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Who is the most copied, ripped-off US firearms manufacturer in the industry?

Interesting question came up on BARFCOM. What company is the most copied by other companies? I judge that by the amount of companies making copies of the most amount of product made by the copied company.


I think there is no doubt its Colt. With the copies of the M1911/1911A1, and all its variants. The AR15 in all its variants, the Single Action Army and its variants and all of the copies made of those over the years by almost endless companies, who else could it be? Even companies that are nearly peers copy Colt’s firearms. S&W and Ruger both now make 1911s and AR15s, All the Italian and Ruger SSAs and other revolvers.. The AR15 and M1911 alone insure this.

If you had to pick one gun designer, it would be hard for me to think of anyone more copied than JMB himself.

Have your own pick? let me know.

4 thoughts on “Who is the most copied, ripped-off US firearms manufacturer in the industry?”

  1. I can’t even think of any close competitors to Colt on this front. S&W had their stuff copied (licensed? Not sure) by Taurus. Beretta and CZ have lots of copiers, more so in Europe and the Middle East, and the PP/PPK have lots of copiers.

    The Kalashnikov is probably more widely “copied” than the various Colt designs, but I’m not sure that kind of state-to-state sharing that the Soviets did is really comparable to S&W making 1911s and AR-15s.

  2. Colt by number of designs, number of companies, and length if time. People have been copying their stuff since the 1850s.

    Smith, CZ, and MUser are close second though.

    Licences copies don’t count. Ie AK

  3. Remington.

    Look at how many custom rifle action outfits make clones of the Remington 700 action, with the same footprint in the stock, same barrel threads, etc. Over a dozen by my last count…

  4. I didn’t think about the proliferation of M700 like actions. I would say that making a action fit existing stocks, bottom metal, etc. makes them far more marketable.

    Colt is still king of the number of designs copied with copies of its black powder guns from the 1850s on, direct copies of the AR, the 1911, and the Gatling gun (Russia had to pay a royalty for that) to list a few.

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