Ben Winner is the godfather of Tier 1 Kinetics. He built the original website in-between working for Air Force Special Operations Command, and casually avoiding random rocket attacks in Iraq. Here’s a little about him and how this company became what it is today. He now has two associates, Aaron, who comes from an executive tech firm, and Robert, who is one of the sales leads at one of the best gun shops in North America. It's become a pretty tight knit team...
Ben started fighting fires in 2000. Served 3 years on a wild land fire hand crew, then, was recruited to one of 5 air delivered crews in the Pacific Northwest - where he rappelled out of helicopters into remote wilderness areas to put out fires for the U.S. Forest Service. The small teams would spend multiple days on these fires in the wilderness, call them out or call in reinforcements, and often hike out 10-15 miles in the most remote and rugged terrain in the United States.
Being bit by the helicopter bug, and influenced by Vietnam Veterans diving Huey's off cliffs in North Cascades National Park - hugging river beds like they were avoiding small arms fire from Charlie - he found his calling. Ben spent the next 6 years in pursuit of becoming a Combat-proven Army Aviator. He received a full academic and flight scholarship to one of the biggest aviation universities in the country, graduated with honors, while simultaneously building a high performance experimental aircraft that he would own, maintain, and fly over the country for another 11 years. During college, he also worked part time as a mechanical engineering intern for a prototyping company - which would later become Roam Rifles. More on that later…
Ben finished another 13 months of advanced qualification training in the Army, earning dual qualifications in two models of the Blackhawk Helicopter, the UH-60A/L, and newly fielded UH-60M. Ben was in Afghanistan approximately 2 weeks after flight school, and would proceed to fly almost 1000 hours in the UH-60M specializing in the hasty and deliberate Air Assault Mission for the legendary 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. Ben completed 2x one year long deployments to Afghanistan, and a third 9-month deployment in 2011/12, 2014, and 2016 respectively. He worked as the #1 rated platoon leader in Forward Operating Base, Salerno, and worked various staff positions at the J3 level performing duties such as the Director for Personnel Recovery, Joint Operations Center Air Battle Captain, and Future Operations Planner, among other things for the remainder of his Army commitment.
Ben got out of the Army in 2017, when he decided to work for General Atomics. He was dual qualified again on the MQ1 Predator and MQ9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft - also national strategic intelligence assets. From 2018-2020, he completed 9 more deployments to western Iraq, as a civilian contractor, working under a special program through US Air Force Special Operations Command, and grew out a glorious beard. It is with this combined nearly 6 years working in various tactical, operational, and strategic capacities in Afghanistan and Iraq, he realized how a bunch of people in flip flops with AK47s, and home made explosives could deny decisive victory to the greatest military superpower on earth. While in Iraq he started a small company called Tier 1 Outfitters, where he hoped to start a small fly fishing operation in Utah… where he thought he could find peace… however, “there is no peace without violence”, he says.
In 2018, he was contacted by a company that would later be known as Roam Rifles to test and evaluate their new clean-sheet design Billet Magnesium AR10 platform. He tested 9 different variants, and helped build and evaluate manufacturing processes in North Dakota with the understanding that he would be appointed as the nationwide distributor of these guns. Ben served as one of Roam’s technical representatives at their booth at Shot Show 2019 to testify to the work, testing, and functionality of the finished product. Due to supply chain shortfalls of foreign magnesium alloy, Roam was never able to produce the supply of guns needed to meet demand, and have since remained a small Operation. Ben, while doing T&E work for Roam, got sick of going to local gun shops, paying transfer fees, dealing with unfriendly, and unexperienced staff, and decided to apply for a Federal Firearms License. Tier 1 Kinetics was born.
2020 hit, and everyone bought every gun on the shelf, Nationwide. However, having wholesale supplier contacts from Roam, Ben could still obtain parts, and started assembling high quality AR15’s - and specialized in building compact personal defense weapons. These initial guns were a work of craftsmanship and pride - the same level of detail has been paid to each of those guns that was put into the aircraft that carried him and his passengers safely around the country for over a decade. The same hands that delivered operators in the middle of the night, and the same hands that is currently flying an 76 passenger, 80,000 pound jet at 3/4 the speed of sound for the Nations 5th largest airline.
Ben spent 2020, and half of 2021 purely building the brand Tier 1 Kinetics has become, and has focused on personal interaction, attention to detail, reliability, and excellence in everything we do. During that time, as more firearms became available again, Ben worked with a team to develop an online shopping experience where over 3000 rifles and handguns, and over 5,000 optics, parts, and accessories are live, in stock - and immediately shipped to or available for pickup for our customers.
Thank you to everyone that reads this for being a part of this story, and supporting the goal of becoming the #1 online retailer of firearms, optics, and accessories in the nation. This is just another “no-fail” mission to us, and we are never going to stop.