Spring-Ford High School alumnus Peter Palma, a USMC sniper and current contestant on the TV marksman show ‘Top Shot All Stars’ has also been busy as an entrepreneur.
Palma and his longtime shooting buddy now-business partner Trevor Jordan have patented and produced the MS Clean (pronounced ‘Miss Clean’) which is short for Magazine Shaped Cleaning Kit. The product is a specialized cleaning kit for the AR15 rifle – the rifle widely used within the U.S. military and also among the world’s most popular tactical civilian-owned rifles. The MS Clean, while to be available to anyone, was designed with the professional soldier in mind.
While he was deployed in Iraq, Palma had spoken to Jordan about how outdated and impractical the cleaning kits issued by the military were for the troops. He said that the kits being used by today’s military are almost the same as those issued decades ago during the Vietnam War.
“This is not a novelty... ...this was needed years ago.”he said.
Palma decided that troops needed a crush-proof case that would better protect their cleaning kit components - particularly the small containers of cleaning solution which would get knocked around and inevitably leak. Another key component to the MS Clean is rigid cleaning rods which are superior to the standard issue flexible cables for clearing obstructions in an AR-15 barrel. The design of the case’s shape – similar to an AR-15 magazine - is so the kit can fit into a standard magazine pouch and be attached anywhere a soldier would need. As a safety feature for civilian use they also made the case’s ends a bit larger than an AR-15 magazine so that they cannot be ‘loaded’ into the rifle.
“In the military no one is going to confuse magazine pouches,” Palma added.
For funding the project Palma and Jordan decided to use the popular website, Kickstarter. Kickstarter allows people to fund projects listed on the website in an ‘all or nothing’ manner - project creators set a funding goal and deadline and their projects must reach these criteria to receive the money pledged by supporters and begin the project.
Palma said that he and Jordan decided to try MS Clean on Kickstarter after they saw another project, a scope cover, raise $20,000.
The MS Clean project needed to raise $16,000 alone just to have the die cast for the case (by far the most expensive cost). They set their target goal at $30,000 and they finished within their 30-day deadline with $36,328 from 598 Kickstarter ‘backers’ – making it 121% funded.
As part of the fundraising effort, backers could even pledge to send a MS Clean to a combat zone.
“People care about the troops so we created an option that would let (backers) send one to a solider that is currently serving. As soon as it is produced it is going to the troops,” Palma said, adding with a laugh that Marine Privates and Lance Corporals are ideal for a durability test since they have the potential to break anything.
With the project funded as of the July 28 deadline, the next steps are CAD drawings, production of a prototype made from injection molds, and review and inspection of the prototypes by Palma and Jordan before final production. Once the cases are created, the internal components will be sourced from the best manufacturers that Palma and Jordan can come to agreements with. The estimated date for when backers will have MS Cleans in their hands is January of 2014.
Palma said the next generation of the MS Clean, a case twice as thick as the original that will fit in the widely used double magazine pouches, will soon begin after fulfillment of the first generation. Considerations are being given to also including first aid, survival, and ‘escape and evade’ components to the larger kits.
“We will have a bigger snowball to start with, on a steeper hill,” Palma said.
He also offered thanks to those who funded the MS Clean project.
“I want to say thank you, not only from me, but from the troops. By supporting this (project) people are supporting our troops in combat. This is something that the troops really need, and the people who support us recognize that.”
As an aside, when asked how things are going for him in this current season of Top Shot, he offered the following:
“We are about half-way through. Things are getting incrementally harder and I’m still hanging in there.”
To find out more about the MS Clean, visit its Kickstarter page at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/823246061/ms-clean-the-magazine-shaped-cleaning-kit
Watch Palma on Top Shot All Stars by streaming the show on www.History.com or watch the show on the History Channel Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST.