The recently launched, eagerly anticipated Badger Ordnance Condition One modular scope mount has caused quite the buzz since its release a few weeks ago. To learn more about why a sometimes overlooked, mundane component like a scope mount is receiving so many accolades and praise from industry professionals, we reached out to Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance’s Military Programs Manager.
Q: Jordan, can we start with a bit of background on yourself and Badger Ordnance?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – I was a Marine Scout Sniper for about eight years and then I worked at 1st SOTG for a while, and I was familiar with Badger’s products from my time in the military. Marty Bordson, the owner, started the company in 1982, and it’s a company that has been around and involved in the precision world for a long time. It’s a company that saw a gap in what was available for the precision market and worked to fill it, and has been doing so ever since. I had used the products and grown very familiar with them.
I worked with and used three or four variations of Badger’s scope rings for several different weapons platforms during my time, including the SR25, the M40…Badger had also done the detachable bottom metal on the M40A5 series. Before that, we had just used standard floor plates which allowed us five rounds in the gun.
But when the M40A5 came around in around 2007, it was the first time we had a detachable magazine system in a bolt action rifle…it was kind of a big deal at the time. It was things like that which first led me to the company. When you’re going through the school house, you end up knowing every single part of every weapon. You have to know everything verbatim, and the name “Badger Ordnance“ always stood out…
Then later on when I was teaching, I ended up doing a lot of new gear evaluation…and again, Badger Ordnance just kept popping up. I ended up finally meeting up with Badger Ordnance in 2014…I had been helping out another company at the time, HOG Saddle...as well as a few other companies. When I first moved to Kansas City, I ended up being introduced to Marty through them and Remington Defense. It turns out, I Iived about a mile and half from Badger Ordnance’s headquarters.
Within the month I was working here. I went from just doing basic stuff repping the military side, to taking over as the second-in-command here, doing a lot of R&D, product development, as well as the business side of things.
Q: How is Badger Ordnance able to stay ahead of the curve and determine what is needed, and how does that tie into your Condition One modular mount?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – We try to work with every branch…as you know, there’s a lot moving forward right now. It can be hard to be plugged into everything, but we have a few veins that we are able to tap into.
Through contacts we’ve made at Badger Ordnance, we are able to stay tapped in to what is new and what is coming. Maybe people I have worked with in the past, different cadres that I’ve worked with and talked to. Some of it, we just find out about like everybody else does…through solicitations and programs that pop up.
With the Condition One in particular, we saw the gap in what was available with mounts that work with accessories on carbines. It started when we were working on a project that involved lasers on handguards.
One of things we learned about was handguard rigidity and how that played into how lasers performed on handguards. We saw that with less-rigid handguards, when force was applied to them, it would move the laser. You’d see the laser shift a mil or so at 100 meters. We were also working with someone who was mounting red dots on hand guards. Because there is limited space on ARs, the red dots were also getting mounted on the handguard. Well, we knew that if they were seeing lasers shift, the same thing would be happening with the offset red dots.
Our thought was then why not just have a modular platform on the mount itself? That’s where it started. It didn’t start as “let’s make a cool mount and add all these little tchotchkes on it.” We wanted something that was super solid for accessories, and then built the mount backwards from there.
Q: Can you talk about the Badger Ordnance manufacturing process, and how it’s different from other things that are out there?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – All of our scope rings and mounts are all 3D machined, we don’t do extrusions. No parts are cast. Everything is machined. One of the reasons we do that, is that when we first started making rings, a lot of the stuff that was out there was just castings. I’m not trying to dog on anyone else out there in the industry. There are a lot of great options out there, but we saw a gap there. We started doing precision mounted rings where everything was machined, and all of the ring sets are serialized, matched sets. So, if you get a set of rings from us, they are a serialized pair. It’s all one chunk…one block.
It’s not stuff coming off an assembly line in masses, put in a package and then out the door. Every single one of our ring sets is serialized and exactly identical. This was something that first got our name out there…that we held such a high degree of precision how we approached our machining. At the time, this is going back over 20 years ago, other things that were out there were just not up to that snuff. There was not as much attention being paid to mounting solutions as a whole, in the industry.
“You are the sum of all your parts”
Everyone paid attention to the scope…everyone paid attention to the rifle, but the mount was just “hey, whatever works. I’ve got a 30mm scope. Give me a 30mm mount and I’ll slap it on.” To this day, you see a lot of that out there. Now, if that approach works for you, then that’s great. But we hold onto the idea that you’re only as good as your linkage. You are the sum of all of your parts.
The approach with the Condition One is the same way. They are all machined. We did not cut any corners on anything. We hold the same degree of precision when making those as we have from day one making our rings.
Q: People might understand needing to spend money on a good scope, but they may not realize the mount is important? Can you talk about that for beginners?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – The whole thing we’re trying to do is cut down variables. The more variables you can cut away from your shooting platform the better. You don’t want to be asking “is this my shooting platform, or is it me?”
A good mount is also important because you’re buying insurance…you’re buying security. You might pay a little bit more for your mounts or rings, but you’ll know the company spent time making sure certain, important things are correct, rather than spending their time doing kitschy little things as far as looks or styling and trends. By paying more from a good company, you’re buying out variables.
Q: It seems silly to buy a scope that costs more than the gun it’s sitting on, then just toss it in whatever mount was on sale that weekend…
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – Guys are out there now buying $3,000 dollar precision rifle scopes. Don’t you want to make sure that scope is holding the same way every time from shot-to-shot, or from movement-to-movement? It could be on your infil to an objective, or even just your drive to the range. This is what you get when you by from a premiere company like us, or some of the others out there. There’s a lot of good people in the industry out there now making great stuff.
Even if you decide Badger Ordnance isn’t your cup of tea, make sure you are investing in good, verified equipment. Do that as opposed to simply buying something that looks cool or is cheap. Remember again that you are the sum of all your parts, and if you pay attention and make sure that you are buying verified equipment, it is going to eliminate the small variables.
Q: So, let’s say I am a beginner and I buy a cheap mount. What might I actually experience negatively?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – The biggest thing you’d have to worry about is…is your mount holding? By that I mean, is the mount holding to your scope…and holding to your rail?
If your scope is moving inside of your rings, you’re never going to have consistency. You might as well just use iron sights. The same goes for how it holds on the rail. If it’s not holding, your consistency and accuracy goes right out the window.
The other thing you might see is damage to your scope. Everything has an inner machining and everything has a tolerance. For example, you’d hate to have a scope mount that is crushing on your tube…I know that’s a thing that we’ve seen in the past with more mass-produced, cheaper solutions.
Q: Can you give us an overview of what a user should expect from their Badger Ordnance Condition One mount, and why it’s a mount that someone should consider?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – We wanted something super rigid that we could put an accessory like a red dot optic on. You have a mount that you can use with a low powered variable optic, but you’re also able to have a secondary optic if your scope goes down…or it can accommodate a sighting system that could work with night vision goggles.
We wanted a platform that was ambidextrous so that anyone could use it…and make sure we could provide plenty of options to allow accessories to go where the user needed them. Getting around that was tough, because we had to work with several dozen scopes. Each scope having its own windage knobs, parallax knobs…different things that are on the scopes themselves…then we had to get around the two half-inch nuts that are on left the side of the Condition One mount.
It was a tough thing to play around with and we ended up going through dozens of different scopes during our testing…plugging in platform after platform, making different models and prototypes, to ensure that everything would clear.
What we ended up with was the understanding that we needed to have forward mounting solutions for guys who prefer their accessories to be forward of their scope. We then needed rearward stuff because in some instances, guys want things like bubble levels up close to them so that they can see them. Some guys also preferred their red dots being closer to them. Because of that, we knew we needed to do “left, right, front and back.”
Q: You also then had to make sure the red dots could fit however the user wanted, correct?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – That’s correct. For the red dots themselves, we figured out we needed to have the plates themselves have different mountable positions. This is because depending on the scope, the way the knobs sit can be very different.
We approached it so that we could give guys as many options as we possibly could so that end users could clear all of their equipment depending on whatever situation or task they faced. It was a real challenge to make sure that they could accomplish this with our Condition One mount. It was a lot of going back and forth. We’ve had the Condition One project sitting here way longer than many people have seen. We just were not in a position to bring it out…we first had to make sure it was completely tested.
Q: Can you talk about the different heights that you offer for the Condition One mount and why you might want one over the other?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – The 1.54 height is the lowest we have now, and that one is specifically made to be able to work with in-line clip-on night vision. If that is a concern for you, and you decide that you need exactly the same one-to-one height with your clip-ons, this is the one you need.
On the other end, we have the 1.93. That height…you can listen to experts like Chuck Pressburg who talks about where this comes from, but a lot of guys are looking for a “heads-up” shooting position. The 1.93 setup really shines in that role…sort of an “assaulter-esque” style of shooting. Having your head straight up and being able to grab that optic without having to have your head down scrunched up against your buttstock…1.93 is a great height for that.
Finally, we have the 1.70, and for us, that’s kind of been the one that has been widely received as being very cool. It’s been the most popular variant. To us, it just makes a lot of sense because it’s basically lower one-third height. So, all of your Aimpoints, Eotechs…they are roughly 1.70. With the 1.70 you can still get some cheek on your stock for more precise shots, but it’s not so low that you have to crush your head down. I’m not saying it’s what everyone needs, but I think it’s the “all-around, average guy” variant. You can do precision carbine work with it, but you can also stand up and fight with it and not be scrunching your head down searching for that dot.
Q: Your mounting solution is STANAG….can you talk briefly about why you do that?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – The way our mounts grab is via what is called the STANAG way of mounting. The way our mounts grab is they grab on the two 45s on the bottom of the Picatinny rail, and they pull that ring or mount down on top of the Picatinny rail. We do that for a few reasons…the main reason is the Picatinny spec is not the best. (laughs). As you look at the Picatinny spec, there’s a lot of tolerance stacking…It’s not as good as it could be.
STANAG isn’t perfect either, but at the end of the day, we have always preferred that mounting solution. It allows us to get a lot larger bearing surface on that mount to the rail, rather than just grabbing four small parts of the Picatinny rail just where the clamp feet are. If everything is not perfect with Picatinny and you are just grabbing those four small parts on those angles, you can start to see things “walk off” and start cocking off to one direction or the other. With STANGAG, you’re just grabbing the bottoms and pulling it straight down onto that rail.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add that we have not covered about the Badger Ordnance Condition One mount?
Jordan Gerber, Badger Ordnance – Badger Ordnance has just launched the Condition One and the reception so far has been great. We’re glad people have been happy with them. Badger Ordnance is going to keep developing the Condition One line and there are more accessories that will be coming out for these mounts.
We want to make sure we are listening to the market and listening to what guys really want, and that we’re not just making flair. That’s not what we want. Rather, we want purpose-driven equipment that comes from user feedback.
There will be some other products coming in the Condition One line…nothing super solid yet, but we’re going to go farther with the idea of modularity and the purpose-driven approach. Purpose over style…“is there a gap? Is it useful?” If it is a product that can make the end-user more efficient at his task…if we can make someone’s job easier, then we’re going to go after that.
Big thanks to Jordan Gerber…and Matt Stonar and William Righter for their generosity with their photos and background information.
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