Smith & Wesson Gun Sales Soar Amid Unparalleled Demand
Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson reported this week that company revenue from firearms boomed in the ..
Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson reported this week that company revenue from firearms boomed in the first quarter of 2020 to $230 million—an increase of $134.4 million, or 141 percent compared to the first three months of last year.
“The current increase in consumer demand for firearms is, in many ways, unparalleled,” said Mark Smith, president and CEO of the company, in a conference call with investors on Thursday. The companys shipments of handguns increased by 122 percent to 441,000 units between January and the end of March, Smith said, while the company shipped 108,000 long gun units, or 89 percent more than in the corresponding period in 2019.
The CEO said that Smith & Wesson was working with third-party manufacturers to aggressively ramp up production as consumer demand outstripped supply, exceeding internal manufacturing capacities and leading the company to eat into finished goods inventories.
The figures are borne out by data from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The FBI system compiles statistics representing the number of firearms background checks carried out per month in the United States, which the firearms industry takes as an indicator for the level of interest in firearm purchases. The 3.9 million NICS checks carried out in June represent a 70 percent increase over the 2.3 million checks performed in the same month last year.
Seismic Shift in Gun Ownership
According to a survey carried out in May by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a trade association for the firearm industry, almost 5 million Americans purchased a firearm for the first time in 2020—or 40 percent of firearms sold. In an online survey of firearm retailers, the NSSF found that the most popular products were semi-automatic handguns, followed by shotguns and modern sporting rifles. Retailers reported that the vast majority of firearms were acquired for personal protection purposes, and not for hunting or target practice.
“This is a tectonic shift in the firearm and ammunition industry marketplace and complete transformation of todays gun-owning community,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president of General Counsel, in a statement. “These first-time buyers represent a group of people who, until now, were agnostic regarding firearm ownership. Thats rapidly changing, and these Americans are taking hold of their God-given right to keep and bear arms and protect themselves and their loved ones.”