Patriot Ordnance Factory – POF-USA
By Marina DeWit, Region 9 Advocate
While working as an aerospace engineer, Frank DeSomma, a sport shooter, wanted to do something different and apply his creativity to the mechanical design of a firearm without limitations imposed by the rules in a large company he was working for. Patriot Ordnance Factory, POF-USA, was founded in 2002 in Mr. DeSomma’s home garage when he designed a concept for a gun that worked well and looked appealing. His friends started asking him to design more concepts, and a few months later his son and, still later, his nephew started helping, all working in the garage in the evenings and on weekends.
In 2007, Mr. DeSomma moved the operation into a small shop in Glendale, Arizona, then to a bigger facility near the Deer Valley Airport in 2011. POF-USA specializes in the designing, manufacturing, and marketing of AR-style rifles, upper receivers, lower receivers, and miscellaneous gun accessories. By 2013, POF-USA had 38 employees and moved to a bigger 11,000-square-foot factory in Northern Phoenix. It became the first manufacturer and seller of gas-piston-operated weapon systems on AR-style rifles in the United States for law enforcement, military, and civilians.
On average, POF-USA produces 600 to 800 firearms per month; however, after President Obama’s gun-control proposal in 2013, the factory produced 4,200 guns in one month. POF-USA’s sales rose from $1 to $2 million per year to $140 million. In 2017, Mr. DeSomma built a brand new 27,000-square-foot factory from the ground up that can accommodate up to 50 employees. Originally, Mr. DeSomma wasn’t planning to have a mechanical shop but found it beneficial to have all the necessary equipment and personnel under one roof. The new building includes a 75-yard rifle hallway with bullet traps to test firearms and has enough room to grow as new ideas are emerging constantly. All employees at POF-USA have federal background checks, and, since skilled mechanists are hard to find, Mr. DeSomma makes sure to take good care of his employees’ needs with adequate medical insurance, 401K plans, all paid holidays, and two-week vacations.
POF-USA encounters many regulatory barriers that impact the company. The main issue is the difficulty gun-makers and sellers have in obtaining commercial loans. Another concern is that Mr. DeSomma spends over $20,000 per month on employees’ medical insurance, but, with the rates climbing higher under the Affordable Care Act, he is unsure how long he can continue contributing.
He also emphasized that when the government buys guns from foreign countries due to lower prices, the excise tax is not being paid, which includes 10 to 11 percent of the sale price going directly towards Wildlife Conservation. With the decline of hunters in the last 10 years, money for the conservation collected from hunting licenses, fishing equipment, and archery will be gone if firearm manufacturers are reduced.
Patriot Ordnance Factory is a small company, but Mr. DeSomma always knew that his entire focus was on quality product and the pride of engraving “God Bless America” next to the United States flag on POF-USA’s firearms.
Marina DeWit serves as the Region 9 Advocate for the SBA Office of Advocacy, representing small businesses in Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. DeWit works with small business owners, state and local governments, and small business associations to bring the voice of Region 9 to Washington DC. She can be reached at Marina.DeWit@sba.gov.