Miniature Aluminum Extrusions and an Army Sniper: Similar Paths to Success

(Whitehouse, NJ. March 2019) The experience, credentials, and precision capabilities necessary to create a military-grade miniature aluminum extrusion is much like the demanding standards a U.S. Army sniper is held to: Total commitment and focus, performance at the highest levels, proven results, and nothing less than complete and successful results.

Minalex, an ITAR certified custom aluminum extrusion company in New Jersey, produces MIL-Spec parts for a variety of armed forces applications every day. From picatinny rails & scope rings to radiator core tubes for battle tanks, their ability to create extrusions with +/- 0.001” tolerances is essential to the army sniper’s ability to be accurate.

In this article, we compare the process an Army sniper goes through to achieve “mission accomplished” with the precision process Minalex utilizes to create the high-end extrusions that serve a variety of industrial sectors as well as the U.S. Military.

1.   Defining The Objective

Initially, an Army sniper needs to know the specific objective that the mission must achieve. By defining the purpose of the mission, the planning phase is established, and the sniper is able to perform the tasks effectively. When Minalex extrudes a custom, high-tolerance part, knowing its end use helps to identify the specific production processes and materials to achieve the need. For more than 50 years, the engineers at Minalex have helped Department of Defense contractors achieve greater levels of component precision at high volumes or help someone make their dream a reality.

2.   Planning The Mission

The sniper is intimately involved in planning the mission to achieve optimal results; considering the people, responsibilities, calculations, positioning, as well as the start and end points. When Minalex develops plans to manufacture a small aluminum extrusion, such as a rail-based accessory carrier on an Army helmet, they select the right designers and operators on their team to create the engineering specifications, run the extrusion machines, plan for timing & deadlines, and architect how the beginning stock material results in the perfect miniature aluminum part.

3.   Measuring For Accuracy

Factored into a sniper’s calculations are temperature, projectile velocity, distance, drop, and weather conditions. They will take all of these elements into account, then calculate what equipment adjustments are needed to hit their target. The process of extruding extremely precise miniature aluminum parts considers very similar influences. The temperature of the metal, feed rate, length, and integrity of the material are influential factors in the process. This is especially important when extruding parts like scope rings, which have to be perfectly finished for proper mounting; or for blasting caps, which carry explosive materials and are required to channel an explosion with extreme precision. Minalex will engineer the process to the required end result, thus creating extrusions that achieve walls as thin as 0.020” and hole diameters as small as 0.060”.

4.   Taking Action

The sniper prepares for action as they rest their cheek on the stock, focusing their aim through the glass of the scope. They breathe deeply three times, on the third exhale only half of the air, pause, and squeeze the trigger. The sniper trusts their equipment will perform exactly as expected. Their trust in the carrier rings for the scope comes from the knowledge that the rings are crafted from optimum quality extruded aluminum parts extruded by Minalex. When Minalex squeezes, or more accurately, pushes the button on one of their extrusion machines, they know that their preparations and calculations are resulting in the parts that maintain the safety and accuracy of our army snipers.

5.   Completing The Mission

As the mission objective is fulfilled and the sniper returns to debrief, they prepare to disassemble and clean their equipment. As they remove the attached bipod, strap and thermal optic, then place the protective covering on the scope, the sniper is thankful for the exceptionally well-crafted rails to which accessories are easily and confidently secured.

Minalex is trusted to extrude picatinny rails, scope rings, and other accessory attachments for the armed forces for one very important reason – they are the best at what they do, and they do not sacrifice anything that will compromise quality when it comes to those who sacrifice everything for their country.

Specification Icon


We extrude and supply aluminum profiles up to 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) in diameter. Our aluminum extrusions can have tolerances as tight as +/- 0.001" on one or more dimensions of an extrusion, depending on the shape.

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Minalex alloys are sourced in North America and feature a number of series, including alloy 1100, 3003, 6063, 6463 and 6061.

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Our capabilities include Lbs/Ft <= 1.500, kg/m <= 2.2322; Sections >= 0.003 in, >= 0.076 mm; and circle size, <= 3.500 in. <= 8.890 cm.

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