Friday, May 6, 2016

TINCANBANDIT visits Blade-Tech Industries

America's history is full of success stories. These stories prove time and again that this country truly is the land of opportunity.
We based our country on the very idea that you should be able to keep the fruits of your labor and the fruit is much sweeter when your labor is a hobby.

One such story is that of Tim Wegner and Blade-Tech Industries and despite what our President thinks.....Tim did build this.

If you have never heard of Blade-Tech Industries you are either new to the firearms hobby or have been living under a rock.
They make some of the best fitting synthetic holsters on the market.

What started out as Tim's hobby, became a full time business employing not only himself and good friend, but family members and a staff of as many as 100 people.

Tim Wegner began making knives and sheaths years ago in his garage. He moved from leather to working with plastics and making sheaths for knives. Soon he was making sheaths for some very recognizable knife makers.

When people saw his handy work, they asked if Tim could make them one. 
Knife sheathes turned to gun holsters and in 1995 Tim hung out his shingle under the name Blade-Tech Industries. Even though 95% of his business today is gun holsters, the name, is a reminder of where he came from.

Having a background in sales and marketing I found the Blade-Tech's logo interesting...two pistols pointed down (as if in a holster), if you squint you can make out the shape of a bull, the trigger guards are the eyes and the grip frames the horns, the logo was adopted circa 2011 or so.
I had a personal connection to Tim Wegner in that my Father used to work with Tim (and C.O.O. Tom Crawford) before Blade-Tech became a full time enterprise. When we saw Tim recently at a gun show, he asked us if we would like to come down and take a tour. We of course took Tim up on his offer.

Blade-Tech's 50,000 square foot facility acts as the company headquarters, sales office, manufacturing, shipping and R&D facility.
Their address says Puyallup, but it would appear they are closer to Frederickson (south-east of Tacoma, WA). 

How many offices do you know of that have a weapon clearing station at the front door?

......and the Four Rules of Gun Safety posted (from Gunsite no less)?

We arrived on a typical work day and the facility was humming along.

We started in the storage/receiving area. 

On the left, just out of frame is their convention display getting re-fit for the up-coming NRA meetings, on the back wall is a small photo booth. On the table were some items being inventoried from the last gun show.

 A look at the production floor
The plastic is heated in an oven to the proper temperature and then it is removed and pressed against a mold, holding it in place while the plastic cools. 

The result is four holsters, ready to be cut out, folded and riveted together (like a clam shell)

 Here is the work area where the plastic molds become holsters

 A box of holsters waiting to be folded and riveted

In the beginning Tim and Tom worked in Tim's garage using a small oven to heat the plastic sheets, then molded them around a gun using special padded vices. 

They still make some holsters this way

Blade-Tech has an impressive collection of gun molds (this is a small portion of them), many of which they made themselves. 
At one time these were a cataloged item, sold for training and testing.

They even made these tiny key chain pistols and holsters for promotional purposes.

As we moved from production area to the NW corner of the building we came across some automated machines being fed plastic pellets and kicking out belt clips for the holsters. There were also several CNC machines used for R&D.

Tucked away in the extreme NW corner can be found the office where the Design Engineering team is kept busy designing new holsters and products.

On the screen is a holster for the Ruger LC9. 

We were able to spend a few minutes with one of the design engineers. 
Micah describes himself as "mostly self taught", having worked his way up in the business from sweeping the floors to R&D. He has mastered CAD design and has been integral in bringing new products from concept to production.
He showed us some of the capabilities of the software and how they check for clearances before the holster goes into production.

When I asked Micah if he was a "gun guy" before working at Blade-Tech, he responded that he wasn't before joining the team at Blade-Tech, but certainly is one now.

Here are some of the molds designed by the engineers and made on a one of their CNC machines.

Tim tells me that a holster can go from new gun in the door to a full production item in as little as a week, allowing them to show up to the S.H.O.T. show with production holsters for guns that are being unveiled at the same show.

Production numbers will vary from month to month, the Military and LE contracts they secure can swing the needle considerably. I'm sure the increase in concealed carry permits across the country hasn't hurt either.

Blade-Tech holsters are sold in virtually every online gun store (including places like Amazon) and are now on the shelves in every Cabela's store as well as their website.
You will also find their product brand labeled for companies like Sig, Ruger, S&W, Crimson Trace and others.

An example of which arrived in my email inbox as I was writing this:
Blade-Tech makes more than just pistol holsters. Their 2016 catalog has 47 pages of holsters, belts, attachment systems, duty and competition rigs and of course knives

On a side note, the motion picture John Wick Chapter 2 is due in theaters next year with Keanu Reeves, in the video below Keanu is wearing a Blade-Tech while he trains with Taran Butler.

I would like to thank Tim and his team for the tour and hospitality. I can't help but think his attitude are a big part of his success.

If you would like to see or purchase their products you can visit their website here:

Blade-Tech Industries

email their sales team at:

call them at 1-877-331-5793

You can also stay in touch with them via their social media accounts: