A gun and gun accessory maker, Radian Weapons, will move to Redmond next month, making it the seventh company in the city’s growing cluster of firearms makers and support industries.
Radian is best-known for its Raptor charging handle, an accessory that fits AR-15 carbine and M16 assault rifles, but the company began producing a complete AR-15 in 2015. Despite a sharp decline in gun sales since President Trump was elected in 2016, Radian is anticipating growth through its premium accessories, which gun owners can buy for about $100 and use to upgrade inexpensive weapons, director of operations Josiah Underwood said.
“Gun people don’t stop spending money,” he said. “They’re going to upgrade their current arsenal.”
Dozens of gun companies started up after the assault weapons ban expired in 2004 and took off during the Obama administration, when gun owners feared another ban would limit their access to the weapons, Underwood said. Founded by Joshua Underwood, a machinist and designer, Radian sets itself apart with in-house manufacturing capability, which will be expanded after the company moves to a bigger facility in Redmond, Josiah Underwood said.
The Underwoods are brothers.
Radian will join six other firms making weapons, accessories or ammunition or servicing the firearms industry, said Jon Stark, Redmond area manager for Redmond Economic Development Inc.
“It’s something we’ve strategically and intently been interested in developing,” Stark said. “There’s a lot of support in the conservative community we have for this industry.”
Gun makers MOA Rifles and Colfax Tactical are in Redmond, along with accessory maker Springer Precision, Nosler ammunition’s brass casing and cartridge loading operation, and Redmond Metal Finishing and HD Hydrographics, both of which service the firearms industry, Stark said.
The industry employs about 30 people in Redmond, he said, and but that number will double with the addition of Radian.
Based in Salem, Radian has 28 employees, but only 10 of them wanted to move with the executive team to Redmond, Josiah Underwood said. So Radian will be looking to rebuild its staff and add eight to 12 more positions in 2018, he said.
Radian leased a 25,000- square-foot building on Kingwood Avenue with the option to purchase.
Redmond Economic Development offered Radian relocation incentives, Stark said, but he declined to describe them because the agreements aren’t signed. Economic development incentives often include forgivable loans and property tax breaks that hinge upon the company meeting employment goals.
The Underwoods were familiar with Central Oregon through hunting and trips to Lake Billy Chinook over the years, and they knew that Nosler and other firearms companies had a presence here, Josiah Underwood said.
“What we didn’t know was how positive the local government was to manufacturing and manufacturing firearms,” he said.
As Radian plans to introduce new accessories and full weapons, Underwood said the company hopes to find talented designers and CNC tool programmers.
“We attract a certain type of person who’s into outdoor activity and being able to shoot,” he said.
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