Crosstac was formed in 2001 by Bret Heidkamp, out of seeing opportunity to design products based on our shooting needs and competition experience from travelling around the country for matches. We used to laugh that we “designed by frustration” because so many products were poorly designed, or made by people who clearly were not shooters.
Bret competed in IPSC Open Class, and in unknown distance rifle matches around the country like the ITRC (International Tactical Rifleman Championship). Back in the day, he shot the 260 Ackley in his bolt rifles before it became popular. The hot round back then was the 6.5-284 Lapua.
Competing yielded ideas for products, but the Crosstac line is a collaboration of ideas and efforts from others as well. Competing is important to keep the creative juices flowing!
For example our Precision Long Range Shooting Mat was designed because the roll-up mats were terrible in the cold. Imagine standing at the line of a warm-up range, in the early hours of the morning, holding your rifle and gear and trying to roll out your mat. You kick it open, it rolls shut again.
You finally get it open by putting your gear on it to hold it in place. Now laying on it, you realize the pain in your arm is a cactus poking your elbow. The mat is too narrow for both you and your rifle at the same time. Thus, our design was born of frustration.
Flat to deploy instantly, and wide so the cactus don’t win. Bipod rail was a requirement from Bret since he pushed forward on his rifles back in the 90’s. This was before that technique was popular and helped dramatically get follow up shots downrange when you had to hit each target twice.
But back to the Crosstac story. Our first product was our Ambi Sling Connector. So proud! The first order on that product came in from a big name dealer, and we anxiously opened the emailed PDF. It was only for 6 pieces, less than $100. This is going to be a long road! However we were thrilled to have it picked up later by Blackhawk as an OEM item. That really led the way to more designs and really helped launch the company.
Fast forward to 2018, and we have over 60 products and if you include the color choices, probably 350 skus. It is a challenge to keep everything in stock and flowing! Definitely keeps us hopping.
We release a handful of new designs every year, after testing. We now have two factories - our main office in Colorado that houses our machine shop and all the distribution, and a second factory in Miami that is our sewing facility. That was the only way we could find staff and meet demand. Colorado just didn’t have enough sewing talent. It is also important for us to keep everything made in the USA. It’s the only way we can control the quality - down to the type of thread used.
Bret had dealt with imports with other companies in the past, and learned it was not easy to maintain high standards. Good luck with returns to China!!
We are proudly Made in USA from the very start of Crosstac to over 17 years now. Our customers are proud to have products made right here and not imported, and they are the first to tell us so. It is important to us everything we make holds up to being used and works as designed. While it is much more expensive for Crosstac, having our own factories is the only way we can achieve that goal.