Rifle optics manufacturer relocating to Kalispell

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A manufacturing company that has been building custom rifle scopes and optics for 26 years in Southern California is relocating to Kalispell.

U.S. Optics, a leader in the firearm optics industry, announced the relocation to the Flathead Valley on its website, saying there may be a brief pause in production while it brings the new facility online, but assured customers “we will far exceed our previous production capabilities.”

The company is on track to move into its new quarters south of Kalispell in September.

The Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Montana West Economic Development helped facilitate the relocation.

Ken Fichtler, chief business development officer for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said U.S. Optics reached out to his office in April about the possibility of relocating to Montana. The company also was considering Texas as a possible relocation site, Fichtler said, as it considered potential sites with “a closer cultural fit.

“We went up against the state of Texas in terms of incentives, culture and location,” he said, adding that U.S. Optics was impressed with the “center of excellence for this type of manufacturing” that exists in the Flathead Valley. “We were able to put together an incentive package that appealed to them.

A Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund grant and property tax abatement were among the incentives offered.

Another drawing card to Montana, Fichtler said, is the Montana Photonics Industry Alliance, a Bozeman-based network of Montana optics and photonics companies, entrepreneurs, laboratories and universities. Montana State University’s Optical Technology Center also was a factor in U.S. Optics’ decision, he added.

Down Range Solutions Group recently acquired U.S. Optics, and will continue doing business as U.S. Optics, according to a press advisory issued in June by mergers and acquisitions division of Helena-based Ascendant Advisory Group.

According to U.S. Optics’ website, the genesis of the company’s commercial off-the-shelf product line is “rooted in custom scopes built to satisfy the needs of military and law-enforcement personnel, competitive shooters and hunters … All commercial off-the-shelf products come off the same production lines and are assembled by the same skilled technicians who build every custom scope.”

Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

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