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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

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 restructure his company beginning in 1953 from a military-grade weapons factory to becoming a manufacturer of civilian-oriented firearms. His company was finally rebranded in 1955, and after relocating their headquarters to Rickard's hometown of Peoria, Illinois, they received a new name; Rickard Firearms & Defense.

After 1955, Rickard’s first product to be introduced was the Model 10, which was a semi-auto only variant of the M44 battle rifle. However, due to low sales, the Model 10 was discontinued in 1967. By then, Rickard had released four new products; the Model 20 semi-auto carbine, 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, a Japanese-born designer and engineer, was hired by RF&D and became the co-lead designer of the company, working closely with Troy. In 2008, Troy resigned from being CEO in order to focus more on design, and Rickard's second-in-command, Michael Walker, took his position.

In 2007, RF&D purchased Winfield Heavy Industries, a heavy industries company originating from Dayton, Ohio.

Today, RF&D is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois, with its original manufacturing plant located near Joliet, Illinois, next to the former Joliet Arsenal / Ammunition Plant. However, due to high tax costs (which are getting worse thanks to J.B. the Prick), RF&D shifted its main manufacturing plant to a new facility located near Eldon, Missouri, close to the Lake of the Ozarks. They face stiff competition from Arlington Precision Rifleworks, whose current CEO, Bradley Haines, a Canadian-born machinery technician, formerly worked for RF&D.

Products

Pistols

Model P22: Since 1961

Model P81: Since 1984

  • Model P81-CC: Since 2006

NP: Since 2006

P81X: Since 2011

CC2 pistol: Since 2019

Submachine guns / Personal defense weapons

M35 submachine gun: 1937 - 1945

M42 submachine gun: 1942

Advanced Compact Weapon: 2012

Compact Defense Weapon: 2019

Shotguns

Model 150: Since 1963

  • Model 150 Tactical: Since 1998

Model 175: Since 1967

  • Model 175 Tactical: Since 1999

Model 200: Since 1974

Rifles

M1930: 1935 - 1945

  • M44: 1944 - 1953
  • Model 10: 1955 - 1967

Model 20: 1957 - 1989

Model 30: Since 1960

  • Model 30S: Since 2001

Model 40: 1966 - 2018

Model 322: Since 1969

Model 422: Since 1971

Model 50: Since 1985

RS-15: Since 2004

Model 60 TPR: Since 2006

RC-70: 2007 - 2017

RS-35: Since 2011

RX15: Since 2015

RX20: Since 2020

Machine guns

M1944 LMG: 1944

Knives

Model C/SK-1: Since 1995

"Punisher" Ballistic Knife: 2015

Currently, the Model 30 is the most successful product released, followed by the Model 150 and P81.

Subsidiaries

Winfield Heavy Industries

WHI is a heavy vehicles and weapons company headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. The company makes a variety of heavy vehicles, ranging from buses to tanks. A 20% stake of WHI purchased by RF&D in 2006, which led to weapons being manufactured by WHI along with vehicles.

Vehicles:

Weapons:

Controversy

In 2018, in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, the anti-gun protest group Never Again MSD (now known as March For Our Lives) traveled to Peoria, Illinois, and organized a protest in front of the Rickard Firearms & Defense headquarters that lasted for several days. In response to the protests, a pro-2nd amendment group of counter-protesters led by Michael Walker chanting the song "Don't Tread on Me" by Metallica clashed with MFOL and resulted in a breakup by the police, ending the protests.

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