Updated: Jun 3, 2022
I realize the first questions that will be asked after this article will be; when can I buy this thing?!? And, I wish I could tell you that they will be on store shelves tomorrow. But, unless someone with deep pockets decides to invest in this project, or we somehow find $40k laying around the office, they won’t be available before 2021.
Believe me when I say this was not our plan for this project, but the obstacles that have arisen since this idea was forged have been significant and prohibitive.
But, before I complain about the “why-nots”, I’ll cover the “why’s”.
What is this thing and why does it need to exist?
As we’ve mentioned on our Development page, the Ruger Pistol Caliber Carbine includes a feature which permits the user to change the Magazine Well so that it may accept a different make of pistol magazine. These inserts are currently available for the Ruger American, SR9, and Glock magazines.
This simple and well-designed feature inspired our team to develop a similar insert for the CZ 75 Shadow line of pistols.
Why would you want to use a CZ Shadow magazine with your Ruger PC Carbine?
The simplest answer is 3-Gun competition shooting. One magazine profile for two firearms, and 10 round capacity (for Canada) for both platforms. Beyond that, the Ruger PC carbine is a great platform in general, and even better when made compatible with a wider assortment of magazines. And, since the CZ Shadow is fairly popular in Canada, this seemed to be an obvious adaptation.
Will this magazine well work with my CZ Shadow 2 magazines? What about my Meg-Gar or Tanfoglio magazines?
So far, our 3D printed prototypes have worked with all makes and models of CZ-75 magazines available in Canada. Since compatibility is our primary goal with this product, we will do our best to ensure the final product works as effectively as the prototypes. Once the injection molded version is complete, we will conduct the same types of tests to validate the design.
What will the kit include?
The production kit will include an injection molded, glass-filled nylon magazine well adapter, two replacement magazine catch buttons (left & right versions), and a replacement screw for the button. The replacement button includes geometry that doesn’t exist on the stock button, which engages the magazine. The stock magazine catch button may still be switched from left to right-handed but requires a different button per side due to the aforementioned geometry.
How much will the kit cost?
Our goal for pricing was to match the price for a replacement PC Carbine magazine well, so we’ve estimated the MSRP to be around $59.99. But, because of everything that is going on in Canada and around the world, manufacturing prices might have increased since our initial development.
With that said, another goal for the pricing is to permit each level of the supply chain to make a reasonable return. If we can all make some money, and the customer is happy with the product; we’ve succeeded.
If the design is complete, and prices have been worked out; what is the hold-up?
This is where things get tricky. Finding investors for firearms products in Canada was, and still is, fairly difficult, especially when there was a looming firearms ban, which then transformed into a confusingly broad firearms ban with irregular updates to the classifications and definitions of firearm in the market. This challenge was only compounded by the ongoing pandemic, the reduction of revenue it caused, and the uncertainty that continues because of it.
In short, our timing is less than ideal.
But, there seems to be growing interest in this product. So, we’re trying to find a way to fund the initial production while keeping our doors open during the crisis.
What do we need money for?
Tooling and initial production costs. The mold for these parts costs approximately $35,000, and the metal parts have an initial cost associated with manufacturing set up. Not to mention the initial run of the kits. It’s a significant chunk of change for a small company. And before you ask; no, these will not be produced off-shore. Our goal has always been to employ Canadian manufacturing, as much as possible, for many reasons including quality, shorter lead-times, no import hassles, and control of intellectual property.
Why not just take out a loan?
One word; "firearms". Getting a loan for a firearms related project is difficult enough, due to the moral and ethical objections most financial institutes seem to have towards the firearms industry in general. This is only exasperated by the fact that Innovation Armoury has been operating for about 2 years. Suffice it to say, no bank or financial institution would likely ever consider funding this, no matter what the business plan looks like.
Why not crowd-fund the production?
We tried this approach as well. And as with many financial institutions, most crowd-funding platforms are not inclined to support a firearms related project. In fact, within a day of posting the project on a crowd-funding platform, we received the following message;
Unfortunately, your campaign had to be shut down because it conflicts with the PayPal Terms of Service.
You may not use the PayPal service for activities that:
1. violate any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation.
2. relate to transactions involving (a) narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances or other products that present a risk to consumer safety, (b) drug paraphernalia, (c) cigarettes, (d) items that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity, (e) stolen goods including digital and virtual goods, (f) the promotion of hate, violence, racial or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory or the financial exploitation of a crime, (g) items that are considered obscene, (h) items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction, (i) certain sexually oriented materials or services, (j) ammunition, firearms, or certain firearm parts or accessories, or (k) certain weapons or knives regulated under applicable law.
Sorry about that but there is nothing we can do about it.
Although Innovation Armoury maintains a Business Firearms License for the development, manufacture, distribution, sales, display, modification, transportation, and destruction of non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited firearms and devices; paypal felt we were in violation of their policies. Fair, I suppose. They are a private company and have no obligation to make money from any industry they disagree with.
Either way, this leaves us without a platform to conduct crowd-funding safely, with assurances for both contributors and ourselves.
Why not set up crowd-funding privately, and take donations directly on our own site?
This is an option we’re investigating, but the infrastructure to conduct these kinds of transactions isn’t free, and many of the providers are of the same opinion as the banks and crowd-funding sites. After several months of trying to set something up independently, and being met with barriers due to the nature of the product, it seems crowd-funding might not be the best way to go.
What about pre-order sales, advance sales, or another similar method?
Though this seems like the simplest answer, these types of "purchase before it's manufactured / imported" sales schemes seem to receive significant push-back from the Canadian firearms community. I've personally been burned by pre-order sales promises before, so I'm hesitant to take this approach now. But, I wouldn't consider it off the table. Should we take this approach, I would want to ensure we will be able to deliver in a timely manner.
With that said, should a distributor wish to invest in a larger pre-order, we'd definitely be willing to discuss exclusivity, delivery schedules, and payment terms.
So what now? How will this project get funded?
'Option A' is good old-fashion hard work and revenue. If the damn coronavirus hadn't gone and screwed up the economy, we'd probably have the funds available just from our engineering contracts... but, not so much anymore.
'Option B' would be a deal with a distributor for a minimum order of between 500 and 1000 kits, with a 3 month lead-time for first-run delivery. Though we've approached some distributors with this option, everyone seems to be too concerned about what might get banned by the federal government next. But, we're definitely still open to this option.
'Option C' is a private investor. Though there have been some interested parties, the economic fallout from the pandemic has put everyone into crisis mode, which makes attracting investors somewhat difficult. But, we're definitely open to this option as well.
'Option D' is a licensing agreement. Should a third-party company be interested in licencing the design in order to produce and distribute this product, we'd definitely consider that option as well.
These aren't the only options, but they seem to be the most realistic. With that said; we're open to suggestions and would love to hear any feedback on this project.
And, if you happen to have $40k you'd like to invest into a firearms project, definitely send us a message. Otherwise, keep an eye on the website for more details as things develop.