By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
For those who haven’t been paying attention, Colt has announced that they will no longer be producing AR-15 rifles for the civilian market.
Since the announcement was made, teeth have been gnashed. Garments have been rent. People who probably have better things to do have had severely outsized emotional reactions to it.
Granted, they are one of the oldest names in guns, second only to Remington as far as American gun makers are concerned. If I didn’t know that gun companies are businesses, not charities, I’d be losing my mind. “They’ve caving in to the protestors!” one imagines some people thinking.
Well, knock it off. Colt did the right thing. Unless you have a screw loose, frankly it’s not like anyone is really out anything.
Okay, so the reason that Colt discontinued civilian sales of AR-15 rifles is because hardly anyone bought them. Their military and law enforcement contracts have them supplying far more AR-15 platform rifles to those entities. As far as the civilian market goes, they are just one in a sea of companies making AR-15s and – outside of the name – there’s frankly very little to set them apart from almost anyone else.
Not that they don’t make a good product. I’ve fired Colt AR-15s and they’re good. Could I say they’re exceptional? I don’t know that I’d go that far. Very good, sure. Pretty well put together, but frankly they aren’t so much better than, say, a Bushmaster that you should take care to get a Colt.
I can see paying the premium for, say, a Daniel Defense or a Radian Model 1. The build quality, the design, even if it’s mostly the same 70+ year old rifle, really stands out on those guns. But, and again this is just my subjective experience, I can’t say I would necessarily pay more for a Colt than for a Bushmaster, a Ruger or many other entry-level AR-15s.
And on that note, Colt’s AR-15 rifles occupy a weird niche in the market. They’re middle-shelf, but there isn’t a feature that sets them apart from the dozens and dozens of other companies making AR-15 rifles at the same price point, and nothing to really set them apart from the budget guns like Palmetto State Armory.
You can check MSRP on their site, but the least expensive Colt rifle I found on any gun store sites was usually just under $1,100. That’s Winchester Model 70 money, and the Model 70 is a serious gun for discerning riflemen, not a black plastic toy for mall ninja plebs.
Consumers thought so too, which is why hardly anyone bought Colt AR-15s and they estimate a three-month supply at current purchase rates is still sitting on store shelves.
So, they’ve stopped selling a product that didn’t sell very well and are concentrating on the ones that do, namely their handguns. That’s about as no-brainer a business decision gets, folks.
If you really wanted them that badly, you would have been buying them.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.