Florida gunmaker KelTec has donated 400 rifles to the Ukrainian military to help its besieged forces beat back Russian attackers.
Adrian Kellgren, co-owner of the Cocoa-based company, recently told NewsNation that KelTec was diverting an order from a regular client in Odesa, Ukraine, to the Ukrainian defense ministry.
“The plan was they were going to be Ukrainian rifles. We’re going to get them into their hands,” Kellgren said.
Kellgren explained that KelTec received an order for the foldable 9mm carbine rifles in October. That came from a regular customer. The federal government approved the shipment in February, and the company began producing the rifles.
Then, Vladimir Putin invaded, and KelTec had no way to ship the weapons to its client, Kellgren said. So, KelTec opted instead to give them to the Ukrainian army. He said the rifles are “ideally for folks that want to conceal and move around in and around urban environments.”
The rifles, he added, are worth about $200,000.
Kellgren added that the company was hoping to get paid when the order was complete. But that’s not going to happen. Nonetheless, the rifles are on their way.
“For us, this is just right to get them over there so that they do what they were designed to do — defend their home and state,” he said.
Kellgren actually credited the Biden administration with facilitating the shipment.
He noted that the federal government took four months to approve the company’s export license for overseas shipment, which had to circulate through three federal agencies. When KelTec switched the recipient from its original end-user to the Ukrainian government, the process took just four days.
“Which was spectacular. I’ve never seen anything like that regarding the federal government and its agencies,” Kellgren said.
Kellgren said the rifles will be sent to an unnamed NATO country that will, in turn, shuttle them into Ukraine.
When asked if the rifles would make a difference considering the Russians’ seeming military superiority, Kellgren noted, “The only thing that’s going to make a difference, in this case, is the people using them.”
The “incredible zeal” of the Ukrainian fighters had held off a “superpower” for more than a month, he added.
“At the end of the day it’s the will to fight that’s going to carry the day,” he said.