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Behind the Logo……Keeping it Vanilla

By: Will
The U.S. tactical community is full of big and small names such as Magpul, Noveske and Tactical Tailor just to name a few. We are all pretty familiar with these names, logos and products. But, how many of us actually think about the people behind the names? In many cases, these brands started out as an idea and a lot of risk, dedication and pure determination helped lead to their success. So, I think it is high time that we look beyond the products and take a moment to tell the story behind the logo. Some of the companies we plan on highlighting are already successful, others are still fighting for survival, but one thing they all have in common is a determination to succeed.

Mike McCarthy of MagBlock
Unlike some of today’s, “heroes” Mike McCarthy prefers to keep a low profile and only agreed to tell his story if we promised to “keep it Vanilla”. McCarthy is one of those quite professionals who served his country and paid a high price.

McCarthy retired from the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4) after 25 years of active duty. During his time in the army, he served as a Huey crew chief, unit armorer and small arms instructor all before going to flight school in the early 90’s. In 1991, McCarthy began flying AH-64 Apaches followed by the Apache test pilot course. In the mid 90’s McCarthy began working in the Middle East as a military advisor and it was during that time that he first realized just how unforgiving a desert environment could be on aircraft and weapon platforms.

After his time as a military advisor, McCarthy turned his attention to aircraft vibration analysis on the AH-64. He eventually published a book on the topic which was subsequently became part of an Army manual, which led to McCarthy being assigned to the Army’s operational test command.

After 9/11, McCarthy once again found himself in the land of the sand and assigned to SWCS, JFK Special Warfare Center. During that time, he operated as a military advisor and force protection officer. One of his duties was to provided force protection and venerability assessments of high value targets within his area of operation.
“At the end of the day, if MagBlock can help a soldier, Law Enforcement Officer or civilian shooter perform better and stay safer than maybe it was a good idea. For anyone that has spent time on a two way range it’s an easy idea to grasp.”
Michael K. McCarthy MagBlock Inc.

Working closely with host nation military forces in his area of operation, McCarthy spent a great deal of his time talking to men that were issued AK 47s. McCarthy peppered them with questions about the AK 47 and how it responded to everyday environmental effects. More importantly, he was able to talk to guys that used both the AK and M16 platforms. They all came to the same conclusion… the AK is easy!

According to McCarthy, the time spent with his foreign national counterparts drinking tea, practicing language skills, all the while talking about guns, planted a seed in his mind that a system to keep the M4 platform clean and prepared to engage should be designed.

Fast forward a few of years, a couple injuries and several countries later, McCarthy found himself on a trip that involved stopping in Kandahar, Afghanistan for a couple of weeks. Like many places in the AOR he was not permitted to have a magazine in his weapon while inside the wire due to safety reason, e.g., negligent discharges.

Read more: BlackSheepWarrior.Com | Behind the Logo?..Keeping it Vanilla


312 Posts
Awesome story.
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