AGP Arms of Tempe, Arizona is a spin off from custom car parts maker AGP Turbo. AGP’s Owner/President Kevin T. answers my questions about getting into the gun business and his products below. My questions are in bold, his answers are in italics:
After years of making custom car parts with your business AGP Turbo, what made you want to transition into the firearms industry with AGP Arms?
The parts we make are simply things we personally wanted but nobody was building (at least to our standards). We honestly consider AGP Arms a completely out of control hobby more than a business. We have some amazing manufacturing abilities and very high standards, so the sky’s the limit on what we will do. It can be pretty risky when you are $100,000+ into a project just because you thought it was a cool idea. You are certainly crossing your fingers that customers like it as much as you do.
How much of the manufacturing technology you use for AGP Turbo was applicable to AGP Arms?
We used all of our resources to get going in the firearms industry and had to add a couple. My background prior to the turbo business was in aerospace manufacturing, and neither of those fields utilizes injection molding. So getting up to speed with the molding industry was a pretty interesting and frustrating learning experience.
From a technical standpoint, what is harder to design and produce, car or gun parts?
Designing the car parts is certainly more of a task and requires more engineering. But producing any of the individual parts, is pretty similar. The size of each project is quite different, our new twin turbo kit for the 2010+ Camaros was mammoth compared to any of the gun projects.
What were the first products AGP Arms offered for the firearms market?
Our first big deal was the 10rd. mag for the Saiga-12. We were the first aftermarket company to make a mag for the S-12. Back in those years you could get a S-12 with one 5rd. mag included. You pretty much couldn’t even find another 5rd. factory mag unless you bought another gun. I thought the S-12 was really something special but held back by the lack of magazines. So we started that project shortly after the AW ban expired and were extremely concerned that we could get the S-12 declared a DD and banned from importation. It was a crazy time back then, we were tip toeing around many potential issues. That first molding project took 10 times longer than it should and we had to start completely over, right when we thought we were done. We became serious experts at feeding flat faced, rimmed shells of various lengths from a magazine. Not many people have pulled that off reliably.
Your side folding stock is compatible with a variety of platforms including AR15s (with specific uppers), Sig Rifles, AK variants, and Saiga-12s. In addition to its adapability, what were your goals in designing it to produce a better product than others on the market?
We wanted something lighter weight and with a push button latch. The storage space inside was designed around our SBR barrel for the our 10/22 takedown. A few years ago we were working on our own US made S-12 type shotgun and the folding stock was going to be integral in that too. That project fizzled as profitability on the S-12 mags has gone away.
What made you want to make a 10/22 take down kit?
The smaller you can make a gun, the more likely you’ll have it with you. Just like a CCW pistol, a .380 in your pocket beats a double stack .45 in your safe. A take down .22 is easily carried on any outing, or stashed away somewhere useful. I use to be a big Marlin Papoose fan for this purpose. But in my nature, I always pick my things apart for how they could be better(guns, gear, cars, motorcycles, ATV’s). Nothing I own is ever good enough to avoid this scrutiny. The Marlin was the best off the shelf rifle for my needs but short comings left me wanting more. Main problem is still really big even taken apart. Too long to fit in a normal sized backpack, poor trigger design, lower capacity mags, no aftermarket support. So rather than beat my head against the wall fixing all the things I didn’t like about the Marlin, it was less work to just make the superior 10/22 a take down.Smaller, Lighter, Faster, Stronger. Those four words were the hub of the design intent on the take down project but really applicable to any great firearm.
Now that Ruger has come out with their own 10/22 take down rifle, what makes the AGP kit better than the Ruger factory rifle?
Ruger’s factory take down has been great for our sales as it got people thinking they wanted a take down 10/22. My guess is once they start looking into it further they come across ours and prefer it. Ours having the folding stock, shorter threaded match grade barrel, handguard options, superior return to zero, storage compartment in stock. A customer can use our folding stock on the Ruger factory take down with a little modification.
(AGP has started offering a specific kit for the Ruger factory 10/22 take down rifle since this interview)
We understand some fitting may be required on the 10/22 reciever for the quck take down adapter to be installed. Is this something the end user should be concerned about, how easy is it to do?
It’s very minor but when installing our barrel adaptor into the receiver you should look out for things that will keep it from seating all the way down. A build up of paint in the inside corner or burrs at the very front edge where the factory v-block goes over.
You’re offering an enhanced extractor for the 10/22, how is it superior to the factory extractor?
We EDM a hardened tool steel extractor for the 10/22 and use a dual spring to tension it. We build these into all of our complete rifles. This keeps the gun running longer as it gets more dirty. While we’re on the subject of reliability, it’s pretty simple.1. Junk mags- use factory mags, those BX-25 need cleaned and lubed.2. Ammo- CCI mini mags run cleaner3. Oil the gun- especially on the guide rod4. Clean the gun
How is the barrel you are offering superior to a factory barrel?
Our barrels are drilled straighter, match grade blanks to begin with. Machined with a Bentz dimension chamber and trued up to make OD perfectly concentric to the bore. All our barrels are threaded 1/2-28 concentric to be bore with a machined in flange so your suppressor seats up perfectly square. The factory barrel retention system is a ‘V’ shaped block that hooks on the bottom of the barrel and the more you tighten down the v-block, the more the barrel droops. Our retention system squares the barrel up as you tighten it, by design pressing evenly all the way around the barrel’s flange.
While other manufacturers might make all their own accessories for a handguard system themselves your tubular handguard is compatible with Magpul’s MOE accessories. How do you feel this kind of compatibility improves the function and consumer appeal of your products?
Magpul makes good stuff and I like parts interchangeability in my gear. In this case we are able to use Magpul’s MOE rail segment by just making our own locking plate for it to screw into. We only want to reinvent the wheel when we have to.
What’s next for AGP Arms?
More 10/22 parts and options.