EDITOR’S NOTE: Enter to Win these guns at the bottom of the page!
Ladies and gentlemen, the Ballistic Custom Challenge is back again! It has been almost a year since I’ve had the pleasure of showing our readers work from the top customizers in the business, and it seemed fitting to bring back the pros at Outlaw Ordnance to show off some new coating tricks on a pair of rowdy troublemakers: Springfield Armory’s new Hellion 5.56 bullpup rifle and upsized Hellcat Pro 9mm wearing a Hex Wasp red-dot optic.
Outlaw Ordnance Hell Raisers
While the etymology of their names doesn’t seem to have any particular relevance concerning fiery and eternal punitive suffering, it does seem the most obvious theme for a custom paint job. Also, it would be hard to argue that Springfield had no intention of conjuring devilish thoughts releasing these guns after their Saint series of rifles and pistols, therefore I believe we can be spared judgment, even though we might have fallen to temptation!
The Devil (and Angel) In The Details
The paint scheme on these two guns is the culmination of months of work by the Outlaw Ordnance crew to develop a new process in custom coatings. Traditionally, to create a pattern or image on a surface, the paint is sprayed in layers where the top coats are masked to allow the lower colors to show through. Or for a “battle-worn” look, the upper paint layers are distressed and removed by hand with abrasive paper or power tools.
But the finish on these guns is 100-percent laser engraved. Basically, by writing their own computer software, Outlaw Ordnance can use CNC lasers to remove the upper layers of the ceramic-based paint in very thin passes. The paint is sprayed on at only one-micron thickness, so the laser’s power and process must be very precise. Once tuned, it can be used to cut an image into the paint layers with as many colors as the project may require.
In this case, the guns were sprayed with red, then top-coated with black. The laser then slowly removes the black in passes, allowing computer-controlled precision and a level of detail work that would be nearly impossible to accomplish by hand.
“We have been playing around with this technique for a while,” said Outlaw’s co-owner Chip “Cheeto” Pierce. “This project—spurred on by the somewhat possessed Ballistic magazine editors—pushed us to put the finishing touches on the process. We decided to go with a more photorealistic theme. The quality is ungodly, no pun intended.”
On the topic of the divine, co-owner Nakia “Nacho” Jackson was quick to point out that, “We as a company are founded on God. This is only the second gun that has left our facility with ‘hell’ included in the theme.” Jackson felt compelled to include imagery of Archangels within the design to add balance. “I wasn’t doing a hell-based theme without it also being a heaven and hell theme.”
Jackson and Pierce were also quick to point out the necessity of having great support. Four team members worked to get these guns out the door. Cody Johnson is the machine department manager for Outlaw Ordnance and was integral in developing the laser software itself, as well as programing the specifics for this job. Will May and Calvin Chapman designed the Heaven and Hell theme, and Clayton Chapman had the fun job of disassembling the just-released Hellion—a rifle that until that day had never been seen by anyone at the company.
“Shoutouts to our team are important; giving them kudos from time to time is always a plus for us,” said Pierce. “We always enjoy these Ballistic Custom Challenges. We like being challenged. It’s what we strive for, to push the envelope.”
All that work has definitely paid off on this project. The detail and realism of the imagery are next level. I was definitely scratching my head before I had the chance to pick Jackson and Pierce’s brains on how they accomplished the process. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next! For more information, please visit outlawordnance.com and springfield-armory.com.
Want more? To see the full review on each gun, along with more incredible photography on these amazing builds, check out the June-July 2022 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Get your copy today at OutdoorGroupStore.com.
Enter While It’s Hot
Enter for your chance to win the Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro or Hellion 5.56 rifle, customized by Outlaw Ordnance. Better still, we’re throwing in an Elite Survival Systems Covert Operations Case as well! Enter below or CLICK HERE.