Firearms manufacturers are constantly churning out new parts and accessories so shooters can upgrade the AR-15 experience, but Dead Foot Arms has come up with something they believe is a true game-changer.
Their Modified Cycle System (MCS) is the first and only drop-in folding stock adaptor for the AR-15 platform that allows the gun to fire whether the stock is deployed or folded. The American Shooting Journal recently had a conversation with Russ Simonis, COO of the veteran-owned and -operated company, to find out more about this and other Dead Foot Arms products.
AMERICAN SHOOTING JOURNAL: I understand that your folding stock has become quite a success. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?
RUSS SIMONIS: The idea really started to manifest in 2009 when Ted (Schumacher, Dead Foot Arms’ CEO and founder) was in Iraq. The M4 Carbine is simply too long to efficiently operate in most tactical vehicles. We wanted to find a way to reduce the overall length of the weapon without significant reductions in barrel length, but still keep the weapon operational in the folded configuration. In 2010, Ted met the rest of the current team members, including me, when he joined our unit in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He told us about the idea, and we worked together for over five years through testing and prototyping the system until we were ready to release it to the public at Shot Show 2016.
ASJ: How is it different from any others on the market today?
RS: The first question we get asked when someone sees our product the first time is, “Can it fire with the stock folded?” It certainly can. What makes the Modified Cycle System unique is that it’s the only drop-in/retrofit folding stock system for the AR-15 that gives you that capability. There are a couple of other folder systems out there, but either they disable the weapon in the folded position or they require a proprietary upper receiver. When you install our system, you won’t need to re-zero and you’ll find it much easier to install than most types of PDW style stocks, taking about 5 to 7 minutes. What also makes the MCS different than its competitors is we sell the system in a wide variety of configurations. Many of our customers purchase the system without the folding stock adaptor, and just run our 2.5-inch receiver extension on the back of their lower. We call this our MCS AR-Pistol kit and it’s been a really attractive option for our customers looking to run something super short. We also offer the MCS in a left side folding configuration, ideal for left side folding shooters.
ASJ: Has it been a challenge to keep up with the demand of your stock?
RS: Increasingly so, yes. Items will go out of stock from time to time but we always have more getting cut, so just check back on the website (deadfootarms.com/products) periodically if you’re waiting for something to come available. We also run a pretty robust Law Enforcement Testing and Evaluation Program so we have stock rotating and moving through that route, as well. It’s been very exciting for us to see the amazing customer response we’ve received and the friends of friends who purchased our products after seeing it on their buddies’ guns. Needless to say, our customers are keeping us super busy and we love them for that.
ASJ: As a young business finding success, what has been the hardest thing to overcome?
RS: The firearms industry can be pretty ruthless to the new company who’s trying to make their mark. We knew we had a product that a lot of people in the industry were looking for. When you’re starting out from scratch, it can be quite a challenge to get the attention of your audience because they’ve never heard of you. That’s just human nature. There’s a lot of ideas out there, so as a new company you have to find a way to make your product stand out. There’s no better marketing strategy than putting your products in customers’ hands and proving that it works, and that is exactly what we are finding is our most successful marketing tool. If you’re planning on launching a new product in this industry, and expect to sell them, you need to dedicate yourself to a daily social media grind after you shut the machines down for the day. You could invent a spaceship to Mars, but without social media presence, you will be overlooked and never found.
ASJ: Where do you see your company going from here?
RS: It’s early, but hopefully we can see our business continue to grow in several different ways. Our focus is to put quality USA-made tactical products in the hands of our customers who desire them, whether they be DoD, law enforcement or sporting shooters. We definitely have big plans beyond the MCS, but that will remain our primary focus in the near term. Long term, sky is the limit. Like many entrepreneurs, we’ve got about 250 ideas brewing that we swear we will put on the market one day. I am optimistic we will get a few of those released in the very near future.
ASJ: Do you have any new products coming out that you can tell us about?
RS: We are currently working on a new MCS PDW style stock that will hit the market later in 2017 or early 2018, along with another minimalist stock system for standard buffer AR-15 systems. We’re very excited about both of those products and we’ve already invested significant time in the development of both of them. In April, we launched our new weapon customization program, DFA Custom. We teamed up with an outstanding cerakote applicator here in Wisconsin, our friend Josh DuMond, who has done hundreds of weapons over the past few years, to provide our custom coating service and the response has been great thus far. Our prices are tough to beat and Josh is coating everything – pistols, rifles, shotguns, or you can now custom order your MCS system in the cerakote color of your choice.
For more information on Dead Foot Arms and their products, visit