Ruger and North Carolina officials announced this week that the popular firearms maker will be expanding their operations in the Tar Heel State. 

The company plans to add roughly 60 production and supervisory jobs while investing approximately $10 million at its Mayodan factory in Rockingham County over the next three years. The $26 million site, founded in 2013, currently employs 490 workers, according to a release from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's office. 

“North Carolina’s skilled workforce continues to make our state a smart choice for growing manufacturers,” said Cooper in a statement. “Today’s expansion by Sturm, Ruger & Co. highlights our state’s commitment to growing with companies and is a strong investment in the future of Rockingham County.” 

According to statistics from federal regulators, Ruger produced 179,676 handguns in Mayodan during 2018 alone, the most recent year figures are available. About three-quarters of those were .380s while the remainder were .22s. While those are big numbers, the plant is also a large-scale rifle works, cranking out 282,584 rifles the same year, with more than 15,000 being exported to overseas customers. 

Salaries for the new jobs are expected to average $44,033 per year, adding $2 million per year to the local economy. Rockingham County’s average annual wage is $35,146, making the Ruger positions high-paying for the area. 

“We are thrilled to achieve so many goals with this project,” said Mickey Wilson, Ruger’s vice president of Mayodan operations. “This expansion will help us to grow our business and further expand our diverse lineup of rugged, reliable firearms, while at the same time expanding our presence in Rockingham County.”

In addition to Mayodan, Ruger has production plants in Arizona and New Hampshire. The company recently paid nearly $30 million to acquire Marlin Firearms from bankrupt Remington and Christopher J. Killoy, Ruger's CEO, said the company was looking "forward to re-introducing Marlin rifles in the latter half of 2021."

Ruger is not the only manufacturer expanding in 2020's booming firearms industry. Mark Smith, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson, told investors his company added 287 new jobs last quarter.

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