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Arms manufacturers flock to Southeast

Molly Hulsey //November 16, 2021//

Arms manufacturers flock to Southeast

Molly Hulsey //November 16, 2021//

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Sword International is one of several arms manufacturers including Remington that have announced plans to relocate to the Southeast. (Photo/Provided)Sword International Inc., a small arms and defense equipment manufacturer based in Nevada, may not yet hold the brand name recognition of Smith & Wesson and Remington, but the company is doing what some of the better-known brands have done and piloted its headquarters to the Southeast — this time to Greenville.

The manufacturer, which serves the military, law enforcement and civilian market, is investing $9.5 million in a new 44,000-square-foot facility at 231 Beverly Road, according to a news release.

The upfit of the manufacturing and distribution space is expected to be completed by January and is slated to create 55 jobs.

Sword's rifles are built for U.S. military members, law enforcement and civilians. (Photo/Provided)“Sword International is extremely excited to join the Greenville community as we expand our operations to support our military and law enforcement professionals,” Jason Hamilton, vice president of Sword International, said in the news release. “Several locations were considered during the course of this project, but the community and culture of Greenville made our decision easy.”

Launched in California in 2010 by U.S. military special operations veterans and manufacturing experts, the team was drawn to South Carolina and Greenville because of the city’s proximity to key customers, advanced manufacturing capabilities, strong supply chain and quality of life, Hamilton said.

Sword International — which stands for Special Warfare Operations Research and Development International — focuses on development and production of specialty war fighter solutions for multiple divisions of the U.S. Armed Forces and for law enforcement teams across the country.

“We need to ensure that the United States military and first responders on the ground who risk their life every day have access to the same advanced manufacturing techniques, materials and coatings that the aerospace and other military industrial complex industries benefit from,” Jeremy A. Elrod, founder and president, said in a letter on the company website. “If we as a nation can develop a multi-billion-dollar strike fighter every five years or so then why are we still issuing a 45-year-old weapon system to our individual warfighters?”

The company specializes in the production of airdrop solutions, robotics, accessories and firearms. (Photo/Provided)Products include airdrop solutions, robotics, accessories and firearms ranging from MK-18 semi-automatic rifles to MK-15 carbines, light-weight rifles with a shortened barrel. The company holds multiple patents for specialized products.

The move to the new facility is expected to enhance and expedite production, testing capabilities and distribution. The new operations will allow for quicker innovation, rapid prototyping, optimal evaluation of products and faster customer response, according to the company.

“The company’s expertise in developing advanced armaments and supplies for the U.S. military and law enforcement is extremely important, and its passion for being good community citizens and providing long-term career paths for veterans and other citizens fits well here,” Greenville County Council Chairman Willis Meadows said in the release. “We wish SWORD great success.”

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to this project.

“Team South Carolina is proud of our veteran-established business community and the companies that serve our armed forces,” Commerce Secretary Harry M. Lightsey III said in a news release. “We proudly welcome Sword International to Greenville County and look forward to their success.”

Sword International is not the only gunmaker looking to the Southeast. Firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson has called Massachusetts home since 1852 but that will soon change, the company said earlier this fall.

Following the proposal of legislation banning the manufacture of certain firearms in the state, Smith & Wesson decided to relocate its 750-employee headquarters in Maryville, Tenn., in 2023 and shutter facilities in Connecticut and Missouri.

"This has been an extremely difficult and emotional decision for us, but after an exhaustive and thorough analysis, for the continued health and strength of our iconic company, we feel that we have been left with no other alternative,” Mark Smith, president and CEO of Smith and Wesson, said in the news release.

Remington Arms also plans to relocate its global headquarters, advanced manufacturing base and research and development center to LaGrange, Ga., according to a Nov. 8 announcement.

The 205-year-old company cited Georgia’s business-friendly climate — particularly toward the firearms industry — and economic development incentives as one reason for the transition from its original Ilion, New York base.