If you are passionate about Black Rifles and their respective tactical accessories, chances are you’ve run into Palmetto State Armory’s extensive website. But have you ever paused to consider how Palmetto State Armory came to be? For a business that started just a few short years ago, there’s quite a bit to look into and even a few puzzles to solve. For starters, have you ever wondered why their logo has two ancient cannons with several cannonballs? Curious as to the meaning of Desperta Ferro! (Awake the iron!)? And is there any significance to the name Palmetto? Let’s take a look and see what we can learn.
Palmetto State Armory was founded by three men with a passion for business, their country and chosen home state of South Carolina. The cannons in the logo and the name palmetto are both rooted in the history of South Carolina, the home of Palmetto State Armory. The Palmetto tree is the official tree of the state and embodies what has become a legendary story.
During the Revolutionary War, on June 28, 1776, British General Clinton ordered his fleet to destroy an incomplete fort on Sullivan’s Island—a fort that defended the city of Charleston, South Carolina. Unfortunately for Clinton, the Sullivan Island fort was built from palmetto wood logs. These logs are soft, and the countless cannonballs the British fleet fired at the fort did not shatter the fortifications. The palmetto tree and the bravery of Colonel William Moultrie and his troops, who defended the fort that day, saved Charleston. The fort is now known as Fort Moultrie, and the rest is history. So that explains the name, cannons and cannonballs of the Palmetto State Armory logo.
Next we have the cryptic “Awake the Iron!” (Desperta Ferro!) insignia, which is taken from the Middle Ages. Back then, before steel, men fought with iron swords that were quick to rust. The battle cry “Desperta Ferro!” was used by Catalonian soldiers as they charged their enemies, yelling and waving their swords to build excitement and fear. The cry was also used at sunrise before battles as the soldiers struck their rusting swords against rocks to clean and sharpen them, which had the added bonus of seeding fear in the enemy. Keep this story in mind and add to it the fact that the founders of Palmetto State Armory see the Second Amendment as critical to our nations continued freedom. Then ask yourself what’s the connection between a battle cry from the Middle Ages and our Second Amendment?
I think it’s the words, “Awake the Iron!”, which in those days meant awakening metal to the function of fighting for one’s cause. Today, for Palmetto State Armory and people who believe in the second amendment, “Awake the Iron” has evolved into forging exquisitely crafted rifles and firearms to be used by individuals for the defense of their values.
Back to the present… we see that Palmetto State Armory is a thriving business. Customers can shop in their huge 40,000 square foot brick front building, where shelves run along the pristine walls, holding tons of ammunition and countless types of merchandise. Walking around, you’re bound to hit the large EOTAC display with all sorts of tactical clothing and accessories, gun cases with lots of handguns and Black Rifles—lots of them—with any type of accessory you can possibly want. But was this always the case? Not quite.
Palmetto State Armory started as a small on-line business selling ammunition. They decided to focus on tactical and affordable 5.56 mm and .223 Remington small arms ammunition. They offered good prices and excellent customer service, and pretty soon they added magazines, which go great with ammo. Their customer base grew with lots of repeat business. And as those customers wanted more and more types merchandise, the on-line business expanded the range of its stock, leading to higher and higher sales with continued high-quality customer service. From there, the move to a physical location that also served local customers seemed pretty natural. Again, to think that all this happened in just a few short years is quite impressive.
With the thriving online and physical store front, the guys at Palmetto State Armory also turned to Facebook to expand their business reach and tighten their interaction with online customers. As of today, the Facebook page has an impressive 14,443 fans. Palmetto State Armory uses the page to advertise different items, discuss topics that their customers find interesting and offer engaging anecdotes with some merchandise. Through them, I was able to find a very interesting online document from NAVSEA Warfare Centers about US Navy Small Arms Ammunition Advancements, which I consider a nice added bonus for customers and Facebook fans.
The business model of Palmetto State Armory appears to focus on volume—offer great prices, sell lots of ammunition and attract more customers. The ability of the company to move lots of products, allows Palmetto State Armory to get great prices as well as hard to find ammunition. By passing the savings on to their customers, they are able to continue and expand this sound business model. It seems that that philosophy also leads to the initial focus on the 5.56mm and .223 Remington.
Palmetto State Armory bet that the 5.56mm will out sell most other calibers because of cost and the fact that the 5.56mm is more fun to shoot at bulk than high-powered calibers. If we compare costs we see that you can get 1000 rounds of U.S. made range ammo for around $300 at Palmetto State Armory. On the other hand, high-powered calibers carried by other stores cost much more, for example $120 will buy you only 20 rounds of 338 Lapua Magnum rounds, $250 will fetch 200 rounds of 300 Winchester Magnum, and $190 will buy 200 rounds of 30-06.
For my part, I enjoy shooting 500 rounds of 5.56mm in my Bushmaster ACR, but there’s no way I’d shoot more than a tiny fraction of that amount in my specialized 300 WSM Remington rifle or more than 30-40 rounds of 30-06 in my hunting gun. It’s just not fun to get the beating from those big boy calibers. The 5.56mm makes sense because it’s fun to shoot in large quantities and is also affordable—an ideal combination. Palmetto State Armory took the right path in betting on the 5.56mm and it paid out.
I mentioned that Palmetto State Armory is focused on Black Rifles and accessories for it. From uppers to lowers and anything in between, these folks decided to sell it all. I found it interesting to see that they offered high end optics from Swarovski to low end NC Star. They truly have something for everyone and at any price range. The passion for tactical gear that started this company as an online business worked out well not only for the guys that took a bet that customers will come to shop with them, but also for the many customers who appreciated being treated fairly and being able to get lots of tactical gear from a single, good vendor.
Here’s to many more successful years of strong business sales and excellent customer service at Palmetto State Armory!
Until next time, stay safe by staying alert,
Dan S. Defense.