I grew up in the very small town of Preston, MN tucked away in the far Southeast corner of the state. Woodworking tools were available at a young age making for many years of building birdhouses, catapults, and sandbox structures. Shooting skills were also introduced at a young age making for a lifelong hobby.
I joined the Minnesota Army National Guard after completing the 11th grade and starting the Mechanical Engineering program at Milwaukee School of Engineering upon graduating high school. While attending school in Milwaukee, I met my loving wife Christina and we were married while I was attending classes. It took seven years, two overseas deployments, and substantial student loans to complete my bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering.
In 2004 Christina bought a Ruger Blackhawk for my birthday. It was that year that I made my first set of grips. I couldn't stand the thin feeling of the factory grips and couldn't afford a custom set as a college student. That first set was incredibly crude compared to the grips that I make now, but we all need to start somewhere. I finished my engineering degree in 2006, bought a house, and in early 2007 our first son was born. With a new child, the prospects of paying for daycare, and the mortgage-like student loan payments, I needed a way to earn more money to provide for my family. Enter Private's Custom Grips.
The business name comes from my early days as an Army private, always wanting something nice but not having the means to buy it. I wanted to create a grip product that looked and performed like a custom set of grips but didn't come with a premium price tag. Sales were very slow in the beginning, but with persistence, reinvestment, and dedication to selling a quality product, the business grew and became what it is today. I rely on machines to accurately duplicate my grip profiles, but hand finish each and every set of grips myself.
Today I have two sons, aged 10 and 8 whom I hope will one day be able to help me make grips and grow the family business. Christina and I have been married for almost 13 years and without her this business adventure wouldn't be possible.