In yesterday’s post on the Army’s decision to buy 100k Beretta M9 pistols, the Italian-owned company’s Facebook photo was as patriotic as Gisele Bundchen in an American flag bikini. “The workers at our Maryland plant and the crew spread all over the USA are proud to be part of team [Italian to English translation?] that will deliver the official sidearm of the US Armed Forces for another five years.” In case you missed the point, the pic features Old Glory and the words “Proudly Made in the USA.” Along the same lines, gunsamerica.com headlined a less-than-critical review “The FNS-9 from FNH-USA – Made in USA.” I would have gone with Big Bucks to Belgium. Anyway, is this foreigners’ flag waving a transparent patriotic ploy or the truth about American guns? What does made in America mean to you, firearms-wise?

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56 Responses to Question of the Day: What Does “Made in America” Mean to You?

    • It means that spare parts won’t be subject to that stupid 922R compliance law, should I want to change them out.

  1. Nothing in particular. I’m looking for the best firearms for each particular application for me. In handguns, I’ve found that the XDms suit me well. I’m looking into getting an AR, which are almost exclusively built in the US. I just got an 870, which is also US made.

    Make a good product that suits my needs and budget, and I’ll buy it. It’s that simple.

  2. I consider choosing guns based on “Made in America” criteria to be extremely unfair and discriminatory to millions of hardworking citizens of the US.

    Examples of why:
    My Remington 1911 R1 is *assembled* in Ilion, NY. But what about the grips? Is the fiber optic sight made in America too? What about the barrel bushing? I doubt the mags in the box are Made in the USA, and im certain the lime green box was imported from somewhere. Should I decide that because all the parts aren’t made in America, its a pistol unworthy of my consideration?

    What about a Springfield Armory 1911 TRP? The frame may be made in Brazil by IMBEL, but the hand-fitting and final craftsmanship is done in Illinois.Americans may not have constructed the frame, but fellow hardworking citizens of the US nonetheless put their sweat and toil into ensuring your $1500 pistol runs like a top. Shall we ignore their hard work because the raw frame came from a different country ?

    As a gun buying American , I will NOT disrespect the hardworking and expert American gunsmiths , craftsmen,machinists, and assembly workers of Geneseo, Illinois , Ilion, NY, Exeter, NH, Ackokeek, MD, and Miami, FL by saying that because the name on their payroll checks is a foreign label, their goods are unworthy of my consideration.

  3. It means made in America by Americans. It means Quality, free from defect. It means jobs for Americans. It means a better standard of living for everyone!

    • “It means Quality, free from defect.”

      Not necessarily. After years of purchasing Chinese frames for my mountain bike I went with a US frame and have regretted the purchase until I finally trashed it.

      Ditto for Pelican cases, Their “unconditional gaurantee” means very little to them and after dealing with their customer support, I gave up and finally sold the case on eBay for whatever I could get.

      Being made in America does not gaurantee anything more than a higher cost. While there are definately some items made in the USA that you can rely on, it is not always the case. There was a time where pride went into US products and everyone wanted something with a USA made stamp, now YMMV it is not a sure thing that the quality is there and same for the customer service.

  4. All too often it feels like a marketing ploy to justify a higher cost, either for a higher profit margin, or to support a union. I’ve worked in manufacturing for a billion dollar company in the USA as well, and it doesn’t necessarily stand for higher quality either — I learned that much pretty quick.

  5. We like selling our goods in other countries, no doubt about that. If a better product is designed or built overseas then we should use it.
    Too many people wrap themselves in the flag and declare the US builds the best because we say so. Some people insist on buying American cars that are really built in other countries, while foreign brands built in this country are shunned.
    Really? Oh sure, we kid ourselves about where the profits go but the truth is any large company has profits going everywhere. US companies won’t repatriate money until Barry is gone and foreign companies spend billions of profits here building factories. Dividends are paid globally. Money is borrowed internationally. Only small operators do everything locally and that is only until they are big enough to be sold.

    There might even be good reasons not to buy US made products any longer. I don’t like supporting certain unions with my money and not buying certain cars is one way to vote.

  6. I stick with American made guns like Ruger and Martin… Basically to reinvest in American companies that manufacture their products in the USA… That employ American employees in the lower 48 states… Nothing against Alaska or Hawaii, just they cause stuff to be to expensive…

  7. It means I’m probably going to pay out the ass. My guns are all Made In USA, but that is simply a coincidence, not a purchasing factor. The only time I go out of my way to buy Made In USA (or Germany or Japan) is for tools, because i’ve had a lot of Chinese and Taiwanese tools break on me or simply not work at all.

    And isnt it ironic that you choose a firearm which is Made In Croatia for the articles picture?

    • Also I once worked for a couple months at a place manufacturing outdoor enclosures for cell sites. I can tell you that half the people in the shop were hispanics who didnt speak english. Even if it is made in the USA, chances are it is still made by a foreigner.

    • And isnt it ironic that you choose a firearm which is Made In Croatia for the articles picture?

      Yeah it’s like rain on your wedding day…

  8. ‘What does made in America mean to you, firearms-wise?’

    It means that I am supporting American citizens and taxpayers employed building the guns in the USA and the profits going to an American based and American owned firm. A great example is Henry. Another good example is Ruger though now publicly owned and traded Ruger’s HQ and manufacturing are still based in the USA. I do not see a need to buy foreign made guns since American made offers many choices that are fine quality firearms. I will only buy ammo that is made in America.

    I enjoy cooking with Lodge’s made-in-America cast iron cookware. Food taste great when cooked in cast iron. I own two of the Ka-Bar made-in-America Becker Knives that are high quality and a superb value.

    • One issue with my above comment. The workers may or not be American citizens even if employed in America. Still, I find it better than buying a gun built overseas knowing none of the employees are American supporting an American family.

      I think I’ll call Henry and Ruger to ask them if they ensure that there workers are US citizens.

      • I worked at Ruger in Prescott. The ATF requires a NICS check on every employee because they handle guns.

        What I find ironic is how on one hand Ruger wraps themselves in the flag, yet only buys Fanuc mills from Japan instead of Haas. The only Haas mills in the place are in prototyping.

        • The problem there is that Haas mills have a rep for not holding sizes when machining non-stop on steel. If you have MasterCAM set up for HSM, you’re likely not going to do that on a Haas.

          I’ve have visited a bunch of firearms manufacturing shops and while many of them have quite a bit of CNC iron, I’ve never once seen a Haas machine in a production setup. Mori, Mazak, Cincy, Okuma, DMG and others? Oh yea.

          I still see plenty of manual Bridgies and Monarch lathes, tho.

    • I try to believe as mentioned above, and buy American made when possible, and when the quality is there to justify my purchase. But with the global economy, I have had to broaden my view to include other democratic countries. I really REALLY try to avoid stuff from China, Viet Nam, Belarus, most of the ‘stans.

  9. Made in the USA means to me that the majority of the parts are manufactured in America and the item is assembled in America. The funny thing is with this idea, I find that many foriegn vehicles are more American than American car manufacturers are (my Fords are plastered with Made in Mexico).

  10. The “buy local” or “buy American” push is really just a patriotic guise for economic protectionism.

    If you voluntarily pay more for something by shopping locally, you leave yourself less money for other goods.

    If a seller can’t compete on cost and you decide to pay that premium, you’re rewarding inefficiancy. In effect, you’ve wasted resources.

    On the other hand, it’s your money, do what you’d like.

    • According to Wiki:

      “U.S. manufacturing costs constitute 75% of the total manufacturing costs for the product; and (2) the product was last substantially transformed in the United States”

      Which the CNN article does not explain. Also, interesting, that the CNN article says the definition is for specific set of goods and not everything is monitored unless there are complaints which means, there could be items labeled Made in USA which are not or will never be checked.

  11. all of the international companies that i buy from (FN, SIG, CZ, ARSENAL) all have america based factories, who employ american workers, this is good enough for me. Beretta makes the m9 in my state (MD), but i actually “feel the love” when i buy LWRC products, that are not only assembeled by workers in my state, but they also manufacture the components in the “free state” as well.

    i also have rugers and remingtons, made in good old USA too

  12. I think the original “Made in America” slogan was (then) synonymous with “made by Americans”.

    We outsource too much for that original slogan to hold any weight anymore. Some companies still can hold true to it, so kudos to them. The rest are just contributing to our Unemployment woes.

    Talk about creating your own economic problems. 🙁

    —————

    As far as firearms go, I go with whatever I happen to shoot best with. It could come from Mars for all I care.

  13. Personally, I don’t care – as others have said, it’s price/quality for me. More importantly, in today’s global economy, the economic reality of “Made in America” is meaningless – parts come from all over, service reps can sit anywhere, corp offices can be anywhere, and regulatory/tax regimes incentivize all sorts of corporate domicile arbitrage. But today the most important component in world class products is ingenuity, the benchmark being the various Apple gizmos – iPads and iPods are mostly all Asian sourced and assembled, but the brainpower and inventiveness behind them came from America. So where it is made means nothing. What if another JM Browning came along and invented something that, in the future, would prove as legendary as the 1911, but this innovator/genius was from Peru? Would it matter where it was made?

  14. A product should be evaluated by its quality, and suitability to achieve whatever purpose it was designed for.

    Choosing, or excluding a product based on its country of origins is at best unwarranted nationalism and at worst naked bigotry.

    The idea that proximity is a determining factor of quality is not rational.

    The idea that American workers are inherently more worthy of producing goods because they are American is also rooted in jingoism and bigotry. This of course applies to any other counties workers as well.

  15. Personally, I like the idea of buying a gun that was largely produced in a US factory because if I ever have a problem with it; there seems to be a greater likelihood that I will get a quicker turnaround on service. Honestly though, no matter where the gun was made, the proceeds of the sale are supporting American workers, whether it be at the point of sale, or through US importers.

  16. With regard to firearms it means that some Federal gun control act had unintended consequences that benefited American workers.

  17. Only American made by an American company for me. I don’t own, nor will I purchase, anything but. I perceive anything else to be unpatriotic and selfish.

  18. presumably it means that it is a quality product made by people that are making a wage they can raise a family on. made in germany, made in france, made in japan, made in luxembourg, made in sweeden, all mean basically the same thing, and so i’m just as happy to buy those products.

  19. What does “made in the USA” mean to me? It means I just spent twice what I should have spent for half the quality that I should have received.

  20. Buying the best goods at the best cost makes us all richer. I don’t care where my firearm was made if it was made well and the makers were paid market rates.

  21. What I’d like “Made in the USA” to mean is that the raw materials (especially the steel) in a gun was made in the US.

    I won’t start my standard rant on the quality of off-shore steel, as it would bore most people. Trust me tho, when a gunsmith starts doing some aftermarket work on a gun made with off-shore steel, often from China or India, it becomes quite obvious.

  22. Same as most things these days. Assembled in the USA is more appropriate, even for Chevy’s, Dodge’s, and those precious Harley-Davidsons.

    While buying American is certainly beneficial it’s simply too difficult to really know just what was really made in the good old US.

    An easier way to be supportive with your purchases is to buy from local businesses instead of brand name stores.

  23. It’s marketing – manufacturers want to wrap themselves in the flag and appeal to the patriotic that think they are helping the country by “buying American”. That being said, the US does produce some of the best firearms in the world. You aren’t settling for inferior products.

  24. I say the same thing that I say when the old UAW guys at my VFW give me grief for driving a Honda.

    A Combat Infantryman’s Badge means not having to prove your patriotism by purchasing inferior products.

    In fact, it’s a ludicrous proposition to start with. If two items were identical in quality and price, sure, I’ll buy local/US/w/e. But they never are, and buying shit just because it says “Made in America” is foolish. It’s a corollary of Bastiat’s Broken Windows Fallacy. Nothing but short-sighted xenophobia.

  25. I buy the best quality products available with my hard earned cash. I want the best value for my money. If a quality product happens to be “Made in USA”, and at a competitive price, I’ll buy it . If the same product is made in Germany, and I believe it’s a better quality product at around the same price, I’ll buy it over the Made in USA. I do not skimp on quality or cost. You get what you pay for in life.

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