Sabre Defence is being liquidated

A bank has announced their intention to liquidate Sabre Defence …

Sale by Secured Creditor , Cadence Bank, N.A., as Secured Party under Article 9 Uniform Commercial Code including: all accounts; inventory; general intangibles, equipment; documents; all Government Contracts (subject to approval and novation process).

Sabre is a licensed manufacturer of ordnance including automatic weapons. It is a contractor for the United States government, Department of Defense and also engages in the manufacture and sale of semi- automatic weapons.
Sealed Bids: No later than 12:00 p.m., February 14, 2011

Sabre Defence Industries are best known for manufacturing AR-15 rifles but they also manufactured the civilian semi-auto AUG SA rifle for Steyr. I wonder what this news means for Steyr.

This time last year Sabre made the news when they were raided by the BATFE. It has not been a good year for the company.

[ Many thanks to jdun1911 for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Mr Maigo

    I thought they made, like, ALL our .50cal barrels

  • Rijoenpial

    Hi guys

    IT is sad news to hear a well-known Arms Manufacturer being liquidated, but they can live on as a subsidiary to a major company like FN or HK or even Colt…

    Now, the REAL question IMO is: in these times of financial turmoil, which company has the banking for this bidding?

    I think if they have the power to bid, FN or Colt should bid for Sabre, since they are two of the major suppliers to the USArmy and therefore, they could carry on Sabre’s military contracts.. I think FNH would have a GREAT opportunity here to get the manufacture and inventory and a factory on US soil, which would ease the manufacture of the FN products which are still quite rare to be obtained on US soil…! This could change that!

    All in all, it is a sad day for Sabre, but maybe like Reebok, they can survive, just under new management from a different parent company…

    Go Sabre!


  • SoulTown

    Didn’t they get some big DoD contract? I wonder what happens now…

  • Dom

    Does this make anyone else think of The Office?

    Say yeeaaaeaaaeaeahh, Dunder Mifflin is a part of Sabre!

  • Gerald

    The AUG A3, which was a partnership between Steyr USA and Sabre Defense was discontinued a few weeks ago at around 1800 units, less than 2/3rds of the way through their 3000 unit goal. However, word through the grapevine is that Steyr knew in advance of Sabre’s issues, and pulled the plug on the AUG A3 because of this, but didn’t say anything due to non-disclosure agreements between the two companies, and instead blamed the cease in production to the current state of the economy. Also, it seems that all of the machinery used to produce the AUG A3 defaults back to Steyr, so it seems quite likely that Steyr may soon be searching for a new partner, and production of new AUG A3 models may resume.

    Sabre defense made high-quality AR upper receivers in addition to barrels for the M134 mini-guns used across the armed forces. What I am left wondering is, how could a company with lucrative military contracts go bankrupt in the middle of two separate wars?

    In any case, the firearms market in the US just became more interesting.

  • Bob

    I just checked Cadence Bank on Google and they aren’t doing so well themselves. They’ve had layoffs and were taken over by others. Sounds like they need cash in a hurry and Sabre was the victim.

  • Uncle Fungal

    So is the MultiCam backpack I bought at their booth at the SHOT Show two weeks ago a collector’s item now?

  • Clodboy

    Gerald: “Also, it seems that all of the machinery used to produce the AUG A3 defaults back to Steyr, so it seems quite likely that Steyr may soon be searching for a new partner, and production of new AUG A3 models may resume.”

    Word in Austria (based on leaked diplomatic cables and an investigation by the Austrian print magazine “News”) is that Steyr is planning to sell a large quantity of AUG A3’s to Iran.
    When the US diplomats tried to have the Austrian government intervene against the sale of the HS-50 antimateriel rifles, Steyr basically informed them that as long as their business with Iran is ten times as big as that with the US, they would fight tooth and nail to get the deal through. IIRC, the Steyr rep was quoted as telling them that “If you didn’t like the sniper rifles, you’ll hate what comes next”.

  • Other Steve

    In regards to how Sabre goes under while holding lucrative .mil contracts… From what I have heard, the firearm industry has leveraged itself following the Obama rush.

    I have heard from two separate people inside the industry that Remington is hurting bad. Bushmaster may be closed and their IPO may never happen. Cerberus may be in real trouble.

  • Anon

    My money is on Freedom Group to swoop in and buy them at a heavy discount as a quick & easy way into the Mil-Spec supplier pipeline.

  • Rijoenpial: FN built a US factory 30+ years ago when they won the M240 contract to provide co-axial MG for the M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley. It is in Columbia, SC. Beside the M240, they also build the M16 and M249 there.

    It would be advantageous to Colt to purchase Sabre, if only to get them out from under the UAW’s thumb in Connecticut.

    Other possible contenders would be the Freedom Group, General Dynamics, and ATK.

  • Lance

    Is this the same company who got USMC contracts for M-16A4s?

  • jdun1911

    Bushmaster is next I think. Since closing their factory a few months back they live in name only.

  • That’s a shame – they made some nice-looking military style rifles in 6.5mm Grendel, which isn’t that common.

  • jdun1911

    I forgot about Colt. Colt bonds is in bankruptcy territory.

  • Matthew

    So im starting to wonder. With so many manufacturers living off of the AR-15 platform, how many of them can actually survive?

  • Rijoenpial


    I know about FNH’s facilities in the US… I was merely saying that buying Sabre now would enable them to augment their production capabilities, therefore being able to redirect resources to improve production of the hot items right now such as the FN SCAR and other FN products, items that due to FNH’s contract with USSOCOM, are severely lacking in the civilian market…! This would be a way to expedite production of all these items, both military and civilian!

    It will all come down to the financial backing and strategic market interests: Does the Freedom Group have both the interest and the financial ‘availability’, as well as the remaining US companies… Would General Dynamics be interested in acquiring it? After February 14th, we’ll get the answers to all these questions…

    For FNH, this would be an opportunity they should not waste… Do not forget, FNH is having to focus on the military contracts, hence leaving the civilian market somewhat unattended… This could shift that reality…

    And according to Bob (thanks for that piece of info,Bob), then Sabre might be on sale even!

    Jdun, I agree with you…Bushmaster and, I fear, some other smaller ones might close shop if the economic and financial worlds don’t stabilize soon…


  • Mr Maigo


  • Lance

    FNH is not going to buy Sabre. Actually FNH has been loseing contracts for M-240 porduction lost to Colt and SOCOM canceled the SCAR and is only buying H models which are haveing problems themselfs in some areas. There are no more contracts for M-240 and M-249 weapons ans with the pentagon slahing budgets right and left there wont be money for more. The M-4 upgrade competition has brought the new purchess to M-4A1s to Colt again and Sabre had won a few years ago a USMC contract for new M-16A4 and Navy M-16A3s which I guess is done now since they dont have any money making contracts.

    The firearms industry had a boom and now is a considerable srinking time due to the end of the Obama scare and the shringking of the DOD budget. Remington even is skeptical that the new carbine programs will bring anything and after reading a new article on the Army abandong ther M-113 APC replacement program is being scraped I doubt there going to be Billion dollar contracts for any new rifles comming soon. If anythin more M-4A1 purches may be the only bright spot and Remington and Colt aready announced they want those contracts, its going to be a fight.

  • It’s interesting that the sale is for the company intact, not a piece meal sale. That may mean that a buyer is in the wings, or maybe not.

    I think that Sabre is a wholly owned US subsid. of a British company, which, as far as I know, remains in business.

  • Mac C

    The AR Market was and IS far to saturated. Same goes for the 1911 market. Heck, it could be argued that the mil-style civi rifle market in general is also over saturated. Even in a good economy, how many $1000 (or $2k and up!) rifles could possibly be sold? After the 2008 “rush” the AR market has to be pretty much dried up. If you don’t have a distinctly superior AR product your sales are going to be small. Companies that saw through all the craziness and planned for the long term should be fine. Those that didn’t plan and/or innovate will be relics soon enough.

    There is still room for growth and sales in the industry but I highly doubt the AR or 1911 platforms are where it will be. People have been there and done that (again and again).

    Things like the new Kel Tec Shotgun are different and not “more of the same”. That’s where sales are going to be in the future.

  • Rijoenpial


    I never said and YOU cannot say whether FN is going to advance biddings or not… This is all me speculating and you affirming… Yes, FNH has lost/ended contracts (the M240 was not lost, just like when Sabre and FNH got DOD contracts regarding the M16A4s away from COLT, COLT just got a piece of the M240 pie… Much good it’ll do to COLT, if the M240 will be eventually be discontinued anyway! LOL

    COLT’s Ar-15 single-mindedness and loss of the M4 property has made them the biggest losers with the the opening of the Ar-15 market to as of now, 30 or so companies, therefore making the US supply and kits contracts practically their only livelihood, so to speak… Their monster ugly CM901 design and idea (They have the worst designs for ambi controls in all AR-15 companies presented at SHOT Show 2011 (check out the ATXS bolt hold open on the mag release and the dual sided bolt hold open and bolt release on Spike’s Tactical and some others)…

    So many other companies are making 5.56 AR-15s, and 308 AR-15s as well, so their COLT-only uppers for the COLT CM901 modular magwell are probably gonna blow up in their faces! WHo is gonna buy COLT uppers for 5.56 and 7.62? I mean, who in the US STILL hasn’t an AR-15 replica from one of the thirty companies that presently manufacture them?

    The fact is that though FNH has ‘lost’ some contracts [the SCAR one was not lost (the Mk16 part was dropped)], won others (French) and the props problems you mention (stock latch and RH) are easily solvable, with TangoDown, VLTOR and Troy already on it! And the M240 and M249 have reached, with the IAR, the end of their US cycle, but not their worldwide life span… The IAR is a joke, and soon enough the USArmy will recognise their mistake! Suppressive firepower is key to ingress and egress on the battlefield! The HK IAR is gonna be just a way to get an HK416 slipping through the cracks of the procurement Rules and regulations…

    COLT is another company that is in trouble, so the scenarios for possible buyers are reduced to either FN, HK or bigger fish, such as the conglomerate General Dynamics…

    If FN has the funds, given that Sabre may be sold for a pretty penny, they should go for it… HK would benefit from it as well, being both European companies, therefore augmenting their production capabilities on US soil and maybe enabling the maintenance of Sabre jobs as well instead of having some speculative shark ripping the company to pieces!


  • Lance

    I do agree tat someone will byt Sabre defence. Im just saying FNH Colt and Remington are going to be slow on contracts from the military since the budget is being cut so much. FNH is in just as much trouble thae fact is the GPMG production is slowing to a snils pace in the face of BIG cuts from Capital Hill.

    And FNH USA is another company from FNH Belgum which won the french contracts. FNH USA is the one introble. The belgum company is fine since they build and refurbases FNC and Mags for UK and Belgum itself.

    The Military is going to be entering another 1990s where its going to have to reduce size and make due from what they have.

  • Lance

    Ohh I also think too many compaines make ARs too. WHen the decade in 200 began Colt Olympic Bushmaster Armilite where the only real AR makers now every one makes one.

    The Mk 17 is adopted but only smal numers needed for not too much a money maker for a BIG company.

  • Rijoenpial

    Hi guys,

    In connection to what Lance said about FNH being in trouble, I couldn’t help but notice that Ken Flood, who just a year ago, at Shotshow 2010, was FNH’s National Sales Manager, was now at Shotshow 2011 a Sales Rep of a much smaller company, ADCOR Defense… Since I have seen this guy all 2010 promoting the SCAR 16S, the FS2000, etc, it truck me as odd to watch him in another company, so could that be another sign that the US branch of FNH is, in fact,in trouble? I mean, it’s the NATIONAL SALES Manager!

    Going back to topic, I have seen the news that the owner of Sabre and a few others were arrested for arms trafficking, no less!

    So,the new owner of Sabre will have to spend a LOT in ad campaigns in order to regain the company’s prestige and therefore, regain the consummer’s trust in their products! I mean, having a company involved in such as scandal, I,as a buyer, civilian or mlitary would think twice about giving them my money or having my name or brand attached to a company involved in such heinous crimes!

    As if the world was not violent enough, we have people selling them under the rug to who knows who!

    This just stains the arms manufacturing business, so the new owner will have to completely achieve in separating the company from the company owner’s crimes!

    Tough nut to crack, I think!


  • Uncle Fungal

    “Sabre has more than 120 employees in its Nashville plant. Sabre’s biggest customer is the United States military. Sabre products used by United States armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan include .50 caliber barrels and components of the M2 Browning machine gun, 7.62 mm mini-gun barrels, and M-16A3 and A4 rifles. Sabre is the only non-public company in the world ever to be awarded a contract for a military spec M-16 rifle. Sabre is dedicated to continuing to provide high quality firearms to the United States military, state and local law enforcement, and Sabre’s commercial customers.”

    …without bothering to license anything.

  • someone who knows

    You all seem to be missing the point. Sabre are being sold because the AFT has arrested most of its senior staff due the illegal export of gun parts to the UK.
    The company was profitable.

  • There are no gun sales in America that aren’t protected against government restriction by the Second Amendment with one exception, sales of stolen guns.