In the News: Tactical Retailer Interview with Founder Bob Faxon
Our founder Bob Faxon recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Tactical Retailer and answering some questions about the past, present, and future of Faxon Firearms. For a little bit of a teaser we’ve included the beginning of the interview describing the humble origins of Faxon Firearms below. To read the full article, click here.
TR - How did Faxon Start?
Faxon - Well, if we go way back, we have to say it all really started in 1978, when my older brother wanted to work on and repair cars and needed a building for a then-small but growing business. My father was involved, and they purchased a 4,500-square-foot building. A funny little loop in our history was the former building owner wasWycolt Arms, who made muzzleloader barrels. Along with the building, my father negotiated and closed the sale with the caveat that the deep drilling gun barrel machine and also a little metal box of 3x5 index cards of the customers were included. My father handed that box to my brother Dave and said, well, if things get slow, you can drill some holes. We continued to evolve the automotive business over nearly a decade, but it was that gun drill machine that started us on a path of industrial drilling, deep hole drilling — and that evolved into the very unique machining capabilities we have today.
For about the next decade, our focus was tier-one automotive, where we kept growing the business to the point we had moved and grown to a 165,000-square-foot facility on 10 acres. The market and economy changed, and to stay relevant and in business, we changed with it, looking for new customers. That journey took us into oil and gas, medical, defense and aerospace production. Once again, our unique capabilities around deep hole and industrial drilling helped us to grow during a difficult time in the economy.
Around 2012, the market and economy changed again, with our customer production slowing to the point we needed to find something to keep the machines running and our people busy. We looked at all types of different things but wanted to manufacture products that mattered. Discussions around our love for firearms led to me attending SHOT show, thinking we were going to set the market on fire with the best and highest-quality AR and AR parts. Instead, I was shocked and really, truly humbled by how many very high-tier products there were, backed by other machine shops with deep machining experience.
So, we really started to rethink how we could come to market and differentiate ourselves with something that could show our capabilities, innovation and value. After watching a History Channel show that talked about the top 10 best firearms of all time — the AR and AK were ranked number one and two — we thought if we could combine the best of both guns, we could both show the industry we knew guns and showcase our capabilities.
The ARAK21 was designed literally over a kitchen table in just a few hours. The ARAK upper combines the best of the AR ergonomics with the long-stroke gas-piston-driven AK platforms, all on an AR-15 lower that is field-caliber-convertible in two minutes. We even designed a unique rectangular bolt carrier for smoother metal-on-metal fit to reduce lubrication needs. We joke that it took two minutes to draw up and one year to actually shoot the final version 21.
The final monolithic design worked fantastic and delivered a convertible 7.62x39 and 5.56 NATO platform. By version 21, we had a great, refined product, and as a result, we named it the ARAK21. At that point, all the pieces of a firearm business started to come together for us, including our capabilities to produce a highly technical firearm with our own components, including our own barrels that relied on all of our precision deep hole drilling experience.