Mike Mers and his Advanced Armament crew were at the Silencers Are Legal shoot in Dallas showing off the best of what AAC has to offer, but I was more interested in what’s going on behind the curtain. I visited AAC last year and had an inside peek behind the scenes, but things have changed dramatically since then. First the founder of AAC Kevin Brittingham left, then his right hand gal and plant manager Lynsey Thompson. AAC had been sold to Freedom Group not too much earlier, and these were the first indications of a shift in how AAC does business. But how have things changed on the inside since then? I asked Mike, who predictably didn’t want to say too much. But what he did say spoke volumes…
Traditionally, AAC had been run as slick as possible (much like our own blog here). No one seemed to have a single job, the guys in R&D could be seen running around filling orders and just about everyone seemed to be responsible for answering phones for sales issues. It was one of the ways that Kevin figured he could best keep competitive — driving down costs by keeping the overhead low.
But since Kevin left, Mike says there have been a number of new hires. Mike is in charge of sales at AAC, and he now has a full compliment of minions whose main job is to answer the phones.
It may not seem like a big deal but it’s a clear sign that Freedom Group is influencing AAC’s culture and business practices, bringing it more in line with the other behemoths of the firearms industry. The biggest question is whether the new hires will dilute the creative culture that has made AAC one of the best silencer manufacturers in the world, or whether the company can continue to innovate and meet demand for their products.