JP Enterprises recently released a full line of duty-ready JP rifles that are both high quality and reasonably priced. To learn more about these JP rifles and JP’s history of making reliable rifles for law enforcement, we reached out to owner and founder John Paul.
We’re big fans of John Paul, so much so, we’ve chatted with him quite a few times over the past few months. In case you missed these articles:
- Best AR-10 Bolt Carrier Group, Barrels and Ammo – A Discussion with John Paul
- Best AR-15 Upgrades with John Paul of JP Enterprises
- Home Defense Carbine – A Discussion with John Paul
Q: Can you talk a bit about your law enforcement offerings? I think some of our readers might know you more for your competition JP rifles.
John Paul, JP Enterprises: That is where we started, and it was our primary interest. It was our core market for many years. Eventually I got on board with Kyle Lamb. We had kind of collaboration. He started shooting our JP rifles and using them.
Kyle had a number of our JP rifles that he used as loaners in his classes. It became pretty apparent to him that the same attributes that we had built into the competition rifles were what the law enforcement community was looking for. For a while, the competition could not claim that we built a bad rifle (laughs), so their answer was to say that JP constructed just the best game gun, “but for combat rifle, you need to buy “brand X, Y or Z.”
I think Kyle was instrumental in getting people past that stigma and for showing that the same things that an ardent competition shooter is looking for are the same traits you should look for in a “real world” rifle as well. Those traits are mainly reliability and accuracy.
Reliability and Accuracy
The thing that has struck me over the years is that when I am dealing with avid three-gunners, they just do not tolerate malfunctions or any problems with the rifle, and that’s as it should be.
As I’ve explained during one of our last conversations, the limiting factor in competition should always be your own ability and not your equipment. That has been my goal all along, to make sure that my rifles were not my limiting factor. I shot the game professionally, and I understand certainly what the gun has to do in the hands of another professional. That was always the basis of our rifle development.
The Soldier of Fortune World Championship, which was the longest-running three-gun event, with 29 years of existence…that was the anvil on which our rifles were built, based on what we were trying to get out of them. It was because of that event and ones like it that law enforcement began to take notice of what we were doing with our rifles.
Q: Can you talk about some of those early adopters…why they chose your guns?
John Paul, JP Enterprises: The very first law enforcement agency that used our JP rifles was Pueblo, Colorado. Eddie Rhodes was on that force, and he was the guy who helped to form the Heavy Metal division.
I got to know Eddie Rhodes at SOF, and he had a team of officers who came out to shoot every year. Those guys had drank our Kool-Aid and understood what we were all about, so they had begun to carry our JP rifles in their squad cars.
Not too long after that, the feds had a national level law enforcement competition. It was something they did every year. Eddie’s guys went to that competition and absolutely cleaned house.
Well, another agency that will remain nameless, protested the win because they complained those rifles were “game guns…they’re not duty rifles.” They put the money for the protest, and ended up Eddie calling up the watch commander on the phone and said “here, tell these guys what rifles are riding around with us in our squad cars every day.” The watch commander responded back “Those are the JPs” (laughs).
“Outfit their entire task force…”
That following year, that same team who protested made a big drug bust and they had quite a bit of money that they had confiscated. As such, they called us up and had us outfit their entire task force and SWAT team with JP rifles. That team then went on to win that same competition with our guns that year. (laughs) I think that’s what really got the ball rolling, and now we are in over 100 agencies.
Q: Your guns have gotten traction in the law enforcement community, yet it’s not something I see your company pushing too aggressively. Would you say that’s accurate?
John Paul, JP Enterprises: We really don’t aggressively pursue that market. It’s more just word of mouth. Law enforcement is a tight knit community and it helps us as they get together with other agencies and they start talking about their rifles. Now, our rifles are not the cheapest rifles out there, obviously, but they’re cheaper in the long run is how I look at it (laughs) as far as parts and durability. The maintenance is lower.
We have one agency out there who was one of the first that we began working with, and I just spoke with them about a project, and during the course of that conversation I found out they have over 100,000 rounds through our rifles and they were still using them. Hearing that set me back because that’s WAY past the life expectancy of the upper assembly and they should have replaced them long ago. But on the other hand, it was really impressive that they had over 100,000 rounds thru their rifles and they were still performing satisfactorily.
Q: Imagine you’re talking to an officer that is going to show this article to his department’s commander who is about to buy rifles for his department based on cost. What should that person who is in the position of buying rifles for his department know before he makes that decision?
John Paul, JP Enterprises: That’s a very good question and I get feedback like this all of the time. I often hear about agencies that have bought 500 or 600 dollar rifles and then a few months later they realize that that have made a very expensive mistake. They will start to have problems with the guns in terms of reliability issues.
There’s a lot of new “manufacturers” out there who are really assemblers who are buying their parts on the mass market and they really do not have any control of the quality control or real manufacturing process of the sub-components that they are using. That’s what you get in that price range. Pretty soon, you find out that it may not have been the best decision for the long term.
Q: The issue is then once you spend that money…you may not get another chance at it in the near term.
John Paul, JP Enterprises: Exactly. The big problem then becomes that you’ve spend the money, you no longer have that budget and you’re stuck with those guns and typically the manufacturer isn’t going to do anything about it. The manufacturer cannot do anything about it because they do not have the long term knowledge to really understand what makes the rifle actually work.
So, yeah…you can either pay us now or pay us later (laughs).
Q: What are the features that matter most in guns like these? What should departments be looking for?
John Paul, JP Enterprises: First off, you should not buy from a manufacturer who has only been around for a few years. I think that’s a big mistake. We’ve been around for about 30 years doing this.
You want to get involved with someone who controls the quality control and the specifications of the sub-components…it’s not just “mil-spec” bolts and carriers, etc.
Fortunately, this is actually pretty easy to find out if you start researching the manufacturer to see what’s their process, where they are getting their components and what control they have over it.
Long-Term Cost of Ownership Considerations
Then, you want to look at long-term cost of ownership…you want to obviously keep that as low as possible. Because we’ve been around for an awful long time and we’re not going away any time soon, I believe we have a track record.
That allows us to have very high quality customer support and technical support…even up to sending service reps out to agencies, which we have done in the past to solve certain issues they have, not only with our guns, but with other guns they may have. So, I’d say our service with our JP rifles is second-to-none. I think a lot of the agencies we work with appreciate that we put them to the head of our priority list.
Q: Finally can you walk us through the “We’ve Got Your Back” program for JP rifles and your tier program for law enforcement rifles?
John Paul, JP Enterprises: As I was going around the country shooting and talking to LE guys, it became pretty apparent that their biggest fear and paranoia with the guys who buy their own rifles is that they’ve spend 1,500-2,000 dollars on a carbine. Well, if they get involved in a shooting, the rifle would be impounded for evidence for a period of time. A big fear was that they would be without the rifle that they had an investment in. That could last up to a year or even longer.
I said “how about we have a loaner program where if your rifle gets impounded, we’ll give you a loaner JP rifle until you get yours returned from evidence?” That idea was met with a lot of excitement.
Our tier program came along recently as we have had more and more agencies approaching us. The main JP rifle we were selling to law enforcement was our .308 LRP-07 for their sniper programs. Then SWAT teams started to buy our carbines because they had a little more in their budget to buy a higher end rifle. However, we were not really competitive when it came to a patrol rifle. This was something we really started to look at as agencies began to approach us. As a result, we’ve come up with a new tier program.
Tier 3 is our most price-competitive rifle. It’s worth noting with this rifle that what we found was a lot of agencies did not want to have an upgraded, match-type trigger in their rifles. They had patrol officers who may not have a lot of trigger time except for once a year, so they did not want those people to have access to rifles with more refined triggers. I can sort of see the logic in that. You certainly don’t want to have a 3-pound match grade trigger in a duty rifle in a squad car with a guy who is not a shooter who only drags that rifle out once a year.
That allows us to save a little money as we go with what I call “pre-prepped mil-spec trigger components”. They are a heavier trigger with more engagement that meets their perception of what they felt was the safety requirement that they wanted.
As far as what’s the same, the rifles feature the same internal operating components, the guts of what make the rifle so reliable and so durable. They have the cryogenically treated barrels. From a barrel life perspective, they have an incredible barrel life.
Other than that, what we offer are three rifles at three different price points, with the tier one JP rifle really being a suppressor-ready SWAT rifle with a more refined trigger and the variable mass carrier.
SWAT teams are typically going with suppressed guns now for all of the reasons you are well aware of, and we’ve come up with a complete suppressor operating system that eliminates the typical problems associated with running a suppressor on gas guns in the past.
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