Brad Bonhoff, the owner of Bahnhof Machine, has always had an affinity for anything mechanical, which is why he spent 25 years in the automotive industry as an ASE-Certified Technician—working first for Ford Motor Company and then running his own successful automotive business.
During that time, Brad became an avid and responsible gun owner who began to shoot competitively at various USPSA and IDPA events. To date, he’s won nearly 15 matches and has become an expert marksman. At first, Brad used stock guns, but as he honed his skills he began to custom build his own firearms.
Like most entrepreneurs, Brad started his company as a part-time business. The company was originally founded as Phoenix Arms—a name chosen because of its symbolism. Having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades, Brad’s goal was to turn his passion for firearms into a thriving business. In 2015, he converted part of his 1,500-square-foot automotive shop, located near Williamsburg, Virginia, into a state-of-the-art gunsmithing facility. Customers were not only impressed by Brad’s knowledge of firearms, but by his amazing craftsmanship and attention to detail. Within a few short years, Brad developed a tremendous following and Phoenix Arms was doing quite well.
The Move South
In the Spring of 2018, Brad, and his wife Missy, decided to relocate to Orlando, Florida so they could be closer to Brad’s parents and their favorite vacation spot. He began working for Rush Truck Center as a Ford Master Auto Technician. And although Phoenix Arms was doing pretty well as a part-time venture, there was one constant annoyance. Brad would often get calls from people looking for a different Phoenix Arms. At first, it wasn’t a big deal, but after more than a year, and with no end in sight, this was clearly a problem. Thankfully, that problem was about to be fixed—for good.
In September of 2020, Brad was sent to Richmond, Virginia to work on a new fleet of UPS trucks. While he was there he reached out to an old friend who specializes in HK conversions. They discussed their shared passion for classic firearms and reminisced about the good old days before the liberal left had lost their minds. His friend showed him his shop and some of the stuff he was working on, including a huge backlog of HK Conversions. It was at this point that Brad realized that guns were his passion, not trucks.
Later that day, Brad informed his employer, and his tremendously supportive wife, that his days in the automobile industry were done. He then spent the next 100 days working on dozens of HK Conversions, improving his skills as an expert machinist, and helping to clear his friend’s tremendous backlog.
The Death of Phoenix
During the three months he helped his friend, Brad had a lot of time to discuss the future of his new business, which was given a fresh new focus—Heckler & Koch Conversions. Although Brad could have easily reinvented Phoenix Arms, he saw this as an opportunity to finally separate himself from the similarly named company in California. No longer would he receive daily calls from gun owners looking for HP22 or HP25 info, parts, or service. Or, people asking for the other company’s contact information like Brad was some sort of concierge. Phoenix was finally dead, returned to the ashes from which it arose, and it felt good.
Introducing Bahnhof Machine
Aside from the cool-looking logo, killing Phoenix Arms was a relatively easy decision. But, what do we call the new company? After many hours of brainstorming, a few liters of Heineken, and a plethora of politically incorrect ideas, Brad finally decided on Bahnhof Machine. This made a lot of sense for several reasons. First, Bahnhof is the German spelling of Brad’s last name, before his family migrated from Germany. And second, most of the work that Brad is doing is focused on Heckler & Koch and other German-made firearms. And third, it’s just cool.
A Dream Come True
For Brad, this is a dream come true, but none of it would have been possible without the tremendous help and advice of a truly great friend. Everyone at Bahnhof Machine is looking forward to this next chapter in the history of our company. If you need help with an HK Conversion, are looking for a part, or simply have a question, please contact us anytime. We look forward to working with you soon.