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.”

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