Czech Gun Company CZ Acquires Colt – After Famed American Company Stopped Selling AR-15s
One of the most legendary firearms companies in American history is now a subsidiary of a Czech Republic-based corporation.
Česká Zbrojovka Group SE has acquired Colt for $220 million, acquiring a 100% holding of the American gunsmith. Colt is famed as one of the first major manufacturers of AR-15 and M-16 rifles, with the company equipping military service members in Vietnam and subsequent wars. Vietnam veterans in large part were among the first Americans to buy AR-15 rifles as civilians, having become familiar with the family of rifles in the southeast Asia conflict.
Colt had declined in prominence in the American firearms market for one primary reason- they stopped making AR-15s. Colt AR-15’s remain some of the most highly sought rifles by American gun collectors, but the company ceased manufacturing new ones for civilians in 2019, making them for law enforcement and the military only. Many had speculated that Colt made the decision in response to criticism from the gun control lobby.
Colt still owns the specific “AR-15” designation patent, having originally purchased the rights to manufacture the rifles from Armalite. AR-15 rifles have since become America’s semiautomatic civillian rifle of choice, and are available in a wide variety of configurations.
Colt’s decision to stop producing their most popular firearms may have been immensely premature, as well. Sales of AR-style rifles have exploded in 2020 following the Chinese coronavirus epidemic, with rifles consistently sold out at major retailers and online gun stores.
CZ expects to close the deal giving it full ownership of Colt in the second quarter of 2021. The move transfers ownership of a storied American gun manufacturer- which has produced and sold guns since 1836- to a European parent company, and may even have some national security implications.
If you’re in lawful commerce of firearms, it’s probably not a good idea to allow pressure from Democrats and haters of gun rights to dictate your business strategy.