You know, running this dang website is a helluva lot of work but I am not complaining as it allows me to participate in exceptionally cool projects from time to time. I was invited to tour the High Speed Gear factory. If you are not familiar with High Speed Gear, they manufacturer a plethora of essential shooting related gear, from the famous Sure-Grip® Padded Belts, Slim-Grip® Padded Belts and Duty-Grip™ Padded Belts. Battle Belt and TACO pouches to Kydex holsters and so on. One thing that stands out is everything is American made, by skilled employees, with American materials. This is a tough combination to find in any industry.
The day started out with assembling some custom Battle Belts for the Sig Sauer range day starting the next morning.
While assembly of the Battle Belt is somewhat intuitive, we had quality guidance to keep us on track.
It was not too long and we were all good to go and ready for the drag strip, so to speak.
Once that was wrapped up, we all took the tour and were taken back in small groups for photos and detailed questions.
To keep from disrupting the productivity as much as possible, we went through as the employees were taking their lunch shifts.
The factory floor was well policed, everything kept in order, in its place, and clean.
Many of the employees are women from the community, very skilled and vested in their craft. All employees are cross trained in the various processes allowing for overlap in the manufacturing when needed so productivity does not suffer. If High Speed Gear is tasked with a large order or can anticipate such an event the staff can come together to be sure deadlines are met while on hand stock will not dwindle. In addition, programs are implemented allowing some employees to work from home, taking material home and bring back completed products.
While some of the processes are old school textile technology, tried and true. Modern techniques are woven into the SOP. While the manufacturing will benefit there are other side effects such as drastically reducing waste and repurposing scrap.
Raw materials and complete products are kept in the factory for upcoming projects and the order you just placed online.
Product is shipped daily via various carriers after passing through four layers of QC.
High Speed Gear is located in Swansboro North Carolina, benefiting from a healthy military and law enforcement presence. This allows for experts in their various fields to participate in R&D. Tapping into that expertise can get innovative gear to the professionals and getting that same gear to the free market.
I have done quite a few firearm factory tours so I have a bit of an idea of what to expect but this was a little different being more focused on textile manufacture. This was an opportunity for me to learn a bit about High Speed Gear and some semblance of what it takes to produce the gear so many trust.
The next day at Spartan Ranch during Sig Sauer media day, we really put the Battle Belts to the test. That article and video upcoming soon.