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Firearms Production Company Grand Reopening

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STEVENSVILLE- According to the Montana firearms institute the gun manufacturing industry in Montana has increased 82 percent since 2010.

Cooper Firearms of Montana held a grand reopening to showcase their new and improved production facility. For more than 20 years, Cooper Firearms has produced rifles in Stevensville.

Customer Service Manager Mike Hudgins, said the company moved to its new location in December to accommodate a larger demand for their guns.

"I would say that in the last five to six years, we've grown quite a bit. That had everything to do with the introduction of hunting calibers into our lineup," said Hudgins.

The new, larger facility allowed the Stevensville business to increase their staff to over 50 employees.Cooper Firearms makes seven standard model rifles but also offers custom-design guns.

Hudgins said, "As far as our clientele goes, someone that's willing to spend a little more to get a better product. Something they can be proud of and pass down to their kids and grand kids."

Many Montanans, like gun owner Corey Johnson, get into gun culture through hunting and sportsmanship.

Johnson said, "You know I've grown up around them and so I enjoy to hunt and take my kids hunting and shooting. It's just something I've done for a long time. I don't know one specific thing, it's just an enjoyable sport."

The National Shooting Sports Foundation said in recent years around 14.5 million hunting licenses were issued on average.

Johnson said he came to the grand opening Friday to show his support for the local business.

"Well coming to tour this place, like I told you before, is like coming to Toys'R'Us for kids. You see all of the different processes that go on to see how the guns are actually manufactured."

Hudgins said the community has greatly supported the company's expansion.

Hudgins said, "It shows there's a lot of interest in our company not only from what people know, but moving forward I think people are excited to see where we're going."

Firearm production nation wide has also grown from 3 million in 2001 to almost 5.55 million in recent years.
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