THEFEDERALIST.COM May 22, 2020 – Leupold is a 113-year-old, family-owned business manufacturing rifle scopes, firearm sights, and other optics in Beaverton, Oregon. With more than 650 employees and a factory that runs seven days a week, they manufacture the types of products that have to work every time, under pressure.
“That moment of truth when is when you’re behind that sight and pulling the trigger, and we want to make sure it’s the absolute best quality you can possibly be,” said Leupold CEO Bruce Pettet.
Leupold is not just popular among hunters and sportsmen, but is considered an essential business to law enforcement and military personnel who rely on their innovative optics. Pettet spoke to The Federalist about why Leupold is committed to manufacturing in America and how their factory has adapted during coronavirus and the sweeping financial crisis.
Why is it so important that your products are made in America?
One of the characteristics of our product is that it’s incredibly rugged, and I think of us as Americans and I think that’s one of the things we’re known for. We have incredibly accurate precision optics that we make, and it’s quite complicated, but at the end of the day, it’s got to work in really tough situations. I think when people buy something from Leupold, they know that it’s an American-made optic that’s gonna perform, and it’s gonna perform in often the worst type of environments. I think that ruggedness that we bring is is really part of the American spirit.
If you were to outsource production to another country like China, do you think the quality would go up or down?
There’s no one in the United States that does what we do. And so that would leave the option of really going to Asia, which is what most of our competitors do. And frankly, there’s no chance that they can deliver the kind of quality that we do. We truly believe that.
We’re hunters and shooters, and the folks in this company live what we do. And so it’s really critical that you understand the product and a lot of the countries where other rifle scopes are made, frankly, the people working on those rifle scopes–they don’t hunt, they don’t shoot. They don’t have the opportunity to do that.
Not only is the manufacturing piece of it a big deal, but we have over 80 engineers that are right here in our building, working on improving our product every single day. And I think it’s, it’s more than just, “Hey, we make it here.” It’s actually this entire team that comes together to conceptualize a product and drives it all the way through design and engineering.
When you first learned about coronavirus and how serious it was, what kind of steps did you have to take to ensure that your factory and that your employees were able to work keep working and to keep manufacturing going?
Because we have Department of Defense contracts, so we knew that we were in an essential business so I was never worried about someone telling us we can’t operate. We actually got some urging from the Department of Defense and their purchasing department telling us we had to keep manufacturing because of some of our contracts. [full article]