The History of Thompson/Center Arms

Warren Center was employed as an engineer with Harrington & Richardson prior to joining the K.W. Thompson Tool Company in 1965. In his basement at home, Warren designed an unusual single shot break action handgun with interchangeable barrels which is known today as the Contender handgun. This increasingly popular pistol was introduced to the market in 1967 and was quickly accepted among silhouette shooters as well as the handgun hunting fraternity. K.W. Thompson Tool Company was located in Rochester, NH and decided to change their name to Thompson / Center Arms Company shortly after they began marketing their Contender handgun. Three years later, Thompson / Center Arms introducing the Hawken muzzle loading rifle which was the first of an ever growing line of muzzle loading firearms. Thompson / Center Arms is recognized as the leading manufacturer responsible with reintroducing the art of hunting with a muzzle loading firearm. A couple years later, they offered two more muzzle loaders: a miniature version of the Hawken rifle known as the Seneca and a pistol version called the Patriot. Thompson Center Arms offered a “Life Time Warranty” on all of their products which was not limited to just the original owner. Based upon their unconditional warranty and quality of merchandise, it took T/C Arms only two decades to be listed among the major firearms manufacturers of the world. In 1996, a major fire broke out in the factory destroying all tooling and parts for three of their muzzle loading firearms lines: the Seneca rifle, the Patriot pistol, and the Scout which was one of their newer in line muzzle loaders. As a result, they were discontinued in 1997. Ten years later, January 4th 2007, the company was purchased by Smith & Wesson and within four years, the Rochester plant began the process of closing down and moving their product to Springfield, Massachusetts where the parent company is based. Today, Thompson Center Arms produces a variety of quality rifles, handguns and muzzle loaders for the hunter and competitive shooter.

View our current inventory of parts

Visit Thompson/Cener Arms website