America’s firearm industry is proving again that it is the arsenal of freedom. U.S.-based firearm, ammunition and accessories manufacturers are answering Ukraine’s call-to-arms to defend itself against the Russian unprovoked invasion.
NSSF has been on the leading edge of this response, working with officials from Ukraine and the United States to facilitate firearm and ammunition donations to repel the Russian invaders. Ukraine’s defense has mired down Russian attackers, repelled them from that nation’s capital city of Kyiv and are inflicting tremendous casualties on Russian forces. That is happening as U.S. firearm and ammunition makers are sending small arms and ammunition to supply Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy famously refused an offer from the United States to evacuate his country as Russian forces closed in on Kyiv. Several assassination attempts on his life, and that of his family, were thwarted. President Zelensky stood strong, recording a message for the world.
“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” he said.
That was enough to spur the firearm and ammunition makers in the United States into action. Two days after President Zelensky’s call for munitions, Ammo Inc., announced the company would donate 1 million rounds of ammunition for Ukraine to defend their country. Less than one month later, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence confirmed it received the million-round donation.
“This is a wake-up call for America, and why we have to have our Second Amendment… To see the people in Ukraine fighting — it’s terrible to see the lives that are being lost over there,” explained Ammo Inc. board member Richard Childress to Fox News.
Vista Outdoor, and their ammunition makers Federal, Remington, CCI and Speer, announced their own donation of 1 million rounds on March 8. Vista Outdoor noted that Ukraine was a long-standing ammunition customer and how critical it is for America that the Second Amendment exists to protect an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.
“It underscores how critical the Second Amendment is in America and highlights the importance of the ability of American Manufacturers to supply our allies with ammunition,” said Jason Vanderbrink, President of Remington, CCI, Speer and Federal Ammunition in a press release. “We have long supported Ukrainian armed forces and we will continue to do so in this global cause to unite for democracy.”
Several NSSF members privately donated ammunition to Ukraine’s defense, particularly those companies that previously imported Russian-made ammunition before sanctions went into effect banning all imports.
NSSF learned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is so concerned about Russian ammunition being shipped from the United States to Ukraine, he not only seized the 115 containers for the April shipments to the United States, but he also stopped shipments of primers and powder from Russia to some of his closest ties from the former Soviet Bloc. Putin fears Russian-made ammunition will be donated to Ukraine and sent back to his forces at about 2,350 feet-per-second.
Vista also launched relief efforts to raise funds for those Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion. Federal and Remington are selling Ukraine-themed t-shirts. All profits from the sales go to refugees in the war-torn country. The shirts will supplement the company’s donation and maintain awareness of the need for global support of Ukraine.
It is not just boatloads of bullets. Arms makers are stepping up too and NSSF is helping to make those donations easier. NSSF published an alert to member companies of the needs submitted by the Ukrainian Embassy. That includes everything from 7.62×39 mm cartridges for AK-47s to complete sniper rifle systems and the state-of-the-art night vision and thermal optics that go with them. That was met by donations that are still coming in.
The Biden administration announced that 7,000 small arms would be included in an $800 million aide-package that was announced in March. One major firearm manufacturer informed NSSF that the Department of Defense is reaching out to major industry companies to secure small arms and ammunition for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence. In fact, the Pentagon posted a Request for Information for arming Ukraine with everything from small arms to drones to heavy weapons systems.
That does not mean gun makers are on the sidelines waiting.
Adams Arms, a Florida-based firearm manufacturer, has already shipped 1,000 rifles to Ukraine and plans to donate at least 1,500 more. They also designed and sold their own t-shirts recognizing the bravery of the Ukrainian forces that rejected Russia’s call for surrender of Snake Island. All proceeds from that sale will go directly to the Ukrainian National Bank’s war funds. Just a week ago, Adams Arms, along with six other U.S. manufacturers, announced it is donating 10 state-of-the-art, semiautomatic sniper rifle systems along with ammunition to the Ukraine Ministry of Defence. The rifles, optics and ammunition are valued at more than $80,000.
Contributing manufacturers include Leupold and Stevens, supplying optics and mounts; Rise Armament, supplying triggers; Radian Weapons, supplying charging handles and safety selectors; Luth AR, supplying adjustable buttstocks; and Hornady Manufacturing, supplying ammunition.
Adams Arms President Jason East said, “It goes beyond altruism or corporate responsibility. As Americans, we cannot allow the kind of aggression Russia has brought forth in Ukraine. What’s that old saying? The only thing evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Well, we are doing something.”
KelTec donated 400 semiautomatic rifles to Ukraine. Adrian Kellgren, KelTec’s director of industrial production, made the decision after KelTec was left with an unshipped order worth $200,000 of 9 mm foldable rifles from a long-time Ukrainian customer who became unreachable after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Kimber Manufacturing, Inc. donated 200 handguns and 20 rifles to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Ukraine. Kimber provided 200 R7 Mako 9 mm pistols with 800 extra 13-round magazines, 10 Advanced Tactical rifles in .308 Win., and 10 bolt-action rifles in .308 Win.
Mission First Tactical donated holsters for the Kimber’s R7 Mako pistols and Tactical Rifle Cases for the long rifles. In addition, Mission First Tactical also donated 3,300 AR-15 magazines and 1,000 AR-10 magazines. Leupold & Stevens, Inc. donated 20 Mark 4 LR/T 3.5-10×40 rifle scopes, that were installed on each of the 20 Kimber rifles.
Own the Night
American Technology Network Company (ATN), a manufacturer of night vision and thermal vision products, announced it is shipping 9,000 night vision and thermal optics devices to assist the Ukrainian military against the Russian invasion. “ATN has committed to making an unprecedented effort in this endeavor and is committed to shipping these units in the shortest time. Night optics are critical to the successful defense of Ukraine from the Russian invaders, and we are confident this will be a large step in improving the capabilities of the Ukrainian forces in the field,” said ATN Founder and Chairman Marc Vayn.
Suppressor-maker Silencer Central, of Sioux Falls, S.D., is considering how it might be able to assist. Owner Brandon Maddox saw NSSF’s alert on how firearm manufacturers could assist Ukraine and while his company does not make rifles or ammunition, he sees a small, but quiet role for Silencer Central.
“One of the specific requests from Ukraine was suppressors, silencers,” Maddox said. “Sometimes when there is inner-city fighting and if it’s inside, noises are louder, so by having a suppressor shooting indoors it could bring it down where it is hearing safe, so whoever is actually doing the shooting it’s not going to blow their ears out,” Maddox said. Maddox also noted that suppressors eliminate muzzle flash, making them effective for night fighting.
Maddox said company officials are exploring avenues for the company to send suppressors to fit onto Ukraine’s rifle.
These voluntary efforts by U.S. firearm, ammunition and accessory makers demonstrate the importance and the value of a strong firearm industry, not just dedicated to protecting American freedom and Second Amendment rights, but those who are forced to defend freedom around the globe.
Joe Bartozzi is the President and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.