She looked up up the bolt size (1/2") and even emailed me a pdf! Excellent customer service! Weird that their anchoring document shows a bolt with a PLASTIC expansion sleeve, but really the size is all I wanted to know. I include it here now. For my next safe (running out of room again) I will reconsider AmSec.

 

It is all over the internet that AmeriGlo would have taller sights for suppressed M&Ps out this year (rumored release was this past January). Well, I couldn't find them on their website, so I emailed them.

Turns out that they are still coming and anticipated for release in the Fall. Although delayed this is still good news. Lots of M&Ps out there, and lots of threaded barrel options, including a couple from S&W themselves.

Here is an interesting tid-bit of information about the short run of S&W (registered trademark) M&P (registered trademark) "SpecOps" pistols most noted for its billboard size "SpecOps" marking and factory 13.5x1LH threaded barrel.

It comes from here: http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_6_20/315295_.html

from an insider from GemTech:

kel
Gemtech Government & Industry Liaison
Company Rep
Industry Partner

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Posted: 5/27/2010 9:15:28 PM
Originally Posted By MrGreg:
I've heard it has trouble indexing on some cans because the shoulder was made for Gemtech suppressors, though, so YMMV.

***Not usually one to jump in just to set things straight, but I hear yarn this sometimes... and it's not entirely true. The original threaded 9mm barrels from Smith & Wesson were NOT spec'd *for* Gemtech suppressors, they were initially made for a European government order, which envisioned B&T of Switzerland's suppressors. In the middle of things, we ended up doing the suppressors for it, but had to use the metric barrels that were already made. We later got S&W spun up and running with 1/2-28 barrels (which will be put on the commercial market one of these days). There's nothing wrong with the 13.5s, but the U.S. market generally prefers the SAE threadings. The remaining metric threaded barrels went into the Sports South "Specops" model guns.

The S&W factory .45acp threaded barrels, btw, are just a bit longer than the aftermarket ones that were made without benefit of seeing the factory ones. I'd always advise you use the original manufacturer's barrel over an aftermarket if you have the ability.

Kel

GEMTECH TEAM GUY

ARFCOM INDUSTRY DISCLOSURE: iPhone 4G.
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Interesting! So, there is some European Agency (Swiss maybe?) running around with M&Ps and GemTechs!
I wonder what sights they are using?

My M&P SpecOps:

Seems like a lot of folks are marking these up quite a bit due to supply & demand. I am pleased that there a still some folks keeping prices down even though they could easily raise their prices. My local dealer Federal Way Guns is one such place and I just got an email from DSGArms: http://dsgarms.com/ProductInfo/CO6920.aspx that they now have Colt 6920s in stock for $995!

There are still good deals out there if you look and are willing to wait.

 

p.s. I am not affiliated in any way with either place but respect their business models, and really like my 6920 :)

 

 

is it just me or is this weird article? The first sentence...mayor to announce tougher federal penalties are two things that don't normally go together. http://www.king5.com/news/local/Seattle-plan-to-combat-gun-crime-159415415.html

Saturday, 02 June 2012 09:04

S&W merges Sigma and SD line to create SD-VE?

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For those wondering why S&W had a Sigma and an SD line of very similar products. To me it looks like they are merging the two from this announcement yesterday:

http://smithwesson.hqcampaign.com/ps/introducing-the-new-smith-wesson-sd9-ve-and-sd40-ve-available-shipping-now-consumer

 

Thursday, 10 May 2012 15:02

My Blade-Tech factory tour

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About a week ago I dropped by Blade-Tech to pick up  holster. Their customer service is stellar and they had the holster done (at no charge) in a day, even cutting it to custom length for me. Anyway, you can read the details here: http://fortreg.com/firearms/?p=2149. But, this is about the tour...

Blade-Tech kindly offered to give me a factory tour which I gladly took them up on. For those that don't know Blade-Tech is located in Puyallup, WA (kind of between Seattle and Tacoma).

I was first struck by the size of the facility. I parked and walked up to a building marked BladeTech.  That was the first suite which was not retail accessible. I kept walking...and walking...about four suite lengths. That's when it dawned on me--The whole strip  was Blade-Tech! They have grown quite a bit since they first opened up Lakewood, WA!

They currently occupy approximately 30K square feet. They were literally expanding (knocking out walls, etc)  into 45K as I took the tour with eyes on expanding even more. If you were thinking that they are a small shop, you would be wrong!

I didn't realize it, but they have two knife divisions and a fire safety equipment division. They build soft goods, for example fire extinguisher carriers.

Speaking of soft goods, they are expand that line into the vest/armor carrier market! Think Tactical Tailor type gear.

Back to the tour...

I saw an injection mold machine used for their Revolution line of holsters.  It uses little plastic pellets that are shaped/sized like wood stove pellets. I think they said there are two.

I was lucky enough to be there while the Kydex mold machine (sorry, not sure what it is actually called) was running. I will try and explain it as best I remember. It runs two molds at once.

Basically there are Kydex sheets of different thickness depending on what they are making. Interesting, because I have noticed that some of their competitors only use one thickness. Logically, Blade-Tech's IWB holsters are thinner than a level III duty holster. I didn't count, but there were at least three different sizes.

So, these sheets are placed into ovens and heated up. The pistol  molds  are placed on top of two separate vacuums. These molds have tiny holes in them. The heated sheets are placed on top of the mold and the vacuum basically sucks them onto the shape of the molds!

Several large blowers then cool the roughly formed holsters. If you pictured someone with a hair dryer to heat the Kydex to mold it and then a fan to cool it off, you have the right concept, just not nearly on the same scale or technology.

From the holsters are checked by hand. Actually, let me just mention that I was genuinely surprised at how much a Blade-Tech holster is made by hand. It then goes to a person that actually puts a mold of the firearm to finish fitting. After that it goes to a person that puts the mounting hardware in, and then finally off to a QC person.

I would be very surprised if someone ever gets a holster that their pistol doesn't fit in.

Speaking of molds! This was my favorite part of the tour. Row and rows and rows and rows of stacks of molds of pistols! While I was there I spied a mold for a S&W 4566. I see an order being placed shortly. In case you couldn't tell I was really impressed with the number of molds they have. They also do flashlights, multitools, and revolver speed loaders.

I seriously doubt that anyone in the industry has more molds than Blade-Tech does.

I asked why the Blade-Tech website did not list all the holster/pistol combinations that I know they have. For example, the traditional belt holster has a huge list of selectable pistols (like the 4566), but if you go to the Eclipse it is quite a bit shorter (no 4566).

Regarding this, there are a couple things to point out:

  1. There is a new website coming out and the current one is incomplete for all of the molds they have. If you call customer service they do have a full list. (They do have a toll free number too.)
  2. They haven't made molds for all of the holster combinations they could possibly make. In other words they probably have not made  an Eclipse for a S&W 4566, although they can.
  3. They plan on offering the Eclipse for everything they have in the standard belt line. Unfortunately, they are not the same mold so they have make it.
  4. The Revolution holsters use completely different molds and they are VERY cost prohibitive. I wouldn't count on the list of supported pistols to expand greatly. They will probably only have/get molds for the most popular pistols (so, no 4566).

 

I asked about turn around time. They are currently at 5 weeks. This is in line with a lot of Kydex holster makers. They were actually embarassed - they had prided themselves that they until recently had a 1 -2 week turnaround previously. They are currently running 3 shifts a day including weekends to get caught up!

Now, order back logs might raise concern that QC could suffer, especially as employees work increased/more shifts. However, I was surprised and impressed that everyone there seemed to be happy--from customer service, to sales, to Kydex molder, fork lift driver, etc.  Definitely a sign of a good company.

So--great products, superior variety of pistols molds, exemplary customer service and they have happy employees? Blade-Tech is  definitely doing things right.

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