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How Colt Lost Its Big Contract For US Military Rifles To FN Herstal

Belgium’s Fabrique Nationale (FN) and Colt have long been competitors on the American firearms market. For almost a century both companies have competed for military contracts, designers, and sales on the American civilian market. However, in the 2000s, FN dealt a blow that stung Colt: it won a contract to produce the M16 rifle and M4 carbine, designs that were almost inextricably linked to the Colt brand. The story of how FN regained a foothold in the American market in the 1980s and continues to remain a couple steps ahead of Colt to this day is one of clever corporate maneuvering and complacency on Colt’s part. Unfortunately for Colt, following its bankruptcy in 2015, it has not come close to even competing with FN globally.

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