Colt is out… No more open market long guns

Colt 6940, Image via Pinterest

First spotted at TTAG

RSR Group, a major firearm distributor, is reporting that Colt’s Manufacturing LLC is ceasing production of long guns for the civilian market. Once the recognized standard for AR-15’s, the M16 and M4 were their babies. They were the recognized and respected leader for law enforcement patrol rifles.

If it wasn’t a Colt it wasn’t up to standards and it would probably fail.

The firearm industry giant has had a rough road in the last decade and a half. Poor decisions have led to bankruptcies (yes, multiple) and the old pony has lost ground and lost face in a market that has required rapid adapting since the late 2000’s.

Colt developed the reputation of not caring about it’s civilian customer base. This would prove cancerous to the brand as a whole, regardless of their quality. That quality was also surpassed and undercut by competing companies as Colt sat there… basically saying, “Oh, well we still build the M4… so suck it.”


…Colt didn’t build the M4 anymore, not exclusively. FN struck a devastating blow to Colt’s elitist pillar when they won a production contract for the M4, what they already had for the M16A4 but the Marine Corps was the buyer their. The Marines, being the little branch at only around 200,000 personnel, didn’t command the gravitas of buying power that the U.S. Army does. The buying of the cooler ‘more operator’ M4’s was seen as their claim to fame… still. Until it wasn’t. Remington Defense also received an M4 contract.

Colt was no longer exclusive. Colt hadn’t produced guns the civilian market really wanted in awhile either. Their last major product on the market for citizens was the 6940 model… and that was around 2010. Colt was no longer the name of the high end market. They didn’t own the entry level market either, low buget purchasers felt Colt saw them as too plebeian to purchase their products.

Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory, and many others ate up those eagerly waiting AR dollars. The build your own market exploded… and Colt took no notice. Others did, Aero Precision is the titan of the build market… no pony in sight.

Colt AR15A4 is a testament to the fact they have been left behind
Colt AR15 ARA4, list at $1099. Who, seriously who is after this rifle today? I have an A4 clone from FN, it came system complete. Instead of chasing a hungry market of innovations Colt just offered what they have always offered. It’s a testament to how far behind they’ve been left.

Is Colt done?

No. The company still holds hefty .Gov contracts for the M4A1 but those are fleeting things and far from exclusive. But after having tanked their civilian market appeal it’s a wildcard on how long Colt’s Pony can keep limping along. They didn’t adapt. They didn’t diversify. Colt didn’t listen to the people who wanted to give them money. The result is the DoD could retire them with the stroke of a pen… a new small arms contract.

Keith Finch
Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009, he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.