Interview: U.S. Optics and ZRODelta

One of few domestic scope manufacturers left, U.S. Optics is part of a bundle of brands that together offer the components of an entire small arms weapons system.

Interview: U.S. Optics and ZRODelta

Over the past few years, a group in North Carolina has been quietly building a portfolio of companies that manufacture firearms parts, firearms, accessories, optics and ammunition — the entirety of a small arms weapon system — under one roof. The first acquisition was 30-year-old U.S. Optics, a manufacturer of optical sighting systems and one of the last remaining optics companies producing scopes domestically. Then came the launch of and, and over time, four domestic manufacturing companies were consolidated into what is now called ZRODelta. Together, these brands operate from a 120,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in North Carolina. Tactical Retailer spoke with Pat Harrigan, a partner in U.S. Optics, ZRODelta and UnBrandedAR, to catch up on what’s happening.


TR: You guys have a lot going on. Where did this all start?

PH: There’s three of us, and my partners John Birk and Chad Dailey are incredible individuals and have their own remarkable stories in their own rights. But since you are asking me, I graduated from West Point in 2009 as a nuclear engineer, completed Airborne and Ranger training, and was assigned to Fairbanks, Alaska, as an Infantry Officer. Following my first deployment, my wife Rocky and I invested $3,000 into our first FFL in 2012, which was kitchen-table. Shortly thereafter, I was selected for the Special Forces, and we moved into a double-wide trailer on some property outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Our business grew, first from the garage, then to a 20-foot shipping container, and then to every room of our double-wide, and finally into a warehouse my wife had constructed while I was on my last deployment to Afghanistan. I decided to leave the Special Forces in October of 2016 and jump into manufacturing, and my partners and I have been hands-to-the-plow ever since.      


TR: It sounds like you have a great team with a lot of experience. Talk to me about your product development. What drives the innovation?

PH: Simply put, innovation is about putting talented people on solutions to problems that have been validated by our real-life experiences. We have incredible leadership teams down in the companies, led by former Army and Marine Corps veterans, and I believe our engineering team is truly second-to-none in the industry. We pay attention to the words “I wish there was…” wherever we might hear them, and we lean on our own desires for the industry often in the product development regard.


TR: You say everything you do is niche. Can you expound upon that and give us a little detail about what ZRODelta does?

PH: We don’t make commodity weapon systems, accessories or ammunition. Rather, everything that we design, manufacture and sell fills some void we perceive in the market as former military operators, hunters, competitors and shooters. These are voids we want to fill with innovative solutions.

At ZRODelta, we have almost a dozen patents and patents pending, including a modular weapon system called the ONE, which starts as a handgun and builds out from there utilizing a Universal Fire Control. Our flagship line of Ready Series weapon systems — the Range Ready, Mission Ready and Game Ready packages — unite a well-appointed MSR with a patent-pending, true return-to-zero QD mount and a wide range of boresighted U.S. Optics. These packages are the unified expression of nearly everything we do — parts, guns, QD mounts and optics — and highlight the excellence with which we work towards redefining the intersection of quality and affordability. We are incredibly proud of our Venator precision AR10 lightweight hunting rifle, the only semi-automatic weapon system guaranteed to shoot half-MOA right out of the factory box. ZRODelta is also the only domestic manufacturer of 12.7x108mm Russian ammunition and can deliver the annual volume requirements of almost any relevant nation-state on the globe.


TR: How about for U.S. Optics?

PH: With U.S. Optics, we are one of the last true domestic manufacturers of optics left in the industry — which in and of itself is niche these days. But I think what is truly unique about our company is that although we have a lifetime warranty like many of our competitors, our guiding manufacturing philosophy is zero returns. We never want a customer to have to use our lifetime warranty, which means we build our optics to withstand the tests of time and diverse, demanding experiences. Our domestic lineup, the Foundation Series (FDN), is the foundation or cornerstone of the company’s offerings. With the FDN FX10 10x, FDN 10X 1.8-10x, FDN 17X 3.2-17x, and FDN 25X 5-25x, U.S. Optics brings durability, reliability and proven performance to discerning, professional end users. Two years ago we launched our Tactical Sport or TS line of optics, which are imported and are composed of quality variable power and reflex optics at an affordable price point, which has greatly improved our position in distribution and dealers, and that’s greatly appreciated by our end users. With different classes of optics offered from $249-$4,000, U.S. Optics has a broad customer base no matter the shooting application.   


TR: What is

PH: UnBrandedAR is an e-commerce initiative for “vanilla” firearms parts that every rifle and pistol build needs. With a special focus on and growing network of over 3.300 dealers across the country, we take the bulk OEM business that we do in ZRODelta and distill down the individual parts and pieces of the AR-15 and semiautomatic handguns and provide dealers the opportunity to stock their shelves with quality parts at reasonable prices and volumes. They can run our parts without any brand, or dealers and smaller manufacturers can use our custom laser engraving module to overlay text or their logo onto firearms parts, and we’ll laser engrave our parts to their specifications prior to shipping. It’s a unique tool for dealers to save money, increase their margins, and control their own quality through our time and performance-tested quality processes.   


TR: Last one (I think), what is

PH: is an arbitrage site that works with partners across our industry to sell-through closeout, blem, discontinued, or “ordered and unpaid for” products from other manufacturers, all while having a little fun. Great deals can be found on this site for firearms, ammunition and accessories, and maybe even our CFO’s coffee mug if he’s not paying attention. We laugh, we prank and we sell viable products on consignment, so if anyone reading this has anything to move, give us a call and we will consider taking it on.


TR: What’s next for U.S. Optics? Any new products coming out that have you excited?

PH: We have embarked upon a number of projects with prime military contractors to produce next-generation optics in multiple categories. This work is very important and leverages exciting technologies, and we’re honored to contribute. However, the trend in technological integration of systems is to make the untrained shooter incapable of missing a shot. While this is a very practical goal, I do not think there is much pride in taking an unmissable shot for sport, and the concepts of challenge and skill-building are very important components of why I shoot, and I think a lot of folks see it the same way. Therefore, our focus in U.S. Optics remains the production of simply the finest and highest performing variable-power and reflex optics, period.   

What does have me excited is all the things U.S. Optics has never done: binoculars, standalone rangefinders, integrated spotting scopes, night vision, thermals and more. This is some exciting territory to cover!   


TR: Where do you see the market for your company and the industry as a whole going, and what sort of changes will you need to make to prepare?

A: I truly think the industry is headed into new, uncharted, exciting territory. Firearms will continue to headline the political debate, and we have already scored several political wins during the Biden administration when the opposite was expected, and we’re likely to score more through the Supreme Court. Simultaneously, our industry is more fractured and exposed than it has ever been from a representation standpoint, and whether we realize it or not, this leaves our industry vulnerable. Those on the other side of the debate will test our ability to hold the line and will challenge us in new and inventive ways.

I think power will somewhat shift from online retailers to local brick-and-mortar dealers, and I think we’re all in for a ride when it comes to financing in this industry. I believe we will see a continued degradation of access to commercial services that participants in all other industries freely enjoy, and we will see a consolidation within our industry to vertically integrate and better withstand both internal and external-to-industry threats. We need to buckle up, stick together, and be creative about how we carry the torch into the next phase and what it looks like for all of us to do business. Look for us to do our part for the industry in that regard, and lead where we can and where we are called to do so.          


TR: What does a retailer need to do to begin carrying your products in their stores?

PH: For ZRODelta and U.S. Optics, our products can be found in most major distributors nationwide, and we work dealer-direct for select accounts. Email us at and

For unbranded parts, visit and select the Dealer Registration link.

For PeaceGeek deals, go to


TR: Any parting thoughts or anything else you would like to address for your existing or potential new dealers?

PH: We are constantly working to better our fighting position, and we are interested in any and all feedback, good or bad. We appreciate folks that take the time to share their experiences with our products with us, and we truly look forward to doing business with new friends.


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