A Marine, A Meme War Veteran, and a Good Friend
Position: Marketing Manager – Griffin Armament
Grail Gun: MK 19
Favorite Malt Beverage: Pale Ale Zombie Dust from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Preferred Marksmanship Discipline: Machine Gunnery
Branch of Service: Marine Corps
Bugles and Rifles: Sam’s Marine Corps Career
The firearm industry is chock full of Marines. Whether it’s Mike Ross from Criterion Barrels, Walt Hasser over at Devil Dog Arms, Tim Harmsen at Military Arms Channel, or Sam Cummins from Griffin Armament, Jarheads can be found working in most of the major firearm manufacturers or distributors scattered across the country.
Aside from our shared Marine Corps history, Sam and I have worked together on a variety of different projects over these past few years. We’ve teamed up on everything from rifle design and development (the American Defense MFG UIC-10), to fine-tuning my Brandy Old Fashioned recipe. Sam Cummins is well known for his ongoing collaboration with a number of well-known manufacturers throughout the firearm industry, but his background with a rifle began with another one of our shared experiences.
Unlike my previous interviewees, Sam wasn’t born with a rifle in his hand. He sent his first rounds down range while qualifying just one month after stepping on the yellow footprints at MCRD Parris Island. It was 2006 and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan was already well underway. Prior to setting foot in the desert, Sam instead found himself stationed at Marine Barracks Washington D.C. Commonly known as 8th & I, Sam’s first duty station was populated by some of the finest musicians of the Commandant’s Own Drum and Bugle Corps. As it turns out, Sam is just as handy with a Bugle as he was with an M16A2.
“The Surge” of 2007 kicked off shortly after Sam’s first stint at 8th & I. The Marine Corps hit the ground running getting all hands on deck to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sam volunteered to join a provisional infantry company comprised of Marines from a variety of different Military Occupation Specialties, which was then assigned to replace a traditional infantry unit stationed in Camp Ashraf in the Diyala Province. After completing a deployment of endless presence patrols and vehicle checkpoints, Sam returned to 8th & I to close out his Marine Corps career>
From Local Gun Shop to International Firearm Manufacturers: Sam’s Second Act
Quite often careers in the firearm industry begin behind the gun counter at a local gun shop. Whether it’s a big box store like Dunhams Sporting Goods or Cabelas, or a small mom and pop store tucked away on the corner of Main Street, retail is a typical starting point for industry professionals who eventually take on an inside sales or marketing position at a larger manufacturer or distributor.
Sam was no exception to this rule. After spending some time working the counter at a local gun shop, Sam frequently found himself as a reoccurring guest on a very popular (at the time) YouTube channel. These were the golden years of social media content distribution, prior to Google’s subsequent demonetization and censorship of the firearm industry.
It wasn’t too long before a friend of Sam’s reached out to him with an offer to work as a Product Support Specialist at American Defense MFG (ADM). In this role, Sam built rifles, produced product videos, attended trade shows, and participated in industry events across the country.
Sam eventually left ADM to help Evan and Austin Green of Griffin Armament with a few ongoing projects they needed a hand with, including the release of the Optimus line of suppressors, the onboarding of a handful of new distributors, and the streamlining of their compliance program.
From his brief initial stint at Griffin Armament Sam proceeded to hold positions at PRIME Ammunition and Falkor Defense. Returning to the Midwest, Sam is now reunited with the Green brothers, this time helping coordinate the Griffin Armament marketing program. One of his first acts involved the creation of Griffin Armament’s new Dwell Time podcast, a program I recently had the pleasure of participating in as well.
Griffin Armament’s Latest Leap into the Precision Rifle Market
Don’t let Sam’s reputation as a high volume lead slinger fool you: He knows his way around a precision rifle too. If I were to venture a guess, I’d estimate that his first Recce rifle has been rebuilt and upgraded dozens of times since we shot this review video a few years back. These days his DMR features a mix of parts from all over the place, including a number of high-performance components from Criterion Barrels, Geissele Automatics, and Griffin Armament.
Griffin Armament is still best known as a suppressor company in the precision rifle market, but that perception will likely be changing soon. While some new products will follow in lock step with their established tradition of suppressor innovation (their new Resistance 22 suppressor will be designed with disciplines like NRL22 in mind), while other upcoming product releases will include a variety of scope mount configurations showcasing highly unique feature sets.
I can honestly say I’m looking forward to giving these mounts a run for their money in an upcoming review piece, as some of the features offered will place them in a fairly unique premium market category!
If you’re looking to get in touch with Sam, feel free to check him out on his Instagram profile @rebelscummins.