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LMT Defense unveils new Eldridge plant, firearms contract with Estonia

Firearms manufacturer LMT Defense unveils its new facility in Eldridge.

ELDRIDGE, Iowa -- LMT Defense, the firearms manufacturer formerly known as Lewis Machine & Tool, unveiled its new headquarterts in Eldridge on Sunday, having completed the move from Milan in April.

President Karl Lewis said the company outgrew its old location in Illinois.

"The large difference is, of course, the size.  We are almost twice as large," he said of the new facility.  "The logistics of being able to do our own test firing is a big contributor to coming here," he said. "We have additional acreage to expand as we see fit in the future."

The new facility combines manufacturing and a test fire facilities under one roof, enabling a nimbler, more agile operation, said Vice President of Engineering, Michael Neff.

"We’re very proud of our heritage and high quality product. This will allow us to take a high quality product and scale it a little more."

"If we develop our product and there’s an opportunity to enhance the manufacturing throughput or a way to improve quality, we can do this with new factory," he told News 8.

LMT Defense on Monday signed a multimillion-dollar contract with Estonia to provide custom fully-automatic rifles to the country's military, complete with MLOK rail, a piston-operated system, and ambidextrous controls.

"We’ll be supplying the Estonian army and their special forces and many of their law enforcement with their next generation firearms. They are a member of the NATO alliance, which is very prestigious for us," Lewis said.

A prestigious and lucrative contract that could lead to more opportunities, added Neff.

"Globally and internationally there’s always opportunities to support our allies and support NATO countries, so we will continue to do that. We’ll also continue to look at opportunities to support US military and law enforcement. That's a big part of our business."

Every single product, for domestic and international customers including New Zealand and Great Britain, is accuracy-tested before it leaves the factory.

"40 different international customers we work with, and doing it all from Eldridge, Iowa now," Lewis said.