Every year, along with our choice for the best new products on the market, staff members from American Rifleman collaborate with those from our sister publications to pick one person in the firearm industry who deserves to be recognized as a pioneer. This year, it was only fitting that the National Rifle Association recognized the man who helped build an industry giant: Dennis Reese. “I could not be more honored to be given the National Rifle Association’s Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award,” said Dennis Reese, CEO-owner of Springfield Armory. “From the earliest days of the company to where it stands today, our relationship with the NRA has been one that is extremely important to me, both personally and professionally. The Association’s work to promote our Second Amendment rights is absolutely necessary to ensure those rights, enshrined in the United States’ Constitution, are protected.”
Reese has been part of Springfield Armory in Geneseo, Ill., since its founding in 1974. He worked with his father, Robert Reese, in the company’s early years and has been an integral part right through to his role as CEO and owner today, 46 years later. Building on his passion for civilian-legal firearms inspired by iconic military classics, Reese has taken a hands-on role from the beginning and steered the course though substantial change along the way.
Reese has been deeply involved with the company’s development and introduction of M1911-A1 pistols, M1 Garand rifles and the M1A (a semi-automatic-only rendition of the U.S. M14) for the civilian market; however, he has also overseen the introduction of numerous other innovative products that have expanded the company’s product line beyond these classic platforms.
From the XD series of polymer-frame pistols (including the popular XD-M and XD-S variations) to the 911 series of pocket pistols to the Saint series of AR-pattern carbines and pistols, Springfield has stayed on the cutting edge of the consumer firearms market.
Add to this the exciting new Hellcat micro 9 mm—Handgun Of The Year—a pistol that has rewritten the rules on what shooters can (and should) expect from their CCW pistol, and you can easily see how Reese’s leadership has advanced Springfield Armory to become a leader in personal protection and tactical shooting.
Reese has also ensured that Springfield Armory gives back to the firearms community, supporting groups such as the pistol and rifle team of Hillsdale College in Michigan. By giving back, Reese has committed Springfield Armory’s help in nurturing the next generation of shooters and firearms enthusiasts.
That includes steadfast support for NRA’s mission, and accordingly Dennis Reese was recognized for his personal commitment to American rights and liberties through an invitation to join the NRA’s exclusive Golden Ring of Freedom.
“Springfield Armory will continue to do its part in helping protect our right to keep and bear arms, and will work hard to keep bringing exciting and innovative firearms to the consumer market. I am both proud and honored to receive this prestigious award from NRA and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future,” said Reese.