Firearms, Ammunition Manufacturing Thrive in Wyoming
Freedom Arms, Inc. is located in Freedom, Wyoming and holds expertise on accuracy, ballistics and craftsmanship for its line of firearms.
For hunters, gun collectors and sportsmen and sportswomen, there may be no friendlier place on the planet than Glenrock.
If it's an outdoor experience you want, Glenrock, surrounded by the Laramie Mountains, Medicine Bow National Forest and Platte River, is the place to be. The Converse County municipality, population 2,576, got its beginning in the Old West as a mail and stage station along the Oregon Trail. And it is proud to have its economic future tied to firearms and ammunition manufacturing and support industries.
Kim Rightmer, East Central regional director for the Wyoming Business Council, says Glenrock has an unofficial designation as a hub for those involved with hunting and outdoor sports.
Proud of Hunting, Outdoor Sports
"We take our hunting and our outdoor sports very seriously. We’re very proud of it. We respect it. We are a state that does support it, and the Glenrock community is very supportive of it,” Rightmer says.
For instance, when firearms and ammunition manufacturer A-Square Co. located its new bolt-action hunting rifle factory in the area a couple of years ago, Glenrock officials, armed with Wyoming economic development incentives, helped make the move possible by assisting with building, land and infrastructure needs. The move has been so successful that A-Square has relocated all its operations to Glenrock, including an ammunition facility that was formerly in Chamberlain, S.D., says CEO Mike Blank.
Blank says Glenrock and its open, rural spaces have been attractive to hunting and shooting companies for many years. “It’s got a great mindset among the general populace and the local government as well. They are happy to see you there, and they are happy to work with you,” Blank says. “The town of Glenrock has been absolutely outstanding for us.”
Resources a Plus
Blank says what is promising for A-Square is the access to machine shops and labor, supply depots and raw materials, all of which developed over time in the area from the oil, gas and mining industries. Additionally, Glenrock’s proximity to Casper is a plus, he says.
"It’s a really unique situation where you have that great, supportive small-town atmosphere and feel, yet you don’t have the detriments to say it will be an impossible search to find a skilled machinist here. The chances are there is somebody local to come in; that if you bought the machine, you could hire somebody to run it,” Blank says.
While firearms and ammunition manufacturing are at the top of the food chain, Glenrock also is buoyed by support businesses such as taxidermists, special engravers and other businesses that are vital to the area economy, Rightmer says. Those firms include Glenrock Blue, nationally known for its high quality metal, wood refinishing and gun bluing; Jim Blair Engraving, a certified, professional engraver; and Glenrock Components, which sells gun components.
Freedom Arms Thrives
While the Glenrock area has emerged as a focal point for firearms and ammunition economic activity, Freedom Arms Inc. also has enjoyed opportunity in the state. Located in western Wyoming near the Idaho border in the town of Freedom, the company is known worldwide for its Freedom Arms revolvers and accessories.
With its expertise on accuracy, ballistics and craftsmanship for its line of single-shot handguns, single-action revolvers and other firearms, Freedom Arms president Bob Baker says the state has been a good place to run his 14-employee business. The company was founded in 1979, Baker says, crediting Wyoming for creating a business-friendly environment.
“The laws are friendly. One of the big things is they don’t fight us. Some of the states do their best to get rid of firearms manufacturers, but Wyoming encourages the business. And not just firearms, but any kind of business. It doesn’t over regulate and over-tax. It makes for a good environment,” Baker says.