Among the many products it makes, McMillan Firearms Manufacturing of Phoenix, Arizona is probably best known for its line of high-end precision rifles. Its TAC-50 sniper rifle is thought by many to be one of the finest sniper rifles in the world. One of its admirers was a Canadian Army sniper named Rob Furlong who was involved in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in 2002 and made what was at the time the longest confirmed kill shot in world history by taking out an al-Qaeda insurgent who was 7,970 feet away. That’s right–over 1.5 miles out and verified by witnesses and a laser range finder. McMillan has been providing incredibly accurate rifles to many of the most elite military units in the world, including the U.S. Navy Seals.
In April of this year, Fox News reported that McMillan Group International had been dropped as a customer by Bank of America (BoA). The McMillan Group has manufactured gun stocks, tactical, and high-end hunting rifles for almost 40 years. According to an email exchange that made its way around the internet, Managing General Partner Kelly D. McMillan said that during two meetings with BoA executives he was told that “his company’s business would no longer be welcomed by Bank of America, because his company manufactures firearms.” McMillan reported that he “was not even offered an opportunity to restructure his debt or make some other deal, though his company had never missed a payment or bounced a check.”
The Fox News article in April also reported that BoA denied the claim and said via email “Bank of America holds in high regard every right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, and all of its Amendments, including the Second Amendment.” The McMillan/Bank of America dispute quickly went viral and generated articles and comments from a host of sources, including Facebook and endless emails.
Now, let’s fast-forward several months and see how McMillan is coping. A visit to the McMillan website at www.McMillanusa.com gives us a picture of a flourishing and diversified company. Founded by Gale McMillan in 1973 upon his high-quality gun stocks for demanding benchrest matches, the parent company, McMillan Group International, has the following subsidiaries:
- McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, based upon Gale’s high quality gun stocks for demanding benchrest matches,
- McMillan Operator Development, which offers advanced tactical training for military and law enforcement,
- McMillan Machine Company, which makes precision machined parts, and finally,
- McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, that has two divisions:
- McMillan Tactical Products, for the specialized needs of military and law enforcement, and
- McMillan Hunting Products, which develops and markets custom hunting rifles and gear.
But wait, there’s more! They also book safaris, manufacture custom ammunition and knives, and offer a marksmanship training school!
That seems like a lot of business activity that is being foregone by Bank of America. So how has McMillan coped without BoA? Very well, thank you. I called McMillan’s headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona and asked to speak with Kelly McMillan. Dee Brown, the receptionist, was very polite and said that Mr. McMillan wasn’t available, but asked if I wanted to speak with his wife, Mary Jo McMillan. Mrs. McMillan was delightful to chat with and answered all my questions in a straightforward manner.
McMillan now employs 100 people and banks with the National Bank of Arizona. They are extremely pleased with the service and personal attention their new bank gives them. The National Bank of Arizona has huge resources and it seems that that they have a branch in every town in the state.
When I asked Mrs. McMillan a little more about their company, she said that I didn’t get through to Kelly because he was on safari in Mozambique with Craig Boddington and wouldn’t be back until November. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. When their son Ryan McMillan returned from duty with the Navy SEALs in 2008, he had a real interest in the tactical side of the business, while old Dad got stuck with the hunting end, the poor guy. At any rate, it seems as though McMillan Firearms has weathered their dispute with Bank of America quite nicely and will continue making some of the finest quality firearms in the world for the foreseeable future.
Photo courtesy McMillan USA