A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Gun Industry Information’ tag

A Fantastic Specimen of Corporate Speak

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Rumors of Gander Mountain’s demise have been on point. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anybody who has walked into one of its stores. Its prices are ridiculous, especially in this age of online shopping. A lot of its used guns go for the same price as new guns elsewhere. And when it runs a sale the prices finally come down to normal prices elsewhere.

In the last week people have been claiming that Gander Mountain is in the process of filing bankruptcy. The company finally put out a statement on the matter. I think the statement will go down in history has one of the best examples of corporate speak:

As a privately held company, it is our longstanding policy not to comment on our business affairs. Unfortunately, recent speculative news articles have caused concern among some of our customers, employees, and trade partners, and require us to make a rare exception.

Gander Mountain is the nation’s largest outdoor retail network with 162 specialty stores across 26 states. We are a fully integrated Omni-Channel retailer dedicated to servicing the hunting, camping, fishing, shooting sports, and outdoor products markets. As ‘America’s Firearms Supercenter™,’ we are a market leader in the shooting sports category with an extensive offering of firearms, ammunition, and accessories.

Like most retailers, we are subject to normal economic cycles, changes in our industry and shifts in consumer demand that require us to adapt our business accordingly. It’s been that way since 1960, when we started out as a catalog company in small-town Wisconsin, and it remains the case today. It is this constant adaptation and desire to offer our customers the best selection, best value and best service that has been our hallmark for generations.

Gander Mountain and its ownership group have undertaken a best-practices approach to review our strategic options specific to positioning the company for long-term success. When we engage in such a review we often seek information and advice from external advisors to inform our decisions. To assist in this process, we have retained Houlihan Lokey as independent advisors and we are confident that the outcome of the review will identify the right go-forward strategy. In the meantime, our Gander Mountain stores and gandermountain.com remain the place to go for all of our customers’ outdoor adventure needs.

That is a lot of words put together to say nothing meaningful. If I had my corporate buzzword bing cards out I’d have probably screamed bingo at least a dozen times. I could have cut that statement down to a single sentence: Our financials are fucked and we’re brining in outside help in the hopes of fixing this shit.

I’ve periodically told gun control advocates that if they really want to land a blow against the gun industry they should vote for Republicans. The industry does best when the fear of gun control legislation is on the table, which is generally higher when Democrats get into office. Since the Republicans have pretty much taken everything we’re probably going to see a great culling of gun manufacturers and resellers as sales drop. Business like Gander Mountain, whose propensity to overcharge is well known through the shooting community, are in trouble.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 28th, 2017 at 10:30 am

The Army Selects Its Polymer Framed Striker Fired 9mm Pistol

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The United States Army has been slowly working towards replacing the Beretta M9 as its standard issue sidearm. Under the name Modular Handgun System the Army held a competition, and delayed it multiple times, to determine which pistol was the best for its needs. Yesterday the winner was announced. The M9 will be replaced with the Sig P320:

LAS VEGAS — The U.S. Army on Thursday awarded Sig Sauer a contract worth $580 million to make the next service pistol based on the company’s P320 handgun.

Sig Sauer beat out Glock Inc., FN America and Beretta USA, the maker of the current M9 9mm service pistol, in the competition for the Modular Handgun System, or MHS, program.

I think that the hardest part about this competition was decided which of the 3 million polymer framed striker fired 9mm pistols (PFSF9) to go with. In the end the Army chose, as one of my friends said, the perfect government pistol. The P320 isn’t a bad pistol per se but it doesn’t really having anything that distinguishes itself from any other PFSF9 pistol. Its only unique feature is caliber modularity, which doesn’t seem like much of a selling point for an organization that standardizes on a caliber. So the Army chose a pistol that is adequate but not stellar, just like its predecessor.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 20th, 2017 at 10:00 am

Gun Sales are Up

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This year’s presidential election is notable for many reasons. Somehow both major parties managed to nominate the single worst option that was available to them. The level of hatred supporters of both candidates have for supporters of the other candidate has reached unprecedented levels. And both parties have managed to nominate advocates for gun control. This last point is likely what has lead to yet another month of very impressive gun sales:

There were 2,333,539 gun-related checks processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, known as NICS, last month, according to FBI documents posted on Monday. That represents an increase of more than 350,000 checks over the previous October, itself a record. It’s also the 18th month in a row to set a record.

With two months to go, 2016 has already seen 22,206,233 NICS checks, making it the second highest year for checks in the history of NICS with only 2015 seeing more.

I sometimes wonder if gun control advocates are secretly being funded by firearm manufacturers because their actions do more to increase gun sales than anything else.

If gun control advocates really wanted to decrease the number of guns in circulation the easiest thing they could do would be to stop pushing for gun control. The only reason people are buying pallets of AR-15 lowers, AK-47s, and standard capacity magazines is because they believe that they can make a significant profit if the manufacturing of those items is prohibited. It’s basic economics. The more scarce a desirable product is the more expensive it becomes. If I can buy a pallet of AR-15 lowers for $50.00 a piece today and the manufacturing of those lowers becomes illegal tomorrow the profit I can make off of those lowers will only increase over time.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 3rd, 2016 at 10:30 am

Yet Another AR-15

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Springfield Armory’s greatest product isn’t its guns but its marketing (that’s not to say their guns are bad, I several Springfield Armory firearms and they’re all solid). Other gun companies could learn a lot from Springfield Armory’s hype producing machine.

Case in point, a few weeks ago Springfield Armory started teasing its soon to be unveiled SAINT firearm. One of my friends asked me what I thought the SAINT was going to be. Because I’ve been exposed to enough marketing to have become jaded over the years I snarkily said “Probably yet another AR-15.” As it turns out, my snarky response was correct:

After weeks of advertisements, videos, and other vague references to the Springfield Armory SAINT the anticipation has to be killing you, or at the very least driving you a bit crazy. After I threw up my hastily written sneak peek, some of the theories I saw in the comments went anywhere from the downright ludicrous to spot on.

[…]

So, what does the SAINT mean for shooters? Frankly, it means another AR-15 to choose from on the rack at your local gun store. The catch is, it is going to be easy to overlook the greatness they built into the rifle. In over a decade of shooting the AR-15/M-16 platform almost exclusively, I have never come across a rifle that offers this level of performance for around $850 MSRP.

Besides the gaudy SAINT logo engraved in gigantic letters on the magwell, the rifle doesn’t look half bad. It appears to be a decently specced AR-15 for a price point that isn’t entirely stupid. But for the amount of marketing hype that was being pumped out of Springfield Armory you could have reasonably expected something new and unique instead of another version of a rifle that everybody and their grandmother already produces.

Thanks to Springfield Armory’s name, which is partially built on the nonexistent ties to the old Springfield Armory and partially on having a history of releasing pretty solid firearms, I’m sure the SAINT will sell well. But this announcement makes me grateful for the likes of Israel Weapons Industry, Beretta, Bushmaster (I never though I’d say that), and Fabrique Nationale for releasing the Tavor, ARX, ACR, and SCAR rifles. While those rifles aren’t revolutionary they are modern rifles that aren’t yet more AR-15s. They’re something different and while I really like the AR-15 platform it has become so common that it’s boring.

Although I expected the SAINT to be yet another AR-15 I was still disappointed because part of me was hoping for something interesting, like an announcement that Springfield Armory was going to bring in a civilian version of the VHS, the new bullpup rifle manufactured by the same company that currently manufactures Springfield Armory’s XD line of handguns. Still, I have to give respect to Springfield Armory’s marketing machine. It managed to build up hype for yet another AR-15, which can’t be easy to do in a market that is already saturated with AR-15s. Perhaps Springfield Armory should start renting its marketing department to other firearm manufacturers. It would probably make more on that than its firearm sales.

Written by Christopher Burg

November 2nd, 2016 at 10:00 am

Your Fingerprint Sensor Sucks But You Shouldn’t Feel Bad

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Kai Kloepfer’s fingerpint based firearm access control system is back in the news:

Presented at the 2016 International San Francisco Smart Gun Symposium (ironic, considering the city shuttered its last gun shop in 2015), then 18-year-old Kai Kloepfer presented a new handgun design that incorporates a fingerprint reader. Young Mr. Kloepfer is sponsored by angel investor Ron Conway, who’s Smart Tech Challenges Foundation is spending $1.5 million for the development of “firearms safety technology.” Kloepfer is one of about 15 start-ups that Conway is sponsoring.

The design has been in skunk-works for over four years. Kloepfer’s start-up, Biofire, is “just a few months from a live-firing prototype, which assuming it works, will be the first gun to unlock like an iPhone.” This is untrue, as multiple finger-print reader base firearms have existed before, specifically Kodiak Industries with their Intelligun

Needless to say, the Internet gun community is flipping its shit again (in the comments sections of gun sites). A lot of valid criticisms have been made against Kloepfer’s technology. Some of those criticisms are the fact that his prototype isn’t lefthand friendly, people don’t always grip guns in the same way, fingerprint readers aren’t 100 percent reliable, batteries die, etc. I won’t go into detail on those. What I will go into detail on is the fact fingerprint sensors suck for access control.

As far back as 2013 the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) was bypassing Apple’s TouchID by obtaining a photograph of an authorized user’s fingerprint from a glass surface. No big deal, right? After all, somebody would have to find something you touched to lift your fingerprint from to bypass Kloepfer’s authentication system. That would require either breaking into your home or following you around in the hopes that you will touch something that your fingerprint can be reliably lifted from. Of course you also have the fact that in 2014 a member of the CCC was able to replicate a politician’s fingerprint from a photograph. You don’t need to follow somebody around to lift their fingerprint. You can just take a high resolution photograph of their hand when they’re out and about. And unlike Touch ID, which allows you to use any finger for authentication, the position of Kloepfer’s sensor means you know exactly what fingerprint you need to bypass the mechanism.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, fingerprints suck as authentication mechanisms. There are two reasons for this. First, you leave your fingerprints everywhere. Second, if your fingerprints are obtained by somebody you can’t change them.

With that said, I think criticisms against Kloepfer have been unnecessarily harsh. While his product is defective he should receive credit for trying to create something new. I know many gun owners like to scream “Never!” whenever somebody mentions firearm authentication systems but I believe there is a market for such products. Households with small children or mentally disturbed individuals, for example, could benefit from firearms with authentication systems (I know, people should lock up their firearms, but shit happens and having another barrier between a child or mentally disturbed individual and a functional firearm isn’t a bad thing). Kloepfer shouldn’t receive a bunch of hatred for exploring a market. And I say this as somebody who isn’t even in that market (I have no interest in complicating my firearms with access control technology but different strokes for different folks).

This is where some gun owner usually brings up New Jersey’s law that will mandate all firearms sold in the state be equipped with access control mechanisms once the technology is available. In response I will point out that the anger should be directed at the government of New Jersey, not Kloepfer and other people trying to bring access control technology to firearms. They’re building a product that may be useful to people even in the absence of such a law, they didn’t pass the law and aren’t sending goons out to enforce it.

In summary Kloepfer’s technology sucks but he shouldn’t feel bad for developing it. Also, governments suck but that’s more of a summary of this entire blog than this specific post.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 19th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Gotta Pump Those Numbers Up

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While a lot of sectors of the economy are in the toilet the firearms sector is doing quite well. Guns and ammunition sales remain high, which has causes more manufacturers to enter the market. In fact the sector is getting large enough that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is beginning to whine about being unable to perform its duties:

Florida has more “gun manufacturers” than any other state except Texas, after a surge of 346 percent in licenses for gun makers since 2009, fueled by the nation’s growing demand for firearms.

That has created some concerns about the regulatory oversight of these businesses by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the federal law enforcement agency that monitors the nation’s gun sales and distribution.

“Maybe we are on the edge of a point where the ATF will not be able to keep up anymore,” said former ATF special agent William Vizzard.

Denial of service attacks against the State are always fun. First, they’re usually unintentional so there’s nobody’s head to put on a pike. Second, they exploit the State’s bureaucracy and therefore cannot be mitigated because the State won’t give up the one thing it relies on. Third, it gets more goods into the hands of consumers.

Anybody who has tried to purchase a suppressor in recent times knows that the ATF is already at the point where it cannot keep up. Wait times for six to eight months are the norm when waiting for ATF approval when purchasing a suppressor. That wait time is only going to increase as suppressors become more popular. And the ATF is constantly grasping for more power (again, that reliance on bureaucracy is biting it in the ass), which only further burdens the agency. Eventually the ATF will grind to a halt under the weight of its own regulations and then something may finally be done about the agency.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 31st, 2016 at 10:00 am

If He Didn’t Want to Get Shot He Shouldn’t Have Gone for a Gun

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Every time an officer shoots somebody we’re bombarded with people saying we need to trust the judgement of the officer. In this case, I agree. An officer recently shot somebody who was armed. After reading the details about the case I find myself having to side with the cop apologists. If the man didn’t want to get shot he shouldn’t have gone for his gun:

A $75,000 personal injury case against Glock filed by an Arkansas policeman has been scheduled for trial in a federal court, according to the final scheduling order issued last week.

The jury trial will start Aug. 21, 2017, in a federal court in Helena, Arkansas, the order says. Final arguments and discovery exhibits are due in the beginning months of the year.

The plaintiff in the case, Larry Jones, of Cherry Valley, Arkansas, was injured when his Glock 19C pistol discharged unexpectedly at the shooting range in June 2013, the lawsuit says. At the time he was trying to attach a tactical light.

An officer managed to shoot himself in the foot because he pulled the trigger of his gun when he was trying to attach a light. Why was he trying to attach a light to a loaded gun? Why was his finger on the trigger? Why was the gun pointed at his foot? These are all very good questions but it turns out that the officer investigated himself and found that he did nothing wrong so he’s suing Glock.

I hope this case is dismissed and the officer in question is forced to pay Glock’s legal expenses.

Written by Christopher Burg

August 30th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Mossberg To Courts: Muh Intellectual Property

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Drop-in triggers are nothing new. There are approximately one bajillion drop-in triggers available for AR pattern rifles and some rifles, like the Tavor, are designed around drop-in trigger packs. The fact that everybody and their grandmother manufacturers drop-in triggers hasn’t stopped Mossberg from suing basically everybody because it believes a patent it purchased some time ago grants it a monopoly on the bloody obvious:

In another instance of the firearms industry feeding on it’s own, it appears that Mossberg is exercising it’s control on the original Chip McCormick patent (US 7,293,385 B2), that it acquired a while ago, and bringing lawsuits against a number of manufacturers of drop in triggers.

Mossberg currently licenses the design to the new CMC company, who has apparently decided to get Mossberg to go after their competition, i.e. anyone making drop in triggers.

This is an example of patent trolling. Mossberg didn’t invent drop-in triggers, it purchased a patent covering their design. It also conveniently waited to file a lawsuit until after numerous manufacturers were making drop-in triggers, which coincidentally allows Mossberg to reap more wealth than it could have if it filed a lawsuit the moment somebody violated the patent. Then there is the fact that the patent is absurd. The idea of packaging up the components of a trigger so it can be easily inserted into a firearm isn’t novel or innovative. It’s bloody obvious.

I can only hope that a court renders this patent invalid and Mossberg is forced to pay the attorney fees for all of the companies it’s trying to exploit.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 24th, 2016 at 10:00 am

Smith And Wesson Don’t Believe You Own Your Gun

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Update: Smith and Wesson has apologized for being legal cunts. I guess they didn’t have their lawyers on a short enough leash, which is a problem common to most companies. Glad to see they backed off.

My original article is below for preservation purposes.


For years now I’ve been contemplating buying a Smith and Wesson M&P. They’re wonderfully designed pistols. The only thing I don’t like about them is the trigger doesn’t have a tactile reset. Fortunately Apex triggers add that functionality so I need only buy one and drop it in, right? Wrong. According to Smith and Wesson making such modifications violates their precious intellectual property rights:

That’s one of Brownells’ series of ‘Dream Guns‘ (above), highly customized, one-off project guns Brownells gins up as examples of what’s possible if you want to put some money, time and love into your stock pistol. They use these as come-ons for trade shows and such, as attractions to get passers by to stop and check out their wares. Their latest effort, a Smith & Wesson M&P, wasn’t well received by the venerable Springfield gun maker…

They had their IP attorneys send a love letter to Brownells and the other aftermarket companies who collaborated on the M&P Dream gun.

There is a picture of the legal threat Smith and Wesson mailed to Apex, Brownells, DP Custom Works, Blowndeadline Custom, and SSVi. Although I find this entire situation ridiculous I do appreciate Smith and Wesson going out of its way to save me the money I would have otherwise dropped on one of their pistols.

I believe it’s perfectly valid to void the warranty if a customer makes a modification to a product. But threatening a lawsuit over imaginary property being violated is absurd. But this is becoming more common. John Deere already claims farmers don’t own the tractors they purchase because those tractors contain software and that software implies the entire piece of machinery is being licensed. Automotive manufacturers are also using intellectual property laws to justify preventing customers from making certain modifications to their vehicles.

What’s interesting about Smith and Wesson’s case is that it doesn’t involve software, which is the goto excuse used to claim owners don’t actually own the products they buy. Instead it’s claiming that displaying its logo on one of its own guns violates the company’s trademark. I guess anybody who modifies a Smith and Wesson firearm is supposed to file off any logos.

While I fully admit I haven’t purchased a Smith and Wesson firearm in years, the last time I did I didn’t sign any contractual agreement to remove all of the company’s logos if I modified the firearm (if such an agreement were demanded I wouldn’t have bought the gun). Since there is no cause for Smith and Wesson to claim I don’t own the pistol and I didn’t sign a contract making me responsible for removing its logos I’m curious on what grounds they plan to enforce this newfound legal power trip. Granted, I won’t have to worry about it because this kind of nonsense will ensure I take my money elsewhere.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 23rd, 2015 at 11:30 am

Apparently Selling the Same Thing for More isn’t a Viable Business Strategy

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I have a fairly sizable firearm collection. In addition to a plethora of other firearm models my collection includes a few AR-15s and 1911s. None of those AR-15s or 1911s are Colts though. With so many manufacturers building AR-15s and 1911s I never understood paying such a premium for a Colt. As it turns out I wasn’t the only one. Apparently charging twice as much for the same thing isn’t a viable business strategy:

Gun maker Colt Defense LLC plans to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection by Monday, according to people familiar with the matter, amid business-execution issues and a heavy debt burden.

The company has secured financing from its existing senior lenders to continue operating while in bankruptcy and expects to remain in business after the restructuring, the people said.

Colt fell into the same rut as many other well-known manufacturers. Instead of continuing to innovate Colt tried to skate by on its name. The last new firearm Colt announced, the 901, was still little more than an AR-15 that could be converted from 5.56x45mm to 7.62x51mm. Colt’s strategy wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t felt that its name justified such a hefty price tag.

It’ll be interesting to see whether or not it came claw its way out of this mess.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 15th, 2015 at 10:30 am