What Are the Oldest Gun Companies in the World?

Beretta is celebrating their 494th birthday. Who else is “getting up there”?

by posted on October 7, 2020
Women Holding Berettas

If you’ve ever worried that the candles on your birthday cake will set off the smoke alarm, imagine what it must be like to be Beretta. On October 3, 2020 Beretta celebrated a jaw-dropping 494 years of continuous, family-owned business. That’s right: The first documented sale of Beretta firearms is dated October 3, 1526. That’s almost 500 years and 15 generations of the Beretta family still running their various companies today. What other companies can even come close?

Klett, Germany, Founded 1578
The Italians may have made the very first inroads as a full-time gun manufacturer, but the Germans weren’t far behind. Like Beretta, Klett is a family-owned business and has been since its founding. The Klett family creates bespoke, handmade breakdown guns and rifles, so they’re not exactly bargain finds … but they are a living, working piece of history! 

Sabatti, Italy, Founded 1674
Also like Beretta, Sabatti is a family-owned business that has been passed down through the generations since 1674. The House of Sabatti still makes a wide range of firearms, using the same gun-making traditions and standards it has met since they began mass manufacturing in the late 1800s. And, like Beretta, Sabatti has branched out into modern sporting arms with new tactical rifle designs that it updates regularly.

J.P. Sauer & Sohn, Germany, Founded 1751
Coming in at a mere 270 years old, J.P. Sauer & Sohn is the “youngest” company on our list today … and you can tell that the venerable manufacturer is still feeling its oats these days as SIG SAUER. SIG’s handguns, rifles, carbines, optics and ammunition are among the most popular sold in America today.

America is a young country, and American gun owners and manufacturers always keep an eye on the future. However, we can learn some important lessons from the longevity of Old World gun companies. What’s Beretta’s secret? “Beretta has been continuously reinventing itself for nearly 500 years,” Francesco Valente, General Manager and COO of Beretta USA, said. “We think in terms of decades, not quarters – that is why we can invest so much in research and development and invest in environmental conservation to preserve the future of our planet.”

Latest

Federal Punch 22 Lr
Federal Punch 22 Lr

Rimfire Self-Defense: Federal's 22 LR Punch Ammo

The .22 you have with you is better than the .45 you left at home ... especially if your ammo packs a Punch.

Winchester Ladies Cup Kicks Off at NSCA Western Regional

The inaugural event got underway during the opening leg of the 2021 National Sporting Clays Association Championship Tour.

Hiking Etiquette: Kindness is Free

Being a considerate hiker keeps plants, animals and other visitors happy.

Ginny Thrasher and Globe Trotting for Target Practice

Thrasher is paving the way for new international shooters by being the best ambassador she can be.

Four Guns That Should NOT Be Your First Handgun

As much as we love guns, some are just not the right choice for new shooters or new carriers. Here are four handguns to stay away from when you’re starting out.

Are You Wild for Muddy Girl’s New Pattern?

Introducing Muddy Girl Wild, a remix on our favorite abstract camo.

Women's Interests



Subscribe to the NRA Women newsletter