Remington Question Answered - Sort of
The Outdoor and Shooting Wires have received- and verified the accuracy of an internal Remington memorandum that effectively answers most of a question that has been making the rounds of the industry: Is Remington getting into the handgun market?
Short answer, yes.
An "Organizational Announcement" from Chief Marketing Officer Marc Hill to all of Remington's employees confirmed the existence of a Remington handgun team by naming Tom Taylor to the position of Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product-Handguns.
That's a definitive answer to the question, and should serve notice to the industry that Remington has no plans to lay off what has been a torrid growth pace over the past year.
To industry folks, Taylor's also a face both recognized and well-liked.
The affable former Vice-President of Marketing for Smith & Wesson, Taylor has most recently been the Executive Director of the Remington Outdoor Foundation, establishing, as Hill wrote, "the pillars and strategies for its long-term success." Hill also praised Taylor for his "vast amount of handgun experience" calling him the "ideal person to develop and lead our strategy for this important category."
Taylor has also continued to be extremely involved and committed to advancing the Honored American Veterans Afield (H.A.V.A.) organization, helping injured servicemen, veterans and their families get back outside. (Note: The organization hosted its largest event to date, the second annual National Family Day last week in San Antonio, Texas).
Prior to Smith & Wesson, Taylor was an executive with Coca-Cola in both sales and marketing.
According to the memorandum, Taylor will transition into his new position over the next sixty days, joining Remington full time on January 4, 2010.
And the Remington handgun strategy?
While attending the Remington 2010 product introductions, I asked the same question of Marc Hill. At that time, he declined comment, but it has been no secret in the industry that Remington has been "shopping" for a handgun company. Several names have been mentioned, but it appears the first product will be "organic" coming from inside Remington, rather than via acquisition.
A 1911 is in first-production testing, and may be ready for introduction at SHOT Show in January. That is a qualified date because the company seems more concerned in making a solid product before introducing it to the consumer public, eschewing other companies' practice of launching products and making adjustments on the fly.
Remington has been out of the handgun business for decades, but does have a handgun history to call from, should it remain "organic" and reintroduce new versions of older handguns.
From 1963 until 1998, the XP-100 was a solid member of the Remington product family. In fact, it is widely credited as having been the gun that started the sport of varmint shooting, and served as the initial platform for the .221 Fireball cartridge.
The Remington Model 51. Could this small pocket pistol be part of Remington's re-entry into handguns?
From 1918 until the early 1930s, Remington also produced a pocket pistol designed by John Pedersen.
Available in .32ACP and .380 ACP calibers, the small, reliable Model 51 might be a candidate for a revival - especially if it were lightened by the use of polymers and/or new metal technologies not available during its original production gun. Only about 65,000 of the Model 51s were produced, but they remain a gun with a small, but strong following. Less than an inch thick, with a 3-1/4 inch barrel inside a frame 6-5/8 inches long, the hesitation locked, detachable, single-stack semi-auto might be significantly "amped up" with new technologies and ammunition.
One fan of the Model 51: General George Patton. As an interesting historical footnote, the U.S. Navy recommended adopting the Model 51 - if it were made in .45 caliber.
In that variant, it was known as the Model 53, and was regarded as being smaller, lighter, more accurate, and more controllable than the M1911.
And revolvers? Yep, the Remington & Son percussions in .36 (Navy) and .44 (Army) calibers were used in the American Civil War from 1862 forward. It was primarily carried by Union solders, and actually preferred over the standard issue Colt Army Model 1860 by those who could afford it. It's primary advantages were said to be its durability and the ability to quickly swap-out cylinders, significantly speeding up reloads.
Today, Uberti and Pietta New Army replicas are nearly identical to Remington-Beals design, and are favorites among cowboy action shooters who like the period-accurate "cartridge conversion" - as did the real cowboys of that period.
At this point, what Remington will introduce-or acquire- will remain a topic of conversation with both consumers and industry members wondering if they might find their products in the gunsights of a company that has shown no reluctance to either introduce products - or acquire other companies.
And as any marketer will tell you, "buzz" is important.
Whatever happens, we'll keep you posted.