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Memorial Day Matters


It’s not the end of a three-day weekend. It’s not the unofficial beginning of summer. Solely on its own merits, Memorial Day matters. It has an important purpose. Ask any family who has been handed an American flag in the shape of a tri-cornered colonial hat. They never forget.

Maybe Memorial Day needs a modern day social media push. It is a movement believed to have begun on a community level following the American Civil War. A number of cities from Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and beyond, all lay claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. However, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson officially recognized Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day. It was 100 years after the city held its first ceremony honoring those who died in the Civil War.


Originally, it was called “Decoration Day.” The name is credited to Union Maj. General John A. Logan, who asked people to lay flowers at the graves of fallen soldiers as a tribute. Late May was selected, for it was a time when flowers would be in bloom all across the United States from South to North.

Sadly, 44 years after the U.S. Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday in 1971, it still seems to suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. Hopefully, that’s the explanation. Apathy would be much tougher to take.

It can be a real kick in the rear of camouflage pants to see how Memorial Day fights to be recognized. Meanwhile, Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates a Mexican military victory over France, grows in popularity every year across America.



The Difference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day

By definition, a memorial is something established to remind people of a particular person or event. Memorial Day exists to commemorate each and every one who died in service of the United States Armed Forces. It is a richly-deserved tribute to fallen military heroes.

Since 1954, every November 11th has been designated as Veterans Day. (It began as “Armistice Day” as a celebration of the Allied Forces victory in World War I). Veterans Day is another richly-deserved federal holiday put in place to honor all American veterans from wars, past and present.


Memorial Day matters to the men and women of Ares Armor, Inc.

Many of our team members have served in the U.S. Marines, or are military spouses. They feel the sacred aspect of the day of remembrance. They think of those they knew personally who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. On our website this holiday weekend, we will be sharing a couple of interesting stories which serve as powerful examples of the significance of Memorial Day.

Ares Armor CEO Bryce Stirlen adds, “On behalf of everyone at Ares Armor, from the bottom of our hearts we thank and honor those who have died in service to the United States Armed Forces. We thank their families as well for their service and sacrifice. We’d like to wish everyone across America a safe and happy holiday weekend. We’d like to ask something, too. Whether you are on a beach, on the road, or in the backyard enjoying a BBQ with friends and family, please honor the National Moment of Remembrance with your silence and gratitude at 3:00 pm local time. Please, keep the ‘memorial’ alive in Memorial Day.”

Think of it this way. Five weeks from now, The 4th of July Independence Day wouldn’t be so much of a celebration if it weren’t for the efforts and sacrifices of many brave Americans. They served this country with a sense of duty and honor, and died fighting to protect the freedoms we enjoy every day. The least we can all do is remember them.

Ares Armor to Benefit 3-Year Old Son of Murdered U.S. Marine Joshua McJilton


Ares Armor to Benefit 3-Year Old Son of Murdered U.S. Marine Joshua McJilton

Veteran-driven Ares Armor, America’s leading Tactical Gear and Gun Parts Company,  announces a public Fundraising Event at its Oceanside, CA offices on Saturday, May 16th from 9:00 am -3:00 pm. It will support the 3-year old child of fallen U.S. Marine, Joshua McJilton, also from Oceanside. A portion of proceeds from a one-day sale, and all proceeds from a raffle drawing will benefit a trust fund for McJilton’s 3-year old son, Brayden. The unarmed 27-year old hero was killed on April 25, 2015 on a family visit in Wauseon, Ohio. His bravery saved the life of a woman he did not know during a domestic dispute. The alleged killer, Romualdo Córdoba Jr. remains on the run.       


Oceanside, CA.  May 9, 2015  – “Leave No Man Behind.” It is an unwritten but unwavering U.S. Military code. It also serves as the inspiration for the mission of Ares Armor, Inc. to support 3-year old, Brayden McJilton, the “little man” left behind in the killing of his father, U.S. Marine and civilian hero, Joshua McJilton, of Oceanside, CA.

Police and U.S. Marshals are searching for 38-year old, Romualdo Córdoba Jr. He is considered armed and dangerous. An April 25, 2015, a Wauseon, Ohio parking lot surveillance video allegedly shows him shooting and killing unarmed 27-year old Joshua McJilton, who intervened in a domestic dispute between the suspect and his estranged wife, Melinda Cordoba.

romualdo-cordoba-jr - josh-mcjilton-death

(Photo: Romualdo Córdoba Jr.)

“My husband was a hero,” cried Lydia McJilton, Josh’s wife of 5 years, and Brayden’s mother. “He always was. He jumped in to help like any Marine would have.” Joshua McJilton spent 4 years as a forward observer for the   1/11th U.S. Marines out of Camp Pendleton.

News of Josh McJilton’s death hit Ares Armor hard. A number of U.S. Marines and spouses are employed at the company, making the highest quality tactical gear, and parts to build a gun legally. They’re doing the following to assist their fallen comrade:

  1. Transforming a previously scheduled “Customer Appreciation Day Sale,” into a public fundraising event. 10% of proceeds will go to a trust fund established for Lydia and Josh McJilton’s 3-year old son, Brayden McJilton.
  1. Hosting a Raffle Drawing. ALL proceeds benefit Brayden McJilton trust fund. Ares Armor is donating a customized, refurbished Marine Corps Field Desk/Shooting Table (work done by U.S. Marines, Jordan Leete and William Smith, Jr.). The winning prize has a $1500 value.

“Our company proudly honors veterans,” said Ares Armor CEO, Bryce Stirlen. “The brave actions of Joshua McJilton prove being a hero, and his U.S. Marine Corps training were in his heart and DNA. We are trying to salute him in a helpful way.”

“My Josh would have been so proud humbled by this,” said Lydia McJilton. “I am beyond grateful. I don’t have words to express how thankful I am.”

The Brayden McJilton Fundraising event will be held from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the Ares Armor facility, 2420 Industry St. Oceanside, CA 92054. (760) 650-2737.

About Ares Armor, Inc.

Ares Armor Inc. manufactures and sells the finest quality tactical gear, and gun parts made in America. Headquartered in Oceanside, California, the veteran-driven company proudly supports the Second Amendment in serving legal citizens, law enforcement, and military customers.

For more information, visit http://www.AresArmor.com or call (760) 650-2737.


Media Contact Information:

Thomas Baldrick, AZ Strong

Phone: (480) 415-8610







Corps of Cadets: Preparing Future Military Leaders



Part 3 of 3-Part Series. Click here for Part 1 & Part 2.

What’s in your face faster than a speeding AR-15 bullet? The future. It’s constantly upon you, isn’t it? The present suddenly becomes the past. The future becomes now. Then next week, next month, and next year are here before you know it.

Bam! It happens that fast.

In supporting the Texas A & M Corps of Cadets Marksmanship Unit (CCMU), Ares Armor is helping these leaders be better prepared now and in the future. With pride, honor, and excitement, Ares Armor invested hundreds of man hours in research and development, added time and costs in materials and manufacturing. The company did whatever it took to reach new, higher, completely customized standards for the team of 23 Cadets.  CEO Bryce Stirlen explains, “We are creatively collaborating on identifying and fulfilling tactical gear needs today, tomorrow, and the equally important tomorrows thereafter which the Corps of Cadets will soon be facing.”

“After graduating, my Cadets will be military officers,” said Kevin Jimmerson, Head Coach of the Texas A & M Corps of Cadets Marksmanship Unit since it began in 2012. “Each and every one of them knows they can never take marksmanship for granted. I know if they can practice more, they always will.”


Coach (in upper right of above photo) preaches these quotes to his Cadets:

“It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to PREPARE to win that matters.”  – Paul “Bear” Bryant, Head Football Coach, Texas A & M, 1954-57

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Kevin Jimmerson’s title of Head Coach is an understatement. Yes, he is an instructor driven to leading young men and women to national championships. They’ve proven it in shooting competitions against the best collegiate teams in the country.

But there’s so much more to his job. He’s also part mentor to his Cadets. He’s part drill sergeant, and part angel on their shoulders.

“These Cadets may soon be leading 19 and 20-year olds in combat,” he said. “They need to learn a whole lot about delegating, and all aspects of leadership.”

So now you get a better sense of the bigger picture. Ares Armor designing and manufacturing innovative tactical gear for these Texas A & M Aggies has multiple layers of importance.


Committing to Excellence is Great. Winning Championship Trophies is Great. But the ultimate prize we’re after is helping to better prepare and equip this Corps of Cadets to safely lead U.S. Military members home from combat.

The Texas A & M Corps of Cadets shooters configure their belts and mags to Coach Jimmerson’s specifications. That’s how they train. That’s how they compete. That’s how they think.

Ares Armor is actively supporting the coach’s mission for his unit to have customized tactical gear to better its speed and efficiency.

– Speed and efficiency wins shooting competitions.

– Speed and efficiency saves lives in battle.

This is why we’re working together, and shifting on the fly to develop innovative solutions to improve areas such as:

  • Shooting Fundamentals.
  • Angled Mag Holders, Ergonomic and Biomechanically Correct.
  • Shooting Fundamentals.
  • Shooting Weak Hand Techniques.
  • Shooting Fundamentals.
  • Re-arranging Double Pistol Mag Holders to not Interfere with Fingers.
  • Shooting Fundamentals (The coach believes in fundamentals).
  • And more.


Ares Armor CEO Bryce Stirlen says the company may soon be sharing some of these cutting edge technology innovations with the public. It’s being explored.

“Lots of new things come out of the competition shooting world,” said Coach Jimmerson. “A lot of stuff filters its way into improvements our soldiers wind up using in battle. That may be the case here. It would be great if one day what we’re doing could save lives.”



Hillary Clinton Photo Caption Contest

Hashtag: #Hillary2A


There’s a buzz across America. Here it is: The BIG Hillary Clinton announcement. Win prizes this weekend in the Ares Armor Hillary Clinton Photo Caption Contest on Facebook. Now through midnight Pacific Time on Sunday, April 12, 2015.

Here’s how it works. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Take a look at the above photo of Hillary. From the looks of it she appears to be reading one of the emails deleted from the Clinton’s private server. She might be doing a Google search to discover who this Ben Ghazi guy is everyone’s talking about. She might be looking at gun porn, but we highly doubt it. She’s in public on an airplane.
  2. Post your idea for the perfect caption for the Hillary Clinton photo. Go to the Ares Armor Facebook page. Type in your proposed photo caption in the comments section. Exercise your Freedom of Speech. Be creative. Be funny. Be politically incorrect with your commentary if you want.
  3. Rock the Vote. Share the Love. Win Prizes. Make your photo caption great. Have it get so many “Facebook Likes” that Hillary Clinton actually finds out about it. WOW the Ares Armor judges and put yourself in place to win prizes.

Courtesy of Ares Armor CEO, Bryce Stirlen, you could win bragging rights and the following 3 prizes:

  • Combat Pack for the 1st place photo caption.
  • Sling for 2nd place photo caption.
  • Be one of the people who “shares” this contest on Facebook, and you’ll be eligible to win an Ares Armor T-Shirt.

Disclaimer: Bryce Stirlen declares these are the only Hillary Clinton campaign donations he intends to make on behalf of Ares Armor. Members of Al Qaeda or ISIS are not eligible to enter or win.

Enter as often as you like. “Like” as much as you like. The gang at Ares Armor hopes this contributes to a great weekend for you. This despite reports Hillary Clinton will be announcing on Sunday she is running for President of the United States in 2016.

Best of luck everyone. We’re going to need it.

Hashtag: #Hillary2A


2015 Vietnam Veterans Day: A Personal Tribute


Today was more than just Sunday. March 29, 2015 was Vietnam Veterans Day. It was special for those who remembered and recognized the tribute. You could also say it was fitting many Americans didn’t know about the holiday today. After all, it took years for Vietnam Veterans to truly be welcomed home. It took many more years for them to be respected and regarded as heroes.

One of the guys on the team at Ares Armor was lucky enough to spend the 2015 Vietnam Veterans Day in Florence, Arizona. He rode shotgun with Joseph J. Mauro, Jr. The transplant from Northern New Jersey was a member of the United States Army. Mauro spent his 20th birthday fighting in the Vietnam War. Today, he spent time doing a couple of things he loves…shooting his guns, and showing respect to veterans.

The retired Mr. Mauro stands out riding along the highways and byways of Arizona. He is the proud owner of one of the coolest, most patriotic motorcycles you will find anywhere on three wheels.

He had a custom wrapping done on the body of the bike to celebrate America, and its military veterans. He wasn’t paid by anyone to provide the tribute. It’s something he did from his own heart and bank account.

Joseph J. Mauro, Jr. is a bit of an unlikely vocal supporter of U.S. Veterans. He didn’t dream of being a soldier. He didn’t enlist either. Mauro was called to serve at a time when the military draft was legal. He admits in those days, “I had a real chip on my shoulder, and had a problem with any kind of authority.” The U.S. Army straightened him out all right. And Joseph J. Mauro, Jr. knows he is a better man for it.

Today, the main authority figure Joey has a problem with is President Barack Obama. That’s stating it mildly. He doesn’t appreciate the president for his handling of veteran’s affairs. Secondly, he has harsh criticism for Obama’s attack on the Second Amendment.

Ares Armor would like to thank Joseph J. Mauro, Jr. for his time and company on Vietnam Veterans Day 2015, and ultimately for his service to our country. We now invite you to take a couple of minutes to enjoy our video with this unique Vietnam Veteran. If you feel so inclined, you can connect with Joey on Facebook.

Former ATF Agent on M855 Ammo Ban Part 3

Ares Armor Polymer 80 Lower Kit

Unplugged: Former ATF Agent Daniel O’Kelly

(Part 3 of 3-Part Series. Click Here for Part 1. Click Here for Part 2.)


Having fun or fighting, time flies. It was one year ago the ATF executed a search warrant, and a raid on Ares Armor locations. Their claim was an investigation into federal firearm violations.

To Ares Armor Founder, Dimitrios Karras, the agents in San Diego County looked similar to scenes from his 8 years as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. “They came into our manufacturing facility with their guns up like they were invading Iraq,” he said at the time.

BATFE Raid at Ares Armor

The March 2014 ATF raid confiscated computers, massive customer lists, and 80% polymer lower receivers. The battle between Ares Armor and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives included shots heard across the country. The legal case landed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District in California.

Daniel O’Kelly, former ATF Agent and world-recognized firearm and ammunition expert, followed the story from his International Firearm Specialist Academy office near Dallas, Texas. He never thought the fight would come to his door.

“I saw what was happening,” said O’Kelly, who spent 23 years in the ATF as an Agent and supervisor. “I said to myself it was just another guy going through the legal system.”

6 Months later, the court-certified expert witness of 25 years, got a call from attorney Scott McMillan. He was asked to render an expert opinion for a case as to whether an item would hold up in court as a firearm. Little did O’Kelly know it involved Ares Armor.

In November 2014, the former ATF Agent submitted a written declaration to Judge, Honorable Janis L. Sammartino. In it, Daniel O’Kelly took a stand for the truth, the 2nd Amendment, and Ares Armor, and against his former employer:

I have arrived at the following opinions summarized as follows:


    1. The 5804 items at issue are not “firearms” as defined in 18 U.S. C. Section 921 (a) (3).

    1. The 5804 items at issue are not a “firearm frame or receiver” as defined in 27 CFR subsection 478.11, which defines a “frame or receiver” as “that part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.” Assuming for the sake of discussion, even if that unfinished lower receiver had been finished to the state known in the Firearms Industry as a “stripped AR-15 receiver”, that “finished” receiver still would not satisfy the elements of a “receiver” as defined in 27 CFR subsection 478.11, which defines a “frame or receiver” as “that part of a firearm which provides housing for the hammer, bolt or breechblock, and firing mechanism, and which is usually threaded at its forward portion to receive the barrel.”

    1. The 5804 items at issue are not “a frame or receiver,” even without reference to that definition of a receiver set forth in 27 CFR subsection 478.11, and wholly relying on the standards which the ATF has published in prior determination letters, the subject unfinished receiver is an “unfinished” blank based on the criteria relied upon in prior determinations.

  1. The 5804 items at issue are not contraband.

“What they took are known in the industry as 80% blanks”, said O’Kelly. “By the way, the 80% figure is never used by ATF. Unfinished receivers always decided on a case by case basis. The Ares Armor blanks absolutely do not hold up to ATF’s own definition of a firearm receiver. They also don’t hold up for other reasons, such as the “indexing” issue. The so-called “biscuit” area on the inside which they called indexing, is not the right size, and indexing was not the purpose for making it. Also, the indexing issue was also already shot down by the Judge in a federal court. As a matter of fact, the definition of a receiver requires an item to have at least three features. Those being, a housing for the hammer, a housing for the bolt or breechblock, and a housing for the firing mechanism. Even a complete AR15 frame doesn’t have all three.”


Today, Daniel O’Kelly holds the courage and integrity to stand with the law and the truth against ATF members like one in the Ares Armor case. “A particular agent said in his affidavit that AR-15 receivers are the same thing as M-16 machine gun receivers,” said O’Kelly. “That is not true. Even if the receiver blanks at issue were completely finished, there’s a difference both legally and physically, between AR15 receivers and M-16 receivers.”

No one at Ares Armor is celebrating the first anniversary of the ATF raid. But because of it, and the currently proposed ammo ban, it seemed timely to share how even a former ATF insider is calling out the bureau’s bad practices.

All of us, Mr. O’Kelly, certain law enforcement leaders, (and ultimately the federal courts) will shoot down the stretching of firearm and ammunition definitions and facts, for exactly what it is…wrong, illegal, and unconstitutional.

Even some bad apples in the ATF, can’t overcome the core of the truth on “armor-piercing ammunition”:

By definition, the M855 bullet, and even its core, is NOT “constructed entirely from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium;”

The M855 bullet and its core, are only partially made of steel. Therefore, calling it “armor-piercing ammunition” does not apply.

Share your voice using this hashtag in social media:


Ares Armor Blog Online

We’re very pleased to announce we have a new blog online.


Bryce Stirlen, New CEO

Ares Armor Acquired by Lake House Capital Management, Bryce Stirlen

In the United States of America, you can mix business with pleasure. Here is living proof.

Lake House Capital Management, LLC, a Hinsdale, Illinois-based holding company is pleased and proud to announce it has acquired all the assets of Lycurgan, Inc., (doing business as Ares Armor). Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed at this time.

U.S. Marine, Dimitri Karras, who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, founded Ares Armor in 2010. Headquartered in Oceanside, California, Ares Armor is the leading supplier of 80 percent lower receivers, and develops and manufactures high quality American-made firearm parts to legally build your own weapons. The business also proudly develops, manufactures, and sells innovative tactical gear, combat body armor, and more.

“We thank and respect Dimitri Karras for his patriotism, service, and defense of our country and its Constitution,” says new Ares Armor CEO, Bryce Stirlen. “We value his vision and efforts with Ares Armor, and truly wish him all the best in his future roles in the company.”

Ares Armor customers can expect to experience no disruption in quality or service during the management transition. But like when anyone buys a house, Lake House Capital Management has much it loves about Ares Armor, but also has some areas where it wants to make changes and add its own touches.

“Great people and great products have built Ares Armor into the successful business it is today,” adds Stirlen, a gun enthusiast, husband, and father. “Our main focus is to now build a better foundation to support the explosive growth the Company is experiencing.

That said, to be clear, one area where we will not waver is in loyal defense of the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and protecting the rights of all Americans to bear arms.

We are very excited about an even brighter future for Ares Armor, and believe our customers will be excited about it, too.”

Amended: New Ares Armor CEO, Bryce Stirlen. “In response to feedback about our Veteran heritage, we maintain and stand strong unwavering from our Veteran status. Of Veterans, by Veterans, and for Veterans.”

Dr. John Lott Takes Aim at NY Times

John Lott Jr

Dr. John R. Lott, Jr. taking aim at the NY Times

Dr. John Lott, Jr. Takes Aim at N.Y. Times & Gun Control Advocates

Today, isn’t about the smoke beginning to clear. It’s about the sound of the expert shots fired yesterday which deserve to be heard as far as the ears in America can hear. Dr. John Lott, Jr. armed himself with the truth in taking aim at the New York Times, and other gun control advocates. That’s a good thing.

Add to it that, Dr. John Lott is a leading expert and author on guns, and heads up the Crime Prevention Research Center. That’s a better thing. Add to it that he’s dead on target with his opinions, and has the facts to support them…that’s even better. Here’s a closer look.

His latest piece just published as a columnist for FoxNews.com is titled, “Guns and the New York Times: Why shouldn’t Americans be able to defend themselves?” In his writing, Dr. Lott is quickly returning fire against a recent opinions post by the N.Y. Times Editorial Board. It was regarding the number of deaths attributed to individuals who have legal permits to carry concealed weapons. They called it, “Concealed Carry’s Body Count.”

Dr. John Lott, Jr. argued Americans who have gone to the trouble, and through the trials and tribulations of becoming legal concealed handgun permit holders are not criminals. He rightly defended them as true law-abiding citizens. He packed his position with solid proof showing permit holders are even more law-abiding than police.

A highlight of his powerful rebuttal to the N.Y. Times, Dr. Lott points out a study by Police Quarterly. It showed crimes committed by police officers were reported at a rate of 124 crimes per 100,000 officers. Whereas concealed handgun permit holders committed crimes at just one sixth of that rate, 20.5 per 100,000.

Ares Armor would like to publicly acknowledge and thank Dr. John Lott, Jr. for taking on the New York Times. We appreciate his latest well-researched article in support of the 2nd Amendment, gun rights, and specifically permit holders across the United States of America.

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