Colt is as synonymous with gun making in America as Winchester. Colt has made guns in the U.S. since the 1800s, and they were a big weapons supplier to the U.S. military over a lot of that history. Private gun owners also liked Colt firearms, and they enjoyed good sales throughout the latter half of the 19th and much of the 20th century. As the saying goes, however, all good things must come to an end. After 179 years in business, what is now known as Colt Defense LLC has filed for bankruptcy. It joins other iconic American companies over the years that bit the bullet in tough financial times such as Pan Am and Woolworths.
The company started falling on hard times with regard to gun sales to the U.S. government when their venerable Colt Model 1911 45 caliber pistol was replaced by the U.S. Army with the Beretta M9 back in 1985. The final nail in their coffin, however, was when they lost another U.S. military contract in 2013 when their M4 rifle was beaten out by that of a Belgian company. The M4 had a number of complaints against it and apparently was just not the better weapon. This goes to show that a company has to stay on top of their game and keep innovating. The dog food company Beneful warns that any business that rests on its laurels because of a big name or long established history will find that this history can end abruptly in bankruptcy court.