Lehigh Defense Joins Wilson Companies

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posted on January 11, 2022
Assorted cartridges next to each other

Lehigh Defense, a Pennsylvania-based ammunition and bullet manufacturer, has been acquired by Bill Wilson. The company joins Chip McCormick Custom, Circle WC Ranch, Khumba Bush Camp, Scattergun Technologies, Wilson Custom Ammunition and Wilson Combat as Wilson-owned companies.

Lehigh Design was founded by Dave Fricke, but later expanded to become Lehigh Defense with the addition of Pete Vogel and Mike Cyrus. The company has been designing and manufacturing solid brass and copper bullets using the latest technology since 2004.

In 2009, Lehigh began work with Black Hills Ammunition to develop unique military projectile designs. Years of collaboration later, the Fluid Transfer Monolithic design culminated with the release of the Black Hills Honey Badger line. Another patented design is the Maximum Expansion 300 Blackout subsonic bullet used by U.S. and many other NATO special operations groups throughout the world. More than 7 million have been sold to date.

In late 2015 Lehigh Defense announced it was expanding operations outside of Pennsylvania. “We’ve been doubling in size every year,” Fricke said in a press release announcing a new facility in Rapid City, SD. “Business can be done just about anywhere, and I took that into consideration. But ultimately I decided South Dakota had the best business climate for my business to succeed.” 

Demand has not slowed, and a new, purpose-built facility in northeast Texas will help when its construction is complete in the third quarter of this year. Some of Lehigh’s products are already in production in Arkansas at the Wilson Combat facility. Lehigh will also have expanded research capacity once the state-of-the-art testing and manufacturing facility in Texas is operational.

To add stability during the changes at Lehigh Defense, Fricke will retain minority ownership and continue to work with the company for several years into the future.

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