You inherit $300 million and start a handgun company


January 25, 2003, 12:59 AM
Forget the tort lawyers (except for traditional mismanufacture and whatnot) because you'll soon have congressional protection from Brady style extortion suits. You can start with a clean sheet or you can become a clone maker, what does your company make and why?

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January 25, 2003, 01:21 AM
I would try to find a way to make double action revolvers the quality of the old Smiths, the 29-2's for example, but build them so they don't have a problem with modern high power ammo (hey, I've got $300 million to try and figure it out and start the company right?). Maybe a 5 shot N frame 45 Colt/454 or 480 Ruger.

Everybody and their brother makes a 1911 or CZ clone, that market is covered. Single actions are fun, but I like double actions better.

El Tejon
January 25, 2003, 08:16 AM
I would strike out on a new path for a gun and strive to MAKE money. As well, we would do something that no company has ever done before: talk to the customers, see what they want. Shocking.

I would also reinforce success. If something is making money, I would keep doing that.

I know these are radical concepts in the gun industry and I really don't think that the market is ready for such off-the-wall ideas.

Gila Jorge
January 25, 2003, 08:24 AM
Reeder and Clements and Bowen all make 5 shot revolvers. Talk with them.
Freedom Arms essentially did what you are talking about with Single Action revolvers...vis a vis Ruger and Colt. Talk with Bob Baker ... maybe joint venture with him...why reinvent the wheel in areas you don't have to. Maybe FA would like to expand into Double Actions of comparable quality. Yeah, I am a Business Advisor to small businesses.
See this type of thing all the time. God's Blessings in your endeavors.

January 25, 2003, 08:27 AM
While I know the plastic craze is here to stay, and half my rifles now sport synthetic stocks, I would form a company to bring back some of the classics, aka the Triple Lock, a good quality all steel 1911A1 with no MIM parts, as well as some good quality bolt rifles at affordable prices.

January 25, 2003, 09:12 AM

I'ld reinvest the money until I could purchase controlling interest in H&K with exclusive marketing and distribution rights for the western hemisphere. Set up some sort of volume discount and a plant making P7's.

Anyone want to do quality control?? :D


January 25, 2003, 09:18 AM
buy the rights and name for the coonan firearm line with dans blessing . you want .357 magnum performance out of an automatic ? don't go sig go with the original the Coonan ! I would also bring in the .41 magnum line too and possibly a 1911 style also .:D

January 25, 2003, 10:10 AM
You look around at older designs to buy and realize that none of them are commercially viable.

You look at production materials and realize that the reason MIM, polyimers, and stampings are being used is that without them the costs are to high to be commercially viable.

You look for a production place and find one in an out of the way place in the midwest. But you can't hire the help because they don't want to live there, shipping costs are disproportionate because of the location, and the locals will take 3 years to train to the level you require.

You look at the advertising costs required to get market share for a new design and realize that without being able to do so in the first 5 years your company will fail.

You look at the costs of doing business with Federal regulators and realize that it increases the cost of business by 5% or more.

You look at the need to buy politicains all the way up to the Federal level just to break ground on your product to say nothing of keeping the doors open.

You look at the fact that even if you offer the "perfect" gun many shooters will be disatisfied because it doesn't come in the personal favorite size, color, caliber, action type, material, or brand name.

You look at the list of companies who have tried to give the American shooters everything they asked for and realize they are all gone out of business.

You look at the costs of getting into the military and police markets and realize that it takes 10 years to prove your product to the point that it would be allowed for purchase.

You look at the cost to your company to carry the credit and inventory required to develop a network of stocking dealers.

You look at the fact that a high grade fishing reel costs $100 to make, uses no specifically trained labor, has no specialized legal requirements, can be made anywhere, needs no supply of "aftermarket" accessories, and generates 100% profit at each of the distribution levels.

You chuck the whole idea, retire to the Florida Keys, and take up bonefishing.

(Yes, I'm cynical. But then I've worked for several gun manufacturers. And, as the president of one company used to say, "If I had an enemy I'd advise him to build guns".)

January 25, 2003, 10:24 AM
Buy a bunch of HKs, take the money and run!!!!!!! :D

January 25, 2003, 10:27 AM
Some of these responses are not in the spirit of the question. Become an eccentric and tell me what guns you would build if you were crazy and rich.

January 25, 2003, 11:31 AM
rich yes !!! but crazy?? welll we will have to wait and see what the doctors say , why am I being followed by these men in white coats ???:uhoh:

January 25, 2003, 12:23 PM
I would make a Brady 45.:neener:

January 25, 2003, 01:33 PM
Just $300 mill? :what: I'd buy property in gun friendly place, and put together a really nice collection. Let someone else have the headaches, I just want the toys!

January 25, 2003, 01:43 PM
Well if I already went into the business, I would make custom 1911's and Peacemakers with a sideline in the rifle business making M14's (semiauto) with in integral scope base built into the reciever. Of course I would also need a state of the art range; one indoors and one outdoors in order to test and evaluate our product.

January 25, 2003, 01:50 PM
Hand built semi-custom pistols and rifles. You order from a menu of options and it gets built for you by hand by a single craftsman. Emphasis on function over form: shooters, not fancy safe queens.

$300M is a good stack of cash, but with the barrier costs of manufacturing, distribution, infratructure and the rest, I don't know if its enough to get going to the point the company becomes self-sustaining with worldwide distribution to compete with the likes of Colt, S&W, Glock, HK, etc.

Besides, semi-customs sound like a whole lot more fun! After all, I'd want to have time to shoot what I made.

January 25, 2003, 02:12 PM
I would take the Browning Hi Power and scale it up to 45 ACP and 45 Super, 400 Corbon and 357 Sig.

I would take the 1911, modify it, scale it up and offer a version of it in 50 AE, 10mm, 45 Super.

I would shamelessy copy Ruger's Vacquero, scale it up slightly and offer it it, 357 Magnum, 45 Colt, 45 and 50 Linebaugh.

I would take Dan Wesson's Revolvers and copy them.

I would make a pocket sized 9mm just a tad larger than the Kel Tec 32.

I would remake Colt's 1908 Pocket pistols in 25 ACP and 380.

I would remake Remington's 380 pistol.

I would make the Colt 380, but unlike Colt, do away with the plastic parts.

I would investigate in scaling up and modifying the Sig P210 to 40 SW.

January 25, 2003, 03:16 PM
HAHA you stole my post right out of my head..

The only things I would add would be...

Reintroduction of the .44 automags

Reintroduction of the Wildeys .475 mag

" " of the C.O.P 4shot 357

" " Grizzly 45mag

January 25, 2003, 04:14 PM
I would manufacture and sell forged steel parts for 1911s.

I would manufacture forged steel recievers for the 10/22.

I would manufacture steel sights for the Glock, and give thousands away to law enforcement, and force G Glock to start putting steel sights on his guns.

I would use a portion of the funds to do some major psywar (spanish radio stations) against
the socialist regime of the PRK, and along our southern border.


rock jock
January 25, 2003, 06:54 PM
I would try to find a way to make double action revolvers the quality of the old Smiths, the 29-2's for example, but build them so they don't have a problem with modern high power ammo (hey, I've got $300 million to try and figure it out and start the company right?).
Exactly what I've been thinking lately. Now I just need to come up with an additional $299,999,000 and I'm set. Can I pass the hat?

Standing Wolf
January 25, 2003, 08:53 PM
I'd hire the best engineers and metalurgists and firearms designers in the world, make the best double action revolvers, charge an arm and a leg for them, and let the old names compete with me. I wouldn't make millions of revolvers: just the world's best.

January 25, 2003, 09:47 PM
What is that old saying, "what's the best way to have a million dollars, start with two million" (or something to that effect).

Anyway, if I had $300million (or whatever) and I wanted to start a firearms company I guess I'd want to look at a couple ideas.

First I'd look at the more successful recent ventures. Most (Kahr, Kel-tec, NAA) started with one good design and then added to it as they started to build a customer base. Second, they filled an identifiable niche instead of going head to head with the big guys (you have the small makers of high-end 1911s, Kahr building a small high quality CCW piece in service calibers, Kel-tec building simple small and mostly reliable CCW guns). So what niches do I see out there to start with my one gun to start with:

-There are plenty of 1911 makers but there is a huge demand to prop them up so I do see some room in a few areas of the 1911 market. It is a design with tons of parts already out there (so start up costs can be lower by using some established parts suppliers instead of working from scratch), it is an existing design so design costs can be minimal and there are already tons of people who know and can work on the design. Value seems to be the key word to get market share.

Valtro tapped the higher end by building a $2000+ gun and selling it for, what, about $1300.

Charles Daly makes a very inexpensive gun that I think is a decent one. However, when they first came to the US the quality wasn't there and they are haunted by the reputation that they got at that time.

There is a huge market for a quality 1911 that doesn't break the bank. People want CD prices at Kimber and SA quality. To do that it would be necessary to cut back on accessories but I don't think that would be a handicap- look at the number of Mil-specs SA sells, many because of the cost savings over the other SA models. I think a 1911 clone, built with some features the Mil-spec doesn't have but priced at the Mil-spec's price point (or just under) would do well if it was made well.

Of course it is a market with lots of competition (though as I pointed out above there may still be a niche or two there and there are plenty of customers) and the 1911 design is an older labor intensive design so it may be hard to get both low costs and high quality.

-Small CCW guns. There is a lot of demand here but also a lot of competition. I don't see very many unfilled niches here, from full caliber small guns, really small .32s and .380s, high end guns, low cost reliable guns (Kel-tec), mid range guns (Kahr) and just about all the big guys are in this market too. Also, you'd need to design a brand new design, test it, market it, debug it, etc. before you could bring it out.

-HiPower clone. This may be the best option if you want to start out making a gun. Like the 1911 it is an old design with a ton of fans. You wouldn't have to start from scratch and its old enough I think you could make one without a license from FN (even if you had to get a license it may be worthwhile). Like the 1911 market there are a ton of fans. However, it isn't nearly as saturated a market (only a few makers are out there, and other than FN they are all on the low end) and there are improvements (a good out of the box trigger) that could differentiate you from the others and attract new fans for the BHP designs. Here I think something in the FN range, or just under, with a good trigger may be a contender.

-However, if I was going to invest $300mil to start a gun related company I wouldn't do guns, I'd do a specific accessory. Here in MD built-in locks are required though it doesn't need to be OEM (I think if they are approved locks and put in at the distributor it would be legal). Many makers don't yet make the locks. MD isn't that big a market but I'd develop locks for many of the big sellers out there that don't yet have approved locks.

Eventually some other states are probably going to add similar laws. As they do business could increase to the level that this kind of business could probably become self-sustaining pretty quickly (overhead probably wouldn't be that high).

As the number of states gets high enough or a high population state like CA joins the manufacturers would have to get serious about the locks. If an outside manufacturer already had locks out for their guns and they wouldn't have to pay the R&D costs it may be possible to market to some of the gun makers. If it was possible to get a contract with one or two of the bigger sellers this kind of company could really take off.

Of course, in accessories I'm sure it would be possible to come up with some additions to the line as well. I see this as an area with some great potential- people love gadgets, relatively low costs and overhead (at least compared to guns), and much less legal liability.

January 25, 2003, 10:18 PM
I would go for diversity.
Any type of anything that I thought I could sell.
Small, powerful CCW handguns, made about as inexpensively and with as much quailty as possible. There would definietly be no highly embellished guns coming out of my factory. I hate pretty guns.
I would also build high quality HK, Steyr, and Galil knock offs. Under license if necessecary, preferably not.
I am sure that there would be at least some market for those.
And maybe a Hi-Cap .22LR with a fixed magazine that loaded with stripper clips, if I could make it work. You could use the same general action to build several different assault rifle/legal sub-gun variants.

Actually, if I had that much money, I would buy some land, arm some men, and declare independence.
Start your own country... ;)

January 25, 2003, 10:31 PM
Tiny, light, stainless & aluminum, beautifully made 9mm mouseguns with DAO actions and locked breech design. The machining must be perfect and done on CNC machines with experienced master machininists overseeing production. They would be ideal pocket pistols and beautiful enough to be a premium gift for the most discriminating of people who can afford anything for their spouses, etc. They would sell for about three times what a similar sized mouse gun of a lesser caliber does. Finally, they would have a time honored German family crest on the grips.

That's what I'd do!

But wait.... I don't have to!

Karl and Eric Rohrbaugh are doing just that, and their Model R-9 is debuting at the SHOT Show in Orlando in a mere 3 weeks. :neener:

Uncle Ethan
January 25, 2003, 11:19 PM
I would make the best Remington-Hepburn, Sharps, and Highwalls possible. I would upgrade the Sharps to chamber the .50BMG and call it the "Sharps Big Fifty." Then I would branch out to double rifle/shotgun combo guns.

January 28, 2003, 09:08 PM
I would reverse engineer the 1911.

I would find a way to make a gun that felt and functioned like a 1911, but was easy to make with modern manufacturing techniques.

I would also find a way to improve the precision of CNC manufacturing techniques so that I could make computer cut parts with a fit that approached hand lapping.

I would take it to the next level and make other single action handguns - find a way to make a nice 1911 style trigger on a gun without as much hand work.

Also - I would explore some unique ideas for CCW guns - powerful new small bore cartridges so you could make a 10 round gun that is .72" thick, etc...

January 28, 2003, 09:19 PM
I would make 1911's in 45, 10mm and 38 super. No sub calibers like 9mm or 40sw. ;)
Revolvers in all calibers, including 41magnum.

Why? Cause we deserve some good guns and not what the gun industry thinks we want. :D

D.W. Drang
January 29, 2003, 01:43 AM
I think I'd have to start out by researching what models are gone but not forgotten--the ones that are missed I would consider building again. I have Stars in mind, Firestars and the PD specifically, possibly in lightweight (polymer?) versions. Also to sell spare parts to folks that need them... (Anyone know where you can get an extractor for a Firestar M40...?)
I think I'd stay away from the 1911 Clone field, it being so crowded, unless I seriously had a better idea, i.e. a way to improve it.

I think maybe I'd spend some of that $300M on market research, including what is making money and what ain't. I suspect I'd have to define "barely hanging on by the skin of their teeth" as "making money", for the purposes of this exercise...

Uncle Ethan
January 29, 2003, 12:02 PM
I'd spend most of it on fast cars, fast women, rare guns, and expensive Scotch and Wine. The rest I would waste.

January 29, 2003, 12:19 PM
Take $2-$4 million to buy 100 rural acres on a hilltop, build and furnish your dream house, and get a couple of fine motorcars/trucks whatever. Then buy all the guns and gun toys you could possibly want. That will not even eat up the $4 million.

Invest the other $296 million in various bonds (government and blue chip corporate). You will not be ably to spend the income. So you plow it back into more bonds, after getting more gun toys, etc.

Why buy a company? Are you crazy???


January 29, 2003, 12:25 PM
Time to clean house!:D

January 29, 2003, 12:27 PM
Well, assuming that I would in fact buy a handgun company, I would produce all CNC machined 1911's in 45 ACP, all combat spec'd, not match, WWII styled, gray-green parked, with superb machining and finishing, and consistent tolerances. That would take up only part of the production...the rest would be 870 clone pumps without any staked-on parts and all-steel trigger guard , clones of the Winchester Super X1, and some affordable but quality-crafted doubles and over unders. In other words, those things that are on my wish list...

Mr Jody Hudson
January 29, 2003, 12:37 PM
Make a deal with Glock to set up an American factory to produce the Glocks here. Make a deal with Keltec to allow me to make Keltec designs in Glock-Tech hybrids. Set up two or three new pocket calibers with existing cartriges necked down to smaller, faster, bullets designed with powders and longer bullets with weights suitable for accuracy and speed in the short barells.

The result, a series of service and pocket pistols for police and CCW in all the popular calibers PLUS some new faster, lighter, bullets, that are also longer to give more penetration. Then, make a deal with Triton ammo and Gold Dot, etc. to allow the better bullet designs.

Then, I'd save several of million in my personal accounts so I'd still retain a nice lifestyle after the gun business fails. :uhoh:

January 29, 2003, 02:07 PM
I would find 4 or 5 hangunds that aren't in production anymore, but that everyone loved, and clone 'em. I would make them better than the originals, and keep the price really competitive. I would also only build them if there was a crap load of aftermarket parts already available for them. Either that or one of you can take your 300 mil and be my exclusive aftermarket parts manufacturer.

January 29, 2003, 02:22 PM
I would hold on to my $300 mil and purchase all of you more ambitious guy's companies when you go bankrupt, for pennies on the dollar. :)

January 29, 2003, 02:44 PM
1 - set up shop in some out of the way 3rd world pesthole, where the labor's cheap but trainable, the ATF and FBI have no jurisdiction, and the government can be bought cheap.

2 - hire Bog and other assorted evil geniuses to make a human-portable MASER rifle. Size restriction on a par with the Barret .50BMG.

3 - refuse to sell the weapon to any government that didn't allow the self-same weapon to be sold to law abiding civilians within their borders.



January 29, 2003, 02:46 PM
I would produce a 10 shot DA revolver chambered in .32 H&R Magnum.

Chris Rhines
January 29, 2003, 03:29 PM
I'd concentrate on rifles to start with. I think there is room in the market for a fourth-generation 7.62mm semi-auto, with modern materials and design.

- Direct gas-impengement system that vents the waste gas somewhere other than in the bolt carrier, with a user-adjustable gas regulator.

- Rotary bolt, locks directly to barrel extension, bolt carrier rides on hardened steel rods. The reciever would be either investment-cast aluminum or carbon fiber.

- Easily removable full-floated barrel, with a mind to future caliber changes.

- Gas tube under the barrel where it should be. Sights close to the bore. Good adjustable iron sights and an integral scope rail.

- Removable buttstock.

- Modular components. Available with different barrel lengths and configurations, modular magazine well (it would take G3 magazines as standard), buttstock, etc.

- I'd like to keep the price about around what a DSA Stg-58 runs. Say around $1300-$1500.

Needless to say, RhinesTech firearms would have world-class service and support, and our rifles would come with a factory warranty that is backed up by action. Eventually, I'd like to release a .223 version, as well as conversion kits for cartridges using the .308 bolt head diameter.

- Chris

January 29, 2003, 03:32 PM
I know the question would be to start a gun company, but I don't know if $300 mil would do it. I would build a top notch indoor range though, with a full range of pistols, rifles, and full auto weapons to rent.

January 29, 2003, 07:12 PM
9 mm AR-15 pistol.
Pneumatic pistol that cannot be regulated as a "firearm".
Double-barrel 9 mm that fires both barrels simultaneously.
Rifle or pistol equipped with video gear enabling it to be shot from behind cover.

January 30, 2003, 06:36 PM
I'd be 'the' major contributor to the next president - to become the head of 'HomeLandSecurity'. Then hire the right pro-gun lawyer to help me rewrite BATF firearms regs and speed up NFA transfers to take no more than 30 days and hopefully even less than that.

The other 200 mil I'll need to retire on after the next election.

Buy and run gun company? too much work.

Uncle Ethan
January 30, 2003, 06:47 PM
hops has the best idea yet.:D

January 30, 2003, 06:49 PM
3 - refuse to sell the weapon to any government that didn't allow the self-same weapon to be sold to law abiding civilians within their borders. -- KayleeI do like the way your mind works. :cool:

January 30, 2003, 07:20 PM
Somebody from Columbia University is trying to find someone crazy enough to get 300 mil and then get involved with GUNS.

I'm with Thirties.

Guns are OVER!! Or soon will be.

I don't like it. You don't like it. But, face know it is true.

The pawnshop that bought my pawn loans when I retired this year is using the extra volume to finally be able to get out from under the liability insurance to pawn guns.

If the question were that you HAD to spend $300 mil on gun manufacture, the only way would be to have them made overseas and go for military contracts with cheap labor and offer a few to the US market with the ability to stop supply at once.

Now if you had several BILLION, I guess you could offer Hillary and Dianne enough bribes to get em on your side since they are both buyable.

THEN you might have a chance.

Make that several hundred billion. Then you could turn the whole congress with babes and booze and dope and get back to the Constitution.

But that would soon be doomed because the forces that want us disarmed would just send even MORE billions back to the US to RAISE the bribes and then we would be back to questions again.

January 30, 2003, 08:52 PM

January 31, 2003, 01:10 AM
I would design gun made of black unobtainium, Get the gun rags to push it thru favorable reviews so tactical types will have to get one, & use the profits to design a rifle made of nosuchtainium:D

January 31, 2003, 12:02 PM
Look at where guns are going. Go there. Plan on the ban sunsetting and hicaps becoming popular again. Build CCW versions of all your full size guns. Start small in niche markets like 10mm autos and/or 9mm snubbies and build into the mainstream. Make sure your guns can be made cheap but work well like Glocks.

Think about capitalizing on JMB legacy guns, but not on the saturated 1911 market. A CCW hipower is smart. Think about making a 1911 style gun with a modern Glock/Sig barrel lock up (or even a glock/sig barrel), but also use 1911 grip and trigger parts. Think about mass producing something like the STI LS series. Look at good guns that aren't made anymore for stupid reasons like the Colt Mustangs and Pocket 9s.

Do not bring back guns from companies which went out of business because they couldn't turn a profit making them. You will most likely be unable to as well. Do not make guns which only fire obscure proprietary cartridges. That almost never works either.

Figure out a good way to fire 9mm and higher power pistol cartridges from a compact auto with a fixed barrel. Make small but surprisingly accurate guns based on this.

Find somewhere outside the US/Canada/Western Europe to base your company and make your guns. 1st world labor is not worth it, nor is potential US litigation. Think the Czech Republic or Romania, where labor is cheap but workers are skilled.

January 31, 2003, 01:48 PM
Not going to happen. If I inherited 300mil, I'm bailing out of the country and starting my own country. No time for a handgun company!


January 31, 2003, 01:49 PM
I would take the 1911, modify it, scale it up and offer a version of it in 50 AE, 10mm, 45 Super

a 1911 style in 10mm?

ME LIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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