Colt Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
154 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As noted in a recent thread, the Florida Highway Patrol's(FHP) last revolver before they went over to the Beretta was the Python. How many major police agencies carried Pythons before the dawn of the semi-auto age? Did Colt loose it's dominance in police sales only because they had no DA semi or were there other reasons also?
 

·
*** ColtForum MVP ***
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
I don't know who they were, but I know at least a few departments issued Pythons, because through the 70's and 80's I would occasionally see used police issue Pythons being sold by big distributors.

Of course, there were few departments that could justify buying the most expensive DA revolver ever made in America.

For whatever reasons, S&W managed to capture the police market with their Model 19 and 66, and later the 686.

Colt maintained parity with the Trooper, and held on at least for a while with the Trooper Mark III, but S&W wound up with the police handgun market in the 80s'.

Colt was loosing market share long before the Great Change to the auto pistol.

When the change began, S&W was unprepared for an upstart foreign maker named Glock to literally eat their lunch, and Colt had already lost their lunch.

Colt had a brief window of opportunity in the auto market, but fumbled, bumbled, stumbled, and dropped the ball.
Colt never came up with a viable "Wonder Nine", and when they did, the All American 2000 was too late, and WAY too little.

WHY Colt failed to produce a viable hi-cap auto is subject to interpretation, with reasons running from too much attention directed to military sales, to too much reliance on assuming that people would continue preferring the 1911, to assuming that the police would stay with the revolver.

Probably all are true, and were really symptoms of a firearms company being a small division of a huge corporation, which considered the firearms part to be an embarrassment.

Colt was plagued by a corporation sending a new company president down every year or so, often one who not only didn't known anything about making guns, but one who often didn't know, or care about guns.

These people had to make a "splash" to impress the corporate board that he was effectively managing the company, so guns got introduced, discontinued, reintroduced, and discontinued again in a bewildering maze that left customers and dealers unsure of what was available.

Coupled with The Great Strike, the longest and most divisive in American history, Colt just drifted.

Business decisions were made that even at the time SHOULD have been glaringly apparent as stupid.
When Colt was desperate for money, and struggling to hold on, they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing to import a high-end over and under luxury shotgun into a market already owned and saturated by other makers.

When what Colt needed was a good DA hi-cap auto acceptable to the police and civilian market, they simply choked and led cavalry charges off after "Smart Guns" and failed designs bought from other people.

All these problems can be traced directly to the "Harvard-Wharton Master's Degree in Business" attitude.
This theory teaches that WHAT you make is totally unimportant, and that what goes on in product development and on the factory floor doesn't matter.

ALL that matters is the financial end of things.
Watch the money flow, show a profit on the next Quarterly Report and everything will be fine.
This theory was responsible for damaging and destroying many American companies, and Colt was one.

The bottom line was, the police were buying, but Colt went out of their way NOT to sell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,971 Posts
Way to go dfariswheel and you said it so succinctly. Hit the nail on the head.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
154 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Dfariswheel, Your insight makes it clear that Colt's long term business model was self destructive to say the least. I guess all great company's at some point reach a peak only to start the inevitable decline. Competition is a cruel master. I had not thought about the issue untill you mentioned it, that few departments could justify buying something as expensive as a Python. That is one of the problems that gun manufacturers face, most customers don't want high quality, just something that works and is cheap. We live in a Walmart world.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
How true. As a former general manager (Harvard grad) was fond of saying: "Some of you have the misguided notion that our purpose here, is to make cookies. Well, you're wrong. Our purpose is to make MONEY, and it just happens that we do it by making cookies. It could just as easily be bras or batteries."

These are the same ones who refer to employees as "resources."
 

·
*** ColtForum MVP ***
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
The last verified police purchase of the Python that I know of was.......Kuwait.

After they got their country back, they bought Mercedes police cars, and armed their cops with Pythons.

I've often wondered just what American cities had issued those ex-police Pythons to their cops.

On the subject of Colt's problems. The Wharton-Harvard Master of Business attitude was responsible for most of the problems companies had from the 1960's up to today.

I've never understood how a idea so thoroughly discredited could still be followed so slavishly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
154 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Nero, A Harley like turnaround would be great. If memory serves me, HD was saved from the void in the early 80's by the placing import restrictions or tariff on foreign made bikes coming into the US. I don't think the power people in either party today would do anything today to help the firearms industry.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top