Colt is one of the more venerable firearm manufacturers in the country. The AR-15 is one of the more venerable designs still regularly sold in the country today. A Colt AR-15 is one of the better options out there for those looking for what some feel is a top-shelf AR-15 (depending on who you ask, as in all things firearm related).

However, it seems the legendary manufacturer is suspending production of the most popular rifle in the country for civilian sales.

There have been numerous articles recently published about Colt’s participation in the commercial rifle market. Some of these articles have incorrectly stated or implied that Colt is not committed to the consumer market.  We want to assure you that Colt is committed to the Second Amendment, highly values its customers and continues to manufacture the world’s finest quality firearms for the consumer market.

The fact of the matter is that over the last few years, the market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity. Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, our warfighters and law enforcement personnel continue to demand Colt rifles and we are fortunate enough to have been awarded significant military and law enforcement contracts.  Currently, these high-volume contracts are absorbing all of Colt’s manufacturing capacity for rifles.   Colt’s commitment to the consumer markets, however, is unwavering.  We continue to expand our network of dealers across the country and to supply them with expanding lines of the finest quality 1911s and revolvers.

At the end of the day, we believe it is good sense to follow consumer demand and to adjust as market dynamics change. Colt has been a stout supporter of the Second Amendment for over 180 years, remains so, and will continue to provide its customers with the finest quality firearms in the world.

In other words, Colt is backing away from making AR-15s for the civilian market because they’ve made a ton that are just sitting in warehouses so they’re going to focus on their government contracts.

This has apparently upset a lot of people in the gun community, but it shouldn’t. While AR-15s are selling really well right now, that’s a short-term bump in sales, not necessarily a sustained increase in demand for the rifles. If they’ve got enough to meet civilian demand but government contracts are going unfulfilled, of course they’re going to adjust to focus on those contracts. That’s where money is still coming into the company.

Of course, it’s also possible this is just an excuse and they have no interest in making AR-15s for private citizens anymore. If so, then there’s no skin off the market’s nose. There will be a lot of other companies out there who will be more than happy to take up that market share.

I don’t think that’s the case, though. We’ve known that sales of new firearms have been sluggish for the last few years now and there is a backstock of a lot of different gun models. It’s perfectly reasonable to accept Colt’s explanation and take it all at face value.

At least for now.

When demand increases, though, it’ll be a good idea to make sure they readjust accordingly.