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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 . . .

From the Wall Street Journal:

Colt Defense LLC warned that it could default by the end of the year, as the privately owned company, which has suffered from declining demand for rifles and handguns, is likely to miss a payment to bondholders.

The gun maker faces a $10.9 million payment to bondholders Nov. 17, according to a filing on Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. If Colt skips the payment, it will enter a 30-day grace period, but without payment by Dec. 15 it will be in default and bondholders can demand immediate, full payment.

Colt, which is controlled by investment firm Sciens Capital Management LLC, had $248.8 million outstanding on the bonds as of June 29. The bonds were trading in the mid-30 cents on the dollar—deep in distressed territory—on Thursday.

Colt has been on the decline for quite some time. The key to Colt’s success has been their government contracts — Colt was the sole manufacturer of the M4 carbine and M16 rifle for decades. But in 2013, FNM won the contract for the M4 and the M16 rifle, and the military is showing no signs of going back. With its main cash cow gone, all that’s left for the manufacturing giant is the commercial market (which they had more or less ignored for years). Now, unable to compete in the modern firearms market, Colt may soon be just another corporate casualty.

Heckler & Koch has been in the same boat for a while now, as rumors of their impending doom have been circulating since the middle of last year. But nothing has come of those rumors so far, and H&K seems to be in a stronger position with their new line of civilian-focused (and priced) handguns. It’s possible Colt can do the same thing, pivoting hard toward the commercial market with the right products at the right time, but it seems unlikely. A more probable outcome is that some investor (Freedom Group?) may take a crack at buying the manufacturer with the legendary name, but at this point there doesn’t seem to be any suitors lined up.

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    • i shed a tear every time i see the price on a used one, the price on a new one, build with same quality, will just leave me blubbering incoherently.


    • And the Detective Special and Anaconda.

      Also, a new Double Eagle, and they could make genuine Lightning pump-action remakes and a lower-priced SAA for the CAS crowd.

      • Obviously the Colt name has a certain cache in the 1873 market, but when all of their revolvers cost double what a well-built slicked up shooter from Uberti or Pieta costs, Colt has priced itself out of the market. Ignoring the civilian market meant that Colt had nothing to fall back on when its lost the government contracts. And from what I’ve read, the only new machinery they’ve bought builds the slow selling Mustang.

        • Mark N.:
          Agree with your comment. Colt’s products do come dear, don’t they? They have priced themselves up and away which explains all the companies making .45 pistols.

    • If Colt won’t or can’t, I wish somebody would buy the rights to it and any tooling that might still exist. Modern manufacturing methods should allow it to be manufactured at a reasonable price. That is, significantly less than you would pay for a mint Colt. Of course, the quality would have to be uncompromised. People would pay.

      There will always be snooty purists who will swear they’re not the same, no matter what. Screw them.

      I fired one once. It was perfection in my hand.

      • Careful with that. The last new one I saw was priced at $650, and that was a long time ago. I bought 4, back when they were $160, and I’m pretty sure they were the world’s most expensive handgun at that price. An S&W .44 Magnum was $140, IIRC. I’d bet a new one now would be north of $1500, and I heard that Colt never made a profit on the things, they were supposed to be a symbol of Colt quality.

    • +1 ! S&W still makes their classic revolver line and it doesn’t seem to be hurting them. I don’t know why Colt, of all people, abandoned their wheel guns.

      • Obviously it was bad decision-making. Lazy, maybe. I love shooting my wifes little Colt .38. It shoots like magic, and has a trigger that is smoother than a greased mirror. I’d carry it but I prefer the firepower of my XD-9. But check this out – I once shot a flying bee out of the air on a bet, using a Ruger Single Six .22 revolver. I hated the grip but dang that was a good instinctive shooter. So is my wifes .38 sub. I shot that bee from my hip, leaning back against my truck in the woods with my dad. Couldn’t do it again, no doubt, but everything worked that first shot. Revolvers are shooters.

    • ^This

      Bring back the Python and I buy two of them before you even have the machinery running.

      I don’t understand why Colt won’t do the obvious; its like Jeep and their refusal to make trucks. Everyone I know who owns a Jeep would buy a truck sight unseen if only they would make one.

    • Isn’t that the truth. Colt needs to cut their overhead and focus on their heritage. Focus on arming freedom fighters and free civilians. Man I wish I could buy them. and sell the tools we need to defend our towns and states from the criminal cabals running the “big picture”. The JADE Helm operation looks exactly like an encirclement of veteran concentrations, and the gvt stated flat out a couple of years ago that they consider veterans to be the “terrorists”. And the CIA is involved, too.

      The CIA funded the software company (owned by a Bilderberger leader) that created the JADE Helm operations map. It encircles the largest concentrations of military veterans and can be tuned to identify and map any sub-groups.

  1. The fundamental problem facing Colt and HK are that their goods can be substituted effectively by cheaper competitors. A P30 is a nice pistol, but a Sig SP2022 is a viable alternative and is 50% of the cost. As to Colt, same problem. Why would a rational consumer buy an XSE 1911 when Springfield sells a perfectly good substitute for $200 less?

    HK , to their credit, is doing something about the problem with rebates and the VP9 being $600 street price.

    • Colt is the GM of guns. Riding on a reputation that hasn’t been valid in 50 years, making over-priced “stuff” that you were supposed to keep buying because of a name.

      My King Cobra and God Cup MK IV were ok back 30+ years ago. Those laurels have long since wilted and the consumer owes you nothing.

      • Well stated. Unfortunately, brutally accurate.

        People with more money than brains – buying “a name” – and a healthy dose of ignorance – similar-thinking people actually believing Colt manufactures every single part of their over-priced 5.56mm model 6920 is a prime example – have kept Colt in the non-military game.

        Now, with no more new DoD contracts in-house or on the forseeable horizon, Colt cannot possibly survive – not in present form anyway.

        Throw in bloated labor costs caused by a you-know-what – and a firearm-hostile socialist location (Commu-necticut) – and Colt’s day in the sun withers; financial viability may end in less than 90 days.

        All they have left is “a name” and a lofty, antiquated reputation.

        At the end of the day, there are various and sundry “assemblers” of AR-15s, for example, that are every bit the equal – a few superior – to a “Colt”.

        Several guys at my local range just simply shoot the 1″ black circle out of cardboard targets with regularity – hand-held – at 50m – with garage-assembled ARs using parts from assorted manufacturers. Simple, really: With a match-quality barrel and a trick trigger, you can used a stripped lower with Minnie Mouse on the side and a no-name upper from “W.T.F. Industries” and end up with a 10-shot grouping inside of Bud Light bottle cap – cheaper than a store-bought Colt.

        Too many “brand name ego Nazis” in recreational shooting. It’ll be fun watching them try to find genuine repair parts for their trendy “toys” when the manufacturer goes belly up ….

  2. They really screwed themselves over by ignoring the civilian market. Sure, they have AR15s, but dozens of companies have produced equal to superior quality products for less money.

      • BINGO they ether stopped making guns people want, cause with CCW sweeping the country WHY would anyone want an Agent or they charged way to much for base model un improved 1911’s. You can get a Kimber custom shop for less then a base 1911 and the Kimber will work.

        Funny thing, never had a front sight blade come off any of my Kimbers but EVERY SINGLE COLT 1911 I have ever had BOUGHT NEW lost there front blades within the first 3 trips to the range. OH and they never worked.

        • Their new production CNC guns are made very well. I have a 2014 Gold Cup that is very well built; it’s the best made normal production 1911 I’ve ever handled. The problem is it was $1100 and it’s essentially a very well made no frills 1911 with target sights. It doesn’t have a beavertail and its sharp hammer bites my hand every time I fire it. It also lacks the flourishes of former Colts. The lettering on the slide isn’t smooth, the bluing is pretty, but not like they used to be, and it doesn’t have a flat top slide. It’s just not all that special, and Colt ‘ s should be.

    • And what companies exactly are you talking about that produce products of the same or better quality? Last I checked, a 6920 ran around $1k. Nobody besides BCM touches quality for that price. Don’t talk about things you have no clue about

        • Don’t forget me. Colt has cut their AR prices, but they’re still higher than building yourself or any number of other sellers of complete rifles of equal or better quality, not to mention sellers of complete uppers and lowers. Colt charges extra for their name, and not many folks want to pay for it. That’s a bad business plan.

      • I have a Colt M4 – 6920 and it’s the best gun I have ever owned. Great quality. Colt service has also been excellent every time I have had to use them. I also owned other companies AR -15 like the Rock River Arms and they were just not made as well and when it needed service it took a few trips back to the factory to get it fixed right. Bushmaster were unreliable jamming at the range all the time. I put at least 9000 rounds through my Colt with out a malfunction; that’s reliability. Colt is the master when it comes to AR – 15 in my book.

    • I already have a Ruger Blackhawk (SAA but better) But if they started making Pythons that didn’t cost thousands of dollars, I would be more than willing to pickup one in stainless steel with a 6″ barrel.

      • I grind my teeth every time someone says “I’d buy X (insert name of highly finished classic gun here) if it cost (insert absurdly low price here).”

        For some reason, gun buyers seem to think that inflation doesn’t apply to them, at all, ever.

        I’ve got a news flash: You can’t build a gun like the Python of the 60’s or 70’s for anything under, oh, at least $2000. There’s too much labor involved in fitting the gun together so it achieves the “bank vault lockup” for which they were known, never mind the Royal Blue finish.

        Here’s some information to put things into perspective, from the segment of the gun world where I can just pull numbers like these off the top of my head.

        In 1913, you could buy a Parker DH shotgun for about $100, depending on what added customization/decoration you wanted on the gun. The DH was the low end of what you could consider a “custom” shotgun, as opposed to the “rack grade” shotgun. The lowest grade Parker, the Vulcan, was a $25.50 gun.

        OK, so what is $100, adjusted for inflation from 1913 to today? $2,404.35, according to the BLS inflation calculator:

        What would the very lowest grade, the most vanilla, unadorned, Parker shotgun cost, if adjusted for inflation to today? $613.11. If you’ve never seen a Parker Vulcan, it is a very plain gun indeed.

        OK, what about the Python? I remember reading somewhere that the blued version of the Python ran $125.00 (or thereabouts) in 1955. That $125 would be $1,110.22 today, and that CPI inflation doesn’t count the added expenses for OSHA and EPA regs that have come down on shops doing things like metal finishing between then and now. That CPI-U also under-estimates the cost of labor for employers, who are now having to pay much more for an employee-hour today than they used to – not just in the actual wages paid to the employees, but the increases in Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid did not exist in 1955, nor did worker’s comp, or health insurance as a benefit for most employees, etc.

        For all the additional burdened labor costs, I’d jack up the minimum price of a Python to somewhere at least $2K.

        Here’s an example of what a nice revolver currently costs: The “premium” grade of Freedom Arms single-action hunting revolver, made here in Wyoming, is over $2500. Now, those are line-bored – which is part of what makes the Freedom Arms revolvers so accurate. But they’re not highly finished like the Python was – the FA revolvers are made of stainless steel. The FA revolvers are single action, much like a SAA. They’re nowhere near as complicated to fit up on the inside as a Python. The FA revolvers have nice wood grips and a very nice brushed/polished finish, but they’re not blued, much less finished to the superlative level that the Python was in Royal Blue.

        The FA revolvers, for all those simplifying factors, are over $2500, with parts made with CNC machines and fitted together by hand, in a right-to-work state, in a company with no unions, in a state with no state income taxes and pretty low costs of employment.

        When Colt made the Pythons, only their most experienced metal finishing men were allowed to work on the Pythons. The blueing chemistry wasn’t any different for the Pythons than for their other blued firearms (they had switched to hot salt blueing by that time). What set the Python apart was the metal polishing. It takes a highly experienced hand to polish a gun to the level of polish that the Pythons enjoyed without rounding off corners, putting ripples or waves into the metal, etc. The polish on the steel of the Pythons was the very best in the American gun industry. There’s no way to automate that finishing – it simply must be done by experienced hands with custom polishing equipment. That means replicating a Python would cost major money.

        You will never see a Python made new for under $2,000 ever again – that is, unless and until the US goes back on the gold standard.

        • I watched a documentary on TV about the Pythons recently. One of the commentators said you couldn’t build the Pythons today at any price point because there simply aren’t enough people left of working age with the skills and knowledge to do it.

        • The lack of people who have the skills to do the fitting and polishing would be a daunting barrier to success.

          But someone with deep pockets could recruit a bunch of graduates from good gunsmithing programs (TSJC, CO School of Trades, Murray State, etc) and then obtain a bunch of original Pythons, then tell the recruits “Duplicate the old guns.” Having some old farts come ’round from other trades that polish metal would accelerate the re-discovery of methods.

          It would probably take a year or more to see some success, but the skills can be re-discovered and taught. The first thing that people in the gunsmithing programs learn is how to drive a file. The second thing they learn is how to polish by hand. Colt used buffing wheels, many of which were made by Colt explicitly for their own needs. A Python-like finish can be obtained by hand-polishing, but it would be too slow to get the price down to even a $3K level. Power polishing is what needs to be re-discovered.

          The problem is how to achieve the Python level of polish and keep all the edges and features. A muslin buffing wheel with buffing compound in inexperienced hands is a great way to take features off and round edges. Some of Colt’s wheels were made of wood, and then had a shaped leather strop bound around the circumference, then the leather was impregnated with lapping compounds.

        • Or? They could simply go to Brazil, Pakistan, Malaysia, Israel, Texas etc etc etc and HIRE the skilled labor. Oh, yea, union f*cktard and the Democrat Party will not let that ever happen.

        • I appreciate your insight, but I don’t entirely agree. Finish was one reason that Pythons were expensive, but another reason was that they required a lot of hand fitting to assemble. Manufacturing technology has come a long way since the 1960’s. With that technology it should be possible to produce a Python with fewer man-hours, which would help keep the cost down. It will never be a budget gun, but I will bet they could do it for well under $2,000.00. They could also make the premium bluing an extra cost finish. They could offer it in nickel or stainless for less. That would be an attractive proposition for customers who want a premium revolver with a more corrosion resistant finish.

        • The Python was the ultimate expression of the Colt double-action revolver design, which dates back to 100+ years ago and assumed hand-fitting of many parts. As such, many parts were made slightly over-sized, and they were filed/polished/bent into place.

          There’s a reason why no one is stepping up to replicate the Colt double-action revolver, even in the days of CNC machines that are able to repeatably position to 0.0002″ (or even down to 50 millionths, if we’re talking a high-end machine): there is no set of specifications down to those sizes, with allowances and tolerances, already determined. There’s no GD&T drawing of a Colt DA revolver out there, laying out what size the parts need to be to function without hand-fitting. So first thing you have to do is come up with engineering plans for a Colt DA revolver that will be in time without hand-fitting. That’ll be a pleasant diversion for a couple of years.

          Let’s contrast this to the CNC replicas of some of Colt’s other products. There’s outfits who have replicated the Colt SAA – from the Italian replica gun companies to Ruger, to Freedom Arms and the now-defunct US Firearms Company. Bill Ruger was the value leader in this field, and he improved the SAA design by adding safety features, then he made variants that were absurdly strong to keep people from grenading them when they decided to repeat some of Elmer’s experiments. Point is: there’s absolutely no shortage of SAA replicas, made by CNC machines, of the original SAA design, and several changes to the SAA design for product safety. The level of quality varies, of course, but you can absolutely find high-quality SAA replicas and reproductions. You see no shortage of CNC production of the 1911 design. There are even people looking at making new production Colt Hammerless semi-autos.

          But we have not seen quality replicas of the Colt double action design. DA revolver companies all decided to avoid the Colt design and come up with their own idea of how to accomplish the DA revolver function.

          S&W took a different route, Bill Ruger (a masterful gun designer in his own right, improving and changing designs to bring down the manufacturing cost through investment casting is Bill Ruger’s claim to everlasting fame) took a very different route on DA revolvers. Ruger DA revolvers are solid, reliable and very affordable, due to the investment casting of frames and modern production of many of the smaller parts, but they shy away from replicating the Colt DA design by a wide margin.

          Yet there’s no one champing at the bit to replicate the Colt DA design. And that’s just the usual cop-issue Colt DA .38 revolver design I’m talking about. Not the Python.

          To be able to produce the Python (or other Colt DA’s) on a CNC machine would be a huge investment of time, effort and engineering before you produce the very first chip. Just getting to the point where you’re ready to start cranking out parts for a Python on a CNC machine, you’re looking at an investment of hundreds of thousands to perhaps millions of dollars in engineering and machining time of those fixtures and jigs. There would be some custom tooling required, as well. Never mind the cost of the CNC machines themselves.

          But here’s the rub: when you’re all done, the experienced Python consumer is going to pick up the “CNC Python,” test the carry-up, the lock-up, overhaul, the trigger pull, etc, and they’re going to turn up their nose, because the trigger isn’t like the original Python, the lock up will have some slop in it (as S&W revolvers do – and work quite well, but they don’t lock up “like a bank vault”), the hammer will have some extra clearances in it’s engagement, and unless your finish is the equal of the Python, well, so what? If you can’t produce the Royal Blue finish, all you have is a knock-off gun that will not impress the Python fans, it will cost more than any Ruger and it won’t have the reliability of a S&W.

          Which means it won’t sell.

          The level of fitting done by Python men on Colt’s line was superb. The Royal Blue finish is the stuff of legend now. Today’s gun consumer usually has no clue how those were accomplished, and view the Python price in the used market with bewilderment and scorn born from ignorance of what it took to accomplish the Python.

          There’s a reason why gunsmiths, especially experienced gunsmiths, oooh and aaaaahh and make positively obscene noises when they pick up and fondle a NIB Python. They know what it took to accomplish what’s inside and outside a Python, and how rare it was in the gun industry – and how it still exists in only a few places in the US in small custom-gun shops today that produce maybe a handful of guns per year.

        • DG, thanks for taking the time to write stuff like this. I read it, enjoy it, and learn from it. I’m sure many others on here do the same.

        • “there is no set of specifications down to those sizes, with allowances and tolerances, already determined” Really?!?!? Can’t take one apart and DUPLICATE IT? Really?!?!?!?

        • Yes, could take one apart and duplicate that, within the capabilities of whatever CNC machine you’re using.

          And… then you’d have a duplicate of that ONE Python, which might have been fitted up just a little differently than your Python, or my Python, or that guy over there who owns a Python.

          The thing about hand-fitted guns and gun parts is that it is very rare that two guns are exactly identical.

          The first thing you’ll run into is that parts in the current market might not work in the CNC duplicated Python. The next thing you might find out is that perhaps the example you chose was slightly tighter or looser than you might have ideally engineered if you stood back and did it from the ground up, working out how to make the parts wear in evenly, etc.

          Taking apart a gun with a looser fit and duplicating it is easier than taking apart a gun that is fit up very tightly and duplicating it. Look at some of the issues on some CNC’ed 1911’s, where people think “Oh, we’ll just tighten this up here, a little tuck and nip over there, etc” as opposed to sitting down and thinking hard about how a 1911 works and figuring out which dimensions need to be tightened up – and then you end up with a tight 1911 that is reliable, vs. a jam-o-matic that is tight, but non-functional.

          The next thing you’re going to run into is that when you’re trying to machine parts for a gun like a Python to a level where you’re trying to duplicate the hand-fit lockup, you’re going to find pretty quickly that some parts out of the CNC machine won’t fit. You’re going to either a) reject the parts, b) have to fit them, or c) you’re going to have to loosen up the allowances to get a lower rejection rate. If you choose (c), then you’re going to lose the tightness of the lockup.

          CNC machining is not a magic wand you can wave over an older gun design and suddenly improve quality or decrease costs. CNC machining, done in concert with a gun designed for production machining, now you get huge productivity gains and lower costs. eg, look at the AR-15 – a gun designed to take advantage of the new machining technology – “NC” (before CNC, there were “numerically controlled” machines, running a “program” that was on a paper tape) in the early 60’s. NC/CNC machines came about because the USAF wanted to reduce manufacturing costs and Stoner, having been an engineer with Fairchild Republic, got a notion of what the future of manufacturing looked like. The AR takes advantage of automatic machining in so many ways – aluminum where you don’t need steel, a bolt/barrel extension/bolt carrier that solves perhaps the only really tight dimension issue in the entire gun in a pretty elegant way without being as stump-stupid as the AK series of rifles. That’s an example of a gun designed for NC/CNC machining.

          S&W automated a lot of their fiddly machining issues in their revolvers by going to MIM parts manufacturing, which, as anyone who has been around the ‘net for more than a few minutes, is hugely controversial with lots of self-appointed gun experts. The reason why S&W is able to make MIM work is that their guns are “looser” in their sizes and dimensions – even if by only 0.001, which allows the MIM process to work for their parts. If you tried to use MIM to make some of the Python internals, you’d still have the either/or of final-fitting the parts, or accepting larger allowances/tolerances which would cause customers to be disappointed.

          But let’s charge ahead with the idea of CNC’ing a reverse-engineered Python. We’re going to need some support to make this happen.

          For example: You need a temperature-controlled environment. Let’s assume you have a source of good quality steel (because crappy steel makes the level of polish on the Python nearly impossible as pits and imperfections float up through the polishing). Let’s assume you have a CNC machine that is temperature controlled and can repeat positioning to 50 millionths – say, a Kitamura machine.

          You’re done, right? Just put in the steel, punch the buttons and you get your parts out, perfect every time, right?

          Well, no. Now you need to worry about tool wear. As tools wear, you need to worry about the net:net size of your resulting parts changing. Most CNC machines have tool wear compensation in the tool library on the controller, but you need to test the tooling you’re going to use, look at the finish you’re getting vs. the production rate you’re achieving and make some choices about how much you’re going to allow the tooling to wear before you change it out.

          OK, so now you’re dealing with dimensional changes as tools wear. Now you need to worry about being able to QC your parts down to 0.0001 or less – and that means you’ll need not only a temperature controlled measurement lab, you’ll need instruments with accuracy and resolution to far less than a tenth. Then you’ll need QC engineers experienced in metrology to run that lab. Then you’ll need gages and measurement standards… all of whom aren’t gunsmiths, are only peripherally involved in making guns. You’ve just traded gunsmith skilled labor for machining and engineering skilled labor.

          We still haven’t discussed the machined finish on the parts in question, BTW, and that’s a whole ‘nother discussion. 16V can probably weigh in on this subject at length, if he so chooses.

          See all the problems that start to come up when you say “We’re going to duplicate parts down to a tenth (or less)!”?

          CNC isn’t a magic wand you can wave over any gun and get a duplicate. CNC machining is part of an overall system – from the design outwards.

          The best meta-message I can leave you with is this:

          – Some guns were designed for huge volume production. The AK-47 family is one of these. Stamped sheet metal, loose fits, a lot of very simple ways to stuff a round into the chamber and make it go “bang.” The result is a gun that has been produced to over 100 million examples for very little money – so much so, that the USSR could use a flood of AK’s as a tool of foreign policy in the 70’s and 80’s.

          Another example is the “M3 Grease Gun.” Sloppy loose, stamped sheet metal.

          – Some guns were modified from their original design to adapt to big-volume production; eg, the 1903 Springfield vs. the 1903A3. On the A3, they went to stamped sheet metal for the trigger guard/magazine/etc instead of a milled piece of steel on the 03. Remington went to a two-groove barrel instead of four grooves. They got rid of the ladder sight. All of this allowed Remington to ramp up production from the original 1903 Springfield design.

          Another example is the way the Thompson sub-gun was modified for manufacturing ease.

          – Some high-production guns were even designed partly or specifically for CNC production. The AR is one such example.

          – Some guns are designed with wholly new manufacturing techniques – eg, the Glock and similar polymer pistols.

          The Python isn’t any of these guns. They Python is in the class of handguns like the best of the Lugers – lots of machining, hand finishing, etc. The Germans loved their Lugers, but in the end, they went to the P-38 – simply because they could no longer afford the delay and resources necessary to make a Luger. The Python vs. the Luger is a case of one taking more manual attention (the Python) and the other taking much more fiddly machining and setup (Luger).

          Oh, yes, whilst we’re on the subject of the Luger, you know can still buy a new Luger today, made in Germany, right? Krieghoff just did a run of them them last year or the year before. I’ve seen them, NIB, unfired for about $18K at finer gun dealers. Before that, Krieghoff was occasionally offering new Lugers at about $8K a pop. Now I no longer see the Luger offered on Krieghoff’s web site.

        • Which is exactly why you get a good, clean example of what you want to duplicate and, well, duplicate it. I really don’t see the problem here.

        • Interesting stuff, DG. Seems to me the DA revolver options for Colt are kind thin, if their financial situation is as dire as it appears to be. They could bring back ‘THE’ Python in extremely small runs that would command huge prices that only Python fanatics with money would pay, they could bring back ‘A’ Python that would piss off the Python aficionados but still be good competition for S&Ws performance center pistols ($1000-1500 range), or they could bring back the Trooper and try to compete with S&W and Ruger (or maybe Taurus instead).

          Bringing back ‘THE’ Python would be the cheapest option, since they just need a few qualified gunsmiths and a training program. But selling a hundred or two revolvers a year at a $1000 profit margin isn’t going to save any company, let alone one in deep $$$ doodoo.

          Making ‘A’ Python would require a massive investment of money they don’t have and could easily blow up in their faces if the end product isn’t competitive with S&W.

          Making a Trooper would also be a massive investment and taking on Ruger is a dubious challenge in the bang for buck category.

          What Colt does have is a name that’s probably worth about $100 per pistol just for the little pony on the side. Maybe they could get away with a Taurus quality Trooper for Ruger prices (for a while), but if they’re selling high end Pythons, a hundred dollars isn’t a whole lot of slack.

        • @ Dyspeptic Gunsmith
          You really know nothing about manufacturing. Colt is dying because of the generally crummy management found in older New England companies. Colt also has over priced union labor.
          Colt will go broke sooner or later and after it is moved to a more competitive state it may do better.
          But it will do better only if all the old management is purged.
          There is no reason for a Python to cost $2000. I have worked in manufacturing since 1968. Modern manufacturing processes and machinery can do it easily. But management has to invest the manufacturing engineering time to develop the processes.

        • There is always an answer if you look and try enough to save a company. The difficult decision to leave the US is one of them. Colt could go to Mexico & use their cheaper labor force. Of coarse some top skilled Colt employees would have to relocate and assist in the training. There are not as many regulations imposed on manufacturing businesses in Mexico and it would be cheaper to run the company there than I the US. I am sure Colt will have some start up problems but, Colt has run out of options in the US and it needs to make money. This to would also be the only way to make a more affable Goldcup & Python. At a much lower costs than American pay scale offers and still produce a quality firearm. The new environment would be much more profit friendly. With the lower production costs it could now be possible to make a much more affordable priced Colt. As long as the company maintains their quality standards, Colts will sell where ever they are made. Just something to think about.

      • One of the major draws of the Python was the incredible “Royal Blue” finish. Ordering one in Stainless Steel would be like shooting yourself in the foot with it. And I suspect it would not be as accurate, either.

  3. Wow. Had not been paying much attention to the business background….this is good insight, Nick.

    Wonder if the Border Patrol union could work a deal on a block buy on the side.
    Sure can’t depend on mgmt at DHS….until 2017, earliest.

    • Quite likely. Probably will let it go bankrupt, abrogate the union contracts, and buy the intellectual property and maybe the tooling. Then move it out of state.

        • Good question. Aside from the trademark, there may not be much. The ARs are all made under license, I should think. Haven’t kept up with them enough since they abandoned the consumer market to know what they still have.

        • The Stoner patents have expired. I think they trademarked “M-16” and possibly “M-4.” That’s about it, other than Colt itself.

        • They have the “technical data package” for the M-16’s and M-4’s, as well as the specs for the gages, tooling, etc for these rifles.

          The patents have long expired, but the US Army treats the “technical data package” with some reverence.

  4. It is a shame that they did not embrace the civilian market and make some bread and butter firearms that could compete in the current market. I have a 6920 M4 and it is an awesome piece, despite having higher priced ARs sitting next to it in the safe, it is my go to rifle for home defense, I just trust it. I would like to own a Colt 1911 and a Peacemaker, but both of those are for cool factor, not defense and with 3 kids under 3, cool guns are a few years off and are never a must have. If Colt came out with some cool, modern handguns and rifles that one could justify buying as an HD or SD gun, I’m sure they’d sell, but only relying on older models isn’t going to cut it anymore since they lost their government contract.

  5. A combination of overpriced product paying for the “Colt” name, and competitors really offering more for less.

    I’m in the middle of selecting a commander-ish 1911, and after all of my research I’m leaning towards the Springfield Compact Range Officer at $750 street, vs Colt’s lightweight commander which retails over a grand. And the Springfield honestly has more carry features built in. I wish I could want the colt because of the cool factor of EDC’ing a colt, but it’s just not worth it to me.

    Colt needs a popular sub-$700 carry gun last year. And to revive their revolvers (at a comparable price to S&W) 5 years ago.

    • I carries a springfield champion for a couple of years. The magazines that came with it were absolute junk, but it was one of the most reliable and well built pistols I’ve ever owned. I think their range officer is a slightly nicer model, and if so, it should be a great pistol.

      I’m in love with small 1911’s though. Single action triggers just can’t be beat and single stacks carry better.

    • Who would buy it? The Marines are the only group that would buy 1911’s in this day and age and seems like everyone else already has their fill of the M4 and is looking for a replacement. Colt has nothing, and its sad.

  6. A commenter at WSJ says its a union shop. Something tells me they aren’t going to get the Government Motors deal… hey. Careful who you vote for Dems….hows that economy working out for ya?

    • As a Teamster (Local 41), I’m gonna burst your bubble and let you know that not all union employees are liberals. To suggest otherwise would be the same as suggesting all chefs are libertarians.

        • ^^This. How does it feel to know that a good chunk of your union dues go to candidates you would never support?

          As for Colt, like the other’s before me have said, not enough new or exciting products to pull buyers in, and what they do offer is nothing unique. You’re just buying the name at this point. I’d also like to see a “classics” line of revolvers similar to what S&W offers. Do a remake of the Trooper and I’d sure the heck buy one.

      • Kick your leftarded, Democrat Party leaders out, otherwise the 7% of workers who are union will turn into 3%, and then 1%, and then 0%. Depending on AFSCME to get you all the free sh*t is not too smart.

  7. Colt is paying the price for failing to innovate and ignoring the civilian market. They made some great stuff, but the price seemed always on the high end. I hope the name can live on, but the market is s brutal thing.

    • Colt bet the farm on the government contracts and sold their soul for gun control back in the late 1960s.. The party is now over.

  8. Colt’s Manufacturing has failed many times before. This is probably the last dance of the prancing pony.

    Decades of mismanagement have brought Colt to its knees. There is only a small window of opportunity for a reorganization under Ch. 11 to bring this company back. A liquidation under Ch. 7 seems to be the eventual outcome. The Colt brand name has value, just like the Springfield Armory name had value. A savvy competitor would wait for the liquidation and then buy the trademarks and other intellectual property free and clear for pennies on the dollar and move the manufacturing somewhere a little more firearms friendly.

    Gun Valley is dead.

    • Gun Valley isn’t dead but it isn’t even close to what it was 150 years ago.

      Springfield/Chicopee still has S&W and Savage, Marlin is still visible from the highway, and if Colt survives this, they’re in Hartford. Not to mention Thompson Center, SIG, Walther, Kahr, and Auto Ordnance that are also in New England. Plus smaller manufacturers like Green Mountain barrels, Yankee Hill, and Bane lowers.

      • Maybe not dead, but seriously on life support. Savage is now owned by ATK with a lot of their guns being produced in Canada. Marlin is now owned by Freedom Group and I believe the guns are now produced in Kentucky. Kahr is planning a new factory in Pennsylvania….etc etc. It’s sad really but that is todays business climate. Colt will be just another classic American brand that means nothing. Hell, Budweiser is owned by a Belgian conglomerate, Miller owned by SAB (South African Breweries) it goes on and on.

      • @Craig, now that Springfield is getting its casino, I expect that S&W (which has been tolerated because it kept Springfield from turning into Detroit) will lose its influence and be forced to locate elsewhere. Gun Valley is indeed dead. All that’s left is a decent burial.

      • Kahr moved to PA earlier this year, The gubnor of NY pretty much pushed them out. Marlin is a name only, their inventory, trademarks and designs were bought by Freedom group some time ago

    • Colt’s financial problems in the 1980s were the reason the Australian Army adopted the Steyr AUG.

      The M16A2 was the leading contender but Colt was in Chapter 11 and refused to grant a manufacturing license to ADI. The deal was Colt would make the rifles and the ADF would buy them from Colt. But Steyr would grant a production license and deal was sealed.

      I remember articles on US Army and Marine issued M16A2s in the 1990s in various magazines, including UK’s “Combat and Survival”. The rifles made then had clearly visible FN markings on them.

  9. I agree with everyone saying they need to bring back their “snake series” along with the trooper and their other classic wheelguns. Although I’m an automatic guy now, a lot of people are nostalgic for those, and if they could release functional models at competitive prices, that could be a big boost right there. Right now S&W has the market cornered on mid-priced quality revolvers and more competition is a good thing.

    • You forget Sturm Ruger & Co. If it wasn’t for the Security Six there wouldn’t even be a S&W L frame – they were perfectly happy to tell their customers to practice with .38 special in their K frames until Ruger came out with a better product for less money. Still is IMHO.

        • They were also responsible for Colt bringing back the SAA the second time with the Blackhawks.

          I do wish they’d do more (S&W) performance center type stuff, but they’re getting better, mostly with distributor exclusives. I’ve got the Wiley Clapp GP100, which I love, but to get a trigger job you’ve got to go with the (non-exclusive) Match Champion. They both still cost about as much as the regular 686.

  10. From what I have heard they simply can’t produce quality revolvers at a reasonable price and they don’t think the demand for high-end ones would be worth the cost.

    It’s sad but maybe that just shows that, as a company, they don’t have it together enough to be in the market anymore.

  11. A new production Python, in order to be worthy of the name, would require a lot of hands on at the factory. Hands on equates to much steeper prices. Their competition is turning out polymer guns run off cnc machines and hands on simply can’t compete with that.

    The only colt firearm I miss is the old unshrouded Dick Special. I do have a weakness for .38 revolvers.

  12. Given the quality(or lack of) of COLT products the last 40 years or so, is this a surprise? Even when it was obvious that the competition was better and cheaper, COLT did nothing. They introduced only two completely new handguns the last 40 years. The awful Colt 2000, and the plastic Mustang. They refused to offer 1911’s that had the features every wanted. So Kimber stepped in. Then everyone else. And COLT still did nothing. Honestly, they deserve it. Sad for the long time employees, but that is who always pays for incompetent management.

    • It’s a lesson for all industries: diversify your product line, or die. Nobody is immune to it – just look at Eastman Kodak.

      What would really be hilarious/tragic is if they got bought out by Smith & Wesson… but why would S&W do that? Exactly what does Colt have that anybody would want right now, besides the name? As far as I can tell, they never invested in R&D for the civilian market, and it’s too late for them to start now.

  13. Colt’s problem is that they tied themselves to the government and a single product at that. Whether it is computers, cellphones or guns the government is a minor player in the market. When the government government contract go away so does the company.

  14. Besides snake series revolvers, I’d be into buying a new production Colt M16A1 style AR. If the price is right. I seriously doubt that will be Colt’s next move however. I’ll probably end up buying the A1 style rifle from I.O.

  15. Colt has been resting on their laurels for far too long time.

    I don’t think just bringing back revolvers is enough. Making quality guns like they were known for isn’t just slapping metal part together. It require craftsmenship and skill which probably died or left the company long ago.

  16. Well, the likelihood that Colt goes down the drain for good and disappears is about 5% in my estimation. IIRC Colt just bought out LWRC International….they have a TON more innovation than Colt in my opinion. The right investor with the right mindset and ability is sitting on a veritable gold mine. They are still “THE name” when it comes to the M16 transferable MG’s out there (and Thompson SMG’s). They are IT when it comes to the SAA and 1911’s…..
    Someone who could and WOULD take the company a leap forward by doing what they used to do as well as they used to do it could make a mint. The first step would to be removing itself from Connecticut.

  17. Delta Elite 10mm. Want.

    But aside from that, can someone please keep the Freedom Group spreadsheet MBA wunderkinden away from Colt’s? Haven’t they destroyed enough iconic American firearms brands? Why can’t they go buy Moms Demand Action or something?

    I’d rather see Colt’s dead than have to watch it go through that nonsense.

  18. 1. Get out of Hartford, CT
    2. Do it now and go South.
    3. Send reps and products to local gun shows, not just SHOT/NRA/.Mil exclusive shows.
    4. Smack/Fire Mgt. That doesn’t “get it”.
    5. Focus on civilian customers and brand recognition.
    6. Do # 4 again.
    7. Be more price point competitive.
    8. Save the Colt name as is, not some subsidiary of a Freedom Group.
    9. Read steps again.

    I own two Colts pistols; an inherited Mustang Pocketlite, and .22 Target.
    I’d love a “snake” edition revolver.

  19. Colt isn’t a gun company, they are a corporation. The people who run colt aren’t shooters, they are business men. The only thing colt is contented with is profits. I hope they go under sooner rather than later.

  20. Colt’s biggest problem is their pricing. The average common joe can’t afford them. Colt and the rest have driven the prices right through the roof and have consistently blamed politics for the hikes. Colt has had a long ride and while their guns are top grade the wealthy people or those who can afford to buy every new gun that comes along will last only so long and that run is about over…….If Colt wants to stay in business, they need to lower their prices or offer some serious rebates, coupons etc that will offset the cost. The little guy then can afford to buy them again.

  21. This is really sad to hear. I was waiting for them to come out with a competitor to the affordable and reliable polymer framed wonder pistols out there currently. I suppose they couldn’t shake the reputation of the horrible Colt 2000. It’s a shame.

  22. Any new snake guns would be above Dan Wesson prices and would likely have to be made by miroku like the winchesters and only done in small limited groups just like the winchesters.
    Only way I see colt staying alive as any thing other than a name on a cheap Chinese knife is if the Nfa is lifted and colt can start pumping out Thompsons and other fun things.
    Or maybe if they bring out a functional version of remlins r51 some classic colt 1903 lines in 9mm with a polymer lower (never mind that colt isn’t set up for polymer any thing).

    • Not being set up for polymers is probably the nail in the coffin. It’s a huge initial investment before you can crank out the parts on the cheap. It’s hard to make huge initial investments when you’re on the brink of bankruptcy.

  23. The hopes for Colt on the part of gun owners astound me. The entire beneficial trend in recent firearms manufacture is the move by purchasers to seek out performance and good consistent specs on new guns, regardless of the brand name. Let a new manufacturer deliver consistent quality and innovative design and they’ll have my business, but not my loyalty. Loyalty is for family and trusted friends.

    Do you hope to buy another RCA TV? A really nice new Packard?

    Guns are low-tech products, and that includes even the high-end competition guns. The innovations come from the machine-tool industry, specialty metals makers, and electronics world. Guns are simple. They should work out of the box. They should be built to the advertised specs. I don’t buy Winchester M70’s because of the “Winchester,” but because FN has been delivering on the quality. So far.

    I disagree with those who think that Colt has a wealth of intellectual property today. A patent search answers that question quickly enough. A valuable brand? Probably. Because…ponies. I also find the me-to reverence for the Python overdone. There are excellent revolvers on the market today, and S&W has long produced a trigger that is equal to or better than the Python’s, if you care to spend the money on the S&W models for which that is true.

    Colt exploited their government-relations (lobbying) power. That’s over. Colt steadily reduced the features delivered in their 1911 product, while raising their prices. I offer as exhibit #1 the current Gold Cup.

    • Have to agree. All of the new Colt products I have had my hands on in recent years were just not worth the price. Better weapons cheaper, that is the bottom line. Only way Colt gets there is bankruptcy. Ditch their union contracts for one, and lose all that accumulated debt. Same thing GM/Chrysler should have done, instead of that bailout fiasco that is now killing them.

    • Excellent post.
      Competition is good for consumers. The equation is: quality vs. price= value. The Colt name has a certain cachet, but the products it adorns these days is really not up to snuff. The company whose name is synonymous with the 1911 seems incapable of making the best 1911 on the planet.
      Do not abandon your core products. Do not abandon your customers.

      I trust my Springfield 1911 Gov’t, and I LOVE my Kimber (series1) Compact . The ’70s vintage Combat Commander stays in the safe.

      Bring back the Woodsman.

      • I am so glad that I am not the only one that remembers the Colt Woodsman. I recently saw a used one behind glass in Cabela’s “special” room for $3000. I’d love to have one and if I hit the Lottery for big $$$ where $3000 became meaningless, then I’d have one. Colt used to make some very fine firearms, but not so much in the last 25 years. First rate quality revolvers are expensive to make in the manor that Colt made theirs. Dan Wesson is now in the 1911 business with an occasional batch of wheel guns made available. S&W’s catalog of wheel guns is a lot smaller than it used to be. I did own a 3rd generation Colt SAA for a while, but sold it, because I liked my Ruger better. I hope Colt can save itself, but I would be surprised if they do, they have been in financial trouble for decades now.

  24. “suffered from declining demand for rifles and handguns” Really?!?!? Funny, all the people I speak with in the retail firearms business say their sales continue to be “brisk”, babee! Perhaps it is just Colt’s overpriced, mediocre products that people are not buying? Add to that the fact that Colt, very stupidly, got their prancy a$$es kicked off the Infinite Gravy Train with Biscuit Wheels, and yes, I can see why they are twirling round the toileten bowl.

  25. Their designs along with their business model have a, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude. The problem is that they are the only ones who think it isn’t broken. You’ve lost your government contract and you can’t rely on it ever coming back. Continue to make fairly simple 1911s(compared to your competition) and basic model AR15 rifles, but you can’t expect people to pay the premiums just because it has a colt logo. In fact, when it comes to the high end stuff, maybe they need to go the smith & wesson route and open a “performance center” line where they can sell all of their high end stuff even bringing back the python in limited runs. Otherwise they have to accept that the average joe, while he doesn’t want a hi point, may not be able to justify the cost of a $1100 design that is beautiful but over 100 years old, less reliable and harder to master. A glock or smith and wesson does exactly the same thing for almost half the price with more reliability out of the box(this is not to start a feud, I love 1911s, but this is objectively true). Colt has to find a way to modernize(new designs too), and cut prices to appeal to a broader market, and/or improve quality and appeal to a niche market. Doing both would probably be a more palatable move.

  26. And got to say I agree on the Python. Loves me some revolver and that is one fine handling piece. I AIN”T paying $1000 for one. Bring out a nice, plain production Python and I would happily pay $300-$400 for it. As for 1911s, I damned well am not ever going to pay $1000 for a $50 pistol. Just is not gonna happen.

    • Considering one of the reasons they stopped producing the python was cost of production with decreasing demand for that type of firearm, there is no way even with modern CNC costs that they will get it down to that price point. Additionally, there was nothing base model about the python. What you are describing is a completely different market segment, and if I remember correctly, that’s why they released the trooper as a more basic model. What you are essentially asking colt to do would be the same as asking Ferrari to produce a budget sports car. In the end it wouldn’t really be a Ferrari, and it would sully the image of the company. This is probably a case of you and I not really being “in the market” for such items, so our opinions don’t go into consideration for these types of products. Holland & Holland is similarly not asking my opinions for the same reason.

    • I am not aware of anyone selling new double action revolvers for $300-400. I’d pay $1000 for a new Python, heck, I’d got $1500, but as stated earlier, $2000 wouldn’t touch the hand crafted cost of making a true Python.

  27. I don’t care who ends up owning what or where they go.
    I wont buy anything made by a company that has stayed in NY or Connecticut.
    If both Colt and say Remington were to go bye bye. Some other company will pick up the pace and fill the gap.
    Colt killed itself by ignoring the civilian market so buh bye Colt nice to know yah don’t let the door hit where the sun don’t shine on your way out.

  28. Better to let Colt go bankrupt with their reputation intact, rather than have Freedom Group take over and end up ruining their products and good name. Just ask Remington, Marlin, AAC, or any other company under the FG umbrella.

  29. Perhaps no one remembers how Colt stuck their middle finger up at civilians, banking on military contracts. Oh, I almost forgot, their QC sucks. I looked at their new series 70 a couple of years back and every gun I saw had one or more cosmetic fk-ups on them. I bought a Dan Wesson Heritage, a much better 1911.

  30. Colt, that’s what happens when you play footsie with the Clintons, but not just Slicky Willy & Hitlery et al, the govt as a whole; corporatist contractors who DON’T develop a solid reputation in the non-govt commercial marketplace where you actually have to weigh price metrics, create value-added products that actually serve the needs of the free market, and cannot count on bullshit ‘cost-plus’ Pentagram contracts: you actually have to compete constantly, innovate, and actually care about your customer base, and not just busy pleasing schmooze/buy dinners & drinks for the next CONgressman or SenASStor and/or some Pentagram Colonel in charge of procurements looking to be hired by you, after his DoD stint’s up.

    Serves you right, Colt! Don’t be looking for no Federal Reserve bailouts, now.


  31. It’s a shame, really. But that’s how the market works. If the fat gets trimmed, if they reintroduce classic designs and produce new ones, really new ones, then mayhaps they can save themselves. I don’t think it will happen under this leadership. Hopefully the next managers will be smart, innovative, and not the Freedom Group. I don’t think that they’ll pull this one outta their butt. They’ll go under and get the name purchased. Then the new management will probably move them elsewhere. Operating costs are too high. I won’t guess where they will go. But if they reintroduce more things like the Trooper, the Snake series, and start producing modern guns, innovative ones, not necessarily Glock-alikes, but something truly new and attractive, maybe the name will live on. I hope so. It’s a shame to see such a quintessentially American country die with a whimper.

    In the meantime, all we can do is hope that they wake up and move back into America and the real world.

  32. Maybe if they didn’t place all of their newly assembled rifles in a running cement mixer before final packaging and spent a little more time on QC they would be in a better position. Colt has relied on their “mil-spec” laurels for far too long. The rest of the industry has matured by leaps and bounds and there are quite a few companies that put out an equal to better product.

    Certain commercial advancements made by competitors over the last few years (CHF, Melonite lining, NiB coatings, Mid-length gas systems, built-in ambi controls, FF handguards, KeyMod, etc.) have taken the platform to a new level.

    All the while, Colt just kept putting out $1100 Mil-spec LE6920s with an apparent disregard for fit and finish. To keep the “king of the Hill” title you have to recognize your primary source of income, keep abreast tech innovations, stay hungry, and learn how to play the customer support game.

  33. This will be the similiar fate for those in the firearms industry who are building commodity firearms/components. Gun control proponents have lost steam and the industry is still trying to get through post bubble inventory levels – as a result, there is a glut of product. Distributors are still trying to get through their inventory. Companies that will succeed are ones that have very deep pockets or those innovating new and better products/manufacturing. Colt has suffered from a lack of new innovations for a while. There are many other big name companies in a similar position.

  34. Colt quit making wheelguns because they sucked. If you want to own a Colt wheelgun it’s because you never have owned one in the past.. The hand on Colt wheelguns constantly gets out time. I don’t need a lockomatic at any price.

      • The Pythons did have a reputation for going out of time. I’ve only owned Ruger revolvers so I have no idea what it’s like to have a revolver go out of time, but I don’t think they just snap out of time all of a sudden and lock up. You’ll know it’s going bad. It’s not the same kind of unreliability as an auto jamming.

        • I have fired many a revolver over the years, quite a few of them colts, never had a problem other than bad ammo. Perhaps it is operator error/poor maintenance to blame, all I know is revolvers are reliable given adequate ammo and a user who can do complicated things like point and pull trigger. I have seen old, heavily used revolvers have issues, and cheap revolvers have issues. A name brand production piece in good condition? Other than the bad ammo or a very rare internal part failure, not so much.

        • Well autos will never be as dependable as revolvers, or as accurate. But that doesn’t mean that revolvers don’t have their own set of problems (none of which I have ever experienced). Usually it is the ammo though. The most common is stuck cases which is either because of thin cases or overpressure, which doesn’t matter unless you need to reload in a hurry. The primers can also back out and jam on the firing pin, but that’s usually because of an extreme overpressure situation. The other is going out of time, which from what I hear is extremely rare in Rugers. If anyone has experienced an out of time revolver I’d love to hear the straight facts, but I don’t think they come up by surprise, rendering your revolver useless when you need it most. There’s also cracked forcing cones and stretched top straps, but that involves using hotter ammo than the firearm was designed for.

          That said, my auto of choice is the Beretta 92, so if it wasn’t for my wife’s Sig Mosquito I’d have no idea what it’s like to have a failure in an auto either.

        • Other than ammo issues the only problem I have had on a revolver was broken latch on my Enfield .38. Only replace I could find was from a Webley .455, put a thin brass washer on each side and SHAZAM good as new.

  35. Everytime I see a Colt ad in a magazine, I am reminded of the Double Eagle (double trouble) debacle, their first “competition” AR and their MRAD rifle. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  36. Colt revolvers are fragile. They only lock up at the rear of the cylinder, and they go out-of-time frequently. That includes the Python.

    And most of the .38 models were not +P-rated.

    Other than as collector’s items, which suckers will pay too much for, they aren’t worth the investment.

    • I don’t know that I’d use the term “fragile,” but Colt revolvers are more finicky than S&W’s or Rugers.

      First, the “only lock up at the rear.” That is true, but there is a reason why Colts need lock up only on the rear of the cylinder/crane: Colt’s revolvers revolve into the window, , ie, the cylinder rolls clockwise from the shooter’s perspective.

      S&W’s revolve out of the window, or counter-clockwise. This goes back to a very old patent dispute in the 19th century. When a revolver rotates the cylinder into the frame, the carry-up is pushing the cylinder into the window and Bob’s your uncle.

      When the carry-up is trying to push the cylinder out of the window, then you could really use the front detent on the ejection rod to keep things in place and aligned.

      OK, the timing issue: As I’ve alluded to several times, the S&W design cuts the functions of the lockwork in half. In a Colt revolver, there is only the mainspring running everything in there. All the trigger reset functions are being run by levers riding on fitted surfaces driven by the one mainspring. In a S&W, there’s a rebound spring that handles the trigger reset function. When you have only the one spring and fitted surfaces, making adjustments to the trigger pull becomes quite the time sink.

      But the area where the S&W design really shows superiority is when you drop a Colt or it has been used as a hammer to pistol-whip someone. Hitting a Colt on the butt of the grip can cause the fitted surfaces on the right side of the rebound lever to become different in dimensional distance to the other parts that ride on the rebound lever. Now the revolver goes out of time in serious and sometimes bizarre ways.

      Colts have tighter cylinder/breech gaps (0.002″ typically), whereas S&W’s call for 0.004 to 0.008 or thereabouts. The close fit of the Colt cylinder means than as the front of the cylinder gets dirty, you might have a failure to carry up because the cylinder mouth is dragging on the barrel breech.

      My $0.02: Collect Colts. Shoot S&W’s.

    • Have had a Colt Trooper Mk III for 30 years. Always goes bang, Used value is 300 in the book but 600 on the streets. You will never wear one out, even shooting full house loads. Would rather pay for a used Trooper than a new Charter or Taurus. A NIB Python sells for about $2000. It may be 39 years old but quality costs money. Its that simple. You cannot get the quality for free.

  37. I’m a 1911 kind of guy and until recently the only 1911 I owned was an early series 70 Gold Cup that ironically wasn’t very accurate. I sold it for a Sig RCS and I’m in the market for others, but Colt doesn’t have anything I’ll consider. The only thing they have that I’d be interested in is a SAA, but at $1500 for a gun that scratches an itch rather than having a specific purpose, that itch may never be scratched.

    There are a couple of organizations that are pushing companies to to say what they would do to prevent “gun violence” before they are offered government contracts. This is an example:

    Companies should learn from this event as well as S&W’s debacle several years ago and know that kowtowing to the government in any form is not good for business.


  38. As a long time CT resident who has friends who have worked at Colt for years, I can give some input. One of my friends worked at a high level in finance. He said it was just ludicrous how the company was run. The owners (I don’t remember the details) treated the company like their own personal ATM. All actions seemed to be structured to push the most cash possible back to the owner. The “general” who had dominated much of the company for years, was a boorish, sexist, idiot.

    In the first rush of 1998, Colt was completely unable to capitalize on the huge demand for their products because they simply couldn’t make any more AR15s. The management was unwilling to invest in the tooling necessary to expand output, even if its payback period was only a couple of years. As a result of this, they missed out on the 2nd Obama rush and the larger than anyone expected Newtown panic. Think about it.

    What got more of a sales bump than anything else in the panic of 2013? AR15s. Who was a non-player in fulfilling this demand? Colt.

    With any luck, a well run company that has been an OEM supplier to colt for decades, Continental Machine and Tool (CMT and closely associated with Stag Arms) will buy them.

    p.s. One of my other Colt friends is a master engraver in their custom shop. They leave him alone and he essentially prints money for them. He doesn’t do politics, so I coulnn’t get much from him.

  39. My rear site came loose on my first trip to the range. I was so disgusted that I kept the case and mags but I left the pistol at the range. Got a quality Rock Island and been gear jamming ever since.

  40. Well… bye. Colt waved the middle finger at the consumer market. Then when the government money dried up, they tried to weasel themselves back into our wallets with no apologies. Nope; not going to happen. I hope they do go bankrupt. I wish it would have happened already. When a company turns on their customers, many customers turn on the company. When S&W screwed up and almost lost their business, they seemed to learn from their mistakes and learned real quick who pays their bills. Ruger as well, although I still am wary of them. Not Colt. I hold Colt with the same level of contempt as the Freedom Group \ Cerberus \ Troy Industries. None of them can be trusted. They have a track record of stabbing customers in the back. We would be better of without them. The sooner they go away, the better.

  41. When Colt shit on the private sector, they started their own death song. Their OVER priced proprietary designs
    are their own doing. You wanted the government tit now live with your decisions.

  42. My first gun was a Colt Officer’s .38 revolver. Great gun for a little over $100 used. Wish I hadn’t sold it (but I say that about every gun I’ve sold).

    I currently own 2 Colts: a Lightweight Officers .45 (eh, it’s OK), and a new Mustang Pocketlite – best Colt product I’ve owned. The new Pocketlite feels like a Swiss watch and it’s super reliable, although not super accurate. However, it was super expensive compared to the competition. Plus, the sights suck and I replaced them with aftermarket tritium sights. I love it, but it won’t set the market on fire.

    A friend of mine has a civil war Colt revolver carried by his great grandad, and it is mint. it could be fired today by a black power enthusiast. it’s amazing to see what Colt could build back then.

    but ancient weapons ain’t a match for a good blaster. the guys that made high quality swords for the awesome Roman legions are all out of business. their history didn’t protect them from irrelevance as the market moved on.

    Colt relied too long on their history, and they are now teetering on the brink of irrelevance. Hopefully they can pull out before they crash, but if not, sayonara beyotches.

  43. Colt and H&K need to drop their prices a litte. I now thattheir quality is superior to others but most people are buying guns for protection right now and when you can buy a Smith, Ruger or Glock for almost half the price, that becomes a factor. When the economy gets back on track and people have more income, they will go back to the Colt.

  44. Colt was all by itself for many years as the gold standard for M-4s with their 6920 series, but once the 1994 AWB died, they didn’t allow dealers to sell them to civilians for the longest time. With BCM now applying the same QC standards on AR series rifles, Colt is no longer the standard bearer they used to be.
    Let them go under, buy out the company, move them somewhere else with all the employees, and institute sane management, and they would do well.

  45. I bought an LE6920 a few years back – was my first foray into scary black rifles. At the time, I thought it was da bomb – hey, it’s black, it goes “bang” when I pull the trigger and it’s loaded, all the operationally-operating mall-ninja doodads will fit on it, etc etc…

    Then a friend of mine submitted a build for Shootrite, because Mr. “Wanna piece of candy, little girl?”‘s contract guns were absolute crap, and I bought a couple of receivers from him when he formed a company to build the SFA firearms (MHT Defense – check ’em out) and now I know better. I can’t believe I spent $1100.00 on the Colt – I won’t SELL it, because “history”, (and who the hell sells guns these days? lol) but I can barely bring myself to fire it these days, because it is just SO substandard on pretty much every level imaginable – I bought a “blem” receiver from MHT that has better fit & finish than the out-of-the-box Colt!

    I’m a 1911 guy as well, and I’ve owned a couple of Colts – a series 70, and a series 80 combat commander. They were timex-reliable, at rolex price points. I sold both of them many years ago (before I realized that one should never sell a firearm…ever!) and I’m rockin’ a Ruger SR1911 now (EDC – I’m not a small guy, and it works for me), that is timex-reliable, at a timex price point! I’m not a Bill Ruger fanboy though – I also have an LC9 that I’ve replaced the firing-pin retaining pin twice on (not from dry-firing, mind you, the slot in the firing pin was just a hair too short, and it bent both retaining pins until they broke).

    I’m on the fence about Colt – personal opinion (worth exactly what everybody else’s is, of course) would be “move south” to a more friendly atmosphere, but honestly if they don’t change MANAGEMENT first, they’ll go under just as fast south of the Mason-Dixon as they will in Gun Valley, New England.

  46. 25 years ago, if anyone said Smith and Wesson and Ruger would not only be selling AR-15s and 1911s ( at all), but actually selling MORE 1911s to domestic civilians and police than Colt, they’d be laughed out of the room. Don’t think Colt is laughing now!

    To respond to some of the comments above, Colt Pythons were assembled by master gunsmiths and every single one was hand-tuned before leaving the factory. The Pythons also always (by design) had the best finishes in the industry. These guns were designed to be the “Cadillac” of revolvers, and they were effectively all custom guns, just produced in relatively high quantity. All of these things, plus a very distinctive look and name added up to a revolver that’s still iconic today.

    But the fact is, these guns were NEVER cheap. They were ALWAYS (even during production) the most expensive domestic made revolvers, costing quite a bit more than other Colts, as well as Smiths. The nature of the business as well as cost of labor has increased today to the point where these probably wouldn’t be viable to produce again, at least not without a bunch of MIM parts and other manufacturing shortcuts. Basically, this is a case of “they’re never going to make them like that again”.

    And the dirty little secret (which isn’t really a secret to anyone who shoots a lot of revolvers) is that although Pythons are known for their slick triggers, a hand-tuned Smith L-frame has every bit as good of a trigger pull. In fact, many consider the Smith better because the trigger pull doesn’t “stack” (get heavier near the end) and the trigger reset distance is shorter, letting you cycle it in DA faster. The Smith is also more durable, the lockwork is both simpler and easier to work on, and the overall cost of the Smith is quite a bit less. The Smith isn’t as nice LOOKING, but as a functional firearm, its every bit as good.

    On 1911s, that design is over a century old, and traditional manufacture with all steel and mostly forged parts requires many machining steps, partly explaining the relatively high cost compared to more modern pistol designs (eg Glock is made of low-cost injection molded plastic and stamped metal, with low total parts count; as such manufacture cost is literally a fraction of that of a 1911). Its not that profit margins are higher here, its really that the 1911s are more expensive to build compared to more recent gun designs that take advantage of modern manufacture techniques.

    Still, if you want to buy a 1911 for $350, you can. . or at least you can come pretty close. You’ll have to look around a bit, but Rock Island Armory/Armscor 1911s can be had brand new for under $400. For the money you’re getting a completely stripped down gun, with absolutely no bells and whistles, and it will be made in the Philippines. It won’t win any awards for accuracy, fit or finish, but it will run just fine, and you could always upgrade it.

  47. Colt has always pandered after the Government contract and Ignored the commercial market, for years they have traded on name recognition with over priced Junk!, how else too pay the top dogs more bucks, they would have to take a 50% pay cut and come up with some righteous product to be viable, but sucking the government tit made them lazy! let them go belly-up who gives a care, overseas gun makers make a better product now than colt ever did! bye bye so long so sad

  48. Didn’t Col;t just buy LWRC a few month ago and paid handsomely for it? Colt owners must not have too many friends in Washignton. I would expect DOD to try to keep an old supplier alive with some “special” contract ala Boieng. That said, what is the real value of Colt? THere is some brand recognition there but it is mostly nostalgic. Do they have enough technological capital to be investable? The AR market is a commodity market with many niches of premium upgrades. Can a company that big make it with out the military contract?

  49. They are still in a communist state making firearms, move to a gun friendly state. I myself don’t buy their product because of where they are.

  50. Sorry to disagree. Colts are overpriced and aren’t any better than any of the quality manufacturers out there. A gun is a tool that is supposed to be used and not to sit and stare at how pretty it is. I would match anything Ruger makes (and sells for hundreds of dollars cheaper than Colt or S&W) with anything they make. Ruger will last forever, shoots great and their triggers are close to s good as anything out there; plus made in America with American ingenuity and citizens.
    Tough to argue that


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