Sons of Guns

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Sons of Guns
Sons of Guns titlescreen.png
  • Will Hayden
  • Stephanie Ford
  • Kris Ford
  • Joe Meaux
  • Charlie Watson
  • Glenn Fleming
  • Vince Buckles
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes65 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Stephen Land
Producer(s)Dane Walker Chase
Production location(s)Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Running time
  • 30 minutes with commercials (season 1)
  • 60 minutes with commercials (season 2–5)
Production company(s)Jupiter Entertainment
Original networkDiscovery Channel
Original releaseJanuary 26, 2011 (2011-01-26) – May 16, 2014 (2014-05-16)

Sons of Guns is a reality television series that aired on the Discovery Channel[1] between 2011 and 2014. The series centers on Red Jacket Firearms LLC, a Louisiana-based business that manufactures and sells custom firearms to law enforcement, security firms, and private collectors. Will Hayden was the founder and owner of the shop, while his daughter and business partner Stephanie managed the office.

As on the Discovery Channel series MythBusters, this show practices a degree of self-censorship and safety-consciousness. Each episode begins with a staff member (usually Will) warning viewers not to try anything demonstrated on the show at home. In addition, during scenes of catastrophic failure, the crew will remind the audience not to try anything at home. The program also makes a noted point to avoid showing specific detail of how weapon modifications or fabrications are performed.

After five seasons, the show was canceled on August 27, 2014, as a direct result of Hayden's arrest on various sexual charges. On April 7, 2017, Hayden was convicted on two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape.[2] On May 11, 2017, Hayden was sentenced to two life sentences plus 40 years in prison to be served consecutively, for rape of two girls between ages of 11 and 13.


  • Will Hayden – Owner (No longer affiliated as of August 26, 2014)[3]
  • Stephanie (née Hayden) Ford – Office Manager (Will's daughter[4])
  • Kris Ford – Production Manager (Stephanie's husband, Will's son-in-law)
  • Joe Meaux – COO[5]
  • Charlie Watson – Forensic Firearms Expert/Marketing Manager
    • In addition to their listed roles, all staff members also work as gunsmiths.

Recurring clients and experts[edit]

  • Glenn Harrison – Antiques collector/history enthusiast
  • Barry Borum - Gun manufacturer (also assists the crew in some builds as an outside contractor)
  • David P. Michaels - Flamethrower expert
  • Ira Sellers - Big Bores / Heavy weapons expert
  • Jim Fuller - Rifle Dynamics[6]
  • Billy Cho - Rifle Dynamics[7]
  • Chris Ledford - Alias "The King of Guns"[8]
  • Natalie Foster - Girl's Guide to Guns[9]

Former staff[edit]

  • Vince Buckles - Former shop manager/head gunsmith who resigned at the end of season 2, and briefly returned as an outside contractor for part of season 3. As of season 4, Vince is still featured on the show as he has opened his own gun shop (Mesa Kinetic Research or MKR) near Red Jacket.[10]
  • Glenn "Flem" Fleming – Former shop welder who parted ways to open Acadiana Gunworks near Lafayette, LA and his own YouTube channel The Gunners Vault. Flem and his team still appear, but as outside contractors.[11]


  • Stephen Land (executive producer)
  • Patrick Leigh-Bell (co-executive producer)
  • Stephanie Buxbaum (co-executive producer)
  • Dolores Gavin (executive producer for Discovery Channel)
  • Zac McFarlane (director/cinematography)
  • David Vanacore (music)
  • Eric Johannsen (editor)
  • Todd Beabout (editor)
  • Edward Klau (editor)
  • Mike Le (editor)

Other appearances[edit]

  • The staff of Red Jacket also made an appearance in the second episode of the second season of American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, asking Paul Jr. Designs to help them with a dragon-themed machine gun design.
  • Will Hayden and Rich Wyatt (of American Guns) hosted the Discovery Channel special Top 10 Shootouts in which they discussed and demonstrated firearms used in events of American History.[12] Will Hayden also made an appearance in another Discovery Channel documentary, How We Invented: Guns, which aired following the season 4 finale episode.


Sons of Guns first aired on the Discovery Channel on January 26, 2011 with the pilot episode “Civil War Cannon, Shotgun silencer.”

Legal issues[edit]

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms settlement

According to, during a routine inspection by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) in 2009, Red Jacket could not account for ten registered firearm parts. In a settlement, William Hayden and Stephanie Hayden surrendered their gun-making licenses and were allowed to choose a licensed individual to control Red Jacket. Initially, that person was Vincent Buckles, but Buckles has left the company and now two other individuals control the company.[13]

In a WBRZ article, Attorney Craig Davidson, Jr., said that 10 guns did not go missing from the shop. Instead, one or two guns were stolen during 2001–2008. Davidson claimed the rest of the missing guns were receivers that were thrown away or destroyed when gunsmiths made mistakes. Although Davidson characterized the lost weapons as "simple bookkeeping errors", the ATF requires serial-numbered parts to be tracked. Will and Stephanie Hayden did not keep track, so, according to Davidson, Hayden and the ATF mutually agreed to shut down Red Jacket, Inc.[14]

Davidson further stated that at that time, Hayden was already in discussions with the Discovery Channel about the show and had plans to start another business, Red Jacket Firearms, L.L.C.[15] Will Hayden is not an officer of Red Jacket Firearms, L.L.C. When Davidson was asked why Hayden was not an officer, Davidson stated the reason was a "confidential business decision".[14]

Dallas Fort Worth airport incident

In September 2011, Jupiter Entertainment, the Sons of Guns production company, made the evening news when its staff member, on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, parked a rental truck, containing automatic weapons and pyrotechnics, outside the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport while waiting for a colleague. Part of Terminal B was closed for several hours while the FBI investigated but found no wrongdoing. An executive of the production company said he regretted the incident and blamed it on "a simple yet colossal error in judgement by a member of our staff."[16]

Rape, abuse, and assault arrests

On August 27, 2014, the series was abruptly cancelled after it was revealed that child endangerment, child rape, and abuse charges were brought against Will Hayden.[17] "Given the serious and horrific nature of the charges against Will Hayden, we have decided to halt further production of 'Sons of Guns' and cancel the series," a Discovery Channel rep told TMZ.[18] After the announcement, the Discovery channel website was "scrubbed" of information about the show.[19] In September Hayden's eldest daughter, business partner, and 'Sons of Guns' co-star, Stephanie Hayden, changed her claims from that of defending her father to accusing him of also raping and abusing her as a child.[20]

Since the cancellation of the show, Kris Ford was arrested on child abuse charges and for assault on a minor. Stephanie Hayden-Ford, who is the mother of the child from a previous relationship, was also arrested for assault charges on Friday October 17, 2014. Bail was set at $25,000 each according to WWL,[21] which was paid and the pair was released from jail.[22]

Juvenile rape conviction[edit]

On August 11, 2014, Hayden was arrested and charged with molestation of a juvenile and aggravated crimes against nature. Hayden said that the allegations are false and were made in retaliation by a vengeful ex-girlfriend, the 12-year-old girl's mother.[23][24] He was subsequently charged with rape of a child based on the statements of the victim.

The charges led to the cancellation of Sons of Guns.[25] Hayden was additionally accused of aggravated rape by his oldest daughter. She told police that she was raped 22 years before when she was 12 by her father, Hayden. She came forward after the allegations were made against Hayden.[26] As a result of this last charge, his bail was raised from $200,000 to $350,000.[27] In January 2015, he pleaded not guilty.[28] In August 2015 the judge relieved Hayden's three private lawyers from the case per the lawyers' request. The lawyers said that confidential conditions for their representation hadn't been met, but that there was "no bitterness" between them and Hayden. Hayden was represented by a public defender at a later court date.[29]

On April 7, 2017, Hayden was convicted of two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape, of two girls over the course of two decades.[30] On May 11, 2017, Hayden was sentenced to two life sentences (mandatory for aggravated rape), to run concurrently, plus 40 years, to run consecutively, in prison. He is not eligible for any parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, and will spend the rest of his life in custody.[31]

On July 12, 2017, after pleading no contest to the charges facing him, Hayden was sentenced by Livingston Parish Judge Robert Morrison to a third life sentence for rape. Morrison ordered that the new sentence shall run concurrently with Hayden's previously ordered sentences. Hayden has now been sentenced to three life sentences plus 40 years and was transferred to Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hibberd, James (December 16, 2010). "Discovery Orders Hidden Treasure Reality Shows, Renews Three Others". The Hollywood Reporter.
  2. ^ "Former Sons of Guns Star Will Hayden Found Guilty of Sexual Assaults of 2 Girls: Reports". Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Red Jacket website".
  4. ^ "Red Jacket staff biographies". Discovery Channel official show website. 2013. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  5. ^ Staff. "Joe Meaux". Sons of Guns biographies. Discovery Channel. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  6. ^ Episode 307 about Desert AR; episode ? lending Cho to RJF
  7. ^ Episode 40? helping out at the shop
  8. ^ Episode ? auction bidding; episode 403 buying Nambu parts and pistol
  9. ^ Episode 303 discussing products with Stephanie; episode 404?(37) mailbag.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-25. Retrieved 2013-05-18.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Rich and Will's Top 10 Shootouts". IMDb. February 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  13. ^ Staff (December 23, 2011). "'Sons of Guns' Stars Punished by the Feds for Major Firearms Violations". TMZ. EHM Productions, Inc.
  14. ^ a b Ryan, Stephanie (December 27, 2011). "Stars of "Sons of Guns" dispute TMZ report". Baton Rouge, LA: WBRZ-TV.
  15. ^ The WBRZ article refers to Red Jacket, LLC, but the actual name from Louisiana Secretary of State records is Red Jacket Firearms, L.L.C.
  16. ^ Gordon, Scott; Sakmar, Elvira (September 12, 2011). "Security Scare Closed DFW's Terminal B Temporarily". Dallas-Fort Worth, TX: KXAS-TV. Associated Press. An executive of the production company said he regretted the incident and blamed it on 'a simple yet colossal error in judgement by a member of our staff'.
  17. ^ "Gun company cuts ties with reality TV star". AP. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  18. ^ "Reality star accused of rape, child molestation". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-08-28.
  19. ^ Moyer, Justin. "The scary past of former 'Sons of Guns' star — and alleged rapist — Will Hayden". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  20. ^ "Sons of Guns' Star Stephanie Changes Her Story... Dad Raped Me Too". TMZ. Retrieved 2014-09-07.
  21. ^ "Bruise leads to arrests of ex-'Sons of Guns' stars in Livingston". WWL. Retrieved 2014-10-26.
  22. ^ "Two Sons of Guns reality stars arrested for beating nine-year-old boy with a leather belt". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 2014-10-28.
  23. ^ "'Sons of Guns' star booked on child molestation in Baton Rouge". The Times Picayune. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
  24. ^ "Hayden rape accusations". Bearing Retrieved 2014-12-04.
  25. ^ "Gun company cuts ties with reality TV star". Associated Press.
  26. ^ "Hayden rape accusations". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
  27. ^ Hodges, Quincy (2014-09-10). "'Sons of Guns' star bond raised to $350k; Hayden's daughter to appear on Dr. Phil Thursday". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
  28. ^ "Hayden awaits trial". Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  29. ^ Lane, Emily (August 20, 2015). "Ex-lawyer of former 'Sons of Guns' star accused of raping child: 'There's a lot of evidence in this case'". Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^

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