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The post-Newtown gun sales boom was nothing less than spectacular. As existing gun owners hedged against fears of new civilian disarmament legislation and newbies joined the fold, gunmakers couldn’t make guns fast enough. Until they could. In 2014, demand slumped by 15 percent, sending firearm prices and margins downwards. It was still a good year, especially compared to, say, five years ago. All of which leaves gun sales . . . growing. Albeit at a slower rate. Until Hillary’s elected. I’m not sure if Dallas-based market researchers MarketsandMarkets put that happy prospect in their calculations, but no matter how they slice it they’re bullish on ballistics. Specifically . . .

Globally, the legal small arms market is forecast to grow from $4.1 billion in 2014 to $5.3 billion in 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 4.2 percent, according to projections in a new industry report from MarketsandMarkets, a Dallas-based market researcher. The projections reflect sales of small arms in the hunting, sport shooting, self-defense, law enforcement and professional markets. (Products include pistols, rifles, machine guns and carbines.)

According to M&M’s forecast, five companies—Sturm Ruger, Alliant Techsystems, Smith & Wesson, Freedom Group and Colt Manufacturing—account for more than 40 percent of the total market. CRT Capital analyst Brian Ruttenbur, who follows the major gun makers, said the U.S. represents 41.2 percent of the legal global small arms business and is the world’s leading exporter and importer of small arms . . .

Ruttenbur also estimates that the current legal, U.S. small arms market stands at roughly $8 billion annually, when including new firearms sales but excluding accessory sales such as gun sights, cleaning supplies, and the like.

Although the growth curve story (via must be reassuring to the large corporate playas, there’s been some major restructuring in several segments of the market.

The AR biz is no longer monolithic. Thanks to improving manufacturing and marketing technology (go internet!) dozens of small manufacturers have replaced the Colts of the world, offering choice, quality and brand-based boasting rights. The number of relatively small sub-$1000 1911 makers has also increased (e.g., STI plans to double production).

Will consumers be willing to abandon the Remingtons, Mossbergs and GLOCKs of the world in the rifle, shotgun and handgun markets? While Remington has done its best (worst) to alienate consumers and open the door for smaller makers (e.g., Henry Repeating Arms and Savage), the mass customization trend hasn’t hit these genres. Yet. Watch this space.



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  1. I’m all about bang for the buck. Whatever works. And anyone forecasting 2020 is delusional. Hildebeast is the least of our worries…

    • You might not care, but anyone planning multi-million dollar investments in firearms production had better be accurately forecasting markets 5 years out.

      • They need to seriously scale up .22 ammo production! I am getting really tired of not being able to find it for a reasonable price! No, it is not worth ten cents a round. At that price, I’ll just shoot the mosin, the AK, and the 9 mm for twenty cents a round. Fortunately, I still have quite a bit .22 left from before the mad rush. I guess now is the tme to load up on everything else ammo and gun wise.

        • I think the centerfire rounds are pretty much interchangeable when it comes to production lines, but rimfire production requires a dedicated line that involves millions of dollars of investment for something that’s supposed to sell for around 4 cents a piece. So I can understand the reluctance to spend the money. But I’m there with you, I don’t shoot .22 much anymore and I’ll be damned if I spent 10 cents a round when I’ve still got a few hundred rounds left.

      • I care a great deal gov. I believe the world will explode in the very near future. The 4 Horsemen and everything it brings.

        • The world exploded a century ago and the pieces are still flying around. The 4 horsemen have been playing polo on the earth ever since.

      • No atomic weapons in WW1-or an Israel with 200 or more. And the whole world wondered after the beast(who’s even worse than hillary).

        • Well, beside the fact that the cause of WWII was WWI, first there were the 20 million dead and the first modern genocide, then the 1918 flu that killed 50-100 million, then the Russion Civil War that killed another 20 million (including pestilence), then economic depression and WWII. The Cold War brought some semblance of order, if not peace, and now we seem to be back to 1096. A century of chaos, with another to follow.

          In this country the most devastating pestilence in our history was the 1918 flu that killed 650,000 in 6 months when the population was about a third of the present. We lost 50,000 soldiers in 5 months in 1918, nearly the same as we lost in 10 years in Vietnam. If they gave out labels for centuries like they do decades (remember the ‘me decade’ – 1970s), the 20th century would be the century of death.

  2. Until Hillary’s elected.

    Old Mag the Hag has a better chance of being President. Hillary is too old, too nasty, too lousy at campaigning and too old. And did I mention that she’s too old?

  3. Lady MacBeth of Little Rock has a very long baggage train of felonies, misdemeanors, and just outright nasty stuff going back to her college days at Wellesley College. Nevertheless, she has powerful backers and is one ruthless witch-on-wheels and thinks nothing whatsoever of throwing colleagues and friends under the bus at the drop of her pointed hat. I would not count her out at this point, even with all the rot and evil in her past and that of her “husband.”

    It doesn’t matter anyway which tool is in the White House; they do whatever they’re told, like the Incumbent has done now for six years. I imagine the actual rulers are laughing their butts off at us, especially when we buy into the election year rubbish and clowning and exhort each other to vote for the latest savior.

    More firearms industry sales is dandy news as far as I’m concerned, laissez les bon temps rouler, baby!

  4. Oh yeah, count on the Repub cretins, RINO’s and Pee Party buffoons to nominate some utter loser to run against her, guaranteeing, as is the plan, to fail, with only a third of eligible voters even bothering to vote and a near split again anyway. Who cares? It’s all theater for us Mundanes and peasants out here.

    • Dave – perhaps when you’re old enough to vote you accumulate SOME knowledge of politics and nomination.

      1.) RINOs and TEA party are the opposite ends of the political spect. RINOs are quite close to the libtards who run the dem party.

      • I’m gonna go way out on a limb and take a wild guess that I was voting before you were born; I’m 61, and have seen many political campaigns over the decades and even worked in several of them.

        I know from RINO’s; and the Pee Party clowns care only and exclusively about their Social Security, Medicare, and retirement portfolios and taxes, strictly money-oriented, and after making all kinds of noise and promises to kick butt, they got to Mordor-on-the-Potomac, inhaled the toxic vapors there, and promptly forgot everything they’d said they’d do. Typical. Now we’re supposed to feel warm tingling down our legs over such b.s. carny barkers and sales hucksters as Perry, Rubio, Walker or yet another Bush tribal chieftan, and vote for one of them against the ‘even greater evil’ of a HILLARY! or Warren.

        In four years, rinse and repeat; every time we vote for these criminal scum, we validate their depredations, including the burgeoning police state, the tanking of the economy, more wars overseas that solve nothing and cause atrocities and mayhem, and the continued deterioration and eventual collapse of our national infrastructure and borders.

        So, RINO, Pee Party, Dem, Prog, Libertarian; matters not a whit. Even the Founders recognized that party factions were an evil to be avoided.

        The American Empire hath not long to live.

  5. It is a mistake to discount Hillary. The media will do everything in their power to see that she is elected, just as they did with Obama. It is also a mistake to underestimate the stupidity of many voters. There are regulars on this site who twice voted for Obama, and will most likely cast their ballot for Clinton.

    • Absolutely. And just so long as we know full well that there would/will be little appreciable difference with the Stupid Party’s regime as opposed to the Evil Party’s.

      That has cost us dearly in the past but many never seem to learn.

    • Unlike Obama, there will be no serious gun owners who would even consider voting for Hillary. Considering how close the 2012 elections were, Hillary is not a done deal. I am 100% certain she will be on the ballot though.

      • I don’t know, she just got caught red handed breaking federal law by conducting all her State Department business on a private, unsecured and untransparent email account. (As if Benghazi wasn’t bad enough.) If there’s any justice she’ll be too busy posting bail to run for president. Unfortunately the other demoncrat prospects aren’t any better (O’Malley, Biden, Warren). But without HRC and the ‘low information voters’ the Dems are doomed in 2016.

  6. I have no intention to ever stop buying new firearms, but the projected 20% growth by 2020 barely accounts for nominal inflation and population growth.

    Electing more shit-head progressives is the best bet for stimulating real growth in the firearms industry.

  7. I’m doing my part. Just funded another dividend check for one of Bill Ruger’s or Alexander Sturm’s descendents.

  8. All I know is post-Newton paranoia allowed me to sell my AR15 for 3-times what it was (and is!) worth. If you were one of those panic buyers–thank you. You’re an idiot.

  9. I knew I should have bought a bunch of Ruger & S&W stock at the beginning of 2013. Another boat I missed.

  10. Someday gun sales worldwide will be as much as the Porn industry is in the US! Funny how they never comment on that much.

  11. Ugh, no, the small AR makers have in no way replaced Colt, and can not and will not produce rifles to that level of quality. Manufacturing processes and techniques have not improved to allow for it.
    Yes, some small companies make a good AR, but if you actually look at the specs, you’ll find that almost every single manufacturer is lacking.

    Most use a poor type of steel to craft (or buy from a manufacturer) their barrels. Almost all barrels are 1/9 twist (which is in no way poor, but not prime for many bullet types).
    Many companies don’t properly anodize their receivers.
    MOST make their receivers from a billet, which isn’t a huge negative, but it is not as strong as a well made forged receiver.

    I can go on and on.
    Stick to proven manufacturers, such as Colt, BCM, FNH, DD, etc…. (Theres a few more)
    Yes it’s okay to be out of the mil-spec, but only better. There’s no reason not to have a rifle that at the very least meets the TDP.

  12. Beware the Ides of “chug”.

    Frank Herbert (author of the “Dune” sci-fi series) said “Processes cannot be understood by stopping them”, gun-grabbers do not need to ‘stop’ gun manufacturers cold, merely make the marketplace too fractional and frictional to survive themselves.

    Like Texas Hold-em, in business (especially the firearms business) you have to be able to handle the “swings” or else you cannot sit at the table.

    Absorb all the market slack you can me brothers, buy and hold, buy and hold.

    There is only one precious metal, and it comes bored and chambered in your favorite caliber. Gold takes a worthless edge, and makes a lousy shovel, and (should you be forced to employ your only real precious metal) you might not trade a can of beans, or a sip of water for a pound of gold.

  13. I’m still waiting for the massive ammo price crash which Dean Weingarten said would happen. Seriously TTAG, where did you find this guy?

    While some calibers might have had larger price pullbacks than others, overall the average decrease was small, which is what I said would happen. And now with the potential 5.56 green tip ban, prices of that caliber could go up again, based on speculation alone.

  14. FYI, MarketsandMarkets is not based in Dallas or Vancouver, Washington as their website states but Pune, India. Their forecasting methods are questionable.

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