Pioneer of the Year: Randy Brooks, former president/CEO, Barnes Bullets
Randy Brooks grew up as an avid shooter and hunter in his native Utah, and in the 1970s took up custom-loading ammunition to help support his young family. At the urging of friend Fred Barnes, founder of the namesake component bullet company, Brooks acquired what remained of the firm after new owners had allowed it to languish. Soon the family’s basement became the company workshop, where Randy, his wife, Coni, and daughters Chandra and Jessica seated bullet cores in jackets.
Brooks’ development of a new dangerous-game solid won favor with gun writers, including NRA Publications Senior Field Editor Charles Askins, who wrote, “[L]et me assure you, these slugs really get the job done!”
Even so, the company struggled until Brooks devised the product that would forever change big-game hunters’ expectations for bullet penetration and terminal performance, the all-copper Barnes X Bullet. Although it took three years of trial-and-error experimentation with homemade hand and machine tools, Brooks perfected the process for manufacturing X Bullets. Then, over the next two decades, he continually improved the design and modified it to fit a host of new applications. Today’s Barnes TSX and related variants are among the world’s most highly regarded and oft-imitated hunting bullets.
After selling the company to Remington Outdoor Company in 2010, Brooks continued to develop new products, including the well-received Barnes VOR-TX loaded ammunition and new projectiles intended for military use. As an Army veteran, he is proud that Barnes bullets are now serving with American troops and security officers around the globe.
Brooks is an accomplished big-game hunter, particularly experienced on dangerous game in Alaska and Africa. He is a staunch supporter of NRA and the freedoms protected by the Second Amendment. Though much of his success can be attributed to lead-free bullets, he steadfastly refused to cooperate with anti-gun and media forces that repeatedly sought his validation for banning lead projectiles.