We started out making custom ivory grips for the Colt Custom Shop in the 80’s. Then we expanded to volume production. We now have worked with almost every major gun manufacturer - Beretta, Bond Arms, Browning, Colt, Heritage, Kimber, Ruger, Sig, Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Taurus, and Walther.
We have two state-of-the-art facilities. With over 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Illinois, we make our products with precision CNC’s, robotics cells, lasers, and classic American craftsmanship.
ALTAMONT® specializes in high speed machining of wood and composite parts for the sporting goods industry. We have been producing innovative designs and products for the firearms industry since our start more than forty years ago.
We have two divisions: OEM and Aftermarket. We now offer custom textured handgun grips and rifle stocks directly. All proudly Made in America.
Kenneth N. Enright was the son of missionaries to Zaire in Central Africa and grew up speaking fluent Swahili. He earned a reputation as a tough and fearless hunter, and stood unwaveringly as buffalo charged. Courage was the currency that mattered. Ken came back to the United States for college until his education was interrupted by the Vietnam War. Ken served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic until his honorable discharge in 1970. Ken began manufacturing ivory blanks, jewelry findings, and buckle belts in 1981 under the name Midwest-Artan along with partner, Walter Shore, out of St. Joseph, Illinois. Midwest-Artan would become Altamont Co. soon after, Established 1977. Kenneth N. Enright passed away on March 23, 2018 after a heroic and triumphant battle with multiple myeloma, an aggressive blood cancer. Given six months to live, he received almost ten years. His legacy of design, innovation, and persistence is the foundation of the company today.
EARLY DAYS: COLT
John Wayne's famous association with the Colt Single Action Army revolver prompted a number of six-gun commemoratives. One of the most popular was a blued Colt Peacemaker limited edition with gold embellishment, One of 3,100. The genuine ivory grips designed and made by Ken Enright for this project marked one of his first departures from jewelry into handgun grip making in the late '80's. Following this project, Ken also made the genuine ivory grips for the Elmer Keith Commemorative Smith & Wesson Model 29-3 and became known for scrimshaw and high end ivory handles for knives and firearms.
Committed to keeping manufacturing in the United States, Altamont purchased their first permanent building location in 1989 with 40,000 square feet of space in Thomasboro, Illinois. Buildings were later added on as the company grew until the original land was filled. Altamont Co. has since expanded to multiple plants in the central Illinois area with more than 200,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space.
GROWTH & TECHNOLOGY
The 1990's were years of growth and development for Altamont. We had to develop processes and even equipment to be able to produce our designs at the high quality levels we demanded. In 1992, Altamont introduced the first laser checkering to the industry. Since then, Altamont has continued to lead the industry in innovative laser textures. Altamont also developed its CNC capabilities, as the precision machining technology began to take hold. Altamont currently runs 50+ CNC's in full production. It was the pioneers of the company who laid the groundwork for the future. We honor Kenneth Enright, Denise Enright, Colin Weston and Pat Little, as founding members to whom we owe our present.
In 1994, Buck Knives contracted Altamont to make Macassar Ebony Dymondwood handles for the Buck 110 Folding Hunter. Ken Enright and Jack Barrett of Rutland Plywood developed the innovative, stabilized material that replaced the crack-prone and humidity-susceptible natural material. Over 10 million knives were sold with Altamont handles from 1994 - 2018, with no reports of handle material failure.
Altamont became a volume handle producer, while maintaining our design and special edition focus. We have made millions of wood handles, 1911 pistol grips, and revolvers grips over the years, primarily branded and sold as OEM product. Altamont introduced the first G10 grips to the firearms industry for the Kimber 1911 Desert Warrior in 2003. Inspired by custom knife makers, we had little idea of how popular and widespread the material would become. Since then, Altamont has made tens of thousands of G10 grips for handgun manufacturers.
The first production thumbhole rifle stock was introduced to the industry in 2007 by Altamont as the "Barracuda" stock and featured on the USA Shooting Team Special Edition Ruger 10/22 Race Rifle. The exclusive distribution of the edition was handled by the TALO Distributors group. It was the beginning of what would become a long-standing collaboration between Altamont and TALO, and Ruger special editions, primarily for the 10/22. The Boy Scout anniversary edition, the Classic Series, and many custom engraved rifle stocks would follow.
After the success of the Ruger special editions, we continued to partner with TALO on many other special editions by different manufacturers. Providing grips, stocks, design services and metal engraving services, we became close partners in bringing unique, highly-sought special editions to the industry. Notable projects have included the Ruger Emiliano Zapata Vaquero, the commemorative Boy Scouts of America Ruger 10/22, Colt 1911 Aztec Series, 1911 Colt Wiley Clapp series, and more.
Technological, design and process innovations continued to be the hallmarks of Altamont. In 2007, Merlin Enright joined the company, and by 2010, three of Ken Enright's sons were working at Altamont full time. The new robotic sanding division developed during this time and Altamont invested heavily into automation -- refusing to outsource or compromise quality. We are proud to maintain our legacy of quality product built here in the USA, with American craftsmanship. Altamont completed its first injection mold grip project in 2011 with the Taurus PT22/25 Falconia grip, an innovative combination of rubber and wood, with additional models including S&W and Ruger following.
Altamont expanded to its second manufacturing facility in 2012, with the purchase of the former Chanute Air Force Base BX building, seemingly built to withstand a direct attack. The historic base was the birthplace of the Tuskegee Airmen, and the place where Charles Lindbergh was trained. After refurbishing and modernizing the building -- including electrical, air, sprinklers, and new equipment -- for manufacturing, Altamont opened the state-of-the-art 55,000 square foot facility in 2014. Altamont purchased an additional Air Force building in 2016, with 70,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space.
In 2014, a catastrophic fire encompassed the facility of Rutland Plywood, a critical supplier and industry-leading producer of Dymondwood™ and Stratobond™. With no viable material supply options, Altamont immediately began the process of in-house manufacturing. No interruption to the supply of grips to our customers occurred, a testament to the hard work and support of all involved. Altamont is forever grateful to all who supported us in that time. With the completion of the in-sourcing of the laminate material, Altamont became truly vertically integrated and offers design and production advantages as a result.
In 2014, Altamont began its Metal Engraving division for firearms engraving and embellishment. Altamont focused on the deep relief engraving and textures typically absent from the gun industry, or only available by custom engraving masters. Using a combination of a modern approach and old-world craftsmanship techniques, Altamont has produced unprecedented special editions and stunning designs. TALO commissioned the first production engraving project in 2014 - the Iwo Jima Colt 1911, a limited edition, One of 300. Its success inspired the editions that followed. Since then, Altamont has engraved or textured 1911's, revolvers, shotguns and knives with our unique deep relief style on guns including Browning, Kimber, S&W and more.
ALTAMONT SPECIAL EDITIONS
In late 2017, Altamont released a special edition Kimber 1911, the American Patriot, to celebrate our 40th Anniversary with a special project demonstrating our design capabilities and master craftsmanship. In 2018, the Rising Eagle S&W 629 Revolver special edition was released, an instant classic and the culmination of decades of Altamont design and manufacturing.
In 2020, ALTAMONT® partnered with Colt to make the factory grips for the long awaited 2020 Colt Python model. ALTAMONT® also released multiple spectacular special edition 2020 Colt Python models featuring their signature deep relief engraving.
WARNING: Altamont products can expose you to chemicals including formaldehyde, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information go to P65Warnings.ca.gov. Please do not ingest, burn and inhale, or absorb Altamont products, while pregnant or otherwise. Altamont products are not edible, nutritious, or tasty. Altamont products are not suitable for minors in the state of California or anyone who may identify as such. In compliance with Illinois state law, Altamont products are intended to be used only for sport and recreation. They are not intended to be used for violence, by minors, as a replacement for construction materials, divination, sedition, health supplements, gambling, unregulated securities exchange, or any other unlawful activities as defined under Illinois state and federal law. Altamont products are not FDA or SEC approved. Please use responsibly, lawfully, ergonomically, and hygienically.
Altamont Engraving Co. and Altamont Co. are separate entities based in different locations. All firearm sales and engraving services are administered through Altamont Engraving Co., and will ship from 116 E Neal Dr, Rantoul IL 61866, under Altamont Engraving Co’s FFL. Altamont Engraving Co. is granted use of Altamont Co.'s trademarks during this transition period.