Long-gun market 2014: sales off to a good start, but hard work is still needed.

Author:Thurman, Russ

Long guns will do well in the marketplace in 2014, according to a number of indicators. These include the volume of sales at the NASGW Expo, SHOT Show and numerous distributer and buying group shows. This is welcome news to manufacturers and importers of long guns and related accessories--and to dealers --since the firearms market softened significantly in the final quarter of 2013.

"Yes, we saw a decline in orders during the fourth quarter of 2013," said Joyce Rubino, Colt's Manufacturing VP of marketing. "However, for Colt, we are seeing our reintroduction of our rifle into the commercial marketplace is driving our brand. January is proving to be a good month for us as our brand is very strong in the rifle category."

Rubino said the consolidation last year of Colt's Manufacturing and Colt Defense also has helped drive sales.

"The response has been extremely positive. The market has been very confused by the separation of the two companies, especially with our reintroduction into the commercial market of our rifle platform. With the consolidation, we are a stronger company going forward, with more energized resources and focus on the commercial market," Rubino said.

For 2014, Colt has introduced additional models in its tactical rifle line, including the LE6940AE-3G and LE6920AE, both chambered in .223 with 16.1-inch barrels. In addition, Colt has added a series of bolt-action rifles to its line. The M2012 bolt-actions, originally offered as special editions in 2012, are now part of company's regular lineup.


No Panic Ordering

Dwight Van Brunt, Kimber Manufacturing VP of marketing and sales, says while orders aren't what they were in 2013, there's a positive aspect to what dealers are ordering.

"There isn't the panic ordering like last year. There's no fluff in this year's orders. So while the volume of orders seems to be down--and this is what I'm also hearing from other manufacturers--the volume of real, legitimate orders is strong. So, it's not really a negative, and Kimber is doing very, very well."

Van Brunt said the adjustment in orders is "a touch of reality."

"I don't think 2013 can be expressed as a normal market by any stretch of the imagination and I think 2014 is going to reset to the proper--or new--normal, which is 2012," Van Brunt said.

At SHOT Show 2014, Kimber introduced a new series of tactical rifles, with positive results, according to Van Brunt.

"I'm staggered by the buying interest in these rifles and...

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