MRS Techniques and Safariland at AAD 2012

| 17 September 2012 | 0 Comments

The name Safariland is synonymous with shooting leather and conjures up memories of the early days of IPSC shooting with names such as Bill Rogers, John Bianchi, Milt Sparks and Gordon Davis springing (slowly now) to mind as masters of their craft.

Few remember Neale Perkins. Following a request from his father for a custom holster, Neale actually founded Safariland in 1964, or Safari Limited as it was back then, and named his new company after the African safaris that he and his father enjoyed together. Hence the adoption of the Impala within the company’s logo.

From humble beginnings, Safariland quickly went from making a few hundred holsters to more than 5,000 within a few months. And it didn’t stop there.

Safariland is now a leading manufacturer of protective products and equipment primarily for law enforcement and military customers. Key products include body armour, duty gear, tactical armour and armour systems, less lethal products, firearms accessories, forensics testing equipment, even bicycles for duty use.

But the road was long and corporately entwined to say the least.

In 1996, American Body Armor and its shareholders joined forces to form Armor Holdings, a diversified holding company with plans for significant additional growth.

Over the course of the next 11 years, Armor Holdings acquired many of the most-recognized equipment brands in the law enforcement industry, including Safariland.

In July 2007, BAE Systems acquired Armor Holdings, forming the BAE Systems Products Group of which Safariland was a part.

In August 2008, it was decided that BAE Systems Products Group would go to market under the name Safariland. Such is the power of the Safariland brand.

But it wasn’t to end there.

In a very recent move to further consolidate its business units, BAE Systems reached an agreement to sell its Safariland LLC business to a newly formed acquisition vehicle affiliated with security systems consultant Kanders & Company Inc.

Frank Pope, president of BAE Systems’ Land & Armaments sector, said in a May 2 announcement: “We believe that this sale is in the best interests of BAE Systems as well as the Safariland business.”

There is now much excitement within the Safariland camp and the CEO of Kanders & Co has stated:  “The Company has a tremendous track record of commitment to safety, reliability and superior product design. Safariland also has an unparalleled portfolio of brands in the protective products and equipment space, and has done an excellent job of nurturing and building on this portfolio to position it for future growth. We look forward to working to continue growing revenues organically in our domestic and international markets. In addition, we intend to utilize Safariland as a platform on which to pursue selective acquisitions of other brands and products that fit our core mission, vision and values.

Safariland manufacturers a wide range of products in the law enforcement segments, but only markets a small number of them under the Safariland brand name. The majority of products appear in the marketplace under other, well known law enforcement brands that were acquired when the company became a part of Armor Holdings. Their current product offering includes holsters, duty gear and restraints under Safariland and Bianchi brands. Body armor under the American Body Armor, Second Chance, SAVVY and PROTECH brands. Firearms accessories and cleaning kits under the B-Square, SpeedFeed, Kleen-Bore and BreakFree brands. Protective gear such as riot helmets and shields as well as protective police gloves under the Hatch and Monadnock brands. Less lethal munitions and chemical OC, CN and CS sprays and foams under the Defense Technology brand. A field narcotics testing line of products under the NIK Public Safety and ODV brands, as well as a line of equipment and consumable supplies targeted toward Forensics and Investigation personnel under the Forensics Source and Projectina brands.

But, for most readers, Safariland is still one of the most widely recognized names in shooting competition despite being absent from the South African arena for many years.

Very early on Safariland recognised that serious involvement in shooting competition was crucial to future success and in 1985 started Team Safariland which remains an integral part of their product development process.

Team members have combined competition and LE-trained experience and regularly field-test materials and products for Safariland.

Safariland are very active in IPSC, IDPA and Cowboy Action Shooting and most readers will recognise names such as Tommy Campbell, Julie Golob, Doug Koenig, Kippi Leatham, Robbie Leatham (still my hero J), John Pride, Bill Rogers and Mike Voigt.

And let’s welcome the newest Team Safariland shooter – Bob Vogel, fresh from success at the recent South African IDPA National Champs (reported elsewhere) and a confirmed user of Safariland product.

Well, Safariland are back. Initially we intend to concentrate on Law Enforcement and Military products. How we progress with the sport shooting range will rather depend on you, the shooters.

We will be pleased to receive your comments and suggestions. If you visit www.safariland.com you will be gobsmacked at the extent of the product offerings. Let us know what you would like to see here.

Contact us at 012 993 4844 or mail to mrs@lantic.net

Have fun

Roger Stockbridge

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