Being from a liberal part of the East Coast, where guns are often portrayed as evil, I did not know what to expect when the volunteers were invited to go to the shooting range with Black Rain Ordnance, a top-tier gun manufacturer based out of Missouri.

I was nervous and a bit worried, especially since I have not had a lot of experience with guns. All of my concerns, however, were unfounded; the team members of Black Rain Ordnance showed me that guns are not something to be feared, but are tools that can (and should) be safely used for protection and sporting interests.

After Black Rain Ordnance presented Glenn with a beautiful gun, the Mercury One team headed to the Elm Fork shooting range to participate in a fun and educational afternoon of shooting activities. Black Rain Ordnance brought a variety of guns for us to try, including some incredible fully automatic weapons. In addition to firing the Black Rain Ordnance guns, which were nothing short of awe-inspiring, we competed against each other in a shooting contest. Although I was the only girl on my team, I held my own and was surprisingly accurate at the AR-15 station. Previously, I had regarded the AR-15 rifle as a weapon made and meant for the military, but Black Rain Ordnance President/CEO Justin Harvel made the comparison, “Yes, that’s where it was designed, but so was the Jeep.” I realized that this is true; many things that originate in the military can be refined and safely used by civilians. I did struggle when it came to shooting a handgun for the first time, but I believe that with practice, my aim would improve. (Not to mention I learned that I have a dominant eye…absolutely fascinating!) Luckily, Troy from Black Rain Ordnance was on my team, and along with the instructors at Elm Fork, was able to provide me with important tips on safety and technique. Since Mercury One will be hosting a sporting clays shooting event at Elm Fork in November, it is probably a good thing that I am learning more about guns now!

What impressed me most about Black Rain Ordnance was neither the power nor design of their guns, but the company itself. They embody many of the same principles as Mercury One, including entrepreneurship, education, and charity. As Justin stated, they began with a, “…small business plan that took off with hard work and dedication,” although they had, “hundreds of people tell [them] it couldn’t be done.” Black Rain Ordnance emphasizes the importance of teaching youth gun safety and revealing the misconceptions about guns that circle through our media and society today like wildfire. This company is also not afraid to stand up for freedom, shown by when they offered Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham, a veteran arrested for displaying his rifle while on a hike with his son, any one of their AR-15s for free. The Black Rain Ordnance team members I met Friday were humble, kind, hard-working individuals who believe in the philosophy, “You have to assume there will be a storm around every corner.” By making the best possible quality guns, they are preparing Americans for those storms.


If you have any questions for Lauren or would like to learn more about Mercury One, make a donation or find out more about our upcoming clay pigeon event please email