With its roots dating all the way back to 1905, Armscor is a firearms manufacturing company based out of the Philippines. They started as Squires Bingham & Co., and are now a global firearms producer, exporting to more than 50 countries on six continents. They’re known for their inexpensive 1911-pattern pistols, revolvers, shotguns, sporting rifles, parts, and ammunition.
The Humble Origins of Armscor Ammo
The company has been in the American market for 30 years now, but the manufacturing center is still located in Marikina City, Philippines. The factory cranks out over 200,000 arms and a whopping 420 million rounds every single year. 80 percent of the company’s output is exported to over 60 countries around the globe.
The origins of what is now known as Armscor Global Defense, Inc. lie in a very different place than a global exporter of top-quality ammunition and arms. It was a Manila printshop called Squires Bingham & Co. where the prehistory of this brand originates all the way back in 1905. This print shop made a little money on the side importing and selling motorcycles and sporting goods, the latter of which of course included arms and ammunition.
In 1941, the company was purchased by the Tuason family. It was 11 years later, in 1952, that they started manufacturing their own arms rather than just importing them.
Visionary entrepreneur Don Celso Tuason bought then-named Sportsmen’s Headquarters at the start of World War II and later renamed it Squires Bingham Manufacturing, Inc., as it helped rebuild the post-war Philippines by obtaining the first firearms manufacturing license from the government. It soon opened plants across the country, and by the 60s, Tuason was ready to hand the business down to his sons – who would build it into the brand we know today.
After Armscor Precision International opened plants in Nevada and Montana, and acquired Rock Island Armory, the brand’s third-generation leader Martin Tuason became president of the company in 2012. He continues to build Armscor’s presence and provide stellar firearms products to the United States and beyond.
Armscor Ammo and the Philippine Military
The company has a formal affiliation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Recognized as an Affiliate Reserve Unit of the Armed Forces, it’s known militarily as 1st (ARMSCOR) Arsenal Battalion (Reserve) and is under the direct jurisdiction of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Today the company is owned by Squires Bingham Co. Inc, which is a holding company for the family of Don Celso Tuason. His oldest son, Demetrio "Bolo" Tuason, is the Chairman Emeritus. His younger brother Daniel (known as "Concoy") is in charge of the plants and production. His son Martin is both the CEO and the president of the company.
Rock Island Armory is the primary manufacturer and distributor of Armscor Ammo. They distribute no less than 11 firearm lines known around the world as some of the top quality on the market. Their offices have been open in the United States since 1985.
The Two-Front War Against Communism and Sharia
Armscor plays a key role in arming the Philippine military, and since the early 2000s, the government of the Philippines has been fighting a two-front war on its own soil. On the one hand, there’s the CPP–NPA–NDF rebellion with Communists trying to overthrow the Philippine government. On the other hand, there’s the Moro Conflict, which is an insurgency of Muslims seeking to establish Sharia Law.
The latter conflict began as a largely ethnic one, with the Moro people of Southern Philippines having a long history of resistance to occupation by first the Spanish and then the American government. It is not surprising that this ethnic group has come into conflict with the government of the Philippines. They are the largest non-Catholic group in the country and represent approximately 11 percent of the country’s population. The Philippine government has encouraged landless Christians to emigrate to the land historically associated with the Moro people. This, alongside longstanding ethnic conflict and a failure of the Spanish to integrate the Moros while conquering the island, is the main engine of the conflict, which in recent years has taken on a more religious character. This is because the primary ethnic representative of the Moros, the Moro National Liberation Front, brokered a peace deal with the government that included some degree of autonomy in 1996. Jihadist activity began in 1991, but moved into the forefront after the more secular forces in the region brokered a peace deal.
The second conflict (with the Communists) dates back to 1971, when the New People’s Army, a Maoist organization founded in 1969, attacked a Liberal Party rally in Manila with grenades – killing nine and injuring 95 other people. The NPA is designated as a terrorist organization in several countries and the European Union. By 1972, the NPA were in full rebellion against the government, which led President Marcos to declare martial law that same year. Red China supported the NPA from 1969 to 1976, when it cut off all aid, leading to a reduced degree of revolutionary activity in the country.
While the Islamic rebellion is concentrated in ethnically Moro territories, the Communist insurrection covered most of the island in its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. The government has been continually unable to reach a truce with the Communist forces. However, as of 2018, it does currently have a ceasefire in place – which is the second such truce since November 1986. This is in no small part due to the current President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, and his focus on narcotic criminals over political radicals.
The NPA is the main mover in the Communist insurrection, but is also allied with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its front group, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. These three groups make up three different legs of the Communist insurrection.
Now, the Philippine government is focused on and engaged in the Philippine Drug War. After a bombing in Davao City, where now President Duterte was once mayor, the President declared a national state of emergency, escalating the drug war from metaphorical to literal. This war, of course, has proved to be far more controversial than the one against Communists and Islamism.
It is because of these twin insurrections that Armscor allies with the Philippine government to supply them arms as an adjunct section of the Philippine military.
Armscor Ammo Reviews
Armscor has stayed faithful to the 1911’s original designs and prides itself on pushing the boundaries of what this pistol can do – providing quality firearms at affordable prices. They believe self-defense tools should be reliable and attainable for everyone, including ammunition. Their most innovative ammo includes the .22 TCM (Tuason Craig Micromag) with a shortened 5.56 NATO cartridge and a jacketed hollow point bullet, known for its high velocity, low recoil, and repeated accuracy. No wonder Armscor hails itself as “Right on Target. Right on the Price.”