Assault rifles may soon be dirt cheap after Colt cites flooded market and ends AR-15 production
AR-15 rifle (Shutterstock)

Colt Firearms announced on Thursday that it is ending the manufacture of the AR-15 due to "significant excess" of assault-style rifles in the firearms market.

In a statement posted to the Colt website on Thursday, Colt argued that the market for AR-15, which it refers to as a "modern sporting rifle," is saturated in the U.S.

"The market for modern sporting rifles has experienced significant excess manufacturing capacity," the statement said. "Given this level of manufacturing capacity, we believe there is adequate supply for modern sporting rifles for the foreseeable future."

"We want to assure you that Colt is committed to the Second Amendment, highly values its customers and continues to manufacture the world’s finest quality firearms for the consumer market," the company added.

Paul Spitale, a senior vice president at Colt, pointed to lower margins and reduced sales.

“What’s true today is that the [modern sporting rifle] market is much more price-driven,” Spitale told the NRA's Shooting Illustrated magazine. “We’ve seen a pretty sharp decline in rifle sales, given our price points, resulting in significant inventory build-up held by our distributors.”

The AR-15, which was first manufactured by Colt, is now sold by many firearms companies.

It could be a sign that the price of assault-style weapons in the U.S. is about to drop. AR-15s and similar weapons have been recognized as the gun of choice in many mass shootings.