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Rickard Firearms & Defense (formerly Rickard Armory) is an American firearms manufacturer.
Rickard Firearms & Defense Logo

Official logo of RF&D, showing a target.

History Edit

Rickard Firearms & Defense was founded in 1935 as the Rickard Armory by Stanley Rickard. Before Rickard’s establishment of his company, he was a former employee at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. While working at Springfield, he heard about the U.S. Army’s need for a faster-firing weapon to replace the earlier bolt-action M1903 Springfield rifle. With some spare time on his hands, he began to work on designing on his first weapon, and in 1934, the design of what would be the M1930 rifle was finalized. However, the Armory became divided on which rifle should be officially promoted; the M1930 design or the M1 Garand. The debate reached its peak when Rickard initiated a fight against several of John C. Garand’s loyal friends over which rifle should be officially produced. After the brawl, Rickard was fired from the Armory, the M1 Garand was officially put into production, and Rickard suffered two years dealing with fits of rage and depression. That next year, he started to come up with plans to start his own company that would rival the Springfield Armory, and so he officially started his new company in 1935, as the Rickard Armory. He also began to tweak his M1930 project, and in 1937, his rifle was finally ready for production. The rifle was sent to the U.S. Army to be trialed as a potential service rifle, but was rejected due to the fact that the M1 Garand was already chosen as the new standard issue rifle. In the meantime, he also began working on another side project, the M35 SMG, in response for a need for a cheaper alternative to the Thompson SMG. Eventually, in 1942, his weapons began to see service with the U.S. Marines, as they were looking for a rifle and submachine gun that could be readily available and much cheaper than the Thompson, respectively. This made his weapons somewhat of a success, and his weapons were also selected to be part of the Lend-Lease Act to export to U.S. allies. In 1944, he added two new weapons to the Rickard Armory lineup; the M44, a select-fire battle rifle based on the M1930, and the M1944 LMG, which was created in response to the German MG42. The former of the two new weapons, the M44, saw use by the U.S. Army in very limited numbers, but to a greater extent by the U.S. Marines. As for the M1944 LMG, it only saw use by the Marines, and therefore, it never got to actually fight against the MG42. After World War II, Rickard stopped production of the M1930 rifle and the M35 SMG, although the M1930 remained in service even after M1 Garand’s became more readily available to the Marines. In 1953, Rickard stopped production of his M1944 LMG and also in that year, the M1930 rifle had been removed from service by the Marines. However, Rickard began to rethink about his company, and later in 1953, he reorganized the company from a most military-only weapons factory to becoming a weapons manufacturer that was more civilian-oriented. His company’s image was finally rebranded in 1955, and after relocating their headquarters to Peoria, Illinois, they received a new name; Rickard Firearms & Defense.

After 1955, Rickard’s first product to be introduced was the M44A, which was a semi-auto only variant of the M44 battle rifle. However, due to low sales, the M44A was discontinued in 1967. By then, three new products had emerged; the Model 30 bolt-action rifle, the Model P22 semi-auto rimfire pistol, and the Model 150 pump-action shotgun. These products started off unsuccessful at first, but by the 1970's, Rickard's products had started to become popular, with sales rivaling Rickard's competitors that are considered best in class. By the 1990’s however, Stanley Rickard’s health was starting to worsen, and so his company was handed over to his grandson, Troy Rickard, in 1995. Troy worked both as the lead designer for new products and also the new CEO of the company, and started to shift RF&D's position on firearms from a strictly civilian-oriented company to both a civilian-focused and military-focused firearms company. In 2004, Brian Stout, an engineer born in Japan, began helping out Troy in designing new weapons, as Stout had made detailed blueprints on potential new products. Later, in 2006, Troy resigned from being a CEO, and a former employee of ArmaLite, Michael Walker, took his position, although Troy still remains as the lead designer, working with Stout.

Today, RF&D is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois, and has its manufacturing plant at Joliet, Illinois, next to the former Joliet Arsenal / Ammunition Plant. In 2007, RF&D purchased Mayfield Heavy Industries, a heavy industries company originating from Dayton, Ohio, who are known for developing a next-generation MBT, which evolved into the M120 MacArthur. In 2011, RF&D and MHI became part of a corporation called the Rickard-Colmans Corporation, which is comprised of RF&D itself, Mayfield Heavy Industries, and Colmans Arms N.V., a Dutch firearms manufacturer. In 2014, RF&D agreed to purchase Stark & Company, an aerospace company known for their development of the S-1 Zeus, a cargo transport aircraft. However, the company faltered in 2016 due to nobody’s willingness to purchase the S-1 and the large amounts of debt owed for the S-1’s development.

Products Edit

Pistols Edit

Model P22: Since 1961

ACS pistol: Since 2010

Submachine guns / Personal defense weapons Edit

M35 SMG: 1937 - 1945

Spectre SMG: Since 2012

Compact Defense Weapon: 2019

Shotguns Edit

Model 150: Since 1963

Model 175: Since 1970

Rifles Edit

M1930 / M44 / M44A: 1935 - 1945 (M1930), 1944 - 1953 (M44), 1955 - 1967 (M44A)

Model 30: Since 1960

Model 40: Since 1966

Model 322: Since 1969

Model 422: Since 1971

Model 50: Since 1985

"Wildcat" TPR: Since 2007

RS-15: Since 2009

RC-523: Since 2014

CLBR Bullpup Rifle: Since 2017

Machine guns Edit

M1944 LMG: 1944

Subsidiaries: Edit

Mayfield Heavy Industries Edit

MHI is a heavy weapons company that was founded in 2002 by Jim Mayfield, a 62-year-old former USAF mechanic from Dayton, Ohio. When first launched, his sole purpose of the company was to develop the M120 MacArthur, a main battle tank, but after suffering a near fatal heart attack and now worried about his health conditions, he sold his company to RF&D in 2007. After RF&D's purchase, they resumed development of the MBT, but also made several heavy weapons, including the well-famed M260 machine gun. Products include:

Stark & Company Edit

S&C was an aerospace company that was founded in 2003 by David Stark. From the company's founding until 2014, he designed and built the S-1 Zeus, a large cargo transporter. In 2014, due to insufficient funds for the project, he contacted RF&D and asked if they were interested in purchasing the prototype design. They agreed, purchased the design, and then finished it. However, due to nobody's willingness to purchase the S-1 and large amounts of unpaid debt, S&C faltered, and the only existing design was left to sit in a hangar near the aircraft graveyard in Tuscon, Arizona, the site of S&C's (now former) headquarters.

Colmans Arms N.V. Edit

See Colmans Arms N.V.

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