By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
Norman Anderson is a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army, serving as a marksmanship instructor for more than 20 years.
His military work has convinced him that there have to be better and more efficient ways to teach and learn fundamental marksmanship skills. That belief is the basis for Clear Image Solutions, LLC, a new venture launched by Anderson and his wife.
Their start-up was one of the winners in this year’s Tennessee Veterans Business Association business plan competition. The other two were NextDocVisit and Shockwave Motors, Inc. Each winner received $5,000 to advance its product. The award monies came from The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto and Vanquish Worldwide.
As an instructor, Anderson learned firsthand the challenges of teaching marksmanship.
“You cannot cognitively understand what they (the actual individuals shooting) understand,” he says. The challenge for instructors is further complicated by the vast demographic range of individuals trying to improve their capabilities and a limitation on reasonable equipment alternatives.
“There had to be a better way,” Anderson concluded, and it started with an improved sight device. Existing options ranged from standard equipment to an expensive optic that required a special tool or external power source and was also difficult to use.
Over a several year period, Anderson worked on various designs. His initial prototype was developed in 2010 for the AR15 rifle, although Anderson has made changes in the ensuing period.
“The idea almost went to sleep for two years,” he said. The reason was the inability of the machine shop that produced his parts to meet his exacting standards.
That issue has been resolved, and Anderson is rapidly approaching a commercial launch for his patented rifle front sight design that allows users to choose the size and color of the fiber optic aiming point reference.
The target retail price is $150, something the entrepreneur believes is well within the price range of his target customer group – competitive shooters and hobbyists as well as law enforcement and even the military.
Anderson says the device provides a real value to individuals who want to improve their marksmanship.
“The features are fully interchangeable without the use of any tools or external power source,” he says. “Every part of our sight is instantly replaceable by the user, eliminating any downtime. This product is also designed to be adjustable for elevation to enable zeroing and also to be used with an adjustable rear sight to enable the engagement of targets beyond the zeroed distance.”
Anderson describes the device as “a very tactically-oriented, purposeful piece of equipment.”
If all goes well, he hopes to be in the marketplace soon.
“We have a production capability, but are waiting to have some special tools available to repeatedly produce (the device) at higher volumes,” he explains.
Those interested in learning more can contact Anderson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.