Colt Firearms plans to stop production of some rifles, including ARs, for the civilian market, according to a recent report.
In a move that has many people shaking their heads in disgust, the Connecticut-based company plans to exit the consumer rifle market altogether.
“We’re going to focus on the products that our consumers are asking for. We’ve expanded our 1911s and our revolver line, and that market has been very positive for us,” Spitale said. Shooting Illustrated reported that Colt’s rifle line production is occupied, at least for the time being, with outstanding contracts which include orders through police and defense channels.
According to records from the ATF for 2017, the most current available, Colt produced some 31,987 pistols and 7,342 revolvers at their West Hartford, Connecticut factory that year. This compares with 13,942 rifles, of which 2,097 were exported.
Historically, Colt has been perhaps best known for handguns, but rifles have never been absent from their catalog for long. At the same time, their famous black powder revolvers were making the company a household name, Colt was also producing Ring Lever and Revolving carbines and muskets.
By the end of the 19th Century, their Lightning series of pump-action rifles were extremely popular among shooting galleries and in the hands of sportsmen across the world. Fast forward to the 1950s and the company began marketing bolt-action hunting rifles such as their Alaskan series as well as a line of semi-auto rimfires like the Stagecoach.
Finally, Colt became a huge driving force in modern sporting rifles with the AR-15, a design acquired from then California-based Armalite in 1959. Colt went on to produce the rifle in select-fire models for military and LE contracts as well as semi-auto consumer versions over the past 70 years.