Smith & Wesson (American Outdoor Brands) to BlackRock: FOAD

As we reported previously, BlackRock Inc. developed a sudden hard-on for gun control after the Parkland, Florida spree killing. The trillion dollar investment group sent a letter to American Outdoor Brands, Ruger and Vista Outdoors — companies in which they hold a substantial stake — asking  the gunmakers a series of pointed questions about the their business practices [see: end of this article]. American Outdoors has this to say about that . . .

Any discussion of our business certainly must start with the Second Amendment, which confers a fundamental right, expressly provided in the Bill of Rights, to keep and bear arms. Further, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to buy and possess firearms. We firmly believe in our right to manufacture firearms that meet the needs and requirements of those who have the Constitutionally-protected right to own them.

American Outdoor Brands, formerly Smith & Wesson, no doubt remembers how a consumer boycott brought them to the brink of bankruptcy, when the company cut a deal with the Clinton administration for “voluntary reforms,” including “child-safe triggers,”  “smart guns” and a ban on sales to “bad apple” gun dealers.

Click here to read American Outdoor brands response to BlackRock’s blackmail (which tells BlackRock to FOAD in its own special way), some 18 years after the boycott. It includes this bit about the company’s responsibility for the criminal use of its products, such as the Smith & Wesson AR15 the Parkland killer used to take the lives of 17 innocent people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

While the vast majority of our products are used lawfully, we are aware that sometimes people engage in horrible, criminal acts with our products. However, calls for us to monitor the illegal use of our firearms are misguided, since doing so would be ineffective in preventing such misuse. In addition, such monitoring by us is not realistic or feasible.

As a practical matter, it is no more realistic or feasible for us to monitor whether our legal firearms are used in criminal ways, than it is for a car manufacturer to monitor how often a drunken driver causes a tragic accident with one of their vehicles, or for a mobile phone company to monitor whether its mobile devices are used in terrorist activities. In fact, it likely would be easier for those companies given the limited history of their products. In contrast, we have been in business for 166 years, with our firearms in the stream of commerce since 1852.

American Outdoors Brands’ response goes on to tout its support for the Fix NICs bill (and background checks in general) and beg off on the whole “smart gun” thing. Like this:

As far as whether we invest in R&D in this area, we do not. We are a manufacturing company, not a technology company, and we are poorly situated to hire those with the knowledge and expertise to develop such technology and to otherwise compete with technology companies who are far more knowledgeable in this area. In fact, to divert significant resources to these initiatives would be irresponsible when the most recent market research shows there is very little interest or desire among firearm consumers for “smart gun” products, even if they were available.

In short, we’re here to make money guys. Legally. And in case you missed it . . .

The solution [to firearms-related violence] is not to take a politically motivated action that has an adverse impact on our company, our employees, our industry, our shareholders, the economies we support and, most importantly, the rights of the law abiding citizens that buy our products, but results in no increase in public safety. We must collectively have the courage to ensure any actions are guided by data, by facts, and by what will actually make us safer — not by what is easy, expedient, or reads well in a headline.

While you’d think that would be enough for BlackRock, clearly, it isn’t. The big question is, what happens next? How will BlackRock turn the screws on the American firearms industry? Watch this space . . .

List of questions BlackRock Inc. asked American Outdoor Brands:

– What is your strategy for and process related to managing the reputational, financial and litigation risk associated with manufacturing civilian firearms?

– How do you assess the financial, reputational and litigation risks of the various aspects of your product lines and how is each of those products distributed?

– What steps do you take to support the safe and responsible use of your products?

– How do you determine where you will allow your products to be distributed? (e.g., Do your distribution channels include private sales? Do you require distributors to disclose to you warnings from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms? Do you monitor whether distributors and retailers of your products have a high volume of their guns identified as having been used in crimes?)

– What strategies do you employ to monitor how your products are being sold? (e.g., Do you require retailers to certify that they do background checks? Do you require training of retailer staffs? Do you have a process in place to flag unusual size order or identify patterns of disproportionate sales?)

– Are you investing in R&D to promote the safety of your products (e.g. effective trigger locking technology)? What is your strategy in this area?

– What steps, if any, do you take to support and promote gun safety education at the point of sale?


  1. avatar BlazinTheAmazin says:

    That’s the only true response to give.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      They could’ve thrown in an actual FOAD.

      Or FOADASD = FOAD A Slow Death

    2. avatar Greg says:

      Just another attack on our 2nd Amendment Right to keep and bear arms. I own 2S&W pistols. Great firearms.

  2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    good on ya. blackrock and merrill lynch rotting dingoes kidneys.

  3. avatar Hank says:

    That’s good. Think I’ll go buy another S&W.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Glad.i bought an SW22

  4. avatar MICHAEL A CROGNALE says:

    So Blackrock will divest their holdings in these companies which means that someone else, hopefully true patriots, will buy them. Meanwhile Blackrock can continue visually inspecting their colons.

    1. avatar John Galt says:

      Already own some, and I will buy some more.

      Also, I am the Chief Investment Officer at a mid-size trust company. I emailed my rep at BlackRock and said I find their actions abhorrent, and that financial pressure can be applied to BlackRock as well as from BlackRock. They are scrambling to keep my business. Too late.

      Good bye iShares.

      1. avatar Dave says:

        HELL YEA!!!

      2. avatar Bigus Duckus says:

        Good on ya mate!

      3. Absolutely right !! Black Rock FOAD. Do your homework and you will see it is not the firearm that is to blame. It is the people that are commiting violence. If said individuals are intent on harming someone , they will find a way. 3 percent of semi automatic weapons are used in gun violence. That’s a fact.

        1. avatar MarkF says:

          Actually, no. I think something like 3% of all weapons used in crime are rifles, though this may actually be all long arms, which would include shotguns. The FBI doesn’t distinguish between types of rifles or shotguns, so the data you mention doesn’t exist.

          I believe but cannot locate the info that semi-automatics are the majority of handguns used in crimes, and handguns are by far the most common weapon used in crimes.

  5. avatar rudukai13 says:

    I do believe an M&P R8 revolver just jumped a few spaces up on my list of acquisition prorities…

    FOAD, indeed

  6. avatar A Brit in TX says:

    Nice response S&W, I will now forgive you for the months it took to repair the mag catch on my Bodyguard!!

  7. avatar raptor jesus says:

    Pretty happy with my J frame snubbie. Guess it’s time to get a combat magnum?

    1. avatar Mad Max says:

      Just one snubbie?😀

      The new Model 69 Combat Magnum is a great shooter if you have strong hands.

    2. avatar MarkF says:

      Careful, those Combat Magnums require some regular attention else they get all snippy and unruly. And be advised, that the first Combat Magnum I bought exhibited some poor social skills until I realized it was pining away for its kinfolk. Getting 2-3 (that’s all I’ll admit to) cousins for it settled that old Model 19 right down.

      They are sort of like certain breeds of dogs, and maybe CZ rifles, where they are much happier in packs.

  8. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Why didn’t Blackrock ask how many times do you fold the TP before using it?
    Good for S&W telling them to go where the sun don’t shine.

  9. avatar Amfivena says:

    Virtue signaling is cheap. The real question is, does Blackrock care enough to use their substantial assets to try a hostile takeover? I’m guessing they don’t care that much.

  10. avatar johnny go lightly says:

    Now get rid of that Hilary Hole and that will be a rocket up the butt of Blackrock and all the other NY commie scum.

    1. avatar anonymoose says:

      I came here to say this.

  11. avatar Josey Wales says:

    This makes up, in my opinion, for what they did to screw us 18 years ago under Clinton! My grudge against them is now forgotten.

  12. avatar Bloving says:

    Can’t we look forward to getting rid of the Hillary Hole on the revolvers?
    (Don’t really care – Ruger never added such a uesless feature… just being trollish)

    1. avatar Gregolas says:

      I’m with Bloving. I’ve turned away from all “Hillary hole” revolvers. I’ll by used S&W’s instead.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        Yup. All of my S&W revolvers are very old.

    2. avatar MouseGun says:

      I here that. Now that Ruger is offering the GP100 in seven chamber options, I don’t really see the point in getting a (modern) S&W

    3. avatar Ralph says:

      It took me all of five minutes to remove the locks on each of my S&Ws. Removal does not leave a hole in the gun because the only thing removed is a small internal part.

      1. avatar John in AK says:

        That’s true.
        You can also claim that the black widget above the thumbpiece is the selector switch to make the gun fully-semi-automatic, or that the little arrow indicates which way the bullets are supposed to go in the cylinder, or indicates which way the cylinder turns if viewed from the back, or (best of all) commemorates all of the Indigenous People killed by S&Ws.
        Maybe the little ‘L’ stands for ‘left-handed cylinder.’

        1. avatar scott says:

          Interwebz winner for today!

    4. avatar John in AK says:

      Truthfully, Ruger DID add such a useless feature to their guns, including revolvers both DA and SA. At least THEIRS was hidden under the grips (on revolvers–with auto pistols, the key stuck right into the side of the frame below the slide).
      Ruger has had the decency to quietly, but slowly, discontinue this ‘feature.’ Now, they come with a simple padlock that can be used for sheds and toolboxes.

  13. avatar Nanashi says:

    “American Outdoors Brands’ response goes on to tout its support for the Fix NICs bill”

    So close and yet they became Bill Ruger 2.0 at the last second.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      You are aware the NCIS has/is in place NOW?

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        My only explanation for this guy’s posts is that he is a prohibited person and is very salty about it.

        Which may be fair, depending on why he’s prohibited… but then again it may not…

      2. avatar RMS1911 says:

        Nics was signed into law by Clinton so it’s not old and can be reverted back today if need be which it is needed.
        It was never a thing ever until the commies thought they had it sewn up and couldn’t be opposed that’s why most of them lost after their bs ban.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Yup. Lucy and that damned football. The Charlie Browns keep on thinking that maybe, somehow, this time will be different.

    3. avatar Bigus Duckus says:

      Errrr….why wouldn’t you want NCIS to work properly?

  14. avatar Shire-man says:

    Been going back and forth on an LCR or 442. 442 just edged the LCR out.

    1. avatar MarkF says:

      Dude, join the movement! Embrace diversity and inclusion!

      Get both.

  15. Looks like a 5th Smithy will soon grace my collection next week, and here I thought the Sigs would catch up.

    Good on the folks in Springfield!

  16. avatar Mark says:

    Smith talks a tough game and yet they continue to operate out of MA. Shaking my head….

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I agree that they would be in a better long-term position if they moved their company to a more firearms-friendly locale (to to mention starving an anti-gun state of their tax revenue), it’s not all that easy to move a complex manufacturing operation that’s been in place for decades. Just ask Marlin.

      1. avatar Bigus Duckus says:

        …and Remington

        1. avatar Scoutino says:

          Same owner, same factory.

  17. avatar Mike says:

    The only response is we follow all Federal and State laws.

  18. avatar AFGus says:

    I just purchased a Shield40 2.0 w/Crimson Trace laser. After reading S&W’s reply to Blackrock, I’m even more pleased with my purchase.

  19. avatar former water walker says:

    Funny but Illinoisistan looks like they may ban every damn gun worth having…a big-azz revolver looks like a win. And S&W looks great. Kudos😏

  20. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    I sold off all my blackrock stock before this happened, glad I did.

  21. avatar AlanInFL says:

    I would had simply said this: We make stuffs that is legal which our market base want to buy and make money for our stockholders and all this is called Capitalism. Oh, one last thing, mind your own business and FOAD.

  22. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Looks like American Outdoor Brands is a little different than the british plumbing company that owned Smith before.

    Good on them.

  23. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    Black Rock is a public company?

    Really, I think a stockholder group needs to write them a letter about how they are managing the financial, reputational, and liability exposure to being posturing weenies, when every exercise in corporate behavioral virtue-signaling over the last decade or so, has crashed the revenue, reach and stock price.

    Maybe use their letter as an outline? Or ask Jimmy Kimmel how that’s working out for the Oscars? Or both?

  24. avatar Rick Bunn says:

    I started buying Smith’s a few years ago. Great revolvers, also enjoy my 41, 52, and 39.

  25. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Obviously Blackrock doesn’t understand the legal requirements of the industry. Manufacturers sell to FFLs who then sell to the public after appropriate checks. With the exception of warranty claims or recalls, this is where the manufacturer’s and dealer’s responsibility ends.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “With the exception of warranty claims”

      S&W disclaims warranties, but it does have a service policy. FYI, I have found the service to be incomparable, and in almost all cases its free.

  26. avatar Pat H says:

    Most of the questions asked by Black Rock seemed fairly reasonable. Any investment company would be interested in these sort of details, to protect it’s own self interests.

    It does raise the question of why they didn’t ask them when they first invested.

    1. avatar Bugman says:

      Reasonable?!? I don’t think their questions were at all reasonable. The ignorance displayed in those questions makes me question their ability to possess a voters registration. To think that an adult, at a major investment group would ask those questions and that the higher ups would sign off on it, would make me want to immediately end any relationship I would had with them. FOAD indeed.

  27. avatar Charlie says:

    Nearly all of BR’s questions are irrelevant due to existing federal law. The few that aren’t a matter of current law, would be too expensive (and pointless) to implement. Seriously, if you’re going to try to engage in dialogue with management as a large shareholder, at least first spend the 10 minutes online required to become familiar with how the product is actually distributed and sold. The questions make them look ignorant. Not someone I’d trust to manage my retirement funds.

    1. avatar Bugman says:

      Yeah, what Charlie said too

  28. avatar Richard Narozny says:

    Get up, stand up, don’t give up your rights..Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!

  29. avatar John in Ohio says:

    “American Outdoors Brands’ response goes on to tout its support for the Fix NICs bill (and background checks in general)”***

    So, they are still supporting gun control.

    *** The click link for the whole PDF points to a file in RF’s directory so it doesn’t work for us. It needs fixing.

  30. avatar William Ward says:

    What a bunch of parinoid freaks. Like owning an AR makes you a patriot. Read up on what Goldwater and Reagan has to say about owning a semi-auto. Anybody who doesn’t think they were great Americans is an idiot. Want to show your patriotism? Join the military.
    VRGO (Veterans for Responsible Gun Ownership)

    1. avatar clst says:

      “Like owning an AR makes you a patriot.”
      No one thinks that owning an AR, or any other firearm, makes you a patriot. Owning or advocating owning any firearm simply means you are practicing your rights as a citizen of a free nation.
      Reagan and Goldwater were great Americans, but that does not mean every other great American has to agree with everything they said or did.

    2. avatar Blurb says:

      Tried that multiple times. They wouldn’t have me due to physical limitations. I guess nearsighted people cannot, by definition, recognize their civil responsibilities.

    3. avatar Scoutino says:

      “No one needs an AR15! ”
      Well, no one needs a whiny bitch and yet – here you are.
      If you as a gun owner are not a bit paranoid, you have not been paying attention.

    4. avatar zebra dun says:

      The VFVS type Vet? Veteran For Virtue Signaling?
      Like maybe you are not really a vet.
      The article was about a government funded Investment company interrogating a Company that makes firearms not AR 15 and patriotism.

  31. avatar Ret1SG says:

    Did that and I own an AR. Plus all of my pistols are semi-auto. I don’t worry about whether or not owning an AR makes me a patriot, I simply enjoy shooting it, plus it’s great for the hogs and coyotes here in central Texas! Responsible gun ownership means always following the Four Rules, keeping your weapons safe from the young ones EVEN after they learn the Four Rules of gun safety and keeping them out of the hands that would misuse them. By the way, I think….no I know I’m going to buy my wife that new M&P .380 EZ. Have a nice night VRGO.

  32. avatar Howard Sobel says:

    While I personally do not own any SW or Ruger Firearms (both junk) I support the 2nd Amendment 1000%>. Our enemies are clapping their hands over this fight. Lenin said many years ago that the Soviet Union will offer peace to the West and make wonderful overtures and when the guard of the West is down, smash them with their Iron Fist. This is happening now. The media is controlled by those who hate us. Children are being taught socialism in schools and there is waning respect for American ideals. Parents shirk responsibility. Russia under Putin is rearming and China is passing us in every way and the US dollar is a joke. I’m old but fear for my grandkids. I will fight to the death to maintain America the way my parents and grandparents (immigrants) believed was right.

  33. avatar JW says:

    What does BlackRock do to ensure profits people earn from them are not used for illegal activities?

    To what extent would BlackRock be responsible for such criminal activity?

    What steps do they take to insure profits realized by their clients are not stolen years later by others and used for criminal activity?

    If they are incapable of making these abstractions, why would anyone be foolish enough to invest with them?

  34. avatar Tim says:

    Cringe moment when S&W said: “the Second Amendment, which confers a fundamental right, expressly provided in the Bill of Rights, to keep and bear arms.” While they get the fact that we have an individual right to keep and bear arms that right wasn’t “conferred” via the 2nd Amendment. The Bill of Rights of which the 2nd Amendment is a part was directed at and only applied to the newly formed Federal Government reminding it of it’s boundaries and of our natural rights.

    Our federal Constitution doesn’t delegate to the federal government any power over the Country at Large to restrict our arms. Accordingly, all pretended federal laws, regulations, orders, opinions, or treaties which purport to do so are unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated. They are also unconstitutional as in violation of the Second Amendment.

  35. avatar JS says:

    I read a lot of great comments here but you need to write them, email them and call them and tell them your feelings about this. They do not read any of these forums.

  36. avatar S&Wfan says:

    Love my S&WM2.0… been thinking about getting another. This’s just helps make the case that much easier.

  37. avatar SCOTT WARDWELL says:

    The questions submitted by Blackrock were obviously written by Bloomberg attorneys. Who else could write such a series of tortured finely-nuanced got-cha questions and yet underscores their own misunderstandings and bias against the industry.

    Damn’ed it you do – Damn’ed if you don’t.
    In the final analysis, Blackrock is either in the business to make money for their investors or they have allowed themselves to be hi-jacked by social justice warriors.

  38. avatar LBWood says:

    Looks like I’ll be buying another Smith…

  39. avatar Grigori says:

    There is so much about Smith & Wesson to detest, anymore. For one thing, that they insist on defiling most of their revolvers with those stupid “safety locks” which have the potential to engage under recoil or if the gun is dropped, causing the gun to become useless at a critical moment of need. Thankfully AFAIK, this has not happened in a combat situation yet, but it has happened on ranges. S&W pays no heed to the large number of customers who despise this lock and wish it gone.

    More recently, I learned that S&W will only test fire its J-Frame revolvers out to a maximum range of ten yards, even if requested by a customer to shoot it at greater distance. I have a 442 that I carry daily as a BUG. It’s grouping on a silhouette target at 25 yards and beyond is centered. I like this gun so much, I recently bought a second as a spare, in case the first were damaged or needed repair. The new gun shot terribly to the left at 7, 10, and especially 25 yards. Sent it back to S&W. It came back, shooting noticeably less to the left at 7 and 10 yards, but still unacceptably left at 25 yards, with hits still on target’s extreme right shoulder and arm area.

    Called S&W for another mailing label and was told they would send one but that they only fired the guns out to ten yards. W T F????? I enclosed a letter asking that they have someone on their staff who could competently shoot the gun out to 25 yards please do so and adjust it accordingly. They kept my gun about a month. Gun comes back with plenty of documentation that it was fired to 10 yards and met their “standards” with no work done to the gun. Again, W T F????

    I tried contacting S&W management but was stonewalled by cutomer “service” (what a joke), who advised me that 10 yards was their “standard” and the gun met that standard. I told him that this was a sorry “standard” for a gun that should be and is capable of combat accuracy to 25 yards.

    I resent any attempts by gun grabber politicians and media to take away our gun rights, but at this moment, as far as I am concerned, S&W can FOAD!

  40. avatar BioDiesel says:

    The only response is we follow all Federal and State laws.

  41. avatar Mark L. says:

    My only argument with the response is that the 2nd Amendment does not “confer” our right to keep and bear arms but, rather, protects our pre-existing right from governmental infringement. 686+ and M&P 10 get to stay on the wish list.

  42. avatar SparkyInWI says:

    It is odd that companies like Blackrock and their ilk that brought us the financial issues, the large taxpayer bailouts, etc. suddenly claim to have some sort or moral wonderment and leadership, etc. You guys and those like you still today create and play with finances in ways that will once again likely cause this country and its taxpayers as well as regular folk all sorts of grief. And it will once again make only a few who run these places richer. Bloody hypocrites and the fools on the left do not even see how smoothly they are again being played for suckers.

  43. avatar James Gordon says:

    It is troubling to see, in the very first sentence of the company’s statement, that American Outdoor Brands’ spokesman does not understand the crucial fact that the 2nd Amendment does not “confer” our “fundamental right” to keep and bear arms. Rather, the 2nd Amendment recognizes and memorializes a right that exists independently of any law or other governmental dictate. As Robert Farago repeatedly points out in these pages, this right is “natural”, which is to say that it exists –as part of our essential nature– simply by virtue of the fact that we are human; “civil” because it is a right that must be mutually recognized among individuals who choose to live together in an ordered society; and “constitutionally protected” which is to say: recognized by and enshrined in the Constitution, but NOT “granted” to us or “conferred” upon us by the Constitution.

  44. avatar zebra dun says:

    Blackrock inc. was retained in 2009 to handle the US Treasury Dept. Freddy and Fanny debacle of toxic financial practises and investigate for the US Government during the financial melt down of 2008.
    Is this a government run or affiliated virtue signaling against the second amendment?

  45. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I own a Smith and Wesson revolver. Great gun. I’m glad British investors don’t control you folks anymore. For those that don’t know that was back in the 1990s.

  46. avatar SB Me says:

    Downloaded the full pdf statement from S&W (American Outdoor Brands) response to BlackRock. Already just got a new M&P9C M2.0 but I may end up getting that M&P 380 EZ Shield for others to shoot who are newer to guns, much sooner than I thought.

    Also read the statement from Ruger to BlackRock.
    May even pick up a Ruger MK IV next year sometime, just because of their statement (already have a M&P22C which I really like). Had a Buckmark before, but the MK IV’s take-down system is awesome.

    Heck, by this time next year maybe I’ll get another M&P9C M2.0 so I can eventually install an optic on it with those aftermarket options (have to take out the rear sight though). Assuming they don’t come out with a CORE model then for the compact.

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