First "Made in Aynor" stamped rifles roll out of PTR plant

The first batch of rifles made entirely at the new PTR Industries plant in Aynor were shipped out Friday. It marked a turning point for the company.

For the last two months, the new firearms plant has been producing guns assembled from parts that came from the company's former plant in Connecticut.

From this day forward, every PTR rifle will be labeled, "Made in Aynor, SC."

Ashley Rabon lives in Aynor and was among the first locals hired to work in the new plant that's just a few miles from her home.

She says seeing the final product of her labor, and that of the other 45 people working there, gives her a sense of pride.

"Once it gets together and they're testing it and it works, you feel accomplished, like you've actually been a part of something and done something," Rabon said.

Twenty-six of the first guns to display the Made in Aynor stamp went out Friday. The rest will be delivered next week.

Company officials say the response to the special first run was overwhelming.

"When we thought of a first run special for just some local folks, that have helped us out throughout the move, we thought of doing just 30 or 40, maybe 50 guns and it grew into over 240 real quick," said PTR purchasing manager Bob Grabowski.

Each of the first run rifles will have a serial number that's customized for its owner. One of them was marked "Beach Bum".

"Some of the serial numbers range from birthdates, children's names, wives' names, their own names," Grabowski said.

Rabon's father-in-law will be getting a first-run PTR model 91 rifle.

She says the gun plant has put her hometown on the map.

"Aynor's such a small town, and for something this big to come and be a part of Aynor is great."

For the special first run, the shipping department consists of Grabowski's car. He will hand deliver the guns to two local gun stores, where they will be distributed to elected officials and other supporters.

The first-run rifles will not be free. Customers paid for them, though the company sold them at a steep discount.