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Small arms company to invest $18M in Richland County expansion

Christina Lee Knauss //May 3, 2023//

Small arms company to invest $18M in Richland County expansion

Christina Lee Knauss //May 3, 2023//

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Harry Lightsey, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce, speaks at the announcement of FN America LLC's expansion into Pickens County in April. (Photo/Ross Norton)

A small arms manufacturer will invest $18 million to expand its Richland County operations.

The expansion by FN America LLC, the U.S. subsidiary of FN Herstal, S.A. and a global firearms manufacturer, will create about 102 new jobs, according to a news release.

With existing operations near Old Clemson Road in Columbia, FN America plans to expand the production facility by adding about 40,000 square feet for manufacturing capacity, office space and a design center of excellence, according to the release.

“The record growth that our company has had these last several years has enabled us to invest in our South Carolina manufacturing footprint with our soon-to-be new facility in Liberty and now the expansion of our Columbia facility,” said Mark Cherpes, president and CEO of FN America LLC. “We were established in Richland County more than 40 years ago to manufacture small arms for the U.S. Army, and we are proud to expand our capacity to support that sector of our business.”

This expansion will further the company’s research, design and engineering capabilities, and meet the increased demand for FN America products. 

Last week, FN America announced it will manufacture firearms and related products in a Pickens County facility near the town of Liberty. The company expects to break ground next year on a $33 million factory and start operations in 2025, bringing about 175 new jobs in the five years that follow.

FN America is a valued partner to the U.S. Department of Defense, developing and manufacturing small arms for the U.S. military and its allies, according to company information.

 In 1979, FN America broke ground on its facility in Richland County and officially opened operations in 1981 to manufacture the M240 medium machine gun under contract to the U.S. Army. FN America’s primary business focuses on the design and production of a wide range of small arms including lightweight machine guns, medium machine guns and additional weapons for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Additionally, FN America produces firearms for law enforcement agencies as well as authorized retailers. The company currently employs more than 600 personnel in manufacturing, engineering, logistics, product and program management, and other areas.

The company plans to break ground later this year with an estimated completion date in the first half of 2024.

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