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By John Butler

Everyone knew it had to happen eventually. The big post Newtown boom in firearms sales had to come back to Earth. Credit cards would be maxed out. Savings accounts would be drained. People who had rushed out and payed double the MSRP (or more) for AR-15 rifles — any AR-15 rifles — would realize the ban they feared wasn’t going to happen and things would get back to normal. Except they didn’t. Gun and ammo sales stayed strong through 2013. Probably in part because the proponents of gun control, so baffled and bewildered by a total lack of national public support for federal level gun control, couldn’t shut the hell up about it . . .

They kept reminding the public that they really, really, didn’t want you, John Q. Public, to own a firearm. I guess they just couldn’t help themselves. It had to be devastating on some level to realize that your cherished world view didn’t match up to reality. Sales slowed down at the first part of 2014, only to surge back to record levels in July of last year.

Then sales finally seemed to ease toward the end of 2014. Smith & Wesson reported sales of their M&P15 AR pattern rifles had gone south, seeming to indicate that the demand for the AR-15 in particular and modern sporting rifles had slacked off.

And then this happened.

Over the MLK holiday, S&W’s stock price surged. There are several reasons. Perhaps the biggest: Smith’s M&P pistol is thought to be a front runner to replace the Beretta M9 as the Army’s standard service pistol. Apparently the Army is willing to entertain the idea of fielding a poly framed side arm, and the M&P would give them a multi caliber, US made, US owned, sidearm.

I think there’s something else going on here, though. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary sparked a resurgence on both sides of the gun debate. It started with everyone running out and buying up AR-15s, AK47s and anything else they could get their hands on while the antis tried to gin up support for a new “assault weapons” ban and “universal” background checks that would have criminalized just about any exchange of a firearm.

But while gun control advocates were pushing for background checks assault weapons bans in states that were already gun control bastions, the pro gun forces pulled a Stormin’ Norman Hail Mary and started attacking handgun bans around the country. The Ninth Circuit — yes, the Ninth Circuit — ruled California’s may-issue licensing practice was unconstitutional. Illinois and Chicago were forced, kicking and screaming, to go shall-issue, too, at least in theory. And even Washington, DC’s draconian ban on carrying firearms outside the home was struck down. For a weekend, before the district court stayed its decision, it was legal to walk around the nation’s capitol strapped. No permit required.

I think the gun buying public have moved on. Oh, they’re still going to buy Modern Sporting Rifles, but they’ve realized that for the average citizen the handgun is a far more practical everyday tool for self-defense. So firearms sales have shifted to handguns, and handguns are Smith & Wesson’s bread and butter.

I don’t think this is an upturn or downturn. I think there has been a Great Awakening of the American public regarding their constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms . While there will be seasonal ups and downs — otherwise known as business cycles — I think the Smith stock surge is a reflection that America loves handguns and are making them part of their daily lives.

Welcome to the new normal.

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  1. I’m loving this news. May there be a car in every garage and a full gun safe in every home, because this is indeed America!

  2. Have two on my list to add.
    A Walther CCP for my wife. (All the other sub compact 9’s have much stiffer springs than her VP9)
    And a FNS9C for me.
    As for rifles? Need a couple shotguns to complete the 3 gun for my wife and maybe me.
    Few things sexier than watching my wife shoot. 🙂
    As for MA’s laws? It would seem their current law doesn’t pass muster even claiming the phony public safety interest because all of my weapons that are illegal to sell in MA are legal for me to bring to MA if for some stupid reason (like a lot of dead brain cells) decide to move back. It may be that they are trying to outlaw the guns my brother-in-law legally owns in MA because they are pre-ban. That is blatantly unconstitutional under expos factos. The state cannot pass a law outlawing something previously legal and then confiscate from you what was legal when you bought it. In fact, that is why they cannot prevent someone from bringing “banned” guns into the state if they were legally purchased in the previous state of residence. But that has never stopped liberals who pretty much do whatever the hell they want and then force others to waste time and money in court to overturn it.

  3. S&W’s earnings report is due during the first week of March, covering the fiscal quarter ending Jan. 31. S&W’s original guidance called for revenues of $118 million, but now the expectations are around $125 million. Come March, we’ll know for sure.

  4. Buy guns “.”

    Gun grabbers want you to ask their permission before starting the next Civil War. Make that impossible to enforce. Then make their retention of any self-imbued power they may think they have impossible to an exponent.

  5. I’m a little jaded by S&W at the moment, mostly not their fault. The Kalifornia roster of ‘safe’ handguns includes the Shield in 9 and .40, the SDVE in 9 and .40 and the overpriced plinker 22A .22LR pistol.
    That’s it. (not including revolvers, lots of them)
    so it makes zero difference to 90% of gun-owning Kalifornians whether S&W’s M&P series shoots the moon or not. The only way to acquire one is private party used sale.

  6. Little-known fact: SWHC’s trailing-twelve-month Price/Earnings ratio is currently shown to be “10.22” —
    I thought the 10.22 was a Ruger design. What’s up with that?

  7. I woke up. Begining of 2012, I hadn’t owned a firearm in over ten years. I promise I have done my share to boost the firearms industry since then.

    I have also actively encouraged many others who, like me, had not owned a gun in a long time, or ever, to buy (at least) one. 🙂

    • “…would realize the ban they feared wasn’t going to happen…”

      The ban’s failure certainly wasn’t inevitable. The threat was as real as a friggin’ heart attack. And it only failed because millions of newly-awakened Americans got off their butts and voted with both their wallets and their ballots.

      The tyranny of progressive fascists is forever “one election away”.

      • The threat is still real. And it will keep being real until we manage to shift this cultural view that so many still have that “people with guns are inherently dangerous”. But progress is definitely being made. Polls are showing higher support for gun rights. Gun control is falling out of favor with the normal public. More and more people are being introduced to firearms ownership for the first time. The more gun owners the better.

  8. I could handle carrying a smith. I had an M&P 9 that was great except for the trigger. The new triggers are great so I might look at a new Smith.

  9. I agree this is the new normal, and I wish the ammo manufacturers would accept it and tool up, especially their rimfire production capacities.

    Powder too. The powder makers should call RCBS and Hornady, and ask how many reloading presses they’ve sold in the last few years. This individual investment in equipment represents demand that isn’t going away.

    Right-to-carry laws are driving it. Not just in Illinois. The number of concealed carry permit holders nationwide continues to climb, and millions of people who were never hunters or target shooters now have a reason to own firearms.

    The anti-constitutional mindsets of the left and right coasts won’t change anytime soon. But nationwide, this kind of momentum is hard to stop.

    • “The anti-constitutional mindsets of the left and right coasts won’t change anytime soon. But nationwide, this kind of momentum is hard to stop.”

      Very true. Fortunately, a solid majority of the other 275 million people in the U.S. are serious about their rights … including their right to keep and bear arms.

  10. I believe gun sales will fall off when Obama leaves office. America is nervous and scared with him as President, and I think almost anybody replacing him will calm the country.

      • Don’t forget the MoosLoons and the flood of illegals jacking up crime. I’m going to guess that the rightful arming of America shall continue.

      • If it ain’t H!, it’ll be the Harvard Harpy, and she is pro-AWB and pro-UBC, and almost certainly pro-any-other-limits-you-can-think-up. I guess that would be just about ideal for the gun industry, saleswise.

  11. Good for S&W. Yeah I think this may be the new normal too. I’m planning to add to my meager holdings this year probably with a few layaways. I know after the civil unrest, the terrorists lurking and the gubmint BS a helluva’ lot of folks woke up. And it is startling to see the deals on the internet…

  12. “I think the Smith stock surge is a reflection that America loves handguns and are making them part of their daily lives. … Welcome to the new normal.”

    Those frightening popping sounds in the distance are gun grabbers’ heads exploding.

  13. Could you render a clipped virtually, but not precisely for a detent?
    The unit (quantity DCF885L2) is somewhat heavier at just three.4-lbs, however has longer run along with a commonly more virile electric battery by having a power supply warranty.

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