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S. Royalton Weapons Maker Holds Demonstration

  • Green Mountain Defense Industries assistant rifle project manager Seth Birch demonstrates a law enforcement version of the company's new G-Series AR-15 assault-style weapon as Brian Collins holds up a timer during a live demonstration in South Royalton, Vt. on Sunday, September 29, 2013. GMDI is a local firearms manufacturer that recently unveiled a line of AR-15 weapons for consumers and law enforcement. The law enforcement version offers their patented Advanced Tactical Trigger Group, which allows for instant trigger-pressure switching between semi and full automatic modes. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Green Mountain Defense Industries assistant rifle project manager Seth Birch demonstrates a law enforcement version of the company's new G-Series AR-15 assault-style weapon as Brian Collins holds up a timer during a live demonstration in South Royalton, Vt. on Sunday, September 29, 2013. GMDI is a local firearms manufacturer that recently unveiled a line of AR-15 weapons for consumers and law enforcement. The law enforcement version offers their patented Advanced Tactical Trigger Group, which allows for instant trigger-pressure switching between semi and full automatic modes. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Green Mountain Defense Industries assistant rifle project manager Seth Birch hands a magazine to rifle project manager Brian Collins before Collins takes Amy Clark, of Quincy, Mass., center, for a test of the company's new G-Series AR-15 assault-style weapon during a live demonstration in South Royalton, Vt. on Sunday, September 29, 2013. GMDI is a local firearms manufacturer that recently unveiled a line of AR-15 weapons for consumers and law enforcement. The law enforcement version offers their patented Advanced Tactical Trigger Group, which allows for instant trigger-pressure switching between semi and full automatic modes. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Green Mountain Defense Industries assistant rifle project manager Seth Birch hands a magazine to rifle project manager Brian Collins before Collins takes Amy Clark, of Quincy, Mass., center, for a test of the company's new G-Series AR-15 assault-style weapon during a live demonstration in South Royalton, Vt. on Sunday, September 29, 2013. GMDI is a local firearms manufacturer that recently unveiled a line of AR-15 weapons for consumers and law enforcement. The law enforcement version offers their patented Advanced Tactical Trigger Group, which allows for instant trigger-pressure switching between semi and full automatic modes. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Green Mountain Defense Industries assistant rifle project manager Seth Birch demonstrates a law enforcement version of the company's new G-Series AR-15 assault-style weapon as Brian Collins holds up a timer during a live demonstration in South Royalton, Vt. on Sunday, September 29, 2013. GMDI is a local firearms manufacturer that recently unveiled a line of AR-15 weapons for consumers and law enforcement. The law enforcement version offers their patented Advanced Tactical Trigger Group, which allows for instant trigger-pressure switching between semi and full automatic modes. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)
  • Green Mountain Defense Industries assistant rifle project manager Seth Birch hands a magazine to rifle project manager Brian Collins before Collins takes Amy Clark, of Quincy, Mass., center, for a test of the company's new G-Series AR-15 assault-style weapon during a live demonstration in South Royalton, Vt. on Sunday, September 29, 2013. GMDI is a local firearms manufacturer that recently unveiled a line of AR-15 weapons for consumers and law enforcement. The law enforcement version offers their patented Advanced Tactical Trigger Group, which allows for instant trigger-pressure switching between semi and full automatic modes. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

South Royalton — Once, while in combat overseas, the gas rings on Brian Collins’ rifle gave out and his weapon failed.

Luckily, no one was injured, said Collins, a 27-year-old Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it’s a moment he remembers.

“I’ve been there,” said Collins, who has a background in machining. “I’ve seen it fail. I know what happens in those situations.”

Collins, of Enfield, is now the rifle project manager for three G-Series AR-15 rifles made by Green Mountain Defense Industries, LLC, a company that Senior Adviser Scott Traudt said has been based in South Royalton, where it manufactures the rifles, since March.

On Sunday, the company invited the public to a demonstration on the improvements in reliability and durability of the rifle over the standard military assault-style weapon.

Much of the presentation centered around the company’s new gas tube system, which Collins and assistant rifle project manager Seth Birch said prevents the sort of weapon failure that Collins and other combat personnel have experienced.

Under a tent in a South Royalton field, Collins and Birch showed about three dozen visitors the gas system, as well as the new rifles. They also showed a video of a test, conducted in March, comparing the automatic firing of 50, 30-round magazines in a standard military-style rifle. One gun used a gas tube system made by Colt; the other used Green Mountain Defense Industries’ system.

In the video, the Colt-equipped weapon caught fire and failed after 840 shots, while the Green Mountain one failed at 1,375, after a bullet ruptured the gun’s barrel.

Later, after the group walked to a nearby pit to see a live demonstration and shoot the guns for themselves, long-time Royalton resident Joshua Powers said he appreciated a new business coming to town.

“It will be high-quality employment,” he said.

But he wasn’t sure of the necessity of shooting more than 1,000 rounds in, say, a hunting environment.

Collins said that while semi-automatic variants of the G-Series rifles will be sold for civilian use — such as hunting and target shooting — through a Kentucky-based distributor as well as Bethel’s Locust Creek Outfitters, others, such as a fully automatic model, will not.

“I’m startled to discover there’s a company in the area that is developing very sophisticated weapons for the military,” said Thomas Powers, who attended Sunday’s presentation with his brother out of curiosity. “It’s clear they’re going about it in a very serious (way).”

The Powers brothers said the possibility that this new venture could bring economic growth to the area is a plus.

Traudt, the company’s senior adviser, said Sunday that Green Mountain Defense Industries is owned by Green Mountain Risk Management, LLC, a holding company based in Strafford. Traudt, who’s suit against the Lebanon Police Department for alleged constitutional rights violations following a simple assault conviction was thrown out, is listed as the former’s registered agent on the Vermont Secretary of State’s website.

For Amy and Nick Clark, who were visiting from Massachusetts and met Collins and Birch at Crossroads Bar & Grill the night before, Sunday’s demonstration was a fun surprise. Whereas Nick is a shooting enthusiast, primarily shooting targets with pistols and long-range rifles, this was the first time Amy had shot a gun.

With a G-Series rifle, she fired at a cardboard target set in front of a steep embankment.

“It was awesome,” she said afterward.

Many of these guns are meant to go the military, though, and Collins and Birch made sure to make note of that in their introductory video. After the gas system comparison, the screen flashed the company’s motto: “Making the best possible weapons for the worst possible wars.”

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@vnews.com or 603-727-3242.

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