Entrepreneur Spotlight: Jamin McCallum, Founder and Owner of Palmetto State Armory

About Founder and Owner of Palmetto State Armory, Jamin McCallum

Jamin McCallum

Two tours of duty in Iraq while a member of the South Carolina U.S. Army National Guard, where he witnessed first-hand what society can look like when a country has lost its freedom and fallen apart, ignited a passion in Jamin McCallum. His last deployment as a member of the engineering unit, responsible for identifying improvised explosive devices (IEDs), one of which detonated next to him, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), set the stage for his founding of Palmetto State Armory, a firearms manufacturing company and tactical gear provisioner, in 2008 in Columbia, SC.

U.S. military veteran Jamin McCallum had difficulties adjusting back to his career as a certified public accountant (CPA) after his return from deployments abroad. Most notably, he found that his TBI made it challenging to focus on or find enjoyment in performing his civilian job anymore. He switched to another accounting firm, hoping that would reignite his zest for his career, to no avail. That's when McCallum got to thinking about his personal interests and what he might be able to build a business around. In speaking with friends and family members, he determined his passion for guns, which started and grew during his military career, was something he wanted to share with like-minded individuals. That retrospective moment of insight set in motion plans for a multi-billion dollar business venture, Palmetto State Armory, that now supports Jamin McCallum, his family, and the hundreds of individuals his company employs.

Why Jamin Places the Focus on Freedom Over Profits as an Entrepreneur

Jamin McCallum's motivation for founding Palmetto State Armory has always centered around making affordably-priced, American-made firearms accessible to as many citizens as possible. Jamin coined an early motto for his firearms company and posted it on the Palmetto State Armory Facebook page. It said, "maximize freedom, not profit," Also on the Palmetto State Armory website is the phrase, “freedom over profit.” That remains one of his gun manufacturing company's most important core values today.

In a recent interview, he referred to gun ownership as a "God-given gift of freedom." His goal that firearms should be accessible to as many Americans as possible drives his desire to expand firearm ownership beyond gun enthusiasts to everyday Americans wanting to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. This initially led to Jamin's founding of Palmetto State Armory as an online ammunition and magazine retailer. However, the mistaken delivery of buffer tubes by one of his suppliers and their declining to have him return it marked a shift in his company's operations.

Palmetto State Armory decided to list the buffer tubes on its ammunition website, and they sold fast. This one sale marked the transition from his business being an online-only one to a combination firearms and ammunition e-commerce store and brick-and-mortar retailer with multiple locations throughout South Carolina. As his company has grown, Jamin and his co-founders have been able to:

  • Buy out gun parts manufacturers
  • Build new warehouses to store merchandise
  • Begin making their own firearms in-house

While Jamin McCallum and his business partners have undoubtedly financially benefited from the growth Palmetto State Armory has experienced, more important to them is what that has meant for their customers. The acquisition of other gun parts manufacturers and distributors has allowed the brand to "cut out the middleman" and develop its own proprietary line of high-quality firearms made in the U.S.A comparable to all the other big names in the industry but at a significantly lower cost. The cost-cutting is what Jamin expects to continue making gun ownership more accessible to more Americans.

How Being a Market Disruptor Led to Jamin McCallum and Palmetto State Armory Successes

In learning more about the evolution of Palmetto State Armory into the successful business it is today, it's clear to see that most of Jamin McCallum and his co-founders' success has come from being disruptors in their industry. Jamin has learned a lot since the company's inception in a local Columbia, SC sandwich shop and when his home's mantle was overflowing with stock because he didn't have the means to have a warehouse to safeguard the stock he sold on the business' website. 

There are aspects of the entrepreneurial journey McCallum has taken to leading Palmetto State Armory into the full-service gun manufacturer, gun parts distributor, and ammunition and tactical gear supplier that it is today that any startup founder in any industry could learn from, including:

  • Make sure your business centers around something you're passionate about: When Jamin realized being a CPA was no longer in the cards for him, he immediately got to thinking about what it is that excited him and would make him want to get up every day. He learned it's a lot easier to stay engaged working on something when you are passionate about what you do. Doing some self-reflection can help aspiring entrepreneurs identify what they want to build their businesses around. 
  • Have a purpose or mission that drives your business: Entrepreneurs need to have a "why" -- a bigger purpose or reason to explain what motivates them to get up daily and continue to fight to become bigger and better. As Jamin McCallum realized early on, it has to be more than dollars and cents that drive you, but instead, an overreaching goal or mission aimed at providing solutions or solving problems that you're trying to accomplish.
  • Always keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities and be ready to pounce: Jamin knew that his own future as well as his company's future depended on his ability to navigate his company down a successful path. As such, he continued being open to innovation, whether that meant spontaneously expanding the product line after a mistaken shipment he received, offering to buy unwanted ammunition and reselling it for a slight markup when supply was hard to come by, or acquiring companies to expand customer access to more affordable products. Being flexible, open, and otherwise possessing a spirit of innovation to capitalize on opportunities is key as an entrepreneur. 

The stepping stones for Jamin McCallum founding Palmetto State Armory started with an early interest in firearms, tactical gear, and the outdoors and only grew stronger during his military career. When he realized that being a CPA was no longer a career he could focus on or feel passionate about, the veteran started brainstorming business ideas along with his current business partners and realized that there was a void in the market for customer-friendly companies that catered to gun enthusiasts. And, as the saying goes, the rest is now history. 

Jamin has witnessed first-hand the power of pursuing a business idea that you're passionate about and can really get behind because it has a purpose in your mind. It can take you to unimaginable places you would have never dreamt about and help others learn to exercise their Constitutional rights or merely become their better selves in the process.