Kalashnikov Rebrands Itself: “Weapons of Peace”

“Kalashnikov, Russia’s legendary firearms producer, has revamped its corporate image, unveiling a new ‘CK’ red-and-black logo – not to be confused with Calvin Klein – a new slogan, three streamlined weapons brands and its own survival gear,” rt.com reports. It’s good to know that Russian oligarchs are just as susceptible to branding B.S. as Cerberus’ fat cats (e.g., Remington’s 1816 lifestyle brand). Privyet? All branding starts with the product. Build a better AK and then worry about marketing. Ready for the new slogan? In English, it’s . . .

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John Hollister, Derek Smith Quit AAC

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It really is the end of an era for Advanced Armament Corp. As we reported back in May, the entire AAC factory is being shuttered in preparation for moving the production to the new combined Remington plant in Alabama. This includes laying off all existing employees, including those who made the company what it is today. According to our sources (and confirmed by AAC’s handy computer systems) two more of those employees have walked out of the office for the last time, and their names are John Hollister and Derek Smith . . .

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Christmas Gift Idea: Puppies With Guns Calendar Project

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You’re here, so you (probably) like guns. You’re (probably) American so you (probably) like dogs. Given the huge overlap on the Venn diagram of dog-loving People of the Gun, the Puppies With Guns Calendar Kickstarter project seems destined for success. The brains — and talent — behind this project, Ben Haulenbeek, is a professional photographer, FFL and a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. And while you still have some time before Christmas, the Kickstarter listing expires in ten days (press release below). Woof! . . .

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Winchester Unveils the XPR Rifle

Over the last couple years, there has been a considerable push from gun companies to produce a new entry level hunting rifle to replace the quickly deteriorating Remington 700. Ruger has their American Rifle, Weatherby has their Vanguard S2, and now Winchester looks to be getting into the game with the XPR. The website for the new gun is live now, but certain details (like pricing) seem to be withheld pending SHOT Show 2015. What we do know is . . .

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Smith & Wesson Buys Battenfeld, Maker of Caldwell, Other Brands

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In a $130.5 million cash deal, Smith & Wesson has purchased Columbia, Missouri-based Battenfeld Technologies. You probably know Battenfeld by some of their more familiar brands of shooting, gunsmithing and hunting accessories such as Caldwell, Wheeler Engineering and Tipton, among others. While Smith’s sales have stagnated recently (mostly due to lagging long gun sales), as nasdaq.com notes, “Smith & Wesson will gain immense traction from this acquisition. Battenfeld will not only provide the company opportunities to enhance its accessories portfolio . . .

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Remington Defense Snags M40 Sniper Rifle Stocks Contract

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As Nick pointed out the other day, it’s been a bad year for Big Green. Suffice it to say Cerberus has plenty of leftover turkey on its plate. But there is a bright spot: Remington Defense. The company has just scored a “multi-million dollar contract” to supply the U.S. Marines with some 2,000 modular stocks, spares, and magazines for the Marine’s M40 Sniper Rifle Modular Stock program. This on top of its $28m contract to supply the U.S. Army with 3,600 XM2010 enhanced sniper rifle systems, and a $79.7m contract to provide The United States Special Operations Command up to 5,150 Precision Sniper Rifles (“PSR”) and 4.6 million rounds of precision ammunition. According to the press release on the rifle stock contract [after the jump] . . .

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Did Buds Gun Shop Bungle Black Friday?

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We’re too hung over from a tryptophan-induced coma to engage in much serious Googling, but we’re getting lots of reports of unsatisfied shoppers who tried and failed to take advantage of Black Friday deals at internet mega-retailer Bud’s Gun Shop. Here’s a representative email rant we received:

I know that your website is all about getting the right information out there to people that actually want to be informed. But I feel that some of the online retailers are pulling badly managed Black Friday Deals or even bait an switch tactics to lure people to buy from them.

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RECALL: Remington 887 Shotgun Accidental Slamfire Issue

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Remington hasn’t done well at all this year. Starting with the recall of all Remington 700 rifles for a dangerous trigger system, followed by the train wreck that was the Remington R51, nothing has really gone right for Big Green in 2014. Now their annus horibilis continues with another recall of an entire line of shotguns. This time they are asking anyone who bought a Remington 887 scattergun in the last year (since December 2013) to send it back to the factory because it turns out that there’s a teeny tiny possibility that the shotgun will immediately discharge as soon as you put a round in the chamber, whether the trigger was pulled or not . . .

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Magpul Finalizes New Headquarters: Austin, Texas

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Magpul is without a doubt one of the most recognizable and widely admired brands in the firearms industry. Just about everyone uses their products (myself included), and they have done more to change the look and feel of AR-15 rifles than any other company in the last decade. When Colorado’s legislature went off the deep end in the post-Sandy Hook legislative fervor, Magpul announced that they would be pulling up stakes and leaving their home state for good. They wanted to show the legislature that their actions had real and lasting consequences, and Magpul is making good on that promise. Now, word comes that Magpul has finally decided on a new home for their corporate headquarters as well as a home base for manufacturing: Austin, Texas.

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Cerberus Stuck with The Freedom Group. For Now.

Connecticut State Police Release Sandy Hook Report

About two years go, in the politically charged aftermath of the Sandy Hook slaughter, Cerberus Capital Group promised to sell The Freedom Group. Cerberus made the pledge to deep-six the non-synergistic agglomeration of firearms-related companies under pressure from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). The teachers were mortified – mortified I tell you! – by the fact that a portion of their gi-normous pension fund was vested with the money men who owned the company that manufactured the Bushmaster rifle the Newtown killer used to murder 26 people [above]. Unfortunately for the educators, no one wanted to buy The Freedom Group. As time went on . . .

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Colt Teetering On the Brink of Bankrupcy

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When’s the last time a Colt firearm was on your wish list? Colt Competition has done some pretty cool stuff recently, but Colt’s Manufacturing Co. hasn’t really come out with anything “new” in quite a while. The lone exception is their line of rifles based on the Colt 901, which is a cool design concept that didn’t seem to be well executed at all. It seems like the only thing keeping Colt alive has been the massive industry-wide surge in sales over the last couple years, but now that’s over and Colt is struggling to pay its bills . . .

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US Optics and Eagle Eye Ammo Partner Up

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In the post-post-Sandy Hook environment, it seems like the only way to stay competitive is to get a bunch of companies together and team up — pooling resources, offering package deals, and generally supporting one another. Freedom Group was one of the first to hoover up large quantities of gun companies. There’s the ATK agglomeration, and McMillian and Armalite fell in with AWC, and now US Optics and Eagle Eye Ammunition are partnering up to make some magic happen as well. If they can get a rifle manufacturer in the mix as well some interesting things could happen, like perhaps offering a rifle and scope already zeroed from the factory, with the elevation knob pre-calibrated to exactly correspond to the ammunition it is shooting? That I’d like to see, and probably costs a ton less than a TrackingPoint gun. Presser after the jump.

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