If you follow firearms industry news, you probably know that Frank DeSomma died as a result of injuries from an automobile accident last Friday. I knew Frank for close to 20 years and he will be missed by the industry.
I started speaking with Frank back around 2002, when he was the importer for Pakistani Ordnance Factory and its HK-licensed MP-5 series guns and parts. I don’t remember who called who first, but I had been president of a company which was the largest authorized HK dealer of post-sample HK NFA weapons and parts just prior to our first phone meeting. At the time, I had my own NFA imports company and I can remember many conversations about importing regulations, machine guns, the 2nd Amendment, and firearms in general back during that time.
At some point, Frank told me about his new piston design AR-15, and our conversations would continue along that topic. It was about this time that POF would begin to stand for Patriot Ordnance Factory. Having been an AR-15 owner since 1978, I was intrigued about his innovations and did what I could to connect him with others in the industry, I even got a few of his guns into movies through my Hollywood contacts. Frank was a talented engineer.
I finally got to meet Frank in person in 2008 when we, along with dozens of other companies, were invited to provide weapons demonstrations to a middle eastern country working with the USA on the War on Terror. I was there representing Beretta and SAKO, and Frank was there showing a new concept weapon - his 12-inch barreled .308 AR-type rifle. The U.S. military was looking for a short rifle that could be used for CQC fighting but also to “reach out and touch someone.” Frank’s rifle could certainly do that, and I was very impressed with this short-barreled rifle’s ability to hit gongs out to 700+ yards – his firing demo was very impressive.
In recent years, Frank and I would talk a couple of times a year, but mostly keep in touch via email. On holidays, both of us being of Italian descent, we would always wish each other a “Buon Natale” (Merry Christmas) or “Buona Pasqua,” (Happy Easter), and on Independence Day, there were always very patriotic photos exchanged in our texts. I have been working in the firearms industry since the early 1980s, and I have to say that Frank was the most pro-2nd Amendment and patriotic owner of a firearms company I have ever met (probably why we got along so well). This patriotism was seen in every POF ad Frank ran – the drawings of the 1776 American patriot holding one of his rifles was so artistic and patriotic that I cut it out one year and hung it on my refrigerator for Independence Day. Many of you have you have probably seen these ads which made up the back covers of many Firearms News issues.
He was a visionary who transferred his love for this country and for the 2nd Amendment into everything I saw him do. Frank DeSomma will be missed by the industry he dedicated much of his life to. I wish the DeSomma family my condolences and prayers during this tough time.