MP: Okay, perfect.
AA: Alright, look, we’re here with Mike Pappas of Dead Air Silencers, and we’re doing an interview with Allen Arms Tactical, kind of a get to know you, better concept of getting to know people in the industry, and outside of the industry at that. What makes them tick, and some great life stories.
AA: So Mike, I guess the first question we want to ask, and as I said we’ve got a battery of questions here in no significant order, but what was the first moment that you realized that silencers might be the career path, or the choice that you would take in life?
MP: Wow, that is a great question. Now, of course, to set the groundwork I guess, I had purchased several silencers, you know, machine guns, SBRs, that sort of … you know, NFA business and that kind of led me to stop being an auto mechanic, and I was managing a retail gun store in Salt Lake.
MP: We sold cans and it’s when Advanced Armament started to get big. So we did a lot of Gemtech and AAC and then later when Yankee Hill kinda started coming on we started carrying some Yankee Hill as kind of a workings man’s can, as it were.
AA: Was this around early 2000s?
MP: No, this would have been, probably somewhere in the early 2000s, yeah.
MP: I get a little confused with timeline because I worked at the gun store every other Saturday just for fun because I really enjoyed it. I did that for a couple of years. So I had little overlap there. Sometimes it’s hard for me to… because I think, oh yeah I was at the gun store but then I wasn’t there full time. Ya know?
AA: So what all did you do Mike before you started every other Sunday you said you worked as a mechanic.
AA: What did you do before that?
MP: Well, I as a kid, of course, just trying to kind of find my way. Did some odd jobs and just kind of worked. I’ve always been really into cars, care repair, trucks and the like. I found myself doing a lot of mechanical work for people. I would cruise over to someones house and throw a clutch in or whatever.
MP: That lead me to become a full-time mechanic. Then I made my living as a full-time mechanic, all the while super interested in guns. I always have dabbled in the firearms. From there, I think just a… and I would never, ever tell a person to do what I’ve done. I’ve always found something that I really liked to do, that I loved to do, that I was interested in and it just kind of turned into a job for me. A way to make money while I still got to do that.
AA: Well that’s fortunate.
MP: So I don’t know that it’s… Yeah Right, but it’s dangerous.
AA: That’s true too. That’s true too.
MP: If you’re really passionate about something and try to be really good at it, do you best it’s fairly easy, I think it makes it much easier to be successful. I really want to answer your question now that you know a little bit more about me.
AA: Out of those [crosstalk 00:03:58] jobs that you’ve had. I’m sorry were you going to answer one?
MP: I was going to answer the question you actually asked. I wanted to set the stage.
AA: I’m sorry, okay, go ahead.[crosstalk 00:04:08]
MP: I’m managing a retail gun store and Johnathan Shults comes in. He’s talking to me about silencers and he wants to order a AAC Black Box, and I’m like, “That’d be awesome.” And I ordered it. And he’s like, “I want to pay for it.” And I told him, “No, let, just when it comes in you can pay for it and we’ll get the paperwork going.” We went back and forth on that a little bit cause I’d never actually seen one and I had placed an order and was waiting for it and Johnathan and I kind of got to know each other and then one day he trips in there and he says, after we found out we couldn’t get the Black Box and it wasn’t actually going to go into production. He said, “We should start a silencer company.”
MP: I was like, wow, that’s genius, I’m in. That was my first exposure to … we hadn’t even made it. It was just a silencer company and then it turned into SilencerCo then I was introduced to Waldron and Waldron’s brother, I left the gun store one day and we went to, I wouldn’t say a loan shark but let’s say a very high interest private financier. I walked out of there owing 20% of 300K. That’s how we started it. That’s how I started in the silencer business.
AA: All the jobs that you’ve had, going back to high school or before that. Which one was the worst and why, if you can summarize that?
MP: The worst job I every had. Man, that’s tough. I’ll just say that I’d never really had a job that I super hated, but I’d say the worst job I ever had was on the very , and forgive me, it was either the off ramp or the on ramp. It’s a giant one way street in Salt Lake. I don’t know if anybody listening has ever been there but 5th South and 6th South and one comes off, and one goes on the freeway. I worked while I was … I decided to get my Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic License prior, long before the SilencerCo, gun store business. While I was going to school for that I worked graveyard shifts in a gas station. Indeed, it sucked downtown. That was, I didn’t, I only did that for a couple months and I was like, I can’t do it.
AA: Where’d you get your A&P license from Mike?
MP: I got it from, it used to be called Utah Technical College, partway through I believe they renamed it Salt Lake Community College.
MP: In Salt Lake, kind of that area.
AA: Mike, you have your A&P, do you have any other licenses or certifications that people may not know about?
MP: I would guess that you’re going to guess that I have a couple of concealed firearm permits.
AA: Sure. I believe everybody would have probably have guessed that.
MP: Well, that’s not too shocking. Other than that I have a HAM radio license and I do that a little bit.
MP: I’m actually going to run a net this evening, later here about 8 o’clock my time.
AA: That’s cool.
MP: Probably not better than that.
AA: Well, let’s see, what was the first gun that you personally bought and do you still have it?
MP: No, I don’t have it and I was held hostage to purchase it. I started working at a resort in the Heber Valley. I lived in Heber and kind of, in the valley but up on the side of the mountain there’s a little town called Midway and I started washing dishes just about the time I turned, I might have been 12 years old, just for a minute in that summer, but let’s say I was 13 when I started there. My father … I wanted to get a 1911, I was young I know.
AA: Um-hm (affirmative)
MP: He said no and since he had to fill out the 4473, he made me buy the 6 3/4 inch Ruger Super Black Hawk Stainless 357 Mag. Which was cool because I was like 13 and I had this freaking Magnum Revolver. It wasn’t all bad. I ended up selling that just after high school. I never really drew a lot of love for the thing. I was more of a military surplus kind of a kid.
AA: Obviously that’s continued from everything we see and know about you.
AA: Yeah, we’ll get into that later.
MP: Yes it has.
AA: Just as a joke, was that Ruger the only thing that would fit your hands even as a 13 year old?
MP: Laughs. The Ruger was so freaking small for my hand. Painful to fire, cause my pinkie even at that age, was on the bottom and that, I don’t know what you’d call that style of grip. I’d call it a plow handle but it’s like a [inaudible 00:10:13].
AA: Unique redhawk.
MP: Yeah, it is meant to roll during recoil, and if your hands too long it feels like it’s meant to smash your pinkie finger off.
AA: Mike, is there a firearm that you don’t have but would like to, and what is it?
MP: Oh, yeah. I mean the list is super long and I could go on and on about that, but I’ve come to determine the only way that I can work in firearms procurement, if you will, is kind of like a shark. I’m a predator of opportunity. I’m not really sure what I’m looking for but I’ll know it when I see it. My niche is just too wide, and I would tell you where I really get fascinated and search a lot, I’m kind of on the hunt right now, I’d really like to have, I would prefer it to be a Howa but I don’t care if it’s from California or England, but I would like to have a Armalite AR-180.
AA: Yeah, I read a article about that just the other day.
MP: I think they’re awesome and I have an AR-18, but I’d like to have a little semi-auto companion, like a little chewed up sister for this one that I could shoot for a little bit more get too worried about.
AA: Right. Out of all the silencers that you own, which one is your favorite and why?
MP: Wow, that’s a good question because you … I’m going to answer that but I’m going to tell you I really favor suppressed rimfire and I find myself using, like I do a lot of business with rimfire. I tend to favor rimfire cans. I have several different rimfire cans from different manufactures and I think that was kind of the real exciting … when we started to do the mass development I was really into that because I really feel like that’s a super useful, it’s just something that you use. I would probably tell you if I had to pick one can, I would say, maybe a Wolverine. High powered rifle can, obviously, but that’s the can that I’m still really proud of. I think it’s kinda cool that we don’t have a lot of competition in that arena and no one wanted to monkey with it and that can can be freaking stupendous on the right host. I might say Wolverine.
AA: Alright, we’ll start with a little … insert some randomness every now and again.
MP: Alright, hit me with it.
AA: If you could know one secret that our government knows what would it be?
MP: Well, I think it would be obvious, the secret that everyone wants to know, who shot JFK?
AA: We had a debate about that years ago in the office. And mine was, “was there really aliens or not?” but several people were behind JFK too.
MP: Yeah, I think for me in all honesty, I don’t know enough to even answer that question. I’ll bet if you knew everything it would be shocking. I’m not even sure if I’d even want to know anything.
AA: Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
MP: It is, yeah, in my place, I’d say 100%
AA: I got one for you Mike, it’s another randomness. What’s the best purchase you’ve ever made? What would that be?
MP: Well, I would have to say a wedding ring.
AA: Grand slam there buddy. Way to go
MP: You know in all honesty and fairness I looked at myself and things over the years and now at this point I’ve really spent most of my life with my wife and I look at all the different possibilities, like how things play out. In other words we were at a show somewhere, maybe a Shot Show or something, you know how many lives were affected by Shults talking to me about SilencerCo or Eric Rogers called me and wanted to talk about starting another silencer company. When you think of something like that, when you think of the ripple in a pond effect or something like that. I’d say for me the very most important thing in my life has been my wife and I would probably be somewhere trying to dig a broken needle out of my arm under a bypass right now without her.
AA: That’s fair. Mike, if you could sit down with, and you kind of do this at Shot Show and other trade shows I’m sure. But if you could sit down with dealers who are skeptical or aren’t quite sure about getting into the Title II or the NFA game. What would you tell them or advise them on why it’s beneficial for them to, if they already have an FFL to go ahead and get an SOT and sell cans, if they’re legal in their state?
MP: You know, I would tell them If you take a look at history. There was a very hot debate that went on for many years over semi-automatic side arms, pistols, and revolvers in law enforcement. I would tell you to look back at that … let me just say, if a uniformed officer came to your assistance and he had a revolver, you’d be like, “Bro, thanks for coming but I got this.”
MP: If you’d come over here, “but dude, I don’t know why you brought an 8-track tape player, you cannot stuff it in my DVD, it won’t work.” The times have changed. You have seen the same thing with AR-15s, military style rifles in this country. If you chose not to sell anything to do with any kind of military style firearm your gun store is probably not going to make it. You’d have a very specific crowd and I don’t know that you’ve got enough people to support that. Why would you resist selling an AR-15 variant or NFA. If you want to, do that but, Dude, I can tell you that your long-term business plan maybe needs to be looked at in a little bit more depth.
AA: That’s a good point Mike, and I’ve thought about that a lot because I think that for looking back, you know I’m a little bit younger than everybody else, but I’ve seen back when the police and military were carrying revolvers and their long-gun was a pump shotgun. I’ve seen the transition to semi-automatic pistols and ARs are now what they go to. To me, it seems the civilian populace has kind of followed that trend, but it almost looks like for silencers, yeah the military is using them, yeah SWAT teams and other people are using them but it almost looks like the civilian population is outpacing the military and law enforcement with the dedication towards silencers and the awareness of what a useful tool they can be.
MP: And I think that the always have. The law enforcement switched from the revolver but the bulk of the regular population had already made the switch. Same thing with the shotgun where police were cruising around with shotguns and no one was using a defensive shotgun, per se. I think they’re always trailing behind and I think that just adds to my argument of we’re trailing behind and you can see it and it’s patterns has been repeated many times and will continue to do so.
AA: So we’ll go with another random one here Mike, okay? In your short time period on this earth, what is the most annoying trend that you’ve ever seen.
MP: Sighs…Damn, okay. I’ve got to say this, at first I didn’t really catch it because I was kind of young when it started. I would say that whole free-love hippie movement. That’s the most annoying trend I’ve ever seen.
AA: Yeah that caused a big shift in a lot of America. If you could go back and change that.
MP: Yeah, I would change that, yes, I’d kinda like how it was before when everybody was more on the same thing and kinda looked a little bit more alike and were all working for a common goal. I think you see a little degradation of US power since everybody started doing their own thing a little bit more. I don’t know, just me I could be wrong on that. But I find that whole movement kind of annoying.
AA: Alright, well here’s another piece of randomness. What is the worst that you’ve physically been hurt in your life.
MP: Well, I would say I cut my left index finger off with a skill saw.
AA: You didn’t bleed to death did you, because (giant hands)…
AA: Like totally severed it.
MP: Oh yeah, no, like I took it with me. I took the finger to the job, I’m taking the finger off the job.
AA: That’s good, nobody likes a litterer.
MP: No, I know. You start leaving digits around a job site and people are going super freaking angry.
AA: So obviously not the hippie love movement, but if you could go back in time to an era, when would you go and why?
MP: This may not be the answer that you want but I wouldn’t go anywhere.
MP: I don’t wanna go back. Sorry. I think that I really like what’s going on now, in general. Let’s say not perfect. I feel super blessed to be where I am, doing what I’m doing, the amount of technology, comfort and resources and information. I just don’t know why you’d want to go back. Like, I don’t want to but, that’s just, I don’t know.
AA: That’s cool.
MP: You think people want to go back?
AA: Well, you know some people either long for either the cowboy days or you don’t know how far people want to go back, but I agree with you. There’s a lot of creature comforts that we take for granted. Tremendous amounts. But some people have nostalgia and maybe to go back to simpler times, stuff like that. There’s not a wrong answer, none of these are wrong answers, they’re your answer thought.
AA: That’s why we’re asking you the questions.
MP: Can I do a hybrid of it?
AA: Yeah, sure.
MP: OK, I’d like to go back, sorry I don’t know all the time periods but I would like to take modern firearms and equipment back to like the dinosaur time. Just for a couple weeks and then come back.
AA: Or medieval times, you know, just totally change the course of history. Yeah.
MP: Yeah. If I could take some stuff back, my hybrid thing of mixing modern technology and going back could be fun.
AA: Yeah. If we have a follow up interview that will definitely be on there. (laughing) I got like a two piece thing here…Ok. Are you originally from Utah, your family, everybody’s from Utah?
MP: Yes, absolutely.
AA: So this is probably going to be, I probably already know the answer to this. If you retired today, would you want to leave and move anywhere or would you like to just stay right where you are.
MP: No, I love it here and I don’t ever want to go. The more I travel the more [serenity in that line of thinking that I am, there is no place that I would rather be than where I’m already at.
MP: So, that’s an easy one for me.
MP: OK, I switch it. I’m not really super good at this, and I get that. I’m not a great defensive handgun kind of a guy and I think it’s just because I’m a little disinterested in it. I just don’t think that I’m going to get in a gunfight.
AA: In Utah, where you live yeah.
MP: I mean we only have two stop lights, it’s not that big a deal. Without question, I will carry in an ankle cuff I carry a North American Arms .22 mag revolver. It’s a very base worst possible case secondary gun. Currently right now I’ve been on a Glock 42. The little .380 Glock.
AA: Little in your hands.
MP: Yeah but easy to carry, inside the pants like no problem. That mag of it isn’t chewing on stuff as I go by and I’m not worried about people seeing it.
MP: Some days, when that seems like too big of a pain I just roll with my North American gun and don’t even worry about it so much. If, when I change, when I get into heavier population or when I’m going to go on the highway. I don’t go to Salt Lake just with the North American gun.
MP: I’m just not super wound up about concealed firearms. I do it but it’s not one of those things, I don’t really get into it.
AA: Well, even beyond that, do you carry a pocket knife or a multi tool.
MP: I do, I carry a small Leatherman.
MP: And then I carry a Microtech out the front , fingernail clippers, a set of lock picks, and I carry, and maybe one of the things I use really the most is a Multitasker Twist. I’m always screw drivering or prying something with that thing. That’s pretty much what I carry. I’ve got a couple of things that I are made by US Palm. Their little ankle cuff. So you can just put whatever you want in their and never notice it.
AA: Yup I understand that.
MP: I’ve got all that stuff on the whole time we were at Shot Show. I don’t notice it, no one notices it and then I have a few things that I can use.
AA: Alright, you tossed us a soft pitch. Tell me about the lock pick set. And we can scrub any of this that you want!
MP: Sorry I didn’t quite hear you, say that one more time.
AA: Tell me about the lock pick set.
MP: I’m a fan of Sparrow Friend Lock Picks but I do have a couple of Peterson picks in there as well. I’ve helped people unlock stuff, and unlocked things for myself and now I just feel like having some lock picks is … I mean everyone’s different but for me it seems like totally worthy of, I mean they weigh next to nothing and they’re super flat, it’s not an issue. It’s not like I’m carrying around a holster on my belt or in my pocket in the way or whatever. I’m a fan of being able to pick a lock if I need to.
AA: One of the guys, we worked at the fire department, he routinely jimmies locks and it takes him just a minute or two but he’ll eventually get in there, most of them.
MP: Yeah, yeah, and I could be a lot better at it. On all the regular home type, less expensive pad locks and deadbolts and what not are certainly on the menu.
AA: So, are you good enough with them, if you totally left all your keys at home, could you make it through the day with your pick set?
MP: Hell yeah. Like I’ve picked into the office on a few days for forgotten keys, but I can pick the locks way faster than just driving home. A couple years ago I was in, I know you’ve never been to my house and I hope that we can get that changed at some point, but my house is about two or three hundred feet, that makes five, it’s 50 yards from the barn, and I’d locked my keys in the barn. I was like, “Shit, I can walk over to the house, get another key and then walk back out here.” But I was like, Dude, I can pick this stupid Kwikset before I could even get to the fence in the back yard. And then I do some locked keys. You know, sometimes if you want to re-key a lock that you don’t have the key, you gotta pick it, so you can get the keys out to reprint it and I’ve done that. Just enough to make it work worth doing as well.
AA: So, I have a question that everybody wants to know.
AA: Who’s your favorite band?
MP: Who is my favorite band. Finally, a freaking question that is super easy. AC/DC.
MP: That is my go to freaking band, period.
AA: So is it safe to say you like the rock n’ roll genre of music?
MP: I do, I like early to kind of, and sorry if there’s any AC/DC fans out there, but when they got old and shitty, I’m not really too into that.
AA: Yeah. I hear ya.
MP: And one thing that constantly annoys me, I can’t stand it when the current lead singer sings the dead lead singers songs. I don’t think Brian Johnson and Bon Scott should ever cross pollinate, sorry it’s just not right.
AA: Just move on, like you say, it’s a different shift in time.
MP: Yeah, you needs some hells bells on, dude, you’ve got plenty of your own songs, just do those.
MP: Quit making yourself seem like an idiot.
AA: Mike, with you loving Utah and ever time you travel, just to mention you wanting to stay there, retire there and never move. What is the furthest that you’ve ever been from home.
MP: Allen Arms.
AA: No, really.
MP: No that was just a joke.
AA: I was going to say.
MP: Okay, the furthest I’ve ever been from home, I’ve been down into the middle of Mexico, other than that I’ve never really left. I’ve never left North America, although I’ve had several opportunities to but always declined. I don’t want to go to Europe or anywhere, I just don’t have the want to do that. But I’ve been all over the US, East Coast to West Coast, the Gulf, up to Canada. That’s fine as of travel for me.
AA: Alright, so I’ve got another very random one for you. What would be the Mike Pappas air freshener go to. If you could make your house, your truck, everything smell like something, what would that be?
MP: Well I think this is actually a pretty obvious answer
AA: That or gun powder I’m going to guess
MP: Negative, no, Hoppe’s #9.
AA: I knew it
AA: See that’s classic, but I thought he was going to go just being the machine that he is.
AA: I knew it
AA: Yeah, Hoppe’s #9, my dad loved that stuff too.
AA: That’s Chad, he would wear it.
MP: Everyone does.
AA: Alright let’s see. We’ve got a battery of questions we’re trying to go with the flow and pick the most acceptable. OK, I’ve got one, another piece of randomness. If you had to give up one of your five senses which one would it be? And this is for the rest of your life.
MP: Well, I’ve thought about this and the easiest thing for me, and it could be either way, I could care less, I’d say taste or smell but I’d say taste would be my number one thing that I could mostly easily give up and not skip a beat. I’m not a big food guy.
AA: It might be an asset.
MP: I don’t care what it tastes, I eat to live, I don’t live to eat so, that’s what I would do.
AA: Got it, if you could go back in time and talk to 15-year old Mike, what would you tell him.
MP: I’m not sure what I would tell him, probably tell him to really try to figure out how to spell. I wouldn’t tell him that there was a thing called auto correct out there.
AA: Right, that would just make him lazy.
AA: Alright, I’ve got another piece of randomness, in your opinion what is the worst animal to be eaten alive by?
MP: Well, that’s a great question, I think that for me it would probably be a bear, and I think it’s because they have zero interest in the fact that you are still alive. It’s completely irrelevant and they don’t even know or care, they just eat. I think that’s a lot more likely than a crocodile or a shark attack for me.
AA: Do you guys have bears out there Mike?
MP: We do.
AA: Are you much of an outdoors man? I mean, obviously you go outside to shoot and everything, but do you hunt or fish or anything like that?
MP: You know I used to do quite a bit of fishing when I was younger, and I used to hunt quite a bit but, over the course of, I don’t know, let’s say from SilencerCo or maybe even before that when my daughters started to get a little older. It’s hard to schedule, and I’m not enough of a hunter to want to hunt to sacrifice someone else. In other words, this year when the elk hunt opened in Utah I was in someplace back east. I was at the NASGW or whatever. I can’t put in for it because I don’t even know if I’ll be home, so I don’t do much of that.
MP: Most of my outdoor activity is woodcutting lately.
AA: You got a log splitter or by hand?
MP: Log splitter.
AA: You would have to, what do you use the wood for?
MP: Well, my father-in-law heats his house with wood, but he’s just a little too old to get it so for the last five or six years maybe … I mean I used to help him but as time went on, maybe five or six years ago I just did it all for him. I usually cut about 9 cords a year. Cut, stack, split, haul and put it in his house. And then I burn maybe three or four cords a year in the barn for myself.
AA: Keep your barn room temperature with your stove?
MP: I’ve actually out there right now and I have a wonderful little fire going. I wish this was more video and I’d show it to you.
AA: We plan on getting out there, because I still have to drive the tank. It’s on my list.
MP: I’ll start you a fire up in person
AA: Are you more of a morning person, or a night owl.
MP: No, night. 100%
MP: Yeah, for sure. Last night, for example, I loaded 8 mm Mauser. Trying to load up some soft point, nice, German equivalent, 2600 foot per second 150 grain and I finished that up last night. I usually do my stuff that I want to do in the evening, the girls’ kind of slide off, they’re more morning people and then I do what I want for a few hours and then go to bed.
AA: Alright. About the reloader real quick. Is it a single stage? Or is it a progressive? Because I just don’t see you as a progressive guy but I could be wrong.
MP: No, I don’t do any progressive, I’ve got about a 20 foot bench I’m standing by right now. I have on the very front of it a Rock Crusher I think it weighs about 100 pounds. It’s like a 20 mil 50 press. I’ve got it necked down to an inch and a half, I use it for 50. Then I’ve got a Hollywood Turrett press and then I have an RCBS Ammo Master setup in single stage. Then a swager and then a primer. I’ve got a couple Redding T-7s, a Rock Chucker 2 I bought when I was a kid. Then I have 2 CH 4D presses, that’s kind of my lineup that I use.
AA: Before, Randall mentioned the tank Mike, it’s technically a BMP correct?
MP: It is a OT90 which is BMP-1 variant. Manufactured in Russia as a BMP-1 and then converted by the Czechs sometime after ’90, I’m not really sure, but OT90 is the configuration.
AA: Since that’s not something, that’s not an old hot rod or an old collectible muscle car, what’s the process if someone was so inclined to try to source one of those and get it over to the US. Can you just kind of give us a brief overview of how one goes about acquiring one of those.
MP: Absolutely, I’ve got a guy that I know in Utah that does a little importing and I was talking to him and one thing led to another and then I started talking armor and I pretty much just had him import it and he did all the paperwork and arranged to have it trucked from where it was to the port and inspected when it got to the US and then trucked to my house. So, it wasn’t that big a deal. He is pretty much the kind of dude that does that comfortably, I just have him do it.
AA: So, the most important piece being to find a trusted broker basically?
MP: I think so, yeah, I see a lot of people get, more often than not people get separated from their money and they never get it. But this dude had really good contacts and it went off without a hitch. It took about eight months from start to finish.
AA: Was he Russian?
MP: No he’s Mormon.
AA: Hopefully trustworthy
MP: No, wait, I take that back, I don’t think he is Mormon, he’s a dude from Utah, but I don’t even know if he’s from Utah originally. I’m going to have to ask him, I’m going to have to interview him a little bit. I need some background on this guy.
AA: Alright, so building on that question, so something happens and you’ve got a piece of mechanical equipment goes bad, where do you get the parts from to support that thing?
MP: It’s kind of like an AK in a way. This is the highest number of production series piece of armor if you will, so there are several sources that you can find parts from. Yeah, if you can’t retrofit or find something that will fit for what you need here then you can start to use your contacts and source it to get it sent in. I haven’t really, it’s not really broken down, everything works, it runs like a million bucks, it’s built like a tank. I haven’t really had to source too much other than like diesel fuel.
AA: So you’ve never broken a track or anything?
MP: No, I rented it to Discovery Channel in Cross Canyon Troopers Issue machine shop was doing that Banditos Armory “Brothers in Arms” show. They actually made me several tools for it while it was there. And we took a track off of it and put it back on, no big deal. The track pulls like it’s in good shape I’ve fine tooth combed every bolt link and I think they are all good and you can buy individual track parts, whatever you need and put them on there.
AA: Does it have the rubber boots? I don’t know if that’s the correct terminology.
MP: No it doesn’t.
AA: It does?
MP: No, it’s metal cleated.
AA: OK, cleated that makes sense. So you don’t want to take it on a paved road.
MP: I don’t know that, maybe when you turn on asphalt it feels pretty rough because it’s rubber padded. I’ve done that in the summertime in the deuce where it doesn’t have the power diverted between the two rear axles, it just has the jack shaft, so the tires have to actually give just a little bit in a real tight turn. I turned in a parking lot and felt kind of bad.
AA: And ate it up.
MP: I’m like, oh, you can see how much those nobby military tires just beat the beautiful little parking lot a little bit.
AA: So, that being an atypical vehicle, Mike, what other atypical vehicles does Mr. Pappas own?
MP: That’s the only deuce sadly. I’ve had the deuce for 16 years and I’ve loved it. I actually fired it up earlier this morning and pulled the hummer out of a snow drift with it. It’s been awesome for me, but I bought a 1083 A-1 so I’m going to sell the deuce. I don’t want to license, store, maintain when I can just use this 5-ton for everything I need to use the deuce for.
AA: Yeah, 5-ton-
MP: -back in the day.
AA: For what they cost they are incredible, and deuce and a half even for that matter. Buying a regular …
MP: Oh yeah.
AA: Commercial vehicle, you can buy an incredible piece of American steel for 15 grand.
MP: Dude I’m telling you, you can go nuts, if that’s your cup of tea. I mean most people, I mean it’s not really an option because generally speaking you can’t have a truck with three axels parked in a residential neighborhood, it’s a commercial vehicle and they won’t let you. And they are a little bit big but man, what a useful, I can’t imagine my life with a 1 Ton Dually, it just wouldn’t work for me.
AA: Right. Mike, can all your family members, can they operate all the vehicles that you have?
MP: No, I only have one daughter that has a drivers license, my 13 year old daughter, she’s totally on board with learning how to drive the deuce. I think they’re a little put off by it because you sit in there and there’s three pedals, you only have two feet and there’s three shifters and it’s a little squeaky. My older daughter did drive the 1083 but it’s got power steering and it’s like auto, you just push the button and just sit in it. It’s like driving a bus or a big car, it’s cake.
MP: No one has ever expressed any interest in wanting to drive the BMP.
AA: Yes, that’s hard to believe.
MP: Yeah, but they’re like girls, they could care less.
AA: Alright, change of subject. If you could sum up the internet in on sentence, what would it be?
MP: That’s a good question, I’ve never really thought about that. I would, I don’t know, on one hand I’m super thankful for it and on the other hand it’s very frustrating. I would say, “Dude, I’m not sure what’s going on there.”
AA: Alright, so Mike, you said that your a father to some girls. You, being a father. Give us a piece of fatherly advise.
MP: Okay, I’ve got a good piece of advise.
MP: And this has been the very helpful for Mrs. Pappas and I. We just always treated the girls like regular, more adult let’s say. Like regular people rather than children and have just been honest with them. I think that’s been helpful. In other words, if we’re going on a long car drive I’m like, “OK, this is like four hours. In 15 minutes when you ask me how long it’s going to be till we get there, I’m going to be it’s three hours and 45 minutes. Figure out how to work the time like everybody else does and then you can answer that for yourself.”
AA: I like it Mike, I like it.
MP: I think just less childish treatment of people, children, is helpful and I think they appreciate it. I didn’t like being talked or treated like a child when I was a child.
AA: Even when they are young you still protect their innocence but talk to them like competent people.
MP: Oh Yeah. You can be honest. I’m not saying you have these weird adult conversations that there is really no point in giving. I think you be honest about different kinds of people and things. I tried to provide a roadmap for life and not withhold the pieces that they need.
AA: What is something that Mike has never done, but you would like to. I couldn’t see Mike Pappas skydiving but that may be a thing that you want to do. What is something that you’ve never done that you really want to do Mike?
MP: I have to think about that. Don’t take this that I’m lackadaisical or not driven but take it that I’m really thankful for the experiences I had and I don’t have a lot of longing … a lot of things I’ve wanted to do I’ve been able to do which I’m super thankful for. When I tell you I as of late, I really, really wanted to do some helicopter hog hunting. Then several months ago, I got to do that and it was awesome. I’m not sure what my … I don’t really have a thing like that I think. If I really had something I think I would set a goal and try to make that happen.
AA: Back to vehicles Mike. What was the first car that you bought, or truck that you bought?
AA: Or motorcycle?
MP: I’ve never owned a motorcycle. A 1970 Chevy short bed 2-wheel drive. I would also like to say that this was much like the Ruger. (laughing)
MP: I was forced into this truck by my father when he saw what the car, my favorite car period of all time, ’69 GTO. I wanted to buy a ’69 GTO but my father was like, “No, you’re going to buy this truck. I’ll give you a little hand with it. You need a truck and that’s what your going to drive.” So, I made the best of it but I ended up trading that truck to a dude for a ’69 GTO so that worked out.
AA: Cool, that is cool. Do you still have the GTO?
MP: No, hell no.
AA: Ah Man.
MP: That would be, you know your life would have to be, there is no way I could have afforded all the storage. I wouldn’t even want it now. I figure it’s a super cool car and I love them but if someone gave one to me I would just want to get rid of it. I wouldn’t want to be the custodian of it.
AA: I got you. So about cars, tell us about the love affair with the Bonny.
MP: I would never say that it’s not a nice car because it’s a super nice car and I would tell you, you don’t drive the Bonny, you ride in it. (laughs)
MP: I’ve just had it for a long time and it’s been solid and it still runs good. I’ve driven it around a little bit today. If I go somewhere I pretty much drive it. It’s not really showing any signs of giving up per se so I just keep it. The Bonny is one of those things that’s like, it’s old and it sucks and there’s nothing cool about it. Then people are like, “Oh, well, I didn’t really picture that you’d have a car like that.” And I’m like, “Yeah but I’m not really a car guy. I just really want to get somewhere, I don’t want a Ferrari or Lamborghini.” In the back of my mind, that does not sound fun to me at all.
MP: Now I think of everyone that I know. I always have the worst automobile. I think over the years people have just been like I want to tease him but he seems like he really likes it so I’m just going to keep my mouth shut. That’s kind of how the Bonny is.
AA: Mike you spoke about your father a few different times and decisions he’s more or less made for you but maybe it’s kind of put you in the direction that you are in and made you appreciate the things that you have. Is he still alive first of all?
MP: No, he’s not. He died at 51 years-old. So I’ve actually outlived him by a couple of years at this point. I would just sum that up and tell you that he was quick to temper and a violent alcoholic. Which made me a, either, I think either you fall into that, but for myself it really made me do a lot of thinking about different things and I left with more of an understanding that I’ve got this great road map of how not to do it. In dealing with my daughters a lot, I would think, what would my father do? Well I’m certainly not going to do that, because I know that’s not going to work. So I think it really helped me in a lot of ways.
MP: I miss him and everything, but on the other hand I’ve tried to be a stellar father because of that.
AA: All right Mike, the last question buddy. The word on the street is that you had laundromat mishap some years back. So people are dying to know is it boxers or briefs.
MP: Wow. You know, anyone who knows me at all is not going to be surprised or shocked by this, but maybe the people out there, and it’s a story best told in person in my opinion. I would just give the base, since the underwear bandit struck in the summer of 1986 I have not worn underwear since.
AA: You gotta hate those bandits
AA: That’s a good way to end it Mike, because that way anybody who listens to this, reads this, they see you, they’re like, “Tell me about the bandit, the last question.”
MP: Well, I fear that I haven’t actually told the story, but I need to make some arm movements and jump around a little to really convey what actually took place on that particular evening.
AA: Sure, Na, you’re good man, that will leave it perfect man. Mike, thank you so much for your time buddy.
MP: Thanks for having me, that was awesome.
AA: We appreciate it and we plan on doing more in the future and you are literally our test run on this and we’re going to put this on our new blog here soon. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s up, we’ll send you a copy of everything, let you look over it to make sure your cool with it. If you need anything, buddy, you call us for sure and we greatly appreciate you.
MP: Alright, thanks.