How many man hours did it take to manufacture your Filipino 1911?

The Heckler & Koch MP7 in action.

Reuters has published a fascinating look into Filipino gun industry that is transforming from illegal backyard workshops to legal factories. The factory highlighted in the article, Shooters Arms Manufacturing, manufactures guns for American Tactical Imports.

ATI FX Titan being cleaned in the Shooters Arms Manufacturing factory.

The basic model ATI FX45 1911 has an MSRP of $489.95. How many man hours do you think it takes to make? (Emphasis added) …

“We are actually having some difficulty in keeping up with the orders because it usually takes at least two weeks to make one .45 caliber pistol, even if I work 16 hours a day,” he said.

“When we were children, we were already surrounded by guns. It was the world of our fathers,” said Elmer Genzon, a third-generation gunsmith who once made “paltik”, or illegal weapons, out of scrap metal and bits of angle iron.

“We grew up making guns.”

“We no longer have to worry about police raids and we also have a steady source of income, plus some health and other social benefits,” Genzon, 33, told Reuters while he wrapped a handcrafted model of a 1911 Colt .45 destined for a dealer in Rochester, New York.

A small army of 400 workers assembles revolvers and pistols at the Mandaue factory, which exports guns to the United States, Australia, Italy and Thailand.

The article is of a political nature, but I decided its non-political content was to good not to blog about.

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.


  • Jeff

    The Filipinos love the 1911 as much as we in the states do and make great guns.
    Too bad there’s a large stigma on casted parts, just like how norincos are often dismissed as having made from railroad tracks

    • Flounder

      It was my understanding that at least some norico 1911’s were actually made of a much harder steel than we use in the US… And that they for the most part were decent pistols.

      Am I completely mistaken?

      • Kyle

        I know that the Norinco 870 clone is much more sturdy and durable than the equally priced 870 Express.

        • Phil White


          From what I’ve learned the Norinco is all steel whereas the Remington has a plastic trigger guard and other less expensive components. Cheap labor:-)

      • Jeff

        Yep, if I recall correctly, many gunsmiths cringe from working on them because they are notorious for dulling drill bits.

        Norincs got their fame because Bill Wilson (of Wilson Combat) started using them as base guns for custom builds. After that, people grudgingly accepted that they’re as good as, if not better than, a GI issue 1911. But since the Clinton ban on the norinco company, their guns are drying up… the 1911 used to be 300-400$ 5-6 years ago. They can fetch 500-600$ now.

      • Mullberry Blue

        we filipinos make better pistols than chinese. armscor and shooter from the philippines is way better than chinese fucking norincos…

  • pest

    The statement you emphasized has nothing to do with how long it takes to make an export model at the big legal factory. It was made by a worker who’s still making illegal guns one at a time in a black market factory.

  • Mr. Fahrenheit

    Two weeks!?

    That guy needs Six Sigma.

    • Mike M.

      If he did that, it would take him at least a month to make a gun. More likely six weeks.

  • TangledThorns

    I’m all for buying American but Filipinos put a lot of pride in their work and we have good long history with them.

    • Phil White


      That they do. They have a long history of gun making as well as a bond with the 1911 because of WWII. Talking with the plant manager over there you can really feel the pride they have in the work they do. Per capita they have a ton of competition shooters.

      • AC434

        During its campaign against the Moros, 1899 –1935, the U.S. Army adopted the Colt .45 Model 1911 semiautomatic pistol after American soldiers found that the .38 caliber New Army Long Colt and Smith and Wesson revolvers they had previously used were unable to stop the fierce Moro warriors of the Southern Philippines.

        Eyewitness accounts describe Moros continuing to kill American soldiers with their barongs and kris after receiving multiple rounds from the .38 pistols and .30 caliber Krag rifles.

        Realizing the Moro was tougher than any opponent previously encountered, the Army requested guns with more “knocking power” to physically shock and immobilize their opponents. Thus the 45 Cal. 1911.

        • Phil White


          They also brought along some 45 revolvers as well.

    • Andy from West Haven

      I’ve looked at three different ATI 1911’s. All had better slide/frame fit than my Colt. I love my Colt but the ATI guns fit together like they were done by a custom smith.

      Not sure I’d be fully confident in a 10mm but maybe that’s why they don’t offer one. But in a .45? Yeah, I have one on “the list”.

      The Phillipinos know how to make a fine 1911 and for a sick price. I hope to have one myself next year.

      • Phil White


        I’ll be doing an ATI 1911 review fairly soon:-)

  • Joe

    So the Philippines has almost 3 times more homicides than the US, while the US has nearly 19 times more guns. A person could come to the conclusion that the Philippines needs more guns in the hands of it’s citizenry.

    • Phil White


      A good number of these homicides are due to the radical Islamic groups fighting the government and targeting civilians.

    • Frank

      The Philippines doesn’t have 3x the homicide rate of the United States. The quoted number in that article is nearly a decade old. The Philippines has a homicide rate only marginally higher than the US.

      • G3Ken

        The Philippines is divided into three regions, Luzon, the main island in the north, which contains Manila, as well as the former Subic Bay Naval Station, NAS Cubi Point, Clark AFB and San Miguel Naval Communication station to name a few.

        In the middle is the Visayas, a region of some 7,000 islands, some of which make the best of the Carribean look like dumps (hope Americans stay away). The capital city of the Visayas is Cebu, which is a nice city.

        The southernmost region is what gets all the press. It’s Mininao, home to Abu Sayaaf, and other smaller groups of Muslim extremists. There are nice areas on Mininao as it is a beautiful island and the Muslims don’t occupy ALL of it, but I stay away, just to be sure. So many great places, why chance it? Especially when not carrying.

        Overall, despite the fact that there is precious little “middle class”, either you have money or you’re dirt poor, it is a VERY safe place, Mininao excepted.

        Everywhere you go in Manila, you see skyscrapers being built. There have to be at least 50 under construction, with cranes dotting the Manila skyline. Mark my words, the Philippines are going to boom, like Korea used to. The PHP (Peso) is a currency I have decided to invest a fair amount in. My original plan was $AUS, Canadian $ and Swiss Francs. I’m adding Pesos to that list as I divest myself of dollars.

    • G3Ken

      Sorry, meant to say “Mindinao”, but for some reason, type like crap.

  • Mike Knox

    Two weeks? For a pistol? How many work hours does it take to build those autoloading shotguns those guards carry everywhere.

    And by everywhere, I mean everywhere. In banks, malls, hospitals, even in public schools. Those things were like Franchi SPAS-15s and they tote those around schoolchildren?

    • Boyet Mejia

      Bear in mind that those “two weeks” were at the back of a hut in a rice field, using hand tools powered by human sweat. The big gun factories like Armscor and Shooters’ Arms do have cnc machines where individual parts are made in batches. Sorry but you need to read the whole article to put it in the proper context. Here it is, cause you missed the link or too lazy to click it >>>

  • Lance

    Looks nice. ive seen nothing wrong with Asian made .45s. Are they as good as a Wilson? Thats up to be debated.

  • G3Ken

    Just came back from the Philippines a little more than two weeks ago after visiting relatives. I met my wife while she was doing her internship at the US Naval Hospital in the Philippines (Subic). Her brother has one gun, an Armscorp 1911 clone in .45 ACP and I have to say, it is NICE. Caveat, I did not get to shoot it.

    Unlike the US, Filipino homes are typically made of concrete, cinder block, with stucco on the outside and plaster on the inside. He explained he bought the gun “for protection”. He’s a business executive and I guarantee makes more money than 99% of us. Thing is, when I asked him about defending his house, he had it all wrong.

    He has a big-assed closet in the master bedroom that he’d send his wife and kids, then hide behind the bed for “protection”. I explained the futility in that; it may be “concealment”, but it isn’t cover. The door opens inward to the wall away from the bedrrom. There’s a big 3′ deep concrete wall that he keeps a small fridge and some crap on it, then the closet. I had him move the fridge and explained that his room is perfectly designed for self-defense. He’s git a wall of concrete to stand behind, need not exposed himself. has great cover and best of all, any intruder would have to expose HIMSELF to gain entry.

    Sorry for getting off tangent. My father in law also has an Armscorp .45, which seem to be very popular there, and a S&W .357, so contrary to what I thought, getting a gun in the RP isn’t hard, you just need $$$ to grease the wheels.

    Unlike my last visit in 1992, EVERY security guard, even “mall guards” are armed. Usually with the Armscorps, but I saw quite a few Glock 9mm’s and a few guys with old, really old .38 specials. 12 gauge pumps with pistol grip (no stock) seem to be the only long guns I saw.

  • My Rock Island is a damned fine gun. I have zero hesitation to put it in my holster in my standard rotation.

  • aso