It's hard to begin to tell this story because it makes me angry and sad at the same time.
Many of you are aware of the recent death of John Noveske. Noveske was an innovator, rebel, marketing savant, and industry force within the AR-15 realm. His life was cut short earlier this month in a tragic automobile accident.
Upon learning of Noveske's death Bill Geisselle made a decision that I hope a lot of us would have had the courage to do in his place. Geisselle set aside 100 of his SSA-F triggers and had them specially laser engraved with Noveske's image and logo, along with a depiction of the mountains of Southern Oregon, which John loved so much.
Most manufacturers would have tried to turn a profit on such a commemorative item. A few would have tried to at least break even. But Bill Geisselle isn't like that. Geisselle donated not only the triggers themselves, but also the funds for the laser engraving on the SSA-F triggers.
These triggers were offered for sale at SHOT show for the suggested minimum donation of $250. Most paid only that minimum.
Every penny of the funds collected for the Noveske Commemorative SSF Trigger goes to Noveske's wife and daughters.
I arrived at Geiselle's table a few hours after the last one sold.
Soon after, the triggers were being hawked on Calguns and AR15.com for 2x+ what the suggested minimum donation was.
If you're getting that feeling of "something just ain't passing the smell test" you're right. And here's why: Bill Geisselle donated the $250 each SSA-F cost him in materials, plus the logo design and laser engraving time. He donated it towards a grieving family. And the vultures who bought these triggers and flipped them only hours later are instead making a profit off of this event. What Bill Geisselle intended as an memento of honor for a departed industry leader was turned into a cheap trinket bought only for profiteering. These triggers you see for sale at $500+ weren't bought to honor or remember Noveske. They were purchased to make a quick buck.
While such an action does not lessen John Noveske's legacy, it does pervert the intent of Geisselle's generous act. Bill could have charged $500 for the trigger, and folks would have paid. But he didn't. He put the suggested donation on these triggers at only what it cost him to give them away ($250), not what he could have sold them for ($320 as on the website). The Noveske SSA-F was no less quality and no more difficult to afford than a standard SSA-F (in fact, standard SSA-Fs go for $320 on the Geisselle website). It was meant to be accessible.
I walked with Geiselle for about half the length of the SHOT floor today, asking him about this. He was calmer than I was. I asked him to consider making a second run of Noveske SSA-Fs, price them at a point where he wouldn't lose money, say $500. Give the $250 profit to the Noveskes. People would pay for it. That would have taken away from the 1/100 "rare" scheme the hype the flippers are using to pump up their 200% margin, it would have preserved Geisselle's capital, and it would have earned more money for the Noveskes. Bill said he wouldn't do it because he wanted 100% of the funds to go to the cause. He implied that it wasn't right to profit or break even off a donation. At the same time Geiselle could not afford to give away another run of one-hundred $250 triggers ($25,000).
Bill's too humble to talk about himself or his motivations. He just does what's right and lets the chips fall.
I was impressed. I wasn't pulling any moral testing on him when I suggested a second run of Noveske SSA-F triggers. But Bill's position was higher than mine.
I couldn't convince him to change his stance, nor would I try to get him to publicize his own generosity. But I'm not Bill Geisselle, and I can tell you this story.
I even ask you to do two things when you finish:
First, if you see a Noveske SSA-F going for more than $250, don't buy it. Don't feed the vultures. They bought it for $250: they can keep it for $250. If they want to hand it off to someone who WILL treasure it for the act of generosity and remembrance that it actually is, then they can do so for the same price Bill gave to them: $250.
[while this may be the same individual, it's likely that others will try to profit off the same scheme]
Second, if you are in the market for a trigger or rail system, consider Geisselle Automatics. Besides their triggers being excellent additions to any AR or SCAR, you'll be supporting a company that has ideals higher than their own bottom line.
And if you can, please send Geisselle a quick thank you here:
For a man, and a company offering uncommon quality, with uncommon character.