Colt Firearms Confirms It’s Leaving The Civilian Long Gun Market

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 2 weeks ago

We covered this before, but there was some question as to the authenticity of the statement by Colt.  Listen to them in their own words.

Colt moving away from selling ARs to civilians isn’t a sign that the company wants to stop selling guns to civilians altogether, however. Instead, the company will ramp up sales of pistols and revolvers, including its 1911 models, Cobra, King Cobra, and Single Action Army collectible series.

In a statement to NRA’s Shooting Illustrated, Colt’s senior vice president for commercial business, Paul Spitale, said that the civilian AR production cut was based on consumer feedback and a close analysis of the market’s ebbs and flows.

[ … ]

According to Spitale, rifles aren’t heavily favored by the civilian market, resulting in lower profit margins for Colt while the company continues to go full steam on producing rifles to fulfill outstanding military and law enforcement contracts.

Which, of course, is an absurd declaration, i.e., that “rifles aren’t heavily favored by the civilian market.”  It’s just that the civilian market doesn’t apparently favor Colt rifles.  Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Daniel Defense, BCM, FN, and a whole host of other companies are doing well enough.

So they intend to focus on … wait for it … producing rifles to fulfill outstanding military and law enforcement contracts.  I take this to mean replacement rifles and more particularly, replacement parts.

The revolver market was abdicated to  Smith & Wesson and Ruger, and I doubt that Colt will regain support in this sector.  This portends bad things for Colt’s future, in my estimation.


  1. On September 16, 2019 at 2:18 am, Liberty4Ever said:

    Colt is about to learn what Dick’s Sporting Goods learned after they decided to stop selling AR-15s to American citizens. They probably figured that gun sales weren’t their strong suit, they weren’t competitive in the ruthlessly competitive commercial market, and it wasn’t a hugely profitable sector for them, so they could jump on board the disarm Americans band wagon. Dick’s didn’t figure on the fact that their anti-gun policy and virtue signaling would alienate a large portion of their customer base, and those entire families would never again go to their local Dick’s Sporting Goods store to buy ANYTHING. No more running shoes, soccer balls for the kids, etc. This one decision may well have been the one that finishes off Dick’s Sporting Goods. They’ve been struggling, and I hope they go out of business.

    Colt has an even worse problem. ALL of their customers are gun owners and gun buyers, so they’re offending a much larger percentage of their customer base. They might have a few customers who won’t be mad at Colt for their anti second amendment policy of arming the government and not selling to the citizens, but it’ll probably be the two imaginary guys at the gun show who allegedly told Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke that they’d give up their AR-15s if it’d make everyone safer.

    Colt shot themselves in the foot, and maybe in the head. How many gun owners will learn of Colt’s “No AR-15s For Deplorable Tax Serfs” policy and decide they’ll never buy a Colt 1911 or revolver?

  2. On September 16, 2019 at 4:47 am, Leonard said:

    If this was a genuinely numbers-driven move and not indeed politically signalling globohomo allegiance then they would ramp down production of AR15s for public consumption but still sell them in small numbers and take the meager hit to their bottom line while maintaining their reputation.

    As such this is definitely signalling the globohomo regime to back them against other manufacturers.

    “We will still make guns for your storm troopers, your Lordships, just not for the proles. Please embiggen our market share and drop those juicy contracts in our lap.”

  3. On September 16, 2019 at 6:34 am, Otto said:

    “Fulfill existing contracts” meaning no new ones, fn and even Remington has the new military contracts. The AR market is flooded and colt has nothing nothing to offer to the AR market but their name. Bad timing to say no AR to civilians but if this means cheaper 1911s and 1873 peacemakers, I’m all for it, that is what colt is truly branded by not a stamp on an AR lower. This is actually good, don’t go all benchmade hysteria on an American institution.

  4. On September 16, 2019 at 8:06 am, Fred said:

    I don’t think that this is virtue signalling or that gun owners should begrudge Colt. This statement rings true:

    “Paul Spitale, said that the civilian AR production cut was based on consumer feedback and a close analysis of the market’s ebbs and flows.”j

    First, the word “feedback” should be instantly recognized by everybody in any free market, capitalist system and especially by libertarians.

    The free trade mechanisms of “feedback” mean price v supply and demand. Colt is overpriced. Demand is therefor low. This is sixth grade stuff here. (This is why you should homeschool, OBTW) They have 20, 30 even up to 50 percent Union overhead and that cost is past on to buyers. This is really rather simple; they need to move to Tennessee (shameless, I know!) and cut the Union WASTE out of production overhead.

    The guy knows economics but he’s trying to cover a loser. He knows this too, I’m pretty certain, but wants to keep his job. That’s also simple to see.

  5. On September 16, 2019 at 9:08 am, Herschel Smith said:

    ^^ this ^^

    I don’t think it’s virtue signaling of any sort. I think the solution would have been as Pat Hines suggested, to relocate South into a “right to work” state, focus on civilian sales, make quality better, and cut prices.

    It’s probably too late now.

  6. On September 16, 2019 at 10:33 am, revjen45 said:

    “I don’t think it’s virtue signaling of any sort. I think the solution would have been as Pat Hines suggested, to relocate South into a “right to work” state, focus on civilian sales, make quality better, and cut prices.”

    Yeah, but that’s hard and expensive.
    I don’t doubt that purely capitalist motivations could legitimately support this change in policy. There is too much competition in the AR Platform for Colt to keep selling overpriced rifles based on its name. When the same level of quality is available cheaper, or better quality for the same price, Colt is going to lose market share.
    Military contracts typically involve lots of cookie-cutter units @ lowest bidder quality levels. This is extremely important vis-à-vis Production and Inventory Control costs, which account for a lot more in the “Expense” column than most people realize.

    “Paul Spitale, said that the civilian AR production cut was based on consumer feedback and a close analysis of the market’s ebbs and flows.”
    Yup, nothing like not selling your product as a reliable indicator how well your customer base like what you build.

    Colt has been in extremis several times. Nothing new here.

  7. On September 16, 2019 at 3:16 pm, Archer said:

    According to Spitale, rifles aren’t heavily favored by the civilian market…

    Pure B.S., as the AR-pattern continues to be the most popular, best-selling rifle in America.

    … resulting in lower profit margins for Colt while the company continues to go full steam on producing rifles to fulfill outstanding military and law enforcement contracts.

    The phrase, “Eggs in one basket,” comes to mind.

    Colt is in trouble, then. With so many companies — including companies with manufacturing capacities that meet or exceed Colt’s — producing better rifles for cheaper, Colt’s cornering of the government contract market is temporary. When those contracts come up for renewal and reevaluation, Colt is going to have to compete (read: match price) with S&W, Ruger, Springfield Armory, Remington, DD, and a host of others who will almost certainly submit their own bids. I’m not sure they can do that and continue to maintain their “better than you at thrice the price” brand or their profitability. One will have to go; if they try to hold both, the contracts will go elsewhere.

    And as soon as the contracts are gone, so is Colt.

  8. On September 16, 2019 at 10:31 pm, Otto said:

    The largest which is US Army contracts are already gone, FN and Remington have them, all colt has is other services, foreign and le.

  9. On September 17, 2019 at 10:45 am, Henry said:

    “First, the word “feedback” should be instantly recognized by everybody in any free market, capitalist system and especially by libertarians.”

    There’s feedback from your customers, there’s feedback from your market segment, and then there’s feedback from loud people who never have and never will buy any merchandise of the type you sell. Forgive me for suspecting which type of feedback was really the impetus for this decision.

  10. On September 17, 2019 at 2:25 pm, Fred said:

    So, feedback is end(consumer) price point…vs. Supply and Demand aka “ebbs and flows.”

    “…the civilian AR production cut was based on consumer feedback and a close analysis of the market’s ebbs and flows.”

    Sir, this statement IS powerpoint, executive brief, press release jargon for the pure economics of the situation.

    I was in a local store 2 months back which had a Colt AR, not even an LE model, and a Ruger AR on the same rack. The Colt was 999.00 plus tax and the Ruger was 499.00. Where did that feedback v supply and demand come from? Did Moms Demand Action sprinkle magic abortion virtue signalling fairy dust over the price plates in the store?

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You are currently reading "Colt Firearms Confirms It’s Leaving The Civilian Long Gun Market", entry #21875 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published September 15th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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