Average Gun Guy AR-15 Rifles Designed by Women for Women
We partnered with three ladies in the industry and I had them design a rifle. I said no rules no restrictions tell me what works for you. Who knew the biggest discussions would come over color (laughs). In the end they came up with 3 very distinct different models.
Each has a custom designed free float handguard, we use a boron coated bolt carrier for reliability and ease of maintenance and each is colored in their preferred choice of blue, crimson and purple. The thing that surprised me the most was the way it felt when it was done. Men typically like to plant a rifle in the shoulder.
The model the women came up with was much more balanced and all chose a minimalist stock from MFT. That’s why I didn’t want to influence it all, some of their choices would have been the last thing I picked for them. The initial response to the Ladies Line has been quite positive and we hope they take off as well as our other models.
Our latest release is our new Hunt Line. What is the same about all the black guns out there? They are black. So we now use a walnut furniture set. You get the feel of a traditional rifle with the modern advancements from the AR-15 internals.
The feel of the wood is just amazing. We control the entire process from tree in a forest to finished wood product so we get the best wood sets out there. We do offer them as a kit to add to existing ARs in natural, black stain and a green camo stain in all lengths (carbine, mid and rifle) but my favorite thing to do is build the full rifles with them. Since this is the year of the 30 Cal according to the ‘experts’ we paired this with our 300 Blackout and also did one in 7.62x39. The 7.62x39 was the hardest because it had to be reliable and shoot even the cheap ammo we threw at it.
Took a while but we finally got it tuned and used the boron bolt carrier to make sure it cycles and fires every time. We do have some ideas to expand that wood line but it’s still in the planning stages. The one thing I can say is we are working on a thumbhole version. Could be a great option for varmint hunters and states with more restrictions on what you can and can’t have. Not that we agree with those restrictions but as a manufacturer we have to deal with them.
With two great new lines, the Ladies Line and the Hunt Line, is Average Gun Guy resting on its innovations?
“No way! We are always coming up with ideas, some work some don’t. My youngest son is very interested in the business. He is only 14 now but he has been tossing out ideas since he was 11. I encourage it because it keeps me thinking outside the box too. Some ideas end up just being me and him messing around. About two years ago we were looking at early 1900 rifles with bayonets and got discussing zombies. Next thing you know he had worked out an electrified bayonet by combining a Taser and bayonet. Crazy sure but fun to think about. Other ideas we implement right away, our Average Joe was largely due to input from him, and some are just waiting to come to life.
But you see that’s the key to this whole thing. I love what I do. I work with my family and I get to live my dream every day. Have I made mistakes? Heck ya and all I can do is try to correct them as best I can. Can working with your family have its issues? You try working with your wife that much and not have a fight from time to time! But it’s all worth it in the end and to build something like this and hopefully hand it down to my son some day is priceless.”
So as Barrett Firearms, Colt and Dan Wesson before him Bryan will continue working on his dream to bring solid firearms to you the average shooter. If you haven’t heard of them before just wait, this is a company on the rise. To see more of their work feel free to visit their website at www.AverageGunGuy.com.
They are also currently accepting dealers and information is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
AR-15 Rifles For Women In 300 Balckout And 5.56
I knew the 300 Blackout and 5.56 were going to be cornerstone calibers but beyond that I had no clue. One of the first things I did was sit back and say, what does the average customer wants and then think about what I liked and didn’t like about my first AR. The first thing I wrote down was that the basic ARs were not complete.
The term ‘optics ready’ always drove me nuts on a basic rifle that is probably going to be a range gun. It’s like selling a car without a steering wheel. So, all of our guns were going to come with everything ready to shoot out of the box. To this day all rifles come with some kind of sights, the only exception is models designed for hunting which will most likely use a scope. The second thing that jumped out was that the basic rifles were ALL the same.
Same round handguard, same style, same everything. This was solved by chance when we started sourcing parts. I started calling up parts houses and they all wanted to know if I wanted 500 or 1,000 parts at a time. I’m not Rockefeller here, I’m a start up! So, I started looking for other smaller less known companies like me to work with. The amazing part was there was so much innovation there! The first handguards we picked up were AB Arms and we use them to this day. They were just so much more comfortable than the standard round 2 piece that was out there at the time.
You could add rails where you needed and not tear strips of your hand off like the quad rails that were popular at the time. This strategy is still one we use today. We do use some larger vendors for some things and buy in larger quantities on some things but innovation is what keeps us moving.
The last piece of the puzzle was the market we wanted to hit but that was solved pretty quickly. I noticed that although we all love the high end stuff the basic stuff does quite well. We all want a Benelli but Mossberg sells a lot of shotguns. So our guns were going to be a good solid rifle, with extras you don’t find on the standard rifle at a price for the average shooter. With that we had our name, Average Gun Guy”
The company has come a long way since that first rifle and birth of an idea. Today Average Gun Guy can produce just about any type of modern rifle in 5.56, 300 Blackout and 7.62x39. Both pistol and rifle are options as well as free float and standard 2 piece. Is there anything they won’t build for you ?
“Well you know I found out that is a bit of a trap. One of the toughest things for me sometimes is staying true to our mission as a company. We are Average Gun Guy. I will get out at Shot Show or see something new in a trade mag and think ‘Oh Man I have to have that!’ but that’s when you have to stop and think, does it fit my market. We have done some custom builds and custom lines for customers and dealers. We love to do those but my main focus is always on that average shooter so no matter what we make its solid and it’s affordable.”
With the booms and busts of the last few years in the black gun market and the flood of new manufacturers it would be easy to think this is short lived idea. So how have they survived and where are they going next?
“It has been tricky staying afloat. It’s funny because the general consensus out there was gun folks were raking it in and you couldn’t walk without falling in to money. From a business standpoint though it wasn’t that easy. Sure the demand skyrocketed but how much do you go in on it. It’s like the stock market in a way. I saw a lot of folks pour everything they had in to cash in but then the bottom dropped out. They were left with inventory that had lost half its value, bills for locations and services they signed, payroll cost and they closed their doors.
So we just kept it slow and steady keeping our mission in mind. Because of that we are still here and growing. And we just kept building on that. Lately the market has become tired of the black guns so had to reinvent ourselves. I trimmed down our main lines and then first came out with our Ladies Line. That has been a fun project but a lot of work too.
We know Barrett and Colt. We have heard of Red Jacket and Smith and Wesson. So who is Average Gun Guy? Well they are a little bit of “all of the above”. Like Ronnie Barrett of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing the founder of Average Gun Guy was in a completely different profession when the company was launched. Like everyone mentioned above they started with a small budget and a bench. They are also a family business that started with a dream and everyone pitching in. But let’s start at the beginning.
Average Gun Guy founder, Bryan Labelle, worked many different jobs over the years but settled in to IT work in his mid-2000s. Starting on assembly lines building laptops he worked his way up and in the late 90s found the world of Business Intelligence. Like any of his passions he poured everything into it and was quite successful in that world. Work took him to places in Northern Canada, New England and Texas. As is his style, new passions formed in his life and he pursued them with great energy. One story he likes to tell is his first motorcycle.
“I wanted a bike but had no idea how they even worked. At the time I had little money after the divorce and relocation for work but I found an ad for a Yamaha XJ650 for $300. When I went to get it half the parts were in shopping bags! But I took it home, got a mechanics manual and started work on it. It took me a year but I completely rebuilt that bike and used it to commute to work for a while. Nothing is impossible when you set your mind to it.”
That same passion burned for firearms. Having started out with an old Marlin 22 bought at a small town gun show the collection grew fast.
“Many shooters like old war guns for example, or pistols or side by sides. My problem is I like them all.” When Bryan’s wife started hunting and wanted a hunting rifle it was the start of an idea. As he explains;
“Most hunting rifles don’t “fit” women shooters. At the time my deer gun was Lee Enfield No 4 Mk1 which I had worked up a great 125gr hand load for. But that rifle was so long and heavy she couldn’t shoot it well and would just walk away. My youngest son had just received a 243 youth single shot Rossi so she tried it and it fit perfectly. However, it wasn’t long before she wanted more than a single shot kid’s rifle and wanted a rifle on par with mine.
I spent quite a bit of time looking at shorter rifles with magazines and was about at the point of ordering a Weatherby in 7mm-08 and cutting down the stock. Right about that time my wife went to a shooting clinic offered by our local Diva Wow club and had a chance to shoot an AR-15. She instantly fell in love with it. I had been reading a lot about the new 300 Blackout cartridge so it was a natural fit and I built her one”
This aspect combined with his appetite for knowledge launched the idea of Average Gun Guy. Bryan was well aware of how many gun people started as well as how many in the IT industry as well. It took determination and a dream. Now he knew the dream was a gun company but what would it look like?
“There were some definite stops and starts with the business. Our first name was going to be B&S Guns for Bryan and Sheri. I found out that domain name was taken, though unused, and I didn’t want to get a name I couldn’t use online. We played with all kinds of combinations of our initials, even adding the kids but with only one vowel it didn’t amount to much (laughs). In the meantime I was also mapping out what we were going to do.