Top US Gun Manufacturers: Who They Are by State, Part 2

Yesterday we took a look at some of the great US gun manufacturers. Today, we’re continuing our look at companies that manufacture firearms in the US. Not all of them are US owned, but it’s good to know what guns are made by the American people and what state the manufacturing plants are in. Let’s jump right in and look at some more great US gun manufacturers.

Guns on the range
What gun companies still manufacture weapons here in the US?

Daniel Defense: Georgia, South Carolina

Known for excellent quality, Daniel Defense firearms are considered high-end. They didn’t start out as a gun company and their history does not go back near as far as the senior gun manufacturers. They are a newer company in the old world of guns, but they have never let that stop them. While they didn’t start making guns until 2009, they got their foot in the door in 2001. This happened when founder, Marty Daniel, started making sling loops for rifles in 2001. A decade later, Daniel Defense would be making weapons not only for people around the globe, but for the Military and law enforcement as well.

Daniel Defense Rifle
Daniel Defense has a reputation for making a reliable and battle-ready weapon. They are completely made here in the US. (Photo Credit: Daniel Defense)

Kimber: Alabama

Mossberg’s first gun wasn’t a shotgun or rifle, but a handgun. Gun companies like to switch it up and Kimber is no different. A company that is known for producing 1911 pistols, they first manufactured rifles in the late 60s and had a rocky future with bankruptcies and takeovers. It wasn’t until the 90s that Greg Warne and Les Edelman revived the company as “Kimber of America.” The company started to grow and today, it is known for excellent quality and unique finishes on its 1911 pistols. They offer full-size 1911s, mid-size, and a line of micro-9 compact pistols for CCW. They are now based in Troy, Alabama, where they continue to grow.

Smith & Wesson: Massachusetts, Tennessee

Another household name, Smith & Wesson does not need any introduction. They have been around since 1852 and produced the Volcanic pistol in 1854. This pistol looked like a baby of a lever action rifle and used the same concept to make it the first repeating handgun using a self-contained cartridge. While S&W is a household name, they have struggled with staying alive. They were purchased in 2001 by Saf-T-Hammer Corporation for 15 million with the agreement that the new owners also assumed 30 million of debt owed by S&W. The gun company was then moved back and forth to different divisions with different name changes.

Smith & Wesson is known for making revolvers. In recent years, however, they have produced a line of M&P (military and police) handguns, rifles, and shotguns. They also saw success with the Bodyguard and EZ Shield compact guns.

Smith and Wesson J-frame revolver
Smith & Wesson is one of the greatest American gun companies out there. They have a large selection of revolvers and semi-auto handguns. (Photo Credit: Smith & Wesson)

Even though the old-school gun company has been through some shaky ground, they have remained a household name that makes guns in the US. S&W guns had been made in Springfield, Massachusetts for decades. But in 2021, the company announced it would be moving some of its manufacturing operations to Maryville, Tennessee because new laws were being proposed to stop them from manufacturing assault-style weapons. 

Wilson Combat: Arkansas

Who doesn’t like Wilson Combat? They make one of the best-made 1911s you can buy. Wilson Combat has grown from a custom firearms company to a manufacturer of rifles and compact handguns sold around the world. Founded in 1977 by Bill Wilson, the company started as a custom firearms company. They didn’t want to just mass produce, but make custom weapons for competitors, 1911 enthusiasts, and anyone else who appreciated quality craftsmanship. Wilson was trained as a watchmaker but worked in a retail store in Arkansas that sold guns. They are known most for their custom 1911 handguns but make multiple calibers in the AR-15 style of rifles.

Armalite: Arizona

While Armalite may not be one of the dominating gun manufacturers like Sig, Glock, or Wilson Combat, they deserve a mention anyway. Armalite was the creator of the infamous AR-15 rifle. The AR-10 was created first, but the AR-15 is by far the most popular rifle in the US. A lack of education causes many to believe that “AR” stands for assault rifle, when in fact, it stands for Arma-Lite rifle. In 1954, Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation founded the Armalite company. They are owned today by Strategic Armory Corp. and make their rifles in Arizona.

Barrett: Tennessee

Every gun company has its niche and Barrett has one too. To some in the gun world, it is known as the BFG (big freaking gun). To others it is known as the Barrett .50 caliber rifle. It doesn’t matter if you want a bolt action rifle for a sniper or a semi-auto gun that will blow big holes in things miles away, Barret makes big guns. Founded in 1982 by Ronnie G Barret, the company set out to make a semi-auto rifle that could shoot a .50 caliber round. Their first working model, the M82 was introduced in 1982 and has been improved multiple times since then.

Barret rilfe on the range
Barrett is a company that is known for making big guns in .50 caliber. They are available in semi-auto and bolt action. (Photo credit: Popular Mechanics)

As the company began to grow, it started to produce bolt-action sniper rifles and now has contracts with governments around the world. Barret guns are produced in Tennessee and the state is not ashamed of it. In 2016, Tennessee named the Barret M82 the official rifle of the State of Tennessee. Barretts are not cheap guns. But if you want a big gun that shoots a big bullet, Berrett has an American-made rifle ready to sell you.


It’s hard to cover every gun company out there and many more are worthy of being mentioned. Bushmaster, Christensen Arms, FN Herstal, Heritage, Kahr, Kel-Tec, and others make at least some of their guns in the US. There are hundreds of smaller gun companies scattered across the country that are making some great guns today. Those smaller companies may not be listed with the legendary companies yet, but the great companies were also small once upon a time. So, who knows which company will come along to be the next major player in the crowded world of firearms?

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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