Italian Gunmaker Brings Factory Jobs To U.S.

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BY Precious Adi

gunChiappa, an Italian gunmaker known for its exotic firearms, is going to start making them in America.

The gun maker has already employed 14 people in Ohio and Kentucky who import and sells his guns. Now the 56-year old company is building a factory in Dayton, Ohio, and plans to bring it online by the summer.

Business has been booming for Chiappa Gun Company which was founded in 1958 and is based in Italy. The company’s biggest distributor in the U.S. doubled its order in 2014. It plans to double its US work force to about 30 people.

Chiappa’s success runs counter to the overall trend for the gun industry as a whole, which has seen sales lose steam after a big run up last year, possibly because it makes unusual weapons.

The manufacturer specializes in replicas of vintage American guns. It produces a slew of firearms based on 19th-century designs, such as the Spencer repeating rifle that helped the Union beat the Confederacy during the Civil War, as well as Western-style revolvers, rifles and shotguns. One popular model is the so-called Mare’s Leg, the sawed-off lever-action rifle featured in the 1950s TV Western “Wanted Dead or Alive,” starring Steve McQueen.

He also makes unique modern weapons that are very different from the assault rifles that have been driving the industry’s sales.

Its signature product is the Rhino, an unusual revolver with an especially low cylinder-barrel alignment to better control the gun’s recoil.

Chiappa’s top-selling gun in the U.S. is a single-shot 22-caliber rifle called the Little Badger, which retails for about $200.

Chiappa also has the X-Caliber, a lightweight, break-action rifle-shotgun that was invented by Tim Ralston. This gun’s claim is to fame an adapter that lets the gun fire 10 different calibers of ammunition through its 12-gauge barrel.

Ralston said the X-Caliber is the best gun for the apocalypse “because it gives you that ability to go and scavenge for ammunition whatever you can.”

“Let’s say I’ve run out of my 12 gauge shells, but I’ve come across your dead body,” he said. “So I go and rifle through your jacket and I find .357 bullets. With this gun, all I have to do is slide the adapter in, and I’m shooting .357 out of a shotgun.”

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