Colt 1903 (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

As we have been chronicling, Colt Manufacturing is bankrupt and going down the tubes. Top executives are grabbing for their golden parachutes while trying to weasel out of expensive contracts they made with their workers. No matter how the judge rules, chances are this won’t end well. In all likelihood, the brand will be sold off cheap with very little left behind save the storied name. Remington’s so deep in debt over their various and sundry failures and lawsuits that even the formerly rapacious artist formerly known as The Freedom Group can’t ride to the rescue. In fact, there isn’t so much as a peep about a potential buyer for the bargain-priced manufacturer. With things looking so glum, it was a surprise that we stumbled across . . .

a press release from Colt  stating that they are, in fact, hiring.

Colt, the iconic Connecticut firearms manufacturer announces its renewed effort to engage top-performing talent in many key areas of the business.

[…]

Colt is currently hiring in many areas of the business including engineering, supervisory and procurement, amongst others. The company offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package. Colt is an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

No doubt these new engineering positions are intended to get Colt back into fighting shape. If Colt can release a truly new and innovative firearm line into the world, maybe they can start digging their way out of bankruptcy. Then again, that would require a single-minded focus on the civilian firearms market – something Colt hasn’t done in decades, ever since they got their cushy government contracts.

It might be too late for Colt. I’d love to see them start manufacturing some of the stuff on their “greatest hits” list again. But like a morbidly obese person on the starting line of a marathon they’re already way behind the curve if they want to be competitive. So, you know that famous flag “Join or Die?” Think opposites’ day.

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41 Responses to Bankrupt Colt Manufacturing is… Hiring?

  1. Were every reader of TTAG to chip in a C or two, we could create Farago-Colt, the Unapologetic Gun Company.

    Takers?

      • I’d be inclined *if* Colt brings back some of their retired metalworkers to teach a younger generation how to make guns.

        (In other words, a fantasy. But American gunmakers as a whole had better revive the apprentice system for gunmaking.)

        • I would only be onboard with this leaving the hartford, ct facility as an hq and moving the manufacturing plants to Southern States as they’re more “Gun Friendly.” I say this as every gun manufacture saw the writing on the wall and moved down South to continue producing firearms where Colt and Remington thought it’d be a GREAT idea to stay up North where very harsh Gun Laws were enacted.

    • I’d kick in for a chance to keep Colt alive. But the shop would have to move out of New England in order to entice real talent.

      I’d like to see an AR-15 type rifle with a folding stock for under a grand, too.

      • Don’t say out of New England. There’s plenty of free New England here. Don’t give up on us because of the stupidity of those surrounding us. Just because ME, NH, and VT are behind enemy lines doesn’t mean we are lost.

        • Some people dislike snow and five minure summers. It’s not always the politics. Waking up to five feet of snow is a bad way to start the day.

    • None for me, thanks. I say let ’em die. The marketplace has spoken.

      Heck, the only thing they really have of value is the Colt name and logo, and they’ve been doing their best to de-value that with overpriced, underwhelming firearms for quite a while now.

  2. Getting back into the double-action revolver game would be a good way to start generating some immediate revenue. There’d be waiting lists a mile long Colt Pythons. Then allocate some of those profits for R&D of new products.

  3. Ever since they got their cushy government contracts? They’ve been relying on government contracts since the Civil War.

    I’d love to change up my metallurgical background to work in firearms manufacturing, but at this stage of the game, I’ve had my fill of working for bankrupt dinosaurs.

  4. There probably isn’t anything as spectacular, and disturbing as watching a storied company pissing away its legacy. Wadda ya wanna bet that either complacent, gravy train layabouts, or Ivy League MBA’s are at the heart of Colts financial/business woes, or both? It’s not like Colt is manufacturing buggy whips. Entropy happens.

      • I’ve worked both for and with Ivy MBAs for years. I’m not impressed. The four biggest fools I’ve worked with/for were each Ivy grads: three from HBS and one from Wharton.

        On the other hand, I’ve done business with some extremely impressive individuals, some with Ivy MBAs and some from State U. B-School. It all comes down to the individual, as every AACSB graduate business school is going to teach the same material. The quality of the student makes the school, and a high quality student will succeed anywhere.

        • The brightest MBA’s I’ve ever dealt with were the people in my night classes at NYU Stern. Those of us who held jobs during the day and the faculty who also worked for a living, had a clue about what it takes to run a business. The day school ones came into Wall Street firms and tried to tell the vets how the business should be run. They flamed out quickly in trading and sales.

  5. I wouldn’t read too much into this. It’s most likely just corporate inertia. Positions were approved for hire at some point, were entered into the HR system, and continue to be advertised. After all, the HR people need to keep looking busy, lest they lose their own jobs.

    You can see this same phenomenon play out in the O&G industry here in Houston. Many household name corporations have announced layoffs, some in the double digit thousands of jobs, yet you can still find job postings from these companies on major sites like careerbuilder and such.

    I wouldn’t bother applying for any of these or Colt’s positions, though. It’ll either go nowhere, or worse, you might actually get hired. The you give up your current job, possibly relocate, only to be told the position has been eliminated and you’re out.

    • Some of their best talent may have already jumped ship being able to see the handwriting on the wall. It wouldn’t surprise me if Colt is trying replace them with people who will ultimately lose their job when the company closes its doors.

      • Yes and yes to the above.

        And for me to work there under these conditions, they’d have to agree to pay me in cash every week as I was walking out the door. Is there anyone who’d sign-on to take a payCHECK from these folks with this kind of threat-of-closure looming over the company (other than those folks who have been worked there for years, and really don’t have another choice)?

  6. Colt could be like Harley Davidson in the 80’s. They could make a load of money just bringing back the classics they discarded over the years.

  7. They need to design a firearm that detonates if an anti-gun celebrity fires it in a film. That’s an idea one could get behind.

  8. I hope Colt can pull off one of the greatest comeback stories in history, but it’s not likely. They’ll have to simultaneously do 3 things that are hard to fit together: reduce costs AND design exciting new products AND increase (or at least maintain) quality.

    • That’s the crazy thing though, they don’t need to come up with any new ideas.
      1. Python
      2. Pocket hamerless.
      3. Walker Colt in .44
      4. Profit.
      The products are proven. The market is proven. The will is….?

      • I wonder if Colt could even produce a new Python, with all the quality that name implies, profitably at an acceptable price point today.

      • “The products are proven. The market is proven. The will is….?”

        American gunmakers need to develop a ‘farm system’ for training future machinists.

        Perhaps in conjunction with aerospace machinists.

  9. Something to remember is day to day doesn’t stop just because of bankruptcy. Chances are the assets will be sold off but in the mean time they are obligated to keep their value as high as they can.

    I wish them luck, and hope that they can pull through.

  10. If Colt can release a truly new and innovative firearm line into the world, maybe they can start digging their way out of bankruptcy.

    Not in an industry where fifty year old designs pass for innovative. Besides, “old” Colt is dead. No, what a “new” Colt would need to do is leverage its intellectual property and goodwill by getting back to basics. Produce the guns that people might actually want, like the Pocket Hammerless (maybe in .380 instead of .32), the Snakes, retro AR rifles and other classic Colt firearms of the past.

    Yes, those would be performance center products and not mass-produced trash, but they would work and they would sell. New Colt would be a secondary player and could not compete in terms of volume with Ruger, S&W and large brands, but new Colt would still be a force in the market and sell at a good profit every firearm it makes.

    If the Colt IP sells, let’s hope it isn’t sold to a mass-market maker who will cack up the name for the rest of time.

  11. Could this be an attempt by Colt to terminate its union contract and replace those workers with nonunion employees to “reduce costs”?

    • Yes, but its much more than that. The current owner is one of the most likely “buyers” of the post bankruptcy colt. Bankruptcy would allow colt to renegotiate labor contracts and legally stiff everyone it owes money to.

  12. Judging by Colt’s decades-long inept product development, quality control issues, and management/labor troubles, it doesn’t appear that the company will ever get its act together, even if a venture capitalist “saves” it.

    • I wouldn’t pay 3k, but for the quality of the originals, with that royal blue, I’d pay 2k and I’d buy 3 of them.

      • My last one cost $160, NIB, in 1972. They did not have 3. In fact, between 1961 and 1972, I bought every Python I could find. That was 4, one of them used.

    • If I could get a brand new .32 pocket auto and brand new Dick Special(unshrouded) I’d do it in a minute.

      And I’ve mostly stopped buying guns. Got all I’ll ever need and more than I can use.

  13. Colt had to make money on all the “T” shirts, jackets, mugs, knives and other crap they licensed their name to. Makes me wonder just how much pocket stuffing went on instead of re-investing in the business. Sounds like the same management style that was used at Bethlehem steel, where after the final bankruptcy, high level management walked away fairly well off, and everyone else lost their jobs & pensions and many retirees had to go back to work. A situation that makes for REALLY BAD feelings from the employees towards the few that walk away rich.

    • The private equity firm that owns Colt reinvested nearly NOTHING in the company. They used it like their own personal ATM. They are exactly the opposite of Sturm Ruger who has never EVER held any debt and finances all growth via cash flow from operations.

  14. They probably have to fill the positions of folks that jumped ship in order to still look appealing to potential buyers (on lesser contracts I’m sure).

    Just a smoke and mirrors game, keep what you can chugging along, fill the orders, keep a workable staff on the payroll and hope someone comes along and pays off the debt, everyone who’s decisions ran the place into the ground gets a golden parachute, a nice Chinese company comes in and buys the name before closing up shop and selling their wares under the Colt brand. To add insult to injury it may even be of equal or greater quality than Colt was managing towards the end.

  15. I’d buy colt for a buck ninety nine. Fire everybody. Lock myself in the buildings and assemble Pythons and SAA,s til the parts ran out.

    Then give them all away at xmas.

    Then for a buck ninety nine each I’d let the TTAG guys(those that I liked, anyway) go thru the buildings and take what was left.

    Somebody loan me a buck ninety nine.

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