Colt to stop civilian sales??


March 10, 2006, 10:06 AM
Hey All,

I was at a show last weekend and was told by a dealer there that he received a notice from Colt that they were going to be discontinuing their civilian manufacturing and sales to focus on LEO, government, military, etc. contracts.

The reason this guy brought up the notice was that we were discussing Colt handguns and he offered this information to me to say that any Colt for sale, in collections, etc. would probably be going up in price.

Now I have not confirmed this information for accuracy. I was hoping to see if anyone else has heard that info. or actually received the aforementioned notice from Colt about their announcement.

Any input??

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March 10, 2006, 10:11 AM
that rumor has been circulating for at least 5 years...

i'm gonna take a wild guess here... the dealer had a colt or 12 on the table you were eyeballing?

March 10, 2006, 10:13 AM
They split out the defense and civilian websites a while back and it sent the rumor mill into full blast.

March 10, 2006, 10:23 AM
When they split the sites I couldn't find the civilian website. I just wondered if I could be classafied as a "Private Security".:scrutiny:

March 10, 2006, 10:44 AM
#1. Don't believe anything gun dealers say.

#2. Here's the civilian site :

March 10, 2006, 10:46 AM
1. Don't believe anything gun dealers say.

2. Here's the civilian site :

larry starling
March 10, 2006, 04:09 PM
Colt is alive and selling guns to the civilian market.Maybe said dealer was trying to push his kimber and springfield 1911's? Almost every gun store I go to have or had Colts. Went to a local store today and he had 4 new colts he had just gotten in....:cool:

March 10, 2006, 04:10 PM
The "civilian" side is not a side, it is a separate corporation. It manufactures and sells ONLY handguns and target AR-15s. If they stop producing those, they are out of business. And they cannot focus on military and LEO sales, because they don't have any to speak of. That's the other corporation.

In addition, they would have to answer to the State of Connecticut before they could close the doors. I believe I read recently that a number of years ago, during a lean period, Colt either got a loan from the state or got some tax breaks that were secured by, among other things, rights to the Colt trade name and trademark. Colt defaulted, and according to this report (which I have NOT verified), the actual Colt trade name is now owned by the State of Connecticut.

I would really, REALLY like to see a copy of this supposed "notice" that all these dealers supposedly received, because IMHO either it doesn't exist, or they can't read.

March 10, 2006, 04:11 PM
Any input??........Yes, the dealer is a complete MORON and a LIAR just trying to rip people off. It truly amazes me how long that rumor has been around....:barf: :barf:

March 10, 2006, 04:48 PM
Is Colt being propped up by the State of Connecticut?

If not, I don't see how they are still alive. Their product line continues to shrink. The dealers around here might have one or two new Colts, and about a dozen Kimbers or Springfields.

There are few companies that can be as poorly run as Colt and remain in business.

That said, their product is actually very good. The just have really really bad management and marketing.

March 10, 2006, 04:51 PM
The company was probably run by "gun people" and not "numbers people". I see that alot in small business. It makes for a great product but lousy business.

Smokey Joe
March 10, 2006, 06:37 PM
PlayboyPenguin--The problem is, that any manufacturer needs BOTH types! If run exclusively by "gun people," the company will, as you say, be poorly managed and have ongoing financial problems, while perhaps putting out a fine product. However, if run exclusively by MBA's and the like, the company will be very well run, and the product line cheaped down or outsourced to China or some such.

"Gun people" and MBA's usually don't get along so well in the same office, especially when the 2 types have to decide on something for a company. But both are necessary to long-term survival.

March 10, 2006, 06:43 PM
My dealer told me that all COLT LE/GOVT sales are shipped with complimentary boxes of chocolate chip and thin mint cookies!

That just goes to show you where (or who) their priorities are. :cuss:

March 10, 2006, 06:50 PM
Colt needs to price cut, step up production and start selling us what we want.

March 10, 2006, 06:52 PM
Based on their product line, It would seem(to me at least), that they are NOT run by gun people. I mean they have umpteen models of 1911, which I love by the way, $1200 single action army's, from the custom shop, Python"s from the custom shop, and not much else. The best selling cartridge is the .22. I don't think they offer pistol in that cal. anymore.

Definately not gun people......... IMHO.......My $.02.....

Creeping Incrementalism
March 10, 2006, 07:02 PM
I don't see what not having enough "gun people" around would make any difference. Most corporations are run by MBA's--people only in it for the money--and not aficionados.

Taurus 66
March 10, 2006, 07:15 PM
The US military is just over 2 million troops. Law enforcement personnel is how many? And contracts? What does this mean exactly?

The civilian population in the US is 300 million. Is it safe to say approximately 20% (1 in every 5) are gun owners? It would make good business sense to always have a line of products available for us common folks. I think there's more money in selling to civilians than to the military or law enforcement.

March 10, 2006, 10:49 PM
Well thanks for confirming my suspicions guys..........this particular dealer didn't seem like he was all that knowledgeable and I didn't make much conversation with him. I happened to be passing his booth just browsing his wares and he was trying to lure me in for a sale.

I pretty much knew he was full of it when I was interested in buying a Colt single action army and his reply was "oh ya, the old 1911........I've got lots of them."

I's a Single Action know, the old revolver? It's not a 1911.

He's seemed a bit embarassed after that. I moved on to the next guy.

Anyway, thanks again. I figured it was bogus and of course he DID NOT have the actual letter to show. He had left that back at the shop of course.

Stainless Chili
March 10, 2006, 11:28 PM
"oh ya, the old 1911........I've got lots of them."

Confusing a revolver and a semi-auto ... :scrutiny:

Maybe he is not a gun guy, but just looking after his boyfriend's table for a bit.

Double Naught Spy
March 11, 2006, 03:11 AM
I think some of y'all are confused, sort of, and part is apparently due to the original post about stopping sales to "civilians." This seems to be a remake of the rumor that Colt is no longer selling to the public. This is true and has been true for several years now.

With that said, not selling to the public is not the same as not making guns for the public market or 'civilian' market. Before the split and after, the 'civilian' side of Colt does not sell to the public, but they do sell to retailers who sell to the public. I don't know if they still have the disclaimer on their site or not, but when posted on their site that they were not selling to the public, many folks construed this as not making guns available for the public and several dealers either intentionally played up the rumor so as to get more sales at better prices, or were just as ignorant and failed to comprehend what Colt was actually saying at the time. I am sure some dealers correctly reported what was going on, but many did not.

Some of y'all are saying Colt isn't run by gun people. That is an interesting opinion. They have been a struggling company fraught with some very bad decisions. Given some of the crappy 1911s they produced in the 80s and 90s that still managed to sell quite well, there are a lot of buyers who aren't gun people either.

March 11, 2006, 08:55 AM
Despite the fact that this has been circulated off and on as rumor - and selling tactic - one of these days it will probably be fact. On the present overall course it is just a matter of time. And no doubt some other makers will precede or follow.


March 11, 2006, 09:41 AM
I am not sure there are any "gun people" or "business people" running Colt at all when you consider some of the dumb things they have done over the years.

They let Ruger take away most of the single action revolver market.

They let Bushmaster take away most of the civilian AR market.

They failed miserably to produce a decent hi-cap 9mm during the days of the Wonder Nine.

They let Kimber and Springfield steal away the 1911 market.

They violated another companies patents to produce the Pocket Nine, which they had to then withdraw from the market.

They have totally stopped production of DA revolvers, despite the fact that S&W and Ruger sell all they can make.

They havent produced a decent 22 caliber handgun in years, despite the fact that the 22 is the most popular caliber of all time.

The only thing they do well is make a decent 1911, but even those are overpriced for most people.

Lobotomy Boy
March 11, 2006, 10:06 AM
Colt made the same mistakes that the Indian motorcycle company made during WWI and WWII: they put all their eggs in the military basket. They were lulled into complacency because of lucrative government contracts and failed to develop innovative new products. They got fat and lazy suckling at the government teat, then, when for whatever reason that teat ran dry they found themselves without a market.

March 11, 2006, 10:22 AM
Colt cost me another $400 just to get it to function!

Ruger, Glock and Smith pistols work right out of the box without spending an extra dime. Have not, will not buy another Colt ANYTHING.


larry starling
March 11, 2006, 03:52 PM
And the Colt bashing continues......:cool:

Carl N. Brown
March 11, 2006, 03:57 PM
Every time a manufacturer gets a big military contract and guns
(or ammo) are short on the civilian market, the rumor starts that
they are leaving the civilian market.

Ooops. Have I started a rumor that Colt has a new big military contract?
No, just stating an observation going back to the 1960s and 1970s.
Temporary shortages are often just that.

March 11, 2006, 04:38 PM
I was not bashing Colt. I just was agreeing that their marketing may not be the best. I am no expert on firearms and have heard lots of good things about Colt. Usually when something is expensive there is a reason for it. Usually but not always...I once paid alot of money to see a Celine Dion concert. :scrutiny:

March 11, 2006, 06:04 PM
I will, after spending what you do on a Colt 1911 (havem plural) it needs another 400 to 500 bucks to make it work.
My Kimbers have all sorts of nice custom pieces and some rather striking models Raptor, Eclipse etc. Kimber manages to take the 1911 and rap it up in new and interesting themes that are cool and that don't break the bank to buy.

March 11, 2006, 11:23 PM
I have owned a total of 4 Kimbers; none were 100% reliable.

My Colt's have all been 100%.

Colt is a poorly run company, but they still make a good product.

March 12, 2006, 07:42 AM
My Kimbers have all sorts of nice custom pieces and some rather striking models Raptor, Eclipse etc. Kimber manages to take the 1911 and rap it up in new and interesting themes that are cool and that don't break the bank to buy....You think a Raptor or an Eclipse doesnt break the bank ??....HUH??....1150 to 1250 doesnt break the bank?? ... You must be joking...:barf:

March 12, 2006, 07:51 AM
Ruger, Glock and Smith pistols work right out of the box without spending an extra dime. Have not, will not buy another Colt ANYTHING....You surely will need to supply documented statistics to back up this load of HORSEDUNG. Dont let your dislike of Colts make you appear like a fool......:neener:

larry starling
March 12, 2006, 08:46 AM
will, after spending what you do on a Colt 1911 (havem plural) it needs another 400 to 500 bucks to make it work.
My Kimbers have all sorts of nice custom pieces and some rather striking models Raptor, Eclipse etc. Kimber manages to take the 1911 and rap it up in new and interesting themes that are cool and that don't break the bank to buy. Funny all of my Colts work! The 3 Kimbers I HAD Didn't. To me colt offers a pure 1911 true to the original, where as Kimber has to add all kinds of gimmicks to sell pistols. Price wise Colts appear to be a bargin to me since I know im buying a gun with less Mim and Cast parts. To quote Bill Wilson" Garbage in is Garbage out" :D

March 12, 2006, 08:51 AM
I think Larry Starling has a point. I have had the same experience with Kimbers that fail to work right. Colt's usually work. I think a lot of the difference is because Colt uses better small parts.

March 12, 2006, 12:10 PM
My Colts have been great for the most part (many 1911's and one LE6920). However, to me they seem to be going the way of Ruger (and I'll never buy from Ruger again due to their AWB support). I won't support a company (even with a good product) that doesn't support me (i.e. no sales of the LE6920 to the civilian market :barf: )...stupid of them really.

Having said that, I'm in the market for a new AR. Rather than getting another Colt I'm going to give my business to S&W - they seem to be the most 'civilian friendly' company at the moment.

March 12, 2006, 07:59 PM
COLT hasn't been civilian friendly for years!!! They are not going to quit the civilian market for handguns quite yet. They are still selling over priced, poor quality, revolvers to those that love the NAME Colt. The replica guns haven't stolen all of their thunder yet. I personally still like the Commander series by Colt. I've got buddies that complain about them, but my experience has been good! Colt has made stupid marketing decisions for years. It's a damn shame what has happened to this once great company.

March 12, 2006, 08:29 PM
As far as this manufacturer, or that, being more reliable, the most I ever payed for a handgun was a 1911 by Wilson Combat. It was the biggest jammomatic I've ever owned. Virtually, a single shot. I sent it back to them years ago, and to this day, it hasn't had one misfire. I trust my life to it. Things do happen sometimes. I have a large 1911 collection containing multiples of most major manufacturers. Colt, in my opinion still produces a decent semi handgun product. Their revolvers, at the going price,(they tried to get more) are a joke. People love the name, I know I do, but several replicas shoot as well or better, and are sturdier. They cost close to half. Buy want you want. IMHO, COLT management OWNS the market in how to screw up a great company! I hate them for it! :banghead:

larry starling
March 12, 2006, 08:46 PM
They are still selling over priced, poor quality, revolvers to those that love the NAME Colt. Heck they all are well over a grand. Have you tried to buy a Python lately? IMHO it's still the finest revolver ever made!:D p.s......thats when they make 'em

March 12, 2006, 08:47 PM
Rumour has it Colt dances to Chuck Schumer's tune.

March 12, 2006, 09:28 PM
Colt is indeed a pain in the ass. But I love their products and would hate to see them go away. The four I have, I wouldn't trade for anything. My Mark IV is still my pride and joy. It worked perfectly right out of the box, if a bit inaccurate, but I spent another 500 or so turning it into a pin gun. It is now the most accurate of my weapons, and the most fun to shoot. My Delta Elite has never failed, and has been my constant companion whenever I am in the wild. I would truly love to see the amazing array of guns Colt used to make come back, especially the Woodsman. Somebody needs to turn this company around before it really is in the drink.

March 13, 2006, 12:40 AM
Colt has been split into 2 entities, with one selling to the gov, and the other to civvies for some time.

April 4, 2006, 04:05 AM
Colt has other priorities when it comes to the AR-15/M16/M4:

Lobotomy Boy
April 4, 2006, 08:29 AM
During WWI both Harley-Davidson and Indian neglected their civilian customers to pursue military contracts. It nearly put both out of business once the war ended (and they all end, even the "long wars"). Harley learned a lesson from this. Indian never fully recovered, and spent the period between the wars scrambling to survive, going through different owners and never having enough money to develop a modern, commercially viable product. When WWII came along, Harley pursued military contracts but as much as possible it continued to serve its civilian customer base because it realized that the company's long-term survival depended on that base and not the government teat. By that point Indian didn't have much of a civilian customer base to serve so it put all its efforts into military production. It had an influx of cash from the war that kept it limping along into the next decade, but it didn't take Nostradamus to see the company was about to go under.

Colt seems to be following the Indian model more than the Harley model.

April 4, 2006, 08:48 AM

How many Colts do you, or have you owned? Right around 40, isn't it? Or am I thinking of an other THR member?

My 3 Colts are extraordinary. Some of my Kimbers have been, but not most. I think Kimber went through a bad phase, and THAT is when I bought most of mine. They are now improving.

For my money in a 1911, I'll stick with the original, if for no other reason than nostalgia.


Kenneth Lew
April 4, 2006, 01:34 PM
If you want a Colt made right, buy an old one. I've seen NIB Colt Pythons that are out of spec (problems with the forcing cone, timing of cylinder), 1911s with a blue finish with swirl marks on the flats, etc.

April 4, 2006, 02:01 PM
I have a Colt National Match .45 which is well made and reliable, but it's the only Colt in my stable today - nor will I be adding more.

I had a 1911 Mk IV Series 70 Government Model - purchased new - which ought to have been used as the illustration next to the dictonary definition of "jammamatic" . . . usually there were 2 or 3 jams per magazine with hardball.

Every manufacturer can make an error - the GOOD manufacturers make them right. I've had good service from Bushmaster and DSA, and even Kahr ultimately replaced a POS-9 which had numerous problems.

Not so with Colt - their warranty NON-service is what turned me off on them, far more than actual gun problems.

A company that WILL NOT stand behind its products ought to go out of business. And judging by their shrinking product line, they're headed just that way, and would be little than a bad memory today if not for government sales. :barf:

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