“Max Hamilton started making Plastifletch back in ’48. My dad and his partner, Charlie Sandland, purchased the company in 1971. A year later, Charlie lost his battle with cancer, and that’s how my mom and dad came to own the company. They took it from there,” Dan Fisher, AAE vice president, recalled.
In the early ’70s, Arizona Archery Enterprises was a premier nock and vane manufacturer, and in 1973 its products had shifted to utilizing injection molding. Four years later, the operation was moved to Prescott, Arizona, and within three years operations were expanded to accommodate custom molding projects for other companies. “Then in 1980 we brought out the Fisher sight, which was one of the first crosshair optical sights,” Fisher continued.
During the remainder of the ’80s, AAE innovated several improvements in materials and the injection molding process. “Back in the ’70s everything was a rigid vane. In the ’80s everything went to flexible. AAE led the way with new designs and materials, and by the late ’80s we were making custom molded nocks for Easton,” Fisher recounted.
In 1990 AAE purchased an extrusion line and changed its manufacturing process from injection molding to extrusion and die stamping. “The change in manufacturing process in 1990 was a big hump for us. As a result, we went from producing 1.5 million vanes a year to 15 to 20 million in the next year or two. What used to be a year’s worth of production, we could produce in about two weeks,” Fisher boasted.
The switch to extrusion also opened up new markets in the medical and electronics industries, but archery has always been AAE’s main focus and primary breadwinner. In 1992/1993 the company came out with a new vane line and introduced a fast-set gel to go with it. “That was a big thing for us. We kind of cornered the market on how to put on vanes quickly and have them actually stick to the shaft. Our activator was applied to the base of the vane, and today it still works better than anybody else’s,” Fisher explained.
In 2006 AAE expanded again when it acquired Cavalier. “We don’t believe in copying others, and that’s why our product line sort of stagnated for several years. The purchase of Cavalier opened new markets and product lines to concentrate on,” Fisher said.
For 2011 AAE’s two biggest projects are the DOA and Pro Drop arrow rests. The DOA is a full-capture fall-away rest that has a delay trigger system to stay up longer, then, quickly fall away. The Pro Drop is a limb-driven system that works off a stainless steel cable that attaches to the limb. According to Fisher, “Both rests have shown record sales for us. The Pro Drop is pretty much the premier fall-away rest out there. Also new for 2011 is our Gold Line, which is all FITA-based products for the target market.”
(928) 772-9887; www.arizonaarchery.com