Steyr Arms Inc. is the U.S. division of Austrian firearms manufacturer Steyr Mannlicher, which grew out of gunsmithing operations begun by Josef Werndl in the 1860s. The division imports, assembles and distributes their Austrian-made guns and accessories to the U.S. market. The company also handles some products made by other European arms-makers Merkel, Anshutz and Caracel.
A 1989 shipment of 1,252 Steyr AUG-SA semi-automatic rifles, the first part of a 5,200-gun order by Gun South, was intercepted by U. S. Customs officers at the Birmingham Airport in March 1989 while the Bush administration reviewed a ban on the importation of assault weapons. District Judge William Acker Jr ordered the shipment released, but he was overturned by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In November, the court approved an agreement for Wood to sell the rifles to law enforcement officials.
In 1999 Steyr began evaluating the feasibility of building an assembly plant and training center in the United States. They opened next door to Gun South at 7661 Commerce Lane in Trussville Industrial Park in 2000.