The number of international companies that produce firearms or related gear that are opening factories or expanding in the United States has accelerated in recent years. There’s no doubt stateside demand is the primary motivation, along with the advantages of streamlined shipping and American enthusiasts’ preference for “Made in U.S.A.” labels.
In June 2022, Rock Island Armory USA, for example, held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new manufacturing facility in Cedar City, Utah. “We’re very proud to have begun manufacturing quality firearms on U.S. soil,” said Martin Tuason, president and CEO of parent company, Armscor at the event.“This has been a long-time dream for our family, and we’re very excited that the time has come. We’re excited about what the future holds, and I think our customers will be, too.”
Another two major firms followed suit later in 2022. Late last year, Beretta announced it was increasing its production footprint stateside by investing $60 million to build a state-of-the art plant for Norma Precision—a company it recently acquired—to produce cartridges and components in Savannah, Ga. It will cover 300,000 square feet and add to the 1,000 Americans the company already employs.
At about the same time, a press release from Fiocchi explained the firm had selected a 281-acre site in Port of Little Rock, Ark., to build a new ammunition primer manufacturing facility. Total cost for the factory was expected to run around $41.5 million and, once completed, have 120 people on the payroll.
Fiocchi will have a familiar neighbor close by. CZ-USA began phased opening of a new factory, also in Port of Little Rock, in 2020. Its price tag, when complete, could run as high as $90 million and employ up to 565 people. The company had previously manufactured a limited part of its firearm lineup at its Kansas City, Kan., headquarters, but demand was outpacing production.
This year Bersa has also launched a factory in the United States. The BAR15 rifles and BAR9 pistols it introduced at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in January are made in the United States. American Rifleman has reached out to company representatives for more details on the plant, but as this went to press, we had not heard back. We will keep you informed.
There are undoubtedly dozens more either opening or already in operation across the nation. Add the familiar names that have operated out of domestic factories for decades and it’s obvious the United States is an attractive option for gun, ammo and gear companies.
That’s not to say volume of imported firearms has experienced a significant decrease, however. The latest Firearms Commerce in the United States Report (Update 2021) available from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shows that in 2019 a total of 7,011,945 guns were manufactured in the U.S. The same year, 3,986,663—roughly 34 percent of all firearms. In 2020, domestic production figures were not included, but during the first year of pandemic/social unrest demand, firearm imports jumped to 6,831,376.