Magpul was founded in 1999 with the intent of developing a simple device to aid in the manipulation of rifle magazines while reloading under stress. The company’s name comes from this original product called the Magpul®. Over the last seventeen years Magpul has continued to grow and develop using much the same mission and process with a focus on innovation, simplicity, and efficiency.
To understand Magpul, one must first understand the root ideas that form the foundation of our company culture and design philosophy. These core principles have allowed us to maintain a course true to our original mission, and help explain how and why we do the things we do.
Ideas are the easy part.
There is something to be said for great ideas, however, ideas are nothing more than dreams until they are realized in a form that is accessible to the marketplace. Magpul is known for its creative design solutions, and we are proud of our accomplishments in this arena not only because they are novel, but because we have successfully turned many of our dreams into reality.
Easy is hard, hard is easy.
Unnecessary complexity and expensive construction are the hallmarks of mediocre design. It is almost always easier to design a product that is complicated, confusing, and expensive rather than simple, intuitive, and affordable. Although it is more difficult, Magpul has chosen to take the latter of these two approaches to product development.
From the onset of every project, Magpul uses a list of mission-driven requirements to dictate design, material construction, and manufacturing methods that will be most efficient without sacrificing quality or performance. The goal of the design itself is to be both simple and intuitive. By incorporating ergonomic considerations, a proper user interface, and subtle visual and tactile features, the product itself should actually instruct the user about its operation and function. Although every Magpul product comes with clear, concise installation and usage instructions, our aim is to design products so self-explanatory that instructions become unnecessary.
Fail smart, fail often.
There is much to be learned from failure: product ideas, material properties, user interface issues, etc. The potential knowledge to be gained from a bad concept or failed execution is virtually endless. Only by pushing the limits of design, materials, and manufacturing techniques through a process of trial and error do we find true innovation. That said, failure for its own sake is foolish, and it is important to learn as much as possible from existing failures so as not to attempt to reinvent the square. This is the meaning behind "fail smart."
Build what they need, not what they want.
As a rule, end users are generally not designers, and are therefore limited to describing their needs in terms they know and understand. Although end user feedback is invaluable to the design process, Magpul never builds a product on the basis of simple market surveys. Instead, we study the intended mission, determine the equipment capability gap, and develop a solution based on a clearly defined set of performance-based requirements. While the end result will almost certainly not be what the user had envisioned, it will more effectively address the needs and performance capabilities they are often unable to clearly articulate or recognize from a product development perspective.
Mission dictates function, and function dictates design.
Magpul builds for the real world, so every item is built to fill a particular mission, and is designed around a unique set of cost, performance, and timeline considerations. The styling of a product follows these mission-driven parameters, and ties the functional piece into a design that can be efficiently produced.
Innovate or die.
In the marketplace of ideas, innovation is survival. Defensible intellectual property is beneficial, but we must continually adapt our way of thinking to meet the demands of a dynamic marketplace.
Profits are not evil.
We are humbled whenever someone uses their hard earned money to buy our products. Our products range from low-cost common applications, to high-cost specialized designs, but by pricing our products in direct relation to material development costs, they all provide value for the price. Magpul’s view on profits (and money in general) is summed up in the following quote by Ayn Rand (Francisco’s Money Speech, Atlas Shrugged):
“Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value.”
Be aggressive enough, quickly enough.
The success of even the best products is contingent upon both timing and delivery. Getting a good design to market quickly and with enough force to meet consumer demand is the difference between simply breaking even or marketplace domination.
No wine before it’s time.
Although somewhat contradictory to the previous statement, one must recognize that it is impossible to avoid “Murphy,” and some products will just have to wait if they cannot meet the quality standards we have set for ourselves.
Education is the best form of marketing.
We often get told that Magpul has slick marketing. This always makes us grin because Magpul has never used an advertising agency for our print ads or marketing materials. Everything is done in house. Our “secret” to effective marketing is simply to educate customers on the merits of our products through the internet, training classes, and instructional DVDs. Nothing slick – just honest explanations.
Do not betray the brand.
People who use Magpul products have high expectations and a great deal of trust regarding the quality and amount of thought put into every design we release. As such, all products must have the “touch” of the Magpul design team as outlined in the first part of this document. On the same note, great care must be taken not to associate the brand with any third party product that does not adhere to the Magpul core values.
No one is using a Magpul product because they have to.
When I was a Marine I routinely bought all sorts of equipment in an effort to gain a survival advantage, but most of that gear was poorly thought out and generally could not survive real life field conditions. Knowing this I implemented a 60-day, no questions asked return policy on all Magpul products to allow the user sufficient time to field test the gear in an environment of their choosing. If a newly purchased piece of Magpul gear breaks or is unsuitable for the mission, send it back for a full refund. This was our policy when Magpul was founded in 1999, and it remains in effect today.
Annoy the establishment.
I remember clearly one time at a trade show where we released some new products that were getting a lot of attention. I hid my attendee badge and walked around the show, just looking around like another nameless visitor, when I overheard someone from another company say, “I just wish Magpul would go away.” Right then I knew our new products were as innovative as I suspected.
Just as America’s Founding Fathers sought to promote individual rights and freedoms over those of the collective, Magpul also stands on the side of the individual. The natural enemy of the individual and innovation is the establishment and bureaucracy (which literally means “the power of the desk”). When we are annoying the establishment, we know we are effectively upholding our principles.
"If you come expecting a fair fight, you are unprepared." This common saying among military and law enforcement professionals illustrates the core values and mindset that drive everything we do at Magpul. Our customer base encompasses a broad spectrum of users; everything from hobbyists and target shooters to the most specialized and highly trained military units in the world. Regardless of the end user or their mission, our goal is to design equipment with form, fit, and function far superior to that of your "standard issue" gear. In short, we want to give you an unfair advantage.