Early interest in firearms, equipment, and marksmanship
I am one of two boys raised by our parents in Witten, Germany, in a very traditional family, in which upbringing and education were paramount. At an early age, my brother, Oliver M. Wiegand – we call him “Oli” for short – and I became interested in World War II equipment and firearms.
As soon as Oli and I were old enough, we joined the local marksmanship club. But before we could even have a gun, we had to apply for and receive firearms licenses. Germany has very strict gun control laws, which we, of course, were (and are) happy to follow.
Coming to America
Growing up, our parents took Oli and me on vacation in the United States, and I instantly loved America. To me, it was a huge country with endless horizons and possibilities. In 1995, after studying economics at the Ruhr Universität in Bochum, I set up a business with Oli in North Carolina – Interordnance of America, LP. Like all small businesses, we struggled financially in the beginning. But Oli and I decided to tough it out.
From Importing to Local, American Manufacturing
Early on, Oli and I focused on importing surplus German World War II collectible firearms and equipment. In addition, we were proud to be the first importers to receive approval from the United States Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (the “ATF”) to import Romanian Kalashnikov rifles to America. Later, we received ATF approval and imported new Romanian firearms like the WUM I and the SSG 97 rifles. We were also the first importers to receive ATF approval to import the Yugo SKS M59/66 rifle for sale to Americans holding a Curio & Relic (or “C&R”) license from the ATF.
In 2005, I bought my brother’s share of the business and changed the company to I.O., Inc. Around the same time, I had begun to notice declines in the quality of surplus firearms available for import. At one point, out of a shipment of 1,000 rifles, we had to fix 700 and destroy the rest. This was completely unacceptable. For us, quality is key. So, we decided to switch our focus from importing to manufacturing firearms right here in the United States. We have spent a great deal of time and money in tooling, machines, and equipment, because our goal is to have everything from parts to the final products made in the USA.
Quality Made in America
By manufacturing locally, we control the design, quantity, and quality of our products, and can ensure our customers the highest quality firearms. In addition, we have the honor of employing 25 dedicated people who make up our family and through their efforts, support another 100 families, including real people, like the steel supplier, the cardboard guy, the printer, and the spring maker. I am proud to be a local U.S. manufacturer, to support other made in America manufacturers, and to be part of the local, successful economy.
Ask for a Demonstration and See Our Complete Product Line
I.O. Inc. and I are proud to present quality products, which will satisfy the most demanding customer. We now manufacture all of our SPORTER, STG (WIEGER), and SSG rifles here in America. We have also added a reliable and inexpensive .380 pocket pistol to our line of American-made products. We back all I.O. Inc. manufactured products by a 1 year limited warranty. So, visit your local stocking dealer and ask for a demonstration! In the meantime, to see our complete product line, you should click here.