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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Industry Visit: US PALM

We are quite lucky that there are many great gear manufacturers located in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. I thought it would be a great idea to visit some of these companies to get an inside look at operations, check out existing product designs, and get a peek at things to come. This is a completely open minded concept with no precepts and it can take us anywhere the host manufacturer is willing to take us. We explained it as such to US PALM Director, Robert Anderson and he was willing to take us up on the concept and provide a welcoming gander at what they were all about. 


To give some quick background, US Primary Armament Logistical Manufacturing, simply known as US PALM is a wholly owned subsidiary of SGC Global Industries. You probably best recognize SGC for the Scottsdale Gun Club, which is the premier upscale indoor shooting facility in the Phoenix area. They are also the parent company of the E-Commerce Site SGCUSA along with their government procurement arm SGCTactical. 

Scottsdale Gun Club got their start over 9 years ago in North Scottsdale.  Their facilities now consist of 32 shooting lanes with an extensive rental fleet including 200 firearms and 20 select-fire options available for use by the public. Accessibility to these rentals is an important aspect of the overall picture, which we will explain later. SGC is also home to a premium Titanium Membership with access to 8 private lanes, firearms storage, lounge, and a wide array of services. They also have their own gunsmith and variety of training courses. Another aspect that sets them apart from many is a Tactical Bay with Barriers for departmental and civilian training. 

US PALM got its start when its Director, Robert Anderson was heading the E-Commerce Site for SGC. Not one to be an armchair cowboy he got ownership on board with developing practical gear solutions for Military and Law Enforcement. This concept has carried over to a multi-million dollar operation with some of the best products in the world for their given utility. Products developed for use by professionals in their field have been modified for civilian friendly purposes. Several of their designs come directly from end-user demand.

US Palm Defender Handgun

The US PALM Defender is one product developed for use with an AR-15 or Handgun (seen above) that takes a Military/LE product concept and modified it for civilian self defense. The Rifle Case 34" seen below is a good example of product improvement by taking a gun case and extending the zipper slightly so that it lays flat allowing it to double as a shooting mat on hot concrete or snow. You can also use it to clean your rifle as well.

US Palm Rifleman Range Bag
Mr. Anderson has a background in law enforcement, firearms development and training, as well as marketing- all of which helped develop and promote US PALM's product lines. He wanted to fill a gap in the market place for U.S. Manufactured gear that wasn't stuck in the past. There is an emphasis on quality and not providing the most expensive products, but at a proper value and function. The AK30 30-Round Polymer Magazine is just one of the innovative and high quality products developed by US PALM that is in a class of its own and definitely has its own interesting back story. The success of this magazine has carried over to more AK focused products including some new developments, which we are excited to divulge. 

Agile Combat System
One of the key innovations introduced in 2012 and released by US Palm last year was the Agile Combat System Kit. We had previously covered this Armor/Load Carry System when it first started shipping, but it is undergoing continual evolution. One aspect US PALM focuses on is taking existing designs and making them better for the end user. There are several variants on the same product given the individual utility needed. This can vary by profession or individual unit. The Agile Combat System Kit (ACS) consists of several modular components that can be integrated as the need deems fit. They have also integrated different features such as the high visibility panel seen below for easy identification when needed. The panel folds up, is easily stowed beneath the pack, and can be quickly deployed.

Agile Combat System High Vis Panel
The Desert Tracker Plate Carrier is the main component for the ACS with a three sided armor carry system and will be one aspect of future product development for US PALM. We discussed the future of the industry and they noted that there will be an emphasis on small units and not big contracts. There are very specific units with unique requirements where their products can altered to meet their needs. One key focus is gear for Law Enforcement in flooded areas. This can involve improvements in gear for more hot and humid locales along with lighter weight materials.

Desert Tracker Mini Admin-T
Some of the products under development are new Admin Panels including some with Horizontally Oriented PALS webbing for side access to pouches such as a flashbang. They also have their mini tourniquet design integrated in to a panel as you can see in the photo above. Three new IFAK designs will be introduced along with a US Palm battle belt, which will have a continuous width to avoid any hangups. We discussed Camo and they are quite happy with their current solid colors along with MultiCam and A-TACS AU. The patterns have proven effective for their customers and they want to use what works. They will also be bringing Woodland back as specific units are utilizing the camouflage for their own purposes.

US PALM AK30 30-RD Magazine
Back on the AK front US PALM did reveal to us that they will be releasing an AK "Backend" in conjuction with B5 Systems. Some of the features integrated will be tied in with the AK30 magazine. They didn't elaborate beyond there being a buttstock involved, but you can put two and two together as to the possibilities. We are sure plenty of AK lovers will be excited to pick it up the new US PALM/B5 Systems collaboration to go with their magazines and AK Battle Grip.

US PALM AK and AR Battle Grip (Left to Right)
One of the key aspects of operating out of a world class shooting facility is the immediate access to full auto AK rifles. In combination with a rental fleet US PALM has the perfect test bed for real-world end users. Scottsdale Gun Club rand through 1.1 to 1.3 Million Rounds of Ammunition in a month. Firearms get run to death and they definitely burn through barrels. Many of their customers may have never picked up an AK before and complete novices will do things with it like no other. After their own thorough testing, US PALM can put their product into the rental fleet and let SGC customers beat it up. This allows them to see any potential problems after long term use that may not be picked up on from professional testing.

In addition US PALM elaborated on why you won't find a quad stack magazine with 45 or 30 rounds any time soon. There was plenty of speculation, but it simply comes down to there being too many rules for end use and not being up to field standard. They don't want to develop a product simply for use at the bench.

Thanks to the guys at US PALM for the warm welcome and taking time out of their busy day to show us around. We look forward to our next Industry Visit to get the word out on other great Made in the USA manufacturers like US PALM. View their complete product line at USPALM.com