I just got back. It was a blast. As I predicted there were no photos allowed past the foyer but I got a few of the outer area. We got to work on armorer's benches on the assembly floor and interact with their armory staff and quality control staff. We were treated like kings even though we are only a small 100 man department who only purchased a dozen carbines. Joe, the LE sales rep and armorer trainer, taught us both days, bought us lunch both days and led our extensive tours. I've been to a lot of places and never treated so well.
There are two manufacturing facilities approx 45 minutes apart. The aluminum and polymer fabrication factory is in Ridgeland, SC, and is a very low key incognito place with no outside markings. The weapons assembly, proof testing and final shipping stages are there as well. They fill and ship a FedEx trailer every day.
We also toured the high profile Black Creek, Georgia facility where the company HQ and steel fabrication are located. It was amazing. My favorite part was the watching the cold hammer forging process. The other cool part was the vault where they keep inactivated trade show specimens on one side and PR loaners sent to gun writers to T&E for write ups. We got to handle and drool over EVERY variant and combination there of you could imagine. I really liked the grey Tornado finish for the Mk18. Sadly enough we didn't get to fire any of them but we do have our own team Mk18's
In the no man's land between the shipping area and armorer's section, there was a bulletin board with paper plate from a 600 yard shoot. There were 6 shots in a 4" group from a DD5v1 topped with a Leupold Mk4 scope. A 4" group at 600 yds. One day I will have a personal DD5v1. Oh yes, I will.
As for the Mk18's accuracy, Joe said that US Spec Ops had made several head shots at 300 yards and body shots at 600 yards. Not bad for a 10.5" barrel.
The only thing they don't do is the parkerization and other coatings. It's farmed out to a sub-contractor but they are planning on expanding and starting a coating & finish section next year.
Employee morale seemed to be extremely high and not staged as we had the run of the place while working on our assignments and randomly ran in to different staff all day both days.
They had a cool core values poster at several prominent locations. I had to sneak this photo.
They are very pro-military / pro-LE. Most of the staff are veterans.
We went the 9 Line outlet nearby in Savannah, Georgia. 9 Line does all the DD tees. Savannah is beautiful and reminds me of Charleston, SC. The 9 Line staff was also very enthusiastic and pro LE. I met some of the nicest people all over Georgia and SC no matter where we went.