Interview with Josh Waldron, CEO of Silencerco

Interview with Josh Waldron, CEO of Silencerco

Transcript

Savage1r
OK, great, so first of all thank you for taking time out of your day — you’re probably busy as hell.

Josh Waldron
No problem.

Savage1r
But anyways, so let’s go ahead and get this started off. So I’ve been reading over … I’ve been a fan of Silencerco for a while, have gone through all of the YouTube videos. You guys have an amazing YouTube page, I’ve read about your movement you guys have started with the ASA and that, you know, how you guys really just started your company in 2008 and by 2012 you’ve grown to become this gigantic force in industry and I was just kind of hoping that you could tell us a little bit about that, about the story of you starting Silencerco with your partners and, you know, kind of how it’s got to where it’s gotten.

Josh Waldron
So, yeah, thank you, in 2008 we — my partner Jonathon Shults and I — wanted to start a hobby company so that we could make our own silencers and make our own machine guns and so we started doing some market research. We were currently running a private software company and we started doing some market research into it. Found out that there’s quite an availability of opportunity in the market we were suppressor users in and gun advocates for years and we knew some problems with the product that was available at the time. But we didn’t fully understand what opportunities there were in the market until we started doing some heavy market research so we said that let’s see where we can go with this. And we wrote a really, really good business plan to stick to a couple of investors, and before we knew it we were faced with a decision what to do with the software company ended up abandoning the project and going full force with the silencer company and within the end of 2008 we’ve developed a first product, which was the Sparrow, and released it in January of 2009.

Jonathon was the only employee that was working in the machine shop, and the thing was, I was the only employee that was doing the sales end of things and that was just the two of us, so I’d travel around the United States and met with every Class III dealer that I could find and I would show them my first new product the .22 Sparrow. Many times I ended up shooting it into a bucket of sand or something in front of them so they could hear what it would sound like and I started making a lot of orders. So I would make the orders and I would send it over to Jonathon, and that’s how we ran our company for the first few months.

We ended up hiring a couple of people and then we outgrew our little facility, we moved into a bigger facility now are completely settled up in a 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility with almost 50 employees, and we’re scheduled to double the size of our building next year or so. We just had a really great growth — between our innovation and our online customer service and our marketing, we’ve quickly become the leading suppressor manufacturer in the nation.

Savage1r
Yeah, I think that a lot of your innovation speaks greatly to that. I don’t know if anybody’s seen your Osprey, but I know I’ve seen how the design is, you know, people have to think, like, why didn’t I think of that before, it just makes so much sense. It was just an amazing design to shift just everything down, just make that technological leap that nobody really thought before. You guys have been pushing the limits as far as silencer companies are concerned — what other things do you guys got coming up in the near future that are going to be hot and pushing the boundaries of that?

Josh Waldron
Well, by far our most innovative can to date is our Saker, which the first shipments are going out this week and next week. We’re really excited about shipping the Saker. The Saker has more intellectual property and patents packed into one silencer than, I think, any silencer in history. So it’s again changing the bar, pushing the bar up, changing the game of the suppressor world.

So we’re really excited about it. Next year we’re going to use the similar technology of the Saker into the 7.62 Saker and continue fulfilling our full line of suppressor offerings. So, you know, that one of the reasons that it takes a long time to release is that we strive for perfection, and we don’t want just released another me-too silencer.

So everything that, you know, with our first two designs everybody expects something big from us, so if we just released another can that’s comparable to AAC or SureFire, one of those companies, it would be a pretty big letdown for the industry and for our customers and our fans. So we had to really think outside the box again and develop something that is just as forward-thinking as our other products. And the same with the Saker.

Savage1r
Like you’re saying, there’s a whole lot of interesting technology with that Saker. You guys got a modular flash suppressor that can go on it and a universal mount, the MAAD mount, that works with multiple different flash suppressors. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Josh Waldron
Yeah, I mean, the biggest reason we developed the MAAD mount is because, you know, there’s a lot of big-time suppressor guys and they spend a lot of money, thousand dollars, literally, putting flash hiders of our competitors flash hiders on all their rifles and that’s a big investment. You know, in order for them to feel comfortable buying our silencer, we want to give them the ability to attach it to their pre-existing flash hiders and save a lot of money so they don’t have to interchange all of those flash hiders to our technology.

So we developed the MAAD mount series so if somebody has all the rifle Yankee Hill or all their rifles have AAC flash hiders they can have the durability and technology and just full kick-ass-ness of our Saker, and mount it on their existing stuff. Now that was the real idea behind it is to save our customers money. That also has given us the ability to expand into their market and continue to pick up market share, which is always important for capitalists like us.

Savage1r
Well I’m sure you’re making a lot of your competitors jealous with that little piece.

Josh Waldron
Yeah, you know, at the same time we wanted create the best mount in the world, and one of the biggest problems with all of the other silencer manufacturers, their mounting systems are, if it’s the one hand on, one hand off quick detach mount, then it’s usually not a design that allows the silencer to stay on while firing. You know, they rattle loose, they get baffle strikes because they rattle loose so a lot of the manufacturers tend to lean towards the secondary movement so you lock it on with a ring, a lever, a button, whatever, so that makes it so if you want to take the silencer off you have to use two hands.

That was not acceptable for us. We wanted something that would be extremely secure, doesn’t rattle loose. At all. Positive locking, but still be able to attach and attach the silencer with one hand. That way, you could put the silencer underneath the hand guard if you wanted to. Or you could take the silencer off the host weapon as fast as possible if it’s hot using an oven mitt or something. And so we developed the Trifecta mount, which is part of the MAAD mount series of mounts, but it’s our technology with its mating flash hider, which is the Trifecta RS flash hider.

That’s by far the most advanced mount there is on the market. It’s very quick on and off, one hand, doesn’t rattle loose, it’s amazing. Our flash hiders are kind of your typical three-prong flash hider, which is by far the most effective type of flash hider. There’s nothing on the market that beats a three-prong flash hider. It just has superior flash-hiding capabilities. However, one of the problems with the three prongs of our competitors’ flash hiders is that they ring like a tuning fork, and that seems like it’s not a big deal, but a lot of people, really, it drives them crazy. They can hear the ringing even while if it’s inside the silencer you can still hear it. So we developed the three prongs have slightly different links which makes them vibrate in different frequencies and they’ve canceled each other out so there’s no ringing. That’s one of our patents as well. So that’s why it’s called the Trifecta RS — it’s resonance suppression.

So, and then our final technology on the Sakers is the front cap. The biggest problems that people have with silencers is, as malfunction goes, is that they get end cap strikes. And so we wanted to have a sacrificial end cap, something that could be removed and replaced with a new one if there was any type of end cap strike. And so we started to think how to do that, but at the same time, we said, well, if we can put a sacrificial end cap on them we should be able to put anything we really dream up. So, even add an additional flash hider at the front of the silencer.

We could do spikes, we can do all sorts of stuff, and we’re going to release more and more of those designs as the time comes. As of right now, we have the flash hider all developed right at the moment. As we’ve been spending a lot of time on that silencer itself so there’s a lot of modularity, there’s a lot of technology a lot of people love, as you know, to get accessories, put them on their AR-15s. Again, the capitalists in us think, “Well why not have a customizable silencer make a lot of money out of accessories for the silencer?” So that’s kind of the high view.

The reason for some of this modularity so it’s absolutely the most durable product we have. We have material that we use that’s never been used in silencers before, that’s a lot stronger than Inconel, and Inconel our competitors to use it. So being there, we have oblong baffle technology, which basically shields the baffles from the harmful erosion and increasing its durability. That thing is packed full of technology, there’s just nothing even close to it.

Savage1r
I wanted to speak to that durability and long-lasting endurance of the silencers. There is a video you guys posted on your YouTube page of the local sheriff on putting 1,800 rounds through his own Osprey without any kind of cleaning, any kind of serviceability. What would somebody normally expect to be the life span or the kind of maintenance required to be on your silencers?

Josh Waldron
On all of our silencers? Or just in general are we talking about?

Savage1r
In general.

Josh Waldron
So the rimfire pistol silencers are life, let’s just say everything is lifetime warranty. The durability is forever. We’ll make sure that we replace what you need, and the way that we manufacture the silencers, we do it in a way that ensures that people’s serial numbers are protected, their tax stamp money and tax stamps are protected. So the Osprey, if there’s anything that ever happens to it, we can repair it and fix it and get it back to you with no tax stamp issue because the serial number’s on the cap, the back cap of the silencer. And the same with the Sparrow, the Multicore container on the Sparrow shields the baffle tube, the serialized part, from any damage. There’s no threat to the tube so that protects that. The Saker, we have a sacrificial end cap to make sure that your tax stamp is going to be protected. So everything has a lifetime warranty.

Rifle products, if you shoot them full auto a lot, all the time, there will be at some point, I’m not sure, down the road, that you’re going to notice a degradation in sound suppression and things like that. But you know, the average shooter shoots some full auto, some semi, some single shot, and you know, you’re not just laying on the trigger the entire time going through thousands of dollars of ammunition. Nobody does that. So the silencer’s going to last forever, all of our silencers are going to last forever, so, you know, that’s why we so proudly and without any regrets, offer lifetime warranties on our products.

Savage1r
That’s awesome, that is really cool. Now I want to shift gears a little bit here and talk about the ASA. You got together with AAC and basically went to the NFA branch and started talking to those guys and are working with Scott Bittner to really increase the rights of people and their access to silencers. Can you talk a little bit about the process?

Josh Waldron
Sure, yeah, so AAC and Silencerco kind of headed up that movement and created the American Silencer Association. So far, since its inception, which has been a little over a year, we have been able to change some laws. Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, have all legalized hunting with suppressors this year. We’ve got bills in with Montana, Wyoming, Iowa, Vermont and Georgia. Vermont and Iowa are for legalization of private ownership and hunting with suppressors and then the rest of the things that I just mentioned earlier, hunting laws with suppressors. So we’ve got a lot of bills written and a lot of things going on the state level to continue to increase accessibility and usage rights for silencers.

Last year we’ve got Michigan and Missouri to allow private ownership, so that was big ones as well. So we’ve got a lot of, you know, we’re fighting out there, very similar to the NRA. But it’s more, it’s just focused on suppressors and those types of things. We also have now we expanded the board this year, so we’ve got a lot of help from other people now. SureFire’s on board now and Daniel Defense is on our board, and, yeah, it’s a lot. So we have another doctor, audiologists, some wholesalers, so our board expanded and that means our resources expanded. So that we’re really going to kick some ass on the front of, especially, the NFA branch itself getting more funding, more appropriations, to go into the branch to increase its efficiency with technology, with personnel.

But we’ve got a lot of stuff going on and we’re working really hard to make it a better place out there so …

Savage1r
Now today’s  the 21st of December, and if anybody else has been under a rock out there over the last, I’d say, three or four days, every single online retailer of firearms has been completely wiped out of their inventory, Walmarts in several states have all been completely bought out of all their firearms, and there’s a lot of concern out there from gun owners as to what’s going on. But how has this affected you with Silencerco?

Josh Waldron
Luckily the silencer market is not really in the target of antigun people. There’s nowhere mentioned anywhere, in any article, news outlet ever, anybody looking at us, too, to make us illegal. We already have a very stringent rules and regulations on silencers. They really want background checks, FBI background checks, the tax stamp, all that kind of stuff. It takes a long time already. They’re not after us. However, any type of gun control is obviously going to affect everybody.

One thing that I’m sure that you’re well aware of the DC vs. Heller that ruled in favor of the 2nd Amendment kind of protects us in a way that makes it so now the antigun movement goes after certain features of guns instead of just guns themselves. We’ve got things to worry about like high-capacity magazine ban and all that kind of stuff, so that’s why the AR-15 assault weapons are just wiped out. People think, “I’m never going to get these again.” And it’s going to take some time if that stuff ever happens. It’s going to take some time. Bottom line, what I’m really saying is that I’m not really concerned right at the moment about my company, particularly. I am concerned, however, about the rights of Americans to get the firearms that they wish, that they want.

It’s aggravating to me, all this stuff is aggravating to me. And I’m fighting alongside with the NRA, I constantly am in contact with the NRA. In fact I was, this morning, talking about a strategic meeting that we’re going to have with, I don’t know if you know about ksl.com, it’s a news media outlet online. They have a really popular classified ad section and they just discontinued any classified ads for gun sales. It hit national news, and Mayor Bloomberg in New York says that it was a big win for the antigun movement. And it was just really bad, so we have a meeting scheduled on the 26th of December to meet with this CEO of KSL and demand some answers and see if we can get some revolution there. So I’m constantly working with the NRA with other organizations to fight this kind of crap.

Savage1r
It’s definitely a concerning time for everybody that’s definitely for sure. Well, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Josh Waldron
Not at this time, no.

Savage1r
Well, Josh, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. I appreciate all your hard work, your amazing story. I don’t think I can think of any other company has been able to grow as fast and do such amazing work as you guys have done. And be not only a company, but a movement for gun owners rights. So thank you very much for your time and keep up the good work.

Josh Waldron
Well, thank you, and I appreciate you thinking of us for this interview.

 

About The Author

Savage One

Savage has been shooting and pursuing the hobby of guns, tinkering, and learning about them. He started a YouTube channel at the beginning of 2007 as an experiment and for fun and it has grown into a kind of hillbilly bubba making gun, ammo, and accessory laboratory since then. He lives and works in and around the Spokane area, where there is a vibrant shooting culture and lots of great places to do it in. He has met and worked with lots of great people in the firearms industry there and plans on exploring that more in his videos in the near future. For now, it's all about shooting things and having fun.

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