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Old August 4, 2013, 10:27 AM   #1
simonrichter
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Colt and the latest gen handguns

In my childhood, "Colt" used to be a synonym for "revolver" as such. When you had a cowboy story, the guys would draw their Colts, not their S&Ws or Remingtons or whatsoever.

Growing older I learned about the 1911 and it's fame, and the catalogue of the biggest hunting and gun retailer around used to feature a plethora of Colt models, both revolver and semi - and not all of the semis were just variations of the 1911 theme, or so it seemed to me. That was in the early 199ies.

Today, Colt seems to have completely withdrawn from any competition by innovation, leaving the field to not only Glock but also other U.S. makers with less famous brand names. S&W, Ruger, Springfield - they all jumped on the poly and / or striker bandwagon (by more or less copying, and sometimes optimizing Glock, or importing Glock copies, or maybe copying Glock copies in some cases). Even new makers like Kel-Tech emerged - at the same time no sign of any innovative or at least competitive Colt model.

Is there any logic behind the fact that the doubtlessly most prominent brand name in the handguns business does nothing to compete in the MASS market? I'm not suggesting that the 1911 is not a legendary and great gun, yet it is nothing new and nothing to regain the USP the 1911 used to have in old times after the great "cheap & poly" surge...
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Old August 4, 2013, 10:58 AM   #2
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Colt tried the 2000 and it was a flop. They also tried to jump on the smart gun bandwagon and that didn't work out.
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Old August 4, 2013, 11:52 AM   #3
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"A Colt is a Colt is a Colt."

"A Glock is a Glock is a Glock."

"Never the twain shall meet.
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Old August 4, 2013, 02:20 PM   #4
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I don't think Colt needs to improvise or change since they sell everything they can build as fast as they can build it.
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Old August 4, 2013, 03:58 PM   #5
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The story of Colt is long and convoluted and there are a good many threads here that discuss and debate it. But Colt is a money making outfit that is competitive on the international and national market.

Drop by their website and poke around some.

http://www.colt.com/

Colt divided itself into 2 corporations in 2003. One devoted to military and law enforcement and the other to civilian sales. Both were successful, both made money. Last month they reunited into a single corp.

Yep Colt is not what it used to be. Colt management made many dunderheaded moves over the years. Nothing is what it used to be though. Colt no longer makes da revolvers. The last Pythons, Detective Specials and Anacondas were made soem time ago and won't return. It makes only one wheelgun, the SAA.

It does make a number of variations on the 1911 and recently won a significant contract with the Marine Corp. They have been innovative with their small 1911 variants, like the Agent and Defender, both of which sell well. They have re-introduced the Colt Mustang. Their production cannot meet the demand.

The military side has done quite well over the years. Quite innovative there.

So look over the web site. A couple of months back the American Rifleman had an article on what it called Colt's "revival".

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Old August 4, 2013, 05:00 PM   #6
Coltman 77
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royal barnes:

Quote:
I don't think Colt needs to improvise or change since they sell everything they can build as fast as they can build it.
Good post. Really nails it IMO.

It's very tough to find new Colt pistols and AR's in my area.
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Old August 4, 2013, 05:46 PM   #7
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Colt Defense and Colt Firearms have reintegrated back into one company recently.

Colt was under new ownership after the bankruptcy and the company was in such bad condition with old worn out tools and limited money, it's taken them years to get things straightened out.
They have new CNC machinery coming on line and and they've been introducing new models at a good rate the last few years.
They're selling everything they can make and can't even begin to keep up with demand.
They're now getting big in the two areas most popular right now, the 1911 pistol and the AR-15 rifle.

Management has been having on-going discussions on bringing back double action revolvers, and it seems to be more a matter of "What and When" rather than "If".
My personal guess is that when you see a new Colt DA revolver it's probably going to be something on the order of the Magnum Carry, in order to appeal to the hot CCW market.

Unlike most such attempts to make a come back from such disaster, Colt is coming on strong and is beginning to become a player again.
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Old August 4, 2013, 06:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dfariswheel
My personal guess is that when you see a new Colt DA revolver it's probably going to be something on the order of the Magnum Carry, in order to appeal to the hot CCW market.
You may be right, but if they'd bring out the Detective Special again, I bet that they'd have trouble keeping up with the demand. I know I'd buy one, just because "Colt". Any D Frame that chambered the .38 Special with a snub barrel would be fine. I'd buy one in a second.
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Old August 5, 2013, 01:31 PM   #9
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PawPaw, the Magnum Carry was the replacement for the D-Frame Detective Special. Same size, stainless, .357 capable.

So it can fire the .38 Special of any strength. And I agree with both of you, that would be a good selling gun.

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Old August 5, 2013, 01:37 PM   #10
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Simon, Colt has just come out with a polymer framed version of the .380 Mustang. It is not on the Colt website but it is starting to appear in magazine articles.

From thefirearmsblog

OK, it is not a huge leap in new concepts, but it shows the company is looking at newer designs. Maybe that new DA revolver mentioned (speculated about) in previous posts will be a polymer framed one........

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Old August 5, 2013, 03:40 PM   #11
simonrichter
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thanks BartNoir, that sounds really interesting...

and everyone else, too, of course. That's quite a bit of knowledge her eon this forum, never disappointing!
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Old August 5, 2013, 05:25 PM   #12
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The new product offerings from Colt ....seem to have improved in quality ...over what they were doing 30 yrs ago especially.../ and I think Colt is probably healthier now than they've been in many years.

Did they lose their way ...on revolvers ..and 1911's as well..yes, I think so.
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The polymer revolution / especially at the low end prices - has set the gun industry on fire...but to assert that every gun mfg out there has to compete or wants to compete in that low end market is not true ...in fact, I think, it may be a smart choice for Colt and others to stay out of it.
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There are some very successful gun mfg's in niche markets....high end 1911's ( like Wilson Combat, Ed Brown, Nighthawk) ...single action revolvers ( Freedom Arms) ....etc...

There is at least a small high end poly frame market ...for guns like Wilson Combat's Spec Ops model... / or at least Wilson Combat seems to think so with that model, and many of their models on a significant back log of orders....even though it may not be what their traditional customers tend to want ....the market place may have room for a lot of different players...

http://wilsoncombat.com/new/handgun-...#.UgAj9Izn_X40

without them all getting into the low end market.....
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Everyone should buy and shoot whatever they want....and personally I choose to carry, when I carry, the gun I shoot the best....so a Wilson Combat CQB model, 5" steel gun, in .45 acp ( with 8 + 1 rounds ) is perfect in my opinion as my primary carry gun...../... I choose not to join the poly frame revolution...even though I've fired most of them on the market ...even the Wilson Combat Spec Ops model.../ maybe I'll change someday -- maybe not ..../ but I'm not "out gunned" - or living in the past -- by someone carrying a poly frame gun with 17 rds in it...in my opinion !
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I hope Colt continues to improve their products. Even though I favor Wilson Combat 1911's....I inspected 4 of the Colt offerings at a local gun shop on Saturday - and I thought they were pretty nice guns for the money !
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Old August 5, 2013, 05:45 PM   #13
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Newer styling, poly frame, etc.....isn't necessarily better....
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I'm divesting myself of some guns this weekend....and giving them to my 34 yr old son - to "seed" his collection....: ( his 36 yr old brother will get something similar when he returns to the US in a few years ..)....and while he sort of knows this is happening / he doesn't know its this weekend / or what might really be coming : .......( and not a polymer frame handgun in the mix ).....

a. Les Baer, 1911, 5" Monolith model, steel ...in 9mm ...and 4 new mags...( gun is about 10 yrs old )....

b. Kimber 1911, 5", Gold Combat Stainless II model, .45 acp ...and a Kimber .22 conversion kit. 4 mags for the conversion kit, 4 mags in .45 acp...( gun is about 10 yrs old )...

c. S&W model 66-2 stainless, revolver, in .357 mag a 4"...

d. Browning, Citori, XT Trap, 12ga, 32" barrels Over Under...with 6 screw in chokes...( primarily for Trap )...with the adjustable comb.

e. Browning Citori, XS Skeet, 12ga, 30" barrels Over Under...a good all around shotgun ...for Skeet, Sporting Clays, live birds, or whatever .....

f. An old Marlin bolt action .22 rifle...with a variable powder scope on it 2 X 7 ....nothing fancy....

and a brick of .22 ammo, 10 boxes of 9mm, 5 boxes of .38 spl, 10 boxes of .357 mag, 10 boxes of .45 acp --- and 40 boxes of 12ga Remington shotshells.../ and a couple of Browning hard cases, some soft cases for the handguns, a range bag....and an older MEC Grabber 12ga reloader ....and some wads, primers and powder...and a few bags of shot.
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I could have gone out and purchased ...any number of poly frame handguns ....like a Springfield XDM, that I honestly think is a pretty good gun...or Glocks ...or whatever.....and decided to give them to him ...but I seriously doubt he'll be disappointed .....or at least I hope not.

If he wants a poly frame, high capacity gun.....he can add that down the road...
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and he and his brother can split up the high end stuff ( the rest of my 1911's from Wilson, Ed Brown, etc...and my fairly extensive S&W revolver and Browning shotgun collections ..... ) after I'm gone.....I'm not giving up any of the guns I shoot every week now / and I'm only in my early 60's....so it'll be awhile...
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Is this start to his collection....modern ??....I don't know ??? He can decide that on his own .....right now he's raising 2 of my grandkids and money and time are tight !! ...and its going to be my pleasure to pass a small part of my collection to him on Saturday...
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Old August 5, 2013, 05:56 PM   #14
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Colt management decided to rely on military M16 sales to stay in business and screw the commercial handgun market. Colt has suffered from boob managers for a couple decades. Couldn't find their asses with both hands, a Sherpa guide and a GPS. They also suffered union labor problems leading to a strike at one point. QC slipped BADLY in the late 1970s and 1980s. They didn't keep up (bad management again) with market trends and just conceded the handgun market.

Sorry state of affairs.
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Old August 5, 2013, 06:52 PM   #15
Dfariswheel
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Seems you're a little behind the times and the news.

Those problems were with the OLD Colt management back before the big bankruptcy that saw them bought out.
Totally different ownership and management back then then now.
The new ownership and management has been working hard to bring the company back and it's paying off finally.

As for abandoning the commercial market, about 10 years ago Colt split into two companies, Colt Firearms that made ONLY commercial handguns, and Colt Defense who made ONLY military and Police AR series rifles and other military weapons.
Colt Defense passed semi-auto AR rifles "over the fence" to Colt Firearms for commercial sales.
So, Colt Firearms NEVER abandoned the civilian commercial market, that WAS their market and their only market.

Just last month, Colt announced that Colt Firearms and Colt Defense were reintegrating.
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Old August 5, 2013, 07:26 PM   #16
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Colt now has a new problem; their big money-maker, the AR-15, is banned in their home state. Of course, Colt, as a federally licensed manufacturer, can and will continue to sell the guns in areas where they are legal, but the state will likely try to make it more difficult. And the people who make the guns will be unable to buy them.

Colt had said they would pull out of CT, but that appears unlikely, and the anti-gun governor would probably help them on their way.

Can the new management turn the company around? I sincerely wish them well, but whole gaggle of "new managements" has not been able to do so in the past, so I don't have high hopes. And it is not likely that yet another copy of an old Spanish pistol will help them much, even if it is made of polymer.

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Old August 5, 2013, 07:50 PM   #17
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Colt Firearms? Colt Defense? Colt Holdings?....

I went to the new Colt website; www.colt.com .
They have a PR statement(07/15/2013) saying the company sections merged into one new company.
I think the new company is; Colt Firearms.

I do know too that Colt & the LE/military sales will stay on track to put up a new high tech plant near Orlando, Florida(a right to work state ).

Time will tell...
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Old August 5, 2013, 09:30 PM   #18
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BigJimP, can you adopt me?
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Old August 5, 2013, 10:14 PM   #19
tipoc
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Colt had said they would pull out of CT, but that appears unlikely, and the anti-gun governor would probably help them on their way.
Well actually, Colt would prefer to stay in Conn. and has been putting up a good fight. Which you can see a bit of here...

http://www.coltsmfg.com/ColtintheMed...rontLines.aspx

As for the current management it has been in place for well over a decade. They also made some bad moves. But about 9-10 years ago they brought Gen. William Keys (ret) of the USMC to head up the civilian sector. He succeeded in making the Colt 1911 a quality handgun again.

On the military side they expanded production facilities into Canada and became a central supplier to the Canadians as well as advancing their international contracts. At the same time they maintained a balance with their U.S. contracts in military...

http://www.colt.com/ColtMilitary/Customers.aspx

and Law enforcement...

http://www.colt.com/ColtLawEnforceme...thatCarry.aspx

So they have made some progress.

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Old August 6, 2013, 11:24 AM   #20
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Nope, sorry man........
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Old August 6, 2013, 02:53 PM   #21
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Oh, so I have it all wrong, eh? The new management team is all different, huh? I guess that's why the gun shops are full of new Colt DA revolvers for sale.

Yeahhhhhhhh... I don't see much difference, so far.
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Old August 6, 2013, 04:56 PM   #22
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They have a ready made market. If they would just produce something nice and shiny and stamp Colt on it, there would be a lot of guys lining up for them.
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Old August 6, 2013, 06:17 PM   #23
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that's why the gun shops are full of new Colt DA revolvers for sale.

If they would just produce

And there you have the sticking point.
All you have to do is produce it.

To tool up and produce a new revolver will cost millions of dollars.
Colt has spent the last 10 years carefully modernizing the tooling and to pay for that they have to make guns that will sell in large quantities and make a profit they can roll back into the company to expand it so they can make other things.
Medium frame 4 to 6 inch barrel revolvers aren't selling all that well right now, so it would be a stupid decision for Colt to bet the farm on such a revolver when they can make more money with the wildly popular 1911 and AR.

When you've been balanced on the edge of going under, no matter how much you'd like to make something, if it's going to cost you big money to tool up and train people to make it, OR you can make something that you're already tooled and trained to make, guess what a smart business man makes.

Colt has pretty well said that eventually as production capacity and the market allow they will be bringing out a double action revolver.
Smart bets are that it will be something like a Magnum Carry, and not a medium frame longer barrel holster revolver, which are not selling as well as CCW revolvers.

So, you don't see new DA revolvers in stores because they won't be big enough money makers for Colt, and they can't put the company in jeopardy tooling up to make something that won't be profitable right now.

People who buy companies that are in deep trouble usually can't do everything they want until they get the company back on stable, secure ground.
Colt is getting there but now is not the time to risk all that hard work making something that just isn't selling well enough to be a sure bet.

As for the current Colt management, they've done something almost unique in the firearms business: They bought a failed, bankrupt company racked with labor problems, having lost it's best workers, with machinery dating back in some cases to WWI and managed by smart decisions to not only save it, but begin to bring it back as a player in the market.
This is something few have managed to do.
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Old August 6, 2013, 06:45 PM   #24
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They've started sponsoring competitive shooters and advertising again (the latter meaning their products are being announced and reviewed again), which should help.
A shooting acquaintance received two Colt Goverment Models and an AR to shoot 3-gun as part of a Colt-sponsored team, and I don't think Colt has done much sponsorship, other than cowboy action, in twenty years.
A few years ago, everyone was raving about how great USFA single actions were, how they were better than Colts ever were, they were even thumbing their nose at Colt by building them in the old Colt factory, but USFA is all but out of business now, and Colt remains.
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Old August 6, 2013, 07:38 PM   #25
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I can't answer for the Colt problems, but I can still rave about the USFA quality. They built some nicely fitted and finished revolvers.
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