Skip to comments.Can Colt Firearms Survive?
Posted on 05/24/2014 8:35:48 AM PDT by mac_truck
I recently had occasion to read through the S.E.C. 10Q filing for the newly formed Colt Defense, which is a limited liability corporation comprised of New Colt Holding, Colt Manufacturing, Colt Defense Technical Services, Colt Canada, Colt Finance, & Colt International among others.
The merged company has brought the manufacture of Colt long guns and Colt hand guns together into a single enterprise, however the company reported a loss in the most recent quarter and the sale of long guns was reported down more than 50% from a year ago (~24million in Q1 2014 vs ~52million Q1 2013).
Some of this decline may be attributed to the wind down of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as greater competition for US military contracts.
Colt signed a 12 year lease deal with Osceola County Florida in 2011 for space which was intended to bring manufacturing jobs to central Florida. That property remains vacant and undeveloped and it is unclear whether the merged company plans to move there once the lease on its manufacturing plant in Connecticut is over in 2015.
Colt Defense has become highly leveraged as a result of its acquisition of New Colt Holding and is given a negative CCC+ rating by Moodys. Its revenue is down significantly from the same period a year ago, and there are covenant restrictions on how much new spending it can do. They do have increased sales on back order ($222 million Q1 2014 vs. $207 million Q4 2013), but much of that is government orders for spares.
The question really is whether Colt Defense and its iconic American brand can survive in this economic environment, or will they get purchased by a competitor with deeper pockets, or be forced to file for bankruptcy?
Nothing they make other than the Colt Python can’t be found at other companies cheaper and better.
Doomed unless they do a serious reorg
They could re-locate to Russia.
It’s much more business friendly...
If I were them, I’d move the company to a gun friendly state, re-issue the Python then consider merging with another company.
If they don’t stop funding statist fascism on Connecticut, do they deserve to survive?
My bet would be they get bought by Ruger- RGR or the new ATK spinoff. (ATK has a division that make ammunition under the Federal and CCI brands, and owns Bushnell, Savage arms Blackhawk, etc.
Was it Colt, or S&W that said that they would only sell to government agencies? If it was Colt, they can kiss their asses goodbye. My semi-auto “hunting” rifles will run circles around any of their AR or M16 variants anyways. Modern gunsmithing can produce some truly awesome custom firearms.
This is a prime example of business majors ruining yet another business.
Colt to come back has to do some basic stuff.
1) Move out of CT. Texas seems to be a popular choice but I fear for it's political climate if amnesty goes through, regardless getting out of CT is the important thing.
2) They need to focus on their core strengths and markets.
a)Colt AR/M4/M16 etc. With the huge rise of AR sales Colt should have been riding a wave a money, instead they priced themselves out of a market while sticking to their "mil-spec" (really colt-spec) AR. They need to change their spec and lower their prices. If they can't make a competitively priced AR they need to invest in the tooling so that they can.
b)Colt Python. Make the Python again you F'ing idiots. What were you thinking?! Make it just as good as you used to (or better) so you don't ruin the legacy.
c)Colt Peacemaker. The peacemaker is a classic pistol but let's face it, there are plenty of companies making period revolvers that are every bit as good and less than half the cost. If it requires more investment in tooling to bring prices down get it done.
d)Colt .45 ACP. They should have dominated this market. They need to get it back.
e)come up with some functional Tupperware pistol that "tacticool" kids like. focus on trigger, accuracy and reliabity in order to beat the G name that shall not be mentioned (This is a low bar set by the "perfect" company)
Boom, Colt would be in the money again. To whatever business major idiots are running this company into the ground: How did you manage to do this in a time of record guns sales? You are probably laughing all the way to the bank when you should be hanging your heads in shame...or just plain hanging.
Their hand gun business has been doing pretty well (~$15.5 million Q1 2014 vs. ~$1.2 million Q1 2013), its their long gun sales which are deteriorating.
Too much reliance on the US military for revenue, and now that seems to be drying up. International sales might be a way to grow.
That seems like a no-brainer especially if its to a right to work state, and they have a property in Florida that is already under a long term lease. They could just be waiting until next year when the lease on their Connecticut facility is up for renewal. There may also be an existing union contract to deal with.
Colt .32 semi,
The original carry gun.
Soooo why did they stop making it?
Bringing back the Python is something I’d love to see, but would it sell today? It appears that a lot of people these days are going for 1911s, Glocks, Springfield XDs and the like. A lot of Tacticool.
Same with the Peacemaker.
If Colt wanted to do something different, design a die-hard piston driven AR, then let others make it cheaply under license. It would create a common platform for the Piston AR crowd taking the proprietary systems out of the picture. Ruger, Adams Arms, Osprey, H&K, Sig Sauer all proprietary. It would take sales from the larger companies, and possibly the smaller ones too. DPMS, and Bushmaster seem to be thoroughly reviled on the interwebs these days, and a lot of “Tier 1” fan boys out there would not buy a piston set-up from those manufacturers. Colt still has a name, people WILL buy based on that alone. There are lot of diehard 6920 fans out there, who swear by their Colts. There would still be source of common piston parts on the market, and people would also buy from Colt, or upgrade to Colt made parts.
I love my Delta Elite; it’s one of my favorites sidearms. Granted, the 10mm is a very niche market, but if they would make a double stack 10mm (along the lines of the ParaOrd P14), they would have one of the most fearsome sidearms on the market.
IF (and that’s a huge “IF”) Colt were to make the Python to the same level of quality it displayed in say, the mid 60’s to the mid-70’s, and they brought back the Royal Blue finish, then yes, they’d sell.
But, here’s the kicker: That level of quality in a revolver is going to cost some serious money - as in $2K and up.
It would be a niche market, for sure. I don't know how many bullseye target shooters there are anymore.
Do you think a 10mm pistol could be made to cycle .40 S&W in the fashion of the .357 mag/.38 spcl?
I suppose someone would have if it were practical.
I totally agree with you on the price point. I think the larger question would be whether they have anybody left on the payroll that has the hand-polishing and -fitting skills to achieve the legendary finish, fit, and like-glass-breaking trigger/hammer action. If they do, they better pay those people to stick around and teach it to another generation if they want to hang their hat on the Python as part of a comeback strategy.
How about they start manufacturing ammunition. Buy a gun package & get cases of ammo.
I was recently gifted a 4” Colt Python, nickle plated. It is the finest revolver I have ever fired.
No, and the reason why is how the cartridges headspace in their respective chambers.
Revolver cartridges headspace on the rim (or, more precisely, the front edge of the rim).
A semi-auto case like the .40 or 10 headspaces off the front edge of the case mouth. This means that the .40 has nothing but the ejector hook holding it from headspacing too far forward into a 10mm chamber.
The .40 killed the 10mm, mostly because the only difference between the 10mm and .40 is achieved by loading the 10mm to its real potential, which is well above what the .40 achieves, and high enough to cause some 10mm pistols to start developing issues like frame/slide cracks, etc. As a result of the ferocity of the full-house 10mm, the FBI down-loaded the round to give the ballistics of what became known as the “FBI load” in the 10mm, and that in turn fostered the .40 S&W when Smith noticed “hey, that load leaves all this unused space in the 10mm case, so why not just cut down the case, and we get a smaller grip size and we can double-stack it?” Lo, the .40 resulted.
The only solution (real solution) I would see to cycling a 10mm auto with a .40 S&W cartridge would be to obtain another un-chambered barrel for the 10mm auto pistol, and chamber it for only the .40, and then you’d be off to the races.
Colt probably doesn’t have anyone on their staff that can do it, but they can be trained. There’s all manner of graduates coming out of gunsmithing programs across the country’s six or so schools of gunsmithing who would love to have their names attached to making something as nice as a Python.
And yes, they’d need to be paid.
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