Guns

Feds: Scottsdale Gun Maker and Shooting Champ Who Defrauded Clients Busted for Meth

Former national shooting champion and Scottsdale gun maker Matthew Burkett continues to blow up his career with legal troubles:

This time, the feds say he's on meth.

Burkett  was arrested in Arizona this week — and remains in federal detention — for testing positive for methamphetamine three times in the past month, court records show. He confessed to using meth after one of the three tests.

As the Phoenix New Times reported last month, Burkett previously was accused of defrauding customers of his company, Predator Tactical.


A federal grand jury indictment out of Missouri details how he allegedly promised custom guns that he never built or delivered. He often pocketed the proceeds, which usually amounted to several thousand dollars per gun, records state.

After Burkett was temporarily detained and released last month, he told New Times the Missouri indictment contained "factually incorrect" details and that he never stole his customers' money.

Burkett's release terms also forbade him to possess any guns or weapons of any kind, but he admitted to a court representative that he was "working on scope mounts and other guns parts" every day at Predator Tactical.

He's got a detention hearing set for Friday in Arizona U.S. District Court.

Burkett is a bona fide top gun, with more than 150 state, national, and world competition shooting awards. Thousands of people, including many in the military and law enforcement, have seen his instructional videos or taken his shooting classes.

He admitted to New Times last month that he had several customers who were waiting for his company to deliver custom-built shotguns or .45-caliber pistols.

There's no indication they'll see their products or money back anytime soon.

A couple of weeks ago, Predator Tactical began advertising its new scope mounts that cost $130-$140, which Burkett claims he will ship within 48 hours.

For now, no one's answering the order line.

(UPDATE: Burkett pleaded guilty in August 2018, and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 30.)
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern