U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The AR-15 is often described as the most customizable rifle of all time. With thousands of options to choose from regarding buttstocks, grips, forends and even factory engraved receivers, I don't think there's a lot of room to argue. Mission First Tactical is certainly well aware of that, with some of their best-known products being buttstocks and muzzle devices for the venerable AR platform. They've really taken things to the next level now, as I saw at MFT's booth at SHOT Show 2020. Custom AR mags… painted? Stained? Stickers? I had to find out.
During SHOT, I may have asked a thousand questions. Will the image rub off easily? Water-resistant? Expensive? After talking with MFT at the booth, I followed up via email to get the answers on record. The follow is my email interview with Gordon Edelman, the man in charge of the magic mags at MFT.
Some items edited for punctuation and spelling
Does this new process have a name?
The Variable Impregnation Process, or VIP.
What exactly is this process that's used to print such defined images onto your mags?
It’s a secret. Seriously, the newest technology has been key to this breakthrough. MFT has coupled with machine & ink providers as a proving ground for flat and 3D imaged products. We are proud to say we are 1 of 2 users of this system in the U.S.
How did you come across this method, and decide to use it on gun mags?
MFT’s founder has always sought to apply science & innovation into all our products. This is apparent in our designs, incorporation of specialty resins, the enhanced strength to weight ratio of our products. MFT often visits research centers seeking the newest materials and processes. We found the proper equipment & materials which we adapted for high volume production.
More and more firearm enthusiasts are enjoying customizing their firearms in a way that’s personal to them. AR15’s are the most flexible platform for an individual to express themselves and their lifestyles. Everyone has something to say and be proud of. What more fun than to put it on your gun?
How does the durability of the image rate against other methods?
Each image is molecularly fused to the magazine's body. On top of this, we add a clear protective layer. Its extremely wear & scratch resistant. Frankly, you’d have to gouge the magazine. That’s near impossible on MFT magazines as they are made of the strongest long glass fiber resin.
How does the cost compare to other imaging methods?
First understand we are creating a full-color image which a laser cut or pad printed magazine can’t do. However, its very cost-effective. Selling for far less than lasered mags.
How detailed an image is possible using this method?
It’s all based on image quality. A high-resolution photo will be recreated up to fine art quality. A vector file, often used for logo’s, would be exact & precisely recreated to any size.
Basic Jpeg files may be suitable but often we can enhance them further through our software.
Any other pertinent details you'd like shared?
MFT also offers wallets, dump trays and holsters all printed with our patterns or custom patterns on our website.
What are your plans regarding custom mags with customer supplied art?
MFT is daily creating custom mags. Having a logo, a state flag, association, drawing etc. creates new demand and a greater profit margin for dealers. MFT has the most advanced graphic software & artists on staff. Send us a file, if need be, for a small charge, we can enhance or recreate it. We’ll send you a proof and then make it. Individuals can also order a custom magazine with a slight art charge.
A big thanks to David and Gordon at Mission First Tactical. They've sent out a couple T&E mags with VIP applied art, and I'm sending some art off to get the custom order experience first-hand. This will also give me more info about the costs involved with custom art printing. When I have all in hand, I'll work up some durability testing to show just how tough the image applied by the VIP process is. Until then, check em out here!
About Rex Nanorum
Rex Nanorum is an Alaskan Expatriate living in Oregon with his wife and kids. Growing up on commercial fishing vessels, he found his next adventure with the 2nd Bn, 75th Ranger Regt. After 5 tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, he adventured about the west coast becoming a commercial fisheries and salvage SCUBA diver, rated helicopter pilot instructor (CFII) and personal trainer, before becoming a gear reviewer and writer.”
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