Statement from Apex Owners Randy Lee and Scott Folk Regarding Brownells/Apex Dream Gun® Issue
As most of you know Apex Tactical Specialties was among the five companies contacted by lawyers on behalf of Smith & Wesson regarding the ‘Dream Gun®’ we prepared for exhibit in the Brownells booth at SHOT Show. The letter was in fact a cease and desist order and we spent most of yesterday dealing with the fallout of that letter.
After our initial shock, we came to realize that there was a gross misunderstanding on the part of the lawyers as to the purpose of the pistol we collaborated on. We say on the part of the lawyers, and not Smith & Wesson, for a reason which we’ll make clear shortly. The ‘Dream Gun®’ was intended to be and is indeed a one-off custom build. It is not for sale nor is it intended to be the first in a line of ‘Dream Gun’ models. It is simply an example of what current, and hopefully future, M&P owners can do with their pistol with the parts they can purchase from Brownells.
This unique, one-of-a-kind aspect was missed by the lawyers whose understanding of the firearms industry might not be as broad and in-depth as that of those actually running companies.
How do we know this? Well, this morning James Debney, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson, personally called us to apologize. He explained to us that the cease and desist letter should never have gone out and that Smith & Wesson fully supports Brownells’ effort to spotlight what avid gun owners can do to personalize their firearms. In other words, James Debney gets it. He understands the firearms industry, and there is no better proof of that than the fact he called himself.
The firearms industry is a small, close knit industry where most issues like this are handled with informal, personal phone calls before the need for lawyers arises. This even applies to the industry’s biggest companies, like Smith & Wesson. It is a great tradition and an important part of our industrial culture, and it is one that James Debney understands and respects.
On behalf of Apex Tactical Specialties we want to thank James Debney for stepping in to this firestorm, facing it head-on and resolving it quickly and with class. James Debney is a class act and his actions this morning, personally calling all the companies involved to apologize, reflects brilliantly on the Smith & Wesson brand.
To you, our customers, we cannot begin to thank you enough. Much of what was said online was said in defense of Apex. That means a great deal to us and to all those working at Apex. We will always work to ensure you get our best effort and that our company and its products live up to your expectations.
Finally, all this would not have been resolved without the efforts of Brownells President Matt Buckingham. Late yesterday we found out this was all soon to go away because Matt was talking directly to James Debney. Apex has a great relationship with Brownells and they are one of our largest customers. They are also good friends. As gunsmiths ourselves, we have a deep appreciation for Brownells and the Brownell family who have been champions of gunsmiths everywhere. As a small business you can be sure of one thing when dealing with Brownells – they will never make you feel small. Matt Buckingham stepped in yesterday to make sure Apex, DP Custom Works, Blowndeadline Custom and SSVI had a strong voice in the discussion and for that we are very grateful. Thankfully, the man on the other end of the phone line, James Debney, saw things the exact same way.
Randy Lee & Scott Folk