Crimson Trace

SUBSCRIPTION    SUBMIT RELEASES    ADVERTISE    ARCHIVES    CONTACT                                  FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2016
— EVENTS
Over the course of four days, visitors of the DSC 2017 Convention will have the opportunity to contribute to DSC conservation efforts of ensuring the future of hunting and protecting a proud heritage. This week's highlighted auction item is a nine-night, first-class peacock bass trip to the Amazon for eight people, valued at $55,600. | For More...

The Civilian Marksmanship Program announced that its innovative Talladega Marksmanship Park will play host to the American Marksman National Championship Jan. 6-8, 2017. This is the first year for the event, and the CMP is thrilled to be chosen as the site of its inaugural National Championship. | For More...

— FISHERIES
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is planning to treat hydrilla on Lake Lawne in Orlando on Tuesday, Dec. 13, weather permitting. | For More...

— FORESTRY
Competition for the Forest Legacy Program's grants is nationwide, so projects from Michigan are vying for funding with other states and U.S. properties. There's no guarantee that any state will receive funding if projects from other states are deemed more worthy. | For More...

— HUNTING
Looking for the perfect gift for an avid hunter? Give the gift of a Pure Michigan Hunt application. | For More...

— INDUSTRY
Citing the regressive business climate, particularly for companies in the firearms industry, Randy Lee and Scott Folk, co-owners of Apex Tactical Specialties, the highly regarded designer and manufacturer of aftermarket firearms parts, announced the company has fled the state of California and relocated to Peoria, Arizona and a new 50,000 sq. ft. facility. | For More...

Former owner and President of Sinclair International, Bill Gravatt, is working with Creedmoor Sports. Gravatt will be assisting in product innovation, content production, reloading expansion and consulting with the management team. | For More...

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) today announced the release of its First-Time Buyers Retention Email Campaign Toolkit for state agencies. This toolkit includes email communication strategies and resources that have been proven effective in retaining new anglers. | For More...

Col. Jayson Altieri, chairman of Civil Air Patrol's Board of Governors, announced that the board has selected John Salvador as CAP's chief operating officer. | For More...

Susan Bonivich, OEM/dealer sales manager for Volvo Penta of the Americas, was named the 2016 Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo today in Orlando, Fla. | For More...

As businesses and agencies in the outdoor industry require increasingly sophisticated data to make more informed growth decisions, Southwick Associates is expanding its staff and services to meet this vital need. We are proud to announce the hiring of two new staff members and research experts, Patrick Hogan and Lorna Caputo. | For More...

Warne Scope Mounts has announced Chevalier Advertising & Public Relations as its official agency of record. Warne Scope Mounts designs and manufactures precision mounting solutions for rifle scopes. | For More...

— LEGISLATION
Congress has passed a new defense authorization bill after removing anti-conservation provisions, including one that would have undercut comprehensive plans to conserve the greater sage-grouse and the Western sagebrush lands that support more than 350 species. | For More...

— MEDIA
Melissa Bachman of Winchester Deadly Passion is always asked what her favorite gifts to give – and receive – are this time of year. Below is her list of gifts for any hunter on Santa's list. | For More...

— NEW PRODUCTS
Carbon Express® introduces the new Maxima RED® SD, delivering the ultimate hunting experience in a smaller diameter shaft. | For More...

DeSantis Gunhide introduced the #A84 -- The Reliant Mag Pouch. It is ambidextrous and keeps the magazine high on the belt and tight to the body. | For More...

— ORGANIZATIONS
The DSC Auction Catalog for Adventure 2017 has now been published and should already be in mailboxes. Online bidding window is now open and the digital catalog is available on the DSC website. | For More...

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) is proud to announce President & CEO Nick Pinizotto has been named as a member of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) during their recent meeting held in Vienna, Austria. | For More...

— PEOPLE
The Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) named Glenn Sapir, an accomplished outdoor writer, editor, and industry professional, as the winner of the Golden Glow, Individual award for 2016. The award was presented at the AGLOW 60th Annual Meeting at the Peek 'n Peak Resort and Spa near Chautauqua, New York. | For More...

— POACHING
Vermont state game wardens arrested Nicholas Robert, 29, of Fairfield, Vermont on December 6 and charged him with four counts of taking deer during closed season and hunting deer with bait. | For More...

— PRODUCT NEWS
FN America, LLC announced the release of the next evolution of FN 15 modern sporting rifles, featuring the newly-designed FN handguard with M-LOK technology. The FN 15 Series will take on a streamlined, family approach and will feature updated models. | For More...

— RADIO
It's hunts, holsters, and more, this week on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk® Radio, the original nationally-syndicated radio talk show about guns and the shooting sports. | For More...

— REGULATION
Conservation officers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will be focusing most of their law enforcement efforts in areas in which deer congregate in the winter. They have one goal in mind: protect Utah's mule deer from poachers. | For More...

Splitting Utah into two duck hunting zones, reducing the number of pintail ducks hunters can take and establishing a waterfowl rest area at the Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area are among changes Division of Wildlife Resources biologists are recommending for Utah's 2017 – 2018 waterfowl hunt. | For More...

— RETAIL
Christmas is just around the corner and to help finish out any list, Signature Products Group has highlighted a few products to bring loved ones some Christmas cheer.  | For More...

— SHOOTING GEAR
Apex Tactical Specialties is proud to announce the expansion of its line of patent pending Apex Grade Barrels for the 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P with the immediate availability of Apex Grade Threaded Barrels in Semi Drop-In and Gunsmith Fit configurations. | For More...

Tactical Solutions is to unveil its new X-Ring Rifle and the new barrel/stock combo with the Magpul Hunter X-22® and Hunter X-22 Takedown Stock at the 2017 SHOT Show. | For More...

— SHOWS
Swab-its®, the USA maker of the innovative lint and fiber-free reusable foam firearm cleaning swab product line, announces the debut of two new products which will be demonstrated and available for testing at the 10th Annual SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range and the SHOT Show. | For More...

— STATES
A new poster that illustrates the savanna ecosystem of northwest Indiana's Lake Michigan coastal area is available for free to the public. | For More...

Landowners from five regions, two business conservation partners and a conservationist of the year have been honored for their work improving Kentucky's wildlife habitat. | For More...

— TELEVISION
World Fishing Network viewers join the pros in South Carolina, Virginia, and the Gulf of Mexico to catch some big bites during the week of December 12–18. | For More...

Sportsman Channel viewers will experience tons of wild hunting adventures during the week of December 12–18. Remi Warren learns how to stalk his prey like an alligator on Apex Predator; Steven Rinella is back on the hunt for grizzlies on MeatEater. | For More...

During the week of December 12–18, Outdoor Channel viewers will be able to dive into some of the most exciting hunting adventures in the world with their favorite outdoorsmen. | For More...

Next week on GunVenture, Ryan Gresham heads to Ox Ranch with Ruger's Mark Gurney, and they'll shoot the biggest gun ever fired on GunVenture- from a Sherman tank. Plus, trap shooting, a deer hunt with the Ruger SR-762, and a trip to Dury's Gun Shop for a look at some truly historic firearms.
| For More...

Next week on Guns & Gear, it's Timney Trigger's 2-stage trigger for your AR. Next, it's range time with Colt National Match ammunition from DoubleTap Ammunition and shooting the T/C Compass rifle from Thompson/Center Arms. | For More...

— VOLUNTEERS
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteer campground hosts for the 2017 camping season in Michigan state parks, recreation areas and rustic state forest campgrounds. | For More...

— WILDLIFE
Healthy black bear populations and a need to protect livestock might lead to more hunting opportunities in southeastern Utah next year. Biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources are recommending a slight increase in the number of bear hunting permits offered for that part of the state. | For More...

FEATURE
Apex Leaves California
Today's news section contains the formal announcement of Apex Tactical Specialties' relocation from California to new digs in Peoria, Arizona.

Even with an opening line that flatly attributes the decision to relocate to "the repressive business climate" of California, their release doesn't adequately convey just how difficult it is to be in virtually any business there, much less to manufacture aftermarket firearms parts.

Apex principles Randy Lee and Scott Folk have been friends since before they were in business together. And Apex is one of those small, smart companies I consider a bellwether of just how the industry's doing.

And over the years while I've watched Apex grow, I've frequently badgered both of them about moving "someplace where you're wanted". It's a suggestion I make to any firearms-related business owner I meet who (still) has facilities in California.

It was a great tag line, but Apex Tactical Specialities decision to (finally) leave California for Arizona means they're going to need another catchy marketing phrase, although the part about aggravating California officials is still valid.
Through all my badgering, Lee and Folk have been tolerant, even making light of the home state's political situation. Last year, I laughed out loud when I saw the caption "manufactured behind enemy lines" on Apex's product packaging. It was funny, but not really that much of an exaggeration.

After all, California- at least the California represented by the enormous number of liberal voters from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento- wants their state to be gun-free. They've made that abundantly clear via numerous ridiculous and unenforceable regulations they continue to offer up at any opportunity.

Yet, despite that decidedly anti-gun company bent, I was surprised when Scott and Randy told me more than a year ago they were really going to be leaving California.

Randy and Scott are native Californians and even with their love for guns, gunsmithing and competitive shooting, that's a difficult family connection to break. And like most successful small businesses, they care - a lot - about their employees- also Californians.

But they're technology businessmen, guided by facts and research.

And as they researched, they realized an unpleasant fact California is largely a horrible location for a business. Although as Randy offhandedly remarked yesterday, "wineries still seem to do well."

May be, but the latest annual "Best and Worst States for Business" survey conducted by Chief Executive Magazine ranked California dead-last for a twelfth consecutive year . in the minds of 513 CEOs across the country.

Reasons cited include dtaxes, regulations and politics that the Orange County Register says have "crippled business in just about every other industry, particularly those without strong political connections (I added the italics).

As a former California business owner I know that's no exaggeration. And our business fell into one of those rare "acceptable" categories- motion picture and TV production.

"We started crunching numbers," Folk told me over dinner at last year's SHOT Show, "and our accountant- a Californian - looked at us and said, 'you're moving to Arizona.'"

"I said, what?" Folk continued, to which the accountant said, simply "you'd be crazy not to."

As Folk continued to lay out the reasons to me in purely financial terms, I wondered why anyone in the firearms industry would even consider staying there.

But numbers don't tell the whole story of any small businesses. Small businesses are also about people. And Randy Lee and Scott Folk consider the 34 people working for them more like family than employees.

So before committing to relocation, they wanted to see if it would make sense to consider asking them to relocate, too. It did, to the point that 28 of the 34 have also packed up their families and relocated to Peoria. "The differences in costs," said Lee, "are amazing."

For example, Peoria's consumer prices are 18 percent lower. Rents lower by forty percent, and median home prices are less than half ($514,333 median listing price for San Luis Obispo County, California versus $244,145 for Maricopa County, Arizona).

Because of the relocation, some Apex employees who couldn't consider home ownership in California have bought homes in Arizona.

Like the company, Apex's employees are finding their dollars go considerably further outside California.

Manufacturing relocations like this don't happen overnight. And they're never without aggravation and unforeseen complications.

Apex has suffered through both. But Lee and Folk have been able to keep good attitudes, because aggravations aside, they know relocation was in the best interests of Apex- the company- and the people who have helped make it so successful.

Their new home, incidentally, is considerably larger than their California facilities, but not just because of increased purchasing power. Apex continues to grow. There have already been four new-hires and Lee tells me they expect 50 (or more) people will working there by the end of 2017.

And Arizona has also improved the company's hiring prospects. "When we listed a job in California we might get 10-11 applicants," Lee told me, "here we'll get 40-50 who really want the job." The fact the area has several trade schools and junior colleges offering instruction on CNC machine operation only helps a company that depends on those skilled operators.

It's still a small business, but Apex is indicative of what many small companies in various industries have already learned about California's – the state's politicians aren't living in the real world. And they continue to make it more difficult for real-world businesses to survive there.

With their relocation almost done, neither Lee, Folk, nor any of Apex employees need be concerned by California's latest anti-gun legislation.

Last month, California voters passed Proposition 63- requiring a new fee (as much as $50) for a mandatory background check just to purchase ammunition. It also mandates that all ammunition purchases be made face-to-face via a licensed ammunition vendor, eliminating the ability to order ammunition from outside the state. And, it prohibits possession of standard-capacity or large-capacity magazines- the kinds required for normal R&D testing by Apex.

Magazine and firearms restrictions already in place, says Lee, were large contributors in the decision to move. "Some companies were reluctant to send firearms to us," said Lee, "and we told others not to send magazines because of the restrictions on capacities." Imagine trying to design after-market components for a firearm without the ability to actually test the gun with the magazines used by the vast majority of consumers.

Maricopa County, Arizona is a big adjustment for everyone who works at Apex. Any relocation takes some getting accustomed to.

But moving where your business is welcome, has made that adjustment considerably simpler.

Relocating from a toxic business climate is an action I'd suggest other business owners and organizations in gun un-friendly regions like California, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts consider. Otherwise, their continued presence (and tax dollars) only fuel legislators' efforts to drive them out of existence.

Yes, I realize that's cheap advice from a guy whose work requires nothing much beyond a reliable internet connection, laptop computer and digital camera. But I have owned and managed large enough businesses to know it's easier to work where you're welcome.

Not every business can relocate for a variety of reasons, but relocation is one of the few actions any business can take that has the potential for causing real political consequences. Those consequences can get the attention of even the most ideologically driven public official.

As always, we'll keep you posted.

— Jim Shepherd
Dec 21-Jan 2
Jan 10
Francis Marion Hotel, 387 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina
Jan 13-15
The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, The Woodlands, Texas
Jan 15
Bear's Best Golf Course, Las Vegas, Nevada
Jan 17-20
Sands Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
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