Amidst final preparations for events surrounding SHOT Show 2016, FFL Unleashed caught up with Honor Defense Founder and President Gary Ramey to learn more about the new Honor Guard line of subcompact CCW 9mms. These new pistols are raising a wave of positive reviews from the firearms press and consumers. Here’s why:
FFL Unleashed: This is the first SHOT Show at which Honor Defense will be exhibiting, correct?
Ramey: We will have a shooting lane at SHOT Show Range Day, which is the day before SHOT opens. This will give dealers a chance to spend some quality, hands on time with the firearms. We don’t have a booth at the show itself this year, but hopefully next year.
FFL Unleashed: There are lots of subcompact carry pistols out there. What sets the Honor Guard line apart?
Ramey: Our firearm is truly different from anything else out there. We have more features than other firearms in the single stack 9mm category, which is why consumer response has been so strong.
We also secured input from professionals who carry or use a gun for a living. As a result, the Honor Guard 9mm line has custom features in every model. Consider these examples:
Our grip is designed for more comfort as well as having custom stippling where your hand grips the pistol. The texture is designed for grip no matter the direction of the torque. Two different size back straps are included for a custom fit.
The Honor Guard slide features custom serrations that go over the top to allow for better grip when racking the pistol. The racking is smooth and easy.
Our Sights are a big improvement over other pistols. The back side of the rear sight is rounded so it doesn’t snag when drawing a pistol. The front edge of the rear sight has a flat front edge so you can rack it using the sights even with one hand. Many pistols are ramped in the front for holstering your pistol, but the party is over at that point so a firearm should be snag-free for withdrawal from the holster, not into it. Also, our sights are metal for durability. Finally, we added a bright orange front dot sight for better target acquisition.
Honor Defense pistols are completely ambidextrous including the slide catch, the magazine release, and the manual safety on those models so equipped.
Out triggers are something special. They are wide for more accuracy and comfort, and feature a short throw at a crisp 7 pounds with a short reset.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, we sought input from professionals who carried a firearm for a living. They have backgrounds in the DevGru, DEA, Law Enforcement, Army, and civilian training. Each has served our country or supported civilian training and understand what makes a quality firearm.
The Product Advisors are Julianna Crowder (Founder of A Girl and a Gun Shooting League and is a IDPA and NRA Certified Trainer), Nick Fleischmann (Armorer and Range Master with Fresno Police Department, and 24 years with US Army), Michael Nussbaum (27 years in DEA and was ASAC in Miami office), Britt Slabinski (Command Master Chief (retired) with 26 years in the Navy, BUDS Class 164).
FFL Unleashed: What is the most important feature of Honor Guard firearms?
Ramey: Perhaps most importantly, every part is made in America. Other companies may source from a USA subsidiary of a foreign company that outsources overseas. We think that’s misleading and a bunch of BS. We will not do that. Honor Defense pistols are designed to last and we are proud that every part is made with American craftsmanship by American owned companies.
FFL Unleashed: Please explain the advantage of the FIST frame. What is stand off and what kind of user is the most likely benefactor?
Ramey: First, the “FIST” frame stands for Firearm with Integrated STandoff. As you know, if a slide is pushed backwards a slight amount by an object (hand, body, etc) the slide will come “out of battery” and the firearm will not function.
One of our Product Advisors is Command Master Chief (ret) Britt Slabinski. As we walked through SHOT Show last year, he talked about the issues of close combat with a firearm and asked us to investigate an integrated standoff. We designed this feature based on his input. The response from Law Enforcement and Defensive Trainers has been very positive.
FFL Unleashed: Share some of the history behind Honor Defense. Who’s involved and how did you get together?
Ramey: I suppose it started when I was a competitor back in the 70s and I carried my target rifle to school in western Pennsylvania. I had the privilege of being around a lot of WWII and Vietnam era veterans. After a while, I was fortunate to be in the outdoor industry with USA Shooting and a large international firearm company.
It didn’t take long to see a void for a high-quality, 100% made in the USA, CCW firearm with full-size pistol features. I met the best firearm design engineers in the industry and we got underway.
Regarding our brand name “Honor Defense”, we want to recognize people that honorably protected our nation. Our logo is a special tip of the hat to the brave soldiers from the Chinese Burma India Theater of WWII. Pilots flew “the Hump” which was commonly called the “Aluminum Trail” for all of the aircraft that crashed. The US Army created a patch created for US soldiers to distinguish them from the British soldiers at the base.
My father was a US Army Air Force Aviator in WWII, flew the Hump and wore this patch. Our logo is a reminder that we owe our freedom to the brave men and women that serve our nation in the military and the protection of our laws.
Honor Defense also hires veterans and first-responders whenever possible. It’s the right thing to do, and we stay focused on quality of design and manufacturing as our top product priorities.
FFL Unleashed: Are the Honor Guard guns available right now? How can dealers get their hands on them? What accessories are available?
Ramey: We are rolling out now and selling only through the Distributor network. We appreciate the positive response from the media, distributors, dealers and consumers. Holsters are already available from CrossBreed, DeSantis, and Galco. Lasers will be finished shortly as well. It’s also worth noting we believe deeply in customer service and return every email or phone call on the day it is received.
FFL Unleashed: What other products are in the “near future” for Honor Defense?
Ramey: We’ll be adding more calibers and size pistols as we go, but for now we’ll focus on 9mm single stack CCW pistols, but we look forward to bringing more USA product to the market.
FFL Unleashed: Where can dealers find you at SHOT Show? How about Distributor shows or online?
Ramey: We invite everyone to come by our lane at SHOT Show Industry Range Day.
Our lane will be run by some of the product advisors, so please stop by to say “hello” and shoot the pistols.
We also will participate in a Team Never Quit Ammunition event with other like-minded companies that support American veterans on Sunday January 17 with Marcus Luttrell.
We’ll be there with top companies like SinterFire, Axelson Tactical, SEAL1, LedWave, Drone Munition, Gnat Warfare and Reaper Outdoors. Although the event has limited availability, if any dealers would like to attend, just send a note to [email protected] or [email protected] and we’ll try to get you into the event.