Although there hasn’t been a big formal announcement yet, it’s publicly known that Sig Sauer is officially in the ammunition making business. For the first time, Sig is producing a line of jacketed hollow-point self-defense loads in a variety of handgun calibers. In fact, you’ll be seeing some of the first batch for sale here at Lucky Gunner any day now.
This might seem strange to some people. Almost like if Ford started selling gasoline. But the idea of gun companies making ammo and expanding their offerings into ammunition is not a new concept. Often times, a gun company will just lend its name to a line of ammo for marketing purposes. But in some cases, as with Sig Sauer, a gun company will actually handle the loading and manufacturing process.
I did some digging around and was able to come up with nine firearms companies that have, past or present, either made, sold, or marketed ammunition with their brand.
Ammunition with the Barrett brand and headstamp is available in .50 BMG, .416 Barrett, and 6.8 SPC. Over the years, their ammo has been produced by different manufacturers to Barrett’s specifications.
Although several cartridges contain “Colt” in their name, I could find no evidence of Colt ever having actually produced or sold ammunition. Currently, Colt licenses their name and logo for use in re-branded Silver Bear rifle ammunition produced in the Barnaul Plant in Russia.
FN Herstal/Fabrique National
Among the best known FN products are their Five-SeveN pistol and P-90 submachine gun, both chambered in their 5.7×28 cartridge. In the U.S., FN branded 5.7×28 ammo is loaded by Fiocchi using Hornady bullets. FN also produces 5.7×28 in their own plant in Belgium, but most of that is restricted for sale to only military and law enforcement.
FN has produced both firearms and ammunition for many decades, though FN branded ammo is rarely found in the U.S. outside of the 5.7×28 caliber. Occasionally, you might run into a vintage box of FN ammo, like the .380 ACP pictured below.
Nosler is the only company on this list that started with ammo and expanded into firearms rather than the other way around. Since 1948, Nosler has been known as a manufactuer of high-performance expanding bullets, and eventually they began offering loaded ammunition. Recently, Nosler expanded into the firearms market with a line of semi-custom rifles.
Remington is probably the best known example of a company that produces both firearms and ammunition, and they’ve been doing both for a long time. Remington existed as an independent firearms manufacturer from 1812 until 1888, when they were purchased by a company that also owned Union Metallic Cartridge. The two brands merged in 1912, and today Remington produces ammunition under its own name as well as Remington-UMC branded ammo.
In 1934, Remington acquired the Peters Cartridge Company, which is why Remington brass is still head stamped with “R-P”.
A new venture for 2014, Sig has entered the ammo market with a line of self-defense pistol ammo in .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP , and .357 Sig. The ammo is loaded at a Sig owned facility in Kentucky.
Smith & Wesson
In a partnership with Italian ammo maker Fiocchi, Smith & Wesson acquired the U.S. ammo company Alcan. From 1972-1980, S&W ammo was produced in Alton, Ill with both S&W and Alcan branding.
Wilson Combat is known as a maker of custom and semi-custom 1911 pistols, but they’ve branched out into a few other areas like custom rifles and shotguns. They also sell a line of custom match-grade handgun ammunition that is loaded in-house by Wilson.
The history of this one can get pretty complicated, but the basic gist is that the Winchester Repeating Arms company specialized primarily in firearms from 1866-1931. From 1931-1980, Winchester was owned by Olin, who merged the company with the Western Cartridge Company. Eventually, the Western name was dropped and all their ammo was branded as Winchester. In 1980, Olin sold off the guns side of the business, which was re-formed as the US Repeating Arms company. Olin kept the Winchester ammo side going, as well as ownership of the Winchester name.
Olin leased the use of the Winchester name to the US Repeating Arms Company, who continued producing the original Winchester rifles. USRAC was purchased by FN Herstal in 1989.
Today, Olin still owns the Winchester trademark, which is licensed to FN Herstal, who produces updated versions of the original Winchester rifle and shotgun designs in Japan, Belgium, and the US. The Olin Winchester Ammunition company that exists today is essentially a descendant of the old Western ammo company.
I’m sure I’ve left some important names off this list. For starters, I’ve only included companies that have sold to the American civilian market. But even considering only domestic companies, there are bound to be a few omissions. Let me know what I missed in the comments and if I can verify it, I’ll add it to the list.