Five years ago, three cousins began manufacturing floating hand guards in a garage. In that short time, business has boomed so much that they are preparing to move out of their third location into a new larger building this spring. Katie Lynn Strode, manager for Media/Marketing/Customer Service, joined the family-owned business last year. No, she’s not family. “But we are a small town, and the guys want to make sure they hire locally. A mutual friend contacted me and here I am,” she smiles.
Katie is excited as she goes on to explain the effect of the growth on the company. “We have two C&C machines and a lathe. We have about 14 employees. We’ll be adding more machines – and hiring more staff – when we move,” she says. “We tripled employment just in the last year,” she says.
As for their product, it’s easy to see why it is so popular and growing. Unique ARs has 33 different hand guard designs, which can be viewed on their website. They come in 7 inches, 9 inches, 12 inches, and 15 inches. The designs are beautiful, elegant, and creative. “All of them sell pretty well, but we probably have a few more requests for the Wing & Skull design, and the Ultra-Light Hex which only weighs six ounces. We get a lot of requests for hand guards with Trump’s name on them, but obviously for legal reasons we can’t do that,” laughs Katie.
Unique ARs also has a custom department with a design team to help people create their own design. A lot of people want their names on them, but we also get requests for logos. “We also get a lot of requests related to a movie that someone saw,” says Katie. “We also do a lot of military designs, like ‘Semper Fi’. Those just turn out really gorgeous, they almost bring a tear to your eye. They are so detailed and sentimental,” Katie relates. “We also provide a lot of handguards for groups like police and fire departments, they’ll order 10-15 for their own group or organization.
The only limitation is whatever the C&C machine can cut and still keep the hand guard strong. “Our design team will be able to tell you whether your design will work or not,” explains Katie. “They have experimented to see what works based on various cuts and strengths, so they can easily tell now if something won’t work.”
Hand guards are all free-floating, and come with a proprietary Picatinny rail. “The 5.56 can be installed with any armors wrench, but the.308 needs a proprietary wrench, which we also sell,” explains Katie.
Unique ARs is now making barrel mounts in-house which attach to any mil-spec upper, and they have recently started manufacturing uppers in-house as well. Of course to add to that, they are now building custom rifles in-house. And who doesn’t love color? “We have Cerakote on site now and can do any color they have, even two-tone,” says Katie. Something to keep an eye out for in the next few months is the release of a new grip as well.
If you want to get in on some fun, check out their Facebook page. “We auction a hand guard off once a week and a rifle every two weeks,” smiles Katie.
If you are ever in the McCall, Idaho area, you are welcome to stop in at Unique ARs and take a tour. And while they don’t have a store-front, they do have a display rack with every design they make. “It’s a great opportunity to touch and feel the weight of each one,” smiles Katie.
Check it out and tell us which ones you like. If you find one you fall in love with, make sure to use your A Girl & A Gun member discount for 10% off. You can find it on the vendor coupon page.
Photographs by Greg Call