Frank DeSomma, founder and president of Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF-USA), died on June 18, 2020, from injuries sustained in a car accident in Phoenix, Ariz. He was 57 years old.
“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Frank DeSomma. On behalf of everyone at the National Rifle Association I would like to express our deepest condolences to the DeSomma family and all of his associates at Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF)," said Doug Hamlin, executive director of NRA Publications. "Frank was passionate about freedom and our Second Amendment rights. His passing is a great loss for everyone who shared his commitment for safe and responsible firearm ownership.”
A 28-year veteran of the aerospace industry working as a process engineer, DeSomma founded POF-USA in 2002 with the intent of addressing several problems often encountered by owners of traditional AR-15 platforms: carbon fouling and timing issues with short barrels.
To solve these problems, DeSomma developed the Regulated Short Stroke Gas Piston System in 2004, the first commercially available short-stroke gas-piston AR-15 on the market. In addition to eliminating fouling issues often encountered on direct-impingement gas systems, DeSomma led the way in developing the precise geometry needed in the piston and op-rod to produce the proper timing necessary for dependable operation.
This new design allowed for controllable cyclic rates, enhanced extraction, and improved feeding. It also reduced the wear and fatigue on internal components, ensuring a longer service life. In time, DeSomma and his team expanded this novel operating system into a complete line of rifles, including larger, short-action designs that were revolutionary not only in their operation but also in size.
“Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to hot rod the 5.56 NATO-chambered AR-15 platform in an effort to push its ballistics closer to those of its big brother, the AR-10,” wrote one staff editor in a 2018 review. “Frank DeSomma, owner and founder of Patriot Ordnance Factory, instead decided to give people exactly what they had been asking for—an AR-15-size platform chambered for the .308 Win. cartridge."
Due to the success of his rifle designs and the compact, lightweight package offered by his company's POF-USA Revolution, American Rifleman staffers awarded DeSomma the Golden Bullseye award for Rifle of the Year in 2018.