A chance encounter at an annual hunting and shooting convention led to a Virginia Beach military outfitter landing its largest government contract ever.
Matbock — a company founded by two retired Navy SEALs — was awarded a $757,180 contract by Special Operations Command for a specialized weapon sight.
The Acquire Read Deploy Sight, when attached to a grenade launcher like a M320 or an Mk19, reads out the angle the weapon platform is raised and calculates the distance the round will travel based on both and weapon and ammunition type. Its LCD screen then displays that distance. The sight also displays the weapon’s cant — tilting to the left or right.
Matbock co-founder and CEO Sean Matson said the sight has been in development for several years.
He said fellow co-founder Zach Steinbock found himself out on the gun range with a program manager from Special Operations Command during the annual SHOT Show convention in January. The SOCOM representative pointed out a target and asked Steinbock and his team how confident they were that he would hit it with a grenade launcher using the Matbock sight. They replied that if he missed, they would question his credentials.
“He said ‘OK, I guess you’re really confident then,’” Matson recalled.
The rep aimed up the launcher, calculated the correct distance on the sight and fired.
“Sure enough, that round hit dead center of the tank target,” Matson said. “Basically, (he) immediately handed him back the gun and said ‘Yep. Be expecting an order from us.’”
In addition to the military, Matson said the sight has attracted the interest of several police departments. In cases like recent protests spurred on by the death of George Floyd, the sight could be also used to minimize harm with either tear gas or illumination rounds, he added.
“Understanding and knowing exactly how far that round is going to go will help mitigate some of those causes,” Matson said.
There are some existing sights for launchers now, but Matson said they are antiquated, and most weapon users forgo them and use “Kentucky windage” instead — aiming off from the target rather than adjusting the sight.
The contract, which began on April 22, represents around $1.2 million worth of merchandise and the order has shipped, according to a Matbock spokesperson.
Matson and Steinbock founded their business in 2010 while they were still serving in the Navy. Matbock has now grown to 22 employees and makes a variety of combat gear: packs, vests, rescue bags, evacuation stretchers and even a portable chlorine production kit. Matson also co-founded Strike Force Energy in January 2016 and first tested the small energy drinks in Hampton Roads convenience stores.
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