OSD 136: Everything is downstream of product quality

Some ideas that are making things better for users.

A few weeks ago we sent you “OSD 131: Samuel Colt applies to Y Combinator”. That was based on a mock YC application that someone wrote, in the voice of Sam Colt applying to the Summer 1815 batch. We wrote:

The whole thing is that vintage-internet-flavored combination of fun, silly, and educational. It’s also a good reminder that products matter most. Laws matter, but the reason they matter is that they block access to products people want. So the good products have to be there as soon as the law’s out of the way (and often even before that). That’s a task for founders, not legislators.

There’s a corollary to this products-first idea of gun rights: if you want to promote gun rights, build great gun-related products. It’s hard to start a company. But it’s much harder (and less controllable) to change an entrenched law. Focus on starting the company and there’s an outcome where your customers help chip away at the law for you.

In that spirit, this week we’re highlighting some of our favorite examples of product innovation in the industry. Some of these are well-established. Others are nascent. And for some, who knows.

  • Haga Defense: Pushing the boundaries on stock adapter manufacturing.

  • Scalarworks: It’s underdiscussed how innovative Scalarworks’ mounting system is. The first real innovation in scope mounts in many years.

  • T.Rex Arms’ open source Sidecar spine system: Open source infra is a force multiplier for startups.

  • FirstSpear MultiMag mag pouch: Adjusts to multiple mag sizes using the adjustable BOA system that you see on ski boots.

  • Sionyx digital night vision: No, it’s not the best night vision you can get. But night vision is an area of electronics that has so far been immune to the rampant deflationary tendency of most electronics. The good stuff still costs thousands of dollars, same as it always has. So it’s cool to see products nipping at the edges of that.

  • ECOTI: Clips onto your NVGs to add a thermal overlay.

  • Sig P320 fire control unit: This is the best-known one on the list, for good reason. The modularity of this design is really slick.

  • RK Spookware: “The internet's spookiest hardware store!”

What are your favorites that aren’t on this list? Send us your favorite gun industry startups — hardware, software, content creators, or anything else that’s gun-related. We’d like to check them out.

This week’s links

Guns Magazine podcast with our own Chuck Rossi

Chuck shares his insights on how social media companies develop and implement content policies. He was a director at Facebook for 11 years and was the company’s subject matter expert on firearms, so he has quite a bit of info you won’t hear anywhere else.

Chris Cheng’s RECOIL Magazine cover is going up for auction as an NFT

The auction starts on October 19. More on this from us as it gets closer.

Colion Noir reviews the HK51, a full-auto .308 rifle with an 8” barrel


Stephen Gutowski with a piece for The Atlantic on gun laws

The thesis: the real blocker for gun laws isn’t lobbying groups, it’s that millions of people are just really passionate about gun rights.

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