New Epic school board member shared COVID misinformation

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Smith & Wesson boss talks about guns and gun laws

{/literal}{include file="blk:outdoorsblog_header"}{literal}
Smith and Wesson CEO Michael Golden answers questions from H&H Gun Range customers
Smith and Wesson CEO Michael Golden answers questions from H&H Gun Range customers

Michael Golden, president and chief executive officer of Smith and Wesson, and Leland Nichols, senior vice-president of the company, were in Oklahoma City last week for H&H Gun Range’s annual Firearms Expo.
The two sat down with Outdoors Editor Ed Godfrey for a question and answer session.

Q: The election of President Barack Obama and a Democratically-controlled Congress has been good for Smith & Wesson sales, hasn’t it?

GOLDEN: “Certainly the demand in the firearms industry changed with the election. But if you look at Smith and Wesson’s business, you look at the six months prior to the election – May through October – our handgun business was growing at a double digit rate. In fact, our handgun business in retail was growing at 14 percent.

“Our tactical rifle business grew at 100 percent over that time, so our fundamental, underlying business is very strong. Now, all bets were off when the election came. Our pistol business went up 24 percent.

Q: Do you think the increased sales before the election were due to the possible change in administrations?

GOLDEN: “One, we think we make the finest product in the world. Second, we think the overall economy is having an effect on gun purchases. We have research that shows on our revolvers that over 25 percent of purchases are first time buyers.
People are worried about the economy. People are worried about unemployment. Crime is on the increase and first time purchasers are buying our small-frame revolver. The only reason you would buy one of those is for personal protection. So we think the market is expanding.

Q: So you think the upswing in guns sales has more to do with the recession than the change in political leadership?

GOLDEN: “That’s speculation. I think it’s probably some of both. The (Obama) administration has said they are not going to make any changes to gun laws but enforce those that are in place and everyone in the industry would agree with that. But we are going to watch very carefully and be ready to react if there is a move to make changes, but up to now, we haven’t seen that.”

Q: What are your best selling handguns?

NICHOLS: “It would be a mix. On the pistol side, the M&P, military and police semi-automatic Polymer pistol, in 9mm, and .40 caliber would be number two. On the revolver side, a lot of people want conceal carry products, so a 642 which is a small revolver, five shot and .38 (ammo) and its got an an enclosed hammer so it’s good for conceal carry so the hammer doesn’t hang up when you pull it out of your pocket.”

GOLDEN: “The other category that has been extremely hot is tactical rifles, AR style tactical rifles. We have an M&P15 that shoots .223 ammo that sells extremely well. We have just launched an AR-style rifle that shoots .22 caliber rounds that we think will be extremely popular because of the price of ammo.”

Q: How is the Model 500, the most powerful handgun in the world, selling?.
GOLDEN: “The Model 500 does well. It’s three times more powerful than the revolver that Dirty Harry used. It’s for hunting. It’s not going to be something you are going to want shoot all day at the range and shoot 500 rounds of.
“But we have a large grizzly bear in our office that one of our employees shot with it, and I believe it was 200 yards with one round. So it’s very effective. Leland has been elk hunting with the 460.”

NICHOLS: “It’s a large frame revolver but has longer range. I shot an elk at about 100 yards with it. The 460 would be the world’s fastest performance revolver at high velocity, 223 feet per second out of the barrel.”

Q: Smith and Wesson is making a push into the hunting industry with rifles and shotguns. How big of a player will S&W be?

GOLDEN: “We believe over time we can have the same share with hunting that we have with handguns. It will take time. We will have to broaden out the product line to do it. There are some good companies in the hunting industry, some big brands that we are going against, but Thompson/Center is a very high prestige hunting brand.
“About 2½ years ago we purchased Thompson/Center arms, which was our first move into the hunting market. We think hunting is a big opportunity for us. The market is larger than the handgun market.
“Thompson/Center was basically a blackpowder company that we have expanded into bolt-action rifles with the Icon. We are just launching this summer the Venture, a bolt-action rifle off the Icon frame but it’s at a much more affordable price for the masses. It will retail for under $500.”

Q: And how has Smith and Wesson’s entry into the shotgun market been received?

NICHOLS: “Our side by sides and over and unders are doing really well. It’s a product that really has features of guns in the $4,000 to $5,000 range but sell in the low $2,000. It’s a nice, finely crafted product, very comfortable to shoot. The side by side is 20-gauge and the over and under is 12-gauge.”

Q: What do you think of the H&H Gun Range?

GOLDEN: You don’t see facilities like this in every major town in the country, whether it be out west or in the northeast. I would put this facility up against any in the country, and there are some nice gun ranges in the country.  The citizens that live here have an opportunity that most people don’t. I live in Hartford, Conn., and we don’t have this kind of opportunity (to shoot).

5 Show / Hide Archive Comments

{/literal}{include file="blk:outdoorsblog_bottom"}{literal} {/literal}{include file="blk:outdoorsblog_rail"}{literal}
Related Photos
 Smith and Wesson CEO Michael Golden answers questions from H&H Gun Range customers

Smith and Wesson CEO Michael Golden answers questions from H&H Gun Range customers

<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Smith and Wesson CEO Michael Golden answers questions from H&amp;H Gun Range customers " title=" Smith and Wesson CEO Michael Golden answers questions from H&amp;H Gun Range customers "><figcaption> Smith and Wesson CEO Michael Golden answers questions from H&amp;H Gun Range customers </figcaption></figure>
Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›