Once upon a time, Americans bought more long guns than handguns. After Florida opened the floodgates to firearms carry liberalization, U.S. consumers flocked to handguns in their millions, reversing the balance. With the prospect of a Clinton administration looming, what with Ms. Clinton’s enthusiasm for a new “assault weapons” ban and all, buyers are snapping-up AR-15’s like there’s no tomorrow. But handguns are still hot, as The Motley Fool reports . . .
Much of the strength Smith & Wesson exhibited in its fiscal first quarter was due to the 38% surge in handgun sales, a segment that accounted for more than two-thirds of total net sales. In particular, its cheaper full-size polymer pistols, as well as the small, concealed-carry M&P-branded pistols, were responsible for the jump in sales, with revenues totaling $138.9 million for the period.
Although Smith & Wesson is recognized mostly for its handguns, it is also a major manufacturer of long guns. They might account for a much-smaller percentage of total sales, but they’re growing in popularity, and in the first quarter, sales more than doubled, to $44.5 million.
That’s one big ass jump. That said, the handgun market is far from saturated, as new shooters join the fold. And Smith’s revolvers (e.g., the venerable 642 hammerless snubbie) are the best entry-level handgun money can buy. If S&W would only market them as such they’d kill it (so to speak). Then again, capacity.
The Motley Fool article sounds the alarm about safety concerns related to the TTAG-reviewed five star .22-caliber AR-15, now banned from the rifle marksmanship programs offered by Project Appleseed. Remington 700 much? Let’s hope not.
Meanwhile, all hail Fool writer Rich Duprey for pointing out that “assault weapons” are no such thing. Like this:
Modern sporting rifles, or MSRs, are what gun-control proponents deceptively term “assault rifles.” Although an MSR is virtually the exact same gun as any other semiautomatic rifle on the market — including hunting rifles, which critics say they’re not going after — the fact they’re clad in scary-looking accessories like barrel shrouds and extended grips and magazines, and have folding stocks allows opponents to demonize them for belonging to an especially dangerous category of weapons.
But they’re quite similar to hunting rifles: They use the same ammunition; they have the same firepower; and you can fire only one bullet with each trigger pull, just like with hunting rifles. It’s because they’re tactically colored and look like military weapons that people not familiar with them think they pose a heightened risk.
This in a business-oriented publication. That’s a solid win for both Smith & Wesson and The People of the Gun.