S&W Releases 1st Quarter Revenues

Tying directly into the piece below this, Smith & Wesson has released their 1st quarter revenues, which are definitely good news for the arms company.

Net product sales for the three months ended July 31, 2008 were $78.0 million, a $3.6 million, or 4.9%, increase over net product sales for the three months ended July 31, 2007. Firearms sales totaled $73.1 million, an increase of $3 million, or 4.2%, over the first quarter of last year.

Pistol sales grew 18.4%, driven by continued consumer market and law enforcement adoption of the M&P polymer pistol line. Sales of M&P pistols grew 27% in the first quarter. Walther products grew at a 19.9% rate based largely on the performance of the PPS sub-compact handgun, which was launched in mid-fiscal 2008. M&P tactical rifle sales grew by 11.0% in the first quarter as demand for this product remained strong in both the consumer and law enforcement channels. Revolver sales grew by 3.4% over the comparable quarter last year. Sales of non-firearms accessories, including handcuffs, totaled $4.9 million, a 15.1% increase over non-firearms accessories sales of $4.3 million in the first quarter last year.

What’s interesting if you read the entire article is that their hunting lines are suffering, but their self-defense lines are doing big business.  Hunting rifles and shotguns have not been selling nearly as well as defensive pistols and carbines lately, which is a telling statistic for two reasons.  First off, it shows that the firearms market is continuing to shift away from the traditional staples of bolt rifles and shotguns towards a more “defensive” oriented market, with things like M&P pistols dominating the sales for Smith & Wesson.

Obviously, I’m not saying we should abandon the hunting markets or anything, but it very interesting to me to see how different the firearms industry is from when I started shooting a few years ago.


  1. Do you read Michael Bane’s blog? If not, you should.

    He’s been in the industry a long time and often talks about the schism between the traditional “hooks n’ bullets” crowd and the “practical/tactical” part of the industry. What’s important is that this schism isn’t just among *USERS* but among the very industry executives, organizations, and various movers and shakers themselves.

    Traditionally, the firearms industry trys to appeal to the hunter/plinker in their outreach. The so called “Shooter retention” programs were primarily designed to reach and retain more *hunters.* The whole self defense and “tactical” market was seen as a red headed stepchild. Heck, the NSSF changed their logo a couple years back to prominently feauture a hunter.

    While the top execs in the big gun companies where still thinking, “hunting, hunting, hunting” the self defense and “run ‘n gun” competition markets were experiencing explosive growth. The AR-15 design is now the best selling rifle in the U.S. (spread out among all the makers though). More shooters are taking defensive training classes and shooting action gun games then ever before. They are the ones buying the guns, ammo and accessories, not the hunters who buy a couple boxes of shells a year and maybe some new boots.

    The industry has been very slow to recognize this. While the gun makers were happy to sell product, even if it was those *icky* “assault rifles,” they were still really thinking of the traditional hunter and recreational shooter/plinker as their primary market.

    There has been a sea change recently though. The whole Zumbo affair where this paragon of the industry lost his cushy set up after calling AR’s “Terrorist rifles” really brought that home. It seems that’s what it took for many in the industry to finally “wake up and smell the cordite.”

    Hopefully, the industry is starting to realize who is *really* spending all that money on their products and we’ll see more support from the industry to protect and promote the “non traditional,” non-hunting, shooting sports. Ruger’s recent sale of 20 round mags to “ordinary civilians” with the purchase of a NRA edition Mini 14 is a example of the kind of change we need to see.

    Yeah, Ruger was tenative about selling the “evil High Caps” and ran the whole thing kidna half assed, but when they see the response, hopefully they’ll get the clue that this is what we want and act accordingly).

  2. I also note that Ruger has recently introduced a .380 semiauto pistol of diminutive size to appeal to the concealed carry market. This handgun is also a departure from previous Ruger offerings, and has been an enormous success for them, with a reported 85,000 units ordered at the SHOT show alone.

    As a prominent gun blogger notes, “Self defense is a human right.” All but a handful of states now have legal concealed carry of firearms for self defense. The Supreme Court’s recent Heller decision legitimized handgun use for self defense, with a majority decision based on inherent human rights to self defense as well as the codification in the 2nd Amendment of the right to keep and bear arms.

    Self defense products will continue to drive firearm industry innovation and profitability, although hunting still brings a strong percentage of new shooters to the gun store.

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