Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

Is Smith & Wesson going to torpedo their brand? Again?

Written By: Bob - Aug• 06•13

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I’m a fan of Smith & Wesson. I’ve used both the 637CT and the M&P 9C as my primary carry gun at different points, and the M&P 9 is a strong contender for my next “service” pistol. I’ve owned the M&P 15/22, and have given serious thought to other Smith & Wesson products. They make great guns, the kind you pass down from one generation to the next.

That is why it pains me to see the company playing a very dangerous game with their brand, speaking out against gun control efforts on one hand, while refusing outright to consider moving to a more gun-friendly climate.

Smith & Wesson, founded here in 1852 and known for making the “most powerful handgun in the world” wielded by Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry,” also pushed its position on Facebook and Twitter. And what it gets back, especially on social media, is a storm of comments from firearms aficionados who want Smith & Wesson to move to their “gun-friendly” states.

“Massachusetts is our home,” said Debney at the company’s sprawling Roosevelt Avenue factory. “All you have to do is look behind you at the hundreds of (computer numerically controlled ) milling machines. They are not going anywhere.”

That manufacturing capacity has grown and will continue to grow, Debney said. Smith & Wesson has grown from 832 jobs in 2007 to 1,5000 today. It’s also invested $41.7 million in new manufacturing equipment. Smith & Wesson also does $63 million a year in business with other companies in the commonwealth.

Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry specifically lobbied gunmakers in Connecticut and New York state to relocate to Texas. Debney said he gets numerous solicitations form states all over the union.

“We are not listening,” he said. “It all happens here.”

But Debney acknowledged that any firearm restrictions would further cement Massachusetts’ reputation as an “anti-gun” state. There could be a consumer backlash against Smith & Wesson similar to the hate which flowed from gun owners after Smith & Wesson cooperated with Clinton-era gun restrictions.

“It almost took down the company,” he said. “We won’t make that mistake again. At the end of the day, shooting is a passionate sport.”

Debney is in an unenviable position, as are all of the manufacturers in Connecticut’s famed “Gun Valley.” Once upon a time, the region respected liberty and freedom. Quite clearly, it no longer does. It hasn’t in some time, and the recent raft of gun laws made that all the more obvious.

This makes the socio-political dance for all the companies in the region a delicate one.

The companies themselves are obviously in support of the Second Amendment, if for no other reason than blatant capitalism. Unfortunately, they live in a part of the country that is more socialist than capitalist, where the companies are reviled by the very governments that greedily siphon away their tax dollars. At the same time, their products are being manufactured for consumers that hate these states and their anti-freedom agendas, and do not wish to support them in any way, shape or form.

If not careful, Debney may find himself facing another Smith & Wesson must die campaign like he did in 2000, and I have my doubts on whether the company could survive a similar boycott organized today. The shooting community is much more “wired” and organized now thanks to social media than it was when the company capitulated to the Clinton Administration, and the company’s detractors have long memories. While many were willing to give the company a second chance, there will be far fewer willing to give the company a third chance if the conventional wisdom turns against the company.

Other companies in the “slave states” (as they are now being called in some circles) are being more cautious in how they publicly address the situation, and more importantly, aren’t carrying the baggage of an earlier and very public betrayal.

I hope that Smith & Wesson has the good sense to be a bit more cautious with its public pronouncements. Committing itself to a state that holds it in contempt is not going to win the company many fans.

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  1. louielouie says:

    the irs & socialists need guns too.
    hussein has prolly promised s&w unlimited access to gov’t contracts foreva.

  2. alanstorm says:

    That’s unfortunate – I am very happy with the 9 and .22 versions of the M&P, but I would rather not give MA any more support.

  3. Kev says:

    I get police discounts on two guns, Glocks and S&Ws. I’ve got 4 of each. I actually prefer M&P9s and plan to purchase more. I use the M&P9C with the 17 rd mag and an extension. I love the gun. I have two ARs and my favorite is the M&P15. I’m going S&W more each month. I really hope they don’t make me change my mind. I can handle them being in a Commie State, that’s not really their fault. But a line will be crossed if they start supporting gun control.

    • DAN III says:

      I have two M&P9s….the latest is their “PRO” series C.O.R.E I must say, the trigger on this new C.O.R.E outright SUCKS ! Before you buy an M&P please consider looking at an Springfield XDm….pull the trigger. 10x’s better than an M&P trigger.

  4. Gus Bailey says:

    Meh, they make Jack Daniels in a dry county. S&W make a product (line). It is quality. They have no more obligation to act on a political matter than they do to employ any more people at any higher wage than is necessary to produce that product (line).

    I’ll agree with Kev, as long as they are apolitical (prima fascia) this should be a non-issue beyond personal preference.

    Personally, I’m with Remington & Ruger.

    • louielouie says:

      why do people always bring up the jack daniel meme?

      Moore County, Tennessee, where Jack is distilled, is still a dry county. However, the distillery is exempt from the law and sells Gentlemen Jack in its gift shop.

      the distillery is exempt from the the law?
      how conveeeeeenient?
      eliminate the competition legally.
      now who do you suppose supports that?

  5. Geoff says:

    I won’t buy a firearm made in an anti-gun State. The Mossberg Maverick 88 I will be buying is made in Texas, and the DPMS AR-15 I’m buying is made in Minnesota. No S&W, Ruger, Colt or other firearm from the Northeast.

    • Snave says:

      Ruger is a fine product and made in the Live Free or Die State of New Hampshire which has very friendly gun laws and is known for having the most fully automatic weapons per capita than any other state. We have a 14 day shall issue CCW permit and open carry is allowed without a permit (no age restrictions). We also have NO restrictions on knives of any kind. Please do not confuse New Hampshire with Connecticut or Massachusetts.

    • PapaMAS says:

      Let me also jump to Ruger’s defense. They used to be headquartered in Connecticut, but now are in NH and Arizona. They also announced an expansion into North Carolina.

  6. dan says:

    better to love a commie gun ( ak 470 then to buy a USA gun from a Marxist state….at least the commie gun manufacturers don’t call themselves AMERICANS

  7. yet another mike says:

    One approach might be to only buy used Smith & Wesson products. No $$$ for S&W or MA and you still get a quality firearm.

  8. Rick says:

    As long as massass continues to trample the second amendment and s&w stays there I will not purchase any more of their firearms

  9. thebronze says:

    S&W is certainly well within its right to do business where it sees fit, but they should be prepared for the consequences of that choice. Political winds can turn on a dime…

  10. Justin says:

    As a resident of Springfield and someone with multiple family members and friends that work at Smith and Wesson, I have to defend their decision. Yes, Massachusetts is a very blue state, but please also realize that western Massachusetts is a very different place than commie eastern Mass.

    We are good people out here, constantly tossed under the bus by Boston.

    Smith actually does a lot for the gun owners stuck in this shitty state. They manufacture guns that are specifically designed to get around all the BS regulation Martha Coakley throws at us. They submit those guns for all the insane lab testing required by the atty general.

    This is more than I can say for many other manufacturers, like Springfield Armory Inc. for instance. Which incidentally is named after our city yet HQed in Illinois, so should we also boycott them?

    • Real Deal says:

      As a resident of the Democratic People’s Republic of Maryland I can sympathize with your plight. You have a state where certain population centers hold the rest of the state politcally hostage. Outside the Baltimore City, the I-95 corridor, and the DC suburbs (Montgomery, Prince George’s counties and more and more or late the city of Fredrick) MD is a pretty conservative state. We have to put up with the insane freedom, job, and economy killing socialist/communist crud spewed out by our Democrat dominated legislature and our “beloved” Govenor Owe’Malley like the Rain Tax and our new gun laws.

    • Real Deal says:

      The Springfield Armory closed in 1968, the name was licensed to Robert Reese in 1974. While HQ’d in Geneseo, IL manufacturing is done in Croatia, at least that is where my XDM was made.

  11. eddd7 says:

    Dear S&W Customer Service,

    I picked this off (below) the Smith & Wesson M&P forum this evening. I must say that this is not a unique sentiment. I have been searching many internet gun sites and stores for months to acquire more magazines for my new M&P 9mm with absolutely no success. This is NOT good! We’re talking magazines here…..not something that’s technologically sophisticated to manufacture, like an automatic S&W pistol……..which ARE available.

    What gives??
    Below – the forum post mentioned above;

    Join Date: May 2013 Location: Michigan M&P 9mm
    ———————————————————-I recently left my local gun store with the Glock 17. I had my hands on and perferred the M&P 9. However, since I own and M&P Core Pro 40 (among other S&W’s), I could not bring myself to purchase another S&W and endure the endless magazine hunt! I am not sure what the issue is with S&W and magazines, but it has lasted far too long for it to be a “temporary market condition”. You have to wonder about the commitment to customer service. A former loyal S&W owner!

    Many, including me, are in agreement. I’ve been looking for the 17rnd magazines for my full size M&P 9mm as well as the 10rnd for the M&P Compact for months……and nothing. By contrast – I have little trouble finding Ruger and Springfield magazines. As I recall, they’re your competitors.

    Below – S&W’s response, and then my response to S&W

    Dear Edd,

    Thank you for contacting us!

    Smith & Wesson will be on its annual summer shutdown from July 29, 2013 through August 9, 2013. Customers could experience service and shipping delays during this period.

    We look forward to serving you soon.

    To help track your inquiry we have generated a reference number. Your ticket code is LTK111770307346X. Please use this code in any further communication.


    Good! I’ll post your automatically generated e-mail response to my initial message for your vacation shutdown in the S&W M&P forums, to confirm that Smith & Wesson cares even less for customer’s problems then they could possibly have imagined.

    Thanks for the F**k Y*U to those customers who have supplied your salaries and benefits to you and your families for the past century.

    NOT being able to purchase your products (in other words SEND YOU MONEY!) has been an eye-opening experience for us. Especially compared to the personal phone call from Springfield when I had a question.

    So much for S&W’s concern for their customers.


  12. Karl says:

    I was a proud member of the S&W boycott up to last year when I bought a 9mm M&P Shield. They lost thousands from me alone for bowing the the Clinton pressure.

    I’m not sure this is grounds for a boycott. They don’t hurt me by staying in MA. They hurt themselves by funding the MA anti-gunners, plus paying high MA taxes. For both reasons, they SHOULD move to a more friendly state. The gun sales spike is going to end soon, and S&W will have to compete on price again. How they do that after paying their MA taxes is unclear.

  13. Sharpshooter says:

    Ruger fans: Well, just remember that Bill Ruger was also one who fell into the cesspool regarding 10 rd mags back in the early 90s. Ruger endured a lengthy boycott, too, but as a much smaller company, it was not as prominent as S&W.

    • DAN III says:

      Oh…and what about that magazine disconnect added to the Ruger MKIIIs ? That is another politically correct, anti-gun addition from Ruger.

  14. tiacarolann says:

    I have had my CC permit for a year. My very first gun purchase was S & W Bodyguard 380. I bought it because it fits my purse AND because it has a laser built in. Which I have used for practice which enabled me great improvement in accuracy. I am a S Fl granny.
    1. question please.. After I told a police officer ‘I have a CC permit, but do not have my gun with me’ His reply was ‘ I know’ then I said ‘ I don’t even have it in my car’ looking at fellow officers he laughed and said ‘ WE know’ My question .. is the laser a tracking device? have you ever heard of this? Can you ask S+ W ?
    2. this is how/where it happened:
    on 1-8-13 I went to an open house of my JAG officer republican rep Tom Rooney. While sitting in meeting room waiting for Rep Rooney, a Punta Gorda police officer asked me to ‘come out side’. I went out the meeting room door to a landing near elevators. It was then I was surrounded by SWAT TEAM w Federal BOLO for me!!!
    they told me that ‘Capitol police say you are a danger’ !!!
    I was detained over 2 hours, during which I preached the Gospel + never did see Rep Rooney !!
    I had met him before ’10 elections + actually shook his hand as we spoke about impeaching obama. remember “impeach IS on the table”? just a reelect mantra we now know.
    Before this meeting, I did call his aide in DC to speak to Rooney about ‘impeachment’ per prior conversation. The aide who must be o spy that sent the BOLO, as he invited me to the meeting.
    I would like to warn everyone to personally warn ALL reps to get their own aides + NOT from pool of spies!!
    thanks for your site + help
    God bless

    • Bob says:

      I don’t pretend to have any idea what may have happened. I do not think the gun has any sort of tracking device with it.