When you talk about American gun companies, the name Ruger is going to come up. Ruger has made guns that Americans have clamored for over the years. As a result, it has become one of the giants of the American firearm industry.
But it’s safe to say it’s not having a good run right about now.
Sturm, Ruger and Company’s sales tanked in its first quarter, according to regulatory filings published this week.
Net sales topped $167.4 million through March 31 — a 22 percent decline over last year. The gun maker blamed “unfavorable de-leveraging of fixed manufacturing costs due to the decline in production volume” in a news release Tuesday. The gun maker will host a conference call with shareholders Wednesday.
Sales of new products introduced within the last two years — the Pistol Caliber Carbine, the Mark IV pistol, the LCP II pistol, the EC9s pistol, the Security-9 pistol, and the Precision Rimfire Rifle — generated $37.2 million, representing just under one third of the company’s total firearm sales.
The dismal earnings come three months after Chief Executive Officer Chris Killoy told investors the company cut 700 positions, reducing its workforce by 28 percent.
Those cuts were supposed to position the company to thrive in 2018. So far, it’s not working.
It’s interesting how the six new products account for a third of its total sales, though. Ruger has a lot of models available, 12 traditional semi-auto handguns alone, plus the 22 Charger, which is basically a stripped down 10/22. Then it has 10 revolver models and its 16 rifle models. That’s a lot of production lines.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Ruger stripped down a bit more and stopped production of models that aren’t selling anymore so it could focus on newer products, especially since such a disproportional amount of revenue seems to be coming from the new products rather than the older ones.
Still, this isn’t pleasant to see. I don’t care how you try and spin it, a 22 percent drop over the previous year isn’t good. In fact, I can’t help but think that the workforce reduction last year may well be the only thing that doesn’t make a drop like this completely devastating. Did Ruger know this was going to happen? Doubtful. It seems more like fortuitous timing to me.
Regardless, though, it does seem like the American firearm industry is in deep trouble, this despite a record number of NICS checks being performed. What gives? I don’t know, and I won’t pretend I do.
What I do know, however, is that it’s probable that anti-gunners will spin this news to claim some great victory for the post-Parkland anti-gun movement, like people just aren’t buying guns. They’ll do this because they don’t know anything about the industry in the least.
People are buying guns. Ruger’s troubles have nothing to do with gun control or the public’s support or lack thereof. The NICS checks alone disprove any such claim.
In the meantime, though, Ruger is having real problems that it’s going to need to handle.