Crimson Trace

News | Friday, February 27, 2015

NJ Prosecutor Overrules Sheriff on Flintlock Prosecution Case

The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs reports Cumberland County, New Jersey, Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae is dismissing charges against 72-year old retired teacher and military academy graduate Gordon Van Gilder. Van Gilder made international news after being arrested and charged by Cumberland County Sheriff Robert Austino for possession of a flintlock pistol dating back to the 1700's - a "crime" carrying up to 10 years in prison under the state's gun laws.


Calguns Foundation Remains "Absolutely Committed" to Handgun Roster Case

Despite being disappointed at what they call a sidestepping a clear violation of the Second Amendment rights of California citizens, the Calguns Foundation says it remains "absolutely committed to litigating the case as far as necessary to reverse this incorrect ruling and restore the right to keep and bear modern handguns in the Golden State."


Kakkuri Answers CCW Questions On Bersa BP380 And Ruger LCRx

For shooters, choosing the right carry gun/holster combination can be a difficult decision. FMG Publications Online Editor Mark Kakkuri anticipates reader questions regarding the Bersa BP380, which is the company's first polymer frame pistol in .380. This Q&A-style, online-only exclusive can be found at www.gunsmagazine.com/exclusive-bersa-bp380-concealed-carry-my-questions.


Top Hunting and Shooting Equipment Brands for 2014

Southwick Associates has announced 2014 top selling brands for many hunting and shooting product categories.


Newest Brownells 1911 Catalog Now Available

Brownells has released the eleventh edition of its very popular catalog specifically for the 1911; devoted entirely to John Browning's timeless pistol design.


Sponsors Set Gold Standard With Shooting Industry Masters Support

The thirteenth annual Shooting Industry Masters kicks off July 24 at the Claythorne Lodge in Columbus, Kansas, jump-started by solid industry support.


Smith & Wesson Welcomes 3 Time Superbowl Champ Matt Light

Former New England Patriot and Light Foundation Founder Matt Light recently visited the Smith & Wesson manufacturing facility in Springfield, Massachusetts to show his appreciation to the company and its employees for helping to raise funds for The Light Foundation programming and outdoor experiences for at-risk youth. .


Nevada Campus Carry Bill This Week on Guntalk Radio

It's a campus carry bill hearing in Nevada; a 15-time Bianchi Cup winner; a world-class pistol smith; and more, this week on Tom Gresham's GUNTALK® Radio, the original nationally-syndicated radio talk show about guns and the shooting sports.


XS Sight Systems Gains New Wholesaler

XS Sight Systems, the leading manufacturer of hunting and tactical sights, is excited to announce a new functioning wholesaler relationship with Green Supply, Inc.


Dead Air Armament Now Shipping Sandman Suppressor Line

Dead Air Armament, distributed through BPI Outdoors announce sthe 7.62 Sandman™ product line-up of suppressors is now shipping to distributors nationwide.


Atlanta Arms Announces 2015 Smith & Wesson IDPA Indoor Nationals Sponsorship

Atlanta Arms finest commercially remanufactured and match grade ammunition manufacturer is proud to announce their sponsorship with the 18th Annual Smith & Wesson International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) Indoor Nationals.


PolyCase Ammunition Joins Growing List of NSSF Industry Summit Sponsors

Savannah, Georgia-based company PolyCase Ammunition has signed on as a custom sponsor of NSSF's 2015 Industry Summit.


CORE Rifle Systems Adding Ammo

As CORE Rifle Systems progressed with its own vertical integration, culminating in the manufacture of our own precision barrels, we saw the need to bring the final piece of the accuracy puzzle under our control. Enter CORE Ordnance


The Outdoor Wire Presents a Special Edition: Concealed Carry for Spring 2015

The Outdoor Wire Digital Network announces the Spring installment of Outdoor Wire's Special Edition: Concealed Carry. On Friday, April 10, 2015, a special, consolidated wire broadcast will go out to nearly 600,000 email boxes – the owner of each signed up for one or more of our wires. Like previous editions, this consolidated broadcast will be an examination of one topic – Concealed Carry. Due to the political atmosphere, it's an area of the industry that continues to be strong and this is an opportunity to get your new products announced on the first day of the NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits.


Gainesville, FL PD Receives Safety Grant from Sprit of Blue and Dunkin' Donuts

The Spirit of Blue Foundation has awarded a Safety Training Grant to the Gainesville (Florida) Police Department (GPD) to obtain valuable Police/Youth Dialogue training.


FEATURE

Ruger Offers Industry Insight

Yesterday's 2014 earnings call with Ruger CEO Mike Fifer was another of those revealing glimpses into why some public company CEOs dread question and answer sessions with stock market analysts. As an observer to the process, the frequent accounting and Wall Street jargon will remind you why you didn't go for an MBA.

But the analysts' sometimes pointed questions make you appreciative of the broad knowledge base any CEO for a public company must have - and call up on demand. It's not enough to know the industry, their company and its products. They have to be able to tactfully deal with analysts whose recommendations can impact their company's access to investment capital.

And it will help you appreciate there's a lot of studying of the industry, consumer trends and other variables that go into the manufacturing process -before the manufacturing process goes into gear.

In a nutshell, Ruger's 2014 performance didn't match 2013.

That's not saying the company didn't make money, just that Ruger is the latest company to affirm what everyone in the industry has known for some time: 2013 was one of those boom years that skews all your projections and forward planning- if you don't put it into historical perspective.

Put into perspective, 2013 isn't a fair comparison to 2014, but 2012 is. And by those standards, Ruger -and the industry- appears to be doing fine.

But that "fine" assessment wasn't without its bumps for Ruger. Fifer candidly stated that some of the shortfalls in sales in Q3 and Q4 '14 were the result in delays in new product introductions.

"So," an analyst asked, "are you looking for more research engineers?" After thinking a few seconds, Fifer responded that while Ruger had "a couple of open slots" he might be looking for Project Managers before engineers.

Reasoning? "Brilliant engineers might not be up on what he needs in his planning," Fifer mused, "he may need springs and discover that the spring supplier needs four months lead time. A Project Manager considers those things throughout the process and prepares accordingly."

The conference call also reminded me that while distributor shows are critical to the manufacturing side of the industry, they're not exactly the direct indicator of what gun makers can expect to sell in 2015. That's because the orders written at distributor shows are from retailers. Those orders don't directly translate to orders to manufacturing because of the distributors' own inventory. A distributor sitting on excess inventory is going to deplete that inventory prior to reordering. For a company like Ruger with broad and deep product lines, that's not such a frightening proposition. For some single-line companies, like small ones that only make modern sporting rifles, that may trigger a lot of incentive programs in order to encourage distributors to keep their stocks higher.

It bears mentioning that Ruger took a big chance several years ago when it fundamentally changed the its products were brought to market. Rather than announce a product with an availability date somewhere in the future, Ruger produced thousands of new products before they announced them. When they were announced, the actual products were available, not only to look at, but to purchase.

As Fifer explained, "that process ties up some of your capital and you have some of it just laying around- that happened to us in Q4 as we were getting ready to announce our new products." That, in turn, impacts your balance sheets- although the forward looking process he's championed has worked well to this point.

Ammunition supplies were also discussed, with Fifer telling listeners that while a major ammo manufacturer (ATK) and powder maker (unnamed) had invested millions in meeting the added demand for rimfire ammunition, there was a wild card in the supply-and-demand equation: the BATFE.

The ATF's decision to go after heretofore legal ball ammunition was characterized as "a bigger issue than sales" -heading the industry toward a "slippery slope" where we didn't need to go.

Analysts also have a way of opening topics that seem pure business, but also have a broader implication. Yesterday, one question concerned Ruger's "mini foundries". With two "minis" up and running, the question was "are you at the point you're considering closing your main foundry in Newport?"

If you're in the Newport business development business, that's a red flag. If you're an analyst, it's just another business process hypothetical. If you're the CEO of the company, it's a question that has more than one answer. "Interesting question," Fifer responded, "we're at the point we're considering what to do- do we expand the load on the mini-foundries and idle the main one, or do we invest in a third mini foundry- it's a question we're still looking at."

One unexpected note in the call, however, concerned Ruger's Red Label shotgun line. Revived in 2013, Fifer told callers that while he wasn't certain if it had officially been announced or not, the company had removed the Red Label from the 2015 catalog and the company website. "We'd hoped we could get it to a favorable point," he said, "but we didn't and we have discontinued the Red Label."

Like I said, you can learn a lot on an analyst call. And as always, we'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd


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