Reports: Colt Lays Off Custom Shop Employees

Colt has been in bad shape for years. Once the king of military contracts, the (allegedly) declining quality of their firearms caused them to lose those very lucrative deals to competitors, primarily FN Manufacturing. With relatively few civilian sales to speak of Colt couldn’t cover its overhead and filed for bankruptcy in June of 2015. They re-emerged in 2016, but word comes now that Colt is going through a round of layoffs.

The details we have so far come from a post in the 1911 forum where the head of Colt’s custom shop confirmed that he no longer works for the Connecticut gun maker. And an unverified post at Pistol Forum claims that more extensive layoffs have taken place and the company has been “gutted.”

At the very least this doesn’t bode well for Colt’s newly re-introduced Snake series. The reemergence of the Cobra was a hopeful sign when it was announced, but based on our time with the Cobra at SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range, the revolver’s fit and finish didn’t appear to be up to the work being done by their competitors at Smith, Ruger and Kimber. That’s a problem that can only be solved by gunsmiths, of which they appear to now have fewer.

With industry sales trending down, and fewer experienced craftsmen on the payroll, the challenge for Colt will be to avoid a quality/sales death spiral. In the current climate that may be a tall order. Watch this space.

comments

  1. avatar anonymoose says:

    RIP Colt

    1. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

      While most of the blame for Colt’s demise lies on the idiots who ran the company into the ditch, part of the blame for the death of Colt lies on forums such as this. People repeating the mantra of something negative they read from some self appointed “expert” on the internet instead of going out and actually trying out the guns themselves. One example, many here seem to love the Sig P238. I think it is a nice gun. That being said it is basically a fancy dressed Colt Mustang. All the controls are the exact same. If you read forums such as this, one is the cats meow and the other is just a so so gun. All based on talking heads telling you what to think. So go ahead and keep beating this dead horse and watch this American company go into the dustbin of history. Many here remind of aging Boulder CO hippies. They are still living in the past and believing the truths that others told them crying like chicken little. For so called independent Americans it smells to me a lot like group think. Count me out.

      1. avatar Dave says:

        I believe the Colt Mustang if I remember correctly the last time I own one was 1979 it was not a blowback locking breech it had some other way to let the pressure down before cycling the next round and injecting the spent casing so it wasn’t a P238 copy at all for a copy of the Kimber micro it had its own problems with cycling the colt that is.

        1. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

          I don’t think you are correct. Everything I have read states that Sig got the licensing from Colt and then built a better version of the gun. I could be wrong but maybe there is someone who could clear this up. One quick google search gave me this. http://www.guns.com/review/single-action-380s-colt-mustang-sig-p238/

        2. avatar Dave says:

          I’m cooking dinner for my wife or I would but I distinctly remember something kind of goofy about the way it disassembled and the way the actual gun went into battery and out of battery it’s been years since I’ve seen one or old one but I distinctly remember something a little goofy about it and I remember people had issues with it get it getting a little dirty and not cycling rounds very well. But I very well could be wrong like I said it’s been a few decades ago. Anybody still got one can clear this up for us?

      2. avatar Matt says:

        The Sig 238 was simply better built and at a cheaper price point. It didn’t help when Colt reintroduced a polymer mustang but didn’t bother to price it competitively. They, meaning Colt, has based their business model for the past 20 years on the idea that to own a Colt was to own the ultimate, be that revolvers, ARs or 1911’s.

        What they failed to notice through self delusion or just plain ignorance was that their competition were pumping out clones using new machinery at price points that Colt refused to acknowledge. It also didn’t help that these clones also performed as well or better than Colt’s “old guard” products and methods.

        Back in the early 90’s when I got heavily involved in ARs, there were 4 choices ranked in order of preference, Colt, Bushmaster, Armalite and Olympic Arms. I don’t have production numbers to back me up, but a quick perusal of the interwebs tells me that these folks are hardly big players anymore.

        The sad truth is that you cannot build or sustain a business on nostalgia alone. If you could, we would still be buying Remington Rand 1911’s.

  2. avatar jimmy james says:

    Colt had a custom shop? Who knew.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      All current Colt Series 70s and single-action revolvers come out of their Custom Shop iirc.

    2. avatar Doktor says:

      Colt had it backwards. Their custom shop guns were normal TQA. And their off the shelf line was substandard. Colt is a cool memory now kind of like remington.

  3. avatar Rich K. says:

    Only thing I ever wanted from the COlt Custom Shop was a genuine SAA (“Peacemaker”) in .44-40, my favorite CAS round. But I am not about to spend $1200 or more on a handgun when I can buy an Italian clone for half that price or less. I don’t believe in spending more for a name or simply because it’s “Made In The USA”, if I can get just as good of a product made overseas for less. Call me unpatriotic if you like, but that is the problem with American manufacturers – they charge too much when price is an important selling point in this day and age. A non-union factory worker’s wages, like mine, simply aren’t enough to afford elitism. Besides, I read a review of the 3rd generation SAA a few years ago, and the quality has definitely slipped. The foreign products (at least, the ones I own) are on a par with what the 2nd Generation SAA’s were/are. The gen-you-wine Colt products have too many shortcuts and poorer fit and finish, and still cost twice as much.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      Unless you simply MUST have a prancing pony logo on your gun – may I suggest an ascending phoenix instead? The Ruger Vaquero will fulfill any reasonable need you may have for a single-action revolver and many unreasonable ones as well. All while being cheaper, better built, more durable, safer and still Made in America versus the Italian clones.

      1. avatar Rich K. says:

        Last Vaq I handled, I didn’t care for how it balanced or handled, and it seemed “clunky” compared to my Italian SAA clones. One is an Armi San Marco with a “black powder” frame, the other is a Uberti with the “smokeless” frame, both with 5-1/2″ barrels; both were sold by Cimmaron FA. The ASM is a nearly perfect clone of the SAA; most part will interchange with little or no hand fitting, including the screws. The Uberti has some slight dimensional differences. “Overbuilt” was my feeling on the Ruger. If I want something that will handle .44 magnum loads, I’ll get a Ruger, but I don’t shoot high-power rounds like that so I have no need or desire for such a heavy-duty gun. Now, if Ruger would build an EXACT SAA replica, I’d be interested.

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Rugers are heavy and (in some people’s estimation) poorly balanced – because Ruger got their costs down by using investment casting as their go-to manufacturing method. This results in some areas having to be heavier than if they were using forgings.

    2. avatar Matt says:

      Agree. My 1872 Open-Top 44 Colt from Italy is more colt than a 3rd generation SAA.

  4. avatar Matt says:

    Colt is wildly overrated. I wasn’t involved in the shooting community during their hayday, but when I look at the price people want for Colt products, I just don’t get it. I understand that some of their older stuff is very well made and has a certain amount of collectible value but anything made in the last decade is paying for name way more than product.

    1. avatar Doktor says:

      “I understand that some of their older stuff is very well made…”

      Dude, you really need to get out more. Their older stuff set the standard for “well-made” and is still the standard today half a century later.

      1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

        But all that really means is: buy the old stuff, or don’t bother.

  5. avatar NorincoJay says:

    If they couldn’t make it in the gun industry over the last eight years they are done now.

    1. avatar Swilson says:

      ^This

    2. avatar Baldwin says:

      Nailed it.

    3. avatar BLoving says:

      Hell, even Remington managed to (finally) get their act together and look at the crap they endured. At least Colt didn’t have one recall after another and they still lost market share to everyone else. Shame, but safe to say we may be looking forward to Colt branded products with the words “made in Turkey” written on them soon.

    4. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      They couldn’t, and they didn’t, and the reason why is that Colt is being run by a bunch of private equity grifters out of Wall Street.

      It’s been flipped, stripped and laid bare.

      1. avatar Dave says:

        here’s a little something I just kind of thought up I might leave here. What if one of these multi-billionaire anti-gunners decided to purchase a company as a front like Colt and ruin it from the inside out I know that is like burning cash but I wouldn’t put it past Bloomberg and his morons to do something like this God knows they’ve wasted enough money on anti-gun craft shows like Moms Demand Action. Colt would just be a drop in the bucket. I’m not a conspiracy theorist but you have to look a little outside the box sometimes when you notice a company failing so miserably as Colt has.

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Colt’s owners in the 90’s were, in fact, in favor of assault weapons bans – because their money-maker was the M-16 contract with the DOD.

        2. avatar Petr says:

          The same people who bought Colt tried to buy FN as well. Rather than let that happen, Belgium basically nationalized it (the Walloon region bought it).

  6. avatar DDay says:

    The question isn’t what Colt did wrong, that list is FAR too long. The easier question is what Colt did right over the past 20 or 30 years. Answer, Not much.

  7. avatar Joel says:

    Colt brought this upon themselves. Every time they “have a good thing,” they shoot themselves in the foot.

    in 85 they lost quality when they lost their union employees who wanted raises. I’m not pro-union, but failing to see the value in well-trained gunsmiths is… foolish.

    Colt Double Eagle? Rushed…poorly implemented.

    In 89 they stopped AR sales to civilians while the Bush administration decided whether or not to ban them. Colt could have sold MORE during that scare. Bad decision.

    Donald Zhikha at the helm.. BAD DECISION

    Dropping all revolver lines in 1995? Bad decision.

    Preserving big paychecks, retirement benefits, and severance packages for failing “leaders?” – Bad decision

    Resting on their laurels with the M4 platform instead of making improvements and finding a way to keep their military contract? Bad decisions.

    After their most recent bankruptcy filing, they lost even more money by trying to dictate to dealers a “stocking level” for their guns. As a small shop dealer, I couldn’t pick up the phone and order a Colt of any type from my distributors. Colt wanted to come in and tell me what and how many models of each of their guns I had to keep in stock. The choice to no longer sell Colts came easy.

    1. avatar Nate M says:

      Basically same problems like 99% of all corporations.

      1. avatar kenneth says:

        Its a well known problem. Turds float, and in the corporate cesspool the biggest turds float to the top striaghtaway. The problem is well known, its just that nobody has a solution, so they pretend it isn’t happening.

  8. avatar bryan1980 says:

    I can’t add anything else to what the previous posters’ have put forth. I think they might have been alright had they not dropped their double action revolver line. They did this at about the time everyone and their brothers started making 1911’s and AR’s. Add the fact that the legendary Colt quality has disappeared from the equation, and, well, the math is pretty simple.

  9. avatar Dave says:

    I can’t believe how stupid some of these huge companies are. If Colt would give the civilian populace what they’ve been asking for all these years they would be able to pull their own pants up and wipe their own butt. We all know what we want we want Colt pythons Colt king cobras and Colt anacondas end of story Colt get off your lazy backsides quit firing the only gunsmith that are left at your facility and produce a product that both the customer and you could be proud of without going the cheap route like you did with the 38 Special Cobra the disaster of the 2017 Shot Show. All it takes is for some real gun people to be employed at Colt Manufacturing. They’ve got a real problem with non-gun people running their show. Beancounters is Colts problem so worried about tipping the edge of the plate and going down the tubes with bankruptcy again that they don’t want to take any kind of risk and keep shoveling out the same crap they’ve been pushing for the last 10 years which is absolutely nothing. You wonder why your company is going bankrupt and you’re laying off dozens of employees constantly it’s because you’re not manufacturing a quality product anymore or one that anybody gives a crap about. I would love for one of the higher-ups to read this comment that I posted and get in touch with the system operator of T tag and give me a call. It’s ridiculous that they keep crying the Blues about how their business is going in at the same time doing nothing to correct it.

  10. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “At the very least this doesn’t bode well for Colt’s newly re-introduced Snake series.”

    That stainless .38 they had at SHOT that hard locked up on itself because the shooter rode the trigger like they would on a semi-auto was a stark acknowledgement something is not right in Colt-land.

    I fully expect Taurus or a similar company to buy the trademark and company name at the bankruptcy auction in the near future…

    1. avatar Matt says:

      This. Maybe Inland or Kahr are getting their ducks in a row.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    Colt, here comes your 19th nervous breakdown. How many can you go through before you run out of fools willing to fund your operations? Just sell your IP and be done with it.

    1. avatar pg2 says:

      Looking at the site homepages of some of the other major manufacturers vs the Colt home site is a pretty good indicator of what kind of shape they are in.

      1. avatar Dave says:

        That’s an understatement. They go in fire the only gunsmith in the building and replace them with gun text. I mean if quality is going to be so poor why not just make a contract with Taurus have them build your guns for you and slap a cult horse pony on the side of it give me a break Colt really. My suggestion is to hire 10 of the top revolver guys in the business and start a small program where these guys only manufacture a limited production run every year of the Colt Python the Colt Anaconda and the Colt King Cobra series. These guns would be numbered 1 – 1000 and that would be the top number of pistols in that particular line that would run for an entire year. Making those guns collectors items as soon as they make it out of the assembly line or I should say the gunsmith hands. That way they could nearly name the price on those pistols revolvers my bad. That way they wouldn’t have to produce thousands and thousands of firearms of that make and model every year plus them being unlimited production number and numbered accordingly they would be worth more money. Second they need to have more quality control efforts which would go hand-in-hand with the smaller production numbers as I outlined previous. Most people today would pay a higher price for a original built Colt Python Colt Anaconda Colt King Cobra Colt cobra or even the Detective Special. It would be a substantial investment for Cole but within one year’s time they would already receive benefits from their investment. It’s not rocket science it’s simply giving the customer what they want and people don’t want mass-produced firearms that started in the early eighties due to guests on Glocks approach to building firearms. We want gunsmith bill custom revolvers and don’t mind paying a little extra for the quality I mean look at Smith and Wesson they’re Big Boy 50 caliber revolver and their 460 revolver line is a fortune to buy but yet every time I go to a local gun shop in my area those Firearms are always sold out and they start at around 1,500 Bucs. Colt really needs to listen to the customer and stop listening to the accountants that appear to be running their company right into the ground. What a shame. I wish I would have had more time to speak with the Colt guys this last shot show I was there the day that the Cobra 38 Special went belly-up when we were shooting it and I was like isn’t that typical we could be in the tourist line and have the same problem LOL.

  12. avatar Matt says:

    If there really are “extensive” layoffs (whatever that means) and they are gutting or shelving divisions and projects, that sounds to me like they are getting ready to sell or liquidate. Even if they are not, its not a good sign.

  13. Did anyone really think the new snake gun would be anything other than a poorly made mass produced and over priced gun that was playing to “collectors” who want a snake gun but don’t have the $3500 it takes to be a real snake gun owner?

  14. avatar Cory W says:

    Nick – you’re a great writer and I love reading your stuff. You have to drop the “watch this space” closing man it’s killing me. Keep up the good work.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      He will on his next post, just watch this space.

  15. avatar tiger says:

    Gun fanatics make lousy business managers. Nobody so far posting sounds like a CEO.

    1. avatar Dave says:

      I may not very well be a CEO but I was an Army Ranger with the 82nd Airborne and commanded a platoon of men four five and a half years over in the Middle East. And I do have an understanding of economics and business practices. And what I really do understand is if someone is asking you for a pen and you give them a pencil you’re not going to sell very many pens. The entire Colt community is asking for Colt pythons and not mass-produced crap revolvers but the gunsmith built hand assembled and fitted revolvers that were absolutely gorgeous and precision made. Mass production started back in the nineteen eighties with Gaston Glock and because of these practices to be able to keep up with Glock other manufacturers like Smith & Wesson Colt Sig Sauer have gone from using gunsmith 2 gun techs. It’s time to go old-school and bring back gunsmith to do these fine revolver lines once again and for once Colt listen to the customer we want the snake guns and we want quality not quantity we don’t mind paying a little extra but don’t give us crap that comes off of mass production assembly line and expect us to do backflips over it ain’t going to happen. You’re peeing into the wind. You guys need to stop firing your most talented gun builders and bring back the revolver line as a performance center only weapon and charge Performance Center prices. Everybody on this website has left messages saying that they would not pay $1,500 for a Colt Python but yet you have guys every day of the week buying Smith & Wesson 50 caliber revolvers at over $1,500 a piece so I have to say to you you’re wrong. A lot of people are interested in buying a high-quality limited production run of Colt pythons Colt anacondas Colt king cobras and Colt cobras and Colt Detective Special if they are limited production run and high-quality gunsmith hand-assembled anything else and you’re just peeing into the wind.

      1. avatar Rich K. says:

        I wouldn’t pay $1500 for a .500 S&W, either – or ANY gun, for that matter. Why should I shell out what amounts to nearly 2 months’ take-home pay – or a really good tax refund check – when I can buy two perfectly functional Glocks for that amount? Or even a couple of used S&W’s in decent shape? You can even buy two brand-new SAA clones made in Italy for that amount, and have money left over. Not everyone is an elitist when it comes to guns. Some of us want simply something that works that fits within the budget. With Colt, you’re paying for the name. Used S&W “mass produced” revolvers generally cost less than their Colt equivalents, too, from what I have seen.

        1. avatar Dave says:

          You’re comparing apples to oranges my friend. I own an original 1983 6 inch Colt Python in royal blue finish that is absolutely Immaculate and so only been shot maybe four hundred times between me and my father God Rest his soul. You cannot compare a mass-produced polymer Plastic Fantastic to anything but another polymer Plastic Fantastic pistol. You live in America you have the right to purchase any type of firearm well I should say any type of firearm that your government let you and that is your freedom God bless you. But for some of us life is too short to own an ugly gun and trust me Glocks are ugly yes they work but I have noticed a drop in quality control over the last five years and I have talked about it many times clock is living off their name now just like Colt has been trying to do ever since they lost their Department of Defense contracts. I own also to Nighthawk Customs that were at least 35 to $3,800 a piece and I own a couple of Bill Wilson’s first 19 elevens that my father bought from Bill back in 1982 these are quality handmade hand fitted firearms. There is absolutely no comparison between these weapons and a Glock or any other Plastic Fantastic. I am also a big Ruger fan I have a quite a few 357 Magnum Ruger I have a couple Security Six is a couple GP100 and I like them they function really well but when you’re talking between a plastic fantastic and a steel handgun you can notice the price differences even today with mass production. You can buy a performance center M&P Smith & Wesson 9 millimeter 5 inch barrel ported with a match Barrel for just over $675 you go and try to buy a j-frame 5 shot 38 Special Plain Jane and you’re looking at seven hundred bucks because the revolver takes a lot more fitting and assembly then one of these plastic Fantastics. your comparing apples to oranges my friend. I own and original 1983 6 inch cold Python in Royal blue finish that is absolutely Immaculate ands only been shot maybe 400 times between me and my father God rest his soul. You cannot compare a mass produced polymer plastic fantastic to anything but another polymer plastic fantastic pistol. You live in America you have the right to purchase any type of firearm well I should say any type of firearm that you’re government let’s you and that is your freedom God bless you. But for some of us life is too short to own in ugly gun and trust me Glocks are ugly yes they work but I have noticed a drop in quality control over the last 5 years and I have talked about it many a times Glock is living off there name now just like Colt has been trying to do ever since they lost their department of Defense contracts. I own also to Nighthawk customs that were 35 to $3,800 apiece and I own a couple of bill Wilson’s 1st 1911 that my father bought from Bill back 1987 or 1988 and it’s still shoots like the day he bought it. There are all kinds of gun owners in this country just like there’s all kinds of people in this country What’s good for the goose may not very well be good for the gander. And you may not want to pay $1,500 for a revolver but have you ever heard of the expression you get what you pay for well that holds true and just about everything on Earth. That’s why my performance center 5-inch M&P Smith & Wesson ported gun was just under $700 and that’s for their top of the line bells and whistles model M&P. Now if you order a Smith & Wesson J frame in 38 Special basic plain 38 it’s going to cost you $700 cash the reason for this is because you have to be very careful when assembling a revolver you can’t just throw them together like you can a Glock or an M&P 9 millimeter Plastic Fantastic firearm those guns were designed to be built on a mass production assembly line. Revolvers are not the same they require some fitting some attention to detail and quite a bit of experience to correctly assemble one. Hence the price increase for a plain Jane J frame 38 Special from Smith & Wesson being seven hundred bucks the same price as their top of the line Plastic Fantastic performance center M&P model nine-millimeter. And I’m not a Plastic Fantastic pistol hater I am quite a few Glock quite a few Smith & Wesson M&P and a couple of Kahrs. you get what you pay for as in everything in life. If you pay $500 for a handgun you’re going to get a $500 handgun if you pay $1,500 for a handgun you’re going to get a handgun that is made better than the one that was 500 if you pay $3,800 for a handgun it will be nicer and more quality put together than a $1,500 handgun and so on and so on the sky’s the limit just like in any other industry on the face of the planet. Just my $0.10 worth brother. Buy what you want it’s America.

        2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          You’re not Colt’s customer, it’s likely you never were Colt’s customer, and Colt should never have spent a NY Minute listening to your type of gun buyer.

          That’s the problem with far too many American corporations: They spend far too much time catering to the wishes of those who are never going to buy their products.

          Caesar Guerini makes shotguns that start at about $3500 and go to over $10K. Want to know when they started business? In 2002. Want to know how they grew into the company they are today? By not listening to people who want to never spend more than $250 on a shotgun, that’s how. Instead, they listened to people who wanted a really well-made, no-excuses gun. Caesar Guerini in fact listened to that sort of gun buyer… and they were able to enter a market that other people thought saturated (ie, higher-end O/U European shotguns) and carved out a very good business.

          There’s plenty of gun companies catering to the “non-elitist” market. For those who really want to prove their non-elitist credibility, there’s Hi-Point, Lorcin and so on. Colt was never a bottom-rung gun company, and it should never have catered to the bottom of the market.

        3. avatar Dave says:

          A hundred and 10% agree with you if Cole would simply make a high-dollar revolver line with the quality and care that was taken in the 80s and early 1990s and release a high-quality python a high-quality king cobra a high-quality Anaconda a high quality Colt cobra and Detective Special they could charge whatever they needed to to cover the production costs and still make tons of money and not to mention make their name a household brand name once again for quality instead of quantity. Who really wants another thirty-eight snub nose buy Charter Arms with Colts name on it. If they would just stick to the high-dollar production gunsmith hand fitted revolver line as they did in the eighties and nineties they would be able to be in the top 5 producers of revolvers and make tons of money and improve their name brand. I can remember in the eighties buying a Colt M16 and they were almost twice as much as any of the other name brands including armorlite. And it was all because when you bought a cold you knew you are buying quality since then they’ve tried to tackle the mass-produced Glock manufacturing techniques and failed as bad as the American car builders did when they tried to make their first four cylinder high gas mileage vehicles Chevy Chevette brings back memories LOL. You can call it of that all you want but when you get the girl out to the car she’s like this isn’t a Corvette LOL. And if Smith and Wesson can produce a high quality performance center revolver that you can start out at around eleven hundred bucks all the way up to like 5 or $6,000 and make money at it why can’t Colt like I said give the customer what he wants quality quality quality.

        4. avatar Pwinky says:

          $1,500 is 2 months take home pay? You can’t afford to be a gun owner at that rate. At $10k a year you’re WELL below the poverty line. Go be poor somewhere else. No one cares what you think about money when you don’t have any.

    2. avatar Ranger Rick says:

      In this case it probably is not that important because it doesn’t seem that Colt has had a seasoned professional CEO in quite awhile.

  16. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Colt sold out a long time ago and have reaped what they sowed.

    ALL manufacturers that are run by people who don’t shoot guns head down the wrong road.

    Bill Ruger said as much in the 80s. Bill Ruger was an elitist-ass but he loved guns in general.

    Marlin was great until they were bought by Freedom Group. RIP Marlin.

    Someone needs to wait for Colt to finally go broke and buy them.

    They had a lot of great guns…the latest 38 snub is a sad attempt to get back into the market.

    It should have been a 357 or have an alloy frame to be viable.

    RIP Colt.

    1. avatar D. in OR says:

      Colt went broke and got bought a few times already, getting worse every time…

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      There’s a lot of truth to that.

      One of the reasons for Warren Buffett’s success as an investor is that, when he buys companies, he leaves the people who have a passion for that business in charge of that business. He doesn’t think that he knows how to run the business better than the people with the passion(s) – he just knows how to spot a money-making business.

      So many Wall Street raiders buy up a company, fire the current management, install their deadbeat buddies and then wonder why the business fails. Duuuuuh.

      1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

        Berkshire Hathaway isn’t renowned for keeping quality in the companies they purchase, Justin and Tony Lama are perfect examples.

  17. avatar Rich K. says:

    Point I am trying to make is, if a company wants to stay in business they can’t put all their eggs in one basket. They need a product line that appeals to nearly EVERY customer base. Make only expensive guns, and only a very few people will be able – or willing – to buy them. Make only cheap junk (or let the quality slip on what was once a good product, but charge the same amount for it), and you get a bad reputation. Appeal only to the police and military and schmooze for contracts, and you’re subject to their whims and trends (not to mention having to compete for bids). Colt had a great idea some years back, in my opinion, in a gun called the “Colt Cowboy”, back in the 1990’s. It was intended for the CAS market, and sold for half the price of a “Model P”. It was a gun that the average guy who wanted a genuine Colt single-action could afford. A hundred years ago, Colt sold relatively inexpensive self-defense pistols as well as their higher priced revolvers and rifles. They got too hung up on making M-16 rifles for the government and neglected civilian sales, and it bit them when they finally lost out to FN. If they want to stay in business, they need to go back to reasonable quality (not necessarily gunsmith-tuned, but still reliable) guns that appeal to the mass market, and keep the expensive stuff as a side line.

  18. avatar Steve Clark says:

    So many internet know-it-alls. (Sigh)

    If anyone checked the source for this article, the 1911 forum, you’d see that a rep from Colt-Spain stated that they only let the director and a few other employees go, they have a six month backlog of work, and are just fine. The issue was with the CCS director.

    In other words, the sky ISN’T falling.

  19. avatar kap says:

    Why give a rats arse about Colt, the Management of this company decided to go with the Gov Contracts and when their product got dumped by the gov, they then tried to produce a shoddy revolver so that we could bail them out!
    Let the big shots take a 3/4 pay cut could run for 10 years (conjecture)

  20. avatar BCE 56 says:

    I can understand why Colt would want to pursue military rifle contracts.
    Abandoning their core products and civilian customers to do so looks like a huge mistake. Those products include the DA revolvers and the 1873 variants.
    And the 1911s.
    Colt once enjoyed the reputation of producing the finest 1911s available.
    But by the mid-70s fit and finish of Colt 1911s had slipped noticeably, though Gold Cups were still quite nice.
    While Colt snoozed other mfrs, notably Springfield Armory, stepped up with high value pistols at a reasonable price. Look at that market now. Even with the distraction of plastic pistols the demand for 1911s remains high.
    Colt should have dominated that market but has been squeezed out by SA, Kimber, Sig, Remington, Ruger, even *Cabot*, Taurus and the various imports. Not to mention Wilson, Baer, Brown, Nighthawk etc.
    Colt’s loss is our gain, but it is sad to see the demise of a trusted name.

  21. avatar Sam Sneed says:

    It’s amazing just how little everyone truly knows. All those quality comments and hand fit revolver building comments, boy, I can just tell how experienced everyone is with Colt. Whoever made the statement that Colt shouldn’t listen to people who have no intention of buying their products was probably more accurate than anyone else. Until you extensively study something in all aspects, you really shouldn’t give opinions that may be construed as fact. All that creates is more false internet conjecture for others to believe.

    I’m not going to get real in-depth about all the falsehoods stated, but I will say a couple things. First, the Python hasn’t been a true “hand fitted production gun” since the ’60s. Once the ’70s came, so did quality shortcuts which culminated in ’76 with a cylinder assembly change. That allowed Colt to approach 60K Pythons a year, or over 200 a day. Isn’t that mass production? You can’t hand tune all of those to perfection, so they were rushed, and they show it. This is why so many from that period look “wet”, it’s from over-polishing. The internal builds were so-so too. Once the ’80s started, the lead up to the strike was bad quality and the strike itself was bad quality. I won’t even buy a Colt from the ’80s unless cheaper than a S&W. The ’90s weren’t that great either, but better than the latest ’70s and all of ’80s.

    The time, resources, and skill it took to build Colt’s V spring action revolver line is GONE. There is no coming back. Anything in the future will be like the new Cobra and “modernized”. Actually, the new Cobra is a re-tweaked DSII/SFVI. Whoever said that we have to pretty much buy old or don’t bother had it right too. If you want original Colt quality, buy from the mid ’60s or earlier. Anything else is a risk that requires expertise to overcome, and for the prices they bring now, not the best gamble for novices. However, I will say the current SAA’s of the last 7-10yrs have been excellent and almost early 2nd Gen. quality. So whoever was talking about recent quality issues with those is wrong, and whoever compared Italian clones to 2nd Gen. Colt SAAs must have been high. Colt’s SAA is the best quality out there and always was, by how much is subjective.

    So many people are experts on the internet, but only about 1% actually have data & experience to back up their claims. The only part I can’t prove is that Colt will never bring back the V spring action guns, so let’s call it an educated guess, but everything else is verifiable. However, the verifiable stuff gets overshadowed by limitless internet conjecture which gets soaked in by those who need told what to believe and the gullible. How else do prices end up so high for guns that don’t deserve it?

    1. avatar James Earl Hoffa says:

      I have to agree with you on your statements. However have you tried to locate a mid-1960s or earlier Colt Python?? LOL if you can actually find one that someone is willing to part with you’re looking at $3,500 or more especially if they have all the original paperwork and box. I don’t know many of people that will drop that kind of money on a pistol that you cannot get serviced and less by a specific gunsmith that knows his business with the the spring Colt pistols. At our shop I’ve had to send back a couple of pythons in the past and they will not service the V spring Action. They do not have the parts to replace them with nor the skill two hand fit the parts. You can still get them reblued in the Deep royal blue which up until now I believe you could still get done now that the custom shop guys no longer exist I don’t know if that is a bluing that they even offer anymore but it was almost $600 for one python to get it reblued in the Deep royal blue finish About two years ago. I don’t see why they can’t bring out the king cobra line and the Anaconda line those worm Factory mass-produced pistols and yes some of them had issues with timing as well. But those guns could be reproduced in an assembly line type fashion that all gun manufacturers use nowadays and still get a relatively good product out of them as long as they’re asking a fair price for them. I believe I paid just over $500 in the last year they had the king cobra available and I got it in stainless steel 2 inch barrel with the Pachmayr grips and later had it polish to high gloss stainless steel it still looks amazing with 2 inch barrel. Shoots Great very very accurate 357 Magnum and because of the bulk sucks up The Recoil pretty well as well. I’m hoping Colt will continue the Cobra line and include the king cobra and the anaconda in the near future they need to really concentrate on their civilian market and I have noticed with their 1911’s they seem to be coming back around as being a very well-built 1911 pistol especially their Gold Cup Edition they just released I test-fired one just recently and was almost shocked that it was a Colt. as far as the pythons go I’m not really sure if Mass producing a python would give you the quality that was once acquired back in the 50s and early 60s so that might be a bust for them but like I said before I don’t see why they can’t do the king cobra series of pistols as well as the Anaconda Big Bore pistols.

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