Mark Serbu grabbed the biggest gun he had and shot a giant bullet into an embankment. Then he handed it to me.
"For most people, the first time they shoot it, some kind of expletive comes out of their mouth," he smiled.
'Boom!' went the cannon against my shoulder. "Oh my goodness," was my G-rated reaction.
The gun was a semi-automatic .50-caliber rifle, the biggest gun I'd ever fired.
"Bigger is better for gun enthusiasts," says Serbu, whose business is manufacturing large and unusual guns.
We were at a range in Polk County that wasn't open for business on this day, but Serbu knows the owner. They both like guns a lot. But Serbu believes he wouldn't be picked out of a crowd as the typical "gun guy."
"People never guess what my job is," he says. "If I ask a stranger what I do for a living, they never guess."
Thirty years ago he might have been a hippie. He shuns conventional thinking and conventional ways to run a business. He's a mechanical engineer with a degree from USF who enjoys guns, airplanes, and motorcycles.
He built his first gun in his garage in 1998. It's a .22 semi-automatic pistol with a silencer.
"People who really know them call them suppressors. It's a suppressed gun," he explained.
It made a "psst" sound as he fired it several times down the range.
Out of college, Serbu worked at a company that made flight simulators. But he thought all along that guns were more fun.
Now, Serbu Firearms, based in Tampa, manufactures and sells guns to mostly collectors and enthusiasts. The .50-caliber I fired sells for $6,700.
Another one of his guns has been widely featured in movies. It's called the Serbu Super Shorty, a sawed off shotgun that he says "just looks cool and awesome."
Movie directors like it because fire comes out of the barrel. And, as I found out, it wants to jump up when you squeeze the trigger.
Serbu knows some people like guns and some hate them. He says that's OK, but points to the phrase printed on his invoices: "Proud to be part of America's second oldest profession."
"It just shows you how high up guns are regarded in this country," he added.
Serbu says the U.S. Army may take a look at his new .50-caliber BFG-50A as a service-issued sniper rifle.
"It could be a game-changer," he proclaimed.
Though I don't think it will change his unique outlook on the world.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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