Maxi_Mers

As we reported previously, Freedom Group has decided to move AAC from their home base in Georgia to a new facility in Alabama and fired just about everyone in the process. The reason behind the move seems to be a decision among the Freedom Group executives to consolidate AAC and Tapco (as well as some other brands) under a “Remington Accessories” brand instead of their constituent brands. As part of that consolidation, Freedom Group seems to be cleaning out any last vestiges of the Kevin Brittingham dynasty and starting completely fresh down in Alabama. The latest KB-era employee to leave is probably the most visible person at AAC: Mike Mers.

Gear Scout has the (slim) details, and it isn’t clear whether Mers left on his own or was fired. The hope among AAC employees was that a small contingent of managers would be kept on to lead the newly relocated AAC down in Alabama, but it appears that Freedom Group has other plans.

The reason that this is big news is that AAC was a company on the top of their game. When Kevin Brittingham left only two years ago, AAC was one of the biggest silencer manufacturers in the United States and one of the most popular brands in the firearms world. People were getting the AAC logo tattooed on their bodies it was so popular, and AAC was raking in money hand over fist. But over the last few years, Freedom Group has done their best to slowly squeeze every last drop of innovation and culture out of the company and driven it straight into the ground.

AAC was a healthy and viable company and brand. And Freedom Group is doing everything in their power to kill it.

[UPDATE] It looks like Mike has made a statement, and has moved to a “strategic consulting” position rather than being involved in the company on a day-to-day basis. No idea what exactly that means, but the term “consulting” seems to indicate that he won’t be nearly as involved as he used to be. Especially with the entire company now located hundreds of miles away and under new management.

54 Responses to AAC Gutting Continues: Mike Mers Latest to Leave

    • Probably, those billionaires like to play all sides of the table. He probably wants public scare and mass buying of weapons and gun related gear so his stock has more value. Meanwhile he can play the public face card that he is going to heaven, please save the children, gun control saves lives, etc, etc, et al.

      • Freedom is owned by Cerberus Capital Management a private equity firm. Head guy is Steven Feinberg. They actually lean right with Dan Quayle and John Snow on the advisory committee. Despite their very public blowup with Chrysler they have a solid track record.

        They manage over $20 billion, are invested in over 20 companies with over 150,000 employees. If they are blowing up AAC it is some finance guys bad move and not some far reaching left wing conspiracy.

    • Vulture capitalists. Headed by Dubya Bush pal Steve Feinberg. Dan Quayle runs a division of the company so you just know Remington is in good hands

      They specialize in troubled companies and pick the bones clean. They are stingy when it comes to investment in new product.

  1. This is a photo of what?
    Is there a good reason the guy is holding his weapon by the pistol grip, with his finger ready to pounce on the trigger?

    • Congrats! You are first person in this post to complain about something completely unimportant. Way to go! Keep on typing, internet guy.

      • Gunr deserves credit for being consistent and even handed with his disapproval. And remember, Mother Hysteria loves all of her children.

        • Disapproval of what!
          I asked a simple question, all I needed was a simple explanation, but I guess that was too much to ask!

      • Not my Uncle,
        Didn’t you see my first sentence? I asked what was going on! I only see a guy holding a gun. I also said “Is there a good reason” believing that there might well be a good reason. But instead of explaining it a little you decided to send a nasty message my way!
        Also, where is it in my post that I was “complaining”? I simply asked a question! Are you always this rude to people?

        • “with his finger ready to pounce on the trigger?”

          Is this how you express a neutral tone when you are “just asking a question”?

        • Bob, haven’t you heard?

          Hand touching a gun = imminent threat and deadly force justified.

          Doesn’t matter if the gun is not pointed at anyone or if the mannerism of the person carrying is perfectly benign.

          Actually…visible weapon = deadly force justified according to some…OC is, to some, just not acceptable.

        • Watson’
          If you have been fallowing the topics the last several days you would know there have much discussion on open carry and several instances where folks have remarked about people holding guns at the ready with their finger near the trigger.
          This is what entered my mind when I saw the photo. Is that so hard to understand? Didn’t mean to be so dramatic.

      • That sweater justifies lethal force. That said…

        Yeah, there are some situations where guy HAVING a weapon, much less touching it, is authorization for lethal force. In fact – sometimes being in the wrong PLACE is authorization. #special weapons.

        Go try to exercise your right to openly RKBA in front of a missile silo.

        I dare you…

    • What could be more manly than an Argyle sweater and a suppressed, fully automatic rifle? I mean, if you’re going for the tax stamp, go all the way.

      • I’ll say. He’s so far over on the pointy end of the industry even his trouser creases are razor sharp.

      • I didn’t even know that Argyle sweaters required a tax stamp…..but I live in California so I’ll never have one anyway.

      • Didn’t you get the memo? Argyle is the latest thing with the high speed, low drag operator set. All the cool kids wear it while operating.

    • You’ll shoot yer foot off!! Or is violation of the rule about sweeping yourself part of the one-point sling ethos?

    • “The guy” is Mike Mers, the subject of today’s TTAG article and who was (is?) an employee of AAC. Looking at the background he’s clearly at a firearms event where he’s likely representing AAC. That silencer? AAC. His finger, which you said is “ready to pounce,” is indexed just like it should be.

    • Q. Is there a good reason the guy is holding his weapon by the pistol grip, with his finger ready to pounce on the trigger?

      A. Operator is operating

  2. Local to me PTR Industries laid off & cut wages of a good portion of the employees last week just after the Gov. visited & praised them for job creation. They said gun market is soft & people aren’t buying.
    Google PTR INDUSTRIES layoffs. Find out the breaks they got. Makes you sick, came in guaranteeing high pay in an area that &7.25 is high.

    • Another reason why citizens need to think twice about these tax abatement and subsidy deals. If the state is going to cut taxes and defer the cost of infrastructure investment for economic stimulus, cut middle-class and small-business taxes. At least the money would stay in the state rather than fly off to China or some remote tax-haven.

      • The subsidies and breaks for all business are nothing more than theft and at their best leave the economy at a standstill with wealth simply redistributed, rather than creating internal growth for an economy as a whole or benefitting society as a whole.

        This was pointed out in 1848 by Bastiat, its sad to see such ideas still floating around.

        http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss7.html#Chapter%207
        ” But communism assumes a third form.
        7.47

        To make the state intervene, to give it the task of stabilizing profits and equalizing wealth by taking from some, without their consent, in order to give to others, without receiving anything in return on their part, to make the state responsible for achieving equality by means of plunder—this indeed is communism. The procedures employed by the state to attain this end do not matter, any more than the fancy names with which the idea is tricked out. Whether the state seeks to realize it by direct or by indirect means, by restrictive measures or by taxes, by tariffs or by the right to employment; whether it goes under the name of equality, solidarity, or fraternity, in no way changes the nature of things. The plunder of property is nonetheless plunder because it is accomplished in a regular, orderly, systematic way, through the action of the law.
        7.48

        I add that in our day this is the truly dangerous form of communism. Why? Because in this form we see it constantly ready to encroach on everything. Just look! Someone asks that the state furnish tools of production free of charge to craftsmen and farmers. This is tantamount to insisting that it steal them from other craftsmen and farmers. Another wants the state to make loans without interest. It could not do so without violating property rights. A third calls for gratuitous education at all levels. Gratuitous! That means at the expense of the taxpayers. A fourth demands that the state subsidize associations of workers, theatres, artists, etc. But these subsidies are just so much wealth taken away from those who have legitimately earned it. A fifth cannot rest until the state has artificially raised the price of a product for the advantage of the one who sells it. But this is to the detriment of the one who buys it. Yes, there are very few persons who, at one time or another, are not communists in this sense. You are, M. Billault is, and I fear that all of us in France are to some degree. It seems that the intervention of the state reconciles us to plunder by shifting the responsibility for it on everybody, that is, on nobody in particular, an arrangement that enables us to enjoy the property of others with a perfectly good conscience. Did not the honorable M. Tourret,*79 one of the most upright men who have ever occupied a ministerial post, begin his statement of the reasons for the proposed law on advances to agriculture with these words: “It is not enough to give instruction in order to cultivate the arts; we must, in addition, furnish the tools of production”? After this preamble, he submitted to the National Assembly a draft of a law of which the first article reads as follows:

        Art. 1. A credit of ten million francs is granted to the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce in the budget of 1849, for the purpose of making advances to the owners and the associations of owners of rural lands.

        7.49

        Admit that if legislative language plumed itself on its precision, the article should have been worded thus:

        The Minister of Agriculture and Commerce is authorized, during the year 1849, to take ten million francs from the pockets of farmers who have great need of them and to whom they belong, in order to deposit them in the pockets of other farmers who are in equal need of them and to whom they do not belong.

        7.50

        Is this not a communist act; and, if it becomes widespread, does it not amount to giving legal status to communism itself?
        7.51

        Similarly, the manufacturer who would rather die than steal a centime does not hesitate in the slightest to make this request of the legislature: “Make a law that will raise the price of my cloth, my iron, and my coal and will put me in a position to fleece my buyers.” Since the basis for his request is that he is not satisfied with the profit he makes by exchanging freely or by free trade (which I declare to be the same thing, whatever may be said about it); and since, on the other hand, we are all dissatisfied with our profits and inclined to appeal to the legislature; it is clear, to me at least, that if the legislature does not hasten to reply: “That is no concern of ours; we are not authorized to violate property rights, but to guarantee them,” we are plunged into complete communism. The means of execution set in operation by the state may differ, but they have the same end and stem from the same principle.
        7.52

        Suppose that I appear before the National Assembly and say: “I am engaged in business, and I find that my profits are insufficient. That is why I request you to issue a decree authorizing the tax collectors to take just one little centime from each French family.” If the legislature approves my request, one may, if one wishes, see in this only an isolated case of legal plunder, which does not yet deserve the name of communism. But if all Frenchmen, one after another, come to make the same petition, and if the legislature examines their requests with the avowed aim of equalizing wealth, it is in this principle, followed by its effects, that I see, and that you yourself cannot fail to see, communism. “

  3. Nick,
    Any insight on how this will impact aac’s product availability? Buy now if you’re on the fence or will it continue to be business as usuall?

  4. I just hope they “get the band back together” in a couple years like Windham Weaponry after Freedom Group gutted Bushmaster.

  5. I really don’t understand Freedom Group “management.” Marlin, Remington, and AAC used to be great companies. If I was in charge, I’d fire FG / Cerebrus managers and offer Dyspeptic Gunsmith and others like him free rein to manage and design as they see fit. Remington, AAC, and Marlin would be with buying again.

    • Exactly.
      They have ruined everything they touched… Not sure if freedom group will even exist in 20 years at this rate.

  6. A number of years ago I worked for a company that had gone on a buying binge similar to this. It bought a number of respected sporting goods brands and destroyed them, most often by moving the product lines from specialty distribution to mass market, cutting costs and quality in the process. It ended badly. The board fired the CEO, and the new one set about repairing the damage. Which meant, of course, selling off the shells of these brands for pennies on the dollar to stop the bleeding. Needless to say, many of the folks who had worked for these companies, in some cases for years, had gotten the shaft when operations were moved, frequently offshore.

    “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

    • MBA mills only teach part I. Not so much on the history of these dumbass ideas.

      I’ll project that pretty much as Obuma’s Constitutional Law class.

      • Yeah, kinda like global warming/climate change/whatever it is now. If the model says it’s true, don’t let the facts get in the way. The B school modeling shows it will work, but then reality (that bitch!) intrudes.

  7. To be fair, Silencerco has lost a few key employees this year as well. But a former Remington manager (the very same one who helped acquire AAC) has also joined Silencerco recently. Seems the Remington virus is spreading…

  8. This is sort of bittersweet… As a long time reader of silencertalk forums I’m not necessarily sad to see these guys go. I will be sad if AAC folds because they make good cans but seriously those guys were out f control. Just the amount of arrogant self righteous and even vindictive shilling that they did to push their product was just stupid. Like the add they ran showing a clean freshly welded AAC sdn6 core next to surefire core that had been shot up repaired and shot up again and then cut open with a die grinder as some way of showing AAC was somehow better was way over the line. Those guys acted like that alpha male we all hated in college who talked shit about any other male he came across just because he could. As if they were the only manufacturer of silencers. People would bring up issues on silencertalk that they were having with AAC cans and they would get beaten out of there by mike and his crew or invariably the response from the various AAC shills err I mean moderators would be like “oh your 51t mount has slop and you are getting baffle strikes well at least we don’t kick puppies and rape midgets like those douches over at surefire”. Or something equally asinine. So again it’s bittersweet seeing those guys go, AAC was a good company but run by complete assholes.

  9. IIRC RSilvers was also part of that message. He brought the gospel of the .300BO to the 6.8 forums for some reason, and it became a time that I fortunately passed over by other pursuits.

    And let’s not forget that particular cartridge, a rebooted Whisper that was being remarketed by AAC as a suppressor round. The irony of a Remington subsidiary who was pushing a different cartridge when they had the 6.8 as a house round already vetted and being used for what – a PDW round in the Middle East and a perfect candidate for suppressed exploitation? Why mess your pants ignoring your own namesake and placing your bets on a wildcat round that never made the majors in 3Gun? All it ever amounted to was an end run around the early rules to get the AR15 into competition. .300BO doesn’t reach out to 400m when it counts.

    Just more Freedom Group mismanagement that has yet to really bring them any money. That alone may account for firing the whole bunch. Commanders know that on the rare occasion, you start over with a unit and establish a new culture to stop the stupid stuff going on. Coaches get fired for less. The game goes on, and everyone looks to assemble a really good team that works together.

    This might be that time for Remington, considering Marlin and the 700, Time to start over and get things done right.

  10. @Tirod,

    Another Remington sin: they hyped the 6.8 and subsequently nearly abandoned production. Fortunately Silver State Armory and Hornady stepped in and made good.

    I’m still a 6.8 SPC fan even after purchasing a 300 BLK upper, and I’m glad that Federal, SSA, Hornady, Wilson Combat, and Sellier and Bellot (amongst others) reliably produce 6.8 ammo.

  11. I won’t defend Freedom Group, which sees weapons as a commodity rather than an object infused with idealism, romance, call it what you will, but how come no one is trashing the guy who sold it to them, knowing full well what their business model was? Same with all their other subsidiaries. They knew perfectly well who and what they where selling out to. Selling out!

    Besides, Jeff Quinn says Marlin has come roaring back to life. Maybe AAC will, too.

    • Half the people on this board are economically illiterate, that is why they demonize the purchaser.
      You have people on this board who really think this is a Obama/Eric HOlder plan to take away their guns.

  12. AAC’s most visible (now former) employees seem like pompous asses, so I can’t say I’m sad to see them go.

    • Yeah, Marlin’s main problem was that when Freedom Group got rid of everyone, nobody remembered how to build the guns because their were no plans written down, no blueprints, just a bunch of out of spec machines that only the old machinists knew how to use properly. Quality took a nosedive in this transitional period as they essentially had to reinvent the wheel.

      Hopefully AAC had more detailed plans/blueprints for their silencers and that whoever takes over just turns the lights back on and keeps pumping out good product.

  13. I hope I’m not too far down the comment section to get an answer, but is that buffer tube really short, or am I just seeing things?

    • It is short. Its just a little stub to hook that stock on. Its on a piston upper not a DI. I don’t have an explanation.

  14. I don’t know the parts or players, I am a YHM fan but I greatly hope AAC peeps can culminate into something greater, I am not certain, but I believe there is precedent, i.e., Wyndham, CORE, etc. I hope suppressor cost gets down below the tax stamp.

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