Boots on the Ground: ADM Shop Visit
We know a fair share of people (including many of you reading this) are aware of American Defense Manufacturing (usually referred to simply as ADM), but not as many know how they got their start. Do you? Were you wondering? Doesn’t matter, we’re gonna tell you anyway. We recently had an all-access backstage pass to check out their world headquarters, nestled in an industrial park in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A headquarters just full of CNC machines.
I had ADM’s street address, and found the general area easily enough, but didn’t see an American Defense Manufacturing sign. So, I had to make a phone call and ask for help. As I discovered, ADM isn’t the only thing going on at ADM. At the listed address there are several large buildings, all with signs for W/S Machine and Tool. After a bit of confusion on my part (and a barrage of text messages sent back and forth) I learned that W/S Machine and Tool is the parent company of ADM. We’ll talk a little bit about W/S a little more later on.
ADM started out pretty small, originally obtaining a patent for the Quick Detach Lever in 2006 . They continued making accessories and eventually began making firearms. Now ADM has more than a wide variety of mounts for optics and lights; the also build a wide variety of rifles from 9mm to 6.5 Creedmoor, all based on the proven AR-15 platform.
Just because they make rifles of an old style doesn’t mean they’ve stopped with forward thinking and innovation, though; they recently were awarded a patent for a fully ambidextrous lower. Their products are sold at a fair price, and all are made in the USA. The reason they can continue evolve and create new patents and products is because they have keys to a building full of CNC machines.
That would be the HQ I mentioned earlier.
Now back to W/S Machine and Tool.
They have been in the machining game since 1993; to put that in perspective, they’ve been in business a little longer than I have been alive, and started old-school-style on a lathe (probably arranging meetings with a rotary dial phone, too, imagine that). Today they have something like 40,000 square feet of space and about six million dollars worth of machinery.
They can machine virtually any metal in their shop (not Nth Metal and Carbonadium yet; those require special tools unavailable most places, even a place as awesome as ADM) and have clients in aerospace, land-based power generation, automotive manufacturing, and the oilfield industry. They are a one-stop shop for machining and can take on multiple jobs. They even do machining for a plethora of top-end firearms companies to their exact specs. Please don’t ask, because even with a back stage pass I wasn’t given any names.
Seriously, I tried to get ’em to tell me but there weren’t having any of it. It wasn’t for a lack of trying — and they were keeping a wary eye on the Duo, too, so they weren’t able to sneak off and poke around.
I did get to see a few pretty cool things while I was taking the grand tour though. For instance, the picture below shows a ½ cubic yard of metal shavings. W/S Machine and Tool recycles a thirty-yard dumpster of this stuff every two weeks.
That’s a lot of scraps.
It was an extremely interesting experience, walking around the machine shop floor and watching as things were being machined, and proceeding through their various stages.
Jon, the HMFIC at ADM, explained that the machine shop runs five days a week/24 hours a day, and ADM is constantly doing quality control checks on everything they machine. They also record all results for tracking later if a problem should arise.
What does all this mean? It means that ADM can come up with an idea and get it sketched out and out into CAD, then once that happens they can come up with a prototype and see if that works. If it doesn’t, they can make tweaks and push forward. This can happen pretty fast for ADM because they have the machines right there. They also don’t have to pay another company to do the machine work.
I will say it was really neat to see how things get made. I was also more than happy to see all the hard work that goes into producing and machining a quality product. It’s always refreshing to see an emphasis on quality control, to make sure ADM’s made-in-America parts are made right.
If you wanna learn more about ’em, but one of their blasters, etc. it’s easy enough. They are:
on Facebook at /AmericanDefenseMFG/.
on Instagram with @americandefensemfg.
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About the Author: Big Joe Neuroth may look like a special live exhibit in the primate section of a traveling circus but he’s actually a surprisingly erudite and articulate LEO of many year’s service. A corn-fed Iowa native and former Border Patrol agent, Joseph’s current job takes him all over the country and around the world in defense of Truth, Justice and the American Way. This has allowed him not just to deal with assorted malefactors from Nairobi to Panama, but also to have a wank on at least five continents. Joe enjoys training, teaching and catching bad guys almost as much as he likes bubble baths.