Flat Rock – Cosaint is a Gaelic word that means “defend” or “protect.” It is also the name of a company in Flat Rock, Cosaint Arms. The company is the brainchild of Greg Mooney, a West Coaster who came to North Carolina by way of Texas.
He and his wife, Kim, moved here after Greg accepted a job to help with another North Carolina arms manufacturer. Five months into the job, the owner had a change of mind and set Greg afloat with a severance package and the idea of a new type of gun that Greg had been building in his head for a while.
“I’ve been in the shooting industry for a long time… I worked for a company down in Texas called STI, now called Sticoto, and I learned about handguns. They have a modular handgun that shoots really flat and controllable.” According to Mooney, when a gun shoots “flat,” it allows the shooter to get back on target quickly. These shooting characteristics of a handgun combined with double stack capacity are highly preferred in the competitive shooting field. A company he used to work for had 60% of the competition shooting market, and Greg wanted to bring that “flat shooting” to the commercial concealed-carry market.
Mooney started in the shooting industry in sales, then went to marketing and eventually into management. He left one company after 14 years as president of the company to go to work for Benelli’s, but a change in ownership ended that job. That’s when, in 2017, he was recruited to come to Asheville to help grow a small company. “But five months into a four-year contract, he [the business owner] changed his mind and decided he didn’t want any help. So here we are sitting in Asheville and I’ve got all this industry background that I’ve learned a lot about guns.”
While interviewing for other senior leadership roles, he said to Kim, “What if we build this handgun I’ve been thinking about?” They decided to start the company here in Western North Carolina in 2019. We ended up agreeing, ‘Ok, let’s start this handgun,” Greg says they started with single-stack semi-auto handguns. A single stack refers to how the gun’s magazine holds cartridges. A single stack holds fewer cartridges but is more concealable, whereas a double stack staggers rounds, so the magazine holds more rounds, but the grip is thicker and thus less concealable.
According to Mooney, the country has 22 million concealed-carry permit holders, but only 12% carry most of the time. The reason is that it’s hard to find a concealed carry gun that is comfortable to carry most of the time. He said most “buy a gun for their conceal-carry course… but what happens is they get sold a polymer small caliber gun. They don’t realize, ‘My gosh, this thing is so snappy and tough.’ I mean, it takes thousands of rounds… to get proficient and confident.” The trigger pull on those guns is also harder.
“I decided, well, let’s make this platform into this modular, controllable shooting gun. Let’s do it in a 1911, but let’s do it in a single stack,” explained Mooney. For those unfamiliar with the Colt 1911, it is one of the most beloved models of semi-automatic pistol that fires nearly a half-inch diameter bullet. It was the side arm of the US military from World War I until 1985.
Greg says the gun he produces is also preferred by women because of its shooting characteristics. He said one woman, who was having trouble finding a gun she liked, came to a demo, shot the gun, turned to her husband, and said, “I love this gun!” They bought one on the spot.
Mooney lives under no illusions about the cost of his gun. “We’re more expensive. Our single stacks start out at about $1,700, and our double stacks at about $2,000, and by that time, if you really want to doctor it up with a lot of stuff, you can get to $2,500 or $2,700, but that’s with a really extravagant paint job, threaded barrel, and upgrades.” However, the differences are worth the price.
Currently, Greg and Kim employ about five people in the business and make hundreds of guns annually as they grow their business. If you want to find out more about Cosaint Arms, just go to cosaintarms.com or call (828) 330-8214. They are open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.