Growing up on a farm in Idaho gave Tom Hines two important things. First, he learned how to fix things that were broken through hard work and improvisation. Second, it put guns into his hands from as early on as he can remember. Add to this an active imagination, and it isn’t surprising that Hines is one of the leading innovators in the AR market.

A pivotal moment for Hines was when he spent $5,000 to purchase his own machining equipment after going to school at Boise State University.

“Lots of guys will make napkin sketches of their ideas but never have the money to make a prototype,” Hines says. “But after I bought a mill, it gave me the ability to think and create something. It’s kind of the American boys’ dream.”

And create he did. He worked with various firearms companies making everything from suppressors to handguards, giving his tinkerer’s mindset and passion for firearms room to roam.

He launched his own company, Odin Works, three years ago, focusing on parts for ARs. Since ARs have so many standardized components, like the Picatinny rail and KMod mounting systems, it is an ideal platform for innovation. “Because things are standard, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we can work on making the wheel better,” Hines says. “That’s how we can take an inexpensive AR, like a $599 Ruger, and in 45 minutes turn it into a rifle that can hit a Larue target at 1,000 yards with factory ammo.”

Even something that looks simple, like a hand stop, can require dozens of iterations to get right. It all goes back to putting in the hard work.

“For every 1,000 ideas, maybe 10 are worth prototyping,” Hines says. “And of those, one is worth bringing to market.”

The Rifle


Stock rifle: Ruger AR-556 in .223 Remington

Base Price: $599

Caliber: 6.5 Grendel

Optic: Leupold Mark 6 3-18×44

Weight (scoped): 9 lb. 14 oz.

Overall length: 36 in.

Barrel length: 18 in.

Trigger: Stock 2-stage trigger

The Upgrades

– XMR Gen II Extended Mag Release:


The oversize, contoured tab makes it possible to change magazines without altering your grip.

– Ergo Grip:

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Finger Grooves, ergonomic contours, and texturing on the Ergo Tactical Deluxe Sure Grip provide greater control over the rifle.

– Bolt Carrier Group:


The BCG was replaced with one for the 6.5 Grendel that is finished in a low-friction black nitride coating.

– Picatinny Accessory Rail:


Sections of rail come in different lengths to mount lights and other accessories.

– KMOD 15.5-Inch Forend:


The lightweight handguard from Odin Works free-floats the barrel and takes accessories that are compatible with the KMod system.

– 6.5 Grendel Barrel:


An 18-inch heavy profile barrel that is hand-lapped to deliver 1 MOA or better accuracy.

– Stock:


The stock was replaced with an 8-position Ergo F93 Pro that provides greater stability to the rifle.