BREAKING: Federal Premium Lays Off 200 More Employees; 2017 Total Grows to 310

Federal Premium

Exactly one week ago, on October 6th, Federal Premium laid off 200 more employees. Employees were notified of this through group meetings that were held on Thursday, October 5th and Friday, October 6th. The layoffs affect 190 hourly workers from the factory floor and 10 jobs from Federal Premium’s human resources, IT and legal departments who were on salary. All the affected employees were offered severance packages and outplacement assistance.

The timing of the layoffs is curious because fall is a period when ammunition manufacturers tend to pick up a bit with hunting seasons. Summer is typically the slowest time of year for retailers who sell ammunition. This is also coming off the heels of Vista Outdoor appointing a new CEO: Christopher Metz. Vista Outdoor is the parent company to Federal Premium and Christopher Metz took the helm of Vista on October 9th just a few days after the layoffs.

With these layoffs, combined with the staff reductions that occurred in March and June already, Federal Premium’s workforce has dropped from 1,430 to 1,020 in just the last 8 months. They actually had to turn down state funding earlier this year because their predicted employment goals were not going to be met.

The Star Tribune, a local St. Paul/Minneapolis newspaper in MN, quoted Vista Outdoor spokeswoman Amanda Covington as saying:

Vista Outdoor continues its efforts to drive cost-savings initiatives and improved efficiencies. We are managing our employee population to align with demand.

Those are obviously reasonable and desirable goals for any company, but it is strikingly eeire that the firearm industry; moreover, the ammunition category is that slow.

Vista Outdoor continued…

Our primary strategic focus this fiscal year is to deliver improved performance within our current brands and generate strong cash flows through cost management, efficiency improvements and operational excellence.

We are committed to our core goals of providing innovative and high-quality products for our customers and generating shareholder value.

Once again, those are great boardroom benchmarks, but it would be more positive and encouraging to see less people getting laid off. Not just at Federal Premium, but in all aspects and categories of the firearms industry.





The outdoors, fitness and anything related to firearms are my passions. I am a S&W Armorer, Glock Armorer, reloader and am coping with an addiction to classic S&W and Colt revolvers (by buying more revolvers). I’ve been a guest writer for Sierra Bullets and love long walks to the gun range.


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  • Joel

    And Federal small pistol primers are still both sought after and scarce.

    • jonp

      I wouldn’t use Federal SPP or any Federal Primers. Well known safety hazard

      • Spencerhut

        Sure, if you are a careless idiot.

        • jonp

          Yeah, no. Got an informed response? Lee specifically warns against using them due to pressure concerns. IE: exploding when seating.

          • Spencerhut

            Clearly you’ve never loaded a round of ammo. Primers detonate from impact. You can crush any primer in a vise slowly and it won’t go off. I’ve loaded 100’s of thousands of Federal primers over the years, never an issue. Go make a lame attempt at BS’ing someone else.

  • Mike N.

    Things must be slow. They’re currently offering a $0.05 a round rebate on .223/5.56 ammo. I mean, XM193 prices are a benchmark for ammo cost like West Texas Intermediate is for crude oil, and prices are coming down to close what it was right before Pres. Obama was elected.

  • Patriot Gunner

    These job losses could have more to do with automation rather than a lagging market…It’s just easier to blame layoffs on lagging sales versus having to tell people they lost their jobs to a robot.

    • Porty1119

      As someone with an engineering background, there are few things I hate more than automation. Replacing individuals with machinery, aside from a select few extremely hazardous positions, is immoral and unacceptable.

      • Patriot Gunner

        Immoral and unacceptable? What are you? A luddite?

        • Porty1119

          Not a luddite, merely someone who has figured out that humanity would be better off if technological progress ended in the 1980s. Most everything since the end of WWII was a mistake.

          I have grown very tired of profits being prioritized over employment. Count me as an anarcho-syndicalist if you like.

          • Patriot Gunner

            It appears as though you have been one of the casualties of automation and if that is the case I do sincerely apologize.

            However, I am on the other end of the spectrum and have grown very tired of the overwhelming vast majority of workers not doing their jobs, demanding higher pay, the endless covetousness of anyone who started something, poured there heart and soul into it and now is reaping the benefits of what they have sowed. I am tired of the endless bureaucracy of hiring a person and the massive legal liability of trying to fire someone who has proven time and time again they cannot be trusted. I am tried of the union bosses who live lavish lives but somehow get a pass because they “represent the working class” and will refuse to do business with any company who has any affiliation to any union (sorry Colt).

            As someone with an engineering background myself, I am tired of the inconsistencies, sloppy tolerances, minimal output and higher cost associated with human labor which is why I love automation and anything that can remove the human element. Exceptional human talent will always have a place at any corporation and speaking from myself I have bent over backwards to facilitate such things…making sure that the ones who work hard and take ownership of their work never get thrown out the front door, unfortunately that is such a small tiny percentage of the workforce.

            One of the main goals of capitalism is to make products that are higher in quality and lower in cost, if this is not something you find agreeable then I might suggest that this form of economic governance may not be for you.

          • LGonDISQUS

            “One of the main goals of capitalism is to make products that are higher in quality and lower in cost…”

            Andy Grove always stated make products that are of acceptable and desirable quality for a price consumers will pay, and deliver/serve on time.

          • Patriot Gunner

            I don’t know who this Andy Grove fella is…but I like his definition as well, so you won’t be hearing any arguments from me…+1 for you

          • Stephen Paraski

            To hell with that 8 hour work day and paid holidays. Vacation and sick days? Bring back the 60 hour work week with no overtime pay, be thankful I give you a job. Yes your kind has destroyed the American Dream, the post WW2 period that most American prospered had Union’s to thank. But all you care is your bottom line.

          • iksnilol

            Said the guy who didn’t work 2 jobs while studying full time just to pay rent.

          • LGonDISQUS

            Hahahha, ^^^^^ irony.

          • Patriot Gunner

            My kind? lol that’s painting with a broad brush…Look, if someone risks large sums of capital then it is perfectly fine for that person to expect a return on the investment…No one is going to invest capital with the expectation of not making any money just so they can give you a job, that’s utterly stupid and nonsense. And the American Dream isn’t shafting the corporation you work for so it benefits you solely. To put it in its most condensed form the American Dream is liberty, being able to exercise freedom and take responsibility for the choices you’ve made and to decide what is best for you and your family. If you think that your current employer does not see your full value, that’s fine, you can leave at any point and try to find one that will see your value. NO one has a gun to your head forcing you to work for that company. And as for unions, the vast majority of research proves that on the whole unions are bad. Look at GM vs Toyota, the UAW destroyed the big 3 automakers. Look at UPS (union) vs FedEx (non-union), FedEx has a higher customer satisfaction rating and is growing faster than UPS. And one that is most apt is Colt, the collective bargaining agreement Colt had with their workers union barred Colt from upgrading machinery that displaced workers. They weren’t able to purchase new state of the art cnc machines because some guy on a manual lathe would lose his job. That’s how bad it was (and probably still is) at Colt. No one takes the time to delve into the details and minutia, they are just programmed to think corporations=BAD and unions=GOOD.

          • LGonDISQUS

            Worked 45hrs/wk through college to pay my mortgage, and now work 50+ at a salaried position, looking for a 10hr/wk side hustle of some sort to rake in cash while still young. Any recommendations?

          • Dakota Raduenz

            Become an EMT. 3 months or so training costs less than 1K. Life skills you’ll not regret. Everyone can find a job.

            Depending on the area it might be taking the elderly to doctors appt, or you might be able to make 911 calls. Maybe a tech in an ER. Lots of opportunities that vary by locale.

          • Tim

            β€œ…humanity would be better off if technological progress ended in the 19xx…..”

            Sir, you are a Luddite.

      • Michael Lubrecht

        Except in those cases where automation makes products of higher quality, tighter tolerance, greater accuracy and lesser price. Automation in everything from RVs to firearms manufacture has improved the quality of the product. What’s more, although the assembly line jobs may go away, new opportunities appear – somebody has to learn how to operate, maintain, and repair those automated assembly lines.

      • John

        I see from the other comments that you’ve stepped on some toes, but the whole argument is moot. Humans ultimately make economic decisions, with few exceptions, based on self interest. At the end of the day, the bottom line and putting food on the table takes priority over principle. Anything which can be done more cheaply with automation than human labor will be automated. Just ask the pin makers guild.

        The irony is that the technologies that big business is embracing so enthusiastically (additive manufacturing, CNC, robotics) will soon spell the end of centralized production and huge corporate retail. The direction these technologies are taking is obvious; the factory will ultimately be moved right into the home. Here’s your typical shopping trip, circa 2040:

        Your personal mobile device just gave up the ghost, and you need a replacement. You walk into the living room, don your AR glasses, and say “Amazon electronics. Mobiles”, or something to that effect. Virtual shelves appear around the room, filled with choices. You look at a few, interacting with hand gestures to manipulate the virtual devices and read or listen to specs. You settle on an LG model (LG is no longer a huge manufacturer employing thousands of people, but a group of twenty five engineers who work from home and also make up the board of directors). Your account is charged, and you “step out” of Amazon. On a whim, you decide to treat yourself. “Liberty Pistols. New models.” Virtual displays again decorate your living room. You choose a caliber, and a few other features, grips, sights, etc.. Again, your account is charged, which takes a few more milliseconds this time as a criminal records search is performed and a serial number assigned to the new weapon. As you are exiting the Liberty showroom, a pleasant tone sounds and a small image of your sister appears to your right. You accept the call, and your sister’s avatar walks into the living room, where you both sit down to catch up. The manufacturing center in the garage has already uploaded your purchases, and they will be ready within the hour.

        This is where the technology is taking us. It will require a new economic paradigm, as it will drastically lower prices and erase far more jobs than it will create, but humans must be engaged in productive pursuits to be healthy. I suspect a part of the coming change will be in how people assign value to goods and services, maybe placing greater value on how an item was produced than what it is. All I do know for certain is that the Universal Basic Income isn’t going to be part of it, because there won’t be any way to pay for it. I guess we’ll just have to adapt to what comes.

  • dhdoyle

    Federal’s employment levels were high because of all the people who decided to hoard ammunition. They have no reason to keep all those people now. I’m good. I won’t be buying another thousand rounds this year, thanks.

    • A.WChuck

      This.
      People bought and bought in the lead up to the election. All those extra shifts are no longer needed as demand has decreased. None of this should be a surprise as all have seen similar declines in the firearms industry. Demand is likely a little below normal as people slowly use up their personal overstock.

    • USAF Veteran

      I reload. Don’t usually buy commercial ammo.

    • LGonDISQUS

      I did, bucket of .22LR πŸ˜…

  • Budogunner

    Who’d have thought that a Dem. President would have been the biggest boom for the Firearms industry and a Republican President it’s bust?

    • Joe

      Anyone that understands one party’s goal is eliminating civilian firearm ownership, and the other party does not have that goal. The politics of fear.

      • Nayden

        Well now with H.R. 3999 the Republicans have absolutely no problem with eliminating the citizen’s right to bear arms either.

        • RickH

          The irony!

  • Spencerhut

    The only thing that burns up ammo in the Continental US during peacetime is training. Hunting is very small amounts of relatively high dollar stuff. Training is where the real ammo burn comes from. 1000 rounds in a 2 day AR or defensive pistol class is nothing. Bring on more training . . . https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/47416f1d8fbd0bfb2d4a9369cd912b3737885a4e282c163baeb40ae4bfcfcc20.jpg

    • codfilet

      Training for what? combat special forces missions?

      • iksnilol

        GREEN IVAN IS CHARGING RIGHT AT US!

        • USMC03Vet

          I see I have a fan.

          • iksnilol

            I remember them charging at us. SO fast I only saw green.

      • Spencerhut

        So you’ve never been to an actual class? Not some BS safety lecture, an actual class taught by a combat vet that is trying to teach you how to survive a gunfight.

      • Qoquaq En Transic

        Marksmanship.

        Think CMP.

      • lbeacham

        Dem takeover of Congress?

    • USMC03Vet

      lol @ ammo dump training from 15 yards away!

  • tony

    Typical business practice of an American company, rather than aiming for steady growth, it expands and bursts like a F balloon. Awfuly disgusting

  • Jerry_In_Detroit

    I would gladly buy Federal ammunition but here in central Ohio Federal ammunition appears only occasionally. I suspect Vista Outdoor’s production management software is fouled up.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Repeal the NFA and increase demand for ammo. Simple solution. Get Tom Emmer on it before his district loses more jobs.

  • USMC03Vet

    “The timing of the layoffs is curious because fall is a period when
    ammunition manufacturers tend to pick up a bit with hunting seasons.”

    You have a source for this? I can’t believe hunting is that large, or larger than nice weather resulting in all types of shooters going out and shooting.

  • Pilot

    Well I don’t buy Federal ammo because of prices. For 7.62×51(.308) I get PPU because it’s hella cheaper. Same with .223/5.56. It’s usually PPU ammo too although I have a mix of that round. But mostly PPU. When I compare ammo prices, the Federal just isn’t for me. Especially since I’m not a target shooter. As long as my rounds impact center body mass, I’m good. PPU is plenty good enough for that. And PPU makes 193 and 855. No reason for me to need Federal at their prices.

  • patrickkell

    waiting for prices to go back to pre panic

  • Paul McCain

    IRONICALLY…

  • Paul McCain

    Ironically..if Clinton had won..they would be adding staff.

  • 22winmag

    Take some of the Federal Premium ammo and stuff it in your 6.5 Creedmoor AR.

    NEW!!!!! Palmetto State complete 6.5 Creedmoor uppers in stainless with rail for less than 1/2 price:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4118ef334b32714baf50a344eb295fa71d8ca43100ae423e2ca5535c278abc06.jpg

  • jonp

    Nothing surprising. The imminent Hillary victory cause the gun and ammo industry to hit warp speed. Trump has cooled it off. Supply and demand as there is only so many guns and crates of ammo a person can buy