Question of the Day: How Would You Fix Colt?

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The opening bid for what’s left of Colt, maker of The Gun That Won The West: $0. Of course, Siens Capital Management would assume about $125 million in debt. Bondholders would get the short haircut. Really short. It’s only an opening bid and an auction for the not-so-rampant pony is proposed for August 3. Short of a liquidation, whoever wins the bidding process will have a lot of work in front of them. A major priority, if not job one, will be producing some firearms that interest the civilian gun-buying public. Let’s say that winning bid is yours and you’re handed the keys. How would you fix Colt?

comments

  1. avatar John A. Smith says:

    Sell it to Glock.

    1. avatar Anthony says:

      😀

      1. avatar george from fort worth says:

        that’ll get rid of all those dumb 1911 safeties !! glock might even begin selling the rifles without safeties, as well.

        1. avatar Michael F says:

          Can’t tell if you 3 are trolling or just insane…

        2. avatar george from fort worth says:

          don’t know what “trolling” means in a blog. have heard it used by police to describe attempts to lure bad guys into arrests.

          as to insane, i would not be qualified to determine if i am insane or rational, because my perspective is rather prejudiced in my favor. however, regarding my note about safeties….just havin’ fun with guys who think safeties are useless. especially GLOCK guys who still cannot explain why their fave has safety features.

  2. avatar David says:

    this is easiest question I’ve ever been asked. simple solution here folks, have Colt rehire all there Gunsmith that they got rid of and replace with gun texhs, and bring back the Anaconda revolver line as well as the king cobra revolver line and the Python revolver line. sell these guns at a high enough price to which you can actually make a profit on them to pay the Gunsmith not text to assemble them correctly and actually blew them correctly! problem solved within a year you’d be bailed out by yourself! glad to help Colt David!

    1. avatar Stan says:

      Can someone decipher this comment?

      1. avatar Red In Texas says:

        Dig up real gunsmiths, revive “snake” line of revolvers, build them right, sell them for a profit, and file for bankruptcy again.

        I added the last part, but the rest is pretty much what he was trying to say.

        1. avatar AndyNC says:

          You left out the part about blowing them.

      2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        I tried.
        I failed

        1. avatar YooperFsN says:

          Stewardess, I speak Jive.

      3. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Near as I can tell, he’s suggesting to hire gunsmiths, and pay them with blowjobs.

        1. avatar CA.Ben says:

          Now that sounds like a plan!

        2. avatar WedelJ says:

          Do they have any openings? Pun might be intended

        3. avatar Indiana Tom says:

          Colt could always hire people to give customers blow jobs.

        4. avatar rosignol says:

          How difficult is it to learn gunsmithing?

        5. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          There’s gunsmithing and then there’s gunsmithing. There’s a large number of skills involved in gunsmithing, which I won’t bore people with here.

          What I will point out is this: Gunsmithing a Python is at the very peak of a gunsmith’s skill. The Pythons were made by some of the most senior talent Colt had on their lines, in fitting, lockwork, finishing, etc. You can’t take someone right out of gunsmithing school and put them on a line making Pythons. They’d need at least five to eight years of experience doing hand-fitting and polishing before they could make Pythons with repeatable quality of finish and the “bank vault lockup” that made them famous.

      4. avatar Gatha58 says:

        Sure: texhs = techs as in technicians. Blew = blue as in the bluing process, I think. Basically he is saying hire all gunsmiths and get rid of the lower paid tech help and charge more for the final products to pay everyone enough to keep them happy and make a profit. Probably the guns will be so expensive that nobody will buy them and the company will go into it’s final death throes. For a company to be successful you hire highly trained help were they are needed and less experienced help where they are needed. I doubt they really need a lot of over qualified, highly paid gunsmiths to mass produce quality products. Some maybe, but not a lot. Probably a few mechanical engineers and quality control folks too. Gunsmiths as QC might make sense.

        1. avatar Jjimmyjonga says:

          But when do the gunsmiths get their blow jobs?

        2. avatar Pat says:

          Colts giving out blowjobs? Do they come with bayonet lugs?

    2. avatar 277Volt says:

      If they hire back gunsmiths to hand build the Snakes like they did in the old days it’d be cheaper to buy a used Python in pristine condition.

      Also Colt’s habit of “charging enough to make a profit” is why other companies sell way more 1911’s and AR’s than Colt could ever hope to. That’s part of the reason they failed.

      1. avatar Evan in Dallas says:

        This,

        You can’t just charge more to make up the difference. That also assumes a lot about price elasticity of demand. A colt revolver, 1911 or AR15 is not a life saving cancer drug where the cost of not having one is death. A bit of an extreme example, but it’s a sliding scale. Also only so many people want the snake revolvers. I don’t see many revolvers at the range and I doubt the thinking behind that is that it’s “colt or nothing.” A key strategy rule is you have to separate what you(yes you personally) think is cool or good, and what is actually going to be most profitable.

    3. avatar DoomGuy says:

      Exactly. And no more lawyers running the company.

  3. avatar General Zod says:

    Colt’s management has spent the past three decades destroying the company. I’m not sure it can be fixed.

    1. avatar Steve in TX says:

      It doesn’t need to be fixed. Just license the name and symbol out to other companies. And not just gun companies. I’m thinking a ford mustang model or a python slurpy from 7-11. You would only need a few employees and Colt hasn’t been friendly to the public in such a long time I don’t think they can make a come back.

      1. avatar Jjimmyjonga says:

        Yeah, like Russian-bear ammo companies – god that stuff is horrible. Saturated market requires innovation, not just another ar or 191 with a new twist on a trigger or grip or barrel. Could the snakes be resurrected and sold for $1k? Would snakes be enough to float them? (Doubt it)

  4. avatar DoomGuy says:

    Stop snubbing the civilian markets. Bring back the Python and Anaconda; bring back a line of cowboy action shooting pistols and shotguns, and bring back the Classic AR-15 models (ie CAR-15 style carbines) and so forth.

    Stop catering to every contract.gov they can sell out their customer base to and stop hiring crappy CEO’s (like anti gun former generals).

    1. avatar Stan says:

      EXACTLY. Especially the cowboy stuff.

  5. avatar S.CROCK says:

    Bring the Colt Python back at a reasonable price! Possibly introduce it in some new calibers. That seems like it would be a good start. And if it wouldn’t be too hard, get into the .22 manufacturing business. Only .22 no other calibers.

    1. avatar General Zod says:

      They can’t. Pythons were hand-fitted and they fired the gunsmiths that crafted them back in the ’80s. What we’d wind up with is a semi-reliable copy that’s mass-produced and has none of the quality control and precision the Python was famous for.

      1. avatar Steven Clark says:

        ^^^^THIS.

      2. avatar S.CROCK says:

        Re higher them or train new ones.

        1. avatar General Zod says:

          That would cost a lot of money – which may not be available to Colt anymore. Also, some of those skills may be gone for good.

        2. avatar WedelJ says:

          ^ You got to spend money to make money. They could re hire a few of them and have those guys train younger guys so that the labor costs wouldn’t be as high and sell the snake guns at a kinda high price for now, while they get something else going that would generate good profits.

        3. avatar Chris WT says:

          ^They cant spend more money to make it, they are broke!

        4. avatar Kevin says:

          The smiths who built the Pythons are either dead or retired – it was 30-something years ago. They’re not coming back.

        5. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          That won’t be easy, and even if you could do it, it would be years before the first Pythons started rolling out to the market.

          See, the issue is the Colt lockwork. The Colt revolver design is elegant, run by one main leaf spring, a rebound lever that takes real skill to adjust correctly, and isn’t something that just anyone does well fitting up properly. Some of the best Colt revolver smiths are watchmakers or horologists who have gone into working on guns.

        6. avatar Jjimmyjonga says:

          Offer blow jobs…they’ll be back fo sho.

  6. avatar ugene says:

    President just spoke about gun control,let the gun buying begin.

  7. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    First, let’s get some things straight here.

    The bankrupt entity is Colt Defense, LLC. They don’t make revolvers and civilian market guns, they existed to make M-16’s, M-4’s, sub-guns and such for the DOD contracts and off-shore buyers.

    Second, the reason why they’re bankrupt is because the PE vultures have carved their returns out of the capital that it takes to run the company. This is what happens when manufacturing companies get into bed with Wall Street hyenas. Doesn’t matter whether the company makes guns, spatulas or gearboxes.

    There really isn’t anything that can be done to “fix” Colt Defense. They’re done. Located in a gun-hostile state, employing union labor, with pensions and retirement obligations, stripped of their equity and capital… anyone who bids on this company is basically saying “Here, take my money, I don’t want to see it again.”

    1. avatar TommyinKY says:

      Colt Defense aquired the rest of Colt holdings/ Colt Manufacturing about two years ago. Stick a fork in ’em, they’re done. Once dismantled, Colt will go the way of Winchester.

      1. avatar pod says:

        I was about to say that. My civilian-legal LE6920 AR (M4 without select-fire and a 16″ barrel) says “Colt Defense” on the rollmark.

      2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        I just sniffed a bit more on the Bloomberg database. You’re right. Apologies for my oversight.

        This means that this BK is for everything of Colt. They’re done. The PE guys strip-mined out every dime they could attached to any company with “Colt” in the name.

        1. avatar Steve In MA (now RI) says:

          My bankruptcy law is a bit rusty/non-existent. Is whatever entity that purchases Colt assuming the debt as well, or does that stay with the current shareholders?

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Depends on the type. Chap 11 is not complete dissolution, but a ‘breather’ to allow something other than complete liquidation. Debt transfer is negotiable, but often requires full value transfer. In this case, it seems silly that someone would want to accept debt when the alternative is the debt becomes worthless and uncollectable if Colt goes liquidation.

  8. avatar FrodoBaggins says:

    History will remember the name which at this point in time is probably the best Colt can hope for.

    1. avatar m11nine says:

      Yep. It will be good for some licensing revenue from brand-engineered paintball guns and logo t-shirts. Just a name now.

  9. avatar waldengr says:

    in the 1980s, IBM was on the verge of collapse because they always hired engineers as CEO. the board of directors hired a cookie salesman as CEO, and he brought IBM back from extinction. lou gerstner of nabisco was a sales guy and he put the focus of IBM on selling products, not just producing techincal wonders. colt has had a long, long history of poor capability to sell products. take the company out of the hands of engineers, gunsmiths and venture capitalists. bring in a very successful and highly visible super sales man to run the show.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Colt has been run by a succession of MBA’s who know nothing about the gun industry for about 20 years. There are no gunsmiths or engineers involved in their management. They’re all MBA’s, lawyers, CPA’s and such. None of them has had any background in the firearms market.

      1. avatar Evan in Dallas says:

        As someone who is getting their MBA I sort of know what you’re talking about. I think the nail in the coffin of any company if it’s a management problem is when the leaders are solely finance guys and specifically investment finance. If you ask them what a company makes, they they will tell you, “we make money.” And in the PE world that might be sort of true but they forget that making money is the goal, but the means to that goal can be more complicated and many I know are terrible at looking up from a balance sheet as they try and come up with ways to improve key ratios. If on the other hand you have strategically minded entrepreneurial managers who understand they are trying to figure out how to sell a product in a profitable manner to the largest number of people it’s a different story all together. I’m not entirely sure that a background in guns is entirely necessary as it could develop some preconceived notions about what a gun “is” and what the industry “has to be.” Not pushing Glock, but remember that gaston Glock came from left field to make what is a very commercially successful design regardless of how one might personally feel about it. Plus, a benefit of each model being basically the exact same as the last one is that it probably reduces R&D costs. Some people say that’s lazy. I say it’s smart as long as they are still selling guns. A few lawyers to tell you what’s legal and what isn’t might be important but other than that, i don’t think business minded people are totally to blame. It just depends on which one’s we’re talking about.

    2. avatar Hank says:

      They need a Mullaly to come and do his Boeing/Ford magic.

    3. avatar Fallman says:

      Sadly, the greatest firearm salesman known to mankind won’t be available until early 2017.

  10. avatar Sanchanim says:

    Not hard, get out of wallstreet.
    Forget the government, cater to the civilian market..
    Spread their wings and bring back better quality.
    Of course they won’t and we will watch Colt get dismembered like a swimmer in jaws.

  11. avatar William says:

    A “new” Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless in 9mm made with modern material and technology. Colt use to make guns for Americans start doing that again

    1. avatar LongBeach says:

      Came here to say exactly this. Chamber it in 9mm and make it drop-safe and it would be perfect!

    2. avatar Blue says:

      I for one would love if Colt brought back the 1903 in 9mm, and would be right in line to buy one.

      1. avatar RaginRonReagan says:

        They apparently already had this idea to bring it back… in the original 32 ACP (fail) with an MSRP of $1,400 (double fail). Probably won’t even see that waste of time come to fruition now though.

        http://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/new-colt-1903-hammerless-shot-show/

    3. avatar mickeal says:

      Amen would love to get my hands on that if colt could make affordable ar-15 and 1911 to the greater public majority its sells would be so much better hint toward smith doing it to save there sales with the glock knock off colt great name with a greater price tag is all i think when i see it in the gun shops my 500 dollar ar i built with part from various online company’s can holster up to the colts

  12. avatar jans says:

    New slogan:
    God made men and women. Colt makes them all equal.
    A paraphrase of the old saying, “God made men. Sam Colt made them equal.”

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      It’s going to take a lot more than just a gender-neutral slogan to save Colt.

  13. avatar ST says:

    Buy the intellectual property ,keep the most experienced workers and liquidate the rest. Id make Colt a custom-only build to order business.

    Want a GI 1911? Springfield makes a great base gun.
    Want an off the shelf ,MIM’d up 1911? Kimber makes those..as does everyone else except Glock.

    Want a custom Python? Half balance due upfront, total cost $3995.00 plus tax.

    Want a gen-u-ine Colt 1911?
    It’ll be specd to customer request & will be the best handmade 1911 $4000.00 can buy.

    No ARs, no govt contracts, no Mustangs, no XSEs ,and no Marine Corps 1911. Nice gun that M45, but Colt should be the best of the best. Let someone else crank out cerakoted ninja guns.Colt should stand with Les Baer and Wilson Combat.

    1. avatar Benzo says:

      Amen, ST! Colt’s name recognition is priceless, and becoming a custom shop with only top quality merchandise seems like their only chance to continue – IF they move to a gun-friendly state first, that is. Otherwise, they are the next Winchester. A storied name from history’s past…

    2. avatar Sean says:

      Interesting ideas. Those might just work. But the debt is just too great. Someone would have to buy the name, and property in Chapter 9 to make that work. Siens Capital Management won’t be interested in that. They want the factory land and the name to sell T Shirts and wallets.

      1. avatar Wiregrass says:

        Exactly, no one would take on that much debt to set up a custom shop, even with the Colt name.

        1. avatar george from fort worth says:

          really don’t know why debt is a problem. if colt goes out of business, debt is erased. those who took the risk to loan money also factored risk into the equation; they lost. why should anyone be burdened with the debt in a sale? make the offer contingent on assuming no debt (sorry bondholders and banks).

          i have found that the debt racket is truly rigged. if the borrower succeeds, the debtors make money. if the borrower fails, the debtors still insist on making money. the business fails and has no value, but debtors want some value for taking the already-mitigated risk.

  14. avatar John L. says:

    Start by building a time machine.

    As DG noted above, I think Colt Defense is pretty much done and the only way to fix it would be able to go back and unmake some of their mistakes, probably starting with when it split off in the first place.

  15. avatar Governmentknowsbest says:

    Hold on long enough for the dems running for president to start talking about gun control and let the rush begin

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      If the last huge wave of politically-driven gun buying didn’t help Colt much, I doubt the next one will, either.

  16. avatar Silver says:

    Hiring a 2A friendly head honcho would certainly help. Cater to the civilian market.

  17. avatar Kyle in Texas says:

    Ask Sig Sauer to buy it. They went out and got talent and revamped an already pretty good company. As a parent company, imagine what they could do with Colt and the kind of history that comes with it. Innovation meets the classics.

  18. avatar Mecha75 says:

    Simple solution. Cater to the gaming community. These are the next generation of gun owners. They are still a young demographic. They wont buy a colt because they most likely didnt play cowboys and indians. They werent given toy cowboy cap guns. But they were given playstations and xboxes. And with them, games like Call Of Duty, where Colts Pythons were a premier pistol. To them, the FAMAS, Galil, Desert Eagle, AK-47, and Python reign supreme. They know what an ACOG and an EOTech holographic sight is.

    Work with infinity ward, bungie, Electronic Arts, etc to feature the Colt name and products. They are less likely to buy an expensive AR-15 when there are cheaper alternatives. But they would buy an overpriced Python. Heck, if Colt convinced Bungie to let them make a working version of the Hawkmoon fron their Destiny game, I would actually buy it. And i hate revolvers.

    1. avatar S.CROCK says:

      This seems like a dangerous road to go down. Market specifically to gamers and the gun grabbers would specifically cite video and gun glorification as the problem with society. However I do remember seeing “Remington” clearly written on some guns in video games I played and thought that was cool. So I think your idea would probably work to some extent but it would be a big liability to the gaming companies and the firearms manufactures.

  19. avatar John Doe says:

    If want fix colt firearms than run company like Sturm Ruger does offer firearms civilian market what wants can afford own. The reason Sturm Ruger number one firearms company in America Colt fireams is not Ruger never ever stop making firearms that are reliable affordable for civilian market. Where Colt only made few firearms price right out rang of most civilian market on top that firearms have question able quality issues for there high price. Development development Ruger never stop with developing new firearms where Colt has come out any thing in years only thing they did take old colt mustang 380 claim new handgun make out polymer plastic charge high price for on market full cheaper polymer made plastic 380 worked better than Colt did. Colt know for great revolvers if any one smart they well get blue prints for Colt King Cobra revolver do what Colt once did use action make Colt Anaconda type revolver which look like more higher price Colt Python was much cheaper easier stronger revolver make than Python which gave look Python but not cost one.

    1. avatar Stan says:

      Ugh! Can someone decipher this one too? (Sorry)

      1. avatar Brian M says:

        He’s saying that colt needs to sell guns people will buy, meaning being something they’d want to buy and something they’d be able to buy. Essentially, Colt needs to sell low cost 22’s, pocket 9mm’s and 380’s, a Glock competitor, and an affordable AR.

  20. avatar Brian says:

    First off…MOVE! If they don’t do that nothing else matters.
    Second, guns and parts for the civilian world. been trying to get a A2 20″ barrel forever
    Third, Python-Anaconda-all the rest.

    1. avatar John Doe says:

      I agree Brian Colt should move mfg plant long time ago from Hartford, Connecticut firearms friendly state like Ruger did when move major mfg plant from Newport, New Hampshire to Prescott, Arizona. Or like Beretta doing moving from Maryland to Tennessee.

  21. avatar Ralph says:

    Save Colt? Probably not possible.

    It would be difficult under any circumstances to save a CT gunmaker with few civilian products, employing a labor force organized by the UAW and saddled with a mountain of debt and unfunded pension liabilities.

    This reorganization is likely to turn into a liquidation. The Colt brand may re-emerge on a foreign owned product. Maybe FNH will be interested.

    1. avatar John Doe says:

      I have agree with you Ralph Colt to far gone be saved. No one want spend money fixing issues Colt caused for them self well pay debt Colt firearms rack up well staying in unfriendly firearms state with unfriendly works union that plauged them for years.

  22. avatar Jay Wolf says:

    Sell it to Kimber.

  23. avatar pod says:

    How to fix Colt?

    – Move them out of CT. I know it’s easier said than done, but get out of CT.

    – Focus more on the civilian market and the corresponding pro-2A outreach.

    – Better outreach. I’ll see ads galore for S&W, Heckler & Koch, GLOCK, and so forth, but nary a peep from Colt.

    – Offer components for sale to builders. Lowers, uppers, barrels, etc. I really wish I could have used Colt components in my 300 BLK build, but alas, the only real Colt component I could find without waiting for an eternity was an H2 buffer.

  24. avatar hking says:

    Start by selling stripped lowers. Sell some A1 lowers/uppers or even complete “retro” rifles. Find some good gunsmiths and bring back the snake line of revolvers in limited numbers but supreme quality. Its a start but they have dug themselves in such a deep hole I dont think there is any saving them.

  25. avatar nynemillameetuh says:

    To save Colt, I would:

    -Introduce a *new* line of snake revolvers. Colt Mamba, anyone?
    -Ramp up production of SAAs.
    -Make a retro version of the AR15.
    – Never let a general near the corporate leadership.

  26. avatar NDS says:

    Give Bill Wilson a (very) large loan

  27. avatar Shire-man says:

    Give up the over-priced AR’s and 1911’s. Countless shops are making them better and cheaper. Bring back their revolvers. Charge a premium as long as the craftsmanship warrants it.

    It’ll be smaller, higher quality but they get to keep the name and if they play their cards right in a few decades they might grow to a more substantial size.

    1. avatar Evan in Dallas says:

      Just a note, I’m glad you mentioned the SMALLER part of brining back the higher end revolvers and other products. It seems a lot of people posting don’t recognize that there isn’t some massive hidden demand for that kind of thing. its a niche and so you have to scale it accordingly.

    2. avatar JT says:

      Overpriced? Colt’s AR’s and 1911’s are pretty reasonably priced anymore and pretty much in line with their competitors. Their current guns are also probably some of the nicest they have made in decades.

  28. avatar Don in PA says:

    0. Move to PA.
    1. Bring back the Snakes with several caliber and barrel length options.
    2. Bring back several SAA options.
    3. Aggressively offer more options in single and double stack 1911s with competition features. Make some models “IDPA” legal, a 40 oz 9mm with working 10 round mags would be great.
    4. Aggressively offer competition-ready AR-15s (already doing a little of this, more calibers please).
    5. Come up with some good compact .380s and 9mm options.
    6. I’d like to see some dual magazine tube pump action pistol caliber carbines that work nicely (Like a metal KSG in .357 or 9mm… Figure I’d throw that in there even though I’m the only one who probably wants something like that).
    7. See what you can do with some polymer.
    8. Don’t be a one trick pony – count on your consumers, not big military contracts to make a thing that everyone knows how to make now.

    Essentially occupy the space between S&W and Ruger.

    1. avatar Kevin j says:

      #6) yes you’re the only person In the world who would want a dual magazine, pump action 9/357. They’d probably sell 1 in the whole country. Lol

      1. avatar Don in PA says:

        It would hold over 30 rounds and be legal in states with so called “assault weapon” bans.

      2. avatar Steve In MA (now RI) says:

        Are you telling me yout wouldn’t be interstellar in 20+1 of .357? That would be fucking awesome.

  29. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Colt owns nothing of value in the way of patents or IP of any kind except the name. If you could buy only the name unburdened with any debt. and set up shop any where in the South where you can hire folks to create firearms that consumers will buy and ignore the government contract business, only then would it be possible to do this. The problem is that the name alone is likely so burdened with debt that could not be separated and dumped….as someone said it was strip mined in the worst possible way to rip as much money out of the company as quickly as possible.

  30. avatar Buster says:

    This is what happens when Hedge Fund Managers get their hooks in a successful business. Rape and pillage it in the name of “reorganization” when it is not needed. Colt employees need to step up to the plate, buy it for pennies on the dollar, bring this company back to a private industry, keep QC at a high standard and bring us the products that we have enjoyed for all these years.
    Move to a more gun friendly state.
    Don’t go the way of Winchester.

  31. avatar Sean says:

    I am not sure that Colt is fixable at this point. The debt is too great. Too big of a hole to dig out of.

    What I would have done 5 years ago…

    Proper well paid, well trained gunsmiths building guns.

    1911 line. Get rid of the old fashioned grip safeties, No one wants those. No one has wanted those for 40 years. Proper beavertail safeties. No old fashioned sights. Novak type sights or adjustable only. All front sights are either fiber optic, gold bead dot, or night sights. All dovetailed.
    Models of the 1911 line. Blued full size, fixed or adjustable sights. Stainless the same way. No front serations. A “combat” version. Night sights, modern coating. Black.
    Officer/Commander models. Stainless, or modern coating only. Night sights.
    All models with checkered front straps.
    A custom shop that is truly a custom shop.
    Suburb customer service. Fix problems immediately. Someone to answer phones all day. All problems must be fixed or replaced within 10 working days.

    Single action line. Well, I don’t really know enough about them to judge. I know US Firearms was making a much nicer product til they got bored. Hire those gunsmiths back.

    Double action revolvers.
    Does the tooling still exist? Could it be recreated using modern CNC machinery? A much leaner line up. Python needs to be sold. Somehow, someway, they need to make a Royal Blue Python. Nickel would be nice as well. Hell, think how many 6 inch Stainless guns they could sell to Walking Dead fans.

  32. avatar Todd says:

    Does anyone else remember when Colt quit selling CAR-15s becuase of the Brady Bunch back inthe ;90s before the clinton gun ban? I do. Remember how they had that stupid screw inthe front of civy ARs cause they didn;t want parts being swapped? I do. it has been 20 years inthe making. That said. . . .

    Part of the problem is Cold defense went and screwed with FN of the SAW contract. So FN came back and got the M4 contract and then neer looked back as they got a biger part of the DOD work and Colt shrunk.

    1. Goverment contracts are nice, but the civilians keep you in business don’t forget that cater to their tastes.
    2. build a loyal customer base and start by not only making the products they want, but show them you are THE most stand up 2A compnay out there.
    3. Move. as part of #2, flip the bird to the state, annouce a relocation search, and get the tax breaks and things you need to move.
    4. business guys know sqaut about gun companies and their customers. They seem to know less about sales. Get the talent that understand both
    5. support the state associations and local gun clubs, regional shoots and the like. They are your connection to your customers — loyal customers.
    6. go back to your base. everyone agrees bring back the snakes. Don’t make the mistake of the pre 64′ winchesters vs post. you had the best revolvers inthe world. from the Troopers to the Python and cobras.
    7. figure out where the market is going and get their first.
    8. become an advertise on TTAG

  33. avatar Mike says:

    Could be worse…. they could be scooped up by Remington. Better to be dismantled with at least some brand reputation still intact.

  34. avatar arsh says:

    While I would prefer the snake line to be brought back I’d also prefer Colt to never be revised. Liquidate them, they deserve it.

  35. avatar Steven Clark says:

    Colt doesn’t make anything that other companies don’t make. Reduce the line of 1911’s, reduce the line of AR-15’s. Develop something better.

  36. avatar BIG AL says:

    How about Colt get’s with the effin’ times, making striker fired polymer pistols like every other serious maker is. This is not the 1700’s Colt, seriously.

    1. avatar RenegadeDave says:

      Eh, Tell CZ that. They’re making as many or more guns than anybody.

      Striker’d polymers have their place, but they aren’t the ultimate platform for pistols.

      At this point, I’d say CZ is as close to anyone.

  37. avatar Justin_GA says:

    Simple….. Build a 1911 with the quality of Wilson Combat or Kimber and sell them at Ruger prices. Their current 1911’s are way overpriced…. How about selling the USMC1911 for $1099! Also bring back all the classic revolvers at decent prices. Lastly get out of the AR-15 market and build something “Cool” like the FN SCAR, IWI TAVOR, Magpul Masada(NOT Bushmaster crap). Then get that “cool” new gun in video games, tactical magazines, and give a bunch to “operators” for free. Problems solved.

    1. avatar Evan in Dallas says:

      Now I’m not saying it’s not possible to increase quality and decrease price over time, but if it were as easy as just making very high quality for less money, wouldn’t tiger or Wilson combat do it to sell more guns and destroy their competition? It’s kind of like saying, why don’t they just sell a corvette for Chevy Malibu prices.

  38. avatar Some Dude says:

    Find a way to be relevant would be first. Colt’s product line is very niche’y. Colt has been milking the 1911 design for about a century now and not innovating. They got what they deserved and it’s a shame.

  39. avatar TT says:

    Lower prices.

    The last Colt product I saw first-hand was a basic MForgery in Wal-Mart for $1,069. It doesn’t do anything any better than the $600 not-Colt one sitting next to it. The same thing goes for everything Colt currently sells.

    Colt’s basic plan is to hope there is an unlimited supply of fools that will pay double for a picture of a pony on the side of their gun. That might work with women’s sunglasses, but it won’t work with guns.

    Colt currently sells 1911s in various sizes and flavors, Single-Action Army revolvers, AR15s, and a bolt action rifle that I don’t think anyone buys. For every item in Colt’s line, competitors offer virtually identical firearms for less money. In many cases, the competition’s guns cost half what Colt’s cost. You can’t charge damn near twice the price as your competitor for the same gun and expect to stay in business forever.

    1. avatar JT says:

      Colt has lowered prices. MSRP on the LE6920 went down to $999 for 2015, which is lower than the FN 15 Carbine, SIG M400, M&P15 (the regular one, not the sport), and the Bushmaster XM-15 Carbines. They are priced very competitively in the mid-level AR market and were even before the price was lowered. Those $600 ones you see next to them are budget guns with fewer features to cut costs.

  40. avatar Jim R says:

    I’d find out what the customers want, and give it to them at as reasonable a price as I can manage while still turning a profit. If people want striker-fired pistols, I’ll develop a line of striker-fired pistols. If they want the snake revolvers back, they’ll get ’em.

  41. avatar Ed says:

    Colt is dead. Anything that they used to buiild that anyone wanted (1911’s and AR’s) are already being built better by other companies. Anything that they could call their own is too expensive to build and make a profit. They could have made a killing in the CCW market with the Detective Special and the Agent, and the SASS market if they had sub-contracted USFA to build SAA’s with the rampant pony on them, but they scorned the civilian market.

    Now, the perpetrators that killed Colt are on to other things, and there is nothing that can be done to revive the company.

  42. avatar Evan in Dallas says:

    Colt doesn’t have a bread and butter product that they offer and sell in volume. I think 1911s and maybe some revolvers(on a limited basis) could be phased into a “performance center” line with improved quality. Otherwise If they want to stay at current production capacities. They have to come up with a product, or series of products that appeals to the masses. A polymer pistol with a direct lineage to the 1911 with different internals might sell pretty well. Take the key attributes of what makes a 1911 good and put it into a polymer gun. Width, grip angle, trigger that moves straight back. I think gun guys who like 1911s(and I’m one of them) get so caught up in the aesthetic that we forget that the way a gun shoots and why it shoots that way are major factors in why we buy a gun.

    1911s tend to produce better groups for new shooters because of the trigger(it could be lighter, but not really light). Advertise “easier to shoot from range session #1.” For big 1911 guys, advertise, “the lighter weight carry gun you don’t have to worry about.” Something like that.

    Union contracts may be an issue if they hinder quick changes in production processes or if they are outrageously expensive for what you actually get in return, but they aren’t damning in and of themselves. Colt’s biggest problem is that they don’t make a whole lot of things the masses really want, and what they do make is… Good enough quality wise, but not at the premium they charge.

    1. avatar RenegadeDave says:

      CZ basically did exactly this with their P07 and P09 offerings. Based on a HiPower basically, but still.

      They could still sell a lot of 1911s in the $800-$1000 range, but they can’t have spur hammers, boring wood grips, boring blued slides, etc.

      Ship a “gamer ready” gun with a Dawson Ice magwell, and a fiber front and they would steal a big piece of the Range Officer market, which is a bunch of the first time purchasing 1911 market.

  43. avatar RenegadeDave says:

    For pistols,

    Make 1911’s that people want to buy. Sig charges the same as Colt for models with a lot more features and same relative quality with a series 80 trigger. They make guns that are pretty and make people want to buy them and they’re generally pretty functional.

    Or go the other way and do like STI, make guns that are functional and utilitarian and have good features.

    Everyone who wants a 1911 with a spur hammer already has one, nobody has time for that.
    Make a gun set up for gun gaming. Which brings me to my next point:

    At least tip the hat to the competitive shooting crowd. 3 gun model AR’s would be welcome, as would race guns. When you say 1911 to anyone shooter the age of 50, colt will likely not be in the top 3, or 5 with respect to brands. Springfield Armory will likely be on top, then Rock Island, then honestly probably Sig. Sig and Springfield do a lot to sponsor USPSA/IDPA (as does Glock/ S&W). Colt just seems to sit back and try to cash in on it’s storied history.

    Make a carry gun that people are excited about at a price point under $600-700. Making it with the civilian market in mind will not dilute the brand ID, see the Glock 43.

    The only other brand I know that tries to sell civilian guns while focusing on the contract market is H&K, and didn’t they just go through a restructuring too?

    1. avatar CA.Ben says:

      FN has been doing an excellent job of juggling govt contracts and civilian sales. But they cater to civilians over the govt; look at the semi auto SAW that they are coming out with.

  44. avatar Charlie says:

    Bring back some of their DA revolvers like anaconda and python. Bring back a larger production line of their SAA revolvers. Develope and market new sa/da modern handguns, all metal like hk and sig. Bring out retro ar15 from Vietnam era with triangular handguards and permenant carry handles

  45. avatar slowroll says:

    Burn it to the ground and salt the earth

  46. avatar Dustin says:

    There comes a point where a thing is so horribly broken that fixing it isn’t worth it.

    This is Colt.

    How would I fix it? I wouldn’t.

  47. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I can see Taurus jumping in. I would think it might be a good fit-but not in Connecticut…

  48. avatar TruthTellers says:

    I honestly don’t know what to do with Colt. Personally, they make nothing that I’m interested in buying, but if I had to make Colt a profitable company again, here’s what I do:

    1. New management and executives.

    The current crop clearly don’t know what they’re doing or how to create consumer interest. They also don’t know that there are changes that can be made in a manufacturing process to lower costs/overhead.

    2. Make guns people want to buy, stop making guns people don’t buy.

    The Single Action Army? The M-16 and M-4? The M1911? I don’t want those and even if I did, I’d buy them from Uberti or Ruger or Sig Sauer for half or a third the cost.

    3. Innovate.

    It’s innovation that put Colt as the leader of the firearms world over a century ago. That same innovation can bring them back to prominence, but don’t just follow the pack and build clones of guns other companies already make better for less money. Invent a cartridge and automatic handgun that’s something like .30 caliber that can hold a standard mag capacity of 20 rounds, has a velocity of 1500 fps, and a bullet weight of 100 grains.

    Make a rimmed cartridge that is 10mm caliber and has the same power as the .41 Magnum and make the sucker straight walled so it’s easier to reload and make a revolver that shoots it and also allows me to shoot 10mm Auto and .40 S&W thru moon clips.

    Make a .45 revolver and cartridge like the M1895 Nagant and 7.62x38mmR with a cylinder that closes the gap and put some threads on the barrel so it can be suppressed. Add an extra cylinder and a function that removes the ability of the cylinder to travel so it allows the shooting of .45 Colt and .45 ACP.

    Make a centerfire .22 round that is just like the .22 LR, but with no rim and make a gun that shoots it and can also be easily converted to accept .22 LR for plinking. People like to shoot .22 for fun and for defense even though it’s not that powerful. Doesn’t matter, some people can’t handle recoil and I’m sure they would rather have a reliable .22 that functions smoothly in a super small autoloader and is reloadable. Yeah, I know, it’d be a really small primer, but it’s 2015 people, this is doable.

    Like I said, innovate.

    Those are ideas off the top of my head. I never buy into a companies name like Colt or Remington because I believe in buying guns that interest me because of their utilitarian functions and cost to quality. I’m not a person that’s going to spend $1500 on a revolver that’s only slightly better than one that costs $600 simply because it’s Colt and if Colt wants me to buy a gun of theirs, then they need to start making new ones because what they offer now puts me to sleep.

    1. avatar Dan says:

      Agree TruthTellers, the Walther .22 line they licensed their name to is crap. Things jam every mag. Love to see the Colt Cadet come back as an alternative to the Ruger Mark III or Browning Camper

      1. avatar Scott says:

        Colt should sell the guns that people want. They need a striker fired ppq/vp9 competitor. Maybe even a Sig 938 competitor. Forget about military contacts and focus on the civilian market. Reintroduce the Python at a decent price. Better quality control and lower prices overall. Model their company more like Springfield. Much more innovation is needed at Colt or at least some good copying. They need to be a little more open minded with the civilian market and quit charging premium prices because they think their products are better than everyone else, that’s why your company is in the can right ?

  49. avatar Dan says:

    3 points, well 3 versions of the same point but and two more…

    1A: Marketing, guys. Colt may be too late to the dance on this but they really do not have a pistol that can be marketed to the growing demographic of new shooters and especially female new shooters. Sure, they have the Mustang .380 but why would anyone drop $500 on one when the Ruger makes a competitive gun at a much lower price point? Striker fired? Sure. Something for a lower price point.

    1B: Look, Colt is an old man’s gun (handgun-wise) I am a 1911 guy (Late 30s) and I love the Defender but I grew up shooting Colt because my Dad and Uncle swore by Colt. Defender is usually .45 but they make a 9mm in the $700 price range, both stainless. Of course, Colt does zero to market that model line. Bring up that model to a shooter in his 20s, they have no idea. Definitely need to market the brand name to compete for the younger/new shooters.

    1C: For godsakes, revamp the Colt website. Is it still 2005?

    2: I realize its probably impossible to bring back the Python/Anaconda/King Cobra in it’s original form but put out a revolver line other than the SAA. Something like S&W did with Model 66 and 69.

    3. Take your brand back from Walther making those .22 1911 style “Jam-o-Matics” and bring back the Colt Cadet for your .22 line.

  50. avatar Pascal says:

    1) Move Colt out of CT to TX or some place more gun friendly
    2) Focus back to the consumer and have great customer service and custom shop
    3) Bring back the pistols
    4) Bring back the pride the Colt name as well as innovative quality reliable products
    5) Re-introduce some of their old products

  51. avatar Donald Trump says:

    I’d say “you’re fired!!” to everyone except for the executives. Then I’d move all manufacturing offshore, paying as little as possible to the people that actually build stuff. I’d hire the best gun designer/engineers possible and pay the factory floor managers and QA managers good money. I’d aggressively pursue patent and intellectual property violations, and I’d dump a ton of money into a new marketing campaign aiming to convince the average double digit IQ joe gunnut that the “New Colt” has got it going on. I’d leverage social media as heavily as possible. Finally, build inexpensive, but high quality foreign manufactured guns and make sure and keep building the classic halo guns too.

    There you go. Where’s my consulting fee?

  52. avatar Dan H. says:

    Hire talent. Hire it away from other companies or other countries, people who want to make their name reinvigorating one of the most iconic names in the history of firearms. I’m not nearly expert enough with guns to be specific, but it’s basically pick a direction. A revolver renaissance, take over the market for value-priced quality 1911s and be the company you buy one from unless you are going for a really high end custom one, try to build the next Glock-killer (or at least XD-killer, M&P-killer, etc). I’d hate to see the Colt brand become defunct.

  53. avatar =BCE56= says:

    Colt as we knew it is doomed.

    They have repeatedly missed the boat.
    Witness Springfield, Kimber, Para, Ruger, RIA, even Remington, all making 1911’s. Not to mention Brown, Baer, Wilson, Nighthawk etc.
    With Colt’s history, they should have dominated the resurgent 1911 market.
    And the civilian AR market.
    And the Peacemaker market….

    But no!
    Colt’s management let these markets slip away.
    Quality, value, and consequent market share evaporated, and the Market has spoken.
    (I am told Colt’s quality has been improving lately, and I sincerely hope that is true, but I fear it is too little and too late.)

    Bringing back the Snake Guns will not help.

    I still hate to buy an Italian 1873, but it’s either that or a Vaquero.
    For half the price.

    Adios, Colt.

  54. avatar Kyle says:

    1) I would probably start R&D immediately on a sud $600 ar 15 in available in full fde with a heavy profile barreln a mid-length gas system, and magpul furniture.

    2) stard R&D on a 9mm 1911 smaller than a sig 938 with at least 6 rounds and at a lower price if possible to make a strong presence in the ccw market.

    3) Stard R&D on a new striker fired platform that is competitive and even accepts other manufacturers magazines such as glock mags (Also launch with full FDE option).

    4) Begin R&D on making all AR models sub-MOA if not a mill spec replica of course.

    5) Start R&D for a Bullpup carbine under $1000 that takes AR uppers (as the bullpup market seems to be growing at the ranges I have been to in the last 2 years.)

    6) Work tirelessly to get these products tested and ready to launch by shot show 2016

    These are some ideas of what I would do to save colt as well as bring back the python revolver of course as well as the timing issues fixed.

  55. avatar Markus Dawtry says:

    Firstly, kiss Connecticut goodbye and move to Florida or Texas for a) weather, b) tax incentives, c) approximately 10 percent of the FL resident population has a ccw, d) an abundance of indoor and oudoor ranges, e) a major gunshow at least once a month (in South Florida anyway).

    Secondly, diversify market offerings; a) bring back a revolver line of some sort, b) produce an auto pistol design that isnt over a century old, c) said auto pistol design should probably be of a striker fired variety that lends to everyday carry (lightweight polymer or aluminium frame).

    Next, i would really trying to compete price wise with other manufacturers. The Colt stamp isn’t as special as it used to be quality wise. If you want to charge premium retail, make a premium product.

    Did i mention leaving the Connecticut yet?

  56. avatar Chris says:

    A line of high quality, made in America, striker fired polymer pistols chambered in 9mm, .40, and .45 priced somewhere around $600.

  57. avatar Kevin says:

    Let’s start with the PR stuff

    1. move to a constitutional carry state like Kansas (with winchester lever guns and colt peacemakers being the guns that won the west, it’s always bugged me none of them were built out here) and maybe make a marketing campaign out of it like Henry does with their made in America advertising
    2. give up the government contracts and do like Olympic and publicly pledge to only sell to governments guns that their constituents can legally own

    (I guess this is where my gun wish list goes? Maybe we should look up the saying about wishing in one hand and seeing how fast it fills up….)

    3. how about an affordable (sub $700) fully ambidextrous double stack 1911 in standard and compact models
    4. retro ar15 with triangle style handguards maybe call it the classic edition
    5. polymer framed .32acp pocket hammerless or even sub subcompact single stack polymer framed 1911(kel tec brought the .32 out of obscurity but a name like colt could bring it back to mainstream capturing market share in the process)

    Last but not least…

    6. tell me hell no and bring in the guys cerberus dumped when they bought out good brands and folded them into freedom group to make these decisions because unlike me they have run successful gun companies and know what they’re doing.

  58. avatar Tom in Georgia says:

    There’s a lot of interesting ideas, and I can’t claim to imagine anything will really work now. I fear Colt is simply too far gone.

    But what I find interesting is that many folks are clamoring for the return of the snake lineup, despite its unfeasability. However, I think that whatever Colt (its new owners actually) does, one thing it CAN do is build a new revolver line from the ground up. Yes, they will still be rather expensive, as revolvers now cost more than semiautos from a production standpoint. All that machining. But it’s by no means unattainable. The fact is that they can and should design a revolver lineup to rival Ruger’s (in time). As for autos – same story. They’re going to HAVE to come up with a clean-sheet design at a competitive price. Period. End of story. It’ll be a striker fired polymer handgun, but again, the technology is well understood. As for the old classics? Well, if they have the tooling already amortized then I guess there’s no reason they couldn’t still turn out a few 1911 models, but by no means should it be counted on for any money whatsoever.

    Face it, I like Colt and I’d like to buy a 1911 with the Colt name on it. But I just can’t justify spending two to three hundred dollars more on a bare-bones 1911 compared to a Range Officer with far more features. I’d rather search for something collectible on the antique market at that rate.

    So, a new value-based revolver lineup and a new clean-sheet autopistol design. Then maybe VERY limited runs of the old stuff, provided it can be made to higher quality standards than MOST of the competition. And a lot of baby steps, because it’s going to be a long, hard road back. Such is competition.

    Tom

  59. avatar Yeah... That guy says:

    Here’s how to save Colt… And it’s the only way. Take all of their decision makers and line then up, bare assed against a wall. Now line up the people that have lusted after a genuine Colt revolver and have never been able to buy one due to their stupid decisions and let them pay a dollar a piece to hit them with a paddle. Instant billion dollar infusion of cash money. Company saved, stupidity rewarded, get back to making guns for the general public instead of the general’s friends.

  60. avatar DBM says:

    First clean house in the management area. Colt refused for decades to enter into the semiauto pistol market because leadership was convinced it was a fad and wheel guns would be forever.

  61. avatar Chris says:

    Colt needs to get back in the business of producing and selling guns.

    Produce a full line of firearms people want to buy, advertise the crap out of them, and sell them at a reasonable price.

    H&K is run by another group of idiots, except they have a leg up on Colt all the first person shooter video games have been pimping their products for 20 years now.

    That’s another poorly run company, they should be selling semi auto MP5’s for $899 like crazy.

  62. avatar IdahoPete says:

    Hire a CEO and management team of people who are gun owners and shootists, who understand firearms and their gun-buying public. Any recent Harvard or other Ivy League MBA would be automatically disqualified.

  63. avatar nightstryke says:

    Relocate Colt to a South West(Arizona or Texas) or a Southern state and hire people, actually have factories in areas where people buy guns and close factories in states that ban guns. Problem solved.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      While that might be a politically satisfying thing to do, it doesn’t solve the basic problem that even people in pro-gun states don’t seem to want to buy Colt firearms.

  64. avatar Brian M says:

    It’s quite simple, really.

    #1. Introduce a midrange wonder 9 Glock analogue.
    #2. Build economical quality 22’s.
    #3. Start up an online ammunition and accessories business.
    #4. Offer economy firearms.
    #5. Offer an AK.
    #6. Strike import deals with overseas companies.
    #7. Cut deals with innovators to sell and market their products in exchange for branding and shares of profits.

    Seriously, Colt failed because it never stopped chasing the dream of being a glamorous tier 1 gunmaker for just the Mil and the LEO crowd. How many such gun companies exist today? Honestly, not many, and the few that do survive make it off of more than just small arms — they have favor from a state, they make heavier weapons, they offer more than just black rifles and expensive revolvers. Bring back the guns for the everyman. Every single company I know of that lives off of civilian sales offers some kind of competitive, low price gun. If you aim just for the small and crowded world of high end agency buyers, those are going to be the people who buy your guns, and you’d better really make a product that competes on price and quality. This kind of business model is not feasible unless you have an enormous number of forces eating out of your hand like H&K does, or you otherwise base your business off of one guaranteed good customer where you don’t get much competition, like Sako, Rheinmetal, and GIAT do in their home countries. If you want to survive in the civilian market, you have to remember that civilians love low prices and adequate performance. Produce an affordable, competitive product and you’ll get business. The most famous of these cheap and cheerful manufacturers are Hi-Point and Taurus, who run a very strong business because their products are not only highly affordable, but also are of generally decent quality. Infamously, there are Lorcin and Jennings, who are like Hi-Point, but with no concern for anything but being the cheapest. However, all these companies stay afloat because they make a product that is not only desirable to a consumer, but is also affordable.

    So, Colt, is you wish to rescue yourself, start making guns for popular niches of competitive quality in a price bracket that people can afford. If you can some up with a <$250 22LR rifle and pistol, a <$300 38SPC revolver, a <$600 safe action wonder 9, a <$800 AR15, a <$200 pump shotgun, you'll be well on your way to a comeback.

  65. avatar Mauser6863 says:

    First of all, the patents and trade names have value. Perhaps some of the equipment too. The rest, including their work force, all needs to be scrapped. Move your new business to a right-to-work state and hire new workers at a market wage, no unions.

    The most important part is to make products that can be created with a minimum of hand work. Machines should do most of the work. Having a high/low mix of products would be a good idea for some of the legacy products that Colt makes, provided the numbers make sense. Give up ideas about making revolvers and bringing back the Woodsman. Other than very large calibers and specialty guns, revolvers are a loser, unless you can make a better and cheaper guns than a Super Redhawk or Single Six, don’t even try. A $2,000 Python is not going tp make you any money or sell well.

    If you can’t make money, don’t make it, period. This is a business. Pretend the “Colt” label wasn’t a factor, if you were starting a new gun company (because you are), what would you design a build that will sell well and make lots of money? Having the “Name”, Colt is just a bonus. Relying on the name and legacy products has proven many times to be a recipe for failure.

  66. avatar JT says:

    Sell individual AR parts. Uppers, lowers, barrels, bolts, carriers, etc. on their own.

    Sell competition ready (USPSA, 3 Gun, etc.) 1911’s and AR’s

    Develop a polymer framed handgun line with some well loved 1911 features (trigger, grip angle, grip thickness)

    Develop a totally new, modern rifle like everyone else has done.

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