In January, Shooting Illustrated reported that famed gunsmith Bill Laughridge was retiring and closing the doors of Cylinder & Slide unless his search for a new owner—one just as dedicated to providing the quality products and customer service that served as the foundation of his business—was a successful one. The task was a formidable one, but a pair of investors, both gun enthusiasts, are assuming ownership of the company and dedicated enough to continuing the tradition that he is turning over the reins.
Laughridge will remain in a consulting position to ensure a smooth transition to new ownership. His well-deserved retirement will officially begin once that mission is complete.
Cylinder & Slide’s operations will remain in Fremont, NE, where the firm began in 1978. The new owners are already exploring expansion options that include hiring additional gunsmiths.
It didn’t take long for the good news to reach enthusiasts, apparently. Today the company’s website homepage warns visitors that, “We are receiving copious amounts of orders, so we are asking our customers to please be patient with us. We are getting orders out as fast as we can. We ask if you could please refrain from calling and asking where your order is or when it is going to be shipped out. Doing so just takes us away from getting your parts order sent to you. Thank you so much!”
The Cylinder & Slide success story was built on hard work and an unfailing focus on quality. Early in the business, Laughridge specialized in customizing IPSC guns. Some of the circuit’s best shooters were regulars under his tent at matches. Business was brisk, so he traded in the nylon-and-canvas shelter for a trailer fully customized for gunsmithing. For the next 18 years he towed it cross-country to major events, all while managing the growing volume of orders flooding into his Nebraska headquarters. Today the company continues to be a favorite among competitors, but it also offers a wide variety of products and services ideal for handgun owners.