Interview with Fred Choate from Choate Machine & Tool
Choate Machine & Tool is well known manufacturer of shotgun stocks, shotgun magazine extensions, rifle stocks and many other products.
Fred Choate agreed to answer questions about Choate Machine & Tool.
1. Choate is a company with long history. What helps you staying on the market and growing your business?
Choate was started in 1972 by my father Garth Choate. Unlike a lot of people in the firearms industry most of the people that work here actually shoot. Several of us here at Choate participate in competitive shooting sports like 3 gun, ATA Trap, NSSA Skeet, PALMA rifle, F-Class shooting , Sniper matches and IDPA. We as a group also hunt a lot, so we are in tune with what people are shooting in the woods. I have several friends in Law enforcement training and SWAT team training. We look at what people are using and we also listen to our customers to see what they want. We use all this input to decide what products to make and direction the market is going.
2. How big is the company now?
Choate Machine and Tool is actually three different business. The main building is the manufacturing plant where we assemble the stocks and do all the secondary work including all the CNC machining. We have a plastic injection molding plant across the street where all the plastic stocks are molded. At the other end of town we have an investment metal casting plant that makes all our castings as well as castings for a wide variety of customers. Everything from Golf clubs, oil field fittings to reproduction bayonets for civil war rifles. All together we have a little over 50 people working for us.
3. How do you look back at 2015?
2015 was a little slower than most years. I think we were still experiencing a depression in sales because of the bounce after the Sandy Hook tragedy. We did see an increase in magazine extensions sales for the year.
4. What are your plans for 2016? For next 5 years?
We are working on a new line of rifle stocks and accessories. We will be introducing the new stock system at the NRA convention and show in May. We are always adding new guns to our line of magazine extension, usually 3-4 new models a year. For the near future we are working on bolt action rifle stocks and accessories. Some plans will depend on who wins the next presidential election.
5. Do you plan introducing any new Remington 870 or shotgun related products?
We don’t have anything in the works for the 870s right now. We are working on stocks for the Winchester SX3 line of guns that should be done soon.
6. Do you plan to organize more Choate 3-Gun matches?
We aren’t planning on having any more 3 gun matches at this time. We couldn’t find a weekend that didn’t over lap with a bigger shoot within the region. There are so many matches competing for a finite number of weekends over the summer its impossible to come up with a date that doesn’t overlap a nearby shoot. In the past few years my general manager Todd Meachum and I have been coaching for our local Arkansas Youth Shooting Program team and the White County 4H shooting sports team which has used up almost all our weekends. Choate spends almost all the allotted sponsorship money each year on Youth shooting sports and 4H shooting sports teams.
7. What guns do you own? Which are your favorite ones?
I own lots of guns and never seem to have time to shoot them as much as I would like. My favorite gun is my Remington 870 12ga. that I bought 29 years ago when I turned 18 and have hunted with almost exclusively ever sense. I could write a book about all the hunts it has been on with me over the years. My Remington 11-87 that I shoot both 3 Gun and ATA Trap and NSSA Skeet with, I just add a +4 round magazine extension to it when I shoot 3 gun. I have a Springfield XDM 9mm pistol that I use for IDPA, 3-Gun. For everyday carry I use a Springfield XDS 45 or a Smith & Wesson Mod 340 revolver. I carry a pistol almost every day. I am lucky enough to live in a state where I can carry a pistol with very little red tape and the law enforcement officers don’t have a problem with armed people. I love my SunDevil AR 15 that I shoot 3 gun is my favorite rifle. To round out my favorite guns my Ruger 22-45 pistol with a Tactical Solutions aluminum 4 inch barrel upper and my Yankee Hill suppressor attached. This pistol is my constant companion when I’m out working on the farm.
Official website: Choate Machine & Tool