Nick has already rhapsodized about NEMO’s titanium AR-10 (it is pretty sexy) but I was more interested in, well, what the heck were these people thinking?!? So I buttonholed NEMO VP Clint Walker and asked.
There never was any intention to sell the TI-1 (or to put titanium AR-10s into production), but people heard about it and wanted to know how much it would cost, so NEMO had to put a price on it. They looked at the $30,000 worth of Titanium in the rifle, and the dozens of tools worn out and/or broken in the process of producing it and came up with “meh – keep it under $100,000”. . . .
As Clint said, basically they are a shop composed of AR enthusiasts who have the best job in the world; designing weapons on the computer, building them then taking them out and testing them. Clint said “We’ve got one of the funnest jobs in the world.”
But why did they want a titanium AR? Clint likened it to the Apollo-11 project; in fact the full serial number of the TI-1 is A11 (for Apollo 11) 0001. But as he said, Apollo 11 wasn’t about getting to the moon first, it was about what you learned on the way. And machining virtually an entire AR-10 out of titanium taught them a lot about the process, and a lot of what they learned is being applied to other projects.
Ultimately NEMO is about making high-end military weapons that don’t look like your standard cookie cutter AR. They want their guns to be sexy while still remaining highly functional. To this end they use premium grade T-6 aluminum, and nickel -boron coating of key parts to reduce friction, reducing the amount of lubricants needed, which reduces the dust/oil gunk buildup that caused so many problems when the US military first deployed to the Sandbox. They have rails for mounting optics and accessories, but they also have flip-up iron sights so if something happens to your optics, you can still reach out and touch someone at 300+ yards.
The president of the company, retired MG Paul E. Vallely, has extensive experience in SpecOps, and in 1966 rewrote the Field Manual for Army Sniper Operations. This man is not a paper-pusher. Likewise most of his employees come from law enforcement or military/SpecOps backgrounds; they too are shooters who have BTDT and are now building weapons that they would want to use.
Enough said I think.