Who is “The Gun Industry”? A Worm’s Eye View from the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo, Part 3

Back from my brief hiatus to promote the United States Concealed Carry Association’s Concealed Carry Fashion Show. This is the third of four planned posts from the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Expo on “Who is ‘The Gun Industry’?” (following up on Part 1 and Part 2 of my series).


This is a sort of “Potpourri” of different businesses, which gives some sense of the range of products being sold to support the “concealed carry lifestyle.” The first four companies mentioned are interesting because they sell products that were not developed exclusively for but were adapted to the concealed carry market.

Berne Workwear takes its name from the Indiana town in which it was founded 100+ years ago as the Berne Overall & Shirt Company. Founded to supply farmers with high quality and affordable work clothes, it continues to sell work apparel but has also expanded to reach the hunting and now concealed carry markets. Nick Rodriguez, industrial sales manager at Berne, was on hand to display the company’s new “Adder System” products. The products essentially build an external pocket pistol concealment system into their existing workwear jackets and vests. Definitely something practical I would like to try.


Aaron Tweedie came upon the idea of his “Man-PACK” while he was working as a contractor and couldn’t find a good quality and affordable sling style messenger bag. An appearance on the ABC television show “Shark Tank” and a couple of Kickstarter fundraising campaigns has launched his idea (and himself) onto the runway of the Concealed Carry Fashion Show. I have carried a murse for over a decade – currently a Tumi – so this is definitely on my “to try” list, though they were only showing the model in black for lefthanders at the CCX.


Mayan is a civil engineer from China who also earned a degree in design in the United States (and became an American citizen in 2016!). She also has a passion for traveling. Out of concern for the security of her purse while she slept on an overnight flight years ago, she used her shoe lace to tie her purse to her thigh. Over time she adapted the bag with the image of a hugging koala bear in mind, and now markets the U Koala Bag to concealed carriers, among other markets. I can see my wife wearing the Koala Bag when we travel or go hiking.


Tom Hunsucker and his partner, Eddie Rowland, sold their successful custom boat trailer business in 2007 and got into the belt business after Rowland saw a novel belt design in Vietnam that had no presence in the United States. Nexbelt was born and the duo found a way to break into “The Golf Industry,” even sponsoring a player on the PGA Tour. Well, they are now part of “The Gun Industry” with their men’s and women’s tactical belt series. Maybe they’ll sponsor a competitive shooter one day.


Getting back to some companies that were born as part of “The Gun Industry,” I enjoyed meeting and talking to Samantha DeZonia of Wilderness Tactical Products, a company founded over three decades ago and known for its (Original) Instructors Belt. At the CCX they were featuring their new(er) Renegade ankle holster. I knew of Wilderness Tactical for their Safepacker, which I first heard recommended by Michael Bane IIRC. My recent close encounter with a brown bear reminded me that I have wanted one of these for a long time.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention UnderTech Undercover. Lenny and Tammy Magill had a large booth in the center of the exhibit hall, large enough in fact that they had a fitting room that was getting good traffic the times I walked by. Up front they displayed their women’s concealment leggings, which I imagine must be a good seller given how popular leggings are among the women I know. Business must have been good because I tried to buy a pair of the Men’s Concealment Briefs and they were out of my size!


Finally a shout out to Jon Grossman of SheepDog Knife and Gun, who was the only gunsmith I met at the Expo. He and his wife, too, are “The Gun Industry.”


The more I see and learn about “The Gun Industry,” the more diverse and interesting it becomes.


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