Colt Defense

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Colt Defense LLC, originally Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company, is an American arms manufacturer based in Hartford , Connecticut . The company mainly produces assault rifles , self-loading pistols , including the famous M1911 , and revolvers .



In 1846/47 Samuel Colt and Captain Samuel Walker designed a further development of the Paterson revolver, a large-caliber percussion revolver officially called the Model of 1847 Army Pistol by the army . Since Colt did not yet have its own manufacturing facility, these 1100 Walker Colts were manufactured in Eli Whitney Jr.'s factory in Whitneyville and shipped in June 1847. It was contractually agreed that after delivery of the weapons, the production machines and tools would become Colt's property. Towards the end of 1847 he began to build up his own weapons production in rented buildings and by the end of 1848 over ten thousand revolvers had already been produced; they were successor models to the Walker and smaller pocket revolvers. In 1848 he bought a piece of land on the Connecticut River in Hartford and built his own arms factory, the South Meadows Armory, as the successor to his bankrupt Patent Arms Manufacturing Company .

In 1855 he converted the company into a public company, Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company . In the 19th century, Colt was one of the major gun manufacturers for revolvers alongside Smith & Wesson , Remington , and Merwin, Hulbert & Co.

Colt Single Action Army Model 1873

Colt's main product was the Colt Percussion Revolver , a variant of the Colt Model 1855 Sidehammer revolvers and rifles , later the company brought breech loading revolvers like the Colt Single Action Army and more modern revolvers, repeating rifles like the Colt-Burgess Rifle and the Colt-Lightning Magazine Rifles as well the Gatling bolt-action gun on the market. The collaboration with John Moses Browning , which began after 1890 , also started the development and production of automatic weapons such as machine guns (Mod. 1895) and pistols. Between 1900 and 1903 the were the first brought by Colt on the market self-loading pistol, Model 1900 Automatic Pistol , one after the Browning system locked blowback in caliber. 38, 3500 copies made. A further development of this weapon was, among other things, the Colt M1911 , which was the standard pistol of the US Army from its start in 1911 to 1985.


Until after the Korean War , Colt concentrated on its core business with revolvers and pistols, but also licensed products such as the Browning Automatic Rifle and third-party orders such as the production of the 1921 Thompson submachine gun developed by John T. Thompson . Due to the extensive orders in both world wars , Colt was able to build factories with more than 15,000 employees by 1955.

After the Korean War, Colt could no longer keep up with the decline in orders and obsolete production equipment and had to look for new investors . From 1955 Colt was part of the Penn-Texas Corporation (later Fairbanks Whitney ) from Leopold D. Silberstein.


In 1955, the company launched the legendary Colt Python revolver model .

In 1960 Colt was able to establish itself in the military rifle market with the purchase of the rights to the M16 from Eugene Stoner's ArmaLite . Not least because of the Vietnam War , the M16 laid the basis for Colt's extensive assault rifle range today .

In 1964, Fairbanks-Whitney was renamed Colt Industries .

In the 1980s, the company concentrated increasingly on military weapons; the civil handguns business area suffered from the expiry of patent rights and various wrong decisions in model policy. In addition, experts and specialist journalists accused the manufacturer in this area of ​​a significant loss of manufacturing quality in old and new models.

In 1988 Colt lost the US Army tender for the continued production of the M16 to FN , which, together with the decline in sales of handguns in the American market, almost led to bankruptcy . Therefore, the company was sold to CF Holding Corporation in 1990.

After that, Colt was able to enter new markets with the development of the M4 assault rifle and new pistols.


In 2002 Colt was divided into the segments "Military", "Law enforcement" and "Private security / defense".

The "Law enforcement" segment offers weapons specifically for the police and civil security forces. "Military" offers weapon systems for military units, for example the M4 carbine , which is widely used by the American military, and the M45A1 self-loading pistol . The last segment, “Private security / defense”, produces a range of weapons for civil use, for example hand-held sports weapons such as the Colt M1911 a1 / 2 .

In June 2015 the bankruptcy was opened after a claim could not be settled.

Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (selection)

Web links

Commons : Colt  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. from Associated Press : Colt Industries to Sell Its Troubled Firearms Unit. In: Los Angeles Times . November 29, 1989. Retrieved June 20, 2015 .
  2. ↑ Gun manufacturer Colt Defense opens bankruptcy proceedings. In: The world . June 15, 2015, accessed June 20, 2015 .