The SureFire tale begins in 1969 when a young engineer with a Ph.D. from Cal Tech decided that his future lay in lasers. Dr. John Matthews founded the Newport Corporation to harness the power of this technology for industrial applications. Over the next decade, the Newport Corporation grew to become a leader in the field, pioneering a host of industrial uses for the laser. Patents were issued, contracts were won and business boomed.
In time, Dr. Matthews decided to forge a new trail, merging his expertise in laser technology with his passion for firearms. Experimenting with weapon-mounted lasers, he quickly realized their potential, and chose to devote his life to the pursuit of avant-garde tactical solutions geared toward military and law enforcement use. In 1979, these concepts became reality as he designed and patented the first commercial laser sight for use on a firearm.
The original laser sight was large and unwieldy, and further refinement of the technology would have required the board of the Newport Corporation to approve substantial investments outside its core business interests. So Dr. Matthews, along with several key members of Newport’s technical staff who shared his vision, approached the board with an offer to buy the laser sight business. When their offer was accepted, Dr. Matthews resigned as president of Newport Corporation and assumed leadership of the newly formed company — Laser Products — which would later see its name changed to SureFire. Now he could devote all of his energy toward the commercialization of laser sights for firearms.