The building that once housed Key Industries, Inc., near the railroad tracks on Wall Street, is now used by a new business to manufacture ammunition and sell other tactical clothing and gear, currently through online sales.
“It’s going to be a cool place for people who are outdoor people,” Greg Fess said of Velocity Tactics, which could open in the next few months.
Fess, who oversees the work site, said the idea for Velocity Tactics began about three years ago as a side project started by Ryan Kraft, son of Roger Kraft of Ward Kraft in Fort Scott. Kraft wanted to find a way to make improvements to bullets, which Fess said have seen little change since World War I.
With those three years of research and development, which continues even today, Kraft and others have been able to create a lead-free bullet, using solid copper instead of a copper jacket and lead, making it lighter and more precise as well as able to cause more damage to a soft target.
“It needs to perform better than what’s out there,” Fess said of the viability of their business, saying it has been a team effort to find a way to achieve that.
But so far they have found success with their products, continuing to develop their manufacturing methods, making sure they test a high percentage of the bullets to make sure they are of the best quality. While they originally wanted to start selling earlier, the team instead focused on becoming experts on their product as well as the business first.
Fess said their products – which currently includes ammunition as well as firearms, gear, knives, targets and tactical gear and accessories – have been available for purchase online for about a year and are being used around the nation.
But on a more local level, Fess said local law enforcement officers have tried out the different bullets in comparison to those they currently use. Velocity Tactics will also sell other gear the local sheriff’s office and police department use, allowing them to buy locally instead of from out of town.
“That will be cool to keep all that in the community,” Fess said.
With their brand name spreading, Fess and others involved in the rising company have already been on hunts with others who purchased or use their bullets. The store in Fort Scott will include a trophy room displaying some of those animals, which currently will include a hog, buffalo, elk as well as an alligator that broke state records in Florida for its size of more than 13 feet in length and weighing almost 1,000 pounds.
Velocity Tactics continues to focus on letting others know of their product through online marketing, improving their website and manufacturing the product while also getting the store in Fort Scott ready to open its doors.
Fess said they have had to do a lot of work on the building to make it fit with their plans for it, adding they could continue projects and expansions on it for the next five years. But already, the first floor of the Velocity Tactics location is nearly complete, with a third of that space to be used for the store while the remaining two thirds are reserved for manufacturing.
Work continues on the second floor, where Fess said they hope to eventually have 100 machines in operations to make the bullets.
The store location is set to open within the next few months or by spring of 2016 at the latest. Those interested in purchasing online can do so today through their website.