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Oh to be a supplier of civilian firearms! Every one of the major manufacturers is struggling to keep pace with demand, as concealed carry restrictions are rolled back and President Obama’s reelection campaigns pushes forwards (leftwards?). While Colt makes some damn fine civilian firearms, the corporate mothership makes most of its money from sales to Uncle Sam. “Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services placed its ratings on Connecticut-based Colt Defense LLC, including its ‘B-‘ corporate credit rating, on Credit Watch with negative implications.” Rationale? “The CreditWatch placement reflects the potential negative long-term impact of  the loss of a key contract . . .

The U.S. Army recently selected Remington Arms Co. Inc. for an $84 million contract to supply the standard-issue M4 rifle through  2017. Colt had been the sole-source supplier to the U.S. government since  1997, and this is the first time the Army has awarded the contract to a competitor. Colt is protesting this award but didn’t provide further details.

What more is there to say, exactly? A lot. And none of it good for Colt Defense.

We consider the recent contract loss, if upheld, a setback in the long term as Colt prepares to bid on the potential replacement rifle, currently scheduled to be awarded in 2013. Colt has been relying on international demand to offset weak U.S. demand in recent months; currently, 70% of its sales are to foreign customers. International markets represent a promising opportunity and can carry higher margins that U.S. domestic military sales. However, they also tend to attract more bidders (including European and other non-U.S. producers), and the timing and likelihood of sales is more unpredictable than for U.S. military sales.

 

40 Responses to S&P Downgrades Colt, Puts Company on Credit Watch

  1. My little pony has a case of the sadz. But I thought that the
    little pony emblem on the lower meant that I had to pay $400 more?
    I guess Uncle Sam got wise to the fact that among some of the top
    tier AR manufacturers, there is not much difference in terms of
    quality and features. Oh well…

  2. Colt is a sterling example of what happens when you don’t keep up
    with your competitors. What were they known for? Single Action
    Armys, 1911s, AR-15s, and double action revolvers, right? Well,
    there’s plenty of competition in all those categories, plus Colt
    screwed up royally when they brought out the All-American 2000
    polymer wonder turd. Yet they quit making double action revolvers.
    Does anybody believe there’s not a market for a modern Detective
    Special? Wouldn’t people buy 4 inch .357s? Smith and Taurus sell a
    lot. And if they brought back the Python—who wouldn’t buy that?
    They’ve lost the 1911 and AR market–too many competitors, and Colt
    isn’t a name that’s going to sway people. Hell, you can buy a SIG
    1911 now. The Single Action Army is a good seller for them, but
    there’s a lot of competition. I think double action revolvers are
    where they should try to make their comeback.

    • The question is not “Can they sell?”, it’s “Can they sell at a
      profit?” I would love to see the Python come back, but 90% of
      people posting on gun boards will not be happy when they see
      what it costs to build one in 2012 dollars. Then again, maybe the
      other 10% are enough. Colt hasn’t lost the 1911 market – they sell
      every one they build, and customers are asking for even more
      varieties. I’d be first in line for a .38 Super Series 70, if
      they’d only build it.

      • I understand, but back in the heyday of Colt, they were the place
        to go for a 1911. There was Colt and AMT(who made crappy stainless
        1911s). Now EVERYBODY makes a 1911. That has to cut into their
        market share. Even Smith makes a 1911! So does Ruger. It’s just
        shocking to me that Colt doesn’t make double action revolvers any
        more. They weren’t on my radar so when I actually searched their
        website and found no more DA revolvers, well, it was kind of sad.

        • I agree with you. Colt better recall why Winchester folded – they made less and less firearms and quality declined. It’s good FN now makes a great M 70. Colt needs to get back in the revolver business and make one to compete with S&W’s lower priced revolver! They should also design a single action similar to Ruger’s fine revolver for the same price range. I don’t want to see Colt fold; they make fine firearms, just need more.

    • “And if they brought back the Python—who wouldn’t buy that?” No
      kidding. I’ve been wondering about that for years.

    • Colt all-american was a good pistol as long as you read the
      instructions and were not ham-handed in re-assembly. Really it’s
      downfall was the fact you had to be very careful in re-assembly or
      you break the trigger mechanism. Still a very innovative product
      and probably the last time Colt stepped up and tried something new.
      For it’s time it was ground breaking, you could convert it to a
      sub-compact with a new barrel and bushing, rotating barrel,
      American made polymer frame. I have never seen any other pistol so
      consistent in ejection. It tends to drop all the rounds in a very
      small circle compared to most handguns. This gun needed probably 2
      design changes to have been a game changer in the industry. But,
      Colt once it got that spinning cylinder thing down really gave up
      designing.

  3. Didn’t Colt voluntarily do a hatchet job on some of their
    receivers/parts to cripple ’em? Don’t they have a bunch of stuff
    they limit to LE-only that doesn’t legally need to be so limited?
    (I know S&W does that for some stuff; not sure about Colt.) If
    so, good enough for ’em. They need to get with the times and start
    making stuff for WE THE PEOPLE – because frankly that’s what our
    vaunted Second Amendment these companies claim to love stands for:
    we the people packing heat. Disclaimer: I don’t own any Colt stock
    in any sense of the word. Also, I saw The Avengers today – amazing
    movie.

    • To be honest, the way you dibcsire this gun sounds like the G&G combat machine because that pistol grip notch and the strong ring is also on the combat machine. But overall this gun looks and feel like the combat machine but its just better quality.so if you want cheap buy G&G. If you dontwant G&G, buy this or real sword AEG’s

  4. I sort of predicted this would eventually happen when they sort of
    quit the civilian market in the late 60s and 70s.

  5. I think, though, that this is more of a PR win than anything else.
    Another site I read stated that Colt is still earning royalties on
    all M4’s delivered to the Army. Also, I think I read that Colt
    still has a contract to deliver a sh*t ton of rifles before
    Remington takes over. And last, I think that the Gov’t is going
    forward with testing a M4/M16 replacement. This should give Colt a
    reason to divert their attention to the battle rifle of the future,
    not the present. Just my 2 cents worth…

  6. It is amazing to me that one of the most iconic brands in American
    gun-making has not been able to get it’s act together for decades
    now. The detective special seems like a perfect fit for the booming
    CCW market…who would buy a 5 shooter when they could get a 6
    shooter instead? Make it in stainless with a bobbed hammer and I’ll
    buy 2!

  7. Colt’s Manufacturing dismantled and disposed the DA revolver
    production line 6 or 8 years ago. Colt’s Manufacturing is still
    largely building handguns like it was 1955. They could not build
    the DA’s at a price the market would bear, while making a profit,
    given their manufacturing processes and union labor force. Until
    the recent contract renewal (signed 31 March 12), the UAW
    employees’ contract stipulated that if snow was *falling* they
    didn’t have to show for work (this is in CT, mind you).

    • +1 The loss of the gov contract couldn’t have happened to a more
      snotty gun company. They have thumbed there noses at civilians for
      decades. Now they are “protesting” the loss of the contract. No
      doubt in the typical Colt fashion they will align themselves with
      corrupt politicians to influence the contracts. It worked for
      getting the 1873 SAA adopted instead of the Scholfield (sp?).

      • Sorry Wes, S&W blew it in not getting the 1875 Schofield adopted. The army required a .45 cal. cartridge so S&W instead of using the already plentyful (in the army supply chain) .45 Colt, developed the .45 S&W. The .45 S&W is shorter than the .45 Colt by about a quarter inch and the Scholfield cylinder was made to match. The Colt could thus chamber and fire either cartridge while the Schofield required the use of the S&W cartridge. Given the state of logistics at the time, there was literally no telling which ammunition a remote post would receive. Which revolver would you rather have to rely on, the Colt which can use either cartridge or the S&W which could only use the .45 S&W and is useless if you get .45 Colt ammunition. Take care.

    • I’m with you, Ralph. It seems like Colt turned their back on the
      civilian market a long time ago.

    • + another 1. Colt decided to go with the government contracts and
      pee on the civilian market back in the 1960s. Now that the civilian
      market is booming [pun intended], Colt is standing there crying
      that no one loves them. My last Colt was a 3rd Gen Single Action
      Army in 1980 (for cowboy action shooting), and I had to replace the
      funky, no-name wood grips with a set of authentic old hard-rubber
      Colt grips so the gun would look like the older SAAs. Paid $75 for
      the grips. Haven’t seen a Colt worth buying since then. Hey, live
      by the gummint sugartit, die by the gummint sugartit.

  8. I’d buy a new Python in a minute and I’d pay premium 1911 prices
    for it as well if the craftmanship was there. Heck, I’ve purchased
    4 Smith New Classics, locks and all,because I’ll support anyone who
    makes a quality revolver in blue/walnut. (BTW, those new Smith’s
    get a bad rap, all 4 of mine are excellent shooters with nice
    finishes, even if they aren’t at quite the level of the old custom
    shop guns.)

    • Used Pythons in Royal Blue go for about $2500 in NRA Excellent
      condition. I’d consider a used one at that price a better buy than
      a new one at half the price. It was just a magnificent revolver in
      every way.

  9. It’s unfortunate that Colt is in such trouble, but I only ever
    bought two Colts, about 25 years ago, and passed on others due to
    their high retail price points. Ah well…so it goes.

  10. Maybe if Colts didnt cost so damn much. At this point your paying
    for a roll mark on lowers, nothing more. My Spikes lower cost me
    $90 before Tax and DROS. I have NOT A SINGLE COMPLAINT.

    • Assuming you can find a Colt Lower. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen em
      around. You know what I mean though.

    • I had a similar experience buying a complete Spike’s M4 and then
      comparing it to my 6920.

  11. All the LMT fanboys in the house say HEY-O! When colt made a
    monolithic upper after LMT, I remember hoping that Karl Lewis would
    get on a plane to kick the CEO of Colt in the nuts.

  12. Time to reintroduce the Python. No, really. Now is the time. Attitudes have changed. Guns and gun rights are everywhere. People aren’t going to sue you anymore just because you have a revolver called the Python.

  13. With Ruger so swamped with orders that they stopped taking new orders for a couple of months just so they could catch up, and Smith & Wesson also making nice profits, makes me wonder just what the folks at Colt are doing wrong. And if we are gonna wish for old Colt designs to come back, I want a Colt Woodsman National Match .22 LR really bad. And I can’t see why the Python can’t be made today at a competitive price and still make a profit with the accuracy and efficiencies of modern CNC machinery. My 1911 was made by Auto Ordnance about 25 years ago. I would have loved a Colt, but mine was 1/3 less money that I then spent at the gunsmith’s shop getting it fixed up to be better than what Colt was offering at the time. So for about the same money as a stock Colt 1911 series 80, I got an extended grip safety, enlarged ejection port, larger safety lever, Novak adj sights and Austin Behlert’s patented trigger job, making a VERY nice pistol when all finished. Yeah, the Colt came with a much nicer exterior finish and blueing, but I couldn’t afford to have pretty AND the other stuff I wanted.

  14. I remember back in the early 70’s when I was just a kid reading how Colt was neglecting the civilian market and concentrating on the much more lucrative gt. sales. Back then with the crime way up their was a waiting period for S&W M&P’s. Colt just dropped their Police Positive when they knew they could sell it if they made it at a competive price. Ruger then brought out their Security Six that sold well. Know Ruger is NOT taking orders (too large of back orders) and Colt just lost a gt order. Colt is a text book case of how to blow a great name brand and they deserve anything bad that happens to them. Tough $h!t ….

  15. I get to work on a good many old Colts. I’ve only taken one Texas Patterson (Holster Model Patterson No.5) apart. It is often difficult to deritmene from photographs the nuances that can tell fine from forgery – but the writer of the article is very excited indeed.Samuel Colt was not a gunsmith nor gun builder. He provided design drawings and had gunsmiths make him working guns for prototypes (John Pearson principally), and then hired a factory superintendent (Pliny Lawton) to manufacture a working production gun.The production run of the No.5 was higher than that of the other Pattersons – it was not a limited edition. The series of about 1000 in it’s own number range started in 1838. The Republic of Texas ordered 180 guns in August of 1839 for it’s navy so a single digit serial would not likely be one of theirs… The guns later trickled into other Texan armouries and did equip some Rangers.Castings? The only casting marks I’ve ever seen in a Colt is in the brass gripframes. The Patterson is all steel.True – I’ve never seen it in print, but all the cap and ball Colt’s I’ve ever seen have gain twist rifling. Maybe as a side effect to the equipment used in manufacture or a savvy method to reduce distortion and fouling I can’t say. Never seen a clone with gain twist rifling…Many hundreds of thousands of dollars – nice ones sell in the $65,000 area. Yes, a single digit is usually appreciated but not that much more…What is that ugly medallion in the grip? Never seen that on Colt one piece wood grips.My opine is that I’m sceptical.Sid

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