Local store owner recalls relationship with Chris Kyle, talks about rifle used in America Sniper

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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chris Kyle is considered the most lethal sniper in American military history, with 160 confirmed kills. He was an expert with a rifle and when he found a gun he liked, that's what he used.

It turns out some of them were custom-made just north of the Missouri River. Kyle liked them so much that he mentioned "GA Precision" in his autobiography.

"Chris was really fond of this rifle in particular, the Gladius that we made," explained store owner George Gardner.

Gardner has a long military and law enforcement background. He grew up around guns and it only seemed natural he would go into the gun business. In 1999 he founded GA Precision, it was through GA he met Kyle.

"They were doing some training down in Texas and wanted some rifles to use in that training, and they chose us," he said.

Things took off from there and a few years later, Kyle's autobiography came out.

"I didn't even know he was writing a book to be honest, when the book came out I wanted to read it because I knew him, knew about him and when I actually read the part where he talked about us it kind of blew me away," said Gardner.

A few months later, Gardner saw Kyle one last time.

"I talked to him at the SHOT show, two to three weeks before he was killed, he attended that show all the time," Gardner recalled.

Kyle's endorsement of GA resurfaced in December of last year, when the Academy Award nominated film, American Sniper, was released. If you look closely in some scenes, you'll recognize a particular gun.

"They (the studio) were running on kind of a tight budget, and so they didn't get enough money to be buying all the rifles. So they asked us if I would loan them one for the movie and I said of course, which for me was great because I got it back with a letter stating it was in the movie, there's pictures of Clint Eastwood holding it, pictures of Bradley Cooper holding it and so it's cool to have it," Gardner said.

Gardner has been peppered with multiple offers to buy that rifle, but said no to all of them. He doesn't want to disrespect Kyle by making money off him.

Furthermore, he appreciates Kyle's endorsement, but doesn't use it in any of his advertising. For more about Gardner's store, click on this link.

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