Colt to stop selling AR-15s for personal use

Colt has announced that they are exiting the consumer AR-15 market because it is far too saturated with ARs:

THE HILL – Gun manufacturer Colt announced Thursday that it will no longer produce and sell rifles such as the AR-15 for personal use.

Colt President and CEO Dennis Veilleux said in a statement that the company’s “significant” law enforcement and military contracts “are absorbing all of Colt’s manufacturing capacity for rifles.”

Colt is saying this is about the market, not about gun control politics:

He said that “the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity.”

“Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future,” he added.

He also stressed the company’s commitment to consumer markets and gun rights, saying the company would continue to produce “expanding lines of the finest quality 1911s and revolvers.”

“We believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change,” he said. “Colt has been a stout supporter of the Second Amendment for over 180 years, remains so, and will continue to provide its customers with the finest quality firearms in the world.”

According to

The company, originally founded in 1855 by inventor Samuel Colt to make handguns, will stop making rifles for retail sales channels. The news came from The Truth About Guns who confirmed it with Paul Spitale, senior VP of Colt’s commercial business line and was verified by Shooting Illustrated.

“We’re going to focus on the products that our consumers are asking for. We’ve expanded our 1911s and our revolver line, and that market has been very positive for us,” Spitale said. Shooting Illustrated reported that Colt’s rifle line production is occupied, at least for the time being, with outstanding contracts which include orders through police and defense channels.

I don’t know a lot about the manufacturing of modern sporting rifles, but a quick flip through a catalogue and you’ll see plenty of ARs that are quite a bit cheaper than Colt’s M4 Carbine. It sounds like they are simply having trouble competing in the market given their reportedly high-end manufacturing process.

That said, I can’t help but wonder if there’s an aspect of gun control involved in their decision.

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56 thoughts on “Colt to stop selling AR-15s for personal use

  1. Demand going up thanks to BetA male, limited supply, prices (and profit) will go up. This is strictly a shred business move.

  2. I’ve never owned a Colt, most of their lineup was just too costly. I always felt like you were paying more for the name. Not saying they didn’t make a quality product, just pricey. Of course I say that and am currently spending well over a grand building a 300 B.O.

    At least this rifle will be completely left handed.

    1. Oh, you’re a lefty? Hubby is right handed, but he shoots left handed. I stick to shooting right handed, but I MUST shoot a long bow left handed for some reason.

      1. Yep. 100% southpaw. Everything is done left handed, except brushing my teeth. Just can’t get the angle right doing that and stab my gums multiple times. Anyhoo, is your husband left eye dominant?

      1. If you don’t have one I would recommend either Marlin semi-auto or an S&W “plinkster” both in .22LR. They are inexpensive to acquire and shoot and easy on the ears and shoulders. Both are reliable tack drivers and you can get high capacity magazines for the S&W.

        1. Admittedly that’s all Martian to me other than being easy on the ears and shoulders. If I get a gun I will start with a hand gun.

          1. Just a suggestion … many ranges will rent you a pistol or rifle. You may wish to consider firing a few before plunking down your money. If you do go with a pistol check out Ruger or S&W in .22LR. I have arthritis in both hands and the smaller caliber is easy to live with.

      2. It’s a blast. Especially if you can get out of just your basic range set up where you only shoot at paper targets. Set up some obstacles, be able to go prone or run from spot to spot. A lot of fun.

          1. I tried to jog to get away from a bee attack last month and my knees would not cooperate! Getting old sucks, and I am pretty sure I have a few years on you!

  3. I’m not sure I understand the explanation because from what I heard the AR-15 is a very popular rifle. I don’t understand why expanding the market into other guns would cause the demand for the AR-15 to go down.

    Sounds more like political pressure to me. They can do whatever they want but they should have the backbone to tell the truth about it…if they aren’t right now.

    1. I think they’re being sincere. They’re not super expensive but the AR’s in the $5-600 range are probably eating their lunch, and when you get to the Colt 6920 price range there’s a ton of competition.

      1. So you’re saying they’re going to focus on a more expensive rifle (or rifles) because that’s where the competition and money is at? At least the 6920’s I just googled were $800.

        1. No I don’t think they’re making any rifles civilian long guns. I just brought up the 6920 because that was their best selling AR. $800 is pretty cheap for one you should pick it up. I just meant that a lot of people would rather buy a S&W or Ruger for $5-600 and still have a good gun. When you get to the 1k range you can get arguably better quality rifles from manufacturers like BCM and Midwest industries. Colt used to be considered top tier but not so much any more. Though I personally really like their 6920.

  4. Over time I have seen many manufacturers of goods reduce or temporarily cease production. If Colt has determined that the market is full of product their decision is understandable. They may not want to reduce prices in the civilian market lest they come under scrutiny over pricing in the M&P arena. When the excess supply is reduced (and manufacturers can sell at full price) I would not be surprised to see their return.

      1. Possibly a misguided attempt by some flack in their marketing department who does not know what they sell or to whom. 😉

  5. now isn’t that one of the stupidest business announcements ever! Buy someone else’s stuff, we don’t want your business.

    1. No, it’s cost/benefit.

      John sells Widgets. Jane also sells Widgets. It costs $10 to manufacture a widget. Jane sells 90% of her widgets. John sells 5% of his.

      It’s not absurd for John to exit that particular market, to mitigate the manufacturing cost of a product that isn’t moving because Jane’s product is preferred by consumers. Especially if those costs can be better applied to a Wodget in which John enjoys a larger market share.

      Remember Surge? Man I loved Surge. But, not enough people also loved Surge. They loved Mountain Dew. (I hate Mountain Dew, but I loved Surge. Go fig.) It made no sense for Coca-Cola to keep manufacturing Surge when I was the only one buying it. Instead, they’ll apply it to existing products or to R&D for something new. Sucks for me, but I get the business decision.

      1. Yes, but coke didn’t feel they needed to make an announcement about their business decision, is what I’m saying. Sounds to me more like they got leaned on, “want some of the government business? What do you say you make a splash, soak everyone”.

        1. Of course they did. As sales fell in the 90s, Coke announced their discontinuation of the product in 2003.

          These kinds of things are always announced. If only to the stockholders. And just the same, back in 2003 the announcement was reported on and all us Surge-lovers had a meltdown and started snapping up bottles and cans as fast as we could, before it was gone forever.

          I think you’re looking for a black helicopter where you’re hearing a regular ‘ol bird.

          1. Maybe. Soft drinks have been collapsing a long time, more mass product than gun manufacturing, so more people are in the know, stocks, etc… Maybe it’s all on the up and up, etc… but I wouldn’t have done it this way.

      1. Since Betos remark, gun stores are thanking him…they are sold out….so….and we got ours, the day after Obama got re-elected. Sales usually go up when some moron says they want to take them away…I still say the timing smells…

  6. The market is flooded with AR’s. So if they have a shrinking demand it makes sense. The high end market is also saturated . I have one so it’s resale value will go up, so I’m not going to gripe.

  7. Makes sense.

    As a Colt .45 1991A1 owner, I KNOW their products are WAY over-priced.

    You can go to bearcreekarsenal-dot-com and pick up an AR-15 for less than $400. The Colt AR-15 is DOUBLE that or MORE.

      1. …and some who want a premium AR want a chrome lined barrel, others want a proof research barrel, and others will go with a custom barrel from Lilja or Krieger.

        I think high-end buyers will either buy the components they want and put together their “dream AR,” or they’ll go to a high-end maker who gives them a menu of the best components from which to choose.

        Unless cost or brand is the prime motivator, I don’t understand the attraction to buy an off-the-rack mid-range rifle where you’re then “upgrading” costly components to suit your preferences. Better to go super-economical or to just assemble what you want from the get go.

      2. All my custom ARs have barrels that are ether 416R stainless or 4150 with QPQ nitride treatment. I have one Colt LE6920- my first AR and the only one I ever bought fully made. I built a dozen ARs each for less than the Colt cost.

      3. You pay extra for better quality, but the mass market mostly wants the cheaper product, not the better product.

        1. There are so many choices to make with ARs, most of it personal preferences and various trade-offs, a high-end buyer will either a luxury model from a renowned maker where the buyer makes the choices off of a menu, or they will just buy the best parts and assemble the rifle themselves.

        2. Depends. Most people are not going to shoot the barrel out of an AR. So why pay the premium? My PSA cost half as much and works flawlessly.

  8. I believe Colt as much as I believe Hillary Clinton.

    Why do I get the feeling that the democrats are black mailing Colt’s ownership?

    1. Meh, there are a ton of AR platform manufacturers out there today… many high end ones as well. The market is really oversaturated for them. Hell, you can buy an entry level AR nowadays for $500. I think the M&P sport 2 is like $600 and change and it’s a decent rifle. PSA makes some decent rifles for the price. Then you get into 4 digits and there are a lot of quality companies like Bravo, Midwest industries, KAC, Rainier, and so forth.

    2. At first I bit, then after giving it a thought, it makes sense.

      There are a TON of AR-15 manufacturers out there that are outselling Colt at a good pace.

  9. If they are doing this for PR reasons it’s a sham. They will continue to manufacture pistols, which kill more people than rifles. Just more blah, blah, blah.

    If they are doing it because they can’t sell what they make – that’s just good business.

  10. No mention that sales are down in that market. Maybe margins are greater for non civilian so they’re following the money.

  11. Colt: Serving the government not the people.

    What about the old saying, “God created men and Sam Colt made them equal!”

  12. I don’t detect any obvious virtue signaling. If someone wants an AR15, they can get one or put one together for $500 or less than half of what Colt charges. If they want something higher end or even a Colt, they’ll still be out there in the 2nd hand market. Reasonable business move on Colt’s end.

  13. The S&W M&P Sport 2 is down to $480-499, no tax, free shipping, on reputable
    sites like Guybuyers. You just have it sent to your local FFL dealer.
    Most of them no longer charge a transfer fee. If they still do, have it
    sent to Gander Outdoor. No transfer fee.

  14. I wouldn’t put it past the anti Second Amendment Democrats in Connecticut to be behind this. The Democrats have a history of blackmailing businesses.

    “You stop making AR-15’s and we won’t bring a lawsuit against your company in the next shooting that includes one of your weapons.” That’s a Democrat tactic, make no mistake about it. It’s time for Colt to pack up and leave Connecticut and move to Texas, Tennessee, or Alabama.

  15. It’s basic business economics. The firearms market is currently saturated with AR-15 variants and, even though they sell pretty well, the demand still isn’t outpacing production. Why continue spending money on churning out product that won’t necessarily sell right away and will just further flood the market and further undercut your own prices?

  16. Colt made the announcement, or it was leaked, weeks ago, before the latest shootings in Texas and Ohio IIRC. This is economics. There are literally scores of small manufacturers turning out ARs, either billet or forged, and they have a fraction of the overhead Colt has. In this case, focusing on retail pistols and military contract rifles makes great sense for them.

  17. Both my AR’s are Colts. One full rifle, and one just the upper. Got a good deal on them, but yes, they tend to be more expensive compared to the competition. Especially when Ruger is selling a nicely equipped AR for about 500 bucks. No regrets on my behalf. If you want a high end AR building one makes more sense than shelling out a ton of money for one. You can put on all of the features you like, and none you don’t.

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