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When Smith & Wesson relocated its Thompson Center Arms subdivision to its Springfield HQ, Smith gutted Thompson’s workforce. It was a devastating blow for the 200-plus New Hampshire-based Thompson Center employees left jobless by the move. (Only seven TC employees relocated.) Smith’s “rationalization” deep-sixed decades of institutional knowledge, based on product-testing through hands-on hunting. We’ll see what Smith makes of Thompson. Meanwhile, just as Windham Weaponry was born out of the ashes of The Freedom Group’s decision to move Bushmaster into Remington’s New York facilities, Thompson Center employees who wouldn’t uproot for Smith have started-up their own gun manufacturing biz: LHR. Their prospects are . . .

Pretty good. The firearms industry is going great guns. The new company hopes to produce at least one of them. fosters.com reports:

The company’s first rifle, “Redemption,” [ED: I would’ve preferred Revenge] will be revealed in February, at the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Penn.

[VP Sales and Marketing Mark] Hanley said that so far, LHR Sporting Arms has been promoting its first product around its name and concept, and will reveal pieces of information about the rifle as winter approaches.

“We are kind of building up anticipation,” said Hanley.

He said the company is expecting to produce several variations of “Redemption” throughout 2013. Laney said the company will continue to come up with new rifle designs and product.

In a ballsy maneuver for a gunmaker, the Redemption page on LHR’s website has a countdown clock to the product’s unveiling that includes milliseconds. If LHR pull a Heizer and fails to meet their own deadline, it will do nothing to help build consumer confidence in LHR products.

If they do unveil a new gun—on schedule—that kicks Thompson Center Arms’ collective ass, and LHR provides the kind of customer service they’re promising, the company’s future will also be promising. TTAG will reach out for a testing & evaluation model ASAP. Watch this space.

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21 Responses to LHR: Former Thompson Center Employees Seek Redemption

  1. Well I hope they do well… the most unfortunate part of “creative destruction” as Schumpeter called it, is that whole pesky destruction thing….

  2. I wish them well, but after crawling all over their web site, it looks like they are more in the “T” shirt business than the gun business.

    • Harley Davidson makes far more from “lifestyle” products than from selling their motorcycles. If LHR can do the same, more power to ’em.

  3. Ill be keeping an eye. Any money I can spend with a competitor to the people that have done what they have to my beloved Marlin, is money well spent.

  4. “Our rifles are put through a ten point inspection which examines and double checks all the critical areas of the rifle for qualty and performance.”
    Only 10 points? And it looks like the inspection process for their website did not include a spell check.

    “One-on-one support with our skilled staff of fellow hunters.”
    I would rather get support from a gun smith rather than some guy who is going to tell me stories about his last hunt.

    “The most important part of any rifle is accuracy. We test our products to exceed industry accuracy standards and can provide you the loading data needed to get the accuracy you want.”
    There is a industry standard for rifle accuracy? It is too much to ask them to say X MOA at X yards?

    “At LHR we believe in our rifles, which is why we offer our “Lifetime Promise.” A promise that we will always take care of you and whomever else may own your rifle down the road.”
    So what is the chance this company is out of business 5 years from now?

    And out of the 3 machines featured in the video, why was only one of them CNC?

    • For chrissakes give them a break. They are trying to make a go of it and don’t need any negativity from you. It’s not likely you would buy one of their guns anyway.

      • Talk is cheap. And in the gun biz, it comes with further discounts. Matt has a point. There is generally a gap between hype and reality. In the firearms industry, it’s a chasm. The frikkin grand canyon.

        Product introduction is one thing. Sufficient capacity to bring enough product to market to sustain operations is quite another. We have seen this happen before.

        They set the bar for themselves. I see no need to “give them a break”.

        • “I see no need to “give them a break”.”
          – – –

          They’ve been sort of beaten down by a set of corporate execs who seem to have valued machinery higher than them, and where many people would crawl into a hole and moan, they’ve instead taken some risks and put forth some effort and might very well be developing the next huge American success story – maybe not – but taking that chance is the hallmark of American pioneering capitalism.

          So we don’t give them a break because we “need to.”

          We do it because we admire their guts, and because the success we’ve always enjoyed as a relatively vibrant economic system stems in large part from the effort and guts of people like them who did what they’re trying to do, and we wish them well knowing that without such efforts, we’d have an economy based on “want fries with that?”

      • I’ve been thinking about buying a TC gun because of how easy it is to swap barrels, and get ones made in obscure calibers. I wouldnt get one of theirs unless the barrels are compatible with TC guns.

    • Put yourself in their shoes.

      The parent company who bought you out has come in and moved production (read: your prior CNC machines) off to Taxachussetts, where you would not go because, well, who wants to live and work in and amongst Massholes and their gun laws?

      So you’re either left with a few manual machines the parent didn’t want or which you picked up on the cheap to crank out your prototype. The VC or banks who are funding you want to see working prototypes tested before they kick in the next large round of financing & capital for CNC iron.

      I know of a gun barrel producer that has almost no CNC iron and a lot of manual iron. The manual machines are set up row upon row, with a dedicated setup and fixtures for one operation. When they’re producing barrels, the material moves from machine to machine across the shop, having one operation after another performed quickly and to spec, then the product is moved down the floor. Why would you produce product this way? Because sometimes, the cost of manual iron is cheap – so cheap, that if you have cheap(er) labor (eg, everyone is a partner in a startup), you can crank out just as much on manual machines as you can on CNC machines for the capital involved.

      There’s more than one way to skin a cat in machining.

      • +1.
        This can be done – especially today with interwebs making used tooling reasonable.
        And you have to know your workers – especially their skillz in figuring new ways to skin old cats. Best of luck to these guys.

  5. I just bought the last one at Morse’s in Hillsboro. I got it sighted in and my boy’s shot it. I would buy another one. Keep up the good job.

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