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Posted on Thu, Mar. 06, 2003



Taking a shot at leading again
Introducing nine new models, including the .50-caliber Magnum, is one of the company's first steps in trying to retake market share.
BY TRUDY TYNAN
***ociated Press

SPRINGFIELD, M***. - Two years ago, Smith & Wesson's reputation for firepower was nearly blown away by an agreement with the federal government.

Now, the company whose handguns set a standard for more than a century thinks it can regain leadership of the firearms industry.

The company outraged many gun rights supporters in 2000, when, faced with sliding sales and a series of government lawsuits pushed by gun control advocates, it reached an agreement with the Clinton administration aimed at policing sales and promoting safety measures.

Many distributors and dealers refused to stock Smith & Wesson guns. "I think we saw our business probably decline 40 percent," company spokesman Ken Jorgensen said.

Its new chief executive says the introduction of nine new handgun models signals its determination to revive its business.

"The company has a rich history as an industry innovator, and we are heading down the same path," said Roy Cuny, who took over as president and chief executive last month following the elevation of Robert Scott to chairman.

The new handguns include a .50-caliber version of the famed Magnum line that began in 1930s with the .357, designed as a gun for hunters, and that continued in the 1950s with the .44 Magnum.

"This gun will get people talking about Smith & Wesson again," Steve Comus, publications director of Safari Club International, said of the .50-caliber Magnum. He said several of his club's big game hunting enthusiasts have ordered the revolver, and said it could also find a market as backup protection for outdoorsmen in areas frequented by grizzlies and other big predators.

"They are not going to sell 100,000 of them, but they will sell several thousand to that particular universe," Comus said.

Founded by firearm pioneers Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson, the 150-year-old company is one of the nation's oldest and largest handgun makers, and it has a storied history. Sharpshooter Annie Oakley, outlaw Jesse James and the U.S. Cavalry all fired Smith & Wessons. And its .38-caliber Police Special and .357 Magnum were carried by generations of police officers.

Company officials said the deal with the Clinton administration actually made little substantive change in the distribution and other policies of the company, which specializes in the medium to high end of the market and had been one of the first major gunmakers to begin selling its handguns with safety locks.

But "there is still some residual grumping around their deal with the Clinton administration in some gun circles," Comus said. "This gives Smith & Wesson another chance to say we're not the same company now and gets them re-established."

Cuny said Smith & Wesson is still working on a way of allowing only an authorized user to fire a handgun.

Smith & Wesson's campaign to regain its reputation began in May 2001, when British conglomerate Tomkins PLC, which had paid $113 million for Smith & Wesson, sold it for $15 million plus $30 million in ***umed debts to Saf-T-Hammer Corp., a tiny startup in Arizona that made trigger locks.

Scott, a former Smith & Wesson vice president who had moved to Saf-T-Hammer, took over the gun works. His first stop, two weeks after the sale, was the National Rifle ***ociation's annual convention. With banners and buttons promoting the company's return to American ownership, he quickly moved to make peace with the NRA.

"The turnaround was unbelievably dramatic," Jorgensen said. "The problems were ***ociated with our former owners."

With President Bush's election, the political climate also changed, and handgun sales soared following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Without a change in ownership, we would have been in deep trouble," Cuny said. "The right-hand turn took us on a growth plan when we could have gone out of business."

Saf-T-Hammer, which changed its name to the Smith & Wesson Holding Corp., has capitalized on the company's name by expanding its licensing to encomp*** a wide range of products from clothing to binoculars and golf clubs, a sideline that now accounts for 10 percent of its revenues. But the focus of its business remains guns.

While repairing its image, the company has also moved to modernize its production with new computerized equipment, said Cuny, whose background is manufacturing, not the gun industry.

However, the company, with about 650 workers at its Springfield plant and another 100 at a pistol and handcuff plant in Holton, Maine, faces some tough challenges, Cuny said.

Competitors, primarily Glock, have made inroads on the handgun market for law enforcement. And the market remains cyclical and uncertain.

"The market for handguns is very much affected by the political climate," said Gary Mehalik, a spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade group.

"It spiked after 9/11 and then dropped to a more usual levels," he said.

Still, shooters, like other sports enthusiasts, tend to have more than one gun. "And like the tennis player with a closet full of rackets, they are always looking for the newest and latest thing," he said.






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© 2003 The Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.kansas.com
 

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Contender,

I have no idea what the purpose of the *** to represent the letters A S S. An *** is aequine animal commonly referred to as a Donkey. I fail to understand why this could be offensive to anyone.

If you think this word also refers to the posterior portion of the human anatomy, you are quite wrong. That word is ARSE.

FWIW.
 

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CONTENDER, YOUR POST WAS GREAT. I'M A 'RUGER' FAN, HAVE BEEN FOR A LENGTH OF TIME. BUT YOUR ARTICLE, AND OTHER THINGS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT S & W HAVE GOT ME THINKING ABOUT A PURCHASE OF ONE OF THEIR GUNS. IT'D HELP THEIR COMPANY, HELP THE ECONOMY, AND BE MEANINGFUL, THEREFORE, TO ME AS WELL.

I MEAN IT SINCERELY. THEY ARE IN MANUFACTURING OUTSIDE OF FIREARMS PROVIDING A VERY BENEFICIAL SERVICE TO THEIR CUSTOMERS, AND THEY ARE OUR AMERICAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS WHO TEMPORARILY SUFFERED AT THE MIS-GUIDED HANDS OF SOME OVERSEAS 'CONTROLLERS'. I WISH EVERYBODY AT THAT COMPANY, AS FELLOW-AMERICANS, SUCCESS AND BLESSING.

TAKE CARE,

SAFETY SHERIFF
 

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Alk,
In the past few weeks we have had to edit numerous profane posts, in order to keep this site a clean and family site. As most members are aware, Beartooth prides itself in being a family forum and eliminating profanity on this site and the personal attacks to valued members is a part of the process. To alleviate some of the problems we were having, an automated word check of sorts was installed on the forum. Unfortunately it is a little aggressive and seems to take any string of characters that constitute what is considered vulgar language out of the text string. We are working to remedy the problem. Please stick with us.

As far as the use, the word when applied to anything that is not of the equine species, becomes profane. Just as the word for a female dog when used to describe someone's mother. Again, please hang in there, hopefully we will get this software straightened out.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Whoa! Looks like our new auto-censor is enthusiastic, but not too bright. I'm sure we can 'teach' it which words are OK....
 

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Mike,

I am sure you are right, we just need to "pink" around with it a bit 8*)

Where there is a will, there is a way...

All my best,

Scotty
 

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To whom it may concern,
I think I may have contributed to this problem by referring to those of the liberal persuation as "jackbottoms". I regret this oversight in the sense that it is causing a lot of ***'s where I would usually have been referring to bottoms of donkeys. In light of the recent warning I have been given, and respect, as to the family nature of this website, I will no longer refer to any "jackbottoms" as anything other than liberal democrats or leftist filth.

On a more relevant level, I applaude S&W's entry back into the market. I'm inclined to suppose that the agreement is still in force and oppose any and all research that leads to a product that is not as close to 100% failsafe for law enforcement and citizens who choose to defend themselves and their families, as possible. I say we give them a chance and demand to know what their cooperation is with government entities, especially the HUD. Short of a Dan with a trigger job, or a Python, the S&W revolver in it's current heat treated state is the finest double action revolver available. I like the Blackhawks, but those are single action. The Redhawk stands alone in it strength and poor trigger and questionable grip frame. The SRH is a fine revolver, but a bit of a load in my opinion. I do think the integeral scope rings are a stroke of genius. S&W revolvers are the finest "off the shelf" double action revolvers known to man. If the LE and self defense market ever get over the plastic guns, and S&W ever produces an auto (other than the 1911), they may have a chance. I say the 1911 in a quality form is the greatest achievement that S&W has EVER made in the area of self loading pistols. I'm not very adept at the game of golf, but "How bout them S&W golf clubs!!?" It will be interesting to see what S&W produces, and the quality of the product. I believe we owe the finest, across the board, revolver mfg that respect. The company is anew and in US ownership, I hope it can survive. I love my Rugers, but there is no trigger like a Smith.
 

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I have yet to see S&W come out and publicly say that they have totally backed out of the agreement with the Anti's!!!!:confused: Until they Publicly state that the agreement is dead and they do not supprt all they signed up to support -trigger locks -finger printing there guns- added safety devices that have no useful propose, getting out of bed with HUD, buy backs etc. There will never be a S&W in my home!!:mad: That's why they are so expensive- they have to pay the Anti's to stay in buisness!!!
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Thanks, we appreciate you stepping up and admitting that the language was getting out of hand, that is very classy of you. However it's been more than you, so there is plenty of blame to be spread!

Anyway, this was not really a radical change for the forum, to be honest, as we had the auto-censor feature enabled on a previous version of the software. We just forgot to turn it on when the server got the last upgrade, that's really the explanation.

We'll try to teach the software good words from bad. As always, computers can see individual words but not meaning or intent. For the most part the people on this forum mean well and have been exceedingly polite, once in a while our emotions boil over. Especially when we have to put up with 'liberal democrats and leftist filth' as you so eloquently put it! And, after seeing a few donkeys grazing peacefully while on my last hunting trip, it occurs to me that referring to the liberals as the south end of a north-bound farm animal, is really more of an insult to the animals than the other way around.

After having seen some of the rudeness and filth on a few other forums, I still think we have about the best group of people around on the Internet, even if a bad word or two slips in once in a while.
 

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Good points Mike. We do have a great place here that allows folks with Integrity to live and learn.

kcIH...I would gladly throw the first stone, but I see My Lord writing in the sand here ;*) I hope the Donkeys can be so gracious since that must have hurt. Good thing they cannot read!

On Topic...Prior to the Mountain Gun following me home one day, the only Smith I had was an old 34-1 Kit Gun that had been a lifelong dream to own.

I do not regret having either of them, nor do I regret spending the money with S&W AFTER the new owners took control. I can only imagine the problems facing the new owners after purchasing a business that was stuck to the Tar Baby. I hope they can manage to get all the goo off their reputation and make a comeback as an American Firearm Mfgr.

In this day, I would hate to see any firearm maker fold!
 

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Well dag nab it! I've been sensored myself once. Once when dog goned it, just would not convey the depth of emotion that was expressed by the man who found himself attacked by a griz. If you are going to hunt deer in the deer woods, use a deer gun. If you're gonna hunt deer in the bear woods, use the biggest D--n gun you can handle. this was a big part of my 458 wm. decision. Which is coming along with cast slowly but nicely.
Now for the S&W, my 629-5 has about 750 rounds through it, with quite a bit of flame cutting on the top strap, the cylinder face is pitted like a torch got a hold of it. My smith says he can bevel the forcing cone, but is not sure about the cylinder face. I am going to contact S&W and see what they have to say about cylinder face. Needless to say I am not too dogged proud of S&W at the moment. If this is not properly adressed and resolved THIS WILL BE THE LAST S&W FOR ME.
later guys, halfbreed
 

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Here goes, I just got off the horn with S&W a few minutes ago. Their tech representative said the top strap cutting will stop ( we allready knew that ), the cylinder face cutting is a little abnormal, if it causes any problems they will repair or replace the cylinder what ever it needs. He is sending out a return sticker, IF I FEEL I NEED TO SEND IT BACK. only time will tell. He was infomative, helpful and courteous.
Man was that a mouthful or what?
at this time I think I will just have my smith bevel the forcing cone. that will help the top strap cutting, as well as releive the cylinder face. Now all i need to do is open the cylinder throats.to match the cast bullets.
 
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