Not Really, Colt

I read with interest Colt’s fuck-you statement (via these guys) about discontinuing AR-15 sales to the consumer market:

There have been numerous articles recently published about Colt’s participation in the commercial rifle market. Some of these articles have incorrectly stated or implied that Colt is not committed to the consumer market. We want to assure you that Colt is committed to the Second Amendment, highly values its customers and continues to manufacture the world’s finest quality firearms for the consumer market.
The fact of the matter is that over the last few years, the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity. Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future.
On the other hand, our warfighters and law enforcement personnel continue to demand Colt rifles and we are fortunate enough to have been awarded significant military and law enforcement contracts. Currently, these high-volume contracts are absorbing all of Colt’s manufacturing capacity for rifles. Colt’s commitment to the consumer markets, however, is unwavering. We continue to expand our network of dealers across the country and to supply them with expanding lines of the finest quality 1911s and revolvers.
At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change. Colt has been a stout supporter of the Second Amendment for over 180 years, remains so, and will continue to provide its customers with the finest quality firearms in the world.

The second paragraph (as emphasized) is the only one I can actually go along with.

You know, I might have been somewhat mollified about Colt’s so-called commitment to the civilian market if they’d added something like:  “To demonstrate our commitment to the consumer market, we’re going to re-introduce manufacturing of our heritage double-action revolvers — specifically, the Python, the Trooper and the  Diamondback models — and reproduce them to the same strict quality engineering standards that make them, even today, the best revolvers to be found anywhere in the world.”

(Here’s a Trooper MkII in .22LR… just because)

In other words, take one gun away, replace it with another.  As it is, however…


And an afterthought:  in the Comments section to the statement, one guy made this observation:

“If Sam Colt was alive today, there would be pure hell to pay, the board of directors would be applying for welfare.”

Nope.  If you’ve read anything at all about Sam Colt (and I have), you’d know that he was, more than anything else, a salesman — and he was constantly  in pursuit of big military contracts.  If he were alive today, he’d be as happy as a pig in muck;  and he’d be the first to tell us to go and fuck ourselves.  The current Colt management is probably just keeping to Sam’s principles.

18 comments

  1. “…we are fortunate enough to have been awarded significant military and law enforcement contracts.”
    ==========

    There ya go, once again the gov’t has caused arrogance in a manufacturer to the point that they don’t give a shit about their civilian customers.

    Fuk Colt

    The only thing colt can ever say that will interest me is that they will immediately start production of .357 Pythons and sell them for $500. Anything short of that will never reach my ears or attention. So fukem ded.

    1. And what you’d get would be a $500 .357 Python. I don’t think even Taurus can make and sell them for that.

      Give me a pre-lock Smith any day.

  2. It’s a business decision, made by a company that has gone bankrupt several times. You and I don’t like it, but the simple fact is the company we remember, making the pistols we want, doesn’t exist anymore and never will. I’m debating on buying the new Cobra revolver, but for the asking price I could also get the new Kimber revolver. Ask yourself, which is the better choice?

    Colt will live or die according to their govt contracts. I hope they suffer and then sell off the name to someone like Uberti or Cimmaron and they continue making replica .45 single actions with Colt stamped on the barrel. I’d gladly buy one of those today.

  3. The thing most people are missing about this is that Colt hasn’t been doing very well in the civilian market with their AR models.

    None of the gun stores around here carry the Colt AR-15. Lots of other brands, but not one single Colt.

    Pistols? Yeah, a fair amount of Colt pistols, but not one single rifle.

    So it sounds more like someone decided that they just can’t compete in the rifle segment, except for government contracts (which more a matter of inertia than actual customer demand).

    1. I thought there was a deal made shortly after the Civil War that Remington would make long guns and Colt would stick with pistols.

  4. “…we are fortunate enough to have been awarded significant military and law enforcement contracts.”

    Translated, I believe that says “…much to our surprise, FN did not beat us out of every military contract.”

    1. Given how much better FN has done in winning firearms contracts from the Army, I wonder if the Army has been throwing the occasional contract bone Colt’s way to make sure they stay in business?

      Anyone else remember when Colt somehow won a contract for M-249s, which when delivered, failed to meet spec and had to be sent to FN to be fixed?

      1. I’m sure they have, under the guise of “maintaining the industrial base”. It’s not like there’s a shortage of industry capable of building M4/M16 – let them sink or swim on their own merit.

  5. A friend hunts coyote with a bull barreled Colt AR. It’s a high end AR in a market that is flooded. I can literally order the parts and build one in my basement. With AR kits going lower that $400 it’s difficult to sell at a profit margin Colt would want to see. Any business not looking to correct its lowest margin sector isn’t being honest with itself. I’d rather have a Colt that’s selling AR’s to Uncle Sam and everything else to the public than a bankrupt Colt selling nothing.
    That being said. If Colt negotiated the next contract to be null and void if the government bans any of its products I’d buy a Colt tomorrow.

  6. The profit margin is probably higher on the mil spec stuff, the civilian market is flooded with cheaper producers so their civilian side is having the margin squeezed pretty hard, doesn’t it make sense to shift the available resources to the mil spec and leave the civilian market to the guys who specialize in wringing the costs out of the product?

    As much as I love blue steel with wood grips, Colt can’t make an affordable wheel gun like a New Service, Police Positive, Python or Trooper at the quality level of the originals anymore, just too labor intensive though one could always hope.

  7. I think I also read somewhere (Geiselle website?) that Colt lowers aren’t the same as anyone else’s – something to do with pin sizes. I’d speculate that the civilian market has settled on the non-Colt dimensions and Colt just got pushed aside for non-compatibility.

    It’s bidness. I understand.

  8. Colt’s Manufacturing Company, LLC, as I understand it, is now owned by Cannae Holdings Inc. , the Chairman of which is William P. Foley, II, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, who served in the U.S. Air Force, where he attained the rank of captain.
    Color me impressed.

  9. Colt gave up on the civilian market decades ago and has only been lukewarm towards reentering it. They took their revolvers off the market when Police Departments got rid of revolvers and went to wonder nines. Where was Colt’s response to the competition of Glock? yep, crickets. Colt has ceased making 1873 SAA when Ruger made an improved version after WWII and built their company on the Blackhawk, Single Six and Vaquero. S&W and Ruger have continued to come out with new and maintain their classic line of revolvers while Colt stopped producing revolvers all together. Cold re-introduced a new small framed revolver in the past few years. Colt hasn’t developed anything new other than that revolver in the past 20-30 years.

    Claiming they can’t make their profit margins is absurd. Market their ARs as the best AR that money can buy. There are plenty of Toyota Tercels being sold but you don’t hear BMW, Mercedes, etc decreasing or eliminating production because Ford Focus sales are up. Shoot, when Maker’s Mark bourbon was faced with higher prices than their competitors, embraced their high price with an advertising campaign in the 50s and 60s that essentially said “It tastes expensive because it is.”

    1. Except that their ARs aren’t the best. Noveske, LaRue, and Daniel Defense, among others, are the top tier.

      Colt is making a mid-grade rifle in a market that has split sharply between the very high level and the entry level.

  10. The pic of that Colt revolver bugs me senseless, and for a reason you all will think crazy.

    Look at the screw in the grip. The head slot has been slightly stripped on tightening. Aaaaargh. How could anyone do that to such a nice gun, or any gun for that matter?

    When I work on my guns, I never, ever…well sometimes, but I hate myself when I do, …torque too hard on a screw head. But I’d sure as hell never take a picture of my crappy workmanship.

    1. 40+ year old gun, no telling how many previous owners. Lucky it’s just one bad screw. But you can probably order a replacement from Natchez and make that $1200 pistol perfect.

      I admit to messing up some screws with home smithing in my time, but then I never had a $1200 rimfire pistol, either.

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