In this interview with PolyCase Ammunition’s CEO and Founder, Paul Lemke, and V.P. of Business Development, Drew Gorman, we take a look at the polymer bullet innovations they are pioneering and why PolyCase takes such pride in offering an all-American-made product.
FFL Unleashed: Please share a brief history of PolyCase Ammunition.
Lemke: I founded PolyCase Ammunition in 2012 after retiring from the U.S. Army after a 20-year career spent mostly outside the United States, working with partner nation armed forces and law enforcement organizations. From the beginning, we’ve been focused on using precision injection-molding and high-tech, heat tolerant polymers to maximize the effectiveness of ammunition. The name PolyCase is a result of one of our several patent pending technologies that has yet to hit the market – a polymer-based cartridge case. Right now, we are selling our injection-molded, copper-polymer bullets loaded in brass cases. Over the next several years look for us to introduce a number of additional innovations with the potential to further impact this industry.
FFL Unleashed: Take us through the development of your bullet technology resulting in ARX ammunition today.
Lemke and Gorman: In the course of developing the polymer cartridge case, we quickly came to a realization that traditional bullets simply weren’t going to cut it. Among other reasons, you cannot crimp a polymer cartridge case, and chemical adhesives are ineffective at bonding metal to polymer, so bonding a bullet to a polymer case becomes a major challenge. As a solution to this problem, we developed the copper-polymer bullet, which allows us to create a sound bond between a polymer cartridge case and a polymer bullet. The bullets we created using the copper-polymer matrix proved so effective we decided to begin loading them in brass cases so we could get them to market, rather than waiting to launch all of our new polymer cartridge case technologies a few years down the road. The Inceptor brand was created to represent our revolutionary injection-molded bullets loaded in traditional brass cases.
FFL Unleashed: Exactly what is ARX and how does it work? What are its applications?
Lemke and Gorman: The ARX (Advanced Rotation eXtreme) is a highly effective non-expanding defense bullet. What I mean by that is the ARX is designed to be just as effective at transferring energy as a hollow-point (thus avoiding pass through and the potential for collateral damage), while eliminating failures sometimes associated with hollow-points due to failure to expand. The ARX does this by transferring energy in an entirely new way. The grooves on the ARX are engineered to forcefully displace fluids/soft-tissue laterally away from the bullet. This fluid dynamic energy transfer creates a massive wound channel, and results in a very efficient energy dump in soft-tissue targets. And all of this is from a bullet that passes through clothing with no risk of clogging or failures due to non-expansion. In this regard, the ARX is a much simpler tool than a hollow-point, since it does not have to undergo a mechanical transformation in order to do its job. All things being equal, most people will take the simpler, but equally effective tool in a life or death situation!
FFL Unleashed: Beyond non-lead ammo mandates, how has the shooting world received PolyCase ammunition’s technology?
Lemke and Gorman: It’s been incredible, and we are so thankful to the many shooters who have embraced this new technology and our company with open arms. There’s always a risk that new technology will be avoided because it is misunderstood. Our sales and marketing team, Outtech and Binet Company manufacturer reps, Media Direct and all of our partner retailers have done a fantastic job of getting the word out there about how and why this new technology works, and the shooting public has responded by giving us a huge vote of confidence.
FFL Unleashed: At the end of the day, can shooters expect more economy to come in poly rounds? How so? How much?
Lemke and Gorman: It’s a balancing act. Our production process – injection molding – is incredibly efficient and delivers some incredible cost savings. However, since our bullet is primarily copper and not lead, it costs more on average than other manufacturers’. So, we do our best to be highly competitive on price, which we are, and at the same time offer our customers a technologically advanced product without the premium price tag usually associated with cutting-edge products.
FFL Unleashed: So far, it seems most of your technical focus (at least what’s on store shelves) is on bullet technology. However, looking at www.polycaseammo.com, it seems there’s a placeholder for a PolyCase branded line featuring polymer cases. Can you tell us more about that? How far out is it? What are the technological hurdles that need to be overcome?
Lemke and Gorman: The cat’s out of the bag! The name of our company makes it pretty clear where our intentions lie in this regard. We have multiple patent-pending designs for polymer cartridge cases for both straight-walled and bottle-neck cartridges. The technology is there, we’re just waiting on the right timing to release those product offerings (which again, is one of the reasons why we went ahead and launched our bullets loaded in brass cases under the Inceptor and Ruger brands).
FFL Unleashed: It looks like you’ve partnered with another fine, American-made company to produce Ruger Ammunition. How has the reception been with dealers and shooters for the Ruger line? Any hints on what to look forward to next?
Lemke and Gorman: Sturm, Ruger and Co. is a great American company, and we are proud to be licensing their brand. Ruger Ammunition has done very well, and it’s been the ideal vehicle for bringing the new and relatively unknown ARX bullet technology to the market. We try to keep our future caliber plans close to the vest – sometimes the engineers don’t even tell me what they are working on – but if I had to guess I would say look for us to expand our dedicated revolver and lever-gun cartridge offerings in the coming months!
FFL Unleashed: What does it mean to PolyCase to be able to offer an all-American-made product?
Lemke and Gorman: As a veteran-owned and operated company selling in the U.S. market, we place “Made in America” very high on our list of priorities. We are committed to American manufacturing and American-made components because of our commitment to our employees and to our customers. Sometimes it looks like the only American startups anymore are technology companies that only write code. We’re a real American high-tech startup!