Hello! We are John (JP) & Leah Hotchkiss, owners of Red Bear Gun Brokers. We're located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and have been in operation since 2006. Red Bear isn't just a business to us - it's a family of fathers, mothers, veterans, sportsmen, hunters, and their families.
We're honored to have the privilege of not only carrying on the Hotchkiss family legacy, but honoring it through the Red Bear family.
(written by Leah)
JP started Red Bear as a way to make a little extra by selling products he loves.
He earned the nickname Red Bear when he lived in Alaska, working as a bush mechanic/pilot for small aircraft. When he went to start our gun broker business he discovered the meaning of the name (see below) he decided it was a perfect fit.
When you become his client he provides quality, unique, and comprehensive service. He takes his time with people, chatting over everything from Colt SAA's and AR-15s to the birth of a first child and home renovation.
As a Hotchkiss he is enjoying picking up a family business that might otherwise have been lost to history.
(He was slightly disappointed none of the Hotchkisses built motorcycles, but there is always time to add on to a family history! Plus, he will never read this page, so I can write whatever embarrassing truths I want in here.)
I'm just along for the ride! (Just kidding.)
When JP started Red Bear, I was having our third child and not heavily involved with the business.
After the kids had grown a bit, I discovered I love guns and things that go boom almost as much as I love knives and fire.
I am a trained chef, and my true passion is flavor, hospitality, fire, and knives. This translates nicely into what we do at Red Bear! In a world of marketed ideals and fake communities based in unreal distinctions, I have discovered real community still exists. For us, it's come through a shared interest that brings together people alike in ethics, ethos, and purpose.
I love that we have made a comfortable place for those who just want to be free Americans in all their individuality.
The Red Bear Symbol
Red Bear is identical with the zephyr that blows from his land in the American west. He is spirit chief over the brown bears. He was the second spirit bear the Earthmaker created, and has special charge over the maintenance of the earth. His color is that of the setting sun, reflecting the purpose of Earthmaker, who placed him in the west to be gatekeeper of the Great Beyond. The Hotcâk (Red Bear) Subclan, who descend from him, express his spirit by taking charge of disciplinary functions and acting as sergeants-at-arms at councils. They also prepare the Bear Clan for war.
The late Benjamin Berkley Hotchkiss (1826 - 1885) was most famously known as a premiere ordnance engineer. At the beginning of his career, he worked for Colt revolvers and Winchester rifles in Hartford, Connecticut.
His family started Hotchkiss and Sons, based in New York. While Benjamin received sole credit, in reality he worked with his father Asahal, and brother Andrew, to create a business behind the scenes of larger companies.
Benjamin was awarded rifled artillery projectile patents and five patents for fuses to detonate bursting charges of his shells. His brother Andrew also held several patents before the war, one for the Improved Projectile for Ordnance.
During the Civil War, these patents gave the company government contracts for munitions, reaching $1.5 million. This ranked Hotchkiss and Sons 10th among the 13 Northern ordnance contractors. After the war, Benjamin Hotchkiss moved his operations to Europe.
If France he developed the "canon-revolver" known as the Hotchkiss Gun. It came in 4 sizes, the largest intended for Naval use. Today you can see one sitting on a San Francisco wharf. In 1878, he patented the Winchester Hotchkiss, which was produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and Springfield Armory.