Springfield, Mass.-based Smith & Wesson is being directly targeted by state lawmakers, who seek to ban the production of AR-15 and similar semi-automatic black guns – the dubiously described “assault weapons.” President Joe Biden has also taken aim at gun makers, suggesting that laws be changed so that the companies can be sued when their products are used in a crime.
That would be enough to give a firearms industry executive some serious headaches and likely result in some sleepless nights.
But these are actually the boom times for Smith & Wesson.
Last month the company reported record sales for the latest quarter, selling more than 600,000 firearms and accessories – more than a quarter of a billion dollars worth of products. That actually represented a doubling of sales from a year ago, and it was Smith & Wesson’s third consecutive record-breaking quarter.
“I could not be more proud of our dedicated American workforce as, for the third time in a row, they delivered a record-breaking quarter for our great historic company,” said Mark Smith, president and chief executive officer (CEO), via a statement.
“Over the past year, millions of our fellow Americans from all walks of life have chosen to empower themselves by exercising their 2nd Amendment rights for the first time, and our loyal employees have risen to the challenge – delivering over 1.8 million units in the first three quarters of our fiscal year alone, ensuring that these new members of the shooting sports community were able to choose the highest quality, innovative firearms that Smith & Wesson has been known for since 1852,” Smith added. “All of this was accomplished while implementing and maintaining aggressive safety measures and process changes to keep safe in the midst of the COVID pandemic.”
“The industry is not only growing but also diversifying, with women and minorities making up over forty percent of the overall purchases,” Smith added in a March 4 conference call and webcast.
The record sales have allowed the company to be in a good position should it face rough times, especially if it is actually forced to move operations or cease production of AR-15 style firearms if lawmakers get their way.
“Smith & Wesson’s record-breaking financial performance enabled us to generate $60 million of cash from operations during the quarter,” added Deana McPherson, executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO).
“This allowed us to complete a $50 million dollar share-repurchase program, pay our second-quarter dividend, and continue to invest in capital, all while growing our cash on hand by $4.1 million during the quarter,” McPerson added. “I am pleased to announce that our Board has authorized a new $100 million dollar share repurchase program and a $0.05 per share dividend to stockholders of record as of March 17, 2021, with payment to be made on March 31, 2021.”
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.