The Man Behind T.REX ARMS

We took a moment to have some questions answered by the very busy Lucas of T.REX ARMS, a holster and accessory maker who is quickly becoming a favorite of conceal carriers and professionals around the USA.

Lucas, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for The Loadout Room. For those in the community who are not in the know, would you mind giving a brief overview of the products/services offered by your company?

Absolutely. T.REX ARMS originally began as a Kydex company in September of 2013. I was in a cramped garage with hand tools, a band saw, and a dozen blue guns. From the start, I produced a few models of custom holsters made to customers specifications. As time went on, new products were developed, upgrades were made, and people were hired. Right now we employ 16 people and are taking on a number of projects outside of the Kydex world.

The Man Behind T.REX ARMS | Lucas Botkin
Light Compatible Ragnarok holster offered by T.REX ARMS

We need to know why it is called T.Rex Arms, how’d you come up with the name?

I’m afraid there is no amazing inspirational story behind the name. My younger brother and I were at a table one morning talking over names. I was rattling off various animal names combined with defense industry type words. When T-Rex arms came to mind I said it as a joke. But he thought it was great. I did some polling with other people and everyone agreed it was probably a good choice– easy to remember and humorous. I wasn’t even a huge fan of the name at first. But it grew on me, and that’s what I went with.

 

So why Kydex as opposed to other materials?

So Kydex has been proven to be one of the easiest materials to work with when it comes to low-quantity custom manufacturing. It’s inexpensive. Can be warmed up in a toaster oven. And can be chopped up with a utility knife and hacksaws. Because of how easy it is to work with, hundreds of people have tried their hand at making holsters. Either for money or just for themselves and friends. It’s also waterproof, fairly heat-resistant, and very durable. Most of the holsters on the market today are either Kydex, Boltoron, or a form of injection molded plastic. Gone are the days of mass-issued leather holsters.

 

What holster designs were you using prior to you making your own? What short comings did you see in these designs?

The first holster I played with was an Uncle Mikes. Funny, I know. Then a Blackhawk Serpa for a West German Sig 226. After that I ran the Safariland ALS series of holsters, which in my opinion are the most effective retention holsters on the market. I still run them from time to time and recommend them to a lot of people. Since I was 17-19 when I was playing with these holsters, I wasn’t really conceal-carrying them. They were used more on the farm. So when I started T.REX ARMS I wanted to develop more conceal-carry type holsters. Especially since I was starting to look for a good conceal-carry holster for myself.

The Man Behind T.REX ARMS | Lucas Botkin

What was the design of the first holster you made? Did it pave the way for future designs?

I had a simple pancake style holster which everyone builds. A basic IWB and some mag carriers. Nothing crazy or special. But as I started dabbling in appendix carry I realized what I wanted. Something concealable, comfortable, and most important… something very accessible. So I started designing what is now known as the Sidecar. The Sidecar went through 8 revisions to get to where it is today, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to improve it. Other projects and designs I worked on (and still work on) were improved thigh rigs, suppressor holsters, and optic-protected holsters.

The Man Behind T.REX ARMS | Lucas Botkin
Light-Compatible Sidecar

At what point did you decide that you wanted to go full time and launch your company?

Right away. As I created the business plan for T.REX ARMS, it was my intention from the beginning to make it full-time and make it as big as possible. It became a full-time job for me within months and my first hire was five or six months in.

 

The market was and still is saturated in Kydex goods and holsters, what did you bring to the table that made your brand of holsters so successful?

When starting a business you must do one of two things (or both): You can do something nobody else has done. Or… you can do what other people are doing, only better than everyone else. My intent was to do both. I studied deficiencies in the Kydex world prior to starting my business and I focused on finding solutions. While I didn’t have any amazingly innovative products when I first started, I worked hard on developing those. Our ancient Beowulf holster was one, then the Sidecar, then the gen 1 Ragnarok. All unique holster designs that weren’t available on the market then.

 

How were things early on? Did you run into any setbacks?

Tons of setbacks. I worked A LOT six days a week, from early morning to midnight. For a long time. And I still do for the most part. For the first couple of years my shop wasn’t heated or air-conditioned, so I might be working in 20 degrees or 110. That was fun.

Once I went public about who I was I obviously had a lot of confrontation and public online criticism. That was probably one of the hardest things for me early on. But the biggest challenge has been the explosion of growth the company has experienced. Hiring people and expanding shop operations fast enough to keep up with orders is a challenge. Expanding at a consistent rate is tricky. Hire people too fast, and you risk having to lay them off if sales slump. Expand too slowly, then production is slow, lead-times get longer, and customer service can be overwhelmed.

 

I know you’re a huge supporter of our Armed Forces, all of us here at The Loadout Room are Veterans or Active Duty so we want to say thank you. Are you seeing a lot of interest in your holsters from pipe-hitters out in the field?

We’ve been able to produce a lot of holsters for members of the special operations community. Today’s conflicts are becoming a lot more low-vis and clandestine.

 

If so, what holsters are they typically using?

We produce a lot of Sidecars for guys downrange. They value the ability to run a full-size handgun easily while maintaining good accessibility. We’ve also had Ragnaroks head downrange for guys who don’t mind passive retention holsters and want maximum speed. I’ve had the privilege of working directly with various units to get them exactly what they need, and that’s a huge honor. I never dreamed I’d be able to do what I do today for guys in the SOF community.

The Man Behind T.REX ARMS | Lucas Botkin
Light Compatible Ragnarok on Safariland QLS

Any interesting stories you’ve heard from end users regarding your holsters?

One of the most interesting was from a guy who was fast roping with a Sidecar and chest rig. I get stories from time to time of guys down range who have to go to guns using our holsters.

 

What products do you have on the horizon that you can tell us about?

We may or may not have a suppressor holster in the works. Perhaps some optic-protected holsters, and more models for our Ragnarok line-up. And I’m currently working on some nylon products.

 

I hear you shoot quite a bit. How many rounds are you firing per month currently?

I do, haha. I currently spend 10-15 hours a week on the range and shoot 1000-1500 rounds a week. It’s a bit of ammo. Mostly 9mm, .223, and now .308 since I’m playing with a Scar 17 and some other 7.62 guns I’ll be acquiring soon.

The Man Behind T.REX ARMS | Lucas Botkin
That’s a lot of rounds downrange.

What drives you to put so many rounds down range?

I design gear for shooting –from our Kydex goods, and the nylon we’re working on. I believe the more effective I am at being an end-user, the more effective I can make my gear. I’m also very passionate about being an effective protector. But the biggest reason I invest so much time on the range is that the better I am at anything, the better I can be at helping others get good at it. I get asked questions about shooting, technique, gear, etc all the time. The more skill, experience, and understanding I have the better I can help people improve their skills.

 

I hear you may be offering some weapons classes soon?

I’m going to be teaching a little here and there with Drew Estell of Baer Solutions. I’d like to do more, but I’m super swamped with T.REX, our now-growing YouTube channel, and another company I’m working on. But I try to make myself available to help law enforcement agencies in my area. I volunteer my time to role play as a bad guy for force-on-force and help guys with fundamentals on range days. I love being able to do that.

 

So you are a holster company, but you spend a lot of time on carbines. Is T.Rex arms going to venture into the world of carbines and carbine accessories?

We’re considering it. If it’s a way we can serve the community, then we’ll probably get into it somehow.

 

What is your go to pistol for conceal carry currently and what holster are you running on a day-to-day basis for those needs?

I carry a Glock 19 with a Surefire X300U in a Sidecar. The Sidecar is my go-to holster. I don’t conceal-carry any other way.

The Man Behind T.REX ARMS | Lucas Botkin
Plaid isn’t a choice, it’s THE choice.

What is your go to rifle?

A 13.7 BCM I built that has an Aimpoint T2, Geissele SD3G, Surefire M600U, and a full power PEQ15.

The Man Behind T.REX ARMS | Lucas Botkin
I too enjoy dropping 4k into a rifle. No, for real though.

We’ve talked a lot about your Company and its products, could you take a moment to tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, I’m a Christian. Twenty-three years old. Was homeschooled. Educated by awesome parents. Didn’t go to college. And I have no military or law enforcement background. I’ve always been passionate about protecting others and growing up I wasn’t sure how I would do that. Now that I’m running T.REX ARMS and producing a good amount of educational material, I believe I am able to help equip people to be more effective protectors themselves. And that is why I work as hard as I do. I know what I’m doing is having an impact and making America a safer country.

Lucas, from us here at The Loadout Room, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. I’m sure we’ll be in touch.

Thank you for having me on! Stand fast.


Images courtesy of (https://trex-arms.com/)

For more info visit:

https://trex-arms.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU-ljC8EvKZFhJ-pct_5rMQ

https://www.instagram.com/trexarms/