Stack-On Closed Both U.S. Plants

Stack-On Products closed both U.S. plants it ran near Chicago on Oct. 12, eliminating more than 150 jobs and moving production to Mexico. The company has manufactured gun safes and home organization systems for more than 40 years and its wares are offered by many big-box and sporting goods retailers. MidOcean Partners and Cannon Safe acquired the company in August 2017.

A spokesman for Alpha Guardian, parent company of Stack-On, told the Chicago Tribune that the move is due to new tariffs imposed on raw materials imported from China. “The operation is really not profitable,” Al Fletcher, the firm’s resources director, told the newspaper.

Alpha Guardian, based in Las Vegas, NV, is the parent company of Gun Vault, Cannon Safe, Cannon Security Products and Stack-On. It was established the same month the latter was purchased and documents filed with the state in May indicate a Stack-On move to Nevada was being considered.

Although Stack-On closed both U.S. plants, it already had established manufacturing facilities in Mexico and China. Sales, marketing and engineering positions with the company will remain in Illinois, but production previously completed in the United States will be moved just across the border of El Paso, TX, to Juarez, Mexico. The company was established in 1972.

At the time of the company’s acquisition last summer, Don Pannier, Stack-On executive vice president said in a press release, “We are excited for this new chapter in Stack-On’s legacy and the opportunity to partner with the Cannon Safe team, a strong business with shared values and passion for delivering best-in-class products to our customers and continuing to drive the expansion of the secure storage sector.”

.44 Mag Desert Eagle Pix Challenge

The .44 Mag. Desert Eagle is an awesome looking handgun, but photos that reflect its good looks can be a challenge. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fit and finish are first-class, but it’s tactical black throughout and that makes it somewhat shy about sharing its curves with a camera.

The image above is one of the outtakes from one of my upcoming gun reviews. The flat lighting toward the viewer stinks, so it's probably going nowhere.

It is a good chance for an inside look at how much work goes into seemingly simple firearm photos, however. It’s not what the average enthusiast thinks. This image is really 10, blended, and not that well in this case—unfortunately.

Rim Lighting First.44 Mag Desert Eagle, Guy J. Sagi, Raeford North Carolina

A black background with a black gun means you need to establish the firearm’s borders somehow and the easiest way is to highlight the edges. Without it, the rail atop the .44 Mag Desert Eagle would disappear. The triggerguard could just vanish into the darkness as well. Readers deserve a good look at the gun from the comfort of home, even when the graphic approach is black on black.  

There's a lot of imagination involved and more hours than I care to admit. It starts with cleaning the gun then lighting from a single direction.

The image to the left is really four photos combined. Each was taken with the flash in a slightly different position, above and behind the handgun. Four flashes can accomplish the same look in a single, but by taking multiple images I can pick and choose which ones are used in Photoshop. There they are stacked in layers and automatically combined using the "lighten" blend mode. I can turn on or off any of them with this technique to change the look...something you can't do with a single image. The other disadvantage to multiple light sources is an inevitable army of escaping photons muddying the look. 

The second photo harnesses the same approach, but from the handgun's bottom. We're up to eight images, not including the one's I ditched during processing. .44 Mag. Desert Eagle, Guy J. Sagi, Raeford North Carolina, Fear and Loading

.44 Mag. Desert Eagle Outline 

You get a nice, pretty much black-and-white outline of the gun when this pair of photos are combined the same way. The profile is well defined but the rest of the details are missing.

 

.44 Mag Desert Eagle, Guy J. Sagi, Fear & Loading, Raeford North Carolina, Handgun photography compositesThe side of the gun facing the reader requires yet another photo. I take a lot of them so I can pick and choose. Toss it on top of the layers, use the lighten blend mode yet again and it's still not done. That dowel in the muzzle holding the handgun for photos has occluded the ports near the muzzle. Out it comes, re-anchor the pistol, take another photo or it, layer/mask and then the real work begins.

No matter how much you clean a gun, dust collects in seconds. I swear it's the oil, or my dogs who groupie up when the camera comes out. The mend brush in Photoshop works wonders, but it's slow and tedious work.

I'd love to share the image the magazine will receive, but I cannot until the article is published. I directed light on the viewer side of the .44 Mag. Desert Eagle. I think it's striking in comparison to this flatly lit outtake. And the option to put a different look on top was only made possible by building a solid, rim-lit foundation upon which I could build, or more accurately blend.

Let me know what you think about the image. Please withhold comments on how much time I blow on photos—my wife reminds me every day good gun photos don't require software wizardry.   

Glock Explains SIG Suit

Last week a number of business publications—including Bloomberg—reported on the legal action between SIG Sauer and Glock that was the subject of a three-judge meeting in Austria recently. My newsbrief at AmericanRifleman.org covered the story, but subsequently Glock has issued a press release to clarify an issue that affects more than just  the company's new 19X. Rather than rewriting or summarizing, here it is in full.

"GLOCK refers to media reports discussing pending patent litigation between SIG Sauer, Inc. and GLOCK GmbH."

"In January 2018, SIG Sauer, Inc. (SIG) filed a patent infringement suit together with a motion for a preliminary injunction against Glock GmbH (GLOCK Austria) in the Commercial Court Vienna, Austria.

"SIG´s motion requested the court to prevent GLOCK from manufacturing and selling some of its most popular pistol models. SIG´s motion for a preliminary injunction was dismissed by the court because GLOCK successfully proved that SIG´s patent is invalid. SIG did not appeal this important ruling, so it is a final decision.

"The remaining case in the Commercial Court Vienna is currently stayed because GLOCK filed a motion for a declaration of invalidity of the disputed patent with the Austrian Patent Office in April 2018.

"It is highly likely that the Patent Office will grant GLOCK´s motion and declare the disputed SIG patent null and void because GLOCK proved during the preliminary injunction court proceeding that the SIG patent is invalid.

"Our industry would be better served by its members putting their efforts and resources into providing the best possible products for our customers and protecting their second amendment rights rather than engaging in meritless litigation."

Crafting the words and images that capture the spirit of the outdoor sports and the beauty that surrounds them.