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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Putting Those Reports of Colt Layoffs in Perspective

You may have seen posts on several firearm blogs late last week about Colt laying off staff at several company facilities.  Today, Mark Keefe adds some perspective to the stories at NRA American Rifleman:
It probably should've happened a while ago. News started leaking out last week that there have been layoffs at Colt’s Manufacturing Co. in West Hartford, Conn. Like many other companies that ramped up when demand was high over the past few years, Colt has been laying off employees, reportedly at least 10 percent of the workforce over the first quarter of this year—and Colt isn’t alone in that.

And many assumed the sky was falling for an entire industry. Well, Chicken Little, put your Big Bird pants on and remain calm. First of all, the Colt Custom Shop has not been closed. It’s under new management. We’ll get to that in minute.

Of course, there is less demand for the principal product manufactured by Colt’s. And that is the M4/AR platform. I say “less demand,” but what I really mean is less frenzied, artificially inflated demand caused by activist anti-gun presidential candidates and an Oval Office hostile to the rights of law-abiding Americans who own firearms. Interest in the semi-automatic AR platform is likely higher than ever, but there is little in the way of external political forces motivating buyers to pick one up today.

I just received an excerpt from my friend Steve Fjestad—he owns the Blue Book of Gun Values and is in the process of completing the 38th Edition—in which he lists the hundreds and hundreds of makers of the AR platform. That's a pretty crowded market. There is a race to the bottom with ARs retailing for less than $500, and as one Colt official told me, “We can’t and shouldn’t compete in that space. That’s not what Colt does.” That's good, because Colt simply cannot.
We are likely going to see a lot of changes in the industry as the market continues to settle down in a "less frenzied" environment.  The antis are going to make much of this but it should be expected without the constant attacks we endured from the Obama administration the last four years.

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