Globe magazine

Greetings from Gun Valley

Booming sales. Good-paying factory jobs. Tax breaks for employers. With little fanfare, firearms manufacturing is thriving in our blue, blue state.

In “Gun Valley,” the swath of Western Massachusetts and Connecticut where industrial gun making in America began, business is booming once again. Home to Savage Arms in Westfield, Smith & Wesson in Springfield, and Colt in Hartford, the Connecticut River Valley includes dozens of firearms manufacturers and suppliers. With record sales and profits, manufacturers are racing to hire more workers--growth that has real economic implications for a struggling region. Take a rare and revealing look inside the humming Savage factory and meet the people making the guns to meet all this new demand. This gun boom is challenging the long-held assumption that manufacturing is firmly in New England’s past. And it will force critics to reconcile their dislike of guns with their support for good blue-collar jobs.