From Sniper to Salesman

While many of his teammates on Highland Park’s 2005 state championship football team might have been dreaming of the NFL or chasing corporate goals, Morgan Hudnall’s mind was elsewhere.

As a teenager, the former HP receiver was almost obsessive in his admiration of the military, such as Navy SEALS or Army Delta Force rescue units. He earned a scholarship to SMU and played for two seasons there, but his heart wasn’t in it.

Instead, he joined the Army, spending seven years in special ops forces overseas. He was a sniper team leader in an Army Ranger battalion until suffering what was classified as a traumatic brain injury that left him unable to parachute or perform demolitions.

“It was awesome,” Hudnall said of the military experience. “I was surrounded by the best of the best.”

More recently, Hudnall left Dallas on Sept. 11 to spend a year as a private military contractor in Iraq. It’s his fifth tour of duty in the Middle East in the past decade.

Such a background has led to a natural affinity for military weapons, which he hopes to parlay into a career with Unscathed Arms, a local company he co-founded with Jay Liske, another former Army Ranger from Carrollton.

Hudnall and Liske both work for a small risk-management firm in Dallas whose client roster includes several high-end gun enthusiasts, such as some of Hudnall’s old contacts in the Park Cities. The duo was asked frequently by curious clients for expert feedback — whether on rifles for hog hunting and target shooting, or handguns for self-defense — so Unscathed Arms became a natural extension of that.

“The military background is huge,” Hudnall said. “Would you rather buy from someone who works at a gun store or an ex-Ranger?”

The company uses military-grade optics in its designs of special ops-style assault rifles and other firearms. Hudnall and Liske outsource the manufacturing but eventually hope to move all custom assembly in-house.

“We guide them through the building process so they know their weapon inside and out,” said Liske, who was a Ranger in Afghanistan and completed a tour at the notorious Restrepo outpost in the Korengal Valley. “It’s a high-performance machine that’s almost like a status symbol. A lot of people will get a cheap rifle and put expensive parts on it, but you get what you pay for.”

The company is finishing up its licensing and concept this fall in hopes of launching before the end of the year. Hudnall and Liske hope to find an upscale niche that separates them from traditional gun dealers and targets those who want suppressors and other high-end amenities.

Unscathed Arms also offers training for clients who purchase new weapons, both indoors at the company’s headquarters and at an outdoor range near Waxahachie. Their sessions go well beyond fundamental CHL requirements — something both men are passionate about.

“The biggest problem is the lack of training. Just because you’re a responsible person doesn’t mean you’re a responsible gun owner,” Liske said. “If you’re going to buy an expensive weapon like this, you need to know how to use it.”

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