November 25, 2005

Special Operations :Profile and Tools of Surefire, LLC :

Interview with Dr. John W. Matthews

Dr. John W. Matthews is the founder and president of SureFire. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. A staunch supporter of America’s armed forces, Matthews directs SureFire’s engineering efforts with the specific goal of creating the very best products for the warfighter, based on operator input, using the finest materials and most advanced technology. SureFire is a California-based manufacturing company of special-purpose illumination tools, weapon-mounted tactical lights, Picatinny-specification rifle forends, sound suppressors, laser sights and edged weapons.

Q: Could you give the SOTECH reader an overview of your company?

A: SureFire is a unique company with an unusual approach. We believe in supplying those who go in harm’s way with the very best products to help them prevail in a combative encounter. Consequently, we build to a performance standard, not a price point. We simply build the very best tactical products.

Q: How long has SureFire been doing business with the military and government programs?

A: Beginning more than 20 years ago, SureFire has pioneered a number of significant breakthroughs in tactical products which we have supplied to the U.S. military and law enforcement communities, including laser sights, flashlights, weapon lights and sound suppressors. For instance, our new Scout Light—the lightest and most compact weapon-mounted light for an M4 carbine—is a result of product evolution that began with our 6P Original more than 20 years ago.

Q: There are other companies in the market that provide similar products and services. What makes SureFire unique?

A: First, we engineer our military products specifically to meet the needs of actual warfighters. We listen to the operators and build our products based on their input. Many times our competitors simply adapt a commercial product to military use, a product that was originally designed to meet some price point in the consumer market. Our products, on the other hand, are strictly driven by performance requirements of the operators. A good example is our HellFire light for the .50 BMG heavy machine gun which we made at the request of U.S. Army Special Forces to fit on their Humvee-mounted guns. It has been very effective in Iraq and served as an important improvement to their force protection in thwarting night ambushes.

Q: How is SureFire continuing to stay on top of the ever changing requirements of this community as we fight the war on terrorism?

A: We continue to pioneer new technologies and develop new solutions to give those who go in harm’s way a tactical advantage. We employ over 40 engineers, roughly one for every 10 employees. We spend considerable resources on research and development of things like high-intensity discharge light sources and ever lighter, more accurate sound suppressors. We’re simply committed to our mission of giving the warfighter the very best products.

Q: What are your plans for the future of SureFire?

A: We won’t sit still. Constant improvement, constant innovation and constant development of new technologies. If you think our SureFire lights and weapon lights are impressive today, wait until you see what’s around the corner. We have several exciting products in the final development stage, such as a helmet mounted, jump-certified light for airborne use, and a new combat optical sight for the Browning M2 heavy machine gun. Additionally, we have made a major breakthrough in noise-protection and communications equipment with a compact hearing protection device. One version is passive and is designed for vehicle-mounted troops, allowing them to communicate but also reducing the most harmful noise-damage from gunfire to a safe level. We also have an active device—a digital hearing interface—that allows radio communication while also eliminating noise-induced hearing loss from gunfire or other loud noises. We call it EarPro.

Q: What are some of the key products you are supplying to the SOF community?

A: Right now we’re equipping the special forces community with weapon-mounted lights, handheld lights and sound suppressors. We’re very excited about our new shorty suppressor for the M4 carbine which is the smallest and lightest sound suppressor on the market, yet it’s inherently accurate and durable. Best of all, it features minimal zero-shift from suppressed to unsuppressed fire and repeats zero when removed and reattached. An elite anti-terrorism unit in Europe recently concluded an exhaustive test of both European and American-made suppressors and the SureFire shorty was the overall winner. We have the best attachment means, a fast-attach lockup that allows the operator to attach or detach the suppressor in less than three seconds—and retain his zero! This elite unit proved our zero-retention and fast-attach lockup in their test. Additionally, the accuracy of the SureFire suppressor was better than any other candidate.

Of course we continue to supply our weapon-mounted lights with infrared filters to combat troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everyone at SureFire shares my pride in knowing that our tactical lights have contributed significantly in the war on terrorism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think front pockets are strong and roomy;inverted pleats on the cargo pockets remain flat until needed for a neat,professional appearance.And i like extra deep rear pockets hold extended mags,a baton or a 15” flashlight.