A few days back I had the honor of talking with Aaron Moore, VP of LaserLyte. We discussed what it takes to run a cutting edge laser sight company and challenges faced. It’s a great Friday read and I hope you enjoy it! I would like to extend a personal “Thank You” to Mr. Moore for taking the time to talk with me and making this post possible.
Q.) Many people don’t appreciate all the work that goes on behind the scenes at a company when they bring a new product to market. From inception to production, how long does it take to develop a new sighting system?
A.) 2 months to 2 years, sometimes it right away and other times it is years depending on introduction.
Q.) To follow on that question, where do find your inspiration to develop new products?
A.) Market trends, customer feedback and the pulse of the industry.
Q.) Seeing that the gun industry is a niche market but still susceptible to trends, how difficult is it to keep up with the changes in the market?
A.) Some ideas seem more obvious and easier to introduce than others but sales eventually tell you if it was a good decision or not (Laser Gun Sights). Other decisions are tough and you just have to roll the dice and pioneer your way through it (Laser Training). When a product does well in any niche let the proceeds of the product fund the next prototype.
Q.) Being a pioneer company in the industry, how great is the pressure to keep coming up with the next big thing?
A.) Huge pressure! Our larger customers (distributor or box store) always want to see what we have coming up. We do not disappoint I feel, we are not short of new ideas or prototypes, just short of the correct time to introduce them.
Q.) There are so many companies out there making weapon lights they seem to almost be a dime a dozen but few are in the laser sight business, why do you think that is?
A.) The best laser sight companies are American companies, we ALL care about the product and quality that leaves our door. It takes a lot of time, money and experience to make laser sights. You have to care about what you do.
Q.) Not a lot of people get to do what you and LaserLyte do and getting to work with guns and lasers would be a dream job for me! With that in mind, how fun is your job?
A.) I always tell my self, this is better than selling plumbing parts and a lot more exciting. Yeah I feel like I have to many guns and to much ammo when I have to move it or inventory it. Other than that I am kid in a gun store with limitless ammo. I do not get to shoot for fun as much as I like to but I get to shoot anything I want when I want to shoot it. My job is the Utopia of Gun Shot Residue everyone that likes guns wants my job. As for me guns are tools and my vault is laser fitting library. But I do love this stuff!
Q.) Back to the market trends, how was the Zombie line of products received both internally and externally by consumers?
A.) “Are you serious?” was the internal consensus. The external was: sweet it is in green now! There is not a serious zombie gun out there without a green pistol bayonet on it!
Q.) To follow, even using existing products and making material/color changes in a shifting market and economy can be a bit risky. How did you mitigate the risk in pursuing the Zombie line?
A.) If your product sells well in matte black it will sell good in zombie green.
Q.) I have several LaserLyte products and I love them all! The only one that causes raised eyebrows when seen is the Pistol Bayonet. Where did the idea for that come from? Mine is the PB-4 and I find it to be useful enough that I keep it on hand in my day bag!
A.) Irish car bombs at a German bar with the President of Ka-Bar and the desire to make something that just looks cool with a feeling that I knew it would sell!
Q.) The Laser Training System has revolutionized the way I train. My basement now doubles as my range and provides a realistic and configurable training environment. When you hear that your products have made someone a better shooter or saved lives, how does that make you feel?
A.) Proud! I have heard stories of line of duty injured policemen in hospital beds using my laser training product getting ready to go back to work and they did. We make products that are useful, how people use them always impresses me. Any trigger time improves your shooting, I am happy that so many people use it.
Q.) How does the knowledge that your products have the potential to be used in a defensive encounter and that someone’s life may be in the balance affect your material choices and production processes?
A.) I personally squeeze the trigger and install the final production laser of every laser we put out the door. Furthermore I consistently carry or have on hand my products on weapons that could be used in a defensive situation. We have a very strict quality control program to mitigate all possible failures. I have no problems shutting down production if it means a product could possibly fail.
Q.) I just received one of the Center Mass units and can’t wait to use it. How many different versions were made and tested before the current form was decided on?
A.) 2 versions were made the first ones circle spread to fast and we modified the lens to spread at a real world pace of 1 inch per yard. Then made it in green and red.
Q.) What kind of testing do the production samples go through and how long does that testing last?
A.) Thousands of rounds, dozens of times, 2-4 weeks. Testing 00 buck shot sucks!
Q.) What are some projects that LaserLyte has in the works that you can discuss?
A.) More fun laser training products, we are trying to replicate what people really shoot at and replicate that fun indoors. Any hot new pistol that is out or is coming out (many not introduced yet?) there will be a LaserLyte involved. We ARE NOT making flashlights, ARs, AR rails or 1911s.
Q.) Where do you see LaserLyte being in the next three years?
A.) The premier go-to laser company for laser sights, laser bore sights and laser training.
Q.) What do you feel is going to be the next major advancement in weapon sighting systems?
A.) Small green lasers! Center Mass Laser Systems.
Q.) I have worked on several projects with my father and in the process we tend to bump heads a few times. How does the father / son dynamic play out with you when it comes to developing new products?
A.) As you can see it works pretty well. My father loves design challenges. If I can come up with the idea and convince him it will sell, he will find a way to make it.
Q.) The above question plays a bit toward differences of opinion that may exist and the challenges they present, but what do you find to be the positives or unique strengths that working with family brings to the table?
A.) Advantage is: Agility! freedom to make decisions, act on them and produce product, board members are 2, it is easy to product cool new innovative product. Not watered down behind the market trend crap.
Q.) What is the best part of your job?
A.) When customers buy new product, it is a compliment to the whole company. If they buy it? It says that I like what you do and I willing to show you with my hard earned money.
Q.) Often times, people contact the companies of products they own or use to share a story about how they used said products. Do you have any end user stories that stuck in your mind that you can share?
A.) Injured Cop in the hospital using my laser trainers to stay tuned up. Cops wives getting angry at me for their husbands doing 100 rounds of dry fire at bed time. Any practical pistol bayonet story.
Q.) What keeps Aaron Moore awake at night?
A.) The excitement of the new products coming out and how the market will receive them.