Colt stopped its civilian rifle market temporarily, while it goes “full steam” on the military and law enforcement contracts. It will also ramp up its production of pistols and revolvers such as the 1911, Cobra, King Cobra, and Single Action Army collectible series. It’s a business decision, not a political one, in case you were wondering.
Military Times reported,
Colt’s current lineup of rifles is all based entirely on the AR platform.
Colt made waves in the long gun market in the 1960s after buying the design and trademarks associated with ArmaLite’s select-fire AR-15 and AR-10 rifles, the former of which was adopted by the US military as the M16 assault rifle.
By the mid-1960s, Colt began selling a semi-automatic version, dubbed the Colt AR-15, to the civilian market, and the rifle began steadily ascending in popularity among a variety of consumers, from recreational shooters, hunters, and law enforcement.
The semi-automatic AR-15 platform has become a mainstay of the long gun market, though Colt no longer holds the near-monopoly it once did. After the company’s various patents on the AR-15 expired in 1977, other firearms manufacturers seized the opportunity to begin producing their own takes on the highly popular AR, dealing a weighty blow to Colt.
Why? Colt says it’s a price-point issue, according to Paul Spitale, Colt’s Senior Vice President for Sales.
“What’s true today is that the MSR market is much more price-driven,” Spitale said. “We’ve seen a pretty sharp decline in rifle sales, given our price points, resulting in significant inventory build-up held by our distributors.” …
…Colt’s manufacturing capacity for AR-style rifles is currently tied up in producing guns for outstanding contracts. Given this demand and given the lack of demand from the retail side of the market, Colt’s determination to suspend retail production is good business sense. M16s and AR-15s are different rifles, and to tie up production capacity in producing commercial semi-auto-only guns that nobody’s buying at the expense of outstanding military contracts is just bad business.” Shooting Illustrated.com
Colt declared bankruptcy in 2015, and after reorganization has been doing well, particularly with handguns. But even though they lost the contract for M16s and M4s in 2013, they still maintain a strong contract base, and the military still uses those weapons. So, no, they haven’t left the civilian market for AR platform rifles on a permanent basis. Colt stopped production in order to clear that backlog of rifles and watch the trends to see what consumers are requesting.
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