I don’t even how to begin this article. So I guess I will start from the very beginning. Early in the year, I had some business to conduct with some FFL Class 72 SOT’s. In layman’s terms, that is an actual manufacturer of firearms, ammo, suppressors, etc.
Because NDA’s are in place, I can’t really go into much more detail but one of the SOT’s I had contact with was named “Jim”. And let me tell you, Jim was one hell of a nice guy. Vietnam Vet. Former Marine (If I recall correctly, a sniper). Retired US Marshall. And now a FFL SOT who was authorized to make firearms, suppressors, post 86 samples, LE Letter guns, and commercial ammunition.
When I finally made it into town to visit with Jim, he gave me the royal treatment. No exaggeration. I had the run of his entire production facility for 6 hours. And the whole time answering manufacturing and technology questions, we swapped war stories.
For example: It turns out, Jim had been shot in the line of duty while with the Marshall’s Service. But at one point the subject of his having a Purple Heart came up. I looked at him and said, “You were shot in Vietnam, Too?!”
With a grin he responds, “Hell no! Most people assume my PH was from being shot, but the truth is I was out on a long range patrol and got bit by a damn spider-monkey! By the time I got back to camp, it was so infected, they evacuated me!!!”
We all got a huge laugh at his expense. It was such a breath of fresh air to spend time with a guy who wasn’t a “tactical douche” for a change. That was the first time I met Jim. And we were fast friends after that.
Unfortunately, it was the last time I would ever see him.
Jim’s business has been through a rough couple of years. His closest employee came down with cancer and died very young. Still in his 40’s, I think. Jim’s shop dog, Ares, who was beloved by just about everyone in his town, passed away this past winter of cancer. And Jim himself had been fighting cancer too!
But things were turning around. Jim’s cancer was under control. He was selling a rifle named after his late dog, The ARES — God of War. And expressed plans to slow down and spend more quality time traveling with his wife. You know, appreciating the post cancer death sentence he dodged.
Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Many of you heard the rest of the story. It was reported nationally and internationally.
Tactical Ambulance Chasers
And then something really, weird and pathetic happened. Some pretty big names in the firearms training business; without knowing any facts beyond the headlines, started running down Jim. But what made it worse, all of it was really done for their self-promotion. Not lessons learned. Oh, I’m sure you’ve seen the kind. A post about X,Y, Z but in reality it’s a post saying, “Hey! Don’t forget about me!”
Seriously. Fuck you guys. And the only reason I am not typing your names here is I’m a grown man. So I will thoroughly enjoy looking your asses in the eye when this subject comes up. Unexpectedly. Probably in front of your peers, students or customers. Jim spent his entire adult life in service to his country and community, and some of you are no better than “tactical-ambulance chasers”. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Using his tragic death for self-promotion. I’ll say it again…fuck you.
The Ares Rifle
Embarrassingly, not much to say. It sat unfired in the armory most of the year. Frankly, it wasn’t something I was that interested in. But upon getting the call that Jim Baker had passed, out of respect, I decided to pull it off the rack and give it a serious look. To do anything less seemed disrespectful.
It’s piston driven. External charging handle that doesn’t reciprocate. Uses a standard AR lower. Is very heavy. And seems to be the same rifle offered by another company close to KayJay, The Faxon Arms ARAK-21. I am not sure of the relationship between these two businesses. Was Jim making parts for Faxon? Was Faxon selling 80% receivers to Jim? Maybe Jim designed the rifle and sold the design to Faxon?
I have no idea and probably never will. But we’ve been playing with it out of respect for the old US Marshall who was bested by a spider monkey in the jungles of Vietnam, before most of you were glints in your daddy’s eye.
Thanks for the one, good day, Jim.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”