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Sons of Guns & Ammo

An Inside Look at Arming the Sheriff’s Gun Boat

by Will Hayden   |  December 9th, 2011 85

Well, we’ve started the third season of Sons of Guns, and it’s going to be another crazy ride. Or rather a continuation of one Hell of a ride. We only had one week off from filming before we were back at it, but we definitely made the most of it.

One of the things you’re going to see in Season 3 is – and bear in mind, they are so far behind our reality with the airing of the TV show – the transition from a custom production shop to a mainline manufacturing entity. And that transition and growth is just a really tough process.

From financing to facilities, we’ve had to make some hard choices. We’re determined to maintain a custom shop  (which is our heart and soul), to grow the research and development aspect of the company (which fuels the innovation which will take us into the future) and while doing this we will be getting our AR -15 line and 1911s on shelves of gun stores in every city in this nation.

Now, on to what you saw in the first episode of this season.  We were contacted to arm a sheriff’s patrol boat for duty on the Mississippi River petroleum corridor. The task included a dual mount with a MARK 19 grenade launcher and a 240 Bravo machine gun as well as a grenade/smoke grenade launcher. They wanted the right mounts and the right systems to defend the river.

When the job came down through Sheriff Gautreaux for the demonstration and up-arming of their 32-foot patrol boat, we were damn excited. They have a nice flotilla, a 27-footer in that same style, and probably a dozen other boats that they use. We wanted to make this one stand out. These guys in the sheriff’s office do everything from search-and-rescue, pulling drowned fishermen out of the rivers, pulling people out of treetops during flooding to dredging the rivers for bodies, drug interdiction and dealing with homeland security issues. They are a top-notch, professional organization.

Since I kind of take a military outlook on everything, we figured if you’re gonna arm up, then do it right. They wanted the ability to sink, destroy, and of course, to show that ability as a deterrent.

The sheriff and the colonel who run the river division both felt that they would have a steady firing platform off the rear for the fully automatic machine guns. They use a Barrett 82A1 on the bow and wanted to keep it there. The boat driver, who’s an old brown-water Navy hand just laughed when the question came up and said, “I can point the ass-end of this boat anywhere you want it. Just tell me what you want to hit.” OK, that kind of solved that.

Plus, it’s not the Mekong Delta, man, it’s the Mississippi Delta, so there’s slightly different forces at work here.

The region these men work in contains many heavily populated areas, and there’s almost always traffic on the river. When you’re cutting loose with a .50 cal. or even a .30 cal. on the water, the bullet can skip off and travel a long way. It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes you’re going to be a lot safer with a 40mm grenade launcher.

We wanted to show them you’ve got everything available in 40mm from marker rounds, which will actually penetrate both sides of a car, to the solid aluminum projectile.

We gave a good demonstration of currently available armaments in the setting that the customer intended to use it, and we were able to implement the design specifications the Sheriff wanted. I’d like to personally thank Sheriff Geautreaux for allowing us to film this process and give our audience a great show while doing our job.

It was a hell of an experience for us, I hope ya’ll enjoyed it. I’ll be around to answer any questions.

  • David Fillingham

    I hope that the transition to being a manufacturer goes well for y'all but I hope the quality doesn't suffer as is the case most of the time…………Great show, keep them coming…………..

  • Dana Brown

    This "gun boat" is a continuation of the totally unnecessary "militarization" of the civilian police forces. "Protecting the Gulf Coast" from foreign invaders – including drug runners – is the job of the Coast Guard, Navy and other Federal authorities (including the already "militarized" DEA). As such, who do you think the LOCAL Sherrif's department will be aiming these weapons at? (that is, providing it is ever actually used for anything useful, which is unlikley just like all these police departments with armored vehicles) The guys at Red Jacket should be ashamed of their involvement in this tax-dollar wasting boondoggle.

    • Dana Brown

      …and how many meth labs are operating in this Sherrif's county? How many gang members are preying on law abiding citizens in poor communities in this county? How does a dang gun boat with machine guns and grenade launchers help these real problems? How much of this department's budget is sucked up by the SWAT military-want-to-be budget that NEVER get used for anything real that could go towards real law enforcement? G&A should be ashamed for promoting this BS.

      • Dana Brown

        Sorry for the rant but I am tired of the police ignoring the real problems so they can "play" soldier with our tax dollars. These tought guys need join the real military and ask to go Afghanistan where they can do some real soldiering against real enemies, not their fellow citizens. I'll stop now.

    • Robb Hughes

      The Sheriff is an elected official that the local population put in place as they felt he had the best knowledge and ability to carry out the responsibilities that the office demands. He can be removed by those same people at the end of his term if they have lost confidence. I personally feel that opinions from those removed from the region of the elected official have the right to be voiced but should bare absolutely no influence. Far too often we as Americans lose the ability to respect the regional cultures and values of others and feel it necessary to impose values on everyone within our boarders.

    • cody

      how is this the tax payer they did this out of their own pock so whats your problem?

  • Lopaka Kanaka

    Will Hayden builds some awesome fire power for the sheriff department and I enjoyed the equipment that needs to be on every boat that patrols waters of the USA. We need to protect our oil and gas from terrious that may try to destroy our way of life in the gulf. Why is the US Coast Guard not patroling the gulf area waters? They do have the fire power to stop anyone that try to destroy our fuel sorce in the gulf region..

  • Ralph Weinstein

    Not sure I understand, both these guns are already maufactured, is it just the mount that is new?

  • Ralph Weinstein

    also, I am not in favor of allowing "heavy" weapons for our police forces. This is for our Military, and of course, I want one. If I can't have one, it should be reserved of the military ONLY

    • wnettles

      Ralph, I am not so sure that I want the military to be the only ones to have the appropriate amount of firepower to stop whatever comes our way. After all, the government controls the military, not, the people of the United States. And, we all know that the government just can't screw up an operation, now, can they? OOPS, I forgot Fast and Furious, or, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and, let's not forget how well a job the government has done in controlling spending and eliminating our national debt. But, you probably already knew that, now, didn't you?

  • Ralph Weinstein

    I enjoy the show,

  • Wade

    I agree whole heartedly with a few commenters here. Why does a SHERIFF need a full auto belt fed grenade launcher and 7.62? Not to mention the Barret .50 mounted on the front of the boat, if anyone else noticed. This Militarization of our police forces needs to stop. Combine this with the recent bill passing through congress that allows the military to arrest and detain civilians on American soil with no probable cause and it won't be too long before we all hear the phrase "Papers please." everytime we cross an intersection on our way to the grocery store.

    • wnettles

      Adolf Hitler would have been very proud of how we are evolving……

    • Al Brady

      Right, Wade. Neither the military nor the police should have any more efficient weapons than the American people and that's US. In the past, only the National Guard was permitted to take actions within the US and that was under command of each state. That our military can now be used against our citizens is a very horrible reality. Couple that with the lost freedoms since the WTC attack and it looks far worse. I've noticed new infantry type weapons (most especially the weapon that can be fired over a wall and have the warhead detonate three feet past it) seem less useful in fighting a war than in controlling a population.

  • Jerry

    I started watching this show when it first came out. They deal with some interesting stuff. After a few episodes I stopped watching it due to the owners abusive and disprespectful way he treats his employees. I had enough of the overbearing stepfather growing up. I don't care to see other people treated that way.

    • J.D.

      Jerry, you took the words right out of my mouth – I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks to satelite, I watch many gun shows – this isn't one of them. Thanks.

      • cody

        then try American Guns/ Gun Smoke

    • jay

      Exactly! Will treats his team like fools and lackeys. Being a disgruntled bully is no way to run a shop. It's hard to do your job right when your boss is constantly standing on your rear and treating you like you're an idiot.

  • packermilitia

    WTF? Why do they need this??? It is a flat out waste of the taxpayers money. If anywhere in the USA these "Gun Boats" are needed it is on the Rio Grande not the delta. Even then it should be a gunned up Coast Guard vessel not some hot dog Sheriff.

  • Bill

    To Dana Brown, what has your sorry ass, done for your country, except live here for free. Shut up

    • Dana Brown


      Not that I need any permission from the likes of you to excercise my 1st Amendment rights but I have worked hard for decades, paid my taxes, never been on welfare, and obeyed the law. My "sorry ass" is just tired of paying for your SWAT team fantasy camps while real crimes go unpunished and governements at all levels wrack up billion and trillion dollar deficits.

      • Robb Hughes

        Please quantify your remark. Can you explain how much money you contributed to the parish taxes that fund this department?

        I do agree you have the right to voice your opinion as contention and disagreement lead to a deeper understanding of any topic but I do feel you are over reaching in what your opinion should garner you.

        • Brannon Holton

          Ok, I’ll bite. I pay property taxes in this parish. NOW SHUT UP.

  • GEO

    I believe Will stated he was doing this for FREE…just in case anyone/everyone WASN'T listening!!!

    • Dana Brown

      Ok. He built and installed two gun mounts for FREE. What about the other 99.99999% of the cost to operate a gun boat?

  • TLD

    Absolute POWER corrupts ABSOLUTELY

  • Hhunt

    I am all done with Red Jacket
    We already have enough SWAT wannabys that are useless and not needed in our Free country, police can do
    there job without them, we already have a fine military and they do not have that SWAT attitude, I know that
    attitude only to well having worked along side with those cowboys

    Every sheriff in the country that has a pond in there county, will just have to have one of these

  • TLD

    Red Jacket started out as a good show, now its all about SWAT wannabe's etc. We had enough of these types at Ruby Ridge, Waco, New Oleans, and more recently at one of our colleges with the pepper spray. We need to protect this nation but thats not by giving our local law enforcement the type of weapons they are getting without the proper training that goes along with it. Training which includes how to apply the proper application of force and how much for a particular incident is a must when given this amount of power to anyone.

    • TLD

      Been there, done that for anyonewho wants to know! TLD

  • Oldironnut

    Ya gotta have the tools to do the job. What kind of criminals are they up against? And in what environment is this department operating in? (I know,boats-water etc.) but what is expected of this department? How long would it take for the Coast Guard to get there if they had an armed situation to resolve. And what is the range of a 30cal. or even a 50cal. richochet of the water? I'm guessing that it could be close to the maximum range of these weapons. Seems like a lot a real estate would be in danger if they weren't very careful with the "down range" direction. More importantly than the expense, lots of questions that deserve answers before they "go hot".

    • Will_Hayden

      was curious about that myself . Coasties will be there within an hour or so ..depending . S.O.'s there when it starts and by definition will have a better knowledge of the local area . I covered the questions of range , ricochet above . Good points Oldironnut

      • Brannon Holton

        didn’t stop you from doing your dumb show though, did it?

  • Stu

    Seems that everyone here has made the same comments that I would have made. Is the Mississippi delta really that bad that a "gun boat" is necessary??
    I remember the old brown water navy, did some "work" for them back in 1970.
    To the driver of that boat ….. Welcome Home !!!!

  • Steve

    Must be desperate for show ideas.

  • CARL


  • Terry Perkins

    Put me on the list for your 1911 when you start production…

    • Will_Hayden

      Terry , we've been making deliveries on the 1911's for a month or two now . Will

  • Ralph Weinstein

    Police power is too great, we should all be afraid of it in a free society. On the other hand we need the police because there are eveil people out there. But there are limits, gernade launchers are over the line, and probably 30 cal belt fed MG's also.
    I like the show (except Will's bad behavior)
    I am jealous that these police types can have a MG, and I can not.
    again, I don't believe the police should have this easy access to heavy weapons, and of course, I want one too!

    • Mike Copeland

      You are legally allowed to own machine guns. Do your research, get the paperwork approved and buy one! It's not that hard! They very expensive to operate though :)

      • TLD

        You cannot own a machine gun in Illinois even with the proper BATF paperwork.

      • Brannon Holton


  • Michael

    Gentlemen, from the sounds of all the griping going on, it seems not many of you have had the unfortunate opportunity to be on the receiving end of a major "bad guy" confrontation. If you need a reminder of what it's like, google the northridge ca. bank robbery and shootout. Shotguns and glocks are no match for body armor and 30 rnd AKs and AR15s. Granted, that was California, but drug running and bank robbery can happen anywhere. If it takes a 240 Bravo or Mark 19 to resolve the issue, so be it. As I believe Will stated in the show, "just the sight of these things pointing at you aughta make you think twice about doing anything stupid".

    • TLD

      Have you ever served in the military, law enforcement or other that has put you in the position you stated????

      Being prepared is fine but that includes the training, mental attitude, and the experience to handle a major confrontation. If you really look at the CA incident you will find that yes the police were outgunned but they made a lot of mistakes by not knowing what they were capable of handling and then when in the situation not knowing what to do to prevent the "beating they substained.

      I doubt the dept. that has this gunboat has the training or experience to handle what you describe such as what happened in CA. You need to know your limits as a dept. and when to withdraw and let the big boys handle it. Taking on a confrontation is more than sitting and "spraying" then going to the funerals of your friends or bystanders.

      Been there/Done that.

    • Brannon Holton

      tell us about more made up scenarios, they are fascinating

  • Will_Hayden

    Well , thanks for the broad generalizations and political views . While I can't speak for the S.O. in your home town , E.B.R.S.O. is a very well trained and professional force . They head a 7 parish task force that coordinates with State and Fed agency's to avoid the national catastrophe that would result from a single indecent anywhere along the corridor . Whats applicable here is probably not applicable in a small county in the middle of Nebraska . So if you're sweating your local sheriff putting a boat in your fish pond , you can likely relax the knot in your panties . I'm not all that comfortable with the militarization of L.E. myself , I'm less comfortable with the world political situation we find ourselves in that is the driving force behind it . Ask yourself this though , if not a LOCAL , ELECTED official , then Who ? We do have that pesky little Constitutional issue of using U.S. armed forces on our own soil . I'd rather a man I voted for [ and have to ablity to vote against] be in charge then some 4 star from the 82nd Airborne .

    • Mike Copeland

      Well said Will! If the locals had been allowed to do their job Waco probably would have not ended with US Army tanks destroying a "compound" with women and children inside. I will put my faith and trust into my local sheriff and his deputies who live in my county with their families.

      • Will_Hayden

        Thats my opinion as well .

        • Brannon Holton

          is it? then you’re both stupid. Waco has nothing to do with anything, and you just agree with anyone who agrees with you by default. WHAT A SUCK ASS enjoy your 15 minutes of fame, if they aren’t up already

    • DeputyC

      Will, thank you! I was starting to think people were going to start calling for us to turn in our sidearms too. Sheriff's Offices need to be able to do our jobs. Not all Offices need Mk 19s on boats but we do need to be able to handle anything that could possibly happen. Being ill-prepared could cost lives. Hopefully E.B.R.S.O. never needs that firepower, but if they do they have it. I guess the public thinks that Sheriff's Deputys and S.W.A.T. operators are a bunch of hut-hut weekend warriors but that couldn't be further from the truth. Truth is we spend countless hours each year away from our families and normal lives to train for the worst. Hopefully it will never be needed but when it is, I bet we won't hear all the complaining about wasted tax dollars.

      • Will_Hayden

        I'd bet the pissing and moaning stops pretty quick when they're screaming into a 911 line for a deputy to come save them . Of course , thats just my opinion , heh

        • Brannon Holton

          oh that old gag? Guess what, idiot. I’m 38 and a stupid cop has never “saved” anything for me, OK? So keep laughing you dooshbag

      • Brannon Holton


    • Brannon Holton

      you need to do more research

  • Rick

    I just wanted to tell you I think you made a wise decision concerning your daughter. I am also a father with three girls. I know where you are coming from but appreciate the fact that you always have her best interest at heart. I know it was not an easy call to make and once again I think you did right by all involved. I hope all works out for the best. At least you know what Kris is willing to do for your daughter and as a father what more can you ask? Love the show-keep it coming!!!

    • Will_Hayden

      THank you Rick , I consider them both "mine" . Will

  • Ralph Weinstein

    I enjoy the show and I like some of the toys you build, some may not be pracital (rotating Saigas) but all are fun. I wish I could have one, it is not allowed in the republic of NJ.
    It may not be proper to make this comment here (as you don't know me) but sometimes your behavior is poor. You may have noticed others make the same comment.
    Please keep the show going with interesting items, and if you could go into some of the laws affecting the maunufacture and transfer / possesion, we all would be interested.

    • Will_Hayden

      Hi Ralph , we did a blog on NFA a while back here on G&A , it was short , just trying to hit the high points . Of course it deteriorated into a posters pissing contest but still , there was some good info there if you can sort through the bullsh*t

      • Brannon Holton

        difference of opinion is called a “pissing contest” in the south, for all of you who don’t live in this retarded southern area

  • Ralph Weinstein

    looking forward to interesting (practical) firearms, that is why we watch. Maybe something we can buy?
    see you on TV

    • Will_Hayden

      Maybe you're not aware , but we've been shipping firearms nationally for about a decade . We probably have 20 models on our website catalog available for purchase .

  • Steve Jones

    Love the show! I went thru some heavy "withdrawls" between seasons…glad you're back in the saddle! Best wishes for much success as you transition to a production line!
    PS: Your show is doing wonders for acclimating non-gun owners to the fun of the shooting sports and the joys of owning great pieces of engineering :-)

  • yanick

    Protect my country..!!! and Fight the badguys..!!! :P Red Jacket N* 1 .. YEAHHHH.!!!!! Keep Going
    I Realy love the Show..!!!
    yanick…officer Fl

    • Brannon Holton

      nice grammar, idiot

  • Jason Kerr

    Will: Good work on the show and the boat….and an excellent response concerning the firepower of the SO….I'd rather have my elected sheriff have more firepower and command of the area than any Fed….

    BTW: how did you overcome the limitations of each mounted weapon's firing arc? Seems like having them mounted so close together would limit how much area each could cover. Also, doesn't using a belt-fed grenade system limit the flexibility of choosing rounds in an active situation (i.e. switching from one type of grenade to another)?

    Also: Good choice in the Steph/Kris situation… know the man, and you can't say that he'd be worse than some of the other choices she could have made. Besides, if things don't go well….well, workplace accidents can happen…… ;)

    • Will_Hayden

      The top line of the mount swivels , tension is graduated by a torsion screw which can be run in to a "locked" position . Yes , changing belts in mid stride is a bitch . Like I said earlier though , it's not the Mekong Delta , meeting engagements are , so far , extremely rare . Homeland security and drug interdiction efforts are based on good intelligence and careful planning . " workplace accidents " heh :)

      • Jason Kerr

        That makes sense….thanks for the info.

        BTW: When I saw that your next episode would involve the USS Kidd, my first thought was "Now that sheriff is gettin' real ambitious"….. :)

        PS: remember….workplace accidents should always happen when the camera is OFF….. ;)

    • Brannon Holton

      another anti-government shit head in disguise. You’d rather your elected idiot wasting tax money on gun boats and playing celebrity wanna be on tv? Real smart there, guy

  • Stan

    Hey, Will! I don't think I've ever enjoyed your show as much as I did this last one. I'm all about the weapons stuff, and always get entertained when I watch. You never fail to amaze me with what your company can accomplish. The side story on Steph was sort of emotional for me. The rest of the "haters" on here, can kiss my Oklahoma ass!. You had a tough call to make concerning your little girl. You did it with a grace, that I don't think I could have. You just keep on doing what you do best. Very few have these folks that are "bashing" you, have NO idea what LE goes thru on a daily basis. They should try wearing a badge, and "walking the walk" before they so readily attack what you are trying to do. You have a good crew, and if you gotta get "sideways" with them at times…….well, it is what it is. Be well, my friend.

    • Will_Hayden

      Thank you Stan . Is what it is indeed . Will

      • Brannon Holton

        yeah, it is a grenade launcher on a boat. its ridiculous nonsense, and you know it.

    • Brannon Holton

      cops CHOOSE to be a lazy cop. They don’t get to ask for “sympathy” for simply choosing such a lazy job with hazard pay. Sounds like they don’t have any better options, to me.

  • misterfats

    will have you see texas dps new gun boots they are cool

    • misterfats

      I meant to boat not boot.

  • Brian

    Great show, please don't let all the hassles of tv production get you down. I want to see the show keep going. Just an idea but I would like to see some kind of competition build-off between Sons of Guns and American Guns. I have Sons of Guns as a 3-1 favorite.


    Can't train em' shoot so lets give em' a MK 19. DUMBER every day…

    • Brannon Holton

      can’t train these monkeys, they DUMB AS A MFER

  • Clayton

    Shut up yall dont know what your talking about. They need these guns to protect the water ways and the citizens of there town. And all yall do is talking crap about the police well i bet most of yall arent even man enought to try, you would go out and quit after the first day. And will said it was free maybe if you would open your ears you would of heard that. Will haden and the men and women who protect this country, and the streets.

    • Brannon Holton

      shut up, idiot. why don’t you repeat some more TIRED ASS NONSENSE

  • bill

    hey i can put stock kits on guns and do baisc gunsmithing in my basment i should get my own tv show too!

    • Larry

      I have read through the comments here, many of them dumb. You get first prize.

  • Nate m14

    Im sick n tired of people putting Red Jacket down. I like the idea of law enforcement having any and all firepower they want. Who really gives a crap about taxes these days, yes we pay for this, but we pay for alot of useless crap too. Get over it! "This country needs firepower" I feel safer this way! i dont do anything wrong so im not worried about being detained. Fear not people, were alright.

    • Brannon Holton

      you’re a scared little bitch

  • nothingfancy

    So much for "officer friendly". No Sheriff in America needs to have grenade launchers and automatic machine guns on a patrol boat. There is no REALISTIC scenario that they would ever need to lawfully deploy this weaponry. Besides, this is already in USCG jurisdiction, which has a security zone around all these petroleum facilities.

    • Brannon Holton


  • Brannon Holton

    I’m glad this dumb show got shut down, and this business hassled. thats what you get for doing dumb nonsense like arming a boat with grenade launchers. Cops dont need no help down here, they need to get their asses to where the CRIME is have you looked at the crime stats in baton rouge? sheriff hayseed ain’t doin such a fine job afterall.

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