Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Less Bang, Less Bucks.

The current economic malaise is having effects on businesses that might not immediately come to mind. US firearms maker Smith and Wesson announced today that sales of its hunting line have fallen, offsetting growth in the handgun segment of the company. This lead to a second quarter loss for the company, and as a result their stock declined in trading today. S&W have been trimming jobs on their hunting rifle line as a result of the weakness in sales. You might think economic uncertainly might actually prompt some people to take up hunting again, hoping to save some money by eating more food they've acquired directly. But presumably most people who might do so aren't likely to shell out for a new gun, instead using an existing weapon in their possession or buying a used rifle or shotgun. The hunting market as a whole has been shrinking in the US, no doubt pushed along by an increasingly urban population and fewer young people taking up the hobby.

S&W report sales to law enforcement are strong at the moment, with a lot of interest in their M&P semiautomatic pistol, which has also seen a large order from the Iraqi government. No doubt they hope to increase their market share in a market that has in recent years been dominated by the Austrian made Glock, a large percentage of which are ironically chambered in .40 Smith and Wesson, developed in 1990 as an alternative to the 10mm load the FBI was then using, and which over the course of the '90s came to dominate the North American police market. Municipal police forces here in Saskatchewan for example all use .40 calibre Glocks, versus the 9mm Smith and Wesson pistols used by the RCMP.

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