Over the years SHOT Show has been the place where I have had the opportunity to sit down with some influential people in the industry. This year was no different. Â Among those who I sat and talked with was Paul Leitner-Wise of Leitner-Wise Manufacturing.
I spoke with Paul on a topic that I love to hate these days, the AR-15 rifle. Â You see, the AR-15 has become a bit boring to me. Â It doesn’t matter if I’m at a gun shop, gun show or SHOT Show in Las Vegas, I can’t walk 10 steps without seeing or hearing about the AR-15. Â The reason for this is understandable and it makes sense. Â The AR-15 is a gun (the 1911 and the AK47 are in is group too) that is out of patent. Â This is a big deal because it means that anyone can make an AR-15 without incurring the costs that would go along with using someone elseâ€™s more modern patented design.
On one hand this means that a proven, reliable system can be reproduced by ANYONE. Â This increases the competition, increases the innovation and at the same time often lowers prices. Â On the other hand, EVERYONE can produce this rifle ( and they do) and even though innovation seems to have peaked (I’m still waiting for a pentarail system as 5 has to be better than 4…) those that are producing the same old rifle as everyone else seem to think their blaster is worth more than the next guys.
It is this conundrum that led to me telling my good friend Daniel Shaw that the next guy to bring up the AR-15 to me was gonna get “punched in the face.”
That was right about when Paul Leitner-Wise and I met.
Now I certainly don’t know Paul well, but I learned quickly that he had some positive attributes. Â First off, Paul has a sense of humor. Â Not a bust my gut laughing joke kind of guy, but instead a dry, intelligent way with words that left me chuckling inside.
Second, I got the sense that Paul had very little interest in what others thought of him or his ideas. Â I don’t mean to say that he came across as arrogant or would ignore helpful insights from others. Â It’s just that Paul seems to know where he is headed and knows how to there. Â And bucking the system is part of the program.
That’s the third piece. Â While others are churning out more ho, hum. Â Leitner-Wise Mfg is working to do something different. Â Not for the sake of originality but instead to improve on what is already out there. Â To make the AR-15 better.
I’m glad I picked up on all this before I hit him because I wouldn’t have stood a chance by myself with the entourage Paul had in tow.
As we talked through what it is that Paul has planned for Leitner-Wise Manufacturing I became more and more interested in the AR-15. Â Things like sleeker, lighter and stronger upper and lower receivers, real ambidextrous controls, and an acknowledgement, understanding and mitigation of carrier tilt issues in a piston gun do a bit more than pique my interest.
Give the show a listen and check out what it is that will be coming out of LWM. Â Then comment below with your thoughts.
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