AYNOR, SC (WMBF) – The beehive of activity at PTR Industries had an extra buzz about it today as the company stamped the very first "Made in Aynor, SC" gun.
Up until this point, the guns were put together with pieces made in the old Connecticut plant.
"It is going to add national notoriety to the Grand Strand and Horry County as PTR is the first gun manufacturer to be located in Aynor, South Carolina," said Bob Grabowski, the purchasing manager of PTR Industries.
Grabowski gave WMBF News a behind-the-scenes tour Monday to show the complexity of the gun manufacturing process, proudly displaying the first steel receiver to be stamped with Aynor's name.
The sheet of steel is cut, punched, and finally stamped to make the receiver of the guns. Economic experts hope this puts Horry County on the map as a target for other gun plants.
"We can brag to other manufacturers that we are the home to PTR industries, and now every weapon they make and distribute has 'Made in South Carolina' stamped on it," said Brad Lofton with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.
Soon, the county hopes to host Ithaca Gun Company, as well.
"Part of the economic development process is to take off the watch and grab the calendar, there are a lot of things that go into it,"explained Lofton.
Right now the MBREDC is working with a contractor to push building plans forward as the company considers moving to an already-existing facility.
"They will provide anywhere from 80 to 115 jobs," said Lofton.
STAG Firearms is another possibility, as the MBREDC continues to pursue that company to come to the coast. Lofton explained right now, STAG is considering between South Carolina and Texas.
"Texas is tough, there's no personal income tax and it's a friendly second amendment state, but why wouldn't you want to be in Myrtle Beach with 65 miles of coast?" Lofton said.
With PTR Industries being the first to open in Horry County, the gun plant hopes others will follow their lead and move lock, stock, and barrel to the Grand Strand.
"It's a friendly business environment, there's lots of room to grow down here and a lot of people looking for jobs, good quality people for this industry," said Grabowski.
He adds that other gun plants in the area could attract outside vendors to move to Horry County.
In the meantime, workers are excited to show off the first guns made in the county.
"They're very proud of that. A lot of their jobs are repetitive, but crucial to the smooth process and the safety of the gun. We can't have any imperfections in the metal," Grabowski explained, adding that every piece is touched by a human hand to get rid of any type of imperfection.
The guns being made today are part of a first-run sale that will produce a customized gun with one-of-a-kind serial numbers picked by the purchaser. The company hopes to have the guns made today shipped out by the end of the week.