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Colt's Manufacturing Company

Colts Manufacturing Company
Company nameColt's Manufacturing Company
Company typePrivate
Founder(s)Samuel Colt
HeadquartersWest Hartford, Connecticut, USA
ProductsFirearms, weapons
Employees~ (2004)

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Colt's Manufacturing Company (CMC, formerly Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company) is a United States firearms manufacturer, whose first predecessor corporation was founded in 1836. It is best known for the engineering, production, and marketing of dozens of different firearms over the later half of the 19th and the 20th century. Colt has made many civilian and military designs used in the United States, as well as many other countries.

The most famous colt products include the Walker Colt, used by the United States Mounted Rifles in the Mexican-American War, and the "Colt .45" revolver, the proper name of which is the Single Action Army or Peacemaker. Later well-known CMC revolvers include the Colt Python and Colt Anaconda. John Browning worked for Colt for a time, and came up with now ubiquitous parallel slide type of design for a pistol, which debuted on the Colt M1900 pistol, leading to numerous pistol designs including the famous Colt M1911 pistol. Though they did not develop it, for a long time Colt was primarily responsible for the M16 rifle production, as well as of many derivative firearms. The most successful and famous of these are numerous M16 carbines, including the Colt Commando family, and the M4 carbine.

Colt developed many important less known firearms that were often ahead of their time. Among the most recent was the CAR-15 family an innovative weapon system family of the 1960s, as well as a number of 5.56 mm machine guns such as the Colt CMG-1, CMG-2 in the 60s in the 70s. Colt invented the Colt SCAMP PDW, a little known firearm of the late 1970s that was among the first of its type. Colt produced the first 15,000 Thompson Submachineguns Mod 1921. Another important design was the lesser-known Colt-Browning Model 1895 (Potato Digger) - one of the first gas-actuated machine guns. Going back even farther reveals other important products of the 19th century. The Colt Revolver Rifle, one of the first repeating rifles, and used during the American Civil War. In addition to this were a large number of famous revolvers, such as the 1847 Colt Walker, the smaller Dragoon Mod. 1848 of the same caliber .44, the Navy Mod. 1851 cal .36, the Pocket Mod. 1849 cal .31 and numerous other famous revolvers of the 'Wild West'. His designs played a major role in the popularization of the revolver and the shift away from earlier single pistols and pepperbox type weapons. While Colt did not invent the revolver concept, his designs resulted in the first very successful ones with patents on many of the features that lead to them being so popular.

In 2002, Colt Defense was split off from Colt's Manufacturing Company. Colt Manufacturing Company now serves the civilian market, while Colt Defense serves the law enforcement, military, and private security markets worldwide. Prior to the split Colt was well known for their production (now taken over by Colt Defense) of the M1911 semi-automatic pistols, M4 carbines, M16 assault rifles, and M203 grenade launchers, although none of these were Colt designs, excepting the M1911 . Diemaco of Canada was purchased, and renamed Colt Canada, though most of its products remain the same. Diemaco and Colt had earlier worked together on designs and shared many similar products.

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