Thompson Center Arms - History

History

In the 1960s, Warren Center developed an unusual break-action, single-shot pistol that later became known as the Contender in his basement workshop. Meanwhile, the K.W. Thompson Tool Company had been searching for a product to manufacture year-round. In 1965, Warren Center joined the K.W. Thompson Tool Company, and together, they announced Warren Center's Contender pistol in 1967. Although it sold for more than comparable hunting revolvers, the flexibility of being able to shoot multiple calibers by simply changing out the barrel and sights and its higher accuracy soon made it popular with handgun hunters. As K.W. Thompson Tool began marketing Center's Contender pistol, the company name was changed to Thompson/Center Arms Company. Then, in 1970, Thompson/Center created the modern black powder industry, introducing Warren Center's Hawken-styled black powder muzzle-loader rifle.

On January 4, 2007, Thompson/Center was purchased by Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation.

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