Editor’s note: This article was first published in the Arkansas Advocate.

An expansion at a Central Arkansas gun ammunition factory is projected to bring more than 600 new jobs over the next five years, according to a Friday announcement.

New Hampshire-based firearms company Sig Sauer plans a $150 million expansion of its Elite Performance Ammunition manufacturing facility in Jacksonville to help fulfill its contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.

“We are incredibly excited about expanding our ammunition operations here in Jacksonville and building upon years of success in Arkansas,” said Ron Cohen, President and CEO, Sig Sauer, Inc. “This opportunity has proven itself essential to the growth and sustainment of our ammunition business, and further enforces our commitment to the Arkansas community and workforce.”

The gun company first brought its ammo plant to Jacksonville in 2016 with 50 jobs. Since, it has expanded and now employs roughly 350 people.

The expansion announced by the company and Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday includes a new 250,000-square-foot building to house parts of its manufacturing processes and 625 projected new jobs.

“Here in Arkansas, we love welcoming business expansions almost as much as we love defending the Second Amendment,” Sanders said in a statement. “SIG SAUER’s expansion to their facility in Jacksonville does both, creating jobs and reaffirming Arkansans’ right to keep and bear arms. I’m proud this company chose Arkansas to plant its roots…”

Sig Sauer manufactures ammunition and ammunition components for the Defense Department, global defense and law enforcement and consumers in addition to pistol night sights at the Jacksonville facility. The expansion includes investment in component hybrid case manufacturing, primer manufacturing and load/pack operations to support multiple DOD contracts.

“I am excited for what this expansion will bring to Jacksonville and the region of central Arkansas,” said Jacksonville Mayor Jeff Elmore. “Their footprint in Jacksonville and impact on our city and state is something that we are extremely grateful for. We look forward to many more successful years of SIG SAUER in Jacksonville and the State of Arkansas.”

Hunter Field is a veteran Arkansas journalist whose reporting on the state has carried him from military air strips in northwest Arkansas to soybean fields in the Arkansas delta.

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