Ruger to Open Third Plant – Expansion for New Guns

Ruger Plant ExpansionRuger is expanding.

Sturm, Ruger & Co is in the process of opening a third production plant to expand manufacturing capacity, and company president and CEO Michael O. Fifer wants to do it quickly.

“We’re running out of space,” said Fifer in the company’s annual shareholder meeting on April 30.

According to Fifer, Ruger will use the new facility to build new lines of firearms, not to expand production of current firearms.  Fifer stated he expects the new facility would build about ten completely new firearm lines.

To show how much growth Ruger has experienced, consider the number of employees employed at the Prescott, AZ manufacturing facility.  On the weekly Gun Talk radio program, Ken Jorgensen, Director of Media Relations for Ruger, told host Tom Gresham that there were about 150 employees at the plant in 2008.  Currently, there are about 750.

An existing, high-quality facility is what Ruger would like to find.  “I don’t have any desire to build something,” said Fifer.  He stated that there is more risk in building something, and he would prefer to get the new plant up and running “very quickly.”

Ideally, the facility would be of newer construction, about 250,000 square feet in size, and have a “phenomenal electrical [system] in it.”  Fifer stated the company would prefer not to be in an industrial park.

Fifer said Ruger would like the plant to be in a community that supports the Second Amendment, has a skilled labor force and has a low incidence of crime and drug use.

Ruger has employed Greyhill Advisors of Austin, TX to assist with the search.  Currently, three sites are under consideration, but additional sites can still be reviewed.  The current sites are in North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.  Texas, though, may have the edge.

Fifer stated the company had been in contact with Texas Governor Rick Perry’s office, and have discussed projections for the number of jobs that Ruger expects to create.  A meeting was scheduled for Fifer and Perry at the NRA Annual Meetings in May, although the details of the meeting are not immediately available.  Perry’s office has been quite active in bringing new business, especially firearms related businesses, to Texas.

At the shareholder meeting, Fifer stated he expects to hire 50-60 employees at the new plant immediately, with a total of 100 by the end of the first year.  He stated that they anticipate they would hire an additional 100 people each year until the plant was fully staffed at 500 – 700 employees.

One of the ongoing problems Fifer cited for Ruger was difficulty in finding mechanical engineers to help the company advance new projects.  Finding a community with a substantial number of engineers in the workforce would appear to be a priority for the company.

Fifer stated there are three “substantial” new gun projects that are “on ice” because they don’t have enough engineers to push development forward.

Based on the overall tone of the meeting, and Fifer’s statements, I would expect to hear an announcement from the company very soon on a site selection.  I would not be surprised if the company has the new facility up and running by the end of 2013.  That would put them into a position to announce new products at the SHOT Show in January 2014, and have the new manufacturing capacity to fill orders.

About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.

  • TS

    I wonder what kind of shotguns Ruger will be building at the new plant? Double guns or something in the semi-auto category? I’d like to see some competition for the VersaMax

  • Randolph D.

    Texas is definitely the place to go. Some place in east Texas I would think.

    • Brad

      Idaho or Montana are better options.

      Hope you firearms companies start considering the intermountain west more! Much more freedom here.

  • Aaron

    Glad to hear! I’ve been watching the soaring profits by Ruger and many other manufacturers, but was wondering if a “major” was going to announce a full-on expansion. Prior to this all I had heard was “more employees” or “more shifts” to answer the demand.

    Ruger seems to be charging ahead by saying they have as many as 10 new firearms just waiting to be made. Wow!

  • Simon

    This is exciting news! American manufacturing is the best way for the gun companies to create a strong customer base. It will be exciting to see what new product lines are created.

  • Sarge

    Great! More guns to choose from…too bad there’s no ammo to be found without selling your first born!

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  • Dodd Bowling

    I hope Ruger’s new factory ends up here in Texas. But never the less Ruger will still
    build a fine fire arms.

  • Nam Marine

    An excellent Company ! I wish I was healthy enough to go back to work! (Disabled Veteran) I would move to
    wherever they go !

  • Suzanne Johnson

    Nice they want to expand their gun line but wish they would get busy and produce some magazines for the guns they’ve already sold!

  • AZbound

    Whats wrong with Arizona, I dont think they have any more crime or drugs in the Prescott area then any other place, and AZ could use the Jobs. Ruger needs to support the people of AZ who have been buying there guns and supporting them for so long. I visit all the guns shops I can when I am there and most of what I see for sale is Ruger firearms. I have had a bad taste in my mouth about Ruger ever sense Bill coped a deal with the Govt to ban Hi-cap magazines in the 80’s , there magazines are still way over priced and the final straw with me was after waiting for years for the Scout rifle to come out, they make it with their own way over priced mag, what a shame. I guess that why they had to drop the price on it, nobody wants to pay $50 for a mags when they could have made them to use the HK 91 mags, I ended up buying a HK 308 clone and paid two dollars ea for Factory rebuilt HK mags.. Shame on you Ruger, Wake up and smell the Sage brush…” Go Jan brewer”

    • Richard


      Your points are well taken, but Bill Ruger died more than a decade ago. This company is not the same one he ran. The current Ruger company sells a lot of things he never would have. Do what you like, but I think it is a little unfair to beat up a company for something the former and long-dead boss did many years ago – especially when you see their actions since then. I think they were the first company to really push the grassroots effort to stand against the most recently proposed federal legislation weren’t they?



    • steve


      There is not a lack of open, competitively-paid positions available at the Prescott plant. The trick is finding responsible people who are willing to put in a long day’s work in a fairly grueling environment. Many people would rather just work at the mall for less money.

      Also, Bill Ruger died years ago and would have never allowed the production of the LCP, LCR, or other “gangster” guns among other things. It’s unlikely he would have made an AR-platform rifle. The Ruger Firearms of today bears very little resemblance to the original company (and hardly any of the same people work there). Let it go.

      Finally, the scout rifle uses a deeper magazine in order to accommodate longer rounds that would not fit in a 308 pmag or FAL mag. Was this the correct decision? I personally don’t think so, as I pretty much only shoot “standard” loads (read: whatever is cheap that I can buy at the store). However, inferring that it was a money grab is absurd…I’m pretty certain that the sales of additional magazines is not planned to be a significant source of earnings compared to the gun itself when it comes to something like the scout rifle. It’s easy to forget (because we are enthusiasts with plenty of extra mags for our guns) that the vast majority of the consumers in the market for affordable firearms just buy the gun as it comes in the box (and maybe a crappy sling). In such a case, expensive proprietary mags REDUCE the profit from the gun.

  • TSP

    Ruger needs to go to Texas. Notice how Texas is starting to look like Galt’s Gulch?

  • Michael Jones

    How come the CEO is insistent the factory has to be in a pro Second Amendment state, but he goes to work every day at the Sturm, Ruger headquarters in Connecticut?

    If a little company such as PTR can pick up and move EVERYTHING, then Ruger can do the same when all they have to do is move some desks and potted plants. Until then…

    • Richard

      I don’t know, maybe they might have taken the view that they would rather stand and fight than retreat to a different state? That would certainly be a valid decision, right?

      Of course, since nothing in the conversation had to do with the gun laws in CT (this was a shareholder’s meeting discussing business, not politics – and yes, I know one influences the other), the topic of moving the company headquarters never came up. They may be quietly planning to move for all we know.

      It is kind of hard to tell someone else what they should be doing when you are not standing in their shoes and privy to all of the information they have. I suspect moving a corporation’s headquarters, especially one that is publicly traded, is a little more involved than moving “some desks and potted plants.”

      I figured people would be happy they are trying to support pro-Second Amendment communities by bringing hundreds of new jobs there. I guess Ruger doesn’t pass the political purity test?

  • Michael Jones

    No, Ruger doesn’t pass the political purity test…

    …and from a practical point of view, what message does it send the employees, customers, and shareholders when the management is a couple hundred miles or a couple thousand miles away from where the actual “nuts and bolts, boots on the ground” part of the business occurs? I spent decades on production floors before my present job, and an absent boss is no boss at all. Which then begs the question, if the people in Hartford aren’t needed there every day, which ones aren’t needed at all?

    • Richard

      I don’t think I understand what you are saying. Are you suggesting that Ruger cannot be extremely successful if they have a manufacturing plant located in a location other than where the corporate headquarters is? Neither of their existing plants are in CT, and one is on the other side of the country. Do you not believe there is some form of management on scene at these plants? Does the company president have to be on scene making sure the widgets get made?

      If that is your belief, explain how Apple is so successful. I don’t believe any of their hardware is rolling off some line in Cupertino, CA.

      As far as shareholders go, the majority of them are interested in a profitable business, which Ruger is. Certainly no one was at the meeting complaining. As far as customers go, most are looking for a quality product that fits their needs/wants. If there weren’t millions of people lining up to buy Ruger guns, they wouldn’t have the backlog they do, and they would not be opening a third plant.

      You are certainly entitled to your views, but I don’t think you can speak to what Ruger is, or is not, planning to do in CT. Besides, what state is politically pure enough for them to move to that would meet with your approval. Near as I can tell, none of these 50 states are “pure”. Not Texas, not Florida, not New Hampshire, not Montana, not Nebraska…not anywhere.

  • Michael Jones

    I am saying that it is inefficient to have management in one part of the country and the manufacturing concerns in another part. I believe their are tens of thousands of successful businesses that are willing to share the same roof with those who actually cut chips and put stuff together.

    My issue is: I don’t know what logic there that makes staying in Hartford so important in that Ruger would let it separate its management from its manufacturing so it can stay in an anti-gun atmosphere? We do have an industry here in my part of the country in which the management refused to be situated in the same, small town from which their salaries originated, so they moved the headquarters to Omaha. Maybe that is the same issue here. I do think that having headquarters in Connecticut will cost Ruger, the same as Bill Sr.’s refusal to sell 20 round magazines for the Mini-14 made it a pariah amongst many.

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  • Rat

    Bring it to east central Florida. With the early retirement of the space shuttle program, there is no shortage of engineers, machinists, etc. as well as potential facilities. This is a highly technical population with a strong pro-gun mindset in a state without income taxes. The Cape Canaveral area also boasts a strong presence of existing firearms manufacturers with ready access to interstates, railroads, airports (military and civilian), and the canaveral port. Brevard County has a lot to offer the firearms community

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