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Not Buying American

John notes some cool gizmos the military is checking out. He also comments:

Speaking of the US – is it me, or are all the new small arms in the US arsenal being designed by Europeans? Beretta (the M92 pistol), Benelli (the M1014), FN (the M240 and M249 and now the SCAR), Heckler and Koch (the XM8). Is the US firearms industry so moribund that we can’t compete? Am I missing something because I’m so much more focused on the old stuff vice the new?

It seems to me that the only real American firm in the military game (aside from a few high dollar custom shops) is Colt. They have been for decades. Colt has pretty much told the civilian rifle market in the US that it doesn’t need them. Other manufacturers in the US are more inclined to cater to us civilians. Some of the larger manufacturers essentially customized their rifles for post ban markets and wrote off the military. This also impacted the military as illustrated by the fact that, prior to the expiration of the assault weapons ban, there was a shortage of regular capacity magazines for US troops.

The non-US firms offer a few items to the civilian market but generally try to score military gigs since they tend to be located in countries that aren’t gun friendly (note to H&K: if you make a civie version of the XM-8, I’ll take a couple). You sell to who will buy, I suppose. If the US military adopts the XM8, Colt will seriously have to change their business model. With the recent trend of police forces in the US essentially becoming militarized, some US firms may start catering their rifles to law enforcement. The fact is, however, that there is no motivation for US firms to get in the military rifle game (particularly designing new ones) because they make their money selling to civilians. Gun bans hamper technology.

In the pistol game, most American pistols suck in my opinion. I don’t like 1911s, or S&Ws, or Rugers. Glocks, Sigs and H&Ks pretty much rule as far as I’m concerned. The Feds and police seem to agree with me since they stock up on Glocks and Sigs.

6 Responses to “Not Buying American”

  1. John of Argghhh! Says:

    Well, all those Austrian, Swiss, and German products aren’t old enough to get on my ‘scope, yet…

  2. mostly cajun Says:

    See if you can answer this question:

    Suppose that I have this absolutely revolutionary design for a new fully-automatic weapon. I want to build and test a prototype to validate my design before I go to the military or a major manufacturer. Here’s the question: Do you know how much effort I’m going to have to expend just to get permission to BUILD siad prototype?

    The Federal government has stifled independent developement by burying initiative under a mountain of paperwork.

  3. Fz Says:

    The civie version of M-8 is the SL-8T.

  4. Heartless Libertarian Says:

    Just something to note, though: FN builds the M240 series, the M249, and the M-16 in Columbia, SC, along with other military and police toys. Beretta, I believe, builds M9s in North Carolina (the plant, IIRC, also once made M-16s). And H&K is looking to build a plant in Columbus, GA.

    And if you already build military weapons, I can’t imagine it being too tough to get a permit to make prototypes of new ones.

  5. SayUncle Says:

    Both my uppers (from J&T) are made by FN. I thought they were more parts than complete rifles.

  6. Says:

    What’s the deal with the gov buying foreign made guns?
    Update: Found another. The SPAS-12 shotgun, used by police across our nation. Which btw has been recalled for of all things, accidental discharge. Greeaaat. About as reliable as those Kabooming Glocks.Texas Tattlers talks here about security for the