Most of the top 25 U.S. firearm manufacturers, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation‘s “Industry Intelligence Reports” for 2012, are what you expect. Ruger and Smith & Wesson, the only two publicly traded firearm companies, produced the most firearms in 2010 and then the likes of Remington, Savage, Beretta, SIG, etc follow closely behind.
There are five companies, however, that seem to stand out among the rest. Five that, for lack of a better word, seem obscure. And as to why they produce such a high volume of guns is anyone’s guess. One can deduce that they’re part of a larger company, cornered a niche market or just simply sell a product at a lower price than its competition. But we don’t know any of that for sure because private companies don’t have to report information like that. But with the information that is public and available like trends, sales catalogs and the data compiled by the ATF, FBI and NSSF, we can make some educated guesses.
1. Maverick Arms, or more commonly referred to as simply Maverick, is a subsidiary of Mossberg (oddly enough Mossberg didn’t make the list), and, like its parent company, it specializes in making pump action shotguns. It’s most notable and only product is the Maverick 88, which many consider to be a less expensive Mossberg 500. But to explain why Maverick, with its limited catalog, manufactured more than 450,000 units is it’s often priced under $200 and is available at most Walmarts across the country.
2. Beemiller Inc is the parent company of Hi Point Firearms. Like Maverick, Hi Point has a limited catalog. It produces inexpensive handguns and pistol-caliber carbines. These guns are built for economy and utility, not looks. The slide is bulky and top heavy, and the frame is made of plastic. Looks aside, Hi Point firearms do get favorable reviews. A common thread among Hi Point fans is ‘they’re good for the price,’ which is often set around $200. In 2010 there were 115,200 Hi Point guns manufactured.
3. While Saelio, Inc, like lots of firearm manufacturing plants, produces firearms, it also machines components and parts for other companies. But firearms seems to Saelio’s big money maker. And that part of the company is called Kahr Arms, which specializes in self defense pistols and it also owns Auto-Ordnance Company (Note: In 2010, Kahr bought Magnum Research, but as far as the author knows Magnum Research was not included in the data).
Kahr is one of the premier self-defense pistol manufacturers and is known for quality products set at fair prices (average Kahr pistol costs $752, but they last forever). And 2010 was a good year for Kahr, which manufactured 54,491 units including both pistols and rifles.
4. Keystone Sporting Arms LLC is a company, like Maverick, that has cornered a niche market and can beat just about all its competition in price. Keystone is the hub for Crickett: My First Rifle and Chipmunk Rifles. If you don’t recognize the name, you’ll probably recognize the design. Keystone guns are typical short – youth size – with a bright green or bright pink plastic stock, .22 in caliber and sell for something like a hundred bucks.
As you can imagine, the market where Keystone seems to flourish is with young shooters. Although the company primarily produces .22-caliber rifles and pistols, it also produces some adult models. Keystone manufactured nearly 49,000 guns in 2010 and like Maverick, Keystone products are available in Walmarts across the country along with a variety of other major retailers.
5. Arms Technology Inc operates out of Utah and according to the NSSF graphic, Arms Technology mostly produces pistols – more than 35,000 Arms Technology pistols to be exact. As to what the models are called and their prices is anyone’s guess. When Guns.com contacted a company spokesman he told us that he could not reveal what products or brand that Arms Technology Inc manufactures.
Certainly some of you have heard of some or all of these companies, but we’re guessing many have not. If this data reveals anything it’s this: The companies that made this list are on there for a variety of reasons, or maybe just one, either way they hit a stride and went with it, so maybe they’re worth checking out.
What are the companies that surprised you? Or, what did you expect to have made the list, but did not?