Innovation has always been the foundation of H-S Precision.. Tom Houghton Sr., an Army drill instructor and a world-record competitor in benchrest shooting, started the company in 1978 in Prescott, AZ, with a goal of being a global leader in the firearms industry. His vision continues today with his wife Vivian, son Tim Houghton, daughter Tricia Hoeke, and more than 70 employees who share his passion.
Written by Michelle Pawelski
It’s always a great opportunity when H-S Precision is able to grace the pages of publications throughout the country. However, when the place you call home asks to feature your work, there’s something special about the interview, the story of where the company has been, gone, and continues to work forward to.
In August 2021, the economic development and chamber of commerce entity Elevate Rapid City reached out to our team asking to profile our work in South Dakota and the jobs we provide to area residents. After a tour of the production floor and hours of conversation, the reminiscent stories brought a light to the accomplishments and growth H-S Precision has had in 43 years of business.
- May 1, 1978: H-S Precision is incorporated
- 1980: H-S Precision begins to manufacture test barrels for Winchester
- 1982: Tom Houghton Sr. sets benchrest world records with H-S Precision Pro-Series® barrels and stocks
- 1985: Debut of the Pro-Series® stock line featuring a full length bedding block chassis system.
- 1985: H-S Precision joins Remington Arms in stock system development
- 1986: H-S Precision introduces 10x cut rifling to production, improving barrel quality and performance
- 1988: H-S Precision completes development of a newly designed take-down rifle system (patent approved in 1990)
- August 24, 1990: Grand Opening celebration in Rapid City, SD in 15,000 sq. foot facility
- 1994: H-S Precision adds 10,000 sq. feet of manufacturing space for Pro-Series® stock production
- 1995: H-S Precision begins servicing 8-gauge Industrial Kiln guns
- 1995: H-S Precision becomes an employee owned company with the introduction of ESOP
- 1996: H-S Precision adds 7,500 sq. feet to facility
- 1998: H-S Precision introduces the Pro-Series® firearm line at Shot Show
- 2000: H-S Precision expands distribution oversees entering a global market
- 2003: H-S Precision adds 9,000 sq. feet to facility
- 2003: H-S Precision wins contract for FBI sniper rifle program
- 2011: H-S Precision wins contract for IDF sniper rifle program
- 2014: Passing of Tom Houghton Sr.; a father, an innovator (1942-2014)
- 2019: H-S Precision introduces 3DLC laser scanning technology
Why South Dakota
As South Dakota has made national news more in the last two years than, the rural area of Rapid City is still a hidden gem to many businesses in the outdoor industry. With low startup costs and a lack of corporate and individual income taxes, South Dakota is a very business-friendly climate. According to Elevate Rapid City, “business owners benefit from no corporate income tax, no personal income tax, no personal property tax and no business inventory tax. South Dakota gives businesses a competitive edge by helping them keep the money they earn.”
Learn more: SD Governor’s Office of Economic Development
Elevate Rapid City
Elevate Rapid City was established in 2019 merging the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organizations to lead the economic development and small business efforts in the Black Hills region. They are the go-to organization for available property, workforce development and talent acquisitions, as well as a connection to government affairs and climate updates.
Learn more: Elevate Rapid City