Steyr, the iconic European maker of some of the past century’s most influential firearms, recently upped its stake in the American market by moving into a new home in Bessemer, Ala. For the past several years U.S. operations had been headquartered in Trussville, Ala.
Known here as Steyr Arms, the wholly owned subsidiary of Steyr Mannlicher GmbH in Austria, relocated to a handsome 33,000-sq. ft. complex that combines offices, a spacious showroom, an assembly shop, ample warehouse space and an indoor range. All of that was on display this past Friday, as principal owner Dr. Ernst Reichmayr and U.S. CEO Scott O’Brien opened the doors to a large gathering comprised of key dealers, local leaders and visitors, along with a large contingent of regional and firearms press.
“As a businessman and optimist, I believe in looking forward,” said Dr. Reichmayr. “We have now put in place the means to move forward, and to do so right here in Bessemer, Ala.”
On behalf of the citizens and city, Mayor Kenneth Gulley welcomed the company, accepting an example of its famed AUG bullpup rifle appropriately stamped, “Bessemer, AL.” All AUGs sold in the U.S. are now being assembled in the new facility.
A special guest on hand to salute the move was NRA 1st Vice President Allan D. Cors, who told the gathering,”I am a collector of military arms and two of the best pieces in my collection, on the basis of condition, are Steyrs.” Cors pledged that NRA would continue to lead the fight to ensure Americans can own the company’s products, as well as to safeguard the ability of gun companies to operate in the U.S. To observe the occasion, (from l. as seen above) Cors accepted a Steyr SM12 hunting rifle from Dr. Reichmayr and O'Brien for use in a future fundraising event.
O’Brien explained that the company needed a specialized facility where, in addition to office, assembly and warehouse space, “… We would have the ability to showcase products in a comfortable setting, a place fitting the quality of our guns. And so this new showroom will help dealers accompanying clients who want their pick of our high-end models.” Along with it’s own brand, Steyr Arms is the U.S. rep for deluxe European brands Merkel and Anschutz, and all of the models on offer are on display in the showroom.
Dr. Reichmayr summed up the big move by noting, “We consider this new facility as a birthday present to Steyr, a present that celebrates the company’s 150th birthday this year.”
Steyr is just one of many companies now manufacturing or assembling firearms in the South, a trend that seems to be growing proportionately to anti-gun activity in other more traditional gun-making states. With its investment in the Bessemer complex, Steryr signals that it is here to stay.