When Sam Lambert was 4 years old, his father helped him shoot a gun for the first time to show him the power of a firearm.
“My dad's philosophy was to take the mystery out of it,” said Lambert, founder and CEO of Prineville-based Ochoco Arms. “I started shooting before I started school. I've been around firearms my entire life.”
Following that same principle of eliminating the mystery led Lambert to a new business idea: a multilaser-sighting system for shotguns. It displays the area where the shotgun pellets will impact,helping increase accuracy, and, in turn, making the shotgun more precise.
On Oct. 18, Ochoco Arms won the concept-stage competition at the Bend Venture Conference and received a $10,000 prize. Lambert said the money will go toward acquiring an international patent and travel expenses to meet with U.S. military officials to discuss designs.
“We don't have engineering done yet,” Lambert said about the laser system. “We don't want to build a shoe and look for a foot that fits it.”
Lambert founded the company in 2012 and received his U.S. patent in June. Ochoco Arms currently has four shareholders and a volunteer advisory team comprised of military and law enforcement personnel, he said. He expects to outsource manufacturing, and is in discussions with several manufacturers.
Lasers are not new technology in the gun world, he said. Multiple companies make single-laser systems, which show shooters where they are aiming, but not what their affected areas are.
“When you shoot a shotgun, nine .32-caliber pellets travel down range,” he said. “The pattern expands through space ... at a rate of 2 inches every 10 feet (and) our lasers are set to expand at the same rate. When you shoulder your shotgun and you activate our laser system, what you see is the area that is going to be hit by those nine pellets. It paints the parameters.”
Lambert plans to launch a family of five different devices with different gauges and laser configurations to fit the needs of various customers ranging from military and law enforcement to the general public.
He hopes to have them available for military and law enforcement in the third or fourth quarter of 2014, and to the public by January 2015. Lambert plans to sell online, at firearm retailers and through direct sales.