Firearms Manufacturing
2:15 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Map: Where N.H.'s Gun Manufacturers Are (And Aren't)

At its Newport plant, Sturm, Ruger manufactures everything from newer assault rifles to old-fashioned revolvers.
At its Newport plant, Sturm, Ruger manufactures everything from newer assault rifles to old-fashioned revolvers.
Credit Amanda Loder / NHPR

Recently, NHPR examined the impact of the firearms industry on the state's economy.  Especially now, with gun sales at historic highs, this subset of New Hampshire's manufacturing industry is benefiting.  Looking at federal firearms manufacturing licenses, we've pinpointed where the state's firearms manufacturers are located.

  Some of these businesses are large-scale, like Sturm, Ruger in Sullivan County and SIG SAUER on the Seacoast.  Others are defense contractors and smaller-scale operations, like gunsmiths.

Each small dot represents one manufacturer in a particular community.  Those areas marked with larger pins have more than one firearms manufacturer.  Click on the dots and pins to see which licensees are in your community.

Between its strong defense industry and smaller operations, Nashua has six licensed manufacturers--more than any other community in the state.  Newport, the home of Sturm, Ruger, is a close second, with five licensees.  And nearby Claremont has four.  Dennis Delay, with the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, explains why the firearms industry is so heavily concentrated in Sullivan County.

"The Sturm, Ruger plant and some of the other people involved in ordnance manufacturing in the Connecticut River valley and Sullivan County have actually been there for a very long time," Delay says.  "Of course, you think of Springfield, [Massachusetts] and Smith & Wesson-type manufacturing.  A lot of gun and defense manufacturing was done along Springfield and down into Connecticut.  And some of it migrated up to New Hampshire, even back 100 years ago."

Sturm, Ruger came to Newport in the 1960s.  Vice President of Newport Operations Tom Sullivan says of the area's heritage, "The whole Connecticut River valley has traditionally been called 'Gun Valley.'  I would say we're one of the northern members of that club.  But there's a long history of firearms manufacturing on the East Coast, in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire."