The maker of 'the gun that won the West' is reportedly filing for bankruptcy

Colt gunsREUTERS/Adrees LatifA teenager takes aim with a gun made by Colt at an exhibit booth during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston, Texas May 4, 2013.

Colt Defence, a gun manufacturer that has been in business since the 17th century is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The publication cites people familiar with the pending action who say the West Hartford, Connecticut-based company’s “business execution issues” and some $US355 million in debt has led to the pending bankruptcy filing.

However, the WSJ says the company will continue operating during the bankruptcy process.

Colt Defence has enjoyed success for much of the last century, thanks in part to lucrative contracts with the US armed forces, in which Colt was the primary manufacturer of the weapons used by front-line troops.

The contract ended in 2013 and, combined with a slowdown in sales and supply troubles, business began to flounder. Colt missed a $US10.9 million bond payment last month, much to the chagrin of holders carrying $US250 million in the company’s senior bonds.

CRT Captial analyst, Kevin Starke told Reuters last week that a sale “might be the best for the stumbling company and its bondholders.”

“Sometimes the best way out is to sort of scrap the whole thing and start again,” Starke said.

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