Words by: Wally F.
Photos by: Wally F. / Black Leaf Industries / Black Box Customs
It was a cold and brisk April morning in Canada. While the inner city was starting to turn green and the winter melting run off was well on it way, snow still dusted the highway out towards the Buffalo Target Shooters Association (BTSA) range in the Rocky Mountains. This was the setting for Black Box Customs (BBC) first industry event, marking five years of business in the Canadian firearms industry.
Jay, Vince, Ringo, and the rest of the team at Black Box Customs brought together a diverse group of people from all sorts of back grounds to participate in a variety of sport shooting scenarios, share stories, shoot each others BBC gun builds, connect, and celebrate diversity in Canadian firearms culture.
Tradesmen, police officers, jewelers, lawyers, border agents, and sales professionals were some of the individuals that attended the event. Sponsored competitive shooters, casual plinkers, and everywhere in-between gathered at the BTSA range to try their hand at some Steel Challenge, USPSA, IPSC, IDPA, and 3-Gun style stages.
The founders at BBC have deep roots in competitive shooting, and up until recent years were practicing and competing with 20,000 rounds annually. Their passion for shooting sports drove them to start working on their own guns with stippling, slide work, and Cerakoting. Like Bill Gates and so many other business greats, Black Box Customs started their humble beginnings in a garage. Starting with a hobby milling machine and moving up from there; the philosophy founders and shared with the rest of the team is to let their finished products speak for themselves.
Judging from the phenomenal growth in their company their work has spoken volumes. Other than the spectacular photos on their website and social media, BBC virtually doesn’t pay for promotion of their company. Word of mouth has continually had their work seen in a growing collection of gun ranges and agencies across the country. The furthest out that I have personally seen Black Box Custom work is in Ottawa, and I’m sure their reach is much wider than that.
The first full day of shooting stages at BTSA was capped off with a dinner hosted by 911 Supply in Calgary in their newly renovated conference area. During the dinner there were three presentations by Alan R. a lawyer who specializes in help folks in the firearms community, whether it be setup your business in the industry and how to navigate the legal system. It was a very informative session that highlighted the steps you’d need to take to run a successful business in the Canadian firearms industry. Next up was SVT an active duty police officer who spoke about real life applications of firearms and micro red dot sights for agency use, of which Black Box Customs has provided work for agencies. Lastly, was another excellent presentation from Derik T. a staffer at 911 Supply and social media SME. He put on an excellent presentation on how to leverage social media to promote your business or self in the competitive shooting world. The end of day one of Black Box Customs event was a wrap.
Day two opened up on a sunny morning at the Calgary Shooting Centre, who was another great sponsor of the BBC event. Bringing the setting inside to their Cinema Range, more scenario shooting stages were set for the invited shooters to try out. While at the same time, TV-PressPass head Edward O. and I setup a studio interview session with the majority of the attendees. I was delighted to listen to the varied backgrounds of everyone in attendance and the very different lives they lead. The attendees were all brought together through their love of shooting sports and the outstanding work done by the team at Black Box Customs, this weekend event highlighted the diversity.
Black Box Customs is very low key in how they conduct business. They exercise precision in their work; from their philosophy of doing all stippling painstakingly by hand on polymer frames, to hand measuring dimensions for CAD modelling and virtual testing and evaluations, the team at Black Box Customs take their jobs very seriously. They have subject matter experts in their employ that handle type, style, process, cerakoting, CNC machining, stippling, and the aforementioned CAD modelling and design, which down the road will lead into product development.
Being competitive shooters first, the BBC team build their designs around making the competitors experience better with their firearms. So, while making a cool lightning cut and chevron styled serrations is something they can do, it’s done with a purpose. Do you want milligrams of weight shaved off the front or rear end of your pistol slide? Where and what type of MRDS do you want to mount to your race gun? Will it have a break? What’s the weight of it? Counter balance on recoil? What type of ammunition are you shooting? Springs? Type of magazine well, weighted magazine base plates for faster more positive reloads? The questions are many and varied and all considered and reconsidered by the BBC staff before starting on your project. That’s just talking pistols.
Black Box Customs also does work on precision rifles, shotguns, semi-automatic rifles, accessories, and non-firearms related projects as well. Their rapid expansion in the last 18-20 months has started to see the addition of more permanent staff and more equipment to better suit their customer’s needs. The one of the many reasons that BBC put on this industry event for their sponsored shooters, media, and select guests was to recognize the tremendous support the firearms community has given them and the industry weekend was one way of giving back.
Black Box Customs is a diamond in the rough, that after five years of hard work has proved that making an excellent product and letting the work speak for itself, coupled with excellent customer service and the insider know-how of firearms, the industry, and competition shooting is polishing themselves out to be a true gem. Visit Black Box Customs at their website http://www.BlackBoxCustoms.com if you want to start a project with them, you won’t be disappointed.
Reporting for TV-PressPass