Engineer. Designer. Mad scientist. Jim Hodge has been called a few of those as well as some other descriptors besides. The fact is, there’s no one word that can accurately describe Jim Hodge. When asked, he refers to himself as just a “normal guy.” However, the name Hodge is synonymous with firearms innovation.

As the owner of Hodge Defense Systems, he’s pushed the edges of the envelope of an industry that’s anything but innovative these days. His contribution is the Hodge Defense AU MOD 2 rifle. Just when people thought Eugene Stoner’s classic rifle design was pushed to its material limits, Hodge continued to question industry standards, ultimately finding a material that had never before been used in modern firearms.

The material, aluminum lithium, is lighter and stronger than the 7075-T6 aluminum commonly used in many AR-15 receivers available today. While previously unused in rifle manufacturing, aluminum lithium is heavily used in the aerospace, space exploration, and Formula 1 auto racing worlds as a replacement for titanium parts. With an increased market demand for lighter profile weapons, it’s no surprise that Hodge rifles are hard to find. We recently had a chance to sit down with the understated Hodge and talk about life, liberty, and his rifle.

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