i applaud you for creating new designs and getting peoples creative spark going. The following questions/attacks I have replied to below:
Once the mold is setup then things are cheap to produce however to start up a mold it is a lot and is why you see big companies private label TAPCO brand stocks as their own because they FREAK OUT at what molds cost and are unwilling to do it. There is a "break even" point on product from when you finally sell enough to pay for R&D and mold costs. Paintball is a sport that updates gear pretty quickly however in the firearm/airsoft sector if you made a mold for an M-16 you can count on that design being around for a while for people to buy! So we make a mold but expect that within 4-5 years it will be obsolete and little demand will be present for it.
One thing I am an expert in is plastic injection molding, as it relates to wargame miniature production (my job). Those plastic stocks that Spec Ops sells for 100 a pop cost about 2 dollars in materials, maybe 5 more in labor and maximum 10 dollars for manufacturing.
There currently is no other paintball company out there making their own molds for buttstocks. They are all airsoft stuff modded for paintball, or real firearm stuff modded for paintball.
Assembly and testing is a large part of our cost as we DO import our plastics however assembly and testing cost more than actually making the product as that is all domestic labor. We do not currently trust overseas labor to ship us inspected product ready to sell w/out our final approval. So if you need a "reason" for why our stuff is more than QUALITY airsoft stuff then there is your answer: Domestic assembly labor.
Product arrives (shipping cost)
product inspected/counted (labor)
product entered into inventory (labor)
product assembled with all fittings (labor)
leak checked (labor)
put on shelf for shipping (labor)
product put in box to ship to customer (labor)
Dude... lol. Molds. Know what it cost a Paintball Mask company to make a mold for a new mask including R&D? About $300,000.00(this is actual information a I just toured this companies factory however I wont mention who it is) ,that's right folks over a quarter million. That's easy to digest if they know the mask is going to be a hit. If not? SCARY. Same applies to other molds, the initial investment is scary because if the product flops your SCREWED. Suddenly when people ask "why is the JT Flex 7 mask been around so long with out and update till recently?" Well it's a decent mask yes... but if sales are good then why eat up profits with having to make a new mold? buttstock molds are not nearly that expensive but they are in the tens of thousands.
Hobbies are expensive, yes. Plastic injection molding are not.
The brigade and game locator are tools that we KNOW for a fact have grown our sport and provided a way for players to get games going that would have not otherwise ever been possible (we get e-mails all the time from thankful folks). Just because it's something you don't use (or perhaps may not know about or clearly understand) does not make it a "gimmick". Although that realization right there clears up a lot about your comments.
Actually, I find Spec Ops no more noble than any other Mil Sim type paintball retailer. They have a forum. They have some flash animations. Its all gimmicks.
Anyways, I digress:
Airsoft is a bigger market with the majority of product coming from oversee's. Airsoft also has the advantage of a bigger global market, start to finish R&D and delivery to the customer or supplier direct from oversees. Paintball is American born/bread and will for quite a while remain the global leader in development and production of paintball goods... which again makes the cost of all things with ANY domestic labor involved much more expensive. I wish paintball was bigger globally so we could sell more of our product and lower our prices as well. It's happening, slowly, as is more sophisticated manufacturing oversee's as well! (the industry is working on it)
Inject plastic into a mold. Install macro hosing and hardware. Put it in a box. Charge 100 dollars. That for me does no compute. I know the plastic manufacturing industry. The exact same process that goes into making a body for a 30-dollar airsoft gun is what is used to make a 100-dollar Spec Ops stock, and that upsets me. How bout you?
All of our machined stuff, design and development is done here. Plastic production is oversees however all assembly and final testing is done here. Global economy is pretty crazy right now and it will be interesting to see what the US does with the whole "CHINA" issue. American consumers hate paying for their own people to make a product for them to use. (you). However, this presents a challenge for domestic laborers to be paid decently. Design and innovation is what the USA does best right now, however not everybody can design cool stuff.. But just about everybody can put it together, however not for the price China can do it. America, we have a problem, enjoy cheap goods while we can, but we may pay dearly for it down the road.
Am I paying for domestic manufacturing? Is Spec Ops made in the USA? If there was a Spec Ops China division would their parts be a quarter of the price and the same quality? These are the kinds of questions I ask when I see a 100 dollar price tag on a plastic stock.
At specops we kind of do a hybridization of both for now: a little china and a little domestic
We don't expect everybody to "get it".
What am I paying for? A Spec Ops logo? I personally dislike pimping anyones brand name or symbol unless I am sponsored. I also dislike paying extra for a brand name.
Just me, one of the owners. It's expensive to make, lots of parts. Some of our stuff IS expensive for sure, but not w/out it being expensive for us to make it first. If you have ever seen one in real life you would know why. People don't HAVE to buy it. And regarding your comment on "unlike any other gun out there?" We have a couple of different mod philosophies.
And wait a tick... if there are so many Spec Ops representitives on this thread, can you please explain the logic behind the Longbow stock being so high? That poor design is really the primer for this whole discussion. Did you not realize the whole mask thing? You know, you can get that whole "snap up" to position thing with the stock a few inches lower. Did you realize that while you were trying to capture the whole "realistic gun" vibe you actually put the barrel beneath the top line of the stock, making that configuration unlike ANY gun out there?
1. make it look real but make sense to paintball as much as possible.
2. Borrow ergonomics from real guns where it makes sense and then do what makes sense for paintball everywhere else.
Example of #1= A5A2
Example of #2= Blackcell ion, Longbow
Of course we took into consideration the whole mask thing. However you will see a whole different line of buttstocks launched for peoples personal preference... such as the dogleg and more to follow.
here is a picture of ME PERSONALLY shooting my Q-BOW at the Camp Blanding Scenario game in Florida.
Buttstock is in nice and tight on my shoulder, sighting through my holo sight perfectly. My neck is not strained and the bracing point on my v-force mask is PERFECT (for me) as if I cannot rest my mask against my buttstock it takes me a split second longer to acquier my holo sight cross-hairs and get them on target. My shooting background is based on real firearms so I prefer bracing my mask against a buttstock rather than have it "float" around trying to find my site. With a buttstock down lower and no place to brace a mask against it would typically take a person a split second longer to find their sight and put it on target with out that "brace spot". Not a big deal but something I have noticed when shooting old school markers (when buttstocks designed around a tank down low on the back was pretty common).
So, our design works great for some however it's not perfect for all that is something I agree with. However you attack us like it's poor design, when in fact perhaps it's just not for you. There is a difference.
Buy a brass eagle and some 12 grams, tell those air soft guys where to stick it!
Anyways, paintball shouldnt cost that much. I envy airsoft players. Would be nice to pay those prices. They prolly look at us going "what makes your markers so expensive?". All we can say in reply is "Who knows?"
We just want to be clear about it. That's all.
It is kinda weird that you guys are freakin about the airsoft thing, and totally forgetting about the Longbow configuration. Maybe I hit a nerve? Maybe I hit upon something that is in fact the very marrow of the Spec Ops buisiness machine?
I am sure they will, and indeed "cheaper" it will be. Perhaps you should give it a shot.
I am seriously worried that another company will just come along and make that same stuff for cheaper
Depends on the situation that a player finds himself or herself in most often. For those that play in natural wooded fields or area's w/out much man made cover they will be in a prone unsupported position (until cover is blown) and not having a hopper at "periscope depth" is nice. Personally my favorite thing about not having a hopper on top has to do with nice clear view w/out blind spots. Again... preference, may not work for you but it may work for others.
Did you know that if you were to take the exposure from the Cell and put it up instead of down it may as well have a hopper on the top? Seems kinda silly to go through all that effort to lower the profile, and then you got to get that Q Loader over cover to brace it and fire, effectivle removing all that clearance. If the cover is in front of the user, and the marker is not braced for stability, then this is not an issue.
Wont happen anytime soon they are hurting bad, but I wish they would.
I would like to say a prayer now. Please God, let AGD make a really nice milsim woodsball marker with the stock as a hopper, fed by a warp drive motor. It would be so rad, and really AGD. It would then slay all other woodsball markers that requires hundreds of dollards of after-market upgrades.
In closing pardon my rib shots however I am passionate about paintball and passionate about our company. Very few paintball company owners would care to comment much at length if at all however we do. Again I respect and appreciate all your designs (and all you others out there contributing) and you will be satisfied much more as we develop more and bring to market stuff that suits perhaps even YOU. We aim to please, but then again we also aim to innovate. And when people get this pissed off about something we made and people are buying up faster then we can make, then we know we are on the right track.
AIM/Yahoo = IrishPipes79