Do gun manufacturers really pay attention to us?


PDA






jsalcedo
March 27, 2005, 06:40 PM
I get the distinct impression that firearms manufacturers don't pay attention to the gun buying public.

It is almost as if they decide whats best for us and we gobble it up with a "yes sir may I have another"

The big manufacturers might look at buying trend, listen to the brown nosing cronies at the gun rags or large professional associations when determining the next R&D project or innovation.

There just doesn't seem to be any kind of link between the gun buying public and what is introduced at the SHOT show.

I've never seen gun related market research.

Is the gun industry stagnated?

How many DAO polymer .40's and 1911 clones must we endure?

Do gun manufacturers really pay attention to us?

If you enjoyed reading about "Do gun manufacturers really pay attention to us?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
P95Carry
March 27, 2005, 06:49 PM
I think manufacturers pay most attention to - one main thing. Sales!! Any ''feedback'' is I reckon based almost exclusively on this - if a product doesn't sell then find out why - which is a pity when you consider the start-up/dev' costs etc.

Not quite sure how well they could actually get good feedback - sufficient to help them make ''what we want'' ... plus, so much of this is like re-inventing the wheel anyways! Add to that the potential list of ''wants'' - varying from one to another - I wonder if it would actually achieve what you seem to want! :)

orangeninja
March 27, 2005, 06:51 PM
Personally I think it depends on the manufacturer.

Glock? Nope. Too many military and government contracts to deal with to worry about you.

Sig? Certainly, I believe the recent 210 inspired target types are due to private buyer demand. Also the Sig 239 is a biggie in the civilian market but has recently started gaining share in the LEO market.

Ruger? Yes and no. As for the asthetics? yes, the Ruger 345 has many of the cosmetic features modern enthusiests demand. As for the safety features? No, Ruger has been sued so many times that legal counsel probably is part of their R&D team. Also the whole high cap rifle thing.

Springfield? An emphatic yes. They have to. Springfield does not carry a significant share of any Government or LEO market place orders and so must rely on Joe American to buy it's guns. The XD is a perfect example. WONDERFUL gun for LEO purposes, but due to the single action inherent to the design, it is snubbed in favor of double action guns time and time again by the LEO marketplace.

Smith & Wesson? Nope. Don't take it personally, S&W historically has also thumbed it's nose at the U.S. Army, the FBI, etc. Why should you be different?

Colt? Couldn't give a fart about what you think. You'll buy it cause it's a colt.

CZ? Absolutely. Look at the RAMI? That would be private purchase demand fueling that little wonder.

Taurus? Yes and no. Depends on the day of the week.

Did I forget anyone major?

Hkmp5sd
March 27, 2005, 07:05 PM
The surge in small, large caliber handguns that occured following the 10-round magazine ban in 1994 shows that they do listen to us to a certain extent. However, thanks to politics, they must now take into consideration the potential long term market before they fork over the $$$ for R&D. Should they spend millions of dollars and several years tooling up for a new gun only to have it the target of bans soon after release? Ronnie Barrett made an exceptional, large caliber rifle only to have it named a "terrorist anti-aircraft" gun by the media. Even if they do make the new gun, is it cost effective to attempt to get it on the "approved" list of states like California or Maryland? What kind of lawsuits can they expect for features incorporated in their new gun like the attacks on Glock for not having a manual safety?

jsalcedo
March 27, 2005, 07:16 PM
I think manufacturers pay most attention to - one main thing. Sales!

I agree they make what already sells, but how do they come up with new designs without customer involvment?


Sig? Certainly, I believe the recent 210 inspired target types are due to private buyer demand.

How does that demand get communicated to the manufacturer?

I've nver been accosted in a mall to fill out a survey on handguns.

George S.
March 27, 2005, 07:17 PM
Springfield used to monitor the now-resting 1911.com forum and occasionally post comments and replies to threads. A lady in the Custom Shop would sometimes answer questions about their product line.

There has been an occasional response from Ruger staff over on the Ruger Forum.

I would think that most of the manufacturers lurk on the various gun forums to get some idea of what is going on. Whether or not what they see and hear makes it to the R&D departments or the Marketing Departments of their companies, is hard to tell but one would think that "input" from both happy and unhappy customers would be used by the company.

Clearly, sales figures drives what goes to market (or stays there). Guns that no longer sell well are dropped if the profit margin is not there. I don't think that guns are any different than any other product when it comes to sales figures determining if a product stays or goes. Look at Oldsmobile for example. Good car but didn't sell like it used to.

There are people out there who will buy the next new thing that comes along whether they need it or not. If a company can make a profit from some sort of buying frenzy because a company markets a new wheel, they keep it there until the next new wheel comes along.

Think of the new calibers that have been introduced over the last 3-4 years. Why didn't we need them 10 years ago? What changed? The market for them changed because somebody decided that if they created a new caliber and did a bunch of advertising that it was the best thing to ever come along, people would flock to buy without understanding why they didn't need it the 10 years before.

Remember the line from "Field of Dreams?? "If you build it, they will come".

Bear Gulch
March 27, 2005, 07:22 PM
I actualy think that the gun writers take their marching orders from the manufacturers. They pimp whichever products that they are told to. The gunmakers' goal is to sell you new stuff. Gun writers must convicnce you of the advantages of the new over what you already have. I most cases, the advantages are minimal.

These aren't guys like Keith or Townsend out there developing new stuff. Gunwriters today are trying to shill for the house.


T

sm
March 27, 2005, 07:30 PM
Great subject for a thread!

Nothing wrong with Free Markets and folks making a buck.

That said [tm]

IMO -
Greatest Percentage of Mfgs, Including Firearm Mfgs , don't give a rat's behind what the public wants.

What is important is their bottom line, their shareholders, their <enter anything here> .

The Buying Public taught the Mfgs how to treat them. The Mfgs were allowed to get by with less product quality, less customer service for the money.

Buyers wanted firearms that hit a price point with curb feelers and fuzzy dice. So buyers " allowed" and "accepted" these declining QCs, materials, service to get their new blaster with the curb feelers and fuzzy dice so they too be just like < name any video game , mall ninja, Navy SEEL, whatever>

Madison Ave and Lawyers-R-Us wanted a piece of the action, they wanted their cut, so buying folks won't kick, yell and scream - lower the standards some more, raise the price - have the flowered shirted volleyball guy write a "Kewl Piece" and the folks will "flock" to buy it...

Yes there are some Firearm Related Markets that give the Consumer MORE than the buyers pay for. All the while still having to balance all involved in staying in business. These folks use the Old Principles; give the buyer the truth , quality, service, and individual respect an individual appreciates - For a Fair price. I'll name one - SWAT magazine.

Imagine if a someone came out with a Firearm, Say a DA .22 revolver in Blue Steel , one in Stainless, A quality product, no gun locks, good sights. Like the old Smiths, Colts. Heck even a H&R 999,or High Standard Sentenial ...and the company was run like SWAT...

That "Ka-ching" would be the sound of cash registers ringing, bean counters and lawyers falling out of chairs...and kids with adults pinging steel spinner targets.

I betcha... ;)

taliv
March 27, 2005, 07:39 PM
i could be off base here, but i think the vast majority of gun buyers fall into two categories. 1. military-style 2. old-school

military/police gun mfgs pay zero attention to anyone but the military because the gun buying public wants wht the military has because the military has it.

the old-school gun mfgs (e.g. cowboy action, muzzle-loaders, winchester hunting rifles) pay some attention, but are basically making replicas with incremental changes.

it seems like, based on cursory survey of local gun shop stocks, the market for stuff in between is somewhat slim.

jsalcedo
March 27, 2005, 07:55 PM
I would think that most of the manufacturers lurk on the various gun forums to get some idea of what is going on.

That is a good point. Having seen corporations arrogantly shrug off good ideas
time after time I assumed that it was endemic to the gun industry as well.

greg531mi
March 27, 2005, 08:22 PM
I don't they monitor anything but the bottom line. Their marketing people only care about sales and profit and liability.
If they had our group monitored as a test/ideal/review group, that company would make millions in new sales. Just look what Remington and Winchester has done in the past couple of years:
Introduced the New Magmum Calibers that we don't need.
Remington made a new bolt action rifle, and it is a piece of crap.
Colt stops making the Mustang, and Pony. Just as CCW sweeps the nation.
Ruger doesn't improve their handgun line, the Mark 3, is made for liability problems.
The problem with American companies is that they are looking for profits next quarter, don't care about developing good new products that will make their product line better. It seems that the foriegn companies are looking in the future, more than 6 months down the road, and are putting money back into R and D, and new product development, unlike American companies. Most CEO's are paid by what they do that year, and not the next year, and they quick fix a company, by moving the manufacturing overseas, or making a shabby cheaper product for less. This is the downfall of most US companies out there, and will break our economy if it happens more.....

nordaim
March 27, 2005, 08:35 PM
Alduro:

Thanks for including Taurus in your list of major manufactureres. It seems they got snubbed for years (CQ issues?) but have been doing a good job at improving their product line and making a better name for themselves.

Standing Wolf
March 27, 2005, 08:50 PM
Is the gun industry stagnated?

Has been for decades. The only actual innovation I've seen in a long, long time was plastic hand guns, and frankly, they don't trip my trigger. There are plenty of minor improvements being made here and there, but tweaks never amount to insanely great stuff.

JohnKSa
March 27, 2005, 09:03 PM
I don't know about customers, but I have seen changes that seemed to be implemented because of a single gunwriters opinion.

I remember reading an article about a break action rifle that had an ejector (throws the spent shell out of the chamber). The gunwriter who reviewed the prototype complained to the manufacturer because he reloads and didn't like hunting for his empties. They implemented his suggestion to replace the ejector with an extractor (pushes the shells out of the chamber just enough so that you can easily pull them the rest of the way out). That kind of irritated me. Having to pick a shell out of the chamber really slows down a reload. I could see them responding to a complaint about a flaw, but changing an entire line of guns because one gunwriter happens to be too lazy to pick up brass off the ground seems way over the top.

Deavis
March 27, 2005, 10:17 PM
Is the gun industry stagnated?

Has been for decades. The only actual innovation I've seen in a long, long time was plastic hand guns, and frankly, they don't trip my trigger. There are plenty of minor improvements being made here and there, but tweaks never amount to insanely great stuff.

I think it is helpful to add a little perspective to the discussion when comments like this are thrown out there. The simple fact of the matter is that we should not be expecting any quantum leaps in gun technology because firearms are, in general, a mature technology. You don't complain that there aren't any new innovations in vacuum cleaners, stoves, or refrigerators, do you? Of course not, because the basic principles, operation, and formats were perfected years ago.

Sure, every once in a while an appliance manufacturer comes up with something new. For example, combining a convection oven with a microwave to get something that cooks quickly and browns at the same time. Very cool, but both principles are well-understood and the box that you get looks just like any other microwave out there. The gun industry is no different than the airline industry. Each of them knows how to build a product that does exactly what we want in an incredibly efficient manner. IT is next to impossible to come up with a product that is a quantum leap forward because the current crop of products is so close to the limits of effeciency that you wouldneed to change the laws of physics to do any better.

Our guns were perfected many years ago to fit a hand that hasn't changed in thousands of years and do a single job, expel a projectile, very well. The only thing we are arguing about is how well it fits your hand, how much you like its operating features, and what your sense of style is.

Jim K
March 27, 2005, 11:04 PM
Well, you can't go by Colt, which has a tradition of zigging when everyone else zags. (They dropped the SAA just when TV westerns started the "cowboy" craze, for example.)

The trouble is that this kind of question is usually asked by folks with some pet idea that no one else shares ("I want a 40 pound scout rifle with a 90 power scope in .25 ACP"). If there is enough demand for a product as indicated by magazine articles and letters, a manufacturer will seriously consider producing it. But tooling up can cost millions and manufacturers have been stung often by folks who talk about an item but won't put up money to buy it when it is produced.

One perfect example was the Interarms/Mauser Luger. Both companies sank a lot of money into that gun, because surveys repeatedly said the public was drooling over the prospect of a new Luger. The Swiss tooling was bought and rehabilitated, factory space was found, workers who knew the gun were hired, and production began. Everyone said the new Lugers were nice, but no one bought them. So much for "customer surveys" and "public demand".

Jim

Standing Wolf
March 27, 2005, 11:49 PM
The simple fact of the matter is that we should not be expecting any quantum leaps in gun technology because firearms are, in general, a mature technology. You don't complain that there aren't any new innovations in vacuum cleaners, stoves, or refrigerators, do you?

The term "mature technology" means nobody's doing any sideways thinking, not that all the brilliant ideas have already been thought of.

I'm not complaining about refrigerators, for example, but if someone came up with a truly silent, very light refrigerator that I could reconfigure to fit the available space exactly, I'd buy it. I'm not complaining about my vacuum cleaner, for another example—actually, I am: it's a poorly made Hoover—but if someone were to offer me a much quieter, sturdier, less ugly vacuum whose hose takes care of itself, I'd get rid of the clunker I've got in no time.

The shortage isn't of innovative possibilities, but innovative intellects.

Zeke Menuar
March 28, 2005, 12:40 AM
This is a very good thread.

I think of myself as the "average Joe"

The last brand new I gun bought was the M700 Tupperware special. It is chambered in 270 with a servicable scope, ready-to-shoot(well almost ready anyway) out of the box at a very affordable price. I am still shooting that gun with few modifications. All of the other guns I own were bought used or purchased with a C&R license.

There aren't many current manufactured or new guns out there that appeal to a working stiff like me with a limited amount of bumming-around-money.

Savage and CZ come to mind as decent reasonably priced rifles, that can go to the range with a minumum of tuning. If I was forced to buy new I would buy from them first.
I don't give a hoot about the alphabet soup magnums. Just think, I could go to a 270 WSM, burn more powder at higher pressure, burn out the barrel faster and get a whopping 100fps more speed. Yep, there's real value there.

As far as current production handguns go, MIM parts and internal locks mean most of the new stuff just doesn't appeal to me.
Can't I just have an old-school blued steel M19 without an internal lock, ports or a glow-in-the-dark sight? How about an Series 70 1911 with a Commander hammer, beavertail safety, no stupid front-serrations and no newfangled exrternal extractor? I think I will have to build it myself because unless I pay Les Baer a zillion dollars, it won't come out at an affordable price. Don't give a hoot about an hi-tech unobtanium gun either. If it weren't for CZ the current crop of new handguns would be a vast wasteland.

The most recent handgun I aquired was made in 1989 from a 1970's design. It's a CZ.

I am glad I have a C&R license. I can always find an old-time gun to fill a slot in my working gun collection.

I have no idea who the gunmakers are listening to. But it isn't me.

This is my opinion. Your opinion may vary.

ZM

Walter
March 28, 2005, 01:06 AM
Did I forget anyone major?
Yep. Beretta and Walther.

Glock? Nope. Too many military and government contracts to deal with to worry about you. You could say the same for Beretta.

Colt? Couldn't give a fart about what you think. You'll buy it cause it's a colt I think Walther feels about the same.

Taurus? Yes and no. Depends on the day of the week.
Taurus, Walther, Colt, Smith, Ruger, Browning, etc. Six of one, half-
dozen of the other. That applies to them all, in my opinion.

Walter

Double Naught Spy
March 28, 2005, 01:27 AM
Does the gun industry pay attention to us (gun owners and buyers). Not nearly enough.

Why? In general, they have little incentive to change what they are doing and they have little incentive because so many gun owners are willing to buy crap. If customers will buy crap, then why would gun companies go out of their way to change things?

One example that comes to mind is Colt 1911 pistols. Apparently during the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, Colt 1911s had some QC problems, or at least many did, and yet, people kept buying them. Some of the justification I have heard about buying those Colts is that "If it isn't a Colt, then it is just a copy." So, they drew attention away from QC problems by convincing folks that copies would not be the way to go.

JohnBT
March 28, 2005, 09:24 AM
Yes, but Colt did listen to the buying public and got rid of that ugly roll marking on the slide.

Of course, it only took them 10 or 20 years. :)

John

Ohen Cepel
March 28, 2005, 09:34 AM
I'm not a big fan of Taurus. However, seems like they might listen better than the rest. Also, they get new stuff out fast enough for people to remember that they asked for it.

Nate_m
March 28, 2005, 10:53 AM
Sig? Certainly, I believe the recent 210 inspired target types are due to private buyer demand.


How does that demand get communicated to the manufacturer?

I've nver been accosted in a mall to fill out a survey on handguns.

SigArms is active on Sigforum.com and has been listening and replying to posts by private gun owners. They've even had forum members over to the factory in Exeter, New Hampshire for tours. Check it out and look for posts from Paul Earnhart (sp?) who is Sigarms director of marketing.

armabill
March 28, 2005, 10:59 AM
There is one gun maker who actually posted in a gun forum for input into a new rifle.

He asked everyone what they wanted in a bench rest rifle. He's making it to their recommendations. Not many do that!

His name is Dan Cooper.

4v50 Gary
March 28, 2005, 11:00 AM
To its credit, S&W produces what is sold. For instance, if an order comes in for 300 M60s and they have 300 M60s on hand, they'll ship them out and replace them the next day. Their inventory reflects what is in demand and that way they don't tie down capital on unsold guns.

Ruger does it the old fashioned way of trying to predict and then scheduling what is produced during the year.

armoredman
March 28, 2005, 11:30 AM
CZ USA keeps an ear to CZ Forum, as well as thier own sponsored shooter, Angus Hobdell, has his own forum on CZF. CZ USA does try to get CZ UB to listen too, but sometimes things are just lost in translation, or we'd had the CZ 97 in 10mm a long time ago....

Spreadfire Arms
March 28, 2005, 12:47 PM
i think we forgot HK, they are a major player in the firearms market.

since the ban expired and HK has a U.S. factory, alot of people have been wondering if HK is going to start manufacturing the 91, 93, 94, SP-89, etc. again as a domestically produced firearm. HK has not said yes or no, but i am not expecting them to do so.

it sure would be nice! :)

armoredman
March 28, 2005, 01:30 PM
Someone told me on this board that HK said they will not produce mil style semi auto rifles inside the US, for one reason or another. Anyone yea/nay?

Smurfslayer
March 28, 2005, 04:24 PM
...a sincere apology. Quite honestly, they've all done something offensive to us and often at our expense. Each and every single firearms manufacturer, distributor, and dealer could do more for the citizen but realistically it is a two way street.

First, before we cast a net of responsibility over the firearms manufacturers let us first examine our own actions. While we lament the "new 1911's and .40 tupperware" we continue to buy them. Moreover, we don't ask for, demand, or get enough political support from them and that has got to change. Gun owners are a fickle bunch, but by and large if you produce a good product, people will buy it. Just as the bill of rights guarantees the citizens' certain inalienable rights there are responsibilities with those rights. There are responsibilities in the corporate world as well and first and foremost has to be treating your customer base with respect.

The so called Assault Weapons Ban was one hateful piece of legislation in which each and every manufacturer of a semi-automatic firearm didn't do enough to protect US, and they complied with the law by financically penalizing us. Every manufacturer of semi automatics in '94 - '04 who sold standard capactiy magazines to ANY government entity didn't do enough.

Those limited capacity mags - who do you think paid for the new tooling associated with making them? Citizens.

When AWB was about to expire, where were the manufacturers calling for it to expire? Nowhere.

All of the manufacturers who sold government agencies other than the D.O.D. standard capacity magazines did so at our expense.

Nothing other than corporate greed prevented them from implementing a policy of "Not legal for citizens, not available for government". It's simple, but it's not simplistic. If government wants a magazine capacity restriction, it shall be imposed upon them as well and if they use anything other than the supplied magazines, warranty voided. If the manufacturers roll over again the next time a ban comes up, WE have to hold their feet to the fire. Instead of just lobbying Congress, state legislatures etc. we need to be hitting up the manufacturers - this affects us all, we need your help!

THose kinds of 'political stands' will no doubt cost government contract money, but will gain citizen sales to offset the loss, and then some.

GEM
March 28, 2005, 04:36 PM
Well, I know that pros and regular folks have asked Glock for a slim nine directly and were turned down cold.

I think it is a strange mix. Some guns were so hideous that how could market research be done - like those giant Centennial pattern, 8 shot (?) hammerless 38 SPLs from SW.

A Sc 942 from Smith would sell. But we don't see it.

P5 Guy
March 28, 2005, 08:37 PM
What is the world wide ratio for gun sales to private parties vs agencies? That will tell you who they listen to. I've read that 70% of gun sales world wide are to various governmental agencies.

Smurfslayer
March 29, 2005, 08:28 PM
The manufacturers who would own up to numbers when I asked last year was between 65 - 75% citizen sales to LE and this was inclusive of major LE contract pursuers. HOWEVER, the LE market / military contracts are guaranteed sales - they set the production line for 1500 guns, all 1500 get distributed and sold... Not always so with citizen guns.

NMshooter
March 30, 2005, 12:24 AM
Get some CNC tools and make your own.

Then you have no one to blame but yourself.

Of course, you will have to jump through a multitude of hoops to do this legally...

Perhaps that might explain part of it?

If you enjoyed reading about "Do gun manufacturers really pay attention to us?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!