Is there a future in the Firearms industry


March 10, 2003, 12:09 AM
Is there a future in a future in the Firearms Industry? I am speaking from a standpoint of overall. Would you advise a friend to go into the industry whether working in a store front or a manufacturer?

I have ben thinking about combining my taken education in Finance and combining it with the Firearms industry somehow. However, I am looking long term for the next thirty years. Will there be a future firearms industry to support a career.

I am not looking to get rich. I am looking to combine my education with my hobby/passion and aspire to if not achieve a comfortable financial existence.

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March 10, 2003, 10:46 AM
I think the growth will be slow but steady w/ only a few well run companies left standing.

March 10, 2003, 11:47 AM
Make me nervous with posts like this....

I'm going to open up as soon as the FFL arrives... I already have a list of customers (of which only half will actually buy something). Start small with little or no overhead cost, treat people right, know your product, know what your competition is up to.

As far as laws, I feel that it is even more a responsibility for those in the business to stand up for the 2nd. and to make sure that their customers are educated on whats going on. I will do everything I can to make sure my business stays alive, and everything I can to ensure a future with firearms in it, for everyone!


March 10, 2003, 12:19 PM
Some of the small blurbs I have read seem to have said that the SHOT show was better than it has been in the past couple of years. New R president instead of the iron fisted other one was to thank supposedly.

Hopefully, since I am pretty new, I hope the market and advances continue to grow well.

March 10, 2003, 12:23 PM
I suspect the biggest problem for small storefronts is going to be the same problem faced by small business in general, with the added problems of getting insurance, getting permits and dealing with the BATF. I always make a point of shopping at stores where the customer service is good, even if it means I pay more than I would at Wally World. Not everyone feels the same way I do about this, though.

In the Anchorage area we have about a dozen small gun and mixed gun/sporting good stores. The ones doing the best business seem to be the ones that cultivate their customer base. A few appear to be struggling, and frankly just going into the stores you can see why that is. Poor inventory, unhelpful staff, and a generally negative, down-at-the-mouth attitude. Thankfully there aren't very many here run like that.

March 10, 2003, 08:23 PM
I believe that the growth will mostly be slow but steady. Walmart is unfortunatly going to continue to put the little guy out of business. If we were to see another 9/11 type attack we will probably see some spikes in sales.

Standing Wolf
March 10, 2003, 08:39 PM
I'd be glad to open a gun shop and/or help a manufacturer market and advertise products. I'm not convinced this is a red-hot growth industry; unless the leftist extremists take over, however, it ought to be a solid, dependable industry for decades to come.

March 11, 2003, 09:23 AM
The guy I buy pretty much everything either from or through sold his shop this year. He started out in an apartment about 12 years ago then grew to a two apartment operation, literally!

Finally set up a physical shop, does high volume, low markup, says 10% and I believe it, gives good trade ins, and is generally a good honest guy. Said he made just over $60,000 last year. The shop was him and one other guy every day and he works 70 hours a week. Plus more if it's a gunshow weekend. That's only about $13 an hour. Granted, it's usually pretty easy work and if you're not burned out, you probably enjoy your work, but dealing with all the paperwork, the BATF, phone calls to distributors, trying to find a price on an item from a Beretta-owned company :rolleyes: , and the idea that you're probably going to be named in a lawsuit sometime in the next five years, I don't know if I'd want to do it.

March 11, 2003, 11:21 AM
I think it also depends on where you are. In California for example, the climate there is very unfriendly toward gun shops and manufacturers. One city in the SF Bay area taxed a long time gun shop out of existence. The largest gun shop in the LA area went out of business in early 2002. B & B Sales. I really don't know why but they are gone now. There is a fairly large sporting goods chain called Turners in the PRK. They sell guns and fishing stuff. They seem to be doing fine with a number of locations.

March 11, 2003, 12:37 PM
It may not always be legal, but there will always be a firearms industry. ;)

March 11, 2003, 01:34 PM
honestly, I don't think I'd advise someone to go into ANY retail business.. it seems like most of the hassle and regs seem to be on that end.

On the other hand, if you have a good head for business and like BSing about guns all day... maybe it's for you. ;)

On the manufacturing end... call me crazy, but I'm starting to think the tide is changing, at least outside the occupied territories. And even there, I think the statist types have gone that one bridge too far, and are going to be just desperately trying to float something to appear relevant. I think in the longer term -- provided we keep up the pressure they're toast.

Between that and all this new polymer experimentation of the last 20 years, I'm actually pretty optimistic about developments in the next generation. Who knows, we may even see that next great revolutionary change in small arms in the next 50 years... could get interesting.


March 11, 2003, 02:29 PM
I sure hope the future is bright because otherwise I've been wasting all of my free time and disposable income. :)

March 11, 2003, 07:00 PM
I think there will always be a demand for skilled gunsmiths due to the number of guns in the US.

On the otherhand, I believe the local gunshop is going to fade into history and will be replaced with the equivalent to Walmart or K-Mart.

The local gunshop will have a hard time stocking guns given the high price they are currently selling for. Federal, state and local laws and licenses along with insurance and potential lawsuits will overwhelm the local guy. Only large chain stores will have the assets to operate.

Working an assembly line at a gun manufacturing plant would just plain suck.

March 11, 2003, 10:55 PM
On the other hand, if you have a good head for business and like BSing about guns all day... maybe it's for you.

YOu hit it on the head there buddy... thats why we started the company! My knowledge and love of firearms is about the only asset i have since I cant go to college, so this is my ticket... even if it stays a second job... thats fine... I am loving it.


March 12, 2003, 12:03 AM
I'm ever optimistic about industries I like. :D

March 12, 2003, 12:41 AM
I'm ever optimistic about industries I like.
I guess that I had better start buying stock in Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation then.:D

Bob Locke
March 12, 2003, 04:49 AM
I voted for "steady", and I think that's what the growth will be, too.

Still doing my due diligence as I'd also like to open a shop one day. May also look into repping for a manufacturer or two, but I'm guessing that'd be a pretty tough biz to break into as well as they're pretty well committed in this area from what I've learned.

March 12, 2003, 05:19 AM
The firearms industry is no different than any other manufacturing entity and is in the same situation IMHO as the tobacco industry. The firearms industry continues to be under heavy legal and political attack which makes for an undesirable business climate. As the World continues to disarm and surplus many of their smallarms and ammunition for private sale in the US and elsewhere, the negative impact on the domestic firearms industry will continue for an already troubled industry. The major firearms manufacturers will continue to be sold to "outsider investors", be preyed upon by the court system, and used as bargaining chips by our elected officials. It's a no brainer, would you invest your retirement funds in an industry facing these problems and an uncertain/hostile future?:scrutiny:

March 12, 2003, 09:09 AM
I wouldn't worry so much about Walmart.

The semi-literate counter monkeys that work the sporting goods
don't know a shotgun from a summer sausage.

My local Super Walmart has a selection of about 14 guns:
4 12 gauge pumps about 5 .22 rifles and 3 bolt action hunting
rifles and 2 Lever actions (Marlin 30-30 and Winchester 30-30)

There is never anyone there to open the round glass displays.
The ammo is hidden behind the counter so its impossible to browse and compare prices.

Plus the incredulous attitude I get for even asking about a gun
or some 9mm ammo is enough to send me to the gun shop
25 min away.

Walmart may sell guns but they are not that cheap, the service
bites, and god help you if something goes wrong with a firearms purchase.

March 12, 2003, 09:21 AM
I'm thinking about getting back into it.

I just have to convince someone to hire me. :)

March 12, 2003, 10:48 AM
Tamara,I just have to convince someone to hire me.
Check your PM.

March 12, 2003, 01:19 PM
The problem is that the market is fairly saturated. I mostly know about Handguns. What is there that could possibly be done in handguns that would provide such a large advantage that the old ones have to be replaced? Nothing that I could think of.

Most rifle and shotgun sales are driven by hunting. The number of hunting licenses sold is at an all time low and declining despite a growing population. In addition, what comparative advantage is there in a 2003 shotgun over a 1970 shotgun? Not much. Same thing with rifles.

I think the industry has pretty much leveled off. I think the future will be in smaller custom and semicustom shops. The models available will be reduced to the more common patterns we see today like the 870, the 1911, glock etc, with some degree of customization. If you look at what people are asking for in their sig lines, you can see that they are not going to be high volume guns. a 10mm sig, ruger performance center, sven's valtro, and so on. That type of product can support a small business, but not a large company like Smith and Wesson, or Remington, and keep the share holders happy at the same time. It is possible for the large companies to leverage modern flexible/agile manufacturing techniques to the semicustom environment, but gun companies are conservative and extremely risk averse.

In addition I see a new small arms technology coming that will make the old lines obsolete. I don't know what that tech will be, but it is long overdue. Gun companies are small, and can not afford to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research and development. The gun companies will be left behind. I'm not hopeful.

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