In presenting the award, NRA Publications Editorial Director John Zent said that Forbes “shook up the shooting and hunting world with his five-pound rifles that shoot every bit as good as many twice that heavy.” As a young master gunsmith in West Virginia, Forbes had a vision of an accurate, reliable, bolt-action hunting rifle that weighed less than 6 pounds. He introduced his masterpiece at the 1985 SHOT Show and today his revolutionary approach to paring weight without sacrificing accuracy has created a template that sets the industry standard.
“Other firearm manufacturers and gunsmiths paid attention, studied what this fellow was doing, and, to varying degrees, have copied his ideas,” said Zent, adding that American hunters have embraced this trend wholeheartedly, creating a high demand for lightweight rifles and ultra-lightweight rifles. “Nowadays there’s no shortage and many models to choose from, quite a few that are pretty darned good—but only one original, still being made by the man we honor today.”
NRA Publications Executive Director Joe H. Graham said that for a quarter of a century, hunters have banked on the superb performance of easy-carry rifles from New Ultra Light Arms.” Melvin Forbes is a shining example of how achieving one’s dream involves sheer determination, dedication and a commitment to excellence where only the best will do,” he said.