Small Arms

SIC 3484

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This category includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing small firearms or parts for small firearms. Small firearms, defined as having a bore of 30 millimeters (mm) or less, include pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, and submachine guns. This category also includes establishments that manufacture weapons with bores greater than 30 mm but that nevertheless are carried and employed by individuals, including grenade launchers and heavy field machine guns. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing artillery and mortars having bores greater than 30 mm are classified in SIC 3489: Ordnance and Accessories, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Industry Snapshot

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009, the small arms manufacturing industry shipped products valued at $3.0 billion. Historically, the small-arms industry has been cyclical and subject to many external pressures, including the general state of the economy, worldwide military conflicts, and public and political vagaries concerning private ownership of firearms.

Figures from Dun and Bradstreet showed that there were approximately 661 makers of small firearms and parts in the United States in 2010. Nearly all of the major gun manufacturers were privately owned companies. According to Hoover's, the only public company had been Sturm, Ruger & Co., also known as Ruger, up until 2009, when Remington Arms was purchased and taken public by Cerberus Capital Management.

Many small-arms companies began operation in the late nineteenth century in the Connecticut River Valley between Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts, which soon became known as Gun Valley because of its concentration of armories. Because of this long tradition, several small-arms companies that no longer had manufacturing facilities in Gun Valley maintained headquarters there.

Background and Development

The small-arms industry played an important part in both the historical development of the United States and in the accompanying myths and ideals. Early to mid-nineteenth-century guns pioneered the use of interchangeable standardized parts, the technology that gave rise to modern manufacturing. Moreover, guns bearing the names Remington, Winchester, and Colt were associated with the settlement of the Old West, Manifest Destiny, and the development of the United States as a world power.

Although many prominent craftsmen produced firearms in colonial America, gun making as an industry did not truly begin until 1775, when the Continental Congress established the Committee of Safety, whose responsibilities included ensuring that the Continental Army had sufficient firearms. The Committee of Safety established specifications for manufacturing flintlock muskets and awarded contracts to various American gun makers. In 1794, Congress established a national armory at Springfield, Massachusetts, that stored and manufactured muskets for military use. A second armory was established at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in 1796. The armory at Harper's Ferry was eventually burned in 1861 to keep it out of the hands of Confederate forces. The Springfield armory was in operation until 1975.

In 1808, as tensions mounted between the United States and England, which eventually erupted into the War of 1812, federal armories tooled up to manufacture 40,000 muskets a year. Private gun makers also were awarded contracts to manufacture between 2,500 and 10,000 muskets each, with the goal of supplying nearly 100,000 militiamen. The federal armories provided "pattern" muskets for the private manufacturers to copy.

Early Innovators.
One of the earliest gun makers to receive a government contract was Eli Whitney, best known for inventing the cotton gin, who had established an armory in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1798. Whitney was a Yale-educated engineer who realized that the most efficient and cost-effective way to make guns was to manufacture interchangeable parts that could be assembled by unskilled workers. Although Whitney was far from being the most successful gun maker of the day, he amazed government officials inspecting his plant by assembling muskets from parts chosen at random. Whitney was the first U.S. industrialist to manufacture interchangeable parts and was considered the father of mass production long before Henry Ford began building cars. By the 1850s, Whitney's "American system" of manufacturing was known throughout Europe. The Whitney Armory continued to manufacture guns until 1888.

Although rifles were invented in the early 1500s and the famous Pennsylvania-made Kentucky rifles were used by some militiamen during the American Revolution, smoothbore muskets remained common into the early nineteenth century. Despite their inaccuracy, they were easier to load and fire than a firearm with a rifled barrel. Then, in 1810, U.S. gunsmith John H. Hall invented a breech-loading flintlock rifle that could be loaded quickly using a paper cartridge containing ball and powder. The U.S. Army ordered 200 rifles in 1818 for experimentation, and Hall supervised their construction at the federal armory at Harper's Ferry. The rifles performed well, but the military continued to rely on muskets up until the Civil War. Although the Springfield Armory did not begin manufacturing rifles until 1858, it produced more than 840,000 by the end of 1865. On the other hand, hunters and frontiersmen who favored accuracy switched to breech-loading rifles much sooner. The 200 Hall rifles built in 1818 also were the first firearms manufactured in a government armory using interchangeable parts.

Samuel Colt.
Samuel Colt was the first great U.S. gun maker. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1814 and left school at the age of 10 to work in his father's silk mill in Ware, Massachusetts. At the age of 16, he joined the crew of a ship bound for London and Calcutta. In London, Colt apparently saw a display of early attempts at designing repeating firearms. During the voyage home, and possibly inspired by the ship's clutch-controlled rotating capstan, he whittled a crude wooden model of a pistol with a revolving cylinder.

Between 1832 and 1835, Colt financed development of his revolving pistol as a lecturer and "practical chemist," billing himself as "the celebrated Dr. S. Colt of London and Calcutta" and giving demonstrations of laughing gas in the United States and Canada. He sent money and ideas for improvements in his design to John Pearson, a Baltimore gunsmith, who created a working model. Colt received patents on his design from England and France in 1835, and from the United States in 1836. The most unique feature of Colt's design was a ratchet that rotated and locked the cylinder in place when the gun was cocked.

Colt established the Patent Arms Manufacturing Co. in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1836 to produce revolving pistols and rifles. The head of U.S. Army Ordnance, however, was not impressed with a demonstration, and the company failed to receive a military contract. Although the army eventually did order about 100 rifles and a few five-shot revolvers for fighting the Seminole Indians in Florida, Colt was forced to close his company in 1842.

At the start of the Mexican War in 1846, General Zachary Taylor, who had used an early Paterson-model Colt revolver, asked Colt for 1,000 revolvers to be delivered within three months. Captain Samuel Walker of the Texas Rangers, who had used Colt revolvers to fight the Comanches, also asked for guns, but he wanted a larger-caliber revolver that would fire six shots. Colt designed a gun to Walker's specifications, but without a factory of his own, Colt subcontracted the manufacturing to Eli Whitney, Jr., who was then running the armory his father had founded and was the army's primary contractor for muskets. Colt, however, personally supervised the manufacturing. The 0.44 caliber six-shooter became known as the Walker gun. Tragically, Walker was killed in action four days after he received a set of Walker-model revolvers from Colt.

In 1847, the army ordered another 1,000 revolvers, and Colt set up the renamed Colt's Patent Arms Manufacturing Co. in a leased space in his hometown of Hartford. He also hired a talented machinist, Elisha K. Root, to manage the operation. Root, who received twice the salary he had made at a farm-implements company, was given a free hand in setting up the factory. He designed belt-driven machinery for turning gun stocks, boring rifling barrels, and making cartridges. Under Root's direction, the Colt armory became a showplace for Eli Whitney's American system.

In 1853, Colt became the first U.S. manufacturer to establish a foreign branch when he opened a factory on the Thames River in London to supply guns to the British government. Colt became known as gun maker to the world and successfully defended his patents against infringement until they expired in 1856. When he died six years later, a new factory he had built in Hartford in 1855 was the largest private armory in the world, and Colt was one of the wealthiest men in America with an estate valued at $15 million.

Gatling, Maxim, and Browning.
The Civil War was the proving ground for many advances in firearms and ordnance, including the famous Sharpes carbine, more than 80,000 of which were produced for Northern troops by the Sharpes Rifle Manufacturing Co. Nevertheless, no development was more dramatic than the introduction of the first practical machine gun, patented in 1862 by Richard J. Gatling.

Gatling was the son of a North Carolina planter who spent most of his career improving agricultural methods and inventing farm machinery. Gatling's hand-cranked machine gun actually performed erratically during the Civil War, but with some mechanical improvements the design was officially adopted by the U.S. Army in 1866. He later sold his patent to the Colt's Patent Arms Manufacturing Co.

In 1884, another U.S.-born inventor, Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, developed the first semi-automatic rifle when he modified a Winchester rifle so the power of the recoil would eject the spent cartridge and load the next round. In 1889, Maxim also developed the first fully automatic machine gun. Maxim's designs were adopted by every major power in the world between 1900 and World War I. English models of the Maxim machine gun, known as the Vickers, were used by both sides in World War II, and the North Koreans employed outdated Maxim machine guns in the Korean War.

Maxim also experimented with internal combustion engines, steam-powered flight, and electric lights, losing a critical patent lawsuit to Thomas Edison. A native of Maine, Maxim moved to England and became a British citizen in 1900. He was knighted in 1901. His son, Hiram Percy Maxim, invented the silencer, which mutes the report of a gunshot.

John M. Browning, the son of a Utah gunsmith, was the most prolific and successful U.S. gun designer in history. He developed one of the earliest semi-automatic pistols and the first gas-operated machine gun. Browning sold or licensed most of his designs to the Colt's Patent Arms Manufacturing Co., including several machine gun designs. He also licensed designs to the Winchester Repeating Arms Co., including the first lever-action rifle strong enough to use the high-power center fire cartridges of the day. This rifle, named Model 1886, made Winchester the best-known name among U.S. rifle makers.

In 1888, when no U.S. companies expressed interest in his semi-automatic pistol, Browning licensed the design to the Belgian gun-making firm of Fabrique Nationale Herstal. He also licensed the Browning name for use outside of North America. Browning and Nationale Fabrique later collaborated on some of the most famous firearms in history, including the Browning Automatic Rifle, or BAR, used during World War I and World War II. Fabrique Nationale purchased controlling interest in Browning Arms in 1977.

Browning also designed the first successful gas-operated machine gun. In 1890, he sold the design to Colt, which produced the Colt Machine Gun Model 1895, the first fully automatic machine gun used by U.S. military forces. In 1990, Colt also became the first U.S. company to produce an automatic pistol, also based on a Browning design.

The late 1990s brought bad news for gun manufacturers. "Not since George Washington established the Springfield (Mass.) Armory to defend the young republic," wrote William C. Symonds in Business Week, "has the American gun industry faced a more serious crisis." The influence that gun lobbies once wielded with national and state lawmakers eroded amid rising public concern about gun violence. Gun control advocates worked to channel public outrage at increased school and workplace shootings, combined with gun accidents by children, into a Congressional mandate.

In the late 1990s, a rash of school shootings, including those in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Littleton, Colorado, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, and Conyers, Georgia, put the handgun industry itself on the firing line. In 1999, 28 U.S. cities, as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), filed suits against U.S. gun manufacturers based on the much-debated theory that gun makers bear responsibility for gun violence. Moreover, the push to enact federal legislation, including limits on gun sales, mandatory background checks for all gun show purchases, and so-called "smart gun" technology, a safety device that allows only the owner to fire the weapon, gained momentum.

The new gun control efforts were much stronger than previous ones. In the Business Press, Adam Eventov reported that, in May 1999, the Senate passed a bill "that would close loopholes in the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, tighten background checks at gun shows, outlaw the importation of large-capacity clips, require safety locks on new handguns and prohibit juveniles convicted of felonies from owning firearms as adults." State legislatures also enacted tougher laws. In California, a formerly firearm-friendly state, initiatives to require manufacturers to install new safety devices and meet stricter performance standards, such as a handgun being able to survive a three-foot drop, were proposed.

Ironically, however, the likelihood of stricter regulations actually spurred gun sales in 1999 as consumers tried to stock up before the new laws took effect. A similar spike occurred during 1993 and 1994, when President Clinton made gun control a national priority. The 1993 Brady Bill called for a five-day waiting period and background check before a customer could purchase a handgun. In 1994, Congress passed a law banning 19 types of assault weapons. However, due in part to the effective lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association (NRA), these laws contained numerous loopholes that allowed gun manufacturers to sidestep the regulations. By making minor design changes on their weapons, gun manufacturers were able to continue manufacturing and selling assault weapons. Production fell more than 30 percent during the three-year sales slump that followed.

Gun makers maintained that they were not responsible for criminal misuse of their products. In The New York Times, Barry Meier reported that New York University Law School professor Stephen Gillers said the cause-and-effect legal claim that underpinned the gun cases appeared far weaker than in the tobacco lawsuits. Nevertheless, the plaintiffs were likely to win by default, as the cost of the litigation would drive gun companies out of business and gun costs out of the reach of most consumers.

Gun companies responded to the hostile environment in a variety of ways. Some companies, such as Colt's Manufacturing, Smith & Wesson, and Mossberg, entered into settlement talks, while others, backed by the 2.9-million-member NRA, refused to compromise. In 1999, four small companies filed for bankruptcy protection. Several large manufacturers worked to develop codes of conduct for gun distributors and dealers. In addition, gun companies were developing new marketing strategies, such as identifying women as potential buyers and diversifying product lines with the addition of items such as titanium golf club heads and specialty clothing.

Gun sales soared immediately after September 11, 2001. Women, in particular, bought more guns, and record numbers signed up for gun safety and handling classes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported a 21 percent increase in background checks, which are required for gun purchases, in the months following the attacks. In Maryland, where gun ownership had been curtailed by strict gun laws, gun sales were up 50 to 75 percent in early October 2001, and the Texas Department of Public Safety reported a surge in applications to carry concealed weapons.

It is not uncommon for gun sales to follow the ups and downs of the American psyche, but the gun industry's main concern in the late years of the first decade of the 2000s continued to be legal and legislative in nature. In October 2002, two snipers randomly killed 10 people and injured three in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, setting the entire nation on edge for weeks as police sought the killers. As in the past, the violence once again put the gun industry in the hot seat. In the waning days of the Clinton Administration, gun control issues were pushed, but to little avail in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Despite shocking news reports, such problems are isolated. In 2004 the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms reported that the majority of guns traced to crimes are sold by about 800 out of 80,000 gun dealers. Even Wal-Mart was not immune, and in 2005, the company agreed to pay $14.5 million to California for gun sale violations between 2000 and 2003. However, according to the National Safety Council, accidental shooting deaths nationwide dropped to the lowest recorded level in history in 2003.

In 2003, the gun industry found hope with new allies in Washington, D.C. Legislation that passed in April 2003 in the House of Representatives and had majority support lined up in the Senate was meant to protect gun manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers from any "unlawful misuse" of weapons. The legislation was met with cheers by the industry and outrage by gun control lobbyists.

Despite the worldwide economic meltdown of the late years of the first decade of the 2000s, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported more than 1.2 million firearm background checks in January 2009, up 28.8 percent compared to January 2008. In fact, this was the highest figure for a January since the NICS's inception in 1998. Industry observers pointed to the November 2008 election for the increased worry of stricter regulations. "Since the election, sales of firearms--in particular handguns and semiautomatic hunting and target rifles--are fast outpacing inventory," Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation noted in Shooting Industry in March 2009, adding that "Americans are clearly concerned about their ability to be able to purchase these products in an uncertain future." Accordingly, tax revenue from gun sales advanced 42 percent during the first half of 2009, compared to the same period in 2008.

Current Conditions

According to Dun and Bradsteet, in 2010, 661 establishments were engaged in manufacturing small firearms or parts for small firearms in the United States. Together these establishments employed 9,936 people and generated annual revenues of $1.2 billion. States with the highest concentration of employees included New Hampshire, New York, and Texas. Massachusetts accounted for the largest percentage of industry revenues, with $556.6 million, followed by Connecticut with $266.0 million.

Besides small arms manufacturers, major categories included manufacturers of products under 30mm, including guns (firearms), pistols, rifles, and shotguns as well as accompanying parts.

Projections for the industry in the early 2010s varied. For example, whereas a 2011 article in Shooting Industry pointed to the increase in NICS background checks for the fifteenth month in a row, reaching 815,858 checks in August 2011, signaled a positive future for the small arms industry, a report by market research firm IBISWorld noted that "demand for the industry's products will slow in light of diminishing [crime] concerns," and that "imports will satisfy a growing portion of domestic demand."

Industry Leaders

Remington Arms Co. Inc.
Remington, once owned by a Delaware holding company, DuPont Chemical, and Energy Operations Inc., was sold to Raci Holding early in the first decade of the 2000s. The company transferred its headquarters from Wilmington, Delaware, to Rockingham County, North Carolina, in 1995. In the mid-1990s, it built facilities in Kentucky and North Carolina, organized a shooting school in New York, and launched a website where customers could buy guns with the click of a mouse. In 1992 and 1996, Remington introduced a number of new handguns and rifles but in 1995 discontinued its hunting apparel line. Remington acquired former rival Marlin Firearms Co. in 2008 for approximately $47 million. In 2010 Remington was the only U.S. company to manufacture both guns and ammo. That year, the firm recorded annual revenues of $168.2 million with 2,275 employees.

Remington traced its heritage to Eliphalet Remington, an early American gunsmith who produced his first flintlock rifle in 1816. Raised in central New York, Remington purchased land along the Erie Canal in 1828 and established an armory. The town that developed around the armory became known as Remington's Corners until Eliphalet Remington insisted the town change the name to Ilion. Remington's manufacturing facilities were still in Ilion in 1993. The company was known as E. Remington & Sons during the Civil War. The depression of 1884 forced the company into bankruptcy, but it was reorganized in 1888 as the Remington Arms Co. DuPont purchased Remington in 1933.

Remington was considered a leader in introducing new technology and production techniques. After World War II, Remington began manufacturing parts that were interchangeable between models. The company also simplified the shape and design of many gun parts, which initially caused gun enthusiasts who were used to the elaborate showpieces of the past to treat newer Remington models with scorn. Some parts designed in the early 1950s were still being used on models introduced in the 1980s.

In the late 1980s, Remington became one of the first gun makers to install computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) equipment to reduce costs and increase its ability to respond to consumer trends. Paradoxically, the new manufacturing process produced parts by traditional machine tooling rather than stamping or casting, which most companies had turned to in the middle of the twentieth century to save money. The Remington plant in Ilion was considered one of the most advanced metalwork facilities in the United States. In 2009, Remington was acquired by Cerberus Capital Management, which took the company public.

O.F. Mossberg & Sons Inc.
Oliver F. Mossberg was a Swedish immigrant who worked for several U.S. gun makers before he began making 0.22 caliber "novelty guns" in his spare time to put his sons, Iver and Harold, through college. In 1919, the Mossbergs formed O.F. Mossberg & Sons. Between 1919 and 1932, they produced about 37,000 0.22 caliber "Brownie" pistols. They began manufacturing 0.22 caliber rifles in 1922. Oliver Mossberg died in 1937.

The company continued to produce .22 caliber pistols and rifles after World War II and also expanded into bolt-action shotguns. The first pump-action Mossberg shotguns were introduced in 1957. In 1986, Mossberg ended production of all rifles and pistols to concentrate solely on shotguns. Mossberg shotguns were widely used in law enforcement and the military. Mossberg claimed to be the oldest family-owned and operated firearms manufacturer in the United States. In 1993, Alan I. Mossberg, grandson of the founder, was president and CEO. The company, based in North Haven, Connecticut, had sales of around $31.9 million in 2010 with 500 employees.

U.S. Repeating Arms Co. Inc.
The U.S. Repeating Arms Co. (USRAC) was a major manufacturer of shotguns and rifles under the legendary Winchester brand name. In 1991, USRAC produced more than 126,000 shotguns and 113,000 rifles, generating revenues of $74 million. The company was owned by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal, a Belgian company. In 2002, USRAC reported revenues of $250 million, and in 2006, Herstal closed the historic Winchester plant in New Haven, Connecticut.

Oliver F. Winchester founded the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. in New Haven in 1866. Winchester was a shirt maker by trade, but he became involved in gun making when he purchased the assets of the defunct Volcanic Repeating Arms Co. Volcanic had been founded in 1855 by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson, later of Smith & Wesson fame. Winchester was an early investor in the company, which went bankrupt in 1857. The Winchester Model 1866 was the first successful lever-action repeating rifle. Later models made the Winchester name synonymous with U.S.-made rifles.

When the market for guns collapsed during the Great Depression, the Olin Corp. purchased Winchester. In 1981, a group of Olin employees purchased Olin's Winchester gun division in a leveraged buyout, called the new company the U.S. Repeating Arms Co., and licensed the Winchester name from Olin. Unfortunately, gun sales in the United States plummeted in the early 1980s, and USRAC filed for bankruptcy. USRAC was purchased in 1987 by a group of investors led by the Fabrique Nationale de Herstal, a Belgian gun maker and at one time the largest private arms company in the world. As of 2011, USRAC continued to hold the license to make Winchester rifles and shotguns, according to Hoover's.

Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc.
In the early 2010s, Sturm, Ruger & Co., commonly known as Ruger, was the only U.S. gun maker active in all four small-arms categories: rifles, shotguns, revolvers, and pistols. The largest manufacturer of handguns in the United States, it produced more than 50 models of guns that had more than 300 variations. In addition to guns, the company produced a line of specialized castings for industrial clients representing aerospace, automotive, medicine, and golf. Based in Southport, Connecticut, Ruger reported revenues of $255.2 million in 2010 with 1,160 employees.

Sturm, Ruger was founded in 1948 by William Batterman Ruger with a $50,000 stake from Alexander Sturm, a family friend and gun collector. Ruger had been a firearm designer for the U.S. government's Springfield Armory and the Auto Ordnance Corp. Sturm and Ruger started by manufacturing a 0.22 caliber semiautomatic target pistol designed by Ruger, but the company gained special favor with gun enthusiasts in the early 1950s when it began producing Old West-style six-shooters that capitalized on the popularity of adult TV Westerns. Ruger also utilized a manufacturing process known as investment casting. Rather than machine-tooling parts for its guns, Ruger cast parts from molten steel using the "lost wax" process. The parts were not only less expensive to produce, but they were also stronger. After perfecting this process, Ruger began casting parts for other manufacturers to the tune of $16 to $18 million annually, or about 8 to 9 percent of sales. This figure jumped by nearly 70 percent in the first quarter of 1995 due to a large contract for titanium Big Bertha golf club heads for Callaway Golf Co.

Between 1982 and 1992, when sales of small arms in the United States fell almost 50 percent, Ruger increased sales nearly 75 percent. In 1986, it forced its distributors to choose between its guns and those made by Smith & Wesson. About half chose to stay with Ruger. Between 1953 and 1972, Ruger produced more than 1.5 million of the single-action revolvers patterned after the legendary 1873 Colt Peacemaker. Like the original Peacemaker, unfortunately, Ruger six-shooters often discharged accidentally if the gun was dropped or if the hammer was struck. For instance, in 1994, some 24 liability cases were tried, dismissed, or settled out of court. The average settlement was approximately $55,000.

Ruger redesigned its single-action revolvers in 1972 to make them safer. In 1982, it offered to retrofit older models with a safety device at no cost to their owners, but fewer than 10 percent of the 1.2 million old model revolvers were modified. The company also ran a series of advertisements from 1981 to 1983 urging gun owners to load revolvers with only five bullets and leave the hammer resting on an empty chamber.

By 1995, Barron's reported that Ruger could boast of a "squeaky-clean" balance sheet, superb profitability, and 45 years in business without a negative balance sheet. Ruger continued to be profitable despite the anti-gun mood in much of the United States because most of its customers were hunters, law enforcement personnel, gun collectors, and sportsmen. Ruger also survived the "assault weapons" legislation as all of its products were exempted and named "legitimate sporting firearms." In 1999, the company boasted that it not only led the industry in new technology but also stressed safety and responsibility in its catalogs and advertising more than other gun makers.

Marlin Firearms Co.
Marlin Firearms, a leading maker of 0.22 caliber rifles, had revenues of $50 million in 1996. In 2000, Marlin purchased the assets of H&R 1871, Inc., a company that dates to 1871 and was the largest manufacturer of single-shot shotguns and rifles in the world. Marlin was founded in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1870 by John Mahlon Marlin, who had worked for the Colt's Patent Firearms Co. during the Civil War. After 100 years at the same site, the company opened a new plant a few miles away in North Haven, Connecticut. Trick-shooter Annie Oakley used a specially made Marlin Model 1889 in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show in the 1890s. Marlin also was known for its Colt-Browning machine guns and military rifles made during World War I, when it was known as the Marlin Rockwell Corp. After the war, Rockwell had no interest in sporting guns and sold the firearms division at auction. Frank Kenna, whose family owned and operated Marlin Firearms into the 1990s, purchased the business for $100. In addition to firearms, Marlin produced razor blades from 1936 until the 1960s. Marlin Firearms Co. was acquired by Remington Arms in 2008 for approximately $47 million and thereafter operated as a subsidiary of Remington, contributing $36.4 million in revenues in 2010.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp.
Smith & Wesson Holding Corp.'s most popular revolver was the 0.38 Special, widely used by police officers in the United States and abroad. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police carried 9 mm Smith & Wesson pistols. The company also manufactured the 0.44 Magnum revolver used by Clint Eastwood in the "Dirty Harry" movies. In the late 1980s, Smith & Wesson became a leader in the emerging market for handguns designed especially for women, with the Lady Smith. The Lady Smith was a 0.357 Magnum with a grip and trigger mechanism designed for smaller hands. Many women's magazines refused to run ads for Lady Smith when it was introduced in 1988.

Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed their first partnership in 1851, creating the Volcanic Repeating Arms Co., which they later sold to Oliver F. Winchester. In 1856, when the Colt patents expired, Wesson developed a revolver that used a metallic rim-fire cartridge. He and Smith then formed Smith & Wesson in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1856. Smith retired from the business in 1873, but Wesson and his descendants continued to run the company until 1967, when it was purchased by the Bangor Punta Corp. In 1984, the company became part of the Lear Siegler Holdings Corp. Lear Siegler eventually sold the company to F.H. Tompkins PLC, a British manufacturer of plumbing supplies and lawn mowers, in 1987. In 2010, the company had revenues of $392.3 million with 1,520 employees.

Colt's Manufacturing Co.
At one time the largest and most important gun maker in the United States, Colt's Manufacturing Co. by the early 1990s was a relatively small maker of rifles and pistols, producing 70,000 pistols and 38,000 rifles in 1991. In 2002, the company reorganized its operations into two separate businesses. Colt Defense, LLC was established to manufacture and sell military products, while Colt's Manufacturing Co. continued to manufacture and sell commercial products. Colt's Manufacturing Co. reported revenues of $16.8 million in 2010.

Colt's Patent Arms Manufacturing Co., founded by inventor Samuel Colt in 1847, provided the Union Army with more than 107,000 revolvers during the Civil War. The famed Peacemaker, a six-shooter used in the Old West, was introduced in 1873 and was manufactured continuously until 1941, and Colt produced commemorative Peacemakers after World War II.

The Colt family owned the company until 1901, when they sold it to a group of investors. The company suffered several setbacks in the 1920s and 1930s, beginning with its decision to stop manufacturing the Thompson submachine gun because it had become popular with gangsters. Nearly 2 million of the popular tommy guns, as they were called, were produced during World War II by another contractor. Ironically, 60 years later, Colt ended production of the AR-15, a popular semi-automatic civilian model of the military's M-16, in part because it was being used by drug dealers.

Like most other small arms manufacturers, Colt was hard hit by the Great Depression. Its difficulties were compounded by a violent strike in 1935, during which the home of its then president Sam Stone was firebombed, and a hurricane in 1936, which destroyed most of what was left of Colt's Manufacturing Co. The company seemed to rebound during World War II, but mismanagement later led to a financial crisis and manufacturing stopped altogether between 1945 and 1947.

In 1955, Colt was purchased by the Penn-Texas Corp., a corporate raider that was expected to dismantle the company. In 1962, a stockholders' revolt forced out Penn-Texas and the company was reorganized as Colt Industries. In 1963, Colt became the sole contractor for the army's then new M-16 automatic assault rifle.

After nearly two decades of growth, during which Colt Industries became a diversified billion-dollar corporation, the Firearms Division suffered another series of market defeats in the 1980s. In 1985 the U.S. government dropped the Colt 0.45, which was standard military issue since 1911, and replaced it with a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol produced by the Beretta USA Corp. In 1986, the United Auto Workers (UAW) struck the Colt plant in Hartford. Replacement workers were hired, but the lingering strike and concerns about quality might have caused Colt to lose the M-16 contract in 1988 when an order for 500,000 rifles went to FN Manufacturing, the U.S. manufacturing subsidiary of Fabrique Nationale.

In 1990, a group of investors that included the state of Connecticut purchased the Firearms Division from Colt Industries. The UAW agreed to end the strike in exchange for rehiring striking workers and an 11 percent share of the company. The division was renamed Colt's Manufacturing Co. In 1994, investment firm Zilkha & Co., brought the firm out of bankruptcy.

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Contract Notice: Defense Logistics Agency (Null) Issues Solicitation for "SMALL ARMS SLING"
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; February 2, 2018; 331 words
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 -- Defense Logistics Agency, DLA Acquisition Locations has a requirement for "SMALL ARMS SLING."The solicitation no. SPE7L318T8510 was posted on February 1, 2018.All responses are due by February 12, 2018.Notice...
Contract Award: Total Metal Recyclers Wins Federal Contract for "Brass, Small Arms Cartridges (Mulitated)"
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; February 7, 2018; 274 words
...Navy), MCB Camp Lejeune - Environmental, has awarded a $108,315.00 federal contract on Feb. 6 for "brass, small arms cartridges (mulitated)".Contractor Awardee: Total Metal Recyclers, 2700 Missouri Ave, Granite City, Illinois...
Addressing Security Challenges of Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition in Focus at Osce Forum for Security Co-Operation
States News Service; January 25, 2018; 625 words
...operation in Europe (OSCE): International efforts to provide a safe security environment by combating the spread of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and by promoting the secure and safe stockpiling of SALW and conventional ammunition was the...
Special Repair to Small Arms Firing Range at Brd Af Stn Chandigarh under Ge Af MC Chandigarh
Mena Report; January 18, 2018; 332 words
Tenders are invited for Special repair to small arms firing range at brd af stn chandigarh under ge af mc chandigarh Product Category : Miscellaneous works Tender Value : 10,00...
Operational Maintenance and Technical Mastery of Small Arms Technical Training Simulators (Sittal) in Service in the Three Armed Forces
Mena Report; January 27, 2018; 389 words
Contract notice: Operational maintenance and technical mastery of small arms technical training simulators (sittal) in service in the three armed forces this contract is divided into lots: No time limit...

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