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There are “credible reports” this afternoon that Kevin Brittingham, founder and head honcho at Advanced Armament Corp., was escorted from AAC’s Atlanta-based factory by company security this afternoon. Escorted, as in “fired,” “let go,” “spending more time with the family.” Kevin has had some prior scuffles with Freedom Group, the company that bought Advanced Armament in 2009 for oodles of cash and is the gigantic corporate owner of brands like Remington and Marlin among others. But there was nothing to indicate a possible leadership change at AAC might be in the works. We flew down to AAC HQ a few months back and interviewed Kevin (full interview here), but here’s the part that might interest you…
Kevin on Freedom Group’s management style:

It’s one thing I struggle with them, and for Freedom Group or Cerberus or Remington, they give us a ton of autonomy. We’re actually under Remington Defense, we’re autonomous to a large degree with lots of things. But of course I always want more freedom and this is a struggle for them, but it’s kinda practice what I preach. It’s not like I want things like I want them to lease me a Ferarri or something, it’s like… I give my employees, and Robert Silver, I give him lots of latitude. He and I butt heads a lot, but I give him lots of latitude but I know he’s brilliant and I really respect him, and he’s not wrong a whole lot. He’s an odd dude, and he’s weird to work with, and he’s strange like most people that smart but I love him, and every year he comes up with an idea that makes this company a million bucks. Every year. […]  It was kind of a struggle when they first acquired us, and then, we had to sort of classify him and they wanted to put him at a certain pay scale and him to report and to be here and all this, and me trying to explain to them that to me, I own this business and I appreciate the money and understand how money is made and it’s like… What is our goal? It seems like the goal is for you guys to micromanage people and my goal is for us to make money. We do that differently than most of their factories, we do it through innovation, and our margin is really great.

There’s a rumor that Kevin has been replaced by a Freedom Group employee named John Day until a permanent replacement can be found.

How will this affect AAC’s business? Will they continue to be as awesome a company as they are now? Will there be more managerial coups d’etat at other Freedom Group holdings? Only time will tell.

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  1. If he wanted to keep control of his baby, he shouldn’t have sold his soul to the big boys. When you get greedy you get screwed.

    • Our fearless leader could tell a story about a formerly autonomous car blog being taken over by a conglomerate and the subsequent loss of control (and job), assuming the confidentiality agreement has expired.

  2. I met the guy when I interviewed for a position. I guess I am glad I did not get it with that kind of drama and working conditions. To throw out the founder of that company is insane and I would not want to be working at AAC right now.

  3. Are we really going to blame the freedom group this soon. is it not possible that he did something to get fired? I have no reason to think he did but you have to be carefull with assumptions.

  4. … Escorted, as in “fired,” “let go,” “spending more time with the family.” …

    When I was at Nortel, I was “optimized”. Relative to their perspective, of course, but a nice, warm, fuzzy, non-threatening euphemism I really appreciated. Really takes the sting out.

    • In the UK they used to say “made redundant” instead of “downsized”

      It doesn’t sound that bad but if you think about it it’s pretty insulting.

    • There was an infamous layoff at Nortel in Provo in the ’90s. Seems security jumped the gun and disabled the badges of the affected employees before they arrived at work. Didn’t take people long to figure out that green light means you still have a job, red light means you’re screwed.

  5. Hope it all turns out better than Remington and Marlin. It almost seems that Freedom Group is sort of doing what Ex-Cell-O did during the 1980s and concentrate more on defense and less on the civilian stuff. See how it all works out. I can see Freedom Group being the supplier of the next battle rifle the military selects in mass quantities.

    • When you have politicians that support the military industrial complex to the detriment of National Security, the public will always loose to the leviathan.

  6. If I was in the market for an AAC product, I’d hurry up and buy it while they’re still selling ‘pre-coup’ inventory. I sadly expect quality to take a nosedive (like Remington and Marlin) once TFG installs Their Man In Atlanta.

  7. I really doubt it but maybe the new change will bring even lower prices. That is all I have to say on the matter. All else is really not important as long as they keep coming up with great products and great prices.

    • I have yet to hear anyone say that a company acquired by Cerberus and added to the Freedom Group has improved the quality of their product or significantly reduced the prices.

      In fact, what I’ve heard has been significantly to the contrary.

  8. We’ve seen this movie before, as The Freedumb Group f^cks up another fine brand. Oh, well. I seem to remember that Apple once fired Steve Jobs, and damn near went bankrupt because of it.

    There’s nobody in The Freedumb Group’s management who can actually run a business. Hell, I wouldn’t trust any of them to run a bath.

  9. I’ve seen things like this before – in all sorts of businesses. Some MBA who thinks he knows something decides to show “who’s the boss” and ends up killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    The MBA gets transferred with some reprimand, but the damage is done and it’s the end of the line.

    I wouldn’t hire a MBA-type manager who has never done anything actually useful to mop the bathroom floors.

      • Not if you ask AAC, they clearly stated that the original terminology (and proper terminology) is “silenced”.

        Perhaps with a large enough severance pay, he can be “supressed”… that, and a signed NDA agreement 🙁

    • Kind of.

      The guy Steve Jobs recruited to be CEO (because the Board didn’t think Steve had the experience or temperament for the position*) tossed him out.

      *and they were right, he needed more time to mature.

  10. Haha well… Looks like I won’t be buying anything Freedom Group or Cerberus or Remington own… and yes I plan on doing my research so I don’t accidentally make a purchase… He is the ownder of that company he made it what it was. You have the right to remove him because you bought the company but that doesn’t make it right. He IS AAC you are a bunch of money hungry micromanaging twats. Kevin Brittingham, I want you to know if you open another firearms or suppressor business I’ll be a customer no doubt!!!! I can’t stand when a company sees what you’re doing likes it cause it is making money, buys it then fires the owner because of disagreements (why buy the compnay then? just to ruin it?) and changes everything around… No AAC for me this Christmas…. I’ll go elsewhere…

  11. When you sell your soul for 30 pieces of silver, expect the devil to take his due. I do not feel sorry for this loser and his company will now hopefully go out of business. The sad part is; the employees will suffer the consequences while Kevin sits back and enjoys his millions. If he had any integrity, he would have told the jackals NOT FOR SALE!!! when they came calling.

  12. Disagree with Bill. Kevin is not A LOSER the losers are our brave young men and women that depend on the best to protect you and I. The products that he produced are will never be the same since he is gone. His shoes will never be filled.

  13. I Know Kevin. I’m Family.The guy is BRILLIANT!!Freedom group Fv@&ed up by doing this to him. He was the brains (Steve Jobs anyone?) behind AAC and knows how to make a GREAT product and then market it.Kev will follow any NDA or NCC to the letter of the law …then come back and eat their lunch!Pure Hubris on the part of Freedom Group. Corporate egos know no bounds..and no shame. Corporate geeks LOVE yes men and will NOT tolerate those who “think outside the box” (a la 300 blackout). Its more important to corporate officers that you kiss their Ass than make them money.Ego,ego,ego. Hubris!

  14. Having met Kevin a few times, his passion for and knowledge about silencers were without peer.

    And as Steve Jobs v. Apple (or more recently, Activision v. Infinity Ward) demonstrates, founders sometimes get steamrolled by “the suits” — usually on evidence about as flimsy as Iraq’s WMD program.

    Keep this in mind when dealing with suits — they really don’t like you. They can’t stand those who can build something out of nothing, a capability they never had.

    In Kevin’s case, it was probably because — 1) he spoke his mind; 2) the suits didn’t like all the tattoos; 3) he held a position coveted by someone with better connections.

    I look forward to his return from non-compete exile.

    At least now I can shop around for my next silencer without feeling like I betrayed a bud…

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