Th folks at the Firearms Blog have noticed an article at the New York Times talking about what looks to be the inevitable bankruptcy of Colt.
On one hand, this makes me sad. Colt has a long history, and has been responsible for some important firearms. While this bankruptcy doesn’t mean the end of Colt, it does signal that there needs to be some serious changes if they’re going to continue.
On the other hand, they’ve screwed up bad. I had to resist going to their booth at NRAAM and ask one of them to comment on how an established gun company could have troubles paying their bills in the buying frenzy environment we’ve had for the past few years. We’re talking about a time where there have been instances of gun shops literally having issue keeping anything on their shelves, even after pricing their wares at what would charitably be called “inflated prices.” I didn’t go over and ask, because, well, I didn’t want to be that guy that got tossed from a booth. Also, believe or not, I’m actually a nice guy.
Of course, even a casual observer like me can tell you what happened. As TFB mentions, they decided a few years back to focus on government contracts, and all but abandon the civilian market. So, they missed out on the civilian market explosion… and then they lost a couple key government contracts…
Now they’re basically one more company that makes ARs and 1911s. Sure, they’re supposed to be nice ARs and 1911s, but beyond the name Colt stamped on the side there’s little to differentiate their ARs and 1911s from the next 20 companies that make ARs and 1911s. Oh… and they make SAA revolvers, which is a bit of a niche market, and token bolt action rifle.
I forgot to mention just how many variants of the 1911 they make. Including the Colt Mustang, they currently have 11 different series of 1911s on their website catalog. Not models mind you, series. Each one of those series have multiple models available. In the very crowded field of 1911s, they’re competing with themselves on top of the competition.
So… here’s what I think Colt should do in hopes of turning things around. Step 1. is discontinue at least half of the different 1911s they make. It really doesn’t make sense to keep that many variation in production. Step 2. would be bring back the double action revolvers. There’s still a market out there for carry, competition, and hunting revolvers. Step 3. is develop a plastic fantastic gun, or at least a modern double stack gun. Doesn’t have to be a Glock clone, but that does seem to be what’s selling these days.
Did I miss anything?