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Why did Colt fade away?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by smartshot, Oct 13, 2010.

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  1. smartshot

    smartshot Member

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    Maybe this is in the wrong forum, but what happened to Colt? They had alot going for them with the 1911, M16, and DS? Three of the most popular firearms in the 60's and 70's. Was it financial or was it the competition (S&W) or was a mix of the two?
     
  2. LHRGunslinger

    LHRGunslinger Member

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    For the most part as of late they've pretty much gone the way of HK and dropped the vast majority of their civilian department in favor of government contracts.
     
  3. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    High prices and their primary focus on government contracts. They stopped trying to make affordable arms for civilians.
     
  4. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Colt's problem has been greed.

    One year at Camp Perry I was squadded next to a gentleman who had been offered the job of running Colt.

    The owner of Colt was simply enriching himself and not putting money back into the company. The machinery was old, and I mean antique.

    Colt has a real problem now that their M4 Monopoly has ended.

    Their product line consists of the AR15, Colt Single Action revolvers and M1911's.
     
  5. LHRGunslinger

    LHRGunslinger Member

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    And from what I have seen their SAA's are WAY overpriced.
     
  6. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    And Colt's problems are going to get worse once the military switches from the M4 to something else. It may not happen soon, but it will happen eventually. And unless Colt is the designer of the Next Big Thing in military small arms, they are going to be left without a hand in the game.
     
  7. DonRon

    DonRon member

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    There is no future in making or selling Military scrapped designed firearms. Colt did not design the AR 15 or the 1911 for that matter either. Stoner designed the AR 15 and Browning designed the 1911.
     
  8. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    Yet Colt acquired the license to mass produce both firearms, and generally created their modern military empire out of those two firearms. The difference between then and now is that there are other firearms companies that have the ability and marketing savvy to produce their own stuff. When the military picks the next rifle, companies like HK or FN are not going to be selling their guns to Colt. Colt cannot ride the M16/M4 horse forever. When the military switches, to the SCAR for example, Colt is going to be out of luck.
     
  9. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    Their clame to fame has been, for quite a long time, the 1911A1, SAA, and the AR type rifle. There are so many more companies making ARs, 1911A1s, and cowboy action pistols that they couldn't compete. It used to be if it wasn't Colt is wasn't good (in regard to the AR or 1911A1), but you have companies that have built quality 1911s that have upgraded features that if it were a Colt you would have to send it away to have the work done. Same with the ARs. There are a ton of Companies that churn out ARs that are BETTER than most if not all of the offerings of Colt. Then you have the SAA style pistol. The sky is the limit. From 299 bucks for entry level to high end custom shop style guns. Parts in the newer SAA style pistols are more durable as well. You can have them nickle, Stainless, blued, case hardened, "antiqued", flat, etc...etc...I don't think they are doing too well.
     
  10. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    I'll guess you guys aren't 1911 guys, or at least Colt 1911 guys.

    Every Colt 1911 is produced on CNC machinery.

    They sell them as fast as they can make them, which is probably why you don't see them sitting on the dealer shelves like other brands.

    They don't run a bunch of ads since they don't have to.

    Take a look here.

    http://www.coltsmfg.com/

    Spend some time on the Colt pages of these two forums.

    http://forum.m1911.org/

    http://forums.1911forum.com/
     
  11. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    Yep. Every time I see a brand spankin new 38 super on the shelf, it's overpriced (according to MSRP) and gone within a week before I have time to convince myself it's worth paying over msrp for.

    Edit:: I'm not the world's greatest Colt fan, but I would like to own an unmolested Colt complete with a spur hammer.
     
  12. skimbell

    skimbell Member

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    Why did Colt fade away?

    Here's a little secret. They haven't.
     
  13. rklessdriver

    rklessdriver Member

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    About 3/4 of the people in this thread don't have a clue.

    Affordable?
    A new COLT Govt Model MSRP's for $750.00 and can be bought for a little less. I have bought more COLT's in the past 2 years than I had in the preceeding 10yrs. Next up is the XSE "enhanced" COLT pistols... all of $850.00 and the Combat Elite is less than $900.00 if you shop around as is the COLT Rail Gun and Lightweight Govt. The top of the line COLT Special Combat cost about $1700.00 and that is a 100% Custom Shop built gun. COLT's prices are in line with every other USA mfgr'd of 1911's and less than many when start comparing build quality, materials utilized and features. COLT offers forged frames and slides. The fewest MIM parts of any mass prouduced 1911. Their pistols are still built to last several lifetimes.

    No features?? Have to have it worked on??
    What are you taking about... Take a look at the Wiley Clapp Commander or Night Defender they mfgr and market thru Talo... Beautiful functional pistols at a fair price. Even the XSE's are using real Smith and Alexander beavertails and ambi safety's today. One thing COLT is know for today is 100% function out of the box with any ammo. The "dimpled barrel" feed ramp is another COLT innovation that along with CORRECT slide to frame and barrel to bushing tollerance has made COLT THE leader in building reliable 1911's.

    Relying on Govt contracts and forgot about the civilian market??
    COLT mfgrs 2 of the finest CCW pistols availiable in todays market. The Defender and the New Agent. Both are availiable in .45ACP and 9mm Par.

    COLT has a brand new line of DAO pistols they are tooling up right now. Everything from 5" duty guns to 3" CCW peices. Alot of COLT purist are spinning around dizzy right now about these new fangled contraptions... But I think COLT will sell every one they make just as fast as they can make them.

    COLT even has a factory rep over on one of the boards (I'm not saying which) that answers questions and I have seen him personally take care of COLT customers when there was a problem or custom shop order.

    Can't compete in the AR/M-16 market??
    If you go to any AR board and take a look at what the real pro's compare their weapon platforms to - you will see that only 2 other mfgrs (LMT and BCM) can compare with COLT. Just look at the famous m4 carbine "Chart". There are with AR's (as anything else) a bunch of suspect, sub standard, non milspec weapons available for plinkers at cheap prices.... Pure BS play toys. You better check your info because it is flawed.... NOBODY builds a BETTER civilian base AR than COLT. You CAN buy as good from LMT and BCM but not better. Trust your life to one of those "as good" carbines of you want but I know the difference...

    The few who have replied that do have a clue - already mentioned every COLT is now CNC mfgr'd and that you won't see them for sale on dealers shelves because they sell out as soon as they hit them. I'd like for every gun owner in the US to own a new COLT, just so they could see that a US company can build a quality product at a fair price but we all know that ain't going to happen.

    As Mark Twain said: " The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated". COLT is doing just fine.
    Will
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2010
  14. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    Colt is hanging on, but hardly setting the world on fire and prospering as the ATF figures show. These are the latest. They are compiling the 2009 numbers now.

    www.atf.gov/statistics/download/afmer/2008-firearms-manufacturers-export-report.pdf

    PISTOLS -

    Colt - 23,178

    STI - 5,905

    Kimber - 62,603

    Springfield - 10,878

    Ed Brown - 1,248

    Kel-Tec made something like 117,000 iirc. It's fun to look at the production figures.

    Meanwhile, my WWI Repro/Blue is my favorite plinker. It has a nice trigger, great accuracy and it's pretty too. I bought it the day the store got it. It was on the shelf, but didn't even have a price tag on it yet. I was allowed to be the first person to dry fire it - after I promised to buy it. :)
     
  15. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Certainly anyone has to admit that Colt went from being one of the premier gun manufactures to just another 1911, SAA and AR company.

    Maybe you love their products but there are a LOT of choices in those categories.

    Why did Colt fade from the markets where they needed to innovate? Obviously because they couldn't compete on the cutting edge.

    Why could they not compete? Unions, bad management and corporate arrogance.

    When the walls were about to crumble they made a decision to only produce guns designed 50 years ago or earlier. It was a smart decision that probably saved them. The three basic products to which they cling to are enduring designs, instantly recognized and largely beloved and or respected.

    So if you want to own a gun designed in the Vietnam era, turn of the 20th century or before, Colt is still there to help.

    If you want something designed since LBJ was president, look elsewhere.
     
  16. DonRon

    DonRon member

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    What sealed the fate of Colt can be summed up in one word "GLOCK"
     
  17. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Colt has made very good guns. But they have also always been on the expensive side.
    During the Civil War Colt sold their .44 Caliber 1860 Army to the U.S. Government for $24.00 a piece. Remington sold their basically similar .44 for $18.00. In fact, Remington offered to make the Colt design for the Army for $18.00 apiece .... but the govt. decided to start buying Remmies and save $$$
     
  18. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    The Defender and the New Agent?

    When's the last time you saw someone carrying either of those pistols? Now compare that to how many people carry Glocks, M&Ps, XDs, and the rest. Colt is not a serious contender in the modern semi-auto category. They make their millions making M16s and M4s for the military and police departments, and a few niche guns like SAAs. But you go to any CCW class or defensive/tactical pistol course, you are going to see a lot of Glocks, Sigs, XDs, M&Ps, and a few others. Those guns own the market on CCW pistols.
     
  19. PRM

    PRM Member

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    There may be more choices today ~ but, I would argue Colt still has a strong following. When I was into 1911s, I only owned Colts. I still shoot the Detective Specials and Police Positive .38 Specials. Although, no longer in production, they can still be found in new and like new condition fairly easy. Colt still works on guns that need repair. One of my all time favorites is a Colt SAA in 45LC that was made in the 1960s. I sent it back to Colt in 2000 and had a .45ACP cylinder fitted to the gun and had it refinished while at the factory. It came back looking like a new gun and I can now shoot the cheaper more easy to find ammo.

    Got several ponies in the stable.
     
  20. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Product diversity would be a better strategy than focussing solely on (a) hunting (b) military and (c) police product lines. Putting all your marbles in the military bag, when military contracts are either feast or famine, is not good long term strategy.
     
  21. Full Metal Jacket

    Full Metal Jacket member

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    for about 10 years, i saw far more overpriced colt SAA's in gunshops than their 1911's.

    what kind of business sense lead them to that decision? :eek:
     
  22. DonRon

    DonRon member

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    American Stupidity.....the same stuff that put the mistake we now have in the White House and that buys overpriced hollow point ammunition because someone else says it is a "Better Man Stopper" We have become a nation of mindless sheep to crafty and shrewd advertising schemes and lost our edge as proactive thinkers. The fact of the matter is Americans don't make anything of value anymore besides mistakes and blind allegiances. And you wonder why we are at 10% unemployment to overseas markets.
     
  23. m500'92

    m500'92 Member

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    "There is no future in making or selling Military scrapped designed firearms. Colt did not design the AR 15 or the 1911 for that matter either. Stoner designed the AR 15 and Browning designed the 1911."

    Sam Colt himself technically didn't design the Peacemaker either, as it was created in 1873 whereas he died in 1862 (Although I'm assuming much of the design would have been the same as his designs).

    "What sealed the fate of Colt can be summed up in one word "GLOCK""

    I doubt glock had much of anything to do with it, the glock is far different from the all steel, quality materials made 1911 (different markets). What would have helped put them under in the commercial market is how many other companies started making less expensive 1911s of equal or possibly even greater quality (Same with the AR15).
     
  24. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Glock is certainly a factor, as noted. There was a time when Colt revolvers were the Cadillac of LEO sidearms. They made THE revolvers to which all others were compared. Colt utterly failed to adapt to the wondernine trend, and lost their position as a result. You could see Ruger, S&W and others scrambling to try to adapt to the market since the 80's, but Colt had its cheddar from Uncle Sam and hasn't even bothered. That's going to cost it.

    That said, when the dust settles the name "Colt" still has cache and may still reappear, as the name "Winchester" has since that company essentially ceased to exist in the early 80's.
     
  25. m500'92

    m500'92 Member

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    "American Stupidity.....the same stuff that put the mistake we now have in the White House and that buys overpriced hollow point ammunition because someone else says it is a "Better Man Stopper""

    There's cheap hollow point ammo too, it doesn't cost that much more. And it actually would work better as it expands to up to double the size as a fmj, to rip up more organs and such.
     
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